Reflections On Primal
And The Regressive Therapies

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The title of this short essay is really inappropriate since it conveys the impression, widely believed, perhaps even by those who plan to enter the therapy, that one learns how to primal by accumulating knowledge and using this information in the same way one might learn how to transcendentally meditate or to play the piano. One does not 'learn' how to primal, yet many use that term--which confuses many potential patients.

The futility of using the word becomes evident when someone asks me what I do in order to primal. (That is a question I am not asked very often!) I try to explain (usually unsuccessfully) that there is nothing to do except to allow something to happen. You cannot 'learn' to primal anymore than you can 'teach' someone how to primal. But, someone may allow his defenses to give way and a primal may occur, but this is certainly not learning how to primal. I really believe that 100% of non-primal people believe that you simply lie down and begin to call out to a parent. They do not know that the primaler is also a spectator to what is happening to him and that he oftentimes arises from the floor amazed at what just happened during his primal. He may have just re-lived an occurrence at age 5, which he had completely forgotten about, or a happening at age 1 or at birth!

Considering the difficulty of communicating with a non-primal person about what happens during primal therapy, or during self-primal therapy,I am surprised that as many enter the therapy as do. Before experiencing the process, I was completely turned off by what I had read about the primal process. It all sounded so contrived and undignified! I had read Janov'sThe Anatomy of Mental Illness while I was a member of a Gestalt/Transactional Analysis group. and had put the book away in disappointment after reading a few chapters.

Unlike many, his book did not 'speak' to me because I was too detached from my feelings at that particular time. However, after the gestalt experiments in therapy, coupled with reading our textbook, Born To Win, (Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward) I was opened up enough so that primals began to occur spontaneously. At that point, Janov's books became a lot more interesting!

Predictably, eight months later, when I got into the birth phase of my therapy, those chapters on birth in The Anatomy of Mental Illnessbegan to intrigue me. All of the above is mentioned to illustrate the problems of discussing primal therapy with those who have never primaled. If there is to be a revolution in the treatment of mental illness, we will have to watch our choice of words in trying to describe a therapy which is basically indescribable. Using the word 'learning' in the behavioral sense when discussing the therapy with someone who uses the word in the usual 'accumulation-of-knowledge' sense clarifies nothing and accomplishes little. -- John A. Speyrer

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While searching through some newspapers, I stumbled across an article from a couple weeks ago, titled Study Finds Infant Problems Can Lead to Violence Later. The article was from the Toronto Globe and Mail.Essentially what it says is that studies at the University of Southern California have come up with evidence that criminal behavior originates via complications at birth combined with rejection by the mother during the first year of life. The study group consisted of 4,269 male babies born between 1959 and 1961. About 3.5% experienced complications at birth including breech births and forceps deliveries AND were rejected by their mothers. This 3.5% committed 22% of the crimes committed by the entire group of 4,269. The theory, postulated by psychologist Adrian Raine ofUSC, is that "birth complications reduce certain brain functions and affect intelligence levels.'' Theories, if any, about why rejection by the mother was an ingredient in later violence, were not discussed in the article. -- Anonymous Contribution -

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The November 16, l983 issue of the Wall Street Journal examined the consequences of the crisis in Lebanon on the children of that country at that time. The article which was entitled "Lebanon's Children,"discussed the plight of the orphans in that war which had torn this middle eastern country for many years.

Many of the 21,000 orphans which the Lebanon civil war produced had never known anything but war. Some of the children who have suffered from traumas have varying symptoms which range from excessive fear and withdrawal to feelings of frustration and inadequacy. However, there is one symptom which all of the orphans of Lebanon have, and that is a deep desire for vengeance. The peace treaty for the war in Lebanon was finally signed in 1996, but what does the need for revenge portend for the futures of Lebanon,Yugoslavia, and Burundi?

A Palestinian physician at the time of the civil war in Lebanon asked:"What do you expect of children deprived of the most basic things?Children who have seen their mothers slaughtered in front of them like sheep? Do you believe these children will be angels? Do you expect them to be believers in humanity?" Another opines that "these kids have grown up in violence. I'm afraid violence will not only be the way they solve political problems but also the way they deal with everyday life. I'm afraid they may be a lost generation." It was estimated that only one of ten children in Beirut had been a direct victim of physical violence. But almost 100% of the children had witnessed violence.

