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Letters To The Primal Page

Mark Gold - 01/26/96
"R" - 02/06/96
Colleen English - 02/20/96
Clayton Rhodes - 02/21/96
Norman Pigeon - 02/22/96
Joseph Horvath - 02/22/96
Sam Johnson - 02/23/96
Jean-Luc Delatre - 03/03/96
Colleen English - 03/14/96

January 26, 1996


Thank you very much for putting up a primal page. You have put an enormous amount of useful information on the page. I'm finding it difficult to pull myself away. :-) I hope to be able to put some mental health information on my web page, but on a smaller scale. Right now I just have an outline and a few resources.

It's seems like a small world -- I was also at the 1994 IPA convention. I called Mickel to get a list of Holotropic breathwork practitioners in my area and have followed up on it (~10 sessions). An interesting experience to say the least!

Did you go to the 1995 IPA convention? I'm sorry that I missed it. I hope to make next year's convention. Are you planning to be there?

Maybe you can get Don Allan to write an article for your web page about this year's ARK.(Editor's Note: The Ark is 30 days of intensive primal therapy). (He's listed on your web page from the Twin Cities.) I am a friend of Kit's (his primal partner in crime), so that is how I know he's at the ARK. I heard some about it at the 1994 convention, but would be very interested in hearing more details (in a diary-like format).

Once again, thank you for all of your efforts. They are greatly appreciated.

Best Wishes,

Mark Gold

A Link To Mark's homepage

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Mark: Thanks for all of your comments. They are appreciated. The plans are to continue expanding the PPP. You are unduly modest about your web site, Mark. It is very extensive and contains many good links to material which I had searched for and could not find. I'm including a link above so readers can check out your efforts.

Coincidentally, I received two announcements in today's mail of upcoming holotropic breathwork sessions. I hope to attend at least one of them. No, I did not attend the 1995 IPA convention. I have attended a few in the past, but it has been quite a few years since I've attended a convention. Don Allan and I regularly correspond via e-mail. I believe he is planning to write an article on the ARK this year. And another coincidence: I am presently reading Kit's master's thesis entitled "Swedenborgian Thought and Primal Theory" in preparation for an interview with him. Thanks for your note.

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February 6, 1996

Dear John,

I was quite pleased to discover that there is a page on the Web where those interested in primal therapies can share information and experiences. I'm wondering if you have any suggestions about how to go about locating therapists who are trained in and practice Konrad Stettbacher's method of therapy. I've been working with this therapy alone, but I have a rather serious health issue (arrhythmia) which I feel is strongly related to the panic attacks I've suffered for years, and at this point I would like to aid my progress to reduce any further risk to my health. The medical condition has been addressed by my internist with referral to a cardiologist, so I'm not ignoring or denying such a serious medical problem, and would, of course, encourage anyone with physical symptoms pursuing this therapy to have them checked out, as Stettbacher advises in his book.

Medical tests revealed that I have a normal heart, and I know that these episodes occur when my dreams and daytime experiences produce extreme anxiety. I have a long history of "psychosomatic" health problems for which my doctors have found no explanation, and this is the latest. I've been reading Alice Miller's work for the past ten years and her books have been the only thing that has sustained my hope for a life free of these debilitating symptoms.

I realize after reading letters sent to the Primal Psychotherapy Page, that you are probably not able to recommend specific therapists, and please know that I will continue my work alone no matter. At some times I feel this is best, but, as you would know, there are also times when this is extremely difficult and demands more courage than I imagine I have. As a note, I do not wish to work with Janov practitioners for the reasons Alice Miller gives in the 1994 version of Drama, but I do acknowledge the debt owed to him as his books were the first ones in my experience that suggested the possibilities which I now believe can be realized with the insights from Alice Miller's work and Stettbacher's four-step therapy.

Thanks for your wonderful resource.

Best wishes,


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Thanks for your letter and comments, R. As far as I know, Stettbacher's techniques are a method of self-primaling. I did read about a physician in Hawaii who was successfully using Stettbacher's techniques in his practice. I wrote to him a couple of months ago via the internet but have not received a response. Some feel that Stettbacher's techniques are the same techniques primal therapists use in their practice. I have used his techniques successfully, but usually I just wait until the primal connects on its own or nudge it out with feelingful music, pictures, etc. Good luck to you.

