Created Feb. 1, 2012
updated Jan. 11, 2014
Dr. Janov Reconsidered
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As a follow up to my own theory of Holistic Psychology and a critique of Dr.
Janov's ideas, many of which I support and some of which I disagree with, I
address some of Janov's words and actions which I have concerns with. I am also
going to use this article to show what his fans believe, and most importantly,
his former therapists who believe his therapy needed some amendments and
changes, as well as any other critics. All voices deserve an open consideration
to conduct a fair trial. Janov's writings in his books, by my opinion, take on a different character in the 90s.
His words on his blog and his strict control of what gets posted by others, to
me, also speak volumes and deserve more explanation. Knowing that he is not
likely to do so, I leave you to make your own decisions, even as I have made
mine to some degree.
No science theory should be accepted without careful review. But most followers
of his do not do this. A careful review is one where all sides and voices are
heard, those both for and against. This would be the conduct for any good fair
trial. But I have voiced my own ideas and
choose to look a little more closely at Arthur Janov, the man, for more insight
into his ideas of primal pain and primal therapy.
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a.k.a. Beware of Janovian Elitism
The following is from the site following:
For those who are worried about people who do
primal therapy but were not trained and sanctioned by Arthur Janov or the Primal
Institute, I think it is important to know some history of the development of
Arthur Janov was the pioneer in writing about Primal
Therapy, but he was just one of many people who were instrumental in developing
primal therapy. Janov registered "Primal Therapy" as a trademark with
the US Department of Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office in May 1972, a
status that gave him the sole right to use the term. His trademark became well
known when he tried to prevent other primal therapists from using the term. A
few individual therapists along with the International Primal Association (an
organization of laypeople and professionals) challenged the trademark Janov had
received in a hearing before the Patent Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal
Board on October 11, 1977. Ten months later, the board issued a decision which
totally and completely canceled Janov's trademark.
>>It is the prerogative of a doctor or researcher
to name when he discovers. But it does not give him exclusive rights over the
concept described by the name, nor the name itself, for which he uses to
describe a theory or condition. He does not act like a doctor or scientists. He
acts like either an out of control control-freak or a business man protecting
Instrumental in the decision was the overwhelming
evidence presented by the IPA and other interested parties that there were MANY
other therapists who, prior to and concurrently with Janov, were instrumental in
developing primal therapy. There was overwhelming evidence that Janov was not
the only (and some say, not even among the best) "true" practitioner
of Primal Therapy. Now Janov has moved on to start another primal organization
and, as best I know, still claims to be the only true practitioners of Primal
Therapy and that any therapist not sanctioned by him is dangerous. These dire
warnings have many people unnecessarily alarmed. He continues to claim sole
"ownership" of something that he obviously was not alone in
It is sad that the best-known spokesperson for
Primal chose to separate himself, incorrectly claim sole authority on all things
primal, and denigrate the fine work of many outstanding professionals - a
practice that Sam Turton refers to as Janovian elitism. My connection with
primal therapists (in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, Vancouver,
Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, the greater San Francisco Bay area and Melbourne)
has been one of sharing, mutual support, and professional encouragement and
growth. The intermixing of techniques borrowed from other disciplines, including
Jungian sandplay and dream work, Gestalt, psychodrama and various bodywork
modalities, has contributed to making primal an even more powerful and effective
I do support his belief that primal therapy is a
powerful tool and, in the hands of inept or incompetent practitioners, can do
However, I do advise seekers to not be terribly
worried about whether a therapist is certified by Janov or the Primal Institute.
It is much more important to find out who therapists are as people and whether
they still do their own work, whether they've gotten advanced training as a
therapist, and to follow your own deepest sense of what is right and helpful.
And, not every therapist suits the needs of every client - and even therapists
who are very good for you overall might not be able to meet all your therapeutic
Best wishes for finding a therapist who truly suits
About Terry Larimore:
Training to be a Practitioner
In 1986, after a solid grounding from 10 years in
therapy as a client and getting my Master's Degree in Social Work, I attended a
residential training program, offered by a team of experts and pioneers from
across the country. This multi-modal program, called "The Ark"
(because it lasted 40 days and nights!), was based in primal therapy and offered
a solid grounding in a variety of techniques to access, release and heal deep
feelings, and integrate those changes back into real life.
Opening my Private Practice
In 1986, with a Master's Degree under my belt and with
the training I had received in the Ark, I started a part-time private practice
in Houston. For many years I worked with and trained with some of the top
therapists in the world.
Credentials and Further Training
I was an LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) in Texas
1981-1998. When I moved to California in 1996 to train, I chose not to pursue a
California license - for two reasons. One is that it would take so long to get
California licensing because my experience in Texas would, for the most part,
not be accepted in California. Second, and most importantly, is that it is an
illusion that having a license is meaningful for the kind of work I do. There is
no therapeutic specialty that covers pre- and perinatal psychology. Even if I
had a license (no matter what kind), to do the work that I do would be operating
outside the scope of that license which is, in and of itself, a violation of
most licenses. This work is very powerful and is a new paradigm in emotional
work, but there is not yet a certification for competence in pre- and perinatal
In addition to the training described above, I have
had extensive experience with primal therapy, Jungian Sandplay and training in
Gestalt, dreamwork, expressive arts (including writing and mandala drawing),
movement and music, meditation, tantra, guided visualization, Access and more.
As a staff member of The Ark until 1996, I got to work intensively with clients
under the supervision of expert therapists. In Houston I ran groups (on-going as
well as with special themes including dreams, sexual abuse and birth trauma) and
have seen individual clients since 1986.
I was a Board Member of the International Primal
Association 1987-1999 and served for 7 years as its Newsletter Editor. I chaired
four international conferences and have served on the steering committee for the
1997 and 1999 APPPAH Congresses. For two years (1999-2000), I served as
Newsletter Editor for APPPAH (Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and
Parenting is a philosophy of child-rearing - developed by
developmental psychologist Aletha Solter, Ph.D. - that has the potential to
change the world. Based on cutting-edge research and insights in child
development, Aware Parenting questions most traditional assumptions about
children, and proposes a new approach that can profoundly shift a parent's
relationship with his or her child.
