PRH (Personality and Human Relations), Personal Development Training, from a psychiatric perspective.

Ángel Moríñigo, psychiatrist. Psychiatric study (www.e-psiquiatria.com) and Seville University.

he author, a professional psychiatrist, shares his experience of the PRH method: based on his humanistic vision, he evaluated the PRH method positively as an easy, clear pedagogical method, and more particularly he called attention to its complementarity with psychiatric treatments. (Often pharmacological).

 

1. INTRODUCTION

I began my PRH education many years ago, attending the entry level workshop called Who Am I? I have always been highly motivated by training and my own personal development, but the workshop made a strong individual impact on me. It helped me greatly, especially in discovering an easy and educationally well-constructed method that could help many people. As we never separate totally from our professional role, particularly in areas that include these issues, I naturally thought about my patients, after seeing how useful it was for me.

I continued my personal development training for some time, attending workshops and practising the method for myself, and with help. Help from an accompanist and educator is essential, but in my opinion, PRH has a great virtue, which is that it allows you to also work on yourself autonomously.

From the start I was greatly interested in the educational clarity of the method and, of course, its humanist vision, illustrated by a total respect for the person and their freedom.

As a psychiatrist I also often recommend to many patients the method of personal appraisals, and also the method how to make good decisions, and I apply them to myself in my private life when I need to.

 

2. THE BENEFITS OF PRH EDUCATION ON PEOPLE’S PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH

Working with my patients, I have recommended PRH Education to many of them, and I have witnessed the benefits; in the way we work today in clinical psychiatry, we have to constantly evaluate the results of any therapy, whether biological or psychological, and employ those that are truly effective.

Many patients with personality disorders, either due to lack of maturity, through dependence or emotional instability, can gain from the benefits of the method and of the workshops.

I have also seen good results in patients with anxiety disorders, especially once the acute episode has passed, and especially if they suffer paroxysmal crises, which greatly limit the patient’s ability to function, even for psychological work.

Many adaptive disorders, the consequences of stressful situations and/or conflicts, can benefit from the PRH method.

Patients with depression can also benefit from this method, especially patients with dysthymia (low, mild depression), where very often personality factors influence the persistence of symptoms and how chronic they become.

In my opinion, all that I have mentioned must be carried out in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, often pharmacological. Nowadays, psychotherapy is no longer against drugs. On the contrary, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are treatments which, when used together, offer the best results, which is what every therapist should be seeking for their patients.

In my experience there is total compatibility between psychiatric treatment and the PRH method.

However, there may be some restrictions. Patients with serious mental disorders, with psychosis, whether schizophrenic or affective, those with severe personality disorders (extreme or borderline), or those with severe anxiety disorders (e.g. obsessive-compulsive disorder), may have difficulties in practising this method, unless they have reached a very high degree of stability in their pathology, and of course during the acute stages of the illness, when the capacity for introspection that is required may be very limited. Severe depression, where there is an autolytic risk or where there are psychotic symptoms, or resistence to psychiatric treatment, must also be excluded.

Another area which is of special relevance is that of the role of PRH EDUCATORS, since their skill in educating is crucial when teaching and conveying the method. PRH takes care, and must continue to take extreme care, in the selection and ongoing training of Educators. A sufficient psychopathological vision and training in this field, and the problems that they have to deal with, must not be of secondary importance.

 

3. WHAT IS SPECIFIC TO THE PRH METHOD AND WHAT IT CONTRIBUTES

The psychological structure of the human being and the diagram of the person.

As I mentioned earlier, in my opinion PRH is part of the psychological approach of Humanist psychology, although it also includes some elements that come from psychoanalysis.

PRH is based on a very specific vision of the person, and on ways of functioning of the mechanisms of this personality structure and its development. This then allows for a differentiation between what is normal and what is not working properly.

The tool for analysis of internal sensations of a psychological nature.

What is important in PRH, independently from the situation that triggers it, is the “experience” – the psychological sensation which the individual experiences internally within that situation. Training in this form of analysis is fundamental for any one who wants to get to know themselves better, go into the method in more depth and progress in their psychological and personal development.

The analysis of Disproportionate and Recurring Reactions, which is related to what was described earlier, is one of the essential pillars of the PRH method and, for me, one of its great contributions. It is learnt methodically throughout all the workshops which PRH Training offers.

Workshops

The way the following function: our body, our affective life, our personality, our experience in groups, as a couple, the way we manage our own growth, are some of the themes covered in workshops which allow us to connect with the method and to go progressively further into it over several days.

Tools for discernment and personal appraisals, already mentioned, form an important part of this method.

The workshops also offer a great opportunity to share in a group.

Personal Accompaniment

This is the specific method offered by PRH in order to go on progressing once you have followed workshops, or as you gradually follow them. The client-accompanist relationship can reach levels of actual therapy, where the client always remains completely autonomous and in control of the situation.

Here, the internal attitudes of the Educator/accompanist are ESSENTIAL. They have to be well trained specifically for this, and with a high moral integrity. Authenticity, respect for freedom, and good will are core values in PRH accompanists.

 

4. CONCLUSIONS

-PRH offers fundamental training towards helping personal development and growth with extremely good psychological tuning. Its method contains a genuine psycho pedagogy, which trains us to get to know our personality and to manage our behaviour better.

-Nowadays, psychotherapists are no longer seen as the enemies of psychiatric treatment and both psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological treatment should go hand in hand.

-Many patients with psychiatric diagnoses such as uncomplicated depression, anxiety disorders, some personality disorders, adaptive disorders (reactive to stressful situations), and others, can benefit from the PRH method. In most cases this means working alongside adequate psychiatric treatment.

-PRH Educators must be trained to differentiate more serious psychiatric pathology which can provoke severe alterations in awareness, introspection and discernment. These make it impossible to follow and benefit sufficiently from the method. In each case, this type of patient must be assessed individually and in collaboration with their psychiatrist.

-Psychosis cases, especially those in acute episodes, and serious personality disorders cases (extreme/borderline) must be excluded, or attentively examined, in order to assess if the patient can, or cannot, benefit from the PRH method.

-Patients with a high autolytic risk and/or with severe depression have to be excluded from coming on board.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

-M Lamarche. La Formación PRH. España, 1991.

-Persons and their Growth. Collective work by PRH International. Canada: 1997.

-Lifre Breaks Through. Collective work by PRH International. Canada: 2004.

Luis Avilés, PRH educator, reflects on the difficulties (and at times aversions) which exist in persons, concerning change, this is yet another defense mechanism in the human person.

Because of that, we underscore the importance of situating ourselves in an attitude of change which stems from the natural disposition found within the person as an aspiration and profound need, and as a need to adapt to new reality which continually emerge in our life. And this, to move forward.

This leads to open-endedness: “changing in order to more forward, however… toward what?” (To be dealt with, in another article).

Very often we hear expressions such as: “this is the way I am and I will not change, not at this stage of my life” “I am already too old to change”, “it’s my character and I won’t change”, etc. These expressions manifest our difficulty to question ourselves, and to try and improve and realize changes in our behavior, attitudes, and beliefs.

In PRH we observe certain persons who are very reticent to make changes in their way of living. They are persons who have difficulties in acting differently in the face of problems and challenges. It’s never easy for anyone to re-educate certain ways of functioning and negative habits, or to start using “new ways” to face certain circumstances and situations. They stumble, “time and time again, against the same stone”, to paraphrase the adage. They have a serious aversion to change. All human beings have a more or less open disposition to evolution and to change. However, if resistance to change is high, it creates an serious impediment to growth.

 

So, why change?

