Past Reality Integration® therapy is based on the premise that we, as adults, often perceive the world through the defense mechanisms that we have developed as children. These defense mechanisms see to it that we do not have to feel the pain which was inflicted upon us as children. However these defense mechanisms are exactly what makes us, as adults; suffer the most as they give us a distorted perception of our perceptions of the present reality. Fear, depression, anger, stress and lack of true contact with other people are the root cause of our problems in the present.
PRI aims to help us work towards becoming aware of the destructive actions of these defense mechanisms, to stop the defenses and subsequently take them down or dismantle them.
Our defenses hide the old pain that we have had to repress as a child because allowing ourselves to feel that pain at that time would have been so hurtful that we would have not been able to endure it. The situation of the child that we were differs greatly from the situation of the adult that we are now: we were small, dependent and at the mercy of others for the care, love, warmth and understanding that we needed. We had no other options: if our parents did not give us what we needed, there was no way out, we could not go away and find other parents.
Moreover young children have no awareness of time. This means that a situation with lack of love, insufficient amount of touch and comforting in times that we were distressed seemed, to the child we were, to last endlessly without a prospect of change.
Through dismantling the defense and admitting the old pain we can see and feel the old pain for what it is: old, not belonging in the present but to the child we were still very painful and life threatening.
Deep inside and throughout we realise then that it is not necessary any more to defend ourselves against these feelings through all sorts of defence mechanisms. This was in the past, and the past is gone. We are adults now and not dependent any more on one or two people responsible for fulfilling our basic physical and emotional needs. As adults we now have the ability to fulfil our own needs. In the present, we always have a choice now and we have awareness of time, things that the child we were had no grasp of. Therefore, if it had not developed defense mechanisms, in many cases the child we were would have been exposed to unbearable pain.
The aim of PRI therapy isn’t to feel the old pain in the (false) hope we can do some work on it in order for it to go away. The aim of a PRI therapy is to live our lives increasingly free of defenses. Also then when a defence is being activated, we can recognize these ourselves and can dismantle them more effectively, even more rapidly, so that we can eliminate their destructive effect on our daily lives. Then we can experience life for what it actually is: mostly surprisingly unburdened.
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