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Precautions and Warnings

 
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  When we choose to heal and grow it is wise to be both proactive and cautious. If you wish to do Primal Integration, many things will be discussed and taken into account before we select the level of involvement best suited to your needs. Some of the issues to be aware of are:

Physical Health

If you choose the more active levels of Primal Integration, be sure that you are physically healthy enough to express strong emotions if necessary. At times, the work at these levels could be challenging to any heart and cardiovascular problems. We would have to discuss the condition and consult your physician if you have any doubts.

Emotional Health

If you choose the more emotionally involved levels of Primal Integration, we would have to assess the stability of your emotional health before proceeding. If you are on "meds," it may be best if your psychiatrist is consulted. If you feel very emotionally unstable, the initial work will likely be focused on grounding, defense-building, and centering rather than deep emotional rearrangement. The needs of your own nature lead the way.

Janovian Elitism

Arthur Janov, author of the The Primal Scream and other books on primal therapy, has contributed to significant advances in the theory and practice of deep feeling work. However, he continually makes unrealistic claims that his clinic is the only place in the world where this type of work is properly practiced. He publishes a "black list" of individuals he claims are "mock therapists" and states that he regularly treats patients who have been damaged by other therapists. Janov correctly warns that primal work can be dangerous if not administered properly but fails to note that, in my opinion, the greatest danger comes from the very isolation, and coercive, defense-busting techniques he created and wrote about - that many of these "other therapists" never use! He never mentions his patients who do not respond well and have to find therapy elsewhere, often with the very people he advises against.

The expression of feelings is a part of human life and cannot be owned by any individual. The main danger is in pushing people to feelings they are not prepared to integrate. Such an act can be as traumatic as any original trauma. My practice of Primal Integration is not Janov's version, but a gentler, more humanistic, and I believe, more effective approach to healing.

Choose Wisely

You have the right to scrutinize and choose the helpers who will best assist you. They are your assistants, not your bosses; your chosen guides, not your superiors. No one knows your feelings better than you, even if you're confused. There are times, however, when we need guides - not only with training and "degrees," but guides who have done their own transformative deep-feeling work. To me, a therapist without that experience is like a Himalayan guide who has only seen Mount Everest in books and takes your money to send you out on the slopes alone! So take your time, ask questions, and choose the person who feels right, and will work best for you. It's your time, your money and your life.

This is Not Scream Therapy!

Since Janov wrote The Primal Scream, many people think that primal is about screaming. It's not! Primal is about connecting feelings to their origins, and the most common emotional response is tears, not screams. The emotional response simply depends on the quality and/or volume of the hurt that is felt. A hammer dropped on a bare toe will elicit a yell. The sound is no mystery, it's just a response to an amount of pain. In my practice of Primal Integration we do not pretend, or "workshop" emotions. If they're there, they can come out. If not, they don't have to.

This is not Rebirthing!

Rebirthing is a method that uses certain techniques to simulate birth and elicit birth trauma memories. The tragic death of a young girl in Colorado at the hands of an inept and coercive rebirthing team bears absolutely no resemblance to my practice of Primal Integration. As I have stated throughout this site, Primal Integration is non-directive and proceeds totally by client consent. I do not try to dig for feelings and situations prior to the natural sequence of their arising. To do otherwise is to use the rational brain to circumvent the natural process. There may be times when birth traumas, if they exist, will rise to consciousness. I am trained to deal with these expressions, and if they do occur, the client is always consciously witnessing the events and acting out of choice. I repeat - you are always in control - and can stop at any time.

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