Primal therapy was developed by Dr Arthur Janov, an American psychiatrist, in the 1970s, who noted that many patients uttered intense cries when they faced deep-seated and formerly repressed pain, typically associated with unfulfilled needs for parental love. These cries he named the ‘primal scream’.
Influenced by the Swiss psychotherapist, Alice Miller, who believed that children in many societies were ill-treated by parents and educators and consequently developed a false self, Janov developed a therapy which aims at dismantling neurotic defence mechanisms which the false self uses to protect the individual from the experience of pain. He believed that the ‘false’ or ‘unreal’ self begins to develop from around the age of six, and emotional and intellectual defence patterns have become fairly fixed by the teens. It is the job of the therapist, in a series of intensive sessions, to lead the patient into the ‘primal zone’, where the painful feelings of the suffering child within the adult can be brought into consciousness and integrated.
Since this therapy is so intense and often traumatic, it is important that a properly trained therapist be consulted.
Tags: General health
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