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Friday, February 29, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings

Anyone who was anyone reading about anyone in the early seventies will have come across Janov and primal scream therapy. Apart from giving a name to a good rock band, primal scream experience involves getting to the emotional core of your being by having a good yell or two. Well, probably a lot more than that, but it has sufficed to bring me to my theme for this blog. Janov has adults regressing through their emotions to the birth and foetal state but I’m going to offer two vignettes regarding what is possible with your own children – in a safe and often wonderfully enriching way.

The first time I tried this was with a close friend’s two and a half year old. The key, I think, is that the child has just begun to conquer basic language and can conceptualise the temporal states of yesterday, today and tomorrow, So it’s quite early in language acquisition. Then, gently ask them to remember the first thing that they can remember. You might have to coax a little and say, “..before that..?”, etc. What comes out can be astonishing.

Back to my first story. Lucy thought for a while and looked at me as though I should know without her telling me. Then she said that she had been at the top of an apple tree with stars all round and she dropped, well, slowly, on a rope through the branches of the tree until she landed on a green carpet. A man with a beard came with a big knife and wrapped her up. In turned out that the doctor who delivered her did have a beard and there was only a green towel available!

The second story took place last week. I had told a close friend who has a two and a half year old about Lucy and encouraged her to try it. Her child thought for a moment and said something like, “ you mean when I was born?” Gulp, thought her Mum, “Yes”. Well…said the little one, “ My head fell into my heart.”

My reading of this is that she woke from the pure emotional sea of her mother’s womb and came into consciousness. The first articulation of reason.

Try it if you can or get your close friend with a child that age to try it. It would be good if you tell me what happens – and I’ll print every story on the blog.

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