It is not a question of changing for the sake of change. When what we do is useful in life as well as satisfying, nothing else is required. It is necessary to make changes in our behavior and in our manner of being and doing whenever our habitual way of doing does not help us to adequately face a situation which we must face. It is then necessary to change, that is, to implement a process of adaptation to the current reality. Changing then, is to adapt to reality in order to find an appropriate and satisfying response that enables us to live in a constructive and dignified manner, by actualizing our capacities and our resources. This then, is what it means to evolve in a progressive and adaptive manner.

Then, to what do we attribute this difficulty to change in human beings?

There are many elements which have consequences related to this:

  • Individual’s limited psychic energy.
  • Security stemming from what is known.
  • Lack of motivation to undertake something different.
  • Not knowing how to change.
  • Believing it is not possible to change.
  • Having received a closed and rigid education.

Individual’s limited psychic energy

We can affirm that human beings are creatures of habit. They tend to create routines and habits in all areas of life. Habits facilitate life. It is an instinctive tendency. This is positive since it facilitates life. However, in certain cases, these routines become very dominant, tyrannical and difficult to follow, especially when they are not required at certain times.

Routines save considerable physical and mental energy. Change includes facing something new, and we all have some experience of what it entails to do or live something new. Whenever we experience something new, we must be more attentive to what we are doing, our senses are more active, there is more emotional mobilization, there are physical and mental capacities to develop, possibly causing more stress or tension than what a repetitive routine requires. Newness leaves us with a sensation of having lived more, however, this means temporary exhaustion (expenditure). For example, taking a trip to an unknown place or doing an activity that we have never tried, exhausts us more than usual even if it leaves a sensation of living more fully than the regular routine. Ongoing new situations would not be sustainable for the human psyche. It would completely exhaust us. That is why, instinctively, we tend to seek repetition, what is known, a routine and that which is habitual, instead of venturing out more frequently into what is new.

Security stemming from what is known

What we do again and again gives us a sense of security. Whatever we repeat, we master, and it comprises less risks and there are fewer possibilities of making errors, of failings and imperfections. What is new can however generate a certain insecurity, worry or discomfort, even if mild. There is always risk in newness. This risk is to be identified. Moreover, what we know, and repeat enables us to develop skills and capacities inherent to the routine, and generates personal satisfaction above and beyond what we already master, but for things which do not help us face our life.

Lack of motivation to undertake something different

One of the most decisive aspects concerning the difficulty to incorporate change in certain aspects of our life is the lack of motivation which overrides the “comfort” generated by what is routine and known, even if it is not entirely satisfying. That is, interior motivation, interest and willingness to change and generate more appropriate behavior do not overcome or do not impose themselves beyond an interior force that maintains us in comfort, habits, and the known, even if it’s worse. This is what the following adage implies: “better the devil we know than the one we don’t know”. Even if our way of functioning does not serve us, does not help us or harms us, we keep it. Why? Because there is a benefit: All behaviours, whether inadequate or negative that we are unable to reject have a few elements of compensation or benefit, either conscious or unconscious, be they subtle or evident. This “benefit” hampers change and improvement. For example, we know we need to quit smoking since it harms our health, however we are incapable of quitting. Something urges us to continue smoking: it reassures us, takes away a certain anxiety, gives us security. We can offer endless examples such as this one.

Not knowing how to change

Here is another one of the more influential elements that make it difficult to change and evolve as persons. To change we must be aware of what to change, how to do it, and what to “replace” it with. Even if this often occurs instinctively, training which facilitates change, gives reference points or processes, and develops the capacity to evolve, becomes a very beneficial element. Without training which has this type of results, there exists a handicap for the development and evolution of persons in society. Training such as PRH prevents this lack and facilitates learning how to change for individuals and groups.

Believing it is not possible to change

Some persons resist change more than others because they do not believe it’s possible. The image they have of themselves is closed and does not evolve much. They do not consider that it’s possible to change certain things within themselves. It does not even cross their minds to think about it, as they are too narrow-minded. Others do not see themselves as having the capacity to do things differently than how they habitually function. This phenomenon increases with age, since routines are well rooted and become stronger over time.

Having received a closed and rigid education

One’s education has an influence on the predisposition to change. An education that remains open and encourages growth, which is dynamic and has a perception of the human being as capable of evolving, enables one’s receptors to be more favourable to change than those who received a more closed, static and deterministic education.

All these elements affect openness to the possibility of change, to renewal, and possible betterment, because it is neutralised, held back, blocked.

 

Therefore, what incites us to change?

There are many elements which foster the possibility of change. They are:

  • The aspiration or need to learn and better oneself.
  • The need to adapt to the environment and new realities.
  • Education which integrates change.

The aspiration or the need to learn and better oneself: in their very depths, persons, have an innate desire or aspiration to develop and grow, to be current and to actualize themselves. At PRH we call this the “growth dynamism” and in the book Persons and their growth we define it as: “an innate irrepressible strength which impels persons consciously or subconsciously to actualize their potentialities”. This mobilizes and motivates persons to open themselves to newness, and to risk being or acting in an unknown and unproven manner, in order to actualize the hidden potential within each human being. In the book, another important element is underscored: “The psychological health of a human being can be brought about only in this forward movement, that is, through change. Nor can balance and harmony be considered as established facts. They must always be the object of research, taking into account both personal and environmental development”(p. 44).  Consequently, psychic and social improvement require a positive disposition toward change and progress.

The need to adapt to the environment and to new realities:  Certain events come up unbidden and require us to face them, even if we have never done this before, and require a change of mentality, behaviour, attitude, etc. According to the way we live life, our experiences gradually shape us and transform our way of seeing, thinking and feeling. Throughout life, we are faced with new situations. We evolve from babyhood to childhood, to adolescence, youth, adulthood and old age, and each stage brings with it its respective and necessary evolutions and differences. All of life is an ongoing process which requires adaptation and on-going change. This requires an attitude of letting go of what is known and of what is certain in order to face the new actual situation in a different way.

In biology, since Darwin, it is clear that the species that survived are those that adapted more easily to new environments, whereas those who were not able to adapt, disappeared. It is a law of nature. Rules of reality. Circumstances oblige us to use new procedures which had not previously been necessary. Evidence shows that human beings are very capable of adapting to different environments and milieus. From the extreme cold of the Polar Regions to the extreme heat of the deserts, from very friendly situations and realities to other realities that are very hostile and difficult. This is part of human survival.

Education which integrates change: Another element which facilitates change is to include in one’s habits and daily routines the fact of being in a process of evolution. If we get used to “living in a state of change”, that is, in a continuous ongoing process of advancement, of personal betterment, and of adaptation to current reality, change does not become a problem, but a life-style and certain satisfaction. At PRH, we say that human beings are in continuous evolution or as stated in the book Persons and their growth: “persons have a capacity to evolve throughout their entire life”. Including this characteristic in the educational process from the very first years of life, would facilitate its integration in individuals’ way of being.

André Rochais, the founder of PRH, stated in an interview a few years before he passed away: “Change is letting go of known securities in order to move forward, but toward what? “. This will be the object which we will address in another article.

Luis Avilés, formador PRH

A bibliographical research undertaken
by Thomas J. Wallenhorst, M.D, psychiatrist, PRH Educator

SUMMARY

In the wake of an assessment of various trainings and therapies (S. Freud, C. Rogers, E. Stein…), what is specific to PRH can be classified as a humanistic psychology, a positive view of human beings. Persons are not seen in their inadaptation, but rather as being unaware of their essence.

André Rochais based his research on the question “what must be reached in persons so that they grow?” and he created an original and effective method to do this.

INTRODUCTION

The PRH method is situated within the current of psychological approaches of the human being which calls upon the positive within them in an explicit way. Experience and what is felt have an important place and are approached from different angles. In the selected research, the concepts of growth, healing, work on oneself and self-development; the concepts of freedom and responsibility, fundamental attitudes in human relationships, the quest for meaning and openness to transcendence, all appear.

