An Evening on the "Primal Support Group" (PSG)

by Pat Törngren

The internet has made the primal pschotherapy world more into a village and Pat Törngren, who lives in South Africa helps, on a daily basis, to turn that village into a friendlier neighborhood. Because of Pat's efforts, those of us interested in primal-oriented regressive therapies have discovered an easy way to contact and support each other. She has almost single-handedly established the Yahoo Primal Support Group and sustains this internet group by giving generously of her time by always being there supporting others. The group is , as she describes, ". . . a place for sharing and for getting in touch with our own pain to resolve it."

There are many variants of regression therapy, although primal therapy seems to be the most prevalent. It was discovered by Los Angeles clinical psychologist, Arthur Janov during the 1960s. Dr. Janov discovered a methodology or system of allowing clients to return to their childhood, infancy, to their birth and even before to resolve their early traumas. Sometimes returning to the traumas can be very painful. This can be especially so, when issues of living or dying during one's birth become problematic. Often, those regressees need support in their journey into their past.

In this compilation of posting from the Primal Support Group Pat shows how hands-on support (even if given electronically) can be accomplished. In this case, Pat is the receiver of the support, lovingly given, by other members.
--John A. Speyrer, Webmeister, The Primal Psychotherapy Page

In February 2000, three seasoned primallers, including myself, got together and created an online primal support group so that we could find buddies on the internet. The group grew quickly, but we were spread around the globe, so at the beginning we were mostly limited to sharing by typing. [I did find I could type and cry (editor's note: regress and feel the earlier trauma) at the same time, though it's not quite like being able to share over the phone].

Then VOC (voice over computer) became a reality, and now any two people who both have Skype, can talk to each other anywhere in the word, almost for free. The quality is remarkably good provided both people are sending and receiving at 56 kbps or more. So together we type and Skype, and what is below is just one thread of one evening's messages over about a 2 ½-hour period. (So as not to disclose other people's stories, I will share one of mine, with thanks to all who gave me support - Pat Törngren).

(In the material below, the Pat shares her feelings and state of mind on the Yahoo Primal Support Group. Usually, this sharing of feelings as they begin seeping from the unconscious mind into consciousnes facilitates their feeling and begins the resolution phase of primal therapy - John)

Thursday 8th December 2005:

PAT (Cape Town, South Africa) 21.06.40 GMT

Dear Everyone,

Just wanting to post with what is happening for me right now. I seem to have very early stuff coming up. At least I think this must be something very early, but I haven't got into the feeling yet, so I can't get relief. Just feel desperate and hopeless.

  • The feeling is that when things go wrong, I mustn't do anything, because when I try to do something to make it better it only makes it worse -- much worse! So right now I am feeling very afraid, and totally paralyzed and unable to do anything about anything.

  • Got a problem with the neighbour. It needs to be taken care of urgently. It is about a tree bordering my property, and if I don't act soon, it could be cut down by accident… But I'm scared of her. . . . She seems like she could be an angry person… Could lose the tree if I don't do something quickly. . . But too afraid. . . Whatever I do will only make it worse. . .

  • Got a problem with a friend. . . a misunderstanding. . . I want to make it better. . . But I'm too scared. . . If I do nothing, it will stay bad, maybe get worse, but if I try to do something, anything, it will only make it very much worse. . . . There isn't anything I can do that won't make it worse. . .

  • Got a problem in my professional life. . . I should do something quickly so that the situation doesn't deteriorate... If I don't do something, the misunderstanding could harden the attitude of the person who I need to work with. . . But I am afraid, as I know that anything I might try to do will only make it worse. . . There isn't anything I can do that won't make it worse. . .

That's just a few of them, there are a whole lot more. . .Right now my body feels paralyzed. . . I mustn't move. . . Not a single muscle. . . Hard to even type. . . I mustn't do anything as anything I do will only make everything worse. . .

I am writing to the group in the hope that 'putting it out there' will help me get to the feelings. But the feeling inside is that even this might be a mistake. . . It might also make everything worse. . . Then there will be nothing left. . . .

Not going to do anything tonight about anything... Will just go to bed and lie very still and wait for it to pass. . . Mustn't do anything. . . Mustn't move. . . Must stay very still. . . No matter how bad things get, mustn't do anything to try to make them better. . . Always makes everything worse, till it gets so bad there is no worse left. . . Just total annihilation. . .

Thank you for listening.


[Pat's upbeat "thank you for listening" close belies the real anguish and pain (psychological and physical) she is feeling as she shares this material with the members of the group. What Pat was feeling above was not her early birth trauma but the triggers in the present of that early suffering. - John]

DAVID (Yorkshire, England) 21.44.10 GMT

Hi Pat,

I hear that you're feeling paralyzed right now and that it feels really bad. How does it feel having written in to the group? Were you able to latch on to anything? Wishing you well in 'moving forward.'