Primal Association - The International Primal Association is a
community of feeling-oriented individuals who value primal process, abreaction
and other deep-feeling work to promote healing, growth, wholeness and authentic
being. This link is to the website that the IPA is developing; more IPA
information is available on the Primal Psychotherapy Page (see below).
for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health - APPPAH is a
non-profit organization of lay and professional people interested in the effects
of prenatal and birth experiences on our long-term mental and physical health.
Society of Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine - The
European counterpart of APPPAH. If it is not in English, just select
English on the first page.
Psychotherapy Page - John Speyrer has gathered a lot of
information on primal work in this interesting and multi-faceted webpage. (At
this point, it contains more information about the IPA than the IPA page
the Future - Suzanne Arms is a videographer, photographer and
birth activist who teaches, lectures, and publishes videos and books. The
purpose of her organization is to inspire, foster and advocate vision and
practical models for the and well being of life on this planet. Contains
startling information about the state of birth in America!!
MORE GREAT LINKS: Go here for links to related websites who have
received the "Babies Are Aware Award."
Last updated May 2, 2005
end of Site Material
>> As you can see
from the exposure at the beginning, Arthur was not alone in developing the
therapy. But he makes every effort to own and control it all, on the pretense
that only he is well motivated enough and skilled and intelligent enough (I
gather) to be able to practice this. Well, those are absurd claims in my book
and I have felt that way since at least 1990. What can you make of an ego and what seems
to be an obsessive controller? Many doctors of psychology have developed
theories and methods, but they do not try to own them and prevent others from
practicing it. In fact, they usually recommend and encourage others practicing their method.
But not Janov.
But Terry shows this is not reasonable as
well. I'll deal more with the integration of other techniques later. Her links
are impressive. She is involved in prevention as well as treatment and cure. as
far as resources go, her page is among the finest. Arthur is clearly not the
only one promoting or developing Primal theory and therapy. But his spin would
not have you believe this and his scare tactics speak of the horrors of bad
practice. But if this were truly so, he could easily pass on what the errors are
and how to avoid them. That he does not, suggests that either the errors are
fabricated, or that he has some very selfish motives, or that the problem was
the patient and not the therapy.
Update, Dec. 8, 2013.
Indeed, if Primal Therapy is as dangerous and elusive to learn and practice,
really, we ought to question rather it should even be practiced at all. What
kind of therapy can it be that is nearly impossible to do right with the guiding
hand of the psychological messiah himself, Dr. Janov. But there is yet another
reason why I ask this.
The Psychological and Psychiatric
worlds are loaded, yes saturated, with clandestine secret government operatives
& operations, so say those claiming to have once been mind-controlled (and I
personally believe them), and many psychologists and psychiatrists cooperate
with these "agents." Due to this fact, one might wonder if anyone
should even bother with psychology and psychiatry. It is not something to easily
It is my opinion that one would be
very wise to stay as far away from anything even remotely connected to any sort
of secret operations, regardless of who is behind them.
"Mind-Tempering" (one of my own labels) is the rage of mid 20th
century onward. It is bad enough that schools program us and entertainment, too.
We don't need to add to it, especially something as totally dangerous as any
sort of MK Mind Control, too.
I do not suspect Janov of such
operations, but nothing could or would stop any "agent" from busting
in and forcing doctors to cooperate or else. Why take the chance, if you happen
to be one who is independent in thought, word, or deed. Janov does avoid the
topic of Mind Control when asked about it. So he at least knows enough to fear
it and not dignify it, which is reason enough as I see it, to be concerned about
it. We live in a very dangerous world and we have every good reason to be
extremely cautious and careful with anything involving mind manipulation,
treatment of it or behavior, or anything related to it. Never ever submit to
hypnosis, would be my advice, for whatever that is worth.<<
Brenda Craven M.F.T
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From the following:
From there I did a requisite and
greatly desired year of therapy. I was invited to join the staff in 1976.
I worked as a junior therapist in training from 1976 to 1981. During
that time I accompanied Dr. Janov, along with another therapist in doing
retreats for European patients in Switzerland and Denmark. While in
Denmark I assisted Dr. Janov in a presentation on Primal Therapy at the
University of Copenhagen. In 1981 I started a private practice. Twice
I was asked by former patients to do retreats in their countries. I
conducted a retreat in Caracus, Venezuela in 1988 and one in Thessaloniki,
Greece in 1992. In the late 80's I attended Dr. Janov's 2 year training
program in L.A. and in 1996 was invited once again to join the staff at the
Primal Center. I began seeing 3 week patients regularly and became a
senior therapist. My responsibilities increased and in the past
three years I have participated in organizing programs and teaching
clinical and theoretical skills to trainees aspiring to become therapists.
I left the primal center in May, 2010 and intend to do further study and expand
my private practice.
During the thirty four years I
have been doing Primal Therapy, I've had opportunity to work with people of all
ages, classes, and cultures - 35 countries and 3 foreign islands. It has
been a rich experience to touch and be touched by the world in this way. And
I look forward to it continuing for several years to come.
Certificates and Study
1983 Clinical Hypnotherapy
1986 Ethics Chairperson for the Los Angeles Chapter of Marriage and
1987 Certificate in Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counseling Skills, U.C.L.A.
(involved a 2
week internship at Daniel Memorial Hospital)
1989 Family Systems Training, Southern California Counseling Center,
Los Angeles, California
2001 Studied "Imago" couples therapy with Dr. Bruce Crapuchettes
2009-2010 Presently studying Relational Couples Therapy with nationally
recognized, Terence Real,
I read French and am able to recognize a bit of German from
2 years of classes in college
In addition to Primal Therapy, I also do couples therapy
and regular counseling. My primal work is based on the therapy, practice
and supervision of Dr. Arthur Janov over a span of thirty four years. Since the
publication of his first book, "The Primal Scream" in 1970 he has
published the following books.
End of her site info
She was quite involved with
Arthur Janov at one time and has studied other forms of therapy as well. She
has, in my opinion, received enough training and is persuaded in the validity of
Primal therapy to qualify to practice it. And her ideas matter as much as anyone
else's, including Dr. Janov. She was invited by Janov in 96, to practice. I know he
says that is no longer valid but that is absurd. He may have improved his
technique, but the rest may have, too, apart from Janov. Her main focus is in
his type of therapy.