Another study concluded that there was nothing, not even the experience of being fired upon, was as traumatic as losing a parent. One Lebanese orphanage director feels that it is possible to break the chain of violence, but many do not feel at all certain. Dr. Elie Karam who works at a hospital in a Christian sector of Beirut, feels that the traumas the children were being subjected to will have lasting effects.

Whether or not the repressed feelings give rise to psychosomatic symptoms or to continued violence is a moot question. But that it will have lasting effects is certain. There is a well known saying that one who does not know history will be condemned to repeat it. This may be paraphrased by saying that one who has not relived his repressed feelings will be condemned in the future to re-enact them.

The desire for revenge for past misdeeds, which can go back centuries,can also go forward centuries, and become a motivating factor for unbelievable cruelties which continue undiminished into the future. The number of the victims of war, any war, thus cannot be counted when hostilities cease. As the monetary costs of war, such as inflation, shortages, can continue for generations, the psychic costs to its child survivors begin a chain which repeats itself multi-generationally into the infinite future.
John A. Speyrer

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November 20, 1995

Dear Dr. Prosser:

I've been enjoying your Doctor's Journal articles which have appeared in Baton Rouge's The Morning Advocate for the past few years. However, the article headlined, "Psychiatric Theories Have Taken Toll On Need for Personal Responsibility," which appeared in last Sunday's Advocate has prompted this other view of the problem.

Your thesis is correct in that there has been a shifting away from personal responsibility over the past few decades. If one searches for a reason why this is so, he is charged with looking for an excuse for anti-social behavior. The word, "excuse," has a unfortunate connotation. It is usually used to mean "to judge with indulgence." But, what should the solution to this problem be? Should we ignore findings in science, in sociology and psychiatry which explain the causes of criminality and even of neurosis?

We should not be like the upper class society matron in Victorian England who declared that if man is really and truly descended from the apes, then perhaps this information should not become widely known! Truth should never be suppressed, even though it may result in becoming knowledgable of the causes (excuses?) for anti-social behavior.

If these findings are correct, it would seem that, ultimately, we are no more than programmed automatons. Our personality, including both our good and bad behaviors are the result of all of the influences you mentioned in your article. It is difficult to explain the cause of misbehavior and not to conclude that the cause is a reason (excuse?) for that behavior. One cannot have it both ways. Exhortations from society to become more personally responsible can only exert so much force. Our early programming is the ultimate determinant of our behavior. You show me a murderer, a thief, a rapist or a even a benign neurotic and I'll show you a person who was victimized or traumatized in his formative years and/or during and before his birth. As more and more evidence is produced which prove that the cause of psychopathic behavior has very early determinants, then more and more of those "excuses" (explanations) are appropriate.

Evidence continues to accumulate that people are not sinful or bad, but instead simply psychologically "sick." The truths discovered as a result of statistical analysis of the social sciences should be widely disseminated even though more and more crafty lawyers may pounce upon them to help their clients. And yes, even as more victims become knowledgeable of "why they are that way." If the victims use the explanations to make "poor me" complaints and society resents it, well, that is another problem and might require another letter. In any event, the truth should be outed.

As we learn more and more about the causes of criminality and violence, the information should be used to seek ways to address the cause of the pervasively wide social problems caused by and causing inadequate parenting, infant and child abuse, and birth and pre-birth trauma.

The causes of lawlessness should continue to be investigated so that its origins become better known by all. There will be no remedies found for lack of personal responsibility and lawlessness unless everyone knows their causes and realizes that the criminal and the person upon whom he preys are both victims.

John A. Speyrer

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Independent verification of the primal premise that the unborn child is a sentient individual has come from California obstetrician, F. Rene Van de Carr. More than 700 expectant parents have learned techniques from Dr. Van de Carr which gives their unborn child a head start on communications skills. He began his program in 1979 when one of his patient told him that she and her husband were playing games with their unborn child. The mother-to-be would pat her stomach and encourage the child to kick in a certain spot."She'd move her hand and the baby would move its' foot," Van DeCarr said.

The child development expects said that these exercises were a waste of time, but the program has been expanded and now consists of talking to the unborn baby, taping the baby's head gently and stroking the baby from top to bottom. One study, which involved 150 mothers, showed highly significant early speech development. Mothers claimed that their babies so treated during their fetal stage were smarter, less fearful and more aware than their siblings were at the same stage in their development.

