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Letters To The Primal Page

- Mark - 09/18/96
- Marcella -09/21/96
- Hannu -09/27/96
- Robert -10/02/96
- Marcella -11/10/96
-"M" -11/12/96
- Cody -11/17/96
- Yoshiaki -11/17/96
- Sam -11/20/96
- Bonnie -12/03/96
- Avi -12/06/96
- Brett -12/17/96

18 September 1996


I stumbled onto your website while looking up the latest info on Alice Miller. I read "Drama" in '91 and it had a big impact. No other resource has come as close to the kernel as that book did. So, I was interested to find out what her latest thoughts were. I discovered that she has become a proponent of primal therapies and has found them successful. Her recommendation spurred me into finding out more through your website.

I bought and read Stettbacher's book, but did not begin practicing the techniques. I would prefer to make contact with a primal therapist in my area to learn more about it first. Is there a list of practicing therapist (by city) that you have access to? (even better is one that you recommend). I'm in Chicago, and what I gather is that there are very few in this area.



P.S. Some quick comments/questions: primals seem analogous to what clergy would call exorcisms... I find it puzzling that all the primalists I've read about weight pre-natal and peri-natal expriences so heavily. Is there some basic research supporting this? Is primal psychology breaking into the mainstream - i.e. are major academic institutions developing curriculums in this area?

I've replied to Mark's note. If anyone knows of a therapist near Chicago please inform him at - John

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Dear John Speyrer

Will you please put my e-mail-address on the bulletin-board in the Primal Cafe? E-mail-address: name: Marcella. from: the Netherlands

I'm very pleased that there is now such thing as the Primal Cafe. I was looking already for months on the internet to people whom have experiences with Primal-therapy, but especially with Stettbacher-therapy. I myself have years of experiences with (a kind of) Primal-therapy here in Holland and have discovered a lot of forgotten feelings, memories, traumas and events in this therapy, but since I found the book and the therapy of mr. Stettbacher there have been much, much more progress in everyday-life and I would very like to share that with other Stettbacher-friends. And of course I also want to share problems/difficulties people meet with doing this therapy, because it is sometimes hard to do the therapy on your own.

Again many thanks for this initaitive.

The Netherlands

Thanks for your letter, Marcella. Your e-mail address has been posted on the Self-Primaler's Cafe bulletin board. - John -

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I am an 18-year-old student from Finland and I have been interested in Primal Therapy for about five years. I am really obsessed with the thought of getting into therapy, but the problem is that I do not know if there are any therapists who practice Primal Therapy in Scandinavia. I simply cannot afford to go the U.S. for the therapy.

So I wish that if anyone knows about a primal therapist who lives in Finland, Sweden, Norway or even in Denmark, please write me a letter and tell me about him/her. I would be really glad if I could find a therapist. My name and address are as follows: Sincerely,

Hannu Mutanen
Suvantokatu 31 A 4
80100 Joensuu

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Oct 2, 1996


Thanks for sending me the transcript of the appendix to Alice Miller's open letter so quickly. I responded a few days ago but the message was returned to me so I'm trying again.

I stumbled upon your page while looking for information on Miller/Stettbacher/Jensen and had just learned of Miller's renunciation of her support for Stettbacher's therapy. I'm unsure why she condemns both messenger and message since according to her original opinions the therapy seemed to be a natural extension of her original insights and it seemingly cured her. I wonder if she feels she has just been standing too close to Stettbacher and does not want to get burned from all the fallout.

I'm inclined to ask what of Mariella Mehr whose book introduced Miller to Stettbacher in the first place? Jeffrey Masson let her have it in Against Therapy for her single-minded devotion to Stettbacher. I'm interested to see how this develops.

I've read all the archived letters and look forward to corresponding with some folks who are utilizing this particular therapeutic perspective. I am not all that familiar with Janov, myself, and have therefore not pursued whatever techniques he has developed.

Regardless of what happens to Stettbacher there is much that I think is of value, still. Initially the thing that held me back, was the presumption that feelings were readily available for assessment. I had to turn to other sources to learn to dissolve resistance. Actually, I found the sections preceding and following the Stettbacher's 4-steps to be more valuable as I took them into the other sources that I explored, namely Branden's sentence stems- he appears very cognitively oriented, and a little book by John Sarno called Healing Back Pain as well as some of Feldenkrais' ideas.

One thing I'm discovering is that therapy can be like any other addiction that one binds oneself to in order to avoid getting better. I had found lately that I had been so busy looking inward I was not able to 'process experience' as I had created a barrier and was blocking experience through my effort to understand my reactions/responses. I was probably trying to over-exert/control my responses.