As Terry pointed out near the
beginning, Arthur is not considered the best practitioner of Primal Therapy by
some, if not many. I find in him things of concern. I would not seek treatment
from him. But he had been far more into self promotion than all these other
sources put together. Further, they do not bad mouth each other and they share
their ideas. Arthur makes lots of accusations, but with no specifics,
whatsoever. Accusations unsupported are not worth bothering about. They are hot
air and clashing cymbals in the breeze. Don't be intimidated.<<
The above is a clever title for, as best as I can tell, another form of
Primal Therapy. But perhaps with some needed improvements added. I do not quote from
his site continually, but skip over to main points. That is, its condensed but
looks continuous, which it is not. I'll let his site
talk from here.
Therapy Has Evolved
Jeffrey T Cohen, LMHC, the Founder and Director of the Integrated Feeling
Therapy Centers of Manhattan and New Paltz, has created a therapy that combines
the power of deep feeling with the will to change.
the advent of Primal Therapy in the 1970s, Jeff has been a fierce advocate and a
reluctant critic. He has recognized the brilliance of Dr. Arthur Janov's
discovery of a way to relive our traumas from womb/birth onward. This was a
great leap forward in our understanding of the roots of mental illness.
Unfortunately, traditional primal therapy treatment has some significant
shortcomings. It is not enough just to "feel" and relive trauma;
this is only the beginning of the healing process. These traumas must be
integrated into a solid psychotherapeutic framework that incorporates the
"will to change".
Feeling Therapy (IFT) helps clients heal from their wounds with love, kindness,
support, honesty, and cognitive understanding. We help our clients transform
themselves from victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse into adults who
are able to give and receive love. True healing occurs only once this
As you read this website, please keep in mind:
The guiding principle of IFT is
to enable all clients to love and be loved.
T. Cohen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, licensed to practice
psychotherapy by the State of New York. He completed his B.A. in psychology at
the City University of New York. His initial clinical training was in
classical primal therapy from 1981 through 1986, first with Julienne Jones
Scanlon, one of the initial therapists trained by Dr. Arthur Janov. He
completed his primal therapy training with Theresa Sheppard Alexander, M.A.,
the former Resident Director, and Director of Training of Janov's New York
Primal Institute. He also was trained in classical and Eriksonian hypnosis
and is a certified hypnotherapist. He has studied mindfulness-based
meditation, including hatha yoga. His work was also supervised by Dr. Herman
Weiner (formerly a supervising analyst at NPAP), over a four-year period in
the early 80's. He is a member of the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society (EGPS),
the American Group Psychotherapy Society (AGPS) and the US Association of Body
has lectured at various universities and therapy seminars, and has been a
guest on radio talkshows, including recently on WBAI's "The Positive
Mind". He has developed, and teaches, a comprehensive training program in
the theory and clinical technique of Integrated Feeling Therapy and Integrated
Feeling Life Coaching.
have known and admired Jeff Cohen's work for 25 years, first as the
Director of the Manhattan Center for Primal Therapy, and now as the Director
of the New York Centers for Integrated Feeling Therapy. He has expanded his
psychotherapeutic vision beyond his early training in Arthur Janov's
primal therapy and has incorporated innovative principals that address the
most current brain research by creating a balanced integration of the feeling
emotional brain with the neocortical cognitive brain." - Herman Weiner,
Ph.D, New York University
training was in classical primal therapy, from 1981 through 1986. My initial
training was with Julienne Jones Scanlon, one of the first therapists
trained by Dr. Arthur Janov. She left the Primal Institute during the 1970's
to start her own practice in New York. After her retirement I completed my
training with Theresa Sheppard Alexander, M.A., the Director and Director of
Training of Janov's New York Primal Institute.
Overview Of Integrated Feeling Therapy
my early years were involved in the study and practice of Primal Therapy. I
began seeing the strengths and weaknesses of Janov's model of
therapy. The main theoretical strength was the concept of the three layers
of pain (first, second, and third line pain). This was a brilliant leap
forward in our understanding of mental illness. The main clinical strength
was the development of a process whereby the therapist assists the client to
follow the line of pain from present day distress all the way back to the
beginning of their life. At this point, early preverbal trauma can be
accessed. It was felt that just by feeling the pain, neurosis would be
cured. However, I discovered through my work that this was not the case. In
fact, that belief turned out to be one of the main weaknesses of primal
therapy. This is where I emphatically diverge from classical primal theory.
the pain is not enough to heal.
analogy I like to use in describing my discovery is the following: just
feeling that the well is empty (as in cathartic primal experience) doesn't
automatically give us the ability to fill up the well. In other words, feeling
the lack of love, feeling the various manifestations of physical, sexual and
emotional abuse that so many of us endured doesn't in and of itself
give us the tools we need to learn how to love and be loved as adults. Primal
mainly teaches us how unloved and rejected we were. In my opinion and clinical
experience that is not enough to cause healing to occur.
is built entirely on the concept of learning how to love and be loved. This
is a crucial departure from classical primal work. In IFT, the client does
not just feel old pain, but rather is engaged in an actively transformative
process. IFT gives a person the tools they need to become truly able to
give and receive love. I believe that very little real healing happens
until this transformation occurs. It's moving from being the victim to
being the victor. The entire therapy (including the training of IFT
therapists, the intensive, private therapy, group therapy, and couples therapy
has this as the primary goal of treatment: transforming the unloved child into a
view the therapist-client relationship as crucial to healing. The
modeling, the feedback, the honesty, the integrity of this relationship is
the most important "tool" to aid in the transformative process. If
is often through this relationship that the client first experiences trust in
another human being. In order to truly love, we must be able to
trust in another. We consistently challenge the client to take the
information gained from IFT to go out and make positive changes in their lives.
This is often the harder part of therapy, harder than just feeling old
pain in a therapy room, yet this is where true healing begins to occur.
In order to do this, the client needs to have the will, in other words,
the combination of desire and strength, to change their lives. The
relationship of trust between the therapist and client provides the bridge to
assist the client in the integration of past pain to present day change. This
is the heart of the work.
speaking, will is a combination of the desire and strength to effect change.
