College got you screaming? A primal solution to dealing with modern stress

Perhaps I am a skeptic by nature, but for me, when a good week stretches into a fantastic fortnight, I cannot help but try to anticipate what tragedy will force my inner equilibrium back to the mean. Will a streak of good test grades be interrupted by a score that makes me wonder how many total points were possible? Will Mother Nature cancel spring and make the rest of the month feel like a Winterfell winter? The possibilities are endless.

But perhaps, rather than being a skeptic, I merely have a keen memory of the past and a tendency to apply it to the future. Or I could be operating under a self-fulfilling prophecy. Regardless, a few days ago, my anticipations proved correct. After catching every break in the days after spring break, my luck caught up with me. No need to despair, no one died — but I had the overwhelming desire to scream at the top of my lungs. However, given that the walls in my residence hall are thin and it was past some of my neighbors’ bedtimes, I held in my howl.

Instead, I went for a walk, during which I remembered something I had read in Steve Jobs’ biography. Like one of his idols, John Lennon, Jobs used primal (scream) therapy as a way to flesh out childhood pain. Arthur Janov, the founder of primal therapy, dubs it “the first science of psychotherapy.” Others might be more inclined to call it screaming with a purpose. The scientific and psychological validity of primal therapy is up for debate. However, I would like to advocate primal therapy in a different context than Janov does. In its intended form, primal therapy is meant to alleviate anxiety that stems from traumatic incidents that occurred in the distant past. But why let the anxiety build? Let’s scream now.

Please do not misinterpret: I do not wish to convince you of practicing primal therapy as an alternative to more traditional methods. The last thing that the College of William and Mary needs is for tour guides to have to explain to prospective students why it sounds like an animal is dying every few minutes. Additionally, there are students with all-too-real mental illnesses, for whom a primal alternative would do a disservice. Nonetheless, academics can be rigorous, sleep can be evasive, and Greeks asking for philanthropic donations on your way to Sadler Center can be trying at the College. To alleviate stress and prevent premature hair loss, the College should invest in a sound-proof room, where students can scream their troubles away.

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