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February 20, 1996


France never did answer my question about why there are no (few?) Institute trained therapists out here. I have this idea that a "finished" person, (and F. Janov should be one!) is responsive among many other things. I don't have unrealistic expectations either, I don't think. The "finished" person is a topic, I've always wanted to discuss.

Have you thought about encouraging sharing among those of us out here trying to do stuff on their own? Someone could maybe say something very simple that could help me over little humps. Well they are big humps to me.

For example:

#1) I often gag and that arrests my progress. I've tried having a bowl and letting myself do whatever but that doesn't get me any further either.
#2) I have one hell of a time concentrating; my mind wanders shamelessly and makes "staying with the feeling" really hard!
#3) Breathwork: One of Janov's recent books said that they don't use deep breathing anymore ( I don't remember why) so I haven't been using it to get into or stay with an episode.

Your comments are welcome. And I wish I had more time to read your Web Page and to comment. I like the being able to talk about this stuff; I've always wanted to be able to discuss this with people and as you've noted there aren't that many who understand. I read a little each time I get (and take) the chance.


Colleen English

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Colleen, I don't believe that F. Janov or even A. Janov is a "finished" person. I don't believe that there is such a thing. If the trauma occurs early, especially birth and peri-natal, you can primal for decades and still be sick. I no longer have nasal congestion, stomach pains (after just a few months of primaling), colitis (after nine years), anxiety attacks or depression. However, anxiety and insomnia are on occasion major bug-a-boos of mine. And many I have spoken with agree that the primal path can sometimes be a long one. Yet, I have heard of none who have regretted undertaking the trip.

Yes, I'd like those who feel on their own to share their experiences here on the PPP. It is always reassuring to learn that others are having the same problems and experiences as others. For example, you mention how gagging arrests your progress. For a long time, that was a problem with me also. I think everyone also has the problem of a wandering mind. It probably is the operation of one's defenses which stops the feeling by making the mind wander. A therapist's presence can really help in focusing one's thoughts. Janov has written that breathing sometimes brings up feelings out of natural sequence and he says that it really is not necessary.

And very few non-primalers understand what primaling is all about. That's understandable. A person hearing about re-living an early scene wants to place the information in a familiar concept. But that can't be done unless one has already had a primal feeling. It is a frustrating situation. Before I started the primal process, I had read Janov's The Anatomy of Mental Illness. I could not identify with or understand deep feelings (In truth, the idea really turned me off!). After the primals began spontaneously happening as a result of a non-primal group therapy, I went back to Janov's book which I then was able to read from an entirely different viewpoint. And even before having birth primals, I could not identify with them.

Thanks for writing, Colleen.


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February 21, 1996

Mr. Speyrer,

I am doing a presentation in my fourth year psych of counseling course at the end of March. I have written to you once before concerning people practicing Primal in the Toronto area. I thank you for your quick response.

I am writing to you now to ask for some information and ideas to help with my group's presentation. Specifically, I would like any ideas that would help bring about class participation.

In therapy, do people sit on the floor? In a circle facing each other? Are there any props used? What issues are discussed?

Many of the articles I have read discuss the advantages and disadvantages of primal, but I haven't found any articles that discuss how a session is constructed. Does the therapist dominate the conversation? Is the therapist or the client the "expert"? How long do sessions go (an hour, two hours)?

I would like my group's presentation to be as accurate as possible. It is a topic I had not previously been aware of until a couple of months ago; and I find it very facinating. I thank you for any help you would be able to provide me.

Have a good day.

Clayton Rhodes

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Clayton, I have placed your letter in the "letters" section of the Primal Psychotherapy Page as well as your e-mail address. Hopefully, you will get some answers from readers. If you don't get answers, I'll make an attempt to answer your specific questions. However, I'd prefer if you could get the information from others since I'm mostly a "self-primaler" and have not had that much experience in group primal therapy. Thanks for writing. John

Clayton's E-Mail Address - yu128358@YorkU.CA

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February 22, 1996

Greetings John!