We have classified the research according three categories: Research that began before, at the same time, and after André Rochais’ works.

For easier reading, our comments are written in italics after each paragraph.

RESEARCH UNDERTAKEN BEFORE THE WORKS OF ANDRÉ ROCHAIS

Carl Rogers

André Rochais himself pointed out that he had been influenced by the active methods of the period after the Second World War and most particularly by Carl Rogers’ affirmation: “the core of the human person is positive.” However, he undertook his own research expressed in the question: “Where must a person be reached in order for growth to take place?” and in an intention: “How to communicate useful psychological information to people in an accessible language, regardless of their previous education” (1), which made of PRH a School of Education with an original method.

With Rogers, who started his work before the 1950’s, the fundamental research question was formulated in a different manner:  “How can I create a relationship that this person can use in the development of his/her personality?” (2). Rogers’ gaze was focused on the therapist as a persons and the development of their basic attitudes, which enabled the client to progress. According to Rogers, a positive and unconditional consideration is based on the assumption that all persons have, within them, the capacity to understand themselves, to progress and to know intuitively what is important for them, “below their conscious understanding. At this level, lies a tendency towards development, a push towards self-actualisation. This is the main lever in life and this is the tendency which influences all psychotherapy.” (2) Rogers, like others before and after him, contradicts certain psychologies which attempt to reduce the human being to a determinism related to painful past experiences.

Commentary

The PRH approach aims, from the beginning, at reaching that place in the client which will activate the growth process. The belief that a place exists at the very heart of an individual, where a growth mechanism is a work, is specific to PRH. The complement to this is the PRH counsellor’s attitude of deep faith in the other person which they live and express, this deep confidence that clients have everything needed within themselves to overcome their problems and to progress.

PRH Education gives great importance to the helping relationship. Within this, particular importance is given to the helper’s work on their own growth, healing and ability to live in a harmonious manner and then on the development of the fundamental attitudes of how to be a counsellor. This is as important as progress in professional competency.

Edith Stein

The Carmelite nun Edith Stein, who began her phenomenological works after the First World War, gives a description of the soul as representing interior life, while emphasising the manner in which everyone becomes more familiar with their interior selves. The majority of people live mostly at a surface level and few people allow themselves to be attracted by their very depths. Edith Stein speaks of the different approaches to this interior life, for example, through meeting others, through becoming more adult and mature with regard to the qualities specific to the individual, through scientific knowledge of interior and psychological life, and through prayer which, for her, provides true access to the most interior and deepest places within oneself. Moreover, she calls this most interior place “God’s dwelling”, the soul being attracted to Him just as it would be attracted to a lover. In her works, she emphasized the development of this interior world through working on oneself in order to access a deep-seated freedom, which for her, is the most central value and is located at the deepest level of the individual, enabling dialogue with God. The individual is active here, using their positive characteristics which constitute the deepest level of themselves and all the while remaining free. (3)

Commentary

The location at the very heart of an individual and the implementation of a deep freedom converges with the description of the being in PRH., It also has a named place within the psychological system of the individual. Edith Stein also describes different approaches to the deepest parts of oneself which are reminiscent of some of the different approaches to the being.

Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl, an internationally renowned professor of psychiatry, has, since the 1930’s developed a psychotherapy which relies on the will to meaning, which is assumed to be more fundamental than the will to pleasure (developed in the writings of S. Freud) or the will to power (developed by A. Adler). It is only when this will to meaning is frustrated that it is compensated for by the will for pleasure or power. According to Frankl, human beings fundamentally aspire to find meaning in their lives which motivates them from within: “The human being does not first look towards being happy, but towards having a reason to be happy.” (4) His therapy, called logotherapy: “emphasizes a responsible being: the individual is helped to overcome the automatic functioning of the “psychological system” (as it is known in psychoanalysis) in order to access the autonomy of psychological existence through existential analysis. Logotherapy transforms an apparent weakness into strength, using the focal point of central responsibility and, in this way, becomes existential analysis. This existential analysis is an analysis of human existence viewed from its central responsibility. (4).

Commentary

Each person can become the architect of their own destiny, through making use of the gifts that they carry within themselves, if they so wish. The same is equally true for couples, groups or foundations, if they seek to become aware of what constitutes them, while recognizing the gifts and complementarities of each person. In PRH, the aspiration to exist according to these gifts and the resulting need to be recognized in their potentialities, is considered very fundamental. Wounds of non-existence are created when this aspiration is hampered and the need to be recognized is frustrated.

Eugene Gendlin

In 1964, following Carl Rogers, Eugene Gendli defined “the emotional process of how change occurs in a person” (5) by describing different stages in the therapeutic relationship. He particularly emphasized awareness and the integration of feelings, which become part of personal experience. He can be considered as a precursor to the research on the understanding of emotional life.

Commentary

Carl Rogers had begun to emphasise the importance of experience in the learning process, insofar as something which is taught becomes definitively learned if the person makes it their own. We quote this phrase from Rogers: “the Master’s book is within me”, which means that the person has integrated and verified the accuracy of the information taught to them. They activate these elements while moving through the emotional process, in situations which require a particular ability. Later, from the 1990’s onwards, the role of emotions in leading one’s life was examined through scientific methods (see further down). From the beginning of his PRH research, André Rochais emphasized the importance of the felt experience in the growth process. He made it one of the key components of the training offered, by developing a method of analysis of internal sensations specific to PRH.

Frederick Perls (6)

The psychoanalyst Frederick Perls, who published his book in 1951 and was one of the pioneers of “Gestalt Therapy”, was interested in experience from the point of view of how individuals create an experience (and not “what was felt”). In this way, persons become the creator of their lives and that life, while being specific to the individual is, at the same time, shared with the environment and with others. The aim of the therapy is that persons become themselves, while developing all of their creative potential which he expresses in the term “the Self”. It is especially given a function of integration and meaning, being lived in a state of continuous adaptation, but also by mobilizing all of the potential persons carry within themselves. To our knowledge, Perls was the first to use the term “growth” within the psychotherapeutic process, emphasizing autonomy, responsibility and freedom of action.

Commentary

With Perls, we see particular attention being paid to reality and to the analysis of conscious processes. His notion of the Self evokes the concept of the being in PRH. The Self has, for him, a particular role, which enables the person to live at peace and to search for meaning through concrete actions. However, he does not “locate” the Self in a specific place. In PRH, the being is identified as a pivotal centre and is “located” at the very depths of persons in their “psychic organism”. The awareness of the realities which animate persons at their very core is fundamental in the work on growth as proposed by PRH. When we say that the being is located at the very depths of persons in their psychic organism, we are using imagery in our explanation, but it nonetheless corresponds to a bodily sensation which is located at the source of one’s breathing. What is involved is becoming aware of the realities which make up the best of themselves, giving meaning to their existence and allowing persons to feel in harmony with themselves. Working on their growth therefore allows persons to overcome incoherencies and what lacks meaning through the awareness and implementation of what is essential for each person.