I'm very interested in Alice Miller's upcoming insights. It was not until I read Banished Knowledge that the possibility of understanding/re-evaluating myself took hold of me. Reading paragraph 1 on page 147 still stands as the moment when I began to realize that there was more to me than the defenses/numbness that I had been using to survive.

Again, thanks for responding. You may post this letter if you like.

Robert Snyder

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Nov 10, 1996

Hello John,

With interest I read the article from Alice Miller and I agree with Robert Snyder(letter from 2 October,1996): why she condemns both messenger and message?

I'm glad I had and have such good experiences with Stettbacher's therapy. Otherwise it would have shocked me a lot more. But I'm very curious about what Alice Millers viewpoint in detail now is. I was looking on the internet, but could'nt find anything more about her. Do you know, or somebody else who read this letter, where I can find more about her latest opinions?

And, John, will you send me the appendix which accompanied Alice Miler's article on the Primal Psychotherapy page? Thanks in advance.

And once again thanks for starting this page and the cafe. I just begun a correspondence with one of the others, and I'm very pleased.

Bye, bye,

The Netherlands

Marcella, a number have expressed the same concern as you regarding Alice Miller condemning "both message and messenger." One of the better search engines is HotBot. Give it a try. -- John

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Nov 12, 1996


I would like to read the accompanying appendix to Alice Miller's Communication.

Being interested in regressive therapies, I quite regularly visit your great site. I would be interested in trying self-therapy (for lack of money and therapist), but so far I have not had the courage needed nor the sense of safety required to immerse myself in this kind of stormy process. You are doing a great job in maintaining a place where people interested in primal issues can find information and support in each other (here I am referring to self-primaler's cafe which is a nice innovation).

Your book reviews have been perhaps the most beneficial for me so far, altough the U.S. books become very expensive when ordered here in Finland via ordinary book stores.

By the way, do you know anything about the new book Stettbacher has been planning and which you mention somewhere in your WWW-pages?

Helsinki, Finland

"M", thanks for your compliments. I'd suggest reading Jenson's book and doing the exercises over and over. If fear is an issue, find a understanding friend and work with each other. Also use Stettbacher's 4 steps. His new book is long overdue. Methinks, it may never be published what with all the unfavorable publicity he has been receiving the past few years.

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I'm on your page and I am amazed. I knew there had to be something like this out there...I couldn't be the only person wanting more information. And I would love to get David Wallechinsky's e-mail address. I would also like my name to be added to the e-mail list of Self Primaliers Cafe, but not the e-mail address you see here but my regular one. I'm borrowing a friends currently and will be back on mine on December 1st. There is so much more I have to ask and say but I'll leave that for later...thank you so much for putting this out there!!!



Cody, Thanks for your note. David's address will be sent to you soon. Whenever you sent your current e-mail address I will add it to the Self Primalers Cafe. -John-

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November 17, 1996

Dear Mr. Speyrer

I am truly appreciate your informing us of "Alice Miller's Communication to my readers". Indeed, her renouncement of Stettbacher's primal therapy has come as a great surprise.

I would like to read her "Appendix", so please send me a copy of it via E-mail.

I do believe that you will continue to give us Alice Miller's upcoming insights on The Primal Psychotherapy Page. I plead with you to do so.

Best regards.

Yoshiaki Tsujino

Yoshiaki: There has been a great interest in Alice Miller and her "Communication." I assure you that I will continue to include any information about Alice Miller, such as, new books, etc. which is sent to me. The appendix is on its way. -John-

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November 20, 1996


Thanks for sending me the appendix to Alice Miller's letter a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to write and give my thoughts on it--and I definitely have had lots. As someone who has done Stettbacher's therapy for over four years now, it was a shock and definitely has taken time to sort through all this information and its implications. It sure does seem to have made a major impact on many of us, here on the Primal Page as well as elsewhere.

But in the meantime, while I'm still brewing about it, I'd like some feedback, from you and any readers who will respond, about an idea I've had for quite awhile. It seems that either a newsgroup or a mailing list on these topics would be a wonderful resource. And yes, I would be willing to be the one to do the dirty work to get it organized and off the ground, given any limitations in my knowledge and technical ability toget it done.

I've had others contact me with the same story I hear in your email letters, and that I have been through myself...."I've searched the internet for info on (Alice Miller, primal therapy, etc)". I think a newsgroup or list would fit a need, (and I'm certainly speaking of my own need here. :))

As far as topic, I would prefer something like I've thought about what topic would draw in the most interest for a newsgroup, and I would tend to go with the above name as opposed to something like Both would be nice, but for my energies, I would prefer to have her work be the organizing focus. If a private mailing list or email forum would work better, the topic/name wouldn't be as much of an issue.