Yes, greetings from way up in the north-eastern part of Canada, called Quebec.

Found your page just a couple of weeks ago and have found it just fascinating. My wife and and I have been looking into Recovery Therapies for about 6 years now and have a lot of things we would like to share with Dr. Holden.

Would it be possible to have his e-mail address?

As born-again Christians, we would indeed like to take Dr. Holden up on a few things that he mentions in his 'taped testimonial'. At a later date, I would like to submit to you a paper on the enormous conflicts that face a hurting neurotic person when he is torn between religious convictions and therapies that appear to be at opposite poles. The confusion that arises, the guilt that can be taken on by sincere Christians as they search out for answers to their tremendous inner pain that seems to be spiritualized out of existence by the current evangelical believers who have no clue what many Christians are suffering emotionally. There is no room in their frame of reference for 'emotions' and their related influence on the spiritual part of the human entity.

For the time being, I would like to address some questions directly to Dr.Holden and not use your Page as a medium to hopefully get to him; although I do hope to get back, with your permission and address some issues that have arisen from Dr. Holden's transcript, that will leave many sincere Christians very perplexed if they are not dealt with. These are the items I hope to write on after I have really digested Dr.Holden's testimonial.

Keep up the good work John, there is a very great need for a forum like yours, that treats with self-help therapies and brings these marvellous tools out of the inner sanctums of rigid scolastic and professional ivory towers to place them in the hands of those who need this information.

I applaud your industry, openess, and fairmindedness to have printed the transcript from Dr.M. Holden, it speaks volumes about you John. It will serve as a very valuable springboard to open up the whole area of primal work as this theme is developed on your Page.

You may include this letter and publish it in your page if you please.


Norman J. Pigeon
Quebec, Canada

Norman, thanks for your response concerning Dr. Holden's tape transcription. Unfortunately, I do not know where he is presently living. I was last in touch with him three years ago, when he was residing in Venice, California. I recently tried every possible way of contacting him for permission to print the transcription, but could not locate him. Dr. Holden wanted his testimony widely disseminated and since he had given me permission to print it in my newsletter I assumed that he would not have any objections of it being on the internet.

I welcome an article from you, but must insist that it concern primal or the regressive-type therapies. Issues of spirituality or religion and how they relate to deep feeling therapies, especially primal would be appropriate. The web is so large, that specialization of content is necessary.

Perhaps your comments will be read by someone who knows where Dr. Holden resides. Undoubtedly, he is practicing as a neurologist somewhere in the U.S. Thanks for your letter. --- John

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February 22, 1996

Hi John,

I found your homepage some months ago when I was searching the web for anything related to primal therapy. It's very informative. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

A friend of mine and me are both interested very much in Stettbacher's Primal Therapy. Actually she has been using this self help method for more than a year now. I have read a lot about psychotherapy in general and primal therapy in particular and have just begun to work with Stettbacher's method by writing.

We would like to have contact to people who have been using Stettbachers method on their own or who have had single or group therapy with a therapist educated by Stettbacher (are there any in the USA yet? probably not), email addresses would be appreciated very much to discuss this topic.

By the way what do you think of Alice Miller's turning her back on every form of primal therapy (even Stettbacher's which earlier she propagated)? This caused quite some confusion among people looking for therapy here in Germany.

Kind regards,

Konstanz, Germany

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Thanks for your comments, Joseph. You are correct in writing that there is a lot of interest in Stettbacher's therapy. In fact, I am receiving inquiries very frequently from self-primalers using Stettbacher's form of primal therapy. However, I know of no therapists who specifically claim to be using his techniques. My opinion is that all primal therapists use his techniques. Or perhaps I should state that he uses their techniques!

What I would like to do is to open a section of the PPP for self-primalers, whether using Stettbachers or any method of deep regressive reliving. I would start the page only giving e-mail addresses with the notation of the country or state of the respondent and the type of self-therapy in which the person is interested. So if you're interested, start those e-mails a-coming! John

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February 23, 1996

I just came across your page last night, and was very happily surprised to find a resource for primal therapy on the net. I'd been hoping that something similar to this existed, but my access to the internet has been limited and I haven't been able to search the Web until recently.

