In The Middle of Things: An Experience With Primal Theory, Michael Rubin, G. P. Putnams Sons, New York, 1973

Reviewed by John A. Speyrer

In the Middle of Things has a strange subtitle. Why not An Experience with Primal Therapy instead of An Experience with Primal Theory? The puzzle becomes clear when the date of publication is known. In May of 1972, the trademark, "Primal Therapy" was registered with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, in 1978, the International Primal Association and the Primal Feeling Center of New England filed a suit against Janov to have the trademark canceled. The plaintiffs prevailed, and in August of 1977 the trademark was cancelled. At that time, I had personal misgivings about the justice of the Department of Commerce's action. Certainly, the word "primal" had been used for generations, but it had never before been associated with a particular form of psychotherapy.

The author of In the Middle of Things is a novelist and former school teacher who went into primal therapy after having seen three psychotherapists for combined period of eleven years. His therapist was Rhoda Wadler. Rubin's book is basically a diary of his three weeks intensive at the Marin Center for Intensive Therapy in San Raphael, California. As Rubin's recounting of his primal therapy unfolds he begins to write in a stream of consciousness style.

The author's complaints were of depression, low self esteem, guilt and homosexuality. His insights acquired as a result of the therapy form the core of his book. The book has much good material contrasting primal theapy with psychoanalysis. As it progresses, Rubin becomes deeply philosophical as he becomes introspective and ponderous. The book is rich in detail and cannot be read at one sitting, I recommend In the Middle of Things for primalers or for anyone interested in the primal process. Long out of print, you will have to borrow this one from your library.