Emotional Flooding is an anthology written by different practitioners
in various fields of the affective psychotherapies.
Chapter Five, which is entitled "Intense Feeling Therapy" and authored
by Dr. Sidney Rose, discusses primal therapy. The short chapter is
an interesting and original presentation of the primal process. After
presenting a short history of feeling in psychotherapy, the author
describes the treatment stages which successful primal therapy patients
The author characterizes patient types who are more successful in
- Stage One, The Disarming of Defenses, occurs during the first period
of primal therapy, the three-week intensive.
- Stage Two is called Anger and Sadness by Dr. Rose. Following primals relating to these two feelings
the patient begins to experience the three sub-stages of:
- Gratitude (to the therapist) and has a
- Desire to Withdraw Socially.
- Stage Three is characterized by primals of events which were not of
primary importance in causing the split into neurosis, but which nonetheless
contributed to the patient's symptoms.
- Stage Four. Primals occur which directly relate to the inception
of neurosis. The material is crucial and its successful completion
unlocks one's real self. This period is longer than the previous stages,
and during this stage the patient often has feelings of dissociation
or of unrealness.
- Stage Five is one of Synthesis and is marked by
the patient feeling, in a deeper way than earlier, the entire nature
of his struggle for parental love. It is characterized by deeper anger
than experienced during the earlier stages and it is during this stage
that the patient receives a deeper insightful understanding of his
- Stage Six is the final stage. It is the stage of becoming one's authentic self and is characterized
by the patient feeling less disconnected, less self-conscious and
less as an observer of himself. He begins to act more and more spontaneous
and from his true present-day needs. The contaminated feelings which
are from his infancy and childhood are triggered less often. The primalee
behaves in ways dictated by his real self and without unconscious
fear of losing parental love.
At times, he may still feel overwhelmed by anxiety in social settings,
but during this stage these feelings begin to dissipate. Eventually,
the amount of primaling diminishes as the store of repressed trauma
is decreased and as one's life is lived more in terms with one's real
needs instead of symbolically catering to his parents.
Dr. Rose concludes that the truths learned in the practice of primal
therapy have applications by therapists in other areas of psychotherapy.
- The author believes that they are those who become
less dependent on the therapist as therapy proceeds. They do not withdraw
from the "unreal'' world and seek primal communities.
- They are able
to resist the temptation to act out or tranquilize away ascending
feelings, and bide their time, suffer and wait until there is an opportunity
for primal connection and release.
He suggests that all therapists have unlimited time sessions instead
of reconstructing these to the traditional fifty minutes, since arbitrary
limits to session time may be insufficient for feelings to arise.
He believes that problems of transference are much worse in conventional
psychotherapy than in primal therapy and bemoans the fact that in
the former, pre-verbal trauma can never be reached, much less resolved.
He criticizes Arthur Janov's vision of the post-primal patient since
he is too free of social drives and feelings of responsibility to
others. Rose finds some primal people contemptuous of others who have
not been through the therapy. Dr. Rose feels that the effectiveness
of primal-type therapies will eventually be established.