I have been doing Konrad Stettbacher's primal therapy for over three years now. I was introduced to it by the writings of Alice Miller, particularly Banished Knowledge. Before that, I had explored a variety of therapies, bodyworks, workshops, etc. for over ten years, and I now am convinced that my previous therapies had actually moved me further away from real health over time. So, part of what I've dealt with via Stettbacher's therapy has been not only lots of emotion about the emerging truth of my childhood, but much anger and grief about the lost time of all that period of wandering through the wilderness of the modern therapy/human potential world.

Stettbacher's work has been a real godsend for me--its the first time I truly felt I had the means to begin healing, and it was amazing to me to discover that I could actually begin to create a safe environment on my own to allow for that healing to occur. I agree with one thing he said in his book, that this work is slow and sometimes difficult -- no quick fixes. It's been a long process, but also like a journey home after a long time away.

The hard thing about doing this therapy is the sense of isolation--at times I wondered if I was the only person in Texas, or in America, who was doing this. Not having a therapist or others in a group to feel a common bond with and to share experiences with is difficult, and that's why I have hoped to connect with others online. So, this is why I was happy to find your page. (Regretfully, at the moment my Web access is still limited--my computer has only 4 meg RAM, not enough for America Online's Web Browser, but I have full e-mail, newsgroup, etc. access. The Web I can visit via friends' systems--so I didn't get a chance to explore your site as thoroughly as I'd like--time constraints.)

I have a couple of questions. Do you know of discussion groups, newsgroups, bulletin boards specifically related to Stettbacher's/Jensen's self-therapies? I'd greatly love to connect with them, if so. Your site might function as such, as an e-mail center--on my next visit I'll explore in more depth. Also, the same question for Alice Miller's writings--any central site's you know of?

I would be grateful for any feedback you can give me ( Its fine to publish my letter and name, and I would also welcome any e-mail from any of your readers.

Sam Johnson

I am sorry that I know of no discussion groups, newsgroups, or bulletin board specifically related to Stettbacher's/Jensen's (glad you mentioned her also!) self-therapies. The same thing can be said for Alice Miller. That feeling of isolation is a common one. But help is coming! I definitely will open up the "Self-Primaler's Cafe" sometimes in the coming week. Your e-mail address as well as others will be listed. Thanks for your comments and observations, Sam.

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March 3, 1996

Dear John,

I just called you from France on Saturday, March 2nd at approximately 18:44 GMT. I was looking for more information about the use of Ibogaine for psychotherapeutic purposes. I do appreciate your proposal to send me a copy of the interview article of an ibogaine therapist which will appear in the next issue of Primal Renaissance.

On my side I collected quite a lot of information on Ibogaine itself but very little about it's potentiality as an adjunct/improvement to primal like psychotherapy.

From the papers from Gollnhofer, Sillans and Goutarel it appears that some young frenchmen did try Iboga in Africa without harm, and also from pharmacodynamic studies they know of they report toxicity of Ibogaine as lower than that of aspirin. However Goutarel and Gollnhofer are dead and Sillans is not very much interested in the subject anymore (I phoned him and he could hardly remember papers an peoples names).

There has been a lot of research about Ibogaine in between the 50's and the 70's, a CIBA patent in 1958, several different methods of total chemical synthesis (published in Journal of American Chemical Society, 1966, 1967, 1970), involving Wyeth Laboratories, Eli Lilly and probably other companies that I didn't spot.

Unfortunately the pharmacodynamic studies at this time were only toward toxicity evaluation, nerve cell responses, cardiac responses an anti fatigue properties. The anti-drug and psychotherapeutic effects were not even noticed.