It is the crucial determining factor to success or failure in therapy,
and involves the client letting go of old patterns of behavior while actively
seeking new positive choices and ways of being. Since the old patterns
were rooted in early relationships based on the deprivation or denial of real
needs, the client needs a lot of support during this time. The
process is akin to taking baby steps, in that often, it is three steps forward,
two steps back. Support is provided through both individual and group
therapy, and the physical environment at the therapy centers. The
Institutes in New York City and in New Paltz, are beautiful, soundproofed, walls
are padded, lighting is soft. The message is one of safety,
confidentiality, and respect, which create the right environment for healing.
This allows the "will" of a person to find a true voice. Clients
become connected, often for the first time in their lives, with their true
healthy adult needs. Clients become empowered to transform themselves from
the abused and hurt child of their early lives to become productive, creative,
loving members of society.
my early years of doing group work I followed the classical primal therapy
model. Clients would come into a large room, lie down, and for 1 hours try to access their feelings Therapists would go around the room and try
to help people go into their feelings. This would be followed by a half hour
post-group, when people would share what they felt their primal was about.
Then everyone would leave. Over time, although many clients deeply felt their
feelings and had tremendous insight into the roots of their pain, I observed
that feeling pain and having insight was not enough for many clients to effect
change in their lives. People needed guidance at this point. My frustration
with the limitations of this type of group led to the development of the IFT
began thinking of the dynamic of a dysfunctional family, in which the real
self of the child isn't recognized or supported to grow. Vulnerability
is often not allowed, creativity is often squelched, honest confrontations
aren't allowed or supported. I found myself exploring ways to structure
the group to function as a supportive, guiding family. I felt that this
corrective group therapy experience combined with the deep work of individual
therapy would enable me to help people in a more effective way.
developed the IFT model of a therapy group, which has a number of unique
aspects. Lasting two hours, it starts with a 10 minute meditation that I
designed to help each client focus inward to get in touch with the most
important issues to bring up in the group. Group then proceeds to a deep
sharing by each client. It includes asking for support to do the difficult
things in life, asking for honest feedback about a problem, learning how to
honestly confront, and be confronted by, another person in the group. These
are all encouraged and eventually expected from all the group members. Music,
dance, or theater may be used to release repressed feelings and get our energy
moving. Clients are encouraged to share personal expressions of creativity, in
whatever form that might entail. Of course, deep feelings arise in the group,
but they are not the focus, the focus is to give those in the group the tools
they need to use their insights to effect change in their lives. The
combination of this type of group, in conjunction with private therapy is
IFT group teaches the client how to find a healthy support system outside of
IFT group shows the client that change is possible at any age, at any time of
IFT group helps the client recover from psychological injuries.
End of IFT site info <<
Cohen really resonates with me. I love everything coming from him. What he says about deficiencies is exactly
what I came up with, independently. I find many primal "graduates" a
complete aimless wandering mess. They are incompletely. Cohen as recognized
this. Arthur left half the package out, so to speak. Cohen gives patients the
tools and skills to handle life properly. We should have gotten this from our
parents but they did not bother.
Jeffrey speaks of the "will to change." This was an important part
of my theory. One must be committed to one's self and determined to find fault
in themselves in order to get well. Most who seek any sort of therapy are not
committed and sincere. Art tries to force commitment by requiring $6,000, but
when dealing with the human will, a million would often not be enough. I am also
impressed with Eriksonian hypnosis and its potential, for which Jeffrey is
trained. He also recognizes that importance of fixing thoughts, developing
strategies and other training we should have gotten from mom and dad. Life
Coaching is related to this. Dr. Jeffrey Cohen brings many tools to the table
and that is what is needed. broken minds need fixed in many ways, not just one
solitary way. Arthur is too limited and stubborn as well.
Dr. Cohen calls his therapy, Integrated Feeling therapy, which is what Arthur
often uses to describe his process of integrating feelings. I will also point
out, too, that the patient is the most important part of whether any therapy
succeeds or not, as Cohen seems to recognize. Further, I maintain that since the
internal deep mind is the controller of this automatic instinctive process, it
should not be that complicated.
Were I to need or pick a therapist and therapy at this point, this would be
the guy! He goes right to my nerve center. He tells you specifically, what his
differences are. Nothing to hide! I have tried to contact the Primal
Institute, run by Arthur's former wife, Vivian, but get no response when I ask
what professional differences might exist between her institute and Arthur's. No
>> Dec. 8, 2013. At this point, I would not seek
out any therapist for any reason. I believe one can find their own answers if
they truly and sincerely want to find the answers. Only those with major
disturbances might have trouble doing this, and even then, the only real
question would be, do they really want the answers they are seeking.<<
Dr. Cohen, on the other hand, give full public confession and explanation.
Now this guy behaves in an open honest manner and professional way with
accountability. Lets see Arthur or Vivian do this! Put up or shut up! Cohen's
entire site is what I call full disclosure and explanation. And it is so
sensible and logical. I would honestly like to see Arthur address some of the
stuff Cohen brings up; but maybe in subtle ways, Arthur has, and has failed to
do so adequately.
As best as I can tell, Jeffrey Cohen is the real deal. But he does not
publish books continually promoting himself and denigrating the rest (without
explanation). Nor do I sense an ego with Cohen, nor a hard edge and dogmatic
tendencies. He has a much softer feel.
Now this does not mean NY IFC can deliver on what it suggests. Its
suggestions are good and needed. An interview would be a good start if you are
considering a therapy. But I think this place has great potential, more that
Real Personal Growth
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Welcome to the Real Personal Growth website of some of the
research of Robert S. Vibert.
All content copyright 2006/9 by Robert S. Vibert
Personal Growth can be defined as being
comprised of two main activities:
- Fixing what needs fixing (healing) in
- Enhancing what needs enhancing
Both fixing and enhancing are needed for each of us to grow. They work
together, although usually not at the same time.
We cannot properly enhance something which is broken and fixing is not required
when we just want to improve a skill.
We must apply the correct tool for each requirement, after determining
what is actually needed.
"Integration can also be enhanced by attending to the elements of
everyday life, such as balanced diet, exercise, creative development, stress
reduction, conflict resolution, career counseling, and coping skills."
To read more about primal therapy and primal integration, the following
articles are available:
What is Primal
Psychotherapy by Larry King
Integration (brief) by John Rowan, Ph.D.
The Seven Stages of
Primal Therapy by Stephen Khamsi, Ph.D.