Alexander Lowen

Alexander Lowen, trained by Wilhelm Reich in the 1940’s and who first began to publish his own studies during the 1950’s, explains how fundamental it was for him to allow himself to go beyond what could be understood with the intellect and to let go, in order to experience subconscious conflicts as well as his life force. His therapy, bioenergetics, aims at making a connection between conscious memories and repressed emotions, in order to then translate these now conscious emotions into words. The objective is to allow persons to become more themselves by engaging all their vital energy. This contributes to an increased sense of self-knowledge with three concepts: to know oneself, to express oneself and to have self control. Lowen nsists that it is essential, in the psychotherapeutic process, to not only accumulate self-knowledge, but to enter into the depths of what is felt. Through entering into an understanding of their interior world, persons can modify long-established behaviours. He also considers therapy as a growth process. (7)

Commentary

As with the bioenergetics therapy, PRH aims at producing change during the work of healing, through a mobilisation of the subconscious. By lifting repression, individuals can visualize and relive a situation which, for them, represented a traumatic experience. They can then integrate what happened in the past, with the person in question, even though they did not have any conscious memory of it. They can then look at this period of their past in the light of their adult understanding, having relived the emotions from their childhood. They can then make the connection between their past and their present. Examples of work on healing using the PRH approach are described in the book: When Life Breaks Through (8)..

RESEARCH DONE AT THE SAME TIME AS ANDRÉ ROCHAIS’ WORKS

Karlfried Graf Dürckheim (9)

Karlfried Graf Dürckheim, a German philosopher, psychologist and psychotherapist who opened a psychomatics clinic near Lake Constance in the 1970’s, describes the “self” (which corresponds to the “I” in PRH) and the being as different centres, each having its specific functioning within the person, while emphasising the importance of discernment. The “self” can govern the being and others from its ideas, without worrying about their needs or aspirations – it is self-centred. It can also place itself at the service of the being, seeking to actualize all the positive that the individual is capable of at this level. By living this way, the individual becomes committed while remaining humble. They receive the fullness of existence as a gift, which becomes the meaning of their life. (9)

Commentary

In PRH, we recognize not only two pivotal centres but five (the being, the “I”, the sensibility, the body and the deep conscience). So the dynamics between the “I” and the being is broadened to all the pivotal centres of the person. In describing the deep conscience, André Rochais said that in this place the individual is in direct contact with all of the pivotal centres of the person, including transcendent realities. Work on discernment involves taking charge of oneself and discovering one’s dysfunctions, in order to live oneself in order, and in accordance with one’s being and from one’s deep conscience.

Eric Berne

The American psychiatrist Eric Berne introduced transactional analysis in the 1970’s. According to this theory, persons have within them three states of the “Self”: the parent, the adult and the child. Berne sis interested in the transactions between the different states of the “Self” in human relationships; for example, a person can speak to someone while expressing his/her needs, which would correspond to the state of the child, while another person can judge him/her while offering advice, which corresponds to the state of the parent. In what he calls the state of the child, expressions of needs, frustrations and deficiencies are heard. In the state of the adult “Self”, persons take charge of their lives and make decisions as responsible adults. With regard to the state of the “Self” as parent, persons act from their image, their inflexibility and from received ideas. They want to realize their ambitions which may be unrealistic, all the while wanting to please others first.

The aim of the therapy is that persons become aware of the different movements which live within them, in order to liberate the responsible and autonomous adult. A great importance is placed on being authentic. (10)

Commentary

The analysis of transactions resonates with a question asked in PRH: From where do my ordinary acts originate? Meaning, from what place in our psychic organism do we speak or act?

Berne three states of the “Self” do not however correspond to the pivotal centres of the person of the PRH Explanatory System. Berne does not make any reference at all to the reality of the being. A certain convergence can be found in his emphasis on being authentic where André Rochais´ sphrase concerning reality is reflected: “Reality is my master”».

Arthur Janov (11)

Arthur Janov, who was trained in psychoanalysis, developed the “primal scream” therapy in the 1970‘s. For Janov (11), it all begins with what he called “the trauma of birth”, that is, the painful and even violent birth experience which would be the source of repression and the creator of many different neurotic symptoms. His therapy is an approach of the sensation that others call existential discomfort. This is expressed through feelings of tiredness, feeling burdened, being sad, feeling insecure, fearful, experiencing suffering and feeling crushed. He brings these current sensations back to those experienced in reality during the birth process. In another book, written 20 years later, he qualifies these affirmations through broadening the traumatic experience to include other experiences considered as traumas by patients, but that took place after birth, in the life of a child (12).

can be situated in the group of researchers who aimed at freeing patients from their neurotic symptoms by helping them to relive the experiences of the past which were presumed to be repressed and therefore to have created subconscious conflicts. Insofar as the conflict is not resolved, the symptom continues to recur. In primal therapy the aim is to liberate the initial emotional experience. A release of the repression occurs and then the therapist seeks to help the individual integrate this raw experience into their awareness, through putting words on the past experience they relived. This is called «reconnecting». Janov insists that it is not a question of simple abreaction (release). Two stages are necessary: the fact of reliving the trauma of birth at the emotional level and then the intellectual integration of this experience into their emotional life today. For Janov, people’s daily lives can become positive as a natural result of his therapy; he endeavours to work on his patients’ wounded aspects. If we follow the examples given in his books and we take into consideration that traumas block all of the positive, Janov gives the impression of reducing human beings to their wounds, at least where individuals who have been very wounded in their existence are concerned.

Commentary

It is possible to feel reached by these works, especially where the approach of the lived experience and sensations is concerned. Also, the fact of reliving one’s birth or another trauma which comes later in life can corresponds to what is called in PRH an evacuation of pain. The two stages described are equally observed in the PRH method where it is important to face the sensation until the past is relived, with all of the emotional upheaval that this entails, and then to integrate these facts which surface to awareness in the light of the work of understanding which the adult is capable of doing.

However, we have not found any mention of the positive core of the human being inJanovworks.

Jean Garneau and Michelle Larivey (13, published in 1983)

Jean Garneau and Michelle Larivey (1983) developed a method in Quebec, following the works of Carl Rogers, called, “Self-development: psychotherapy in daily life”. Here the aim is for the clients themselves to manage their daily lives, finding their own opportunities for growth. The therapist must provide clients with the necessary tools so that they can become the initiator and facilitator of their own growth journey.

This approach seems to be a precursor to positive psychologies. It is part of the methods aiming at fostering positive resources which allow individuals to live meaningful lives. (13)

Commentary

Several similarities can be noted between this approach and PRH: identifying the sensation, working from the sensations, bringing out discoveries, deep intuition, etc.

RECENT RESEARCH THAT TOOK PLACE AFTER ANDRÉ ROCHAIS’ RESEARCH

Boris Cyrulnik (14, 15 published in 1996 and 2001)

Boris Cyrulnik (1996 y 2001), psychiatrist and ethnologist is often quoted in France because of his description of the ability of certain people to rebound, known as resilience, despite any traumas which might have rooted them in non-life. This term, used in physics to designate the resistance of a solid body to all kinds of aggression, was introduced into psychiatric thinking by the American Emmy Werner. People rely on internal resources, like a mild temperament, but also on defence mechanisms in order to not suffer, and they especially rely on a strong aspiration to become themselves through developing their own creativity. Then, intuitively, they call upon external resources, such as certain people whose actions enabled these resources to implemented, called “resilience tutors”, and whose actions can be fundamental in helping others overcome their difficulties. The concept of trauma is nuanced. There is, of course, the reality of trauma, but individuals may aggravate the problem due to their perceptions of it. The individual can also choose to live by relying on their ability to be resilient.

Commentary

According to the PRH Explanatory System, the deep internal resources are in the being where the growth dynamism is inscribed. The individual does not have direct power over the being but on the means of implementation, or put another way, on the choices to be made. This concerns one’s capacity for discerning if such an act is beneficial or not, or if such a person constitutes a life-giving relationship or not. With regard to the tutors of resilience, we can appreciate the positive action of transference on growth work, even in a helping relationship. The concept of “internal resources” is used by Cyrulnik in a broader sense as in the currents of positive psychologies (see further down), to include both positive capabilities and the ability to protect oneself in order to build an internal armour which prevents a possible collapse. The use of this concept is more restricted in PRH as it does not include the defence system itself but only the underlying strengths.

