Welcome – How Primal Therapy relates to recent scientific research

What does Primal Therapy have to do with science? To illustrate how applying principles of Dr. Arthur Janov’s Primal Therapy can provide additional information that’s relevant to recent scientific research, let’s start with the How do we assess “importance” in our lives? An example from scientists’ research choices study.

Do you agree that a person’s need to feel important can drive their choices in their career and personal life? Although this wasn’t explored by the study, the subject scientists’ needs to feel important were likely the underlying impetus for why they shaped their careers to become the Big Frogs in tiny puddles.

Do you agree that an individual’s need to feel important is NOT a basic human need on the same level as nourishment, protection, and socialization? How do people develop this need?

The view of Primal Therapy is that the need to feel important arose from perhaps hundreds of early experiences during infancy and early childhood when a child was made to feel unimportant by the behavior of the people who mattered the most to them at the time. It’s a need created from the pain instilled by caregivers when they didn’t fulfill a child’s real needs such as food and touch.
An infant's basic need for touch

Can we research origins of the need to feel important with the regular scientific methods?

  1. It would be unethical to develop proof by depriving human children of their basic needs.
  2. Would a survey of parents and other caregivers discover factual histories of how they treated their infants and young children? Good luck with that.
  3. Could researchers use the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaires? Answers to these aren’t reliable self-reports of experiences during the 1,365 days from conception through age 3, which is when the need to feel important likely begins to develop.
  4. Because biology can’t always inform us about behavior, animal studies couldn’t provide direct evidence for the origins of this human need. The most relevant animal study I’ve curated was The effects of early-life stress are permanent alterations in the child’s brain circuitry and function where the researchers used an indirect approach:

    “The current study manipulates the type and timing of a stressor and the specific task and age of testing to parallel early-life stress in humans reared in orphanages. The results provide evidence of both early and persistent alterations in amygdala circuitry and function following early-life stress.

    These effects are not reversed when the stressor is removed nor diminished with the development of prefrontal regulation regions.”

Do the impacts of early experiences of hunger affect our behavior, thoughts, and feelings today? is one of the studies that showed several other ways people are impelled to develop substitute needs now for what they really needed back in their early lives.

But relieving an itchy symptom (a substitute need) doesn’t resolve its cause (the impact of an early unfulfilled need).

A principle of Primal Therapy is that with a lessened impact of early unmet needs, people will feel less impetus to fulfill substitute needs – such as the need to feel important.

So welcome to the Surface Your Real Self blog! I’m sure you will find some topics that interest you.

5 thoughts on “Welcome – How Primal Therapy relates to recent scientific research

  1. Dear Surfaceyourrealself,

    Arthur Janov forwarded a message from you concerning the following study:

    The Rockefeller/Cambridge summary study said the current status of research incorporating both epigenetic chemistry and behavioral neuroscience was:

    “A large number of behavioral epigenetic studies attempt to correlate epigenetic marker changes..at global levels and in mixed populations of cells with phenotypic changes. Specific changes at specific gene levels and at single cell levels correlating with behavioral changes remain largely unknown.”

    Could you direct me to the Rockefeller/Cambridge summary study and the meaning of the statement you sent? This could have implications for the future research of primal therapy.

    I am a science writer who works with Janov on certain projects. Would you care to introduce yourself?

    Bruce Wilson
    Montreal, Quebec

  2. It is my feeling that science has everything backwards. What is science anyway? As I understand it, it’s about figuring out WHY. There are a million reasons why we might ask WHY. The problem is the very nature of REASONING … thinking … rather than feeling … our real nature … as opposed to our behavior … thinking it is our nature … when it isn’t We started off more or less with Archimedes and the went onto to all the other accidental revelations about things outside our selves; then finally finishing up with the greatest of all revelations. We discovered our real natural selves. Wow!!!! why did it take all those thousands of years to discovery it all?

    But it’s only a few of us that have seen this. The medical, political, social, teaching, and on and on are busy doing studies which at best are questionable, and the reason is by virtue of the initial question. If we get the initial question wrong then the results are inevitably wrong.

    Until and unless, all professions and all their (mostly pointless studies) are re-thought from the knowledge that Arthur Janov made the greatest discovery of all time OR, for that mater, the greatest discovery we humans will ever make; then we are doomed to our own destruction and extinction. Go figure!!!! to quote an idiom.

    No other creature on the planet does science and/or mathematics.


  3. Science has got it all backwards. What is science anyway? It is supposedly a study of WHY. Why are we trying to figure out why? It all started more or less with Archimedes and then went onto Copernicus and Galileo and then from there to the nuclear bomb. Now we are attempting to further figure it all out with studies. Studies using statistics that are for the most part unreliable in the first place, by virtue that the initial question is unreliable and perhaps in many cases unnecessary. Finally, by shear accident (usually the best revelations are pure accidents) we discovered what is wrong with us … humans. Wow!!! why did it take us so long; and is there anything else we NEED to know.?

    The greatest discovery ever made was by Art Janov in 1967. Not only is it the greatest discovery mankind ever made but is the greatest discovery we humans will ever make. We now know what’s wrong with us. Sadly, only a few so far have ‘caught on’. Until and unless all the professions from medicine through to engineering are seen for nothing more than, trying to make life comfortable; when for the most part for most of us it anything but … then we are doomed to our own destruction and perhaps extinction.

    Sure; Janov attempted to use science, as a means to demonstrate the validity of his discovery, theory and develop a method to regain some of our real selves back to our nature, as opposed to what most of have is just behavior.

    We are the only creature trying to figure it all out with science and mathematics. Not so sure it did much for us by way of making life feeling-full and enjoyable.

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