So...what I'd like feedback on is, first off, is there any interest in this out there? And second, does anyone have any preferences to have a private mailing list (everyone's email would automatically be sent to everyone on the list-- I'm a member of a Rolfing list and it is a great way to communicate with each other), versus a newsgroup (maybe more exposure and reach more people eventually, but no privacy, spamming, flaming, all the charms of the Usenet). And third, does anyone have any knowledge that would be helpful to me in putting this together? I'm educating myself on the topic, but I'd love to hear from anyone with experience or technical advice on the subject.

I may post a message to some support/psychology/recovery and related newsgroups soon, to get a sense of if there is a desire out there for this, but wanted to start here. I will look forward to your feedback (anyone please feel free to email me directly with feedback)

Thanks again John,

Sam Johnson

Great idea Sam! I thought about it also. but my internet service provider says he does not have the software, so I am happy you volunteered. My suggestion is to have a moderated list, because of the problems you listed. All posts would from subscribers would go to you and if you feel it pertains to the subject you would release it to all subscribers. As far the name, I would suggest that it contain the words "regression-therapy," but I have no complaints with using "Alice-Miller."

The name is not that important, but with the former name, its name alone would show that the list is about issues, theories and practice of all therapies with regressive elements, such as, holotropic breathwork, primal therapy, rolfing, etc.

Your note above will be posted in the "Letters" section with a link at the beginning part of the Primal Page. All interested readers, should contact Sam at with your ideas and suggestions. I have received requests for the appendix to Alice Miller's article from many countries, including, Iceland, Norway, France, The Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and other countries. The interest is not abating, but rather is intensifying. I feel that there is enough world-wide interest to begin such a mailing list. --
John A. Speyrer, Editor of the Primal Page

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Dec 3, 1996

Dear John,

Thank you very much for the primal page.

I am a little critical of Alice Miller's complete repudiation of Stettbacher. Although I think the four steps should be described more fully, I have found his book useful and inspiring. What's needed is an expansion of the concepts, more guidance, especially for anxiety states, not abandonment of the movement for self-help. We should not retreat to dependence on therapists again. Miller seems to be repudiating her own writings which well document the failures of therapists. To say that they are more aware of the effect of childhood trauma is not to say they are much better at dealing with it. That takes a lot of intense, personal work and, I daresay, a lot of years. I think we do well to continue developing our own "empathic inner objects."

I think Miller and Stettbacher both under-appreciate the value in emotional discharge, primarily weeping, and that more support, not less, needs to be given to reliance on our own natural processes and innate healing mechanisms. With great respect, I suggest it is possible that Alice Miller's coming from a more traditional generation and a background requiring arguably excessive training could account, in large part, for her rejection of Stettbacher. Coupled with scare stories from the London set and a shocked realization of her own immense power, I could well understand her drawing back. (I don't know how to address the allegations of sexual misconduct, but they seem a separate matter.)

I don't think Miller should have been surprised that Stettbacher's clinic suddenly had a waiting list of l5,000. The question in my mind is, "Why aren't more therapists doing it?" He's given everyone the method. He should open a school! The problem with the darkened rooms should not be solved by banishing them but by educating clients to avoid the active or invasive school of primal therapy. And what are these good words for Janov? He certainly created or resurrected revolutionary concepts, but, from his first book and an account or two of his methods I have read, I would say that his methods are or were abusive. I still don't credit his insistence that the methodology should remain secret, unless it is still that rude stuff which I think should be banished.

I wish that Alice Miller would not lose faith in her original thinking, but would simply press for further elucidation of the elements of the healing process. How common are anxiety breakdowns where self-primalers need the assistance of a therapist? Perhaps it would be enough to be alerted to the possibility or, better yet, to have a list of things to do in that eventuality, certain affirmations, etc. Some of the principles of the co-counseling movement could be useful here, including notions of an individual's value and, again, faith in discharge.

I noticed in my own case a significant diminution of symptoms (over-eating and length and severity of depressions) after (I have to guess because, unfortunately, I didn't count)l0-20 complete (30-90 minute) "cycles" of mere crying. (And I do mean bawling.) Aware Baby by Aletha Solter (Shining Star Press) is a good fundamental book for the physiology,theory, and research underlying this approach, plus Solter has a useful page on the net at

With the addition of Stettbacher's third and especially fourth steps, I have really made progress in terms of clarity of thinking, organized life, and self-confidence. Jensen's book also has contributed significantly with her clarification of childhood "states" and pointing out the "struggling" and "avoidance" modes that signal them. Wonderful stuff.