(David's remarks are that he is there and supports her. His remarks to her acknowledges her suffering and shows an interest in whether or not she has felt the feeling which is attempting to reach Pat's consciousness - John).

PAT (Cape Town, South Africa) 22.18.29 GMT

Dear David,

Thank you so much for responding, and for caring. Julia (near Bristol, England) saw my message too and called me to say she could give me half an hour on Skype.

So I was able to talk my way into the feeling, which was, "I am so little, and they are so big, and I am so helpless."

(With the use of Skype, Julia was able to be physically present and hear Pat as she was "saying" the material quoted above. I'm assuming that Pat did not call me for support via Skype because her feeling was happening when I was sleeping - S. Africa is 9 hours ahead of Louisiana - John)

Pat continues:

That went into baby crying, which went into feeling I was suffocating (stuck in the birth canal and needing to get out, because I needed to breathe).

That, in turn, went into full body straining to get out. It was physically painful and was working very hard. But my mother was so very much bigger than I was.

If I so much as moved a hand, it set her off; if I moved a foot it set her off (crushing me to death). I needed to do something to get out, but everything I did made it worse not better.

So the connection is, "I want to do something. I need to do something. I have to do something, or I shall die."

That makes me desperate to do something, but whatever I do makes it worse, so much worse that it results in me being crushed to death.

So then, no matter how desperately I want to do something, I become too terrified, and then I become paralyzed.

I also become totally conflicted inside and swing between struggling to want do something, and collapsing in despair. Just made that connection now while typing. It makes so many things fall into place!"

[As a result of the primal feeling (unconscious material becoming conscious), Pat's mind becomes flooded with insights. - John]

Pat adds:

So thank you David, and thank you so much Julia! I am still making connections, so I will just take it easy and let them happen.

I do feel a degree of relief. I'm going to go to sleep, and not worry about "to do, or not to do", until tomorrow. My love and appreciation to you both,


JOHN (Louisiana, USA) 23.12.05 GMT


So clear - everything you wrote - expressed so well. If you do anything it just won't work, for safety its better not to - not do anything. The first time you tried it didn't work. Indeed, the situation worsened, so why try? Why try to make any effort? Nothing works. Just give up all hope and die.

(Here I reflected back to Pat what she had written to the Primal Support Group. I did not know if she had connected to the feeling or not, as Pat had sent me a copy of some of her PSG postings directly as e-mail messages - John)


PAT (Cape Town, South Africa) 23.35.06 GMT

Dear John,

Thank you for understanding. I think you grasped it very well.

Except that I desperately wanted and needed to make the effort. There was a huge drive to do that. At the same time, the fear of it making things worse, left me deeply conflicted. So it's not passive resignation. It's holding back the huge impulse to fight to live, by becoming paralyzed, as that is the only way to stop myself fighting like a tiger to get out (only it would result in my death!)

Right now I am exploring the tiger! :) She carries all my energy, and it's a part of me I want to integrate, and not have to stifle.

Thank you for always being there when I am in early stuff.

( Pat explains to me how she had been conflicted - that she was not in passive resignation to accept her death-in-the-birth-canal willingly. - John)




(The update explains how the material which had originally triggered her death feelings became automatically resolved as a result of feeling their "primal" origins. - John)

  • Went to the neighbour this afternoon. She was quite friendly. I told her my concerns abut the tree, and she said not to worry. She is aware of the problem, and will look after it.

  • Decided not to call my friend. I realized we have both been triggering each other. At least 50% of the problem is his, and it's his turn to call me next. I would be sad to lose the friendship, but if it is healthy enough it will survive. It if isn't, then it's best to let it go.

  • Will deal with the professional later. He has asked me to do some work for him, so I shall do it and do it well. It will be appropriate to contact him when it is completed, and I will wait to see by his reaction if anything more needs to be said or done.

(Notice how Pat, regards the earlier problems, which before the primal feeling had seemed insurmountable. After the earlier feelings are seen through her primal lens they become trivial matters and are faced with complete lack of concern. After the pain, which was pushing the earlier feelings become resolved, the neurotic pain of death in the birth canal which was "pushing" the triggered feeling become automatically dissipated - John)

It all feels so different now. After decades of primalling, it still amazes me how different we feel inside ourselves, and perceive everything outside ourselves, after having had a primal. It's so much easier to act appropriately afterwards.

It also amazes me how little we really need to regress and feel our early traumas; just someone listening to us in a caring way, creates a safe space for us to feel our old pain, with the knowledge that, no matter what, they are there for us.

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