What It Is and What It Is Not
(Written in 1986, revised in 1988 with important footnote: year 2000)
by Réal Beaulieu, MA, MFT, Primal Therapist
[I was trained by Dr. Janov from 1989 to 1995, and worked at his Primal Training
Center with certification as a primal therapist under supervision from 1993 to
This article originally appeared in the Winter, 1986, issue of L'Orientation
Professionnelle. The author, a primal therapist, will soon relocate from Los
Angeles to Montreal and plans to open a private practice there. Réal Beaulieu
believes that the article has historical value and can encourage healthy
discussions. Since it was written, he has undergone five years of training at
the Primal Training Center under Dr. Arthur Janov's supervision. Mr. Beaulieu is
no longer employed at the Primal Training Center.
Actual Writing: >> He is
a big supporter of Primal Therapy and Janov but then covers his differences
Also, inherent to the nature of Primal therapy, there is the danger that the
primal patient, having been promised a cure, puts too much hope and reliance on
"feelings" alone. I must emphasize that this remark applies especially
to the early days of Primal Therapy. In those days, the process was considered
as potentially dangerous, even by Janov himself.
The process of getting in touch with one's feelings and expressing them is not
dangerous in itself. It can only heal. The real danger occurs when the patient
is confronted with more pain than he or she can handle and integrate (overload).
This is likely to happen when one's quality of life is getting worse, or simply
isn't improving. We all have a good understanding that a miserable present in
conjunction with a miserable past can only lead to despair.
It appears to me that the process of Primal Therapy could be improved if the
therapists paid more attention to the quality of life of their patients. In that
sense, I would propose a reversal of procedure. Instead of initially focusing on
the Pain, one should help the patient to get a better life first. In due time,
the Pain will come up. When the therapy is applied in this manner, the patient
cannot lose and the risk of an overload is practically eliminated.
I have other criticisms. For example, I always felt the cost of the
three-week intensive to be prohibitive and even anti-therapeutic for that
same reason. Let me explain. The intensive is only the tip of the iceberg. Some
people have to work years or use up all of their savings in order to only
“start” a process that may last a lifetime. This puts them under enormous
pressure to “feel old feelings” (called primals here) and sometimes leads to
abreaction or trying too hard to do the therapy. In other words, it becomes
unnatural, therefore anti-therapeutic. Once again, this is a discussion about
how the Therapy should be applied, not a questioning of the theory itself. One
can take a thousand trips around the world, become a famous writer or movie
star, be admired by millions, and still feel miserable. The kind of pain we are
talking about doesn't go away just because of a change in lifestyle. It
eventually has to be dealt with and felt for what it is.
- IMPORTANT NOTE - In this article, I was trying to classify primal theory
historically in terms of Freudian, Cognitive-Behavioral and
Existential-Humanistic psychology. The latter puts a strong emphasis on the
client’s responsibility for his/her own present and future growth.
The danger here is to ignore the tremendous responsibility of the therapist
in that growth process. A un-acknowledged mistake (especially an egregious
one) by the therapist or the people in authority (therapy-wise), especially when
confronted by the client, can contribute to catastrophic overload in a primal
client. This overload can last for a lifetime.
This is compounded even more, if in the name of clinical expertise, the
mistake is endorsed by a whole group of therapists and people in authority.
Then, the reality of the client is clearly taken away which may lead to
dire consequences, including suicide and psychosis. For many primal patients,
primal therapy represents their last hope. Where will they turn if the
people who gave them that hope turn their back and deny the validity of their
reality, perceptions and feelings in the same way their parents did?
We all have the responsibility to look at ourselves as therapists and face
the consequences of our acts. It is human to make mistakes, but is is inhuman to
deny them when there is so much at stake. The main quality of a good therapist
is humility and non-defensiveness. It is a grave mistake not to be able to
“You are right, I am sorry.”
>> I suspect, tied up in these words, are implications of Janov and
company. The words show a real depth and understanding. This site and
participants also strongly resonate with me. They have seen the errors and
corrected them and made adjustments.<<
The 3 Steps to Healing - Awareness, Expression,
Resolution by Robert S. Vibert
I recently realized what was missing in many emotional healing techniques - a
systematic and comprehensive approach that would ensure that the three key
aspects of the emotional healing process would be properly handled.
Since early 2001, I have engaged in a dedicated and intense research project
with a wide range of emotional healing modalities. I have participated in
numerous workshops and conferences on healing approaches and modalities, read
countless books and articles, watched dozens of training videos and been trained
and certified in a number of these modalities. I have discussed the process and
methodologies of healing with many experts in the field, and had the techniques
applied to myself as well as applied them to willing "clients".
Thanks to my other income streams, and unlike many people involved in this
arena, I have not approached it as a way to gain a living, and this has enabled
me to easily abandon techniques that do not work well in favour of those that
do. I did not hang up a "shingle" as healer, mainly because I was not
satisfied with the results in both myself and others with most of these systems.
Drawing on my background in systems analysis, I watched for patterns and what
underlying structures existed in these techniques. While I do not consider the
research project complete, a clear picture has emerged concerning the emotional
healing process and what steps are involved, in addition to how well many
methods achieve their stated healing goals.
There are many excellent methods and processes which help people uncover
their emotional pain and many that allow a good expression of that pain, but few
properly addressed the final step - resolution of that pain, so one can live
free of it.
My research reveals that there are three steps one needs to take for healing
to be complete.
Copyright Robert S. Vibert May 2006, all rights reserved. First published on
www.real-personal-growth.com May be freely distributed with this copyright
Robert S. Vibert
about this topic, I did a quick Google search and found that more than 36
million web pages refer to people's resistance to change. Many of the initial
30 or so pages I looked at discussed this in the context of the business
environment, but many addressed the general reasons people resist change.