Dr. Van de Carr also believes that such early rudimentary communication helps ease the trauma of birth. He claims that these babies cry less when being born and appear more calmer than usual after they are born.
-- John A. Speyrer

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An interesting article about a new and powerful analgesic appeared in the March, 1997 issue of Worth magazine. Entitled, Pain, Profit, and Sweet Relief, the article examined the discovery and development of SNX-111, a pain-killer which acts as a neuro protective agent.

Originally derived from an extremely toxic tropical snail, the new medication holds great promise, even beyond its use as an analgesic for chronic pain. The drug eliminates the usual clouding and other side effects which normally accompany morphine-type pain killers. It is unique since it seemingly blocks the registration of pain. The article stated that ". . . new evidence suggests that the body experiences pain not just after but during surgery." (My emphasis)

* * *

The premise that surgical pain is registered even during general anaesthesia was expressed as early as the 1970s when Dr. Arthur Janov in an article in the first issue of the Primal Institute Newsletter (1979) wrote: "We can react against threat even while we're totally unconscious on the higher levels. . . It is important to understand these principles in people who are unconscious, drugged or anesthesized." (In Caresses During Surgery?")

And neurologist E. Michael Holden, who was medical director of the Primal Institute during the seventies, wrote that ". . . experience can still be registered by the nervous system even in states of deep anaesthesia." (In Access To Pain: Anaesthesia and Consciousness - The Journal of Primal Therapy - Summer, 1976) .

--John A. Speyrer

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An interesting article in Archives of General Psychiatry (Dec,1994) entitled "Birth Complications Combined With Early Maternal Rejection at Age 1 Year Predispose to Violent Crime at Age 18 Years" correlated birth trauma and unwanted pregnancy with violent crimes such as murder,armed robbery, rape and assault. Only one-fifth of those offenders who only had one or neither factor became involved in violent crime. Low socio-economicand having an unmarried mother was not positively correlated with the risks.

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A study of women with spreading breast cancer, published October 5th in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that patients who were able to express their feelings lived longer than those who had difficulty in doing so. It was found that placid, joyfully accepting patients did not survive as long. There was no difference in the types of treatment given the two groups of women in the Johns Hopkins University study, nor was there a significant difference in their symptoms or the doctors' original estimation of their chances for survival.

The patients who were able to express their anxiety, anger, hostility, disappointment "and other negative emotions" lived longer. The assumption made by the researchers was that emotional expression affected the body's immune or hormone system.

The authors felt that the study results might lead to better treatment methods. It was felt that instead of providing psychological "support"for the cancer patients it might be more beneficial to "place the patient in better contact with his or her emotions."

It is interesting to note that the patients who were openly distressed, anxious and unhappy were deemed to be less well adjusted than those who contained their feelings. However, the person who responds to feelings should be considered less neurotic -- less ill -- than a "well adjusted"person with feelings that are deeply buried.

Another John Hopkins study, begun 50 years ago. attempted, to relate the personality characteristics of 1,337 medical students to their subsequent illness and death rates. Recently, it was reported that the subjects who developed cancer tended to be low-keyed, quiet and emotionally self-contained, with poor emotional outlets. This observation was made prior to their development of cancer and therefore has much more validity than evaluations.

Those two studies have a number of implications. One is that pain-blunters such as tranquilizers and cigarettes may be harmful, apart from their known toxic effects, in the sense that they help contain feelings that may interfere with the operation of the immunological system. Perhaps cigarette smoking is associated with both heart attacks and cancer because nicotine constricts the vasculature, helps prevent the awareness and expression of pains that continuously stress the circulatory system, and inhibits the immune system.**

Another implication is that if expression of present-day feelings improves immunological defenses, expression and resolution of primal trauma may remove a great burden of chronic stress, make a person much more responsive to current stress, and be even more beneficial in prevention of cancer.
-- John A. Speyrer


**Individuals who "hold in" responses to feelings become more stressed than those who express feelings. A biochemical correlate of greater stress is a higher level of the major stress hormone cortisone, which is known to impair and destroy lymphocytes, the major cell type mediating immune responses---E. Michael Holden. M.D. (Formerly Medical Director of The Primal Institute)

