primal therapy: techniques
Insights from deep within.
‘Talking’ therapies can often provide insights. But these are not the type of insights that allow you to understand what happened in the past or why you behave the way you do.
They are not the kind of insights that cause natural changes in you like primal therapy techniques do. These insights do not come from the depths of your unconscious, so you do not get the organic, automatic changes in behaviour that accompany such insights.
Only the techniques used in primal therapy can facilitate the healing of childhood trauma at the deeper levels.
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How primal therapy technique works.
How primal therapy work is by allowing you to re-experience past traumatic experiences in a safe and supportive environment. You let yourself feel the feelings you were never allowed to or able to feel when you were growing up. In doing this, you gain a deep knowing and understanding of how the trauma shaped you, your behaviours, your perceptions of the world and yourself.
That is not superficial knowledge. It's a deep knowing that comes from your past experiences that only you know. You'll come to know why your past experiences made you feel the way you do. In other words, you'll understand at a profound level what you had to do or become to survive and avoid pain.
By processing unresolved feelings from the past, you’re eliminating the pain that holds the defences and behaviours in place. It then becomes easier for you to make the changes you desire in your present and future actions. You uncover the truth about yourself.
Where do I start?
Primal therapy starts with talking about how you’re feeling in the present. As you talk about what’s concerning you, certain feelings begin to surface.
You might not be aware of the growing feelings initially. The therapist picks it up and will gently guide you (with words or silence) to allow yourself to feel and express the current feelings.
For some people, this is easy to do. For others, it can be more difficult. Your ability to identify and feel your current feelings will depend on how you learnt to cope in the past.
Learning how to feel.
Please do not be alarmed if you feel numb or cannot contact and identify your feelings at first. Learning how to go into feeling takes time and commitment.
In the beginning, allowing yourself to stay with very uncomfortable feelings takes practice. It's not something that people in many cultures usually do.
It takes time for you to feel safe enough to let the feelings of old painful or traumatic experiences surface. That is normal when starting primal. It’s the same for everyone.
Connection and insight.
At first, you might feel exhausted by your sessions. But over time, as you allow yourself to stay with uncomfortable or painful feelings, you will begin to feel better and better after your sessions. The best ways to describe this is relaxed, grounded and centred.
You experience a natural understanding of the events and experiences in a way you’ve never understood before. It goes right back to childhood and for some people the womb and conception.
These insights offer you an in-depth understanding of how you had to adapt in the past to survive. It helps you know what to do now to allow the real you to emerge.
Lessen or eliminate pain.
Often just allowing yourself to feel your uncomfortable or traumatic feelings safely will automatically result in some behavioural changes. These usually tend to be more the automatic, unconscious, coping mechanisms.
For example, one man’s nightly teeth grinding stopped by the third session. A woman's constant sighing ceased within two months although neither person entered therapy for these reasons.
It's not enough to feel the pain and gain insights, though. The point of therapy is to act on these insights. When you’re ready, if you haven't already done so, you’ll be supported to make these changes yourself.
Your insights will help you know what behaviours and actions in the present you want to modify. That means taking responsibility for yourself and your life. For some people, this can take time.
Integration of the past into the present is how primal therapy works.
It’s tough to change your life if you're continually defending against painful feelings from the past. When you allow yourself to stay with and feel your uncomfortable feelings you and your life are no longer held back by the pain.
Once you know what happened in the past and you’ve experienced and integrated the feelings that are attached to painful memories, you become conscious of what's going on inside you.
Unconscious pain no longer drives you. That means you’re no longer acting or reacting from defences or default behaviours that are clouded by unresolved feelings.
You have choices. That makes it easier to implement changes in the present. No matter how challenging and uncomfortable that might be.
A new perspective.
Your patterns of behaviour evolved from the experiences you lived through as an infant and child. Whether you're aware of it or not, you've lived through experiences that often exceeded your ability to cope comfortably.
That had an effect on your physical, emotional and psychological well-being. It caused you to create defences and coping behaviours to navigate and survive in the world and relationships.
Being unaware of your subconscious pain and subsequently, your coping responses mean that you tend to act habitually. You respond in ways that perpetuate your suffering, without realising it.
When you allow yourself to experience feelings from unresolved past events and circumstances, you no longer need to defend against that pain. You’re free to act differently in the present.
You’ll become self-aware and less reactive. You become emotionally healthy with new choices available to you. You become you.