Here's part of a list of reasons, that I found on www.tutor.com:
- Surprise &
- Loss of face
- Concern about
There a number of
books on the topic of resistance to change, and many consultants offer workshops
and services to assist organizations deal with change resistance. Given the wide
range of material on this topic, I am lead to conclude that we are still
searching for the real answer.
enough, I did find one author (Al Kaniss) who included in his material that we
resist change because it represents "A THREAT TO OUR SECURITY, SAFETY OR
SURVIVAL". I suspect that he is very close to the mark, although the
examples he gives deal more with the installation of nuclear plants in someone's
>> This is a great article and so is the entire
site. You should read it. It supports Primal Theory but also takes a closer look
at what sometimes interferes in this therapy.<<
- The Legacy of Descartes
Robert S. Vibert
>> This too, is recommended. Sort of supports
Arthur, really. Vibert really is a supporter of Primal theory and therapy. But
elsewhere, Vibert has shown that more is needed. But here he does down thinking
or cognition, as the only approach and being a limited approach.
Warning! I have
abbreviated much of these articles above and below from this site, to
present the main ideas.<<
Myth of Choice by
Robert S. Vibert
it true that we can choose our emotions, our thoughts, our beliefs?
Unfortunately, this concept is only partially true and only valid under certain
circumstances. In reality, much of our thinking, our emotional responses and our
beliefs are determined by the various factors that either contribute to their
creation or impede their free choice.
can be defined as the conviction of the truth concerning some statement (or
collection of thoughts) or the reality of some being or phenomenon. However, no
matter how strong our conviction is, these beliefs may not be true or even
valid. Beliefs need to be verified to be true by objective validation.
are not reality, but really only value judgements. However, this does not stop
us from treating beliefs as if they were real. You may have heard the expression
"Don't confuse me with the facts; I've made up my mind" which of
course sounds like nothing more than a well-practiced set of thoughts. Often
beliefs can be found just under the surface of our consciousness, ready to be
blurted out without much thinking - statements like "I'm never on
time" and "I'm not good enough!", "I'll never get
well!", "No one likes me!" etc...
does a thought or belief come from?
are a number of factors which contribute to the creation of thoughts and
beliefs, and emotions related to these. Some of the more common factors are peer
and family influences, cultural norms, and traumatic events. All of these have
an impact upon us, and trigger the creation of thoughts and deeply embedded
beliefs, which we can mistakenly think are our own. Although they are deeply
embedded, they are not our own, as we did not consciously create them.
choices when in pain
other part of this equation is that whenever we are in pain, especially
emotional pain, our capacity to think clearly and make clear choices is severely
diminished. There are plenty of studies which show that the parts of our brains
that react get the most blood flow when we are emotionally triggered, leaving
our thinking brain parts with much less blood than normal.
other words, we can't think straight when we are in a highly charged emotional
state. If we can't think straight, then it is going to be darn hard to make
informed choices. So when someone tells you that you can choose to feel or think
differently, don't beat yourself up if you cannot.
Avoiding Responsibilities in Life
by Robert S. Vibert
Copyright Robert S. Vibert May 2007
Every day, in so very many ways, people from all walks of life avoid taking
responsibility for their actions, using denial and obstructive tactics. Even
something as simple as accepting responsibility for parking their car outside
the designated zone is unacceptable to them.
A good example of this is what Gay Hendricks, a relationship specialist, tells
in his books of the time he spent working in the American prison system. Almost
every single person that had been incarcerated stated to Hendricks that the
responsibility for being in prison was not theirs. They would blame the justice
system, the other people involved in the crimes for which they were convicted,
and even their own kids for turning them in.
And then, there is perhaps the most classic excuse of all: "The devil made
me do it.", which was immortalized by the late Flip Wilson, comedian and
television actor, who starred in The Flip Wilson Show in the 1970s.
Why run away from Responsibility?
So, the 64 dollar question is - why do people run away from taking
responsibility for what they have done? Apart from all the other possible
reasons, there is one that is crucial - fear of shame. Shame is a very life
diminishing emotion for many people. In fact, some studies have determined that
shame can be a key factor in suicide attempts.
But, how do we get to feeling shame from avoiding responsibility? The link is
the human desire to avoid pain and a common misconception about guilt and shame.
If we take as an example what happens when someone does something that they know
is not right. Whatever the path that led them to that situation, they know that
their act was not acceptable by the standards of their society or culture.
According to Shelly Pinnell, a Licensed Social Worker with many years of
experience in dealing with this phenomena, just the knowledge that they did
something wrong is enough for many people to
activate their pain avoidance mechanisms.
It is pretty easy to see that humans avoid pain much of the time. And, there is
an innate sense that shame is painful, often very painful. "What makes this
more complicated, Pinnell says, is that people often confuse guilt with shame
and lump them together in the 'that which we avoid' group."
"Guilt about a wrong-doing is normal and can serve as a motivation to right
a wrong or make amends. The problem arises when people confuse the guilt they
feel with the shame they don't want to feel and enter into a state of strong
denial about the whole matter."
Although the terms Shame and Guilt are used rather interchangeably by many
people, they are not one and the same. You can differentiate between the two by
remembering that according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary
- Guilt is a feeling of culpability for offenses, deriving from having
committed a breach of conduct especially violating a law or standard of
- Shame is a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming,
or impropriety or a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute.
As we can see, the terms are related, but shame incorporates pain,
humiliation, disgrace - all much more intense in nature and which build upon the
feeling of guilt.
From Bad to Worse
Given the strong avoidance tendencies that most people have around painful
feelings of shame and the confusion of guilt with shame, it is not surprising
that so many people avoid taking responsibility for anything that might trigger
those undesirable emotions.
And, as people have more and more interactions with others, the number of
opportunities to engage in actions which may not be the most suitable, let alone
acceptable, grows constantly. As a result, in many societies there is less and
less acceptance of responsibility and the trend is in the direction of this
getting only worse. Some societies have entered the era of no personal
responsibility - we blame our DNA, our parents, our poverty, our riches,
whatever we can point at, so long as we do not point at ourselves.
It is time for this tide to turn, and for people to start distinguishing
between a twinge of conscience and blast of shame and to start taking more and
more responsibility for their actions.
But when children have guilt-laden care-givers that are hung up on their own
uncorrected mistakes ( for which the care-givers have taken no responsibility)
they become locked into the culture of shame and guilt from which there appears
to be no respite other than not accepting responsibility.
One can ask, "Under these conditions what child would want to accept
If we do not model to our children and ourselves a high degree of acceptance of
responsibility, in the context of suitable forgiveness, we will sink lower and
lower, away from a mature and life-enhancing way of life. All it takes is a few
moments to model this for others, much like that which was demonstrated with
generosity in the movie "Pay it Forward". Let us do this for our
children and others. Let us initiate a culture of courage and responsibility
for future generations.