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Years of observations of chimpanzee behavior by Jane Goodall in Africa has backed-up earlier primate studies which concluded how important it was for ape and monkey infants to receive love and affection. In an article in the current Dec/Jan issue of New Choices: Living Even Better After50, Goodall says that young chips who get affection from their families grow up to become self-confident and sociable adult apes. Goodall feels that this lesson is applicable to human beings and that efforts must be made to see that children are raised with love and affection since now, after a passage of hundreds of thousands of years, many children are being raised differently and inadequately due to the breakup of the extended human family. She claims this is especially prevalent in low income and abusive families, where parents seem to lack competence.

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Many people will disagree vehemently when told they don't feel. They will insist that the opposite is true, that they feel hurt too often, too easily and too much. They will complain about being in misery because of unkind words and actions of others. Continual feelings of anger, jealously,inferiority and guilt upset them and what they want is to be able to not feel so much but to be able to turn down their mind's activity.

Feeling the unconnected feeling as upsets in neurosis is torture, but feeling the source -- the primal origins or well-springs of that feeling is exhilarating, satisfying and resolving. Sir Lawrence Olivier, in summing up the frustration of his beleaguered English countrymen during World WarII, has written of "so many millions of people trying to feel something they don't feel, or trying not to feel something they do." That quotation sums up rather well the position of many who live lives of misery, being continually triggered into feeling feelings which are most unpleasant and continually defending against the real underlying feeling.

After months or years, primal therapy eventually brings down both the frequency and level of intensity of these pseudo-feelings as one feels more deeply the real source of his misery. During this cleaning out process he may find periods of being more susceptible to triggered unpleasant feelings as his defenses are being lowered. He may withdraw from situations which trigger those earlier repressed feelings. He may become temporarily too sensitive, too easily hurt, too angry or too open to his primal pain, but this he realizes is a small price to pay as many psychosomatic and behavioral symptoms are being reduced or eliminated.

The neurotic begins to feel a new feeling --- one of frustration ---as he oftentimes continues to act-out, even though he now has the insight into the reasons for his act-outs. His compulsive acting out becomes vividly evident to him, especially, during the failure of his act-out. When saying clever things does not bring the laughter and acceptance, the full impact of the realization that he was acting out and he realizes in a deep way that being amusing is what Mommy and Daddy wanted. The origin of his behavior becomes clearer, and the full impact of the fact that the behavior was an act-out is recognized. When the act out is successful, the frustration is not felt since the attention to the repressed need is being met. Forcing himself to discontinue the act-out is where "cure" lies but he will fail more often than he will succeed.

Finally, a point in time is reached when the inner source of pressure for acting-out is diminished. This occurs periodically and with greater frequency as primals continue even though lows are reached when new and often even when old areas of repressed traumas are pushing for release and the need to act-out becomes intensified. There is little time for the primaler to consolidate his gains since access to his unconscious mind continues to occur spontaneously. Finally, that theoretical point in time is reached when the primaler will be living in accord with his true feelings, when sincerity becomes the rule and hypocrisy and game-playing becomes intolerable. There will no longer be the concern of asking oneself, "Did I react appropriately or not?. . . How am I doing?. . . Is she impressed?"Hopefully, It will no longer be possible to react in a manner disconnected from ones true feelings and the real meaning of being a feeling person then becomes possible to understand..-- John A. Speyrer

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About ten years after I began primaling, something happened to me which I believe tends to back up the findings contained in a letter to Dr. Janov which appeared in an appendix D of Primal Man: The New Consciousness (p. 521). In the appendix a physician noted that a tubercular skin test given to a drug addict did not show a reaction until the addict had withdrawn from drugs.

What happened to me is as follows: I was in agony prior to connecting with an old feeling , when I hit my shin bone against my bed. I felt nothing at the time even though I normally would have, since I had hit myself rather forcefully. About ten minutes later the primal connected. An hour later, after the primal had been over for a short time I began suffering from the injury.

This incident, would seem to show that when defenses are at their height, as in the early stages of a primal feeling, one defends not only against primal pain but also against the pain of a slight injury. The example, I feel, tends to corroborate the primal hypothesis of the relationship between the defense system and feeling any pain.

