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Primal Integration is a form of personal growth work first formulated by the Canadian Bill Swartly in the mid 1970s. Although it has many similarities to psychotherapy it puts the emphasis on the individual directing exploration of their own psyche assisted by facilitators who serve the individual and are responsible for their safety. It is considered to be part of humanistic psychology.
It differs from the Primal therapy of Arthur Janov in that the latter puts the emphasis on the skill of the therapist to direct the client’s work. The founders of Primal Integration had a court struggle with Janov in 1974 when he tried to prevent them using the name ‘Primal’ which he claimed as his own 'brand'. The court found against Janov but at great financial cost to the Primal Integrationists.
During the late 1970s Swartly travelled in Europe and was instrumental in setting up centres for Primal Integration in Italy and Britain.
Its theoretical basis puts the emphasis on early trauma in shaping an individual's consciousness. It claims that trauma which take place before, during and soon after birth have the strongest influence on how someone interprets and copes with all future experience. These early preverbal trauma can only be fully recognised in the individual by their re-living the non verbal experience at an emotional level. This emotional expression of deep memory is called a "primal". Its re-expression begins the process of integration of the experience into the personality of the individual and the re-adjustment of their world view.
- Article by John Rowan at the International Primal Association
- Description at the UK Association of Humanistic Psychology site Includes long book list.
- Primal Integration Programme based in London
- What is Primal Integration? Overview , theory and history
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