Self-Help Advice Books The Primal Scream Part 2

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



Primal Therapy leads to a reexperiencing of these original pains, usually ending in a Primal Scream. (One patient built himself a soundproof room so that he could let himself go with the Primal Scream and not bother his neighbors.) According to Janov, the therapy is revolutionary, leading to an upheaval of the neurotic system; the patient comes out of it "his own self," able to confront problems realistically in the present.

Help-Yourself Advice: Janov stresses that no one but a therapist trained in his techniques should take you through Primals. Here is what it involves.

1. You agree not to smoke, drink, or take drugs for the entire therapy period of several months.

2. You get a leave of absence from your school or job for the three-week intensive therapy which begins the program.

3. You begin by spending 24 hours totally alone in a hotel room, without smoking, reading, telephoning, or watching television. You are allowed to write, and you should try to stay up all night.

4. You go to the therapist, who sees no one else during this time, every day, for three weeks, each time spending up to 3 1/2 hours with him. You lie in a defenseless, spread-eagle posture as he leads you to reexperience traumatic childhood events, challenging your attempts to avoid them, telling you to breathe from the belly. "Tell Daddy you're afraid," he says. Eventually, you go into a Primal in your own style and mood; through this you empty your own Pool of Pain.

5. You go, for the next seven or eight months, to group sessions, where you experience more Primals.

6. Then you are well. You may be so well that you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to engage in "unreal" activities like doing needless paperwork, driving yourself to meet a deadline, or giving a sales pitch. And you may find that the symbolic fulfillment conferred by power, status, and success seems very stale to you.

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