Anyhow, I'm thrilled with the primal movement and grateful for all the great thinkers and their generosity in sharing it all, and this page. Would you please send me the Appendix to Alice Miller's communication?

Thank you in advance, and, again, for this page.

Bonnie Dodson

Thanks for the well thought out letter Bonnie. Stettbacher had planned a second book, but probably because of the lawsuit it was not published. Many agree that his description of the 4-step method should have been clearer. You ask, "How common are anxiety breakdowns where self-primalers need the assistance of a therapist?" My guess is that they are fairly common, especially with neurotics with severe symptoms. I also assume that they occur at the later stages of the self-primaling process, right before one accesses some very intense first line feelings, that a greater degree of support is needed. My only basis for this opinion, is my own self-primaling process. I agree that a co-counselor would be helpful, but a primal therapist would be the best recourse during those troubling times.

I checked out Dr. Aletha Solter's website and found it very interesting. Thanks for the tip. Glad you liked Jean Jenson's book. I believe it contains tons of useful exercises and information for self-primalers.

And thank you for the nice things you said about the Primal Page! Your letter will help make the PPP even more interesting-- John--

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December 6, 1996

Dear John

Thank you for offering Alice Miller`s communication. I am waiting impatiently to receive and read the appendix.

The unfortunate consequence of this new state of affairs is that the better writer will not be available any more to explain the self-primaling method. Miller's revised Drama was published in 1994 and I found it to be a much better teacher of the four steps method than Stettbacher's Making Sense of Suffering.

I am a veteran of the four steps and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alice Miller and Konrad Stettbacher for their contribution. I appreciate Alice Miller's courage in informing me on the latest development. It would be unfair for posterity if I do not let other people know about the positive results I accomplished.

In 1989, I was told again by a specialist that they (the medical profession) did not have any method to help prolong the working of my kidneys. In 1990, I started in therapy again (I was 40) and this time I was determined not to take any bullshit from any therapist. Alice Miller's books came along (Banished Knowledge was first and still my most favorite) and the four steps as they are described by Alice Miller were always a safe escape from the problems or hurdles created by the missing information in Making Sense.

After taking high blood pressure medication for 2 years (1991/1992) I am now free of medication for 4 years. My creatine level (this is a chemical substance in the blood, the analysis of which shows the performance of the kidneys) has retreated to normal from a reading of 167 to 120 and with no loss of weight from 1993 to 1996. So, I cannot complain.

It took thousands of hours of using my version of the four steps and I possess about 800 hours of my sessions on tape that will need special help to transcribe. Essentially, it is Alice Miller`s version of the four steps with a very strong emphasis on evolution. The most important tool, in my opinion, is the tape recorder.

I would like to propose a small conference to be held in Toronto, Canada next summer for people who like the method as much as I do, and want to bring their tapes for group discussions and contributions.

The most important step of this technique is step four: "In the fourth step, you will articulate, again within the context of the same situation, your needs and your rightful claim to that which would have prevented the initial damage and helped you to live." (from page 66 in the "condemned book").

A successful step here (and how many times I wished Konrad or Alice were in my room helping me with this step!} will greatly reduce the anxieties and recording and listening will further reduce them. In my case, feelings from early infancy were not required for reaching my present results.

That is all for today. More is to come. Thank you. You can publish my letter and forward any questions you might receive to me.

Avi Bomze
882 Manning Ave
Toronto, Ontario


Avi, there is nothing I can add to your letter. You have said it all. But, I might mention that it has also taken me thousands of hours! To be fair, however, I want to say that after only six months of self-primaling, a number of psychosomatic problems had practically disappeared, the most painful one being chronic stomach pains. - John -

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December 17, 1996

I have been trying to figure a way to get primal therapy for ten years and I just cannot afford to do it! I have two children and I'm having a horrible time. I have been a musician for seventeen years and that's the only thing that keeps me alive. I have been madly in love with a woman who has turned out to be a heroin addict, so guess what? Now I'm having problems with it. I desperately need help!!!!

If there is anyway to get assistance Please! Let me know. My band is called Caustic Resin and we tour. If there are any "primal people" who could come see us and talk to me. Or, if I could get a letter or something. ANYTHING!!

I just need some advice. I am very scared since I have been arrested for heroin and I'm having trouble stopping. I'm not sure if this letter is going to the appropriate place since I dont have a computer. I'm using my parent's computer and I'm not very computer literate.

I hope whoever reads this will not exploit this desperate plea. I hope that I can hear from someone please!

Brett Netson
4660 Berkshire
Boise Idaho 83704

P. S. Check out Caustic Resin. It is very "Primal" oriented. THANK YOU

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