The drug addict in the letter did not respond to the skin test because his access to pain had been blocked and I did not respond to the injury because my defenses were galvanized and thus my access to pain was also temporarily blocked. I could not begin the painful healing response until I had become more open to feeling.
--John A. Speyrer

Dear John,

In your web page "Reflections and Observations on Primal Therapy" You describe an incident of delayed suffering ("On Healing and Defenses"). Something very similar has happened to me.

One evening I was sitting quietly, waiting for some kind of connection from a feeling that had come up. Suddenly, a bruise appeared on my wrist. I knew exactly where the bruise came from. It was from an episode of abreactive rage that had occurred several years before I discovered primal therapy.

I had been raging about an incident involving symbolic people in my adult life. I accidentally banged my wrist very hard against the bed frame, yet no bruise appeared. For two months after that my wrist ached and a small lump devoloped at the tip of my ulna bone.

I kept checking the lump every couple of days. I vowed that if it grew any larger I would go to my doctor. It stayed the same, but one day I checked for it and it had gone (within the preceding 48 hours). Now, three years later, a vivid purple bruise appeared in the same spot, lasted about 10 minutes, and then disappeared again.

There must have been a connection between the feeling I was trying to process in the present and the earlier abreactive experience. However, I was so astounded to see the bruise appear spontaneously that I completely forgot about the present feeling. So I lost the chance to make a connection.


Kerry in the UK

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I n a recent AP release from London, it was announced that a recent British study showed that children who are brought up in a family environment with much dissention are more likely to be shorter than those raised with a happy, content family.

The information was contained in a report in a recent Archives of Disease in Childhood journal published by the Royal College of Pediatrics. In order to see if slow growth was associated with family conflict up to age seven, 6,547 British children born during the same period were tracked for almost 40 years. It was found that 31.7 % of the children who were raised in homes with conflict were short, compared with 20.2% of those who were not short. Consideration was made for other factors which are known to influence growth rates, such as, social class, crowding , etc. but these factors only slightly reduced the results of the survey. The researchers surmised that family conflict raised the levels of beta-endorphin as a response to stress which in turn reduces the production of a growth hormone.

* * *

A number of years ago Anthropologist Ashley Montagu was quoted as having ". . . asked a room full of doctors and nurses how to determine lack of love from an x-ray. No one answered. He then explained that one can see dense lines in the bones -- caused by lack of growth that occurs when a child is unloved." -- Bernie S. Siegel M.D. in Mothering, Spring, 1990
John A. Speyrer

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At a recent New Orleans meeting for the Society for Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School researcher, Mary Carlson, spoke about her work with Dr. Olympia Macovei, a pediatrician at an orphanage in Romania.

10,000 new infants and children are admitted each year to Romanian orphanges. That, coupled with understaffing and because the Ceausescu regime had not been concerned with he social sciences, recent studies revealed that infants there had abnormal levels of a common stress hormone. The infants were not picked up, even to be fed. There was no crying even in a room full of infants. Seemingly, the children had shut off their feelings.

Babies between 2 and 9 months were grouped and those who were cuddled, personally given attention, fed, read to, etc., had very low cortisol levels. For instance, the two groups reacted quite differently to a physical exam. The cuddled infants showed higher levels of stress when they were examined, but the other group's cortisol levels did not change. They seemingly were too withdrawn to respond. It was surmised that the cuddled group enjoyed the attention or were scared during the examination.

Dr. Carlson said that she believed that the study showed ". . . that a whole lot is going on when the infant is just lying there . . . that although the child may look all right on the ouside, a lot of systems are really suffering."

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Study Points To The Effects of Depressed Mother On Their Infants

At the last annual American Psychiatric Association convention, Dr. Yolanda P. Graham reported that a study was in progress to see if there were any effects of depressed mothers on their infants. Both the mothers and the new-borns had increased levels of cortisol - a stress hormone - in their blood. When the mothers received treatment for their depression their cortisol levels returned to normal, but this reduction in cortisol levels did not occur in their babies.

Up to twenty percent of mothers suffer from postpartum depression. A number of studies have shown that the infant suffers while being cared for by depressed mothers. The orisol levels of the babies were measured at age seven months and then two or three months later. Two further measurements are planned for the future as well as studying mothers who were not depressed.