Ibogaine is now illegal in Switzerland due to the death of a Swiss woman treated by Lotsof in the Netherlands in 1990. But this seems to have been just an opportunity for the swiss Federal Health Office to withdraw the licenses of the Swiss Medical Society For Psycholytic Therapy to work with LSD and MDMA

To summarize:

- Ibogaine is a well known product, it can be produced chemically, it's toxicity has already been studied extensively and is very low (apart from the O'Hearn E & Molliver ME study of 1993 which is about rats and gave rise to controversy)

- the overlall psychic effects of Ibogaine are not very well known (by occidental scienc standards) but it has a long time history of use in Africa and I have found *no* explicit report of psychic trouble due to Ibogaine usage. H Lotsof says there have been some in some e-mail messages (including one to me) but he never give precise references and he is directly interested in promoting his own treatment (20000$ per trip to Panama!!!)

- the fact that it is a psychedelic is not very well perceived by many people, the death of a some drug addicts has been blamed onto Ibogaine usage without much evidence (one of them had AIDS...) and there are many people whose interests are endangered by Ibogaine legalization (people involved in Methadone support programs and hard drug providers at least)

I will appreciate any information you might discover about the 3 topics above and will send to you anything interesting I will find on my side.> I will also continue to investigate about psychotherapeutic experiences, legality and availability of Ibogaine in Europe.



Jean-Luc's e-mail address is-->

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March 11, 1996


In the middle 70's, I found out about a place in Eugene Oregon called The Primal Feeling Center which was run by two people, John Rosenburg (?) and Ulla ?, who had done 'primal therapy' at a center in a town in the Bay Area that starts with an M. [I really am hoping that my poor memory is a result of neurosis!] The person from the M-town had done primal therapy with Arthur Janov. Based on what I read and what I experienced there, I felt that 'we' were getting an authentic version, i.e., was pretty much like what Janov was doing at the time. John and Ulla encouraged us to go to the Center (to which we had keys) whenever something 'came up' for us.

We talked about what had come up for us during the day and John asked me how 'that' made me feel, we breathed deeply, John encouraged me to stay with it. I always seem to have had some experience or thought or feeling during the day that led me into some connection . [The first few minutes of my first intensive day, I started to cry. I think it was from relief as much as anything, 'cause I couldn't connect it to anything.]

I'm sort of a trigger person. Something is always triggering some feeling or emotion or neurotic reaction in me. Occasionally they are very intense reactions, e.g. last summer I saw a homeless man beating his dog and I cried and immediately went into a very deep feeling, but I was with my husband who appreciated my reaction but would rather not know the extent of it, so I shut down. I tried to recover it a couple days later by talking about the experience like I did in Eugene but I couldn't recover the emotion. [Last woman I went to, the therapist, thinks I was sexually abused. Maybe she's right; she may be wrong. She thought most women who went to her, were. I had already decided that something pretty physically horrible happened to me when I was VERY young, a baby. I hope to find out. Maybe it was JUST a very bad birth experience!]

When I lay down to try to 'get into' something, I usually feel pretty raw and I have a good idea what it is generally, if not specifically, about. I usually start trying out stuff that feels right at that moment: "You don't listen to me", "You don't come when I call." I can't remember them all. A lot of timesm I just cry because I feel horrible and I ask myself "What is the feeling?" And I come up with nothing and I get frustrated and cry more but get no deeper. So I guess my feelings erupt and then I try to nudge them out!

And of course I get all plugged up and I have to blow my nose too often which interrupts me and then sometimes I gag which tends to interrupt the primal [This head plug up and nausea thing just started about a year ago].

If I could know that a movie, or something in a book or anything external could guarantee a reaction I would do it. No, music or massage don't seem to nudge me. Hormones and times of the month make me more receptive to feelings too. So by myself, being in the mood and giving myself enough time (which seems really hard for me to do) works as well as anything.

Oh, I don't do stress reductions things specifically because I don't want to 'cover up' what might be there. I do take a yoga class once in a while, for the exercise.

I would love to go to New Jersey for the IPA convention in September. I had no idea there was such a thing. I still have to get around my husband, who never has supported this effort of mine. Yes, it makes me feel bad.

I haven't been able to primal continuously for the last 20 years. I think I would be further along in the process if I had. Well, if I think of anything more that seems relevant to your question, I'll write later.


Colleen English

Thanks for your replies to my questions Colleen. - John

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