Elisabeth Lukas (16 published in 2000 in Germany)

Elisabeth Lukas, a logotherapist in the line of Frankl (4) criticizes the psychologies which consider that numerous difficulties in functioning originate in certain traumas experienced by the individual, which includes the pitfall of considering the trauma in a passive manner (“the victim’s ideology”). She emphasizes the responsibility of individuals to face their past in order to become actors in their lives. Individuals have the ability to find new meaning despite certain events, even very difficult ones, if they so wish, through accepting the spiritual support which has marked their existence since birth. This dimension of spirituality is also alive in cases of mental illness, mental handicap or in dementia; it is present in alcoholics and in drug addicts. For logotherapists, the human being possesses a capacity of “self-transcendence”, which means to rise above their immediate needs by looking further ahead. The question of the meaning of each aspect of life and of the meaning of life is explicitly asked. Because of the emphasis on the role of awareness and the capacity for self-transcendence, logotherapy is different from humanistic psychologies where work focuses essentially on self-actualization. According to Lukas, logotherapists are “psychotherapists of the person”.

Commentary

In PRH, the role of the deep conscience is fundamental in the growth work. The deep conscience is not only tuned into the “person in a growth process” of which it is the voice, but also tuned into the environment and all that can transcend it and invite it to go further. PRH research very much takes into account the openness to the dimension of transcendence in the being. Specific tools exist for apprenticing inner freedom and for finding a way to live oneself in order.

Keyes and Haidt (17)

A new current of “positive psychology” was born in the USA at the end of the 1990’s. Keyes and Haidt coordinated a work which explained the basis of this psychology which can be situated within the vast current of humanistic psychologies. They studied in particular: positive emotions, positive personality traits such as strength, qualities and abilities (intelligence, athleticism, etc) and positive institutions such as democracy, solid families, freedom of the press, etc. Therapists are trained to help clients discover their internal strength and to seek to reinforce it and then to help them build their personal abilities.

Relying on the realities of resilience and growth, the authors expressed their faith that individuals carry within them all they need to overcome their difficulties, even being able to transform a trauma into a personal resource if they are able to rely on the best of themselves: individuals do not shut themselves away in the difficult experience but find the personal resources which allow them to grow. This book is of interest due to the methodical and minutely detailed nature of the analysis, using scientific methods of selection and starting from hypotheses which are verified or eliminated. Numerous authors have proven that different positive elements contribute to the human being’s more harmonious functioning.

Commentary

Since the 1970’s this area of research concerning the positive realities of the person was already considered as central by PRH, which we recalled at the beginning of this article withAndré Rochais’ fundamental question: “Where must a person be reached in order for growth to take place?” The development of the specific PRH pedagogy with its explanatory system of the person in a growth process and the diagram of the pivotal centres of the person are situated within the perspective of the unfurling of the person’s growth dynamism. The awareness of sensations with positive content contributes to daily harmony, gives inner confidence and allows for the personality to be constructed on solid bases.

Martin Seligman (18 published in 2002)

Martin Seligman ,a psychology professor, underlines the value of positive emotions for the prevention of depressive states and drug-taking. He distinguishes three different types of positive emotions: concerning the past (satisfaction, contentment, fullness, pride, serenity), concerning the present (joy, ecstasy, calm, excitement, pleasure, “flow”) and concerning the future (optimism, hope, faith, confidence). These three types differ insofar as individuals can be satisfied concerning their past yet disheartened about the present and pessimistic about the future.

It is interesting to read the description of the “flow” emotion, which he borrowed from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (published in 1997). Csikszentmihalyi recounts that his research had been orientated by two questions. The first being: “What is life?” and the second one: “How can each person achieve an excellent and full life?” He emphasized the necessity for persons to give a personal orientation to their lives because, otherwise, they will be influenced by their biological instincts, by the culture or the environment in which they live, or more particularly by others. In this, the development of one’s freedom has a fundamental role. In this way, persons can transform the context of their lives, even a difficult one, if they live from their best selves. The experience of flow is part of the positive emotions; however, according to the thousands of people interviewed, it is distinct from the feeling of happiness. It expresses the sentiment of being in harmony with oneself and experiencing a great capacity for action.

Commentary

The corresponding concept of flow in the PRH explanatory system would be the concept of the growth dynamism of the being. Here, persons feel very much in harmony with themselves while developing their creativity from their potentialities. It is the determination to progress which is seen in PRH as an attitude of the being, and which supports the development of the person’s growth forces.

Ann Elisabeth Auhagen (20 published in 2004)

Ann Elisabeth Auhagen, master lecturer in psychology explains the methods of intervention of positive psychology. What is aimed at is the emergence of the positive in people, that is, what makes up their strengths, talents and resources. This objective can be reached using different strategies: through “augmentation”, that is, facilitating the positive aspects and qualities which already exist; through “creation”, that is, developing new positive aspects and qualities; through “diminishing”, that is, reducing what we call the negative; through “prevention” by trying to prevent the development of new behaviours which would have a negative effect.

Commentary

The themes explained above directly touch upon what is contained in the concept of identity in the “being” in PRH and are associated with the intervention methods for the work on oneself in order to develop another human functioning, based on what is positive. Positive psychology uses psychotherapeutic methods of intervention with particular attention to identifying personal dysfunctions, in order to help individuals in their re-education, so that they can develop self-confidence and acquire a new manner of being and new ways of doing things. The goal is for people to become themselves, which seems to correspond to what is called in PRH: “the emergence of the being in the person”. However, the notion of the being in PRH extends beyond the identity and also includes the notion of essential course of action, essential bonds and openness to transcendence. The concept of the emergence of the being is also fundamental in this.

James Pennebaker

James Pennebaker implemented, already in the 1980’s, a writing method, with the objective of self-exploration, in order to develop the deepest thoughts and emotions in relation to traumatic events. Individuals are thus helped to unburden themselves from negative emotions in order to avoid their repression in the subconscious. Thus, the fact of telling their story, even only to themselves, enables them to bring their story to closure by giving it meaning. It was observed that individuals who followed this therapy improved their physical, immunological and psychological health and that they had more satisfying interpersonal relationships. Patients discover hidden content due to the simple fact of writing, which is called “self-disclosure” (21, 22. We are referring here to publications made in 1997 and 2002).

Commentary

This method of writing about one’s experience contains many similarities with that practiced in PRH. PRH analysis is a self-observation. André Rochais keenly developed a method of written analysis of the person’s experience as a privileged way of getting to know one’s interior world. The method of writing, used in PRH education is one of the key elements of our school of education.

Hélène Roubeix (23 published in 2000)

Hélène Roubeix French psychotherapist, trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), created a humanistic NLP school. Here priority is given to the personal transformation of the intervener, no matter what their professional field. The development of the persons’ way of being is emphasised, which allows them to use their means of intervention in the most pertinent manner while respecting persons and at the same time living a well adjusted authority toward them. The notion of the “self” (with a connotation close to the being in PRH) and the “Me” (with a connotation close to the “I” in PRH) appear in this explanatory system. A deep faith in life is expressed insofar as individuals can always tune into their “Self”. Roubeix quotes Milton Ericson, a psychiatrist and American philosopher who had said “the subconscious is a well of infinite resources”, which changes the attitude of the therapist who can rely on the subconscious of the patient as “their most faithful friend”.

Commentary

As in PRH, the complementary nature of the being and of the “I” are seen, with the opportunity for the development of the being if the “I” acts as a servant of growth but also with the risk that the “I” dominates the person and follows its ideas and ambitions without listening to the being. Concerning the affirmation that the subconscious is a well of infinite resources, we recall that André Rochais had said in the 1980’s that we sleep on treasures of which we are unaware.