I believe that a tentative conclusion can be drawn that shows the importance of the period of infancy viz a viz the relationship between mother and infant. The set-point of the hormonal output can become fixed as a result of the trauma to the child during the period when proper nurturing and love is imperative. The study shows how the trauma of lack of love and attention can persist in the physiology of the infant for a long time.
-- John A. Speyrer

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Birth Trauma and Violent Suicide

An interesting article which linked traumatic births to violent suicides appeared in the November 14, 1998 issue of the British Medical Journal. Birth records of 242 people born in a number of Stockholm, Sweden hospitals between 1945 and 1980 who committed violent suicide were compared to 403 of their siblings who had only one-half of number of birth interventions during the same period at the same group of hospitals.

It was found that the ones who committed violent suicide had about five times greater risk of such deaths than the control group of their siblings. The study, made by researchers at the famous Karolinska Institute in Stockholm concluded that obstetric intervention at birth should be aimed at minimizing the pain of birth for all infants. The suicide rate for traumatized females was only slightly higher than normal.

It was speculated by the researchers that it may not be the intervention itself which was traumatic to the infant but rather the birth conditions which made necessary the intervention in the first place. New research was recommended as well as studies to determine if traumatic births resulted in higher degrees of accident proneness.

* * *

I wish the original study had also included an examination to see if traumatic birth is related to a higher incidence of all psychiatric conditions? And after that, if the evidence is compelling, why not another follow-up study to determine if deep feeling regressive psychotherapies can lower the incidence of psychiatric disabilities in general?
--- John A. Speyrer

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An Outcome Study of Primal Therapy

Örjan Ihrmark of Sweden recently sent to the Primal Psychotherapy Page a copy of a Norwegian research paper entitled, "An Outcome Study of Primal Therapy." (Alv A. Dahl and Helge Waal - from Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, a Swiss Medical Journal - 1983). The research was written by the two authors, one of whom is a Lecturer in Psychiatry at the Institute for Psychiatry at Gaustad Hospital at the University of Oslo in Norway.

After being interviewed by a behaviorial therapist and a psychoanalytically therapist, the thirteen patients were followed-up for a two-year period. According to the Abstract, the results were positive. With few disagreements on the scoring, the therapists concluded that, "Of the patients who stayed in treatment, 8 were definitely improved on all outcome variables." One patient, however, had a psychotic reaction which the therapists as well as he believed was triggered by the therapy.

--- John A. Speyrer

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Anticipatory Suffering and Decision Making

Why is it that anticipating pain is often worse than experiencing the pain itself? According to a recent associated press news item, ". . . how much attention the brain pays to expected pain determines whether someone is or is not an "extreme dreader." The research was publised in a recent issue of Science, and its all about finding out how choices are made. But why would some have such an extreme dread of pain that they would rather get the jolt now rather than later?

Undoubtedly some of us make bad decisions because of this fear of anticipatory fear of suffering. The decision to take the pain "now" is freeing. Perhaps, sometimes its better the devil we know than the one we don't know. These decisions are basic to our personality and not about complicated economic theories that apply to the stock market. This is not economics; it's psychology.

The study found that those who had a choice of taking a variably intense shock or waiting for perhaps a much less intense one was found that those designated as the "extreme dreaders" sometimes inadvertently picked the worst shock if it meant not having to wait as long.

If one supposes that the "extreme dreaders" have had some past experience with pain which influences their later decisions, then such consideration would be a very reasonable approach to use when confronted with the choice of whether to experience a variable electrical shock now rather than later.

Dr. Gregory Berns of Emory University: "We were interested in the dark side of the equation." He led the new study and was additionally quoted as having said, "Dread often makes us make bad decisions."

Another way of looking at this is that the "extreme dreaders" are influenced by variables which makes it difficult for them to be objective. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that one's brain never forgets an insult. Here's the point: If the fetus is programmed to shy away from pain because of birth or intrauterine traumas, it will continually look at the dark side of Dr. Berns' equation which sometimes helps or programs us to make bad decisions.-- "I'd better sell that house now because I'll never get a better price." "I can't take a chance and quit this job since I might not find another one." I'd better save all the money I can because the future looks horrendous."

