The author of Rediscovering The True Self has written an interesting and detailed book about a form of primal-oriented psychotherapy which she developed. Ingeborg Bosch received her 'doctoraal degree' in psychology from the University of Amsterdam. She explains that the Dutch doctoraal is between a Master's and Ph.D. degree.
Happily, Ingeborg Bosch has not joined the list of the last five authors who have written how-to books on primal-type therapies without once mentioning that one's regressions can include the traumas of birth. It is only one sentence, but she writes, "In regression clients can consciously experience their own birth." Because of the previous omissions by those other authors, that was enough to placate me! But she does more than mention that the intrauterine period of life can be traumatic. She writes that some of her clients experience regression to the womb. Bosch also believes that even during early development, fetuses are sentient and can feel the lack of bonding and love: |
The author concentrates on explaining how the therapy works and what we can do to lower our defenses and begin the process of feeling our early traumas. She describes the theoretical aspects of her therapy in many different ways so that the reader approaches the material repeatedly and for this reason should have a good understanding of what the therapy is about.
In the chapter entitled Special Situations and Challenges Ingeborg Bosch examines and explains what to do in certain situations with which the reader may be concerned:
In my experience with clients, I have noticed that adults who were born without being truly planned and wanted, who were merely an 'accident of nature,' seem to suffer from a feeling of "not having the right to exist in the world." This terrible feeling could have originated in the uterus as a Primary Defense against feeling the truth that the mother did not truly want the child.
Jean Jenson, in the Foreword writes that the author has expanded the theoretical elements of the therapy she describes in Reclaiming Your Life . Jenson writes that this has resulted in a "renewed" form of her therapy. Bosch's version of the therapy places more emphasis on the need for pro-action than other forms of "primal therapy."
I believe that this emphasis is important and that the author has properly described it as an essential part of the process. According to the Bosch, this primary focusing on self-observation and changing one's behavior, rather than just feeling one's old hurts, has had quite profound effects in both the way the therapy is practiced as well as on its results.
Bosch believes, as does Jenson, that we should not only feel our early
repressed feelings but actively seek out triggers to them. This intentional behavior will automatically help lower one's defenses and is an important aide in speeding up one's progress in the therapy.
The author has interesting things to say about the relationship between Western religious doctrines and regressive therapies. She feels that religions help to keep us tethered to our defenses and away from re-living our early feelings. "The idea of being guilty by nature," she writes "is a basic premise in Christianity." In this way religion can become a reinforcement to very common guilt feelings which are not due to personal shortcomings but rather originate in conclusions we came to about ourselves dating to the crib and even before!
Eastern religions also help to keep down those original feelings. She writes that they also prevent us from seeing and believing the truth about what really happened to us during our early upbringing. She feels that religions promote power structures among their hierarchies as well as feelings of sinfulness in its followers. This enables churches to establish power bases which are not necessarily in accord with the needs of its members. (Eastern philosophy was Bosch's minor in graduate school).
She believes the process of healing comprises five steps:
- I don't have any feelings.
- I just feel depressed.
- I feel angry and I think that's good for me.
- I can't remember anything from my past.
- I can't connect my feelings to my old reality.
- How do I know my memories are true?
- It's too scary for me.
- I'm always feeling bad about myself.
- How do I know the difference between an old and adult need?
- But it's happening now!
- How can I keep my feelings from quickly fading?
Bosch writes that through regressions we learn with certainty the origins of the uncomfortable "problem" feelings we have. She feels that this will free us "the next time the symbolic situation presents itself." This is only the beginning in obtaining a cure, as this freedom will only be achieved when we are able to thoroughly feel all of our old pain.
These regressions when accompanied by doing the opposite of what we want to do - what we neurotically fear to do - will eventually result in the healing of our still actively triggered feelings, These feelings of shame, panic, anger, guilt, inadequacy and impatience, etc., which bring us much misery and sabotage so many of our relationships, will eventually become weaker and weaker and eventually disappear.
I found the large number of abbreviations used in Rediscovering The True Self distracting. The therapy, Past Reality Integration, is referred to as PRI. The reader must contend with AC, CC, S, DR,
OP, FH, FP, FP-dn, FP-a, PD, OR and OUN. Spelling-out the terminology concepts would not have taken much more room on the printed page and would have made the book easier to read. It is easier to understand the meaning of "symbol" instead than the letter S. A casual reader of Rediscovering The True Self might just give up because of the need to learn the coded terms.
There are a number of interesting sections of the book which present unique diagnostic questions and tests to find out what are one's defenses. Another section one may complete to determine if the concepts of Past Reality Integration are understood. Other helpful sections include case histories of clients, on whether parents should be forgiven, on childrearing and on how our own children can be symbols for us.
Instead of repeating the author's theories of her Past Reality Reintegration, I refer you to the Prologue and Chapter 8 from Rediscovering The True Selfwhich appears on this website. Here she details the most important aspects of her therapy.
I enjoyed reading Rediscovering The True Self and recommend it to others.
- Intellectually knowing that what we are feeling is not happening in the present; that, in reality, most often the hurts we are feeling are really old early feelings.
- Emotionally realizing the real depth of our early suffering.
- Overcoming the fear of feeling and the fear of reversing our defenses.
- Fully feeling our pain in regressions.
- Applying what we have learned to our behaviors and thoughts.
The author's website, in Dutch and English, may be accessed at www.pastrealityintegration.com, where Rediscovering The True Self may be purchased.