Loretta Cornéjo (24 published in 2000)

Loretta Cornéjo (publicado en el 2000), psychologist and psychotherapist practising in Madrid, emphasises in her book “Letters to Pedro, a guide for the novice psychotherapist”, the general attitude of love in the psychotherapeutic relationship which inspires all technical knowledge.

Commentary

In PRH, the professional relationship is also a deep human relationship and accompanists are invited to develop six basic attitudes in their relationships with clients (in-depth listening, non-judgement and benevolence, faith in the other person, respect for their freedom, allowing the birth of sympathy and affection, authenticity). Clients are considered as being unique, carrying within themselves all they need to overcome their difficulties.

Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman, scientific journalist and psychologist, brought to the media the concept of “emotional intelligence” (25). Emotions are understood as guides in the relationship with self and with others, allowing one to be inclined toward one decision over another. In this regard, the ability to know oneself, to manage oneself, to grasp the emotional climate in others and the ability to act in a well-adjusted manner in relationships with others translate more as an understanding of the life of emotions and sensations than as a rational analysis and thought process (which would be evaluated by an I.Q. – intellectual quotient). Emotions are essentially impulses to act. It is true to say that we have two minds – the rational mind, which is controlled by the cerebral cortex and the emotional mind, which is controlled by the limbic system. The ability to discern is important in order to evaluate the importance of an emotion and to take it into account in the conduct of one’s life, without allowing oneself to be dominated by the strength of the emotion.

To illustrate the “two minds” we can look at the example of a strong craving for chocolate. This is commanded by the limbic system. If persons allow themselves to eat an unlimited amount of chocolate, they are being dominated by their instincts. Normally, the rational brain awakens in the face of such an impulse, saying either that it is necessary to limit oneself for dietary reasons or to completely abstain.

Commentary

In PRH education, analysis focuses on what is experienced, which is composed of sensations, emotions and impressions. Thanks to self-analysis, persons acquire a means to become solid, close to others and autonomous. The second point of convergence is with regard to discernment: thanks to the understanding of their emotions, persons can discern what is in line with their growth. These constitute the two keys of PRH Education.

Conclusion

The aim of this bibliographical research was to situate the PRH approach in the current of human sciences through highlighting the convergences with its explanatory system and its psycho-pedagogy. PRH is an original method which places a particular importance on the growth of the positive which makes up persons and which enable them to become themselves. The analysis of daily functionings and past experiences is an essential component of personal work insofar as all functioning can be improved and where certain past experiences constitute a hindrance to self-actualization. The self-development tools used are the analysis of sensations, called “PRH analysis” and a discernment method in reference to the deep conscience and which can be used in ordinary life.

The method was developed, not as a break from Freudian psychoanalysis as with certain humanist psychotherapeutic methods, but from André Rochais intuition that all persons can develop the best of themselves through relying on their being.

Humanistic psychotherapists aim at human development for itself, without making reference to a transcendence, which is expressed by Perls, for whom the Self is the creator of life. PRH affirms that persons are open to a dimension of transcendence at the level of their being, which has an impact on their growth.

The points of convergence between the PRH method and the humanistic psychologies have already been recognized and explained in the book “Persons and their Growth” (26). It is important to us to underline certain convergences with the psychological currents who are explicitly open to a personal transcendence, such as the logotherapy of Viktor Frankl and the new movement of positive psychologies who seem to be evolving in this direction. André Rochais himself recognized this point of convergence with Frankl.

André Rochais had the intuition that PRH was called to become a school of education. After 35 years of existence and the development of a substantial number of personal growth and development tools, this intuition has proven to be accurate. All persons who wish to progress in a meaningful manner in the development of their personality can find both the tools and the persons available to accompany them.

Semur-en-Auxois, 8 September 8, 2006.

References

1)    André Rochais: Introduction to the Observation Notes, PRH-International

2)    Carl Rogers: Die Entwicklung der Persönlichkeit, 1997, Klett Cotta
In English: On Becoming a Person 1970, Houghton Mifflin (P)

3)    Edith Stein: Im verschlossenen Garten der Seele; Texte zum Nachdenken ausgewählt von E. Bejas; Herderbücherei, Freiburg 1987

4)    Viktor Frankl: Der Wille zum Sinn; Verlag Hans Huber, Bern, 2005

5)   Eugene T. Gendlin: Une théorie du changement de la personnalité, (3e édition, avril 1975) traduit par Fernand Roussel, Ph. D., CIM de «A theory of Personality Change», in P. Worchel et D.Byrne: Personality Change, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1964

6)   Frederick S. Perls; Ralph F. Hefferline; Paul Goodman: Gestalttherapie; Grundlagen; Klett-Cotta im Deutschen Taschenbuchverlag 6. Auflage 2004, München; Gestalt Therapy; Excitement and Growth in the Human Personnality; The Julian Press, New York 1951

7)   Alexander Lowen: Bioenergetics; Penguin compass, New York, 1976

8)   Pour que la vie reprenne ses droits: Ouvrage collectif réalisé par PRH-International, éditeur: Fundación André Rochais du Canadá, PRH-Internacional, Poitiers, 2002

9)   Karlfried Graf Dürckheim: Durchbruch zum Wesen, 1975, Verlag Hans Huber, Bern

10) Eric Berne: Was sagen Sie, nachdem Sie “Guten Tag“ gesagt haben? Psychologie des menschlichen Verhaltens; Geist und Psyche, Fischer, Frankfurt 1983; What do you say after you say hello? Grove Press, Inc., New York, 1972

11) Arthur Janov: Imprints. The lifelong effects of the birth experience; Coward-McCann, New York, 1983

12) Arthur Janov: The new primal scream. Abacus; London 1991

13) Jean Garneau et Michelle Larivey: L’auto développement : psychothérapie dans la vie quotidienne, CIM et Éditions de l’Homme, 1983

14) S.Vanistendael: Clés pour devenir : la résilience, Les Vendredis de Châteauvallon, nov. 1998 ; Les cahiers du BICE (bureau international catholique de l’enfance), Genève 1996, p. 9 ; cité in : Boris Cyrulnik : Un merveilleux malheur, Odile Jacob, 1999

15) Boris Cyrulnik: Les vilains petits canards ; Odile Jacob ; Paris, 2001

16) Elisabeth Lukas: La logothérapie : théorie et pratique ; Pierre Téqui Editeur, Paris, 2004

17) Corey L.M. Keyes, Jonathan Haidt: Flourishing, positive psychology and the life well lived; American Psychological Association; Washington, DC ; 2003

18) Seligman, Martin E.P.: Authentic happiness; Free Press, 2002, New York, NY

19) Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly: Lebe gut! Wie Sie das Beste aus Ihrem Leben machen; DTV, München, 2001 (Finding flow. The psychology of engagement with everyday life. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. New York, 1997)

20) Auhagen, Ann Elisabeth (Hrsg.): Positive Psychologie, Anleitung zum «besseren» Leben; Beltz Verlag, Weinheim, Basel, 2004

21) Pennebaker, James W.: Opening up: the healing power of expressing emotions; The Guilford Press; New York NY, 1997

22) Niederhofer, Kate G., Pennebaker, James W.: Sharing one’s story: on the benefits of writing or talking about emotional experience. In: Snyder C.R., Shane J. Lopez (Eds) Handbook of Positive Psychology, New York, N Y; Oxford University Press, 2002

23) Hélène Roubeix: A la rencontre de soi ; se libérer des rapports de forces ; Editions Anne Carrière, Paris 2000

24) Loretta Cornejo: Cartas a Pedro; Guia para un psicoterapeuta que empieza; Desclée De Brouwer, Colección Crescimiento personal, Bilbao, 2000

25) Daniel Goleman: Emotional intelligence; Bantam Dell, New York, 1ère édition 1995 ; édition du 10ème anniversaire 2005

26) PRH-International: La personne et sa croissance; Lexies, Toulouse, 1997

SUMMARY

In the following article Dr Annemarie Bühler, an experienced psychiatrist-psychotherapist, came to a positive evaluation of the PRH method as a means of facing reality starting from a belief in the positive potential of each person, and saw the PRH method as conducive to social change: “Whenever many individuals, in various places, take a few small steps…, the world changes”.

