Understanding Your Past: The Key to Your Future, By Cecil G. Osborne, Ph.D., D.D., Word Inc. Waco, Texas, 1980, 207 pgs.

Reviewed by John A. Speyrer

Dr. Osborne was director of the Burlingame Center in Burlingame, California and a Baptist Minister. He has written an interesting book which is a good, but elementary, introduction to primal therapy. The book is replete with short case histories which serve as illustrations to the point he is making.

Understandably, the author presents very little information about birth primals, except to state that birth can sometimes be traumatic, and can be relived in primal integration therapy. I wrote ``understandably'' since therapists know that discussions about re-living one's birth can ``turn off'' a large number of potential therapy clients. It is difficult for a potential patient to identify that that possibility, much less that it could be an important source of his neurosis and psychosomatic symptoms!

The author believes that faulty parenting is the main cause of neurosis. While not giving a technical explanation of how mental illness begins, Dr. Osborne discusses how repressed feelings can result in anxiety and stress, depression, loss of self-esteem, aggression, and compulsive, obsessive and phobic behavior.

The book also contains a chapter of longer case studies of clients who got relief from their problems through primal integration therapy at the author's therapy center.

One of the most interesting chapters is entitled Questions and Answers. It deals with possible objections and clarifications which a person seeking the therapy may be interested in knowing. Dr. Osborne is good with the one liner and answers many questions by asking another, such as, ``How long does the therapy take?'' Answer: How long does a person spend in a dentist's chair?'' Other questions include:

  • ``You seem to think that primal integration is the only answer. Is that so?''
  • ``Why does one child is a family turn out all right, and another with the same environment end up a neurotic?''
  • ``It seems to me that there ought to be a quicker way.''
  • ``Why aren't there more psychologists and psychiatrists using this kind of therapy if it is so effective?
  • ``Isn't there a danger that people will ``flip-out'' if they lose control of their anger?''
  • ``How do you get people into their buried feelings?''
  • ``But I'm sure that my parents loved me. I have a good relationship with them now, and they tell me how much I was loved as a child.''
  • ``Why can't prayer and meditation provide a cure? Surely God is able to heal, to answer prayer!''

If you want to get the answers to these questions and many others, while reading a basic informative book about neurosis and its alleviation, I suggest you read Cecil Osborne's Understanding Your Past.