primal therapy III

At the conclusion of this presentation of the negative consequences of a prolonged primal therapy I still have to discuss the phenomenon of addiction, which was already mentioned several times. In all institutions known to me which are operating the primal therapy there is an appearance tha tis called “addiction” . (This applies if the phenomenon is not related by time limits or similar is artificially prevented.) This primal addiction or Primal treatment-seeking is a special form of the famous “therapy addiction” or treatment-seeking, which is referred to in sub-cultural jargon of the U.S. as a “psycho-trip.” In the case of the ‘primal addiction’ to spend a few hours per day for many years participant with “feeling” that is, with primary experience, or an attempt to achieve such. They constantly produce the same patterns of behavior and experience, but are typically firmly believe to be particularly sensitive and advanced.The special feature of the primal addiction over other forms of psycho-trips is that the dependence has a strong physical component, or in other words: At the extreme, it is not only a psychological but a physiological dependence quite similar to drug addiction. If each primary-life pattern is prevented, typical Withdrawal symptoms are resulting, such as restlessness, depressive feelings, instability of mood and so on. Such physical dependence can probably occur only in the case of primary therapy.

In fact, some accompanied, more or less strong dependence on almost every primal therapy. If it is a function of ideology, one can speak of a mental form. If it is more a function of physical and hormonal course of primary experience, one must interpret this as a real addiction disease. Between these two poles, the physical addiction and sectarianism, is the dependence which sets in each individual, spending the longer time in a primary therapy. How this dependency will look like, lies on the personality of the participants, and at the level of ideology that pervades the institution. Between the two poles of all conceivable forms actually occur.

The contents of this chapter are briefly summarized once more: The first threat posed by primal therapy is in the sectarian character of the ideology justified of Janov and accepted by other primary therapists. The primary experience as such also has positive effects, which particularly are effective in the area of emotional impoverishment and over-intellectuality. In addition “hypertonic” psychosomatic symptoms are improved. The dangers of the primary experience show up – contrary to the positive effects that occur in the short term – only after some time. They consist mainly of a general shift in the emotional balance towards depression or aversive side effects and result in a general loss of vigor and ability to concentrate. The indirect effects show up as growing incapacity for life and a retreat into the interior. It almost always constitutes a certain  (worst-type : addiction-like) dependency of either physical or ideological-sectarian character.

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