INTRODUCTION

In today’s society many values have toppled. Everything must go faster and become more efficient. Our own experience and our deep desires become secondary. And yet, it is our inner values, our deep aspirations, and our capacity to love and to relate that make us human beings worthy of that name.

A society cannot prosper if it is not supported by personalities that are solid, relational and aware of their responsibilities. Mental health often cannot be taken for granted; it must be encouraged, nurtured, and developed. It is a great opportunity to be able to ask ourselves questions about ourselves, and to have the possibility of further actualizing ourselves. It brings not only personal enrichment, but also an important contribution to society. For personal development, there are many possibilities, with different methods. And it is often difficult to know which method is well-adjusted to someone. A decisive factor is to also recognize a person’s health and solidity. What fragilities or what excessive behaviours are still part of a healthy person, and what is so severely hampered that formal therapy, and even medication are necessary?

For almost 30 years, I have been accompanying, as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, people with various mental illnesses. I have also been aware for a long time of the various educational activities offered by PRH.

Where PRH can help?

PRH can help people who have a stable personality, who are capable of interiorizing themselves, of methodically working on themselves, and who are ready to invest energy, time and money. For them, PRH offers a very helpful tool. As a school of personal development it includes in its program all the facets of the personal and social areas, and, in this way, brings a significant contribution to quality of life, to a healthy and enriching life. This training is also an important prevention against mental illnesses and fosters more human relational behaviour. The more persons are solid, unified and open, the more they will act in ways that are beneficial for their environment, and the better they will manage the hard knocks of life. The PRH method aims at helping participants to know and put order into inner areas, and in particular, to open up to feelings and to inner experiences. Through workshops, it provides proven tools to continue the work on oneself in an autonomous way, and it offers personal accompaniment.

Where PRH is not appropriate?

When people come to my office because they are experiencing serious inner distress, most of them need a qualified medical doctor. In such a situation, PRH is not sufficient.

Persons suffering from psychosis cannot protect themselves and are overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings. During the acute phase, they first need therapeutic measures that help them take a distance from these: specific medication (neuroleptic drugs), an external framework that provides them with a structure, and sometimes also a hospital stay.

The same thing applies for major relational dysfunctions of the personality, for dependencies and other neuroses; depending on the degree of the seriousness of the illness that significantly hampers the quality of life, a specific treatment is required, either through a hospital stay or through intensive walk-in therapy. Over and above individual and group sessions, and appropriate medication, numerous other methods are applied such as music, creative work, body work, relaxation techniques, to name a few.

Also, the PRH method is not indicated for serious depressions since, in that state, the afflicted persons are incapable of working on themselves. The link to their inner experience and to their environment is severed at the level of the sensibility. At first, they need accompaniment where they feel supported, antidepressants, clear daily structures and much more. During the therapy, an attitude of benevolence, respect and valorisation is of utmost importance. Time and patience is required on both sides; little by little, a trust relationship can be established. The work of healing as such, also with the help of PRH, can begin only when the depression has lifted, and when the faculties for knowing reality are coming back.

PRH as complement and tool for progressing

I have observed that persons who have taken PRH workshops and who come to my office are more sensitive and more open to therapy. They have the desire to heal from their wounds and to become more themselves. They have learned to identify their sensations, to name their inner experience and their reactions, their positive aspects and their fragilities and to integrate them in the diagram of the person with which PRH works. They are very motivated to actively work on themselves and have learned to use tools that help them progress on their own. This experience and their previous PRH training can help persons to remain active between work periods, to take steps toward growth, and to be able to work at their healing. Because of this, they need fewer personal accompaniment sessions, and these can be spaced at longer intervals.

Every healing journey is a long-term process and requires competent psychological accompaniment, and in serious cases, psychiatric accompaniment. For change and healing to be possible, three stages are necessary: first, the recognition of the problem, then having access to their inner experience and working on it, followed by the re-education of old habits and the setting in place of new behaviours.

PRH can be very helpful for the healing journey by offering methodical work on the positive potential, since access to positive inner values is essential for all work on oneself. One must feel connected to this supportive inner foundation and be able to rely upon it to develop the capacity to face what hampers life. PRH transmits a very precious approach.

For persons whose serious illness is well on its way to healing, short modules on the theme of the values of the being can help, since they contribute to strengthening the being, and to solidifying the inner foundations. Moreover, the clear framework of the PRH modules prevents persons from sliding back into useless and destructive rumination. However, educational activities lasting several days are, at the beginning of a healing process, a physical and psychological overload.

For persons who have suffered from psychosis, the PRH method can be useful if work is done in small units, that is, a day at a time instead of several days. The PRH method offers, through specific questions, through time limited work periods, and through a clear structure, a stable external framework in which fragile persons feel supported and can take steps of existence, in order to become more solid and to set their boundaries.

During my long experience as a psychiatrist, I have worked with very different individuals. For example, many have, thanks to PRH, learned to exist, to better live their relationship with themselves and with others, to set their boundaries, to feel what dwells in them, and to identify their essential course of action; they were able to free themselves from their fears and feelings of guilt, or to heal from a childhood marked by a lot of suffering.

PRH is a self-knowledge method which is very effective; it is methodical, but also demanding. It is a treasure for persons who have the courage to fully commit to it. It brings them a better quality of life, great inner joy, and renewed energy. It helps them to find meaning and fullness of life and contributes to a contagious vitality.
PRH is an excellent approach for persons seeking self-knowledge, self-accomplishment, a meaningful life, and better quality relationships. My desire is for everyone to have the courage to take this step. Society can only change in a positive way when someone embarks on a growth journey. “When many ordinary people take small steps in many small places, the world changes”.

Psychologist and former PRH educator, Michel Lamarche is the main writer of the books “Persons and Their Growth” and “A Map for Life in Depth”. He is presently a volunteer collaborator within PRH-International for writing assignments.

SUMMARY

From this research, Michel Lamarche makes a very positive evaluation of the analysis of sensations in PRH…

  • Similar to a car’s headlights which brings light in the dark
  • Concerning openness to our inner reality
  • And to situate ourselves in our reality as persons

The writing of the book «A Map for Life in Depth»

Why the choice of devoting a book to the PRH analysis of sensations?

As a writing committee, we had three main objectives:

  1. PRH is a school of human education. It is necessary for this type of school to express, in reference books, its bases, the fruits of its research, and its methods.
  2. The analysis of sensations is the key-tool of the PRH psycho-pedagogy. It has been used by tens of thousands of people around the world, and we assessed that it was important to account for a method which enabled so many people to become more lucid about themselves with a depth and efficiency in relation to their growth, which they would not have anticipated at the starting point.
  3. Lastly, our desire was to deepen the relevance, the reliability and the warnings related to the use of such a tool for reading inner reality, and to answer questions we were asked, especially concerning the risk of subjectivism or of narcissism… It was important to take stock of the richness and the limits of the method.

What was the essential of what you were seeking to transmit to the readers?

