It is natural for the question “What if” to come to mind when reviewing the progress of one’s life. In this instance, I ask myself what would have happened to me if I had not read the Primal Scream, met Arthur Janov in London and subsequently landed in Los Angeles at the very beginning of 1973 to undergo Primal Therapy.
It is, of course, impossible to say. To paraphrase someone else who was speaking about the past, what might have been is another country.
So I must rely on knowing what I, a reserved, privately educated, middle class Englishman lacking a real direction in life who smoked and drank too much did draw from this unlikely adventure.
I was able to release myself from the straight jacket into which I had been sown by my family’s forever unexpressed grief at the death of my mother when I was two with its lifelong and myriad ramifications.
I was invited to train as a Primal Therapist and in so doing discovered a passion and hopefully some talent for helping others to realise themselves.
I gained a priceless clarity of insight into everyday human suffering; that kind of silent, corrosive misery that afflicts so many as a result of needs unrecognised, neglected or abused. I came to understand what makes people “tick”, as they say. I took what I learned into a rewarding career managing people to help others.
I credit Arthur Janov’s ideas as a key factor in enabling me to have the life I have enjoyed since the day I took up residence in a cockroach infested studio apartment behind a famous liquor store on Sunset Boulevard in January 1973.
I am grateful to him for four things in particular: recognising the reality of primal pain, understanding its lifelong effects, realising it could be felt consciously and that this could facilitate recovery and revitalisation.