One important place where one's decision is made is pre-natally - before we are born. It is there that we decide whether the universe is a friendly place or a hostile one; whether God is loving and kind or hateful and cruel. A relatively pain-free birth and uterine history will later encourage us to take chances with life decisions because our major and earlier experience was not too painful; otherwise we will always be expecting that we will be zapped and protect ourselves by our lack of willingness to move or respond - to take chances when they are not required. Some later decide that even leaving the house (the womb) can be dangerous and they become lifelong agoraphobics.

Our pre- and peri-natal imprints are the real ultimate sources of anticipatory anxiety and the pain we endured earlier forge our expectations of what we expect to happen to us in this new state of being in the environment of what was to become our new cosmos.
--John A. Speyrer

The Early Lure of Alcohol

The August, 2008 issue of Pediatrics reported a study led by Dr. Emily F. Rothman of Boston University School of Public Health which unsurprisingly came to the conclusion that children who begin drinking early had experienced "negative" life experiences. The report was from Reuters Health.

The study was comprised of 3,600 Americans between the ages of 18 to 39 and contained no new revelations but merely concurred with many other previous investigatory studies. Those who began early drinking of alcohol admitted that they drank specifically to cope with their problems.

The researchers had asked specifically why they had begun their drinking habits and believed that it moulded how they consumed alcohol all their lives. Five types of life experiences were linked to their having begun to drink. Early physical and emotional abuse had a three to four times higher risk of consuming alcohol. "Having a family member who was mentally ill or a substance abuser doubled the odds of early drinking." Divorce and separation was another important factor. Children from such families had a 70% risk of early drinking compared to intact families.

The researchers theorized that if one parent was "engaged" with the child that perhaps drinking of alcohol would not have begun.

Of course, many abused or traumatized children never become alcoholics. The "hurt" must be present but so must a personal susceptibilty to the tranquilizing and addictive effects of alcohol apart from the child's traumas. (My comment).
-John A. Speyrer

Nicotine and the Fetus

Obviously, there is much that we don't know about the effect of smoking on the fetus, but enough is known to indicate that pregnant women must not smoke. . . . Since the
nervous system is already fairly well developed by mid-pregnancy, can you
imagine what kind of sensations the fetus undergoes when it is bombarded
every hour by nicotine, which reduces its oxygen levels?

-- Arthur Janov, Ph.D. in The Feeling Child, p. 23

"My next surprise was astonishing. I was breathing in tobacco smoke as a fetus. Returning to the womb as an adult, I easily recognized the taste, and smelled the distinct odor of tobacco. I began to choke ferociously and cough silently in the amniotic sac. My first tobacco primal lasted several minutes. It was agony. I was responding to every puff. More cold back chills of terror came my way and spread to every part of my body. I was abound in awful panic. I was outmatched by a ruthless, merciless opponent, who didn't care about me. I was to revisit and relive the tobacco primals more than three dozen separate times, until the experience dissipated."

--Jerry J. Pollock, Ph.D. in, Messiah Interviews, p. 37

Our Brains May be More Developed at Birth Than Previously Thought

Scientists at Imperial College in London recently discovered that new-born babies already have a mass of fully formed brain networks, including one which performs introspection.

Functional MRIs (scans) were used to examine the brains of 70 babies born between 29 and 43 weeks of gestation. The scientific team at the MRC Clinical Sciences Center did the work. "The scans showed that full-term babies have adult-equivalent resting state networks." These networks remain "on" all of the time even during sleep. It was thought that one such a resting network is involved in introspection and daydreaming. It had been previously surmised that this network was not complete at birth and actually only became functional during early childhood.

Its function was to retreive "autobiographical memories and envisioning the future, etc.....Our study shows that the babies brains are more fully formed than we thought....most of the brain is probably engaged in activities of which we are completely unaware..."

Lead author, David Edwards, said the evidence "...suggests that either being a fetus is a lot more fun than any of us can remember -- or that this theory is mistaken."
[ Source: - 11/04/2010]


Some of us in the regressive psychotherapies, who have relived aspects of our pre- and peri-natal life, know that this is true. However, as fetuses we had also laid-down in our storehouse of memories, inutero experiences dealing with a lot of pain and suffering and even severe psychological distress.

Pre-birth is a time of more than just having "fun" and "daydreaming." I must admit that those enjoyable times occurred also. In my case, happily floating and cavorting in the amniotic waters' sac but not knowing that the hell of birth was soon to begin!

-- John A. Speyrer

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