Over and above the description of the method of analysis of sensations itself, I endeavoured to communicate the extraordinary richness contained in the conscious relationship of individuals with their depths. This tool develops a keenness of intelligence, of understanding, of lucidity regarding reality, one’s own reality as well as reality around us, which is capable of broadening and of deeply cleansing our gaze, of fostering the adjustment of our behaviours, and of liberating astonishing creativity. All of us can have access to the richness of our depths, if only we take the means. Becoming aware is an indispensable key for growth.

Writing such a book is a work of research. What did you discover that was new in relation to the theme of the book?

Several reference points took on more weight in me in relation to the analysis of sensations. Thus, the fundamental contribution of subjectivity in self-discovery, the possibility of being objective toward a psychological reality (such as a sensation), but also the necessary and precious contribution of others and of psychological reference points to complete and shed light on the relationship of the individual with him/herself. I grasped more clearly, for myself, the notion of inner reality and its link with actual reality, which is always to be verified. I have better evaluated the importance of « ¿what does this new awareness, which I just gained through analysis, concretely change in my life? ». I entered deeper into the notion of intuition. I discovered, thanks to a study made by Canadian educators, the extent to which the way we analyze ourselves is related to the way we function in life; we recognize, in particular, similar defence systems.

Was knowing how to analyze yourself useful for writing this book? How?

Yes, very much so! I did analyses with knowledge content throughout the book. I was always looking for the accurate words for the realities I was trying to describe, and I allowed myself to be led into the depths of my intuitions and sensations, staying as closely as possible to the sensation of my experience of analysis as a user and as a former educator.

Your personal experience of analysis

First of all, in a few words, was your encounter with the PRH analysis tool important for you? In what?

Through my studies, I had acquired knowledge on human psychology. This gave me the beginnings of explanations concerning what I was experiencing on the psychological level, my shyness for example, but this remained very intellectual and kept me at a distance from the truth of my sensations and emotions. Yet, at that time, I had the illusion of knowing myself well! Encountering the PRH psycho-pedagogy was a shock; I saw an immense field opening before me, that of my truth, that of anyone’s truth, accessible… a disillusion regarding what I could tell myself about myself, my past, my evolution, and a passionate openness to psychology approached from one’s experience, beginning with mine…

What benefits did you derive from the analysis of your sensations in your personal life?

The work of analysis I experienced with the PRH method was the beginning of a face to face with myself, in truth with my lived experience, of the discovery and of the gradual acceptance of my areas of shadows and of my areas of light. I discovered a type of humility that was liberating and cleansing regarding my reality, and regarding my relationships. I observed that my fear of others, which was often paralyzing and which expressed itself through my great shyness, diminished considerably. I have the impression of being able to rely upon an internal type of intelligence in order to live my daily life while sticking very closely to my reality. My use of analysis helped me immensely to listen to others’ analyses while I was an educator, and has made it much easier to access more clarity in my writings.

You are trained as a psychologist. You know and have experienced other approaches to get to know oneself. What are the characteristics of PRH analysis? How is it different, specific, in relation to other approaches?

Taking into account the experience by the intellect of the sensibility and of the body as a way to access reality did not originate with PRH. Aristotle had already made such observations on the importance of the felt experience, for knowledge. More recently, with the development of humanistic psychology, many researchers took interest in this path to knowledge and developed specific methods (Rogers’ psychotherapy centred on the person, Gendlin’s Focussing, Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence, etc.).

What is characteristic of PRH analysis is not only to have succeeded in structuring a method for analyzing one’s psychological experience starting from the observation of what people do spontaneously, but also to have made available to all a training that allows for a conscious apprenticing of that method. In terms of other characteristics, there are the role of writing and the autonomy resulting from this method, the sharing of analyses with others, the use of spontaneous associations of sensations among themselves so as to enter deeper toward their point of emission, and the reference to the PRH explanatory system of the human person…

Would you say that the analysis of sensations is today a strong point of the PRH approach? If yes, why and in what?

It is unquestionably a key element of the whole PRH pedagogy. It provides persons with a very keen means for research, with which they have all the chances to meet, discover and understand themselves, and to progress.

The aims of PRH analysis

In the end, why is it useful to analyze oneself? What does this bring? Philosophie Magazine, a few months ago, used the title: “Is it useful to know oneself?” If yes, why?

Analyzing oneself – like listening, speaking, creating, loving, forgiving, questioning oneself, etc. – are for me among the most important acts done by persons in their lives. Analyzing oneself brings lucidity regarding what we are experiencing. We go from an impression, or from vague sensations to precise words which accurately describe what we are experiencing and where it comes from. This lucidity is as useful to persons as the headlights are to drivers at night. Without analysis, we remain in haziness, in the darkness of unawareness, at the surface of ourselves, or in patterns and representations quite far from reality. Analyzing ourselves makes us more knowledgeable and free; it creates in persons a demanding and vitalizing link with their truth. Analyzing ourselves is calming, in the end, since truth, though difficult to accept at the moment, is, with time, a source of liberation and serenity.

There is also an obvious link between self analysis and self confidence. It is because we know our potentialities and our limits that we can make realistic decisions and that we can risk to undertake.

Also, a secondary effect, which is of no lesser importance, is the understanding that our own work of analysis gives us regarding others’ lived experience. There is a type of empathy that makes us sense, often accurately, what the other is experiencing within.

PRH analysis is not the only way to self-knowledge. Why did PRH prioritize this way?

Individuals who use analysis are often astonished when they become aware that they gradually become enriched with a body of knowledge which they never thought they would acquire. Knowledge about themselves, their identity, their ways of functioning, their vocation, their defence mechanisms, their relationships, but also knowledge concerning psychology, the mechanisms of growth, the mechanisms that govern human relationships, etc. And we can add to this all the knowledge brought about by the analysis of sensations with knowledge content. For example, in the book, I question myself regarding what an intuition is. Here, the field of knowledge is inexhaustible!

Can we learn something new through analysis? What type of new knowledge?

Individuals who use analysis are often astonished when they become aware that they gradually become enriched with a body of knowledge which they never thought they would acquire. Knowledge about themselves, their identity, their ways of functioning, their vocation, their defence mechanisms, their relationships, but also knowledge concerning psychology, the mechanisms of growth, the mechanisms that govern human relationships, etc. And we can add to this all the knowledge brought about by the analysis of sensations with knowledge content. For example, in the book, I question myself regarding what an intuition is. Here, the field of knowledge is inexhaustible!

You assert that the capacity to live harmonious relationships is in direct proportion to individuals’ capacity to analyze their sensations. Can you further develop this bold affirmation?

The lack of awareness, the denial, the refusal to face truth, the refusal to listen to oneself or to listen to others, the repression of one’s emotions, the justifications, the judgments, the projections of one’s own internal conflicts on others, all this and many other attitudes or behaviours sour relationships on a daily basis and can often lead to despair where the future of these relationships is concerned. Conversely, the analysis of sensations proves to be a very promising path to situate each individual in a search for truth, for acceptance, for rightful assertion, for wholesome self-questioning. Harmony in relationships is not the result of chance, or only of “chemistry”, but truly from work on oneself, which is the source of adjustments and of peace.

Can we envision that PRH analysis can have some social impact?

Human beings crossed a fundamental threshold in terms of their humanization when they began to develop a vocabulary enabling them to express what they felt interiorly. From that moment, human beings began to be able to participate in their own evolution, as they broke with the “instinct only” law that governed their lives. Developing individuals’ capacity to analyze through effective methods is fostering the awareness of human beings regarding their immense deposit of resources; it is also helping them become aware of their dysfunctions, and of the roots of these, either in themselves or in social structures, so as to rectify these. When I observe, at the level of one person, the transforming power resulting from a little more self-awareness, I tell myself the extent to which this social transformation, with a view to a more human humankind, would have an impact, if more and more individuals develop their capacity for analysis, using a tool of their choice.