Self-Help Advice Books The Primal Scream Part 1

About the self-help book The Primal Scream by Arthur Janov, history and advice from the book.



The Head Man: Popular in the early 1970s, Primal Therapy was developed by Arthur Janov, a graying Hollywood psychologist with a Ph.D. who once specialized in treating children. One experience took him out of his conventional practice into his role as single-minded proponent of what some people see as a bizarre treatment of neurotics. A withdrawn, 22-year-old patient described a London stage act in which the actor walked around holding a bottle and wearing diapers, shouting, "Mommy! Daddy!" At Janov's request, the patient reenacted this, then began to writhe and breathe spasmodically. His cries of "Mommy! Daddy!" were followed by what was the first Primal Scream to be identified as such. Later he said, "I made it! I don't know what, but I can feel!"

Janov tried the technique with 63 other patients and with himself and his family during the next year and a half. All responded similarly. Thus Primal Therapy was born, and it was soon the rage in Los Angeles.

Though Janov denies being a messiah, he claims that Primal Therapy is the most important discovery of the 20th century and makes all other therapies invalid. it has, he says, a 100% cure rate and works with heroin addicts and criminals.

Overview: All neurotics suffer from Primal Pains, which they first felt when, as dependent infants and small children, they were denied their needs by adults, who hushed them, ridiculed them, ignored them, or pushed them beyond their limits. After enough of these experiences, which build a Primal Pool of Pain, the child, by then age five to seven, "splits" and becomes unreal forever. Realizing that there is no hope of being loved for what they are, children begin to do what others expect them to do. Their needs, which do not disappear, are expressed symbolically, often in physical symptoms.

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