Copyright Robert S. Vibert February 2006
End of Site info <<<
I love the approach of this site as well. You should definitely visit this site
and give it a going over. Great work! But as well, Vibert is telling you exactly
what he is about. He is very Janovian and yet has differences and is making
those know to us all. Nothing to hide! But as well, Vibert is promoting,
defining, enhancing, evolving and man enough to recognize deficiencies and make
improvements. Like Cohen, he inspires confidence and trust. You (at least I do)
feel good about him as a person with growth and good qualities.
Vibert puts out a little more in theory than most. I like that. Vibert does
not heavily promote himself like Arthur does. But Vibert does have many book
recommendations and articles and has given much time to improving the whole
therapy involved. He mentioned how it is easier for him to admit an error and
change when required. I read implications into that.
My opinion is that Arthur can not admit error or shame. His ego will not
allow it and his practice is all of his income. I would like to see Arthur step
up to the plate and address what these various practitioners have found and put
>> Dec. 8, 2013. Vibert hits upon what I have
come to believe. Part of what causes trouble for many people is their poor ways
of handling various situations that often come upon in life. Just as an athletic
coach might teach you how to play a sport better, a psychological behavioral
coach could teach you better ways to handle these situations that can bring so
much trouble in life. By eliminating the bad patterns and stop acting without
thought, and trying something new, we establish new patterns and encounter new
types of experiences which can be life changing experiences that stimulate more
changes in brain wiring.
When you substantially reduce the trouble you encounter
due to your own behavior, you will experience far less trouble. With far less
trouble and drama, you will have more time to focus and concentrate on what is
important, without distraction and drama. You may also gain the of the
sub-conscious, referred to in some circles as the "hidden observer,"
named by E. Hilgard. The hidden observer is the real decision make in most of
our thoughts and behavior. If one is having problems feeling or primalling, it
may be the hidden observer blocking such release of feelings, believing there is
too much chaos or danger in its life at that time.
By substantially reducing the danger and winning over
the confidence of the hidden observer, one might then begin to feel and primal.
I can only tell you that mind control victims, due to no one really knowing how
to treat them, since such things had never been known of or accepted when the
first victims came forth, no one knew how to treat them. Victims were often left
on their own to figure it out and they did. They often "primalled" as
well, though they did not know Janov or that name.
Mind control victims had experienced hundreds and even
thousands of traumas and were racked with pain, yet they eventually found some
heading and relief. It has been done, despite the overwhelming odds against
I maintain emphatically, that the most important
ingredient in any recovery of psychological abuse, whether typical or extreme,
is the will and desire of the person wounded, to truly want relief and answers.
Trying to get your own hidden observe to cooperate may be your biggest
challenge. I'll write on this all extensively one day, but not at this time. Too
busy right now.<<
International Primal Association (IPA)
Back to Top
Our purpose is to explore, study, research, and promote deep feeling forms of
psychotherapy and growth, including those that emphasize uncovering and
resolving traumatic experiences, and to develop a community that is congruent
with the principles developed from this work.
The IPA is a non-profit organization founded in 1973. Its membership is made
up of professional and lay persons interested in exploring and advancing primal
abreaction and other forms of deep feeling psychotherapy and growth. Members
come from a broad cross section of backgrounds, occupations, and interests. The
IPA seeks to provide a safe and honest environment for validation of the Self as
an individual, the Self as a community member, and the Self as a professional
practitioner. Those sharing or seeking this path of self-discovery may enjoy the
social events and joyous community activities built into the IPA's way of BEING.
- Experiencing deeply the feeling Self.
- Uncovering and healing crippling traumatic experiences in the person's
- Expressing repressed feelings, pain, and needs as part of the healing
- Exploring the uncharted realms of the human psyche.
- Encouraging vocational satisfaction.
- Nurturing and encouraging creativity.
- Developing forms of community and social cooperation that are congruent
with an authentic deep feeling approach to living.
The IPA respects and appreciates the pioneering work of Arthur Janov.
However, the IPA is not affiliated in any way with Arthur Janov or the Primal
Institute of Los Angeles.
The desire to reach and process deep conscious and unconscious human experience,
thus releasing the crippling effects of repression, is common to IPA members.
We honor the work of many pioneers in the field. The paths are diverse but
the end is unified: to help integrate body, mind, and spirit in a natural,
inner directed, fully alive individual capable of being.
IPA Statement of Essence
The International Primal Association is a community of feeling-oriented
people, interacting within an atmosphere of love, acknowledgement, permission,
and support, who highly value primal process, abreaction, primals, and other
deep feeling work as modalities for promoting healing, loving, growing,
wholeness, authenticity, and BEING.
>> Basically, the IPA allows for freedom of
speech and the freedom to disagree. It is tolerant, which is vital if growth and
development of the theory is to take place. It was started quite early, in 1973.
So they saw a need, even way back then, to free up the direction Arthur Janov
has started. Possibly, Art made enemies quickly with his "wonderful"
Primal Psychotherapy by Larry King
Integration (brief) by John Rowan, Ph.D.
Integration (extensive) by John Rowan, Ph.D.
Seven Stages of Primal Therapy by Stephen Khamsi, Ph.D.
These external links may also be helpful:
IPA Member Links
>> Obviously, I can not vouch for all of these or
any of these. You should evaluate any particular one. But they are all working
toward the same goal and deserve a hearing and respect.<<
Brown and Richard Mowbray (www.primalintegration.com)
Primal Integration programme explores deeper levels of consciousness with a view
to being more alive and living more authentically. Located in London, UK.
Brown and Richard Mowbray (www.opencentre.com)
Group workshops and individual sessions with a variety of approaches to personal
growth. Located in London, UK.
Primal Integration Center of Michigan
Counseling and Deep Feeling release of old wounds, individually or in groups.
Emerson Training Seminars
Workshops and training programs dedicated to the pursuit of psychological and
spiritual evolvement in infants, children and adults. Based in California, USA.
Dianea Kohl is a psychotherapist who is primalling now for 10 years, and written
four books...three on the healing power of tears, and one about why we laugh.
S. Nyman (www3.telus.net/public/leokir)
Janov-certified primal therapist. Trained and worked at Dr. Arthur Janov's
International Primal Center in Venice, California, from January 1994 until June
2006. I offer intensives and sessions in English and French. Will do some
follow-up by phone when appropriate.
Esta has over 14 years experience as a therapist in Europe and US, and has
specialized training in Psychosynthesis, Gestalt Therapy, Psychodrama, and
Esta offers deep feeling/primal work for individuals and couples.
Phone/Internet sessions available.
A published author, his website provides information about Sub-personalities,
The Transpersonal, Male Healing and his Primal Integration practice. Located in
Primal Psychotherapy Page
A resource for those with interests in regressive Deep-Feeling Psychotherapies
that includes book reviews, interviews and articles on primal theory.
Sam's Primal Integration practice, extensive leading-edge discussions on
personal growth and healing, primal theory and process, emotional expression and
release, healthy living, and Zen meditation. Located near Toronto, Ontario,
Thomas Wareham (www.primaltherapycolorado.com)
Primal Therapy of Denver
A psychotherapist and mental health professional trained in Primal Therapy by
Jules and Helen Roth, he provides week long intensives as well as individual and
Other Primal Sites
>> Dec. 8, 2013. Janov has
recently warned on his site about false primal therapists, who are really not
qualified and have had many screw-ups. Again, he has never specified much. We
will have to take his word for it, maybe. But for sure, anyone still wanting to
pursue Primal Therapy, which I no longer recommend, really, then you need to
very carefully find out what your potential therapist truly has for
qualifications, and ask for patient references and ask him or her, even as I
have asked here of Arthur, exactly what their success rate has been and what
sort or failures they have had.
Every good therapist is bound to have plenty
of failures, because most patients, regardless of the type of therapy, or
therapist, are usually the real problem and obstacle to their own progress. If
your potential therapist denies failure, he/she is a liar and not to be trusted.
There are lots of questions to ask. But really, I still advise against any
I recently watch a Tony Robbins TED video on
Youtube. Robbins recommends strategies, sort of like Vibert in mentioned
previously here in this article. I deeply respect the Philosphy of Robbins. I
have met "fans" of Robbins. They love his presentation, which are sort
of like a religious revival meeting, minus the religion. But they have not
understand the key that Robbins has been teaching for over 20 years and it has
never changed and it is very effective if you actually apply it. But most never
do apply it! Why? Because their hidden observe senses it might lead to
uncomfortable truths, conclusions, or other such possibilities.
In short, Robbins can do nothing for you if
you will not do something for yourself. Therapists do not usually deserve the
blame. The very best of them have a high failure rate. Janov blames therapists
but Janov never really dicusses his possible failures, of which I have come
across a few, I might add. Its more common than you might think.
So I leave you with just 2 simple things
Robbins has long advocated. Who are you, really, and what do you truly want? It
may take time and pondering to carefully and honestly determine those 2
questions. Or you can just lie to yourself or accept simple easy answers that
answer nothing at all. Its up to you!<<
Lists links to other sites for information (in Spanish and English) about
Primal, Parenting and Family Constellations.
Joseph Alpert (www.elementalmethod.com)
A healing method with unique elements:
- Providing a needed element: Air (Inspiration), Earth (Embodiment), Water
(Receptivity), and Fire (Assertiveness)
- Creating the possibility to release pain by accompanying the client in
carrying part of their burden
- Working with the Energy of Love through many different modalities,
including Communication, Energy Work and Hands-On Healing
- Eliciting the body's natural mechanisms for healing
- Restoring The True Self or Original Self
Helping clients towards self-discovery, insight and change, in a safe
environment. Located in Brighton and London, UK.
Janice Berger and Associates
Deep Emotional Processing Therapy helps people discover and activate their own
natural healing ability. Located near Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Facilitating deep feeling, body-oriented psychotherapy in South Florida, USA.
London Association of Primal Psychotherapists
Trained by Arthur Janov, this group of therapists offers individual, couple and
group psychotherapy sessions.
The Online Resource for Psychotherapy
Allaboutpsychotherapy.com offers wide-ranging information about psychotherapy,
psychology and counselling. Our aim is to supply services and network facilities
to the mental-health professional community in the UK and abroad. The site
contains a broad range of resources that are available to registered mental
health professionals through subscription: case seminars, interviews, lectures,
which are delivered in both audio and text so that you can listen and download
the transcript; directories of registered practitioners and discussion forums.
The Features pages, Books reviews and sales, and the Directory for the Public
are all open to non-subscribers.
A teacher and licensed psychotherapist with a doctorate in psychology, Stephen
has operated a private practice since 1985. Located in San Francisco,
Early Trauma Treatment and Training
Recognizes that emotional wounding before, during and after birth requires a
different approach to healing than later traumas. Based in San Francisco Bay
Maria Druecke, M.D. (www.heide-druecke.de)
Body-work, Primal-work, Breathing Sessions, Meditation, Aura-Soma. Located in
Maria Druecke, M.D. (www.integrative-primaertherapie.de)
Gesellschaft für Integrative Primärtherapie (GIPT)
Group of primal therapists based in Germany, Heide Druecke director.
A transformative 10-day personal growth retreat with a carefully structured
program of accelerated self-healing. Located in California, USA.
German language primal forum site.
Telephone & Online Therapy: Solution Oriented Psychotherapy for Self &
Relationships. Located in the Los Angeles/Southern California area.
and Ernst Oslender (www.primal.bc.ca)
Primal Center of British Columbia
Intensives and advanced Primal Therapy in English and German. The Oslenders
assist people to access the memory of their cellular consciousness to undo the
very early painful experiences and restore the primal innocent self.
A website designed to encourage discussions on all topics related to primal
by Frederick M. Farrar
The South African Primal Therapy Support Page
An international resource for those interested in Primal Therapy and other Deep
Feeling Regressive Psychotherapies and includes a World Wide Online Primal
>> It is also clear from the above that Primal
Theory and Therapy are widely embraced and supported. Arthur would lead you to
believe otherwise. What I like about all this so far is that there is no
certification board or licensing or similar bullshit required. They do
have certification for members recommendations if you require such a thing.
Anyone can claim ability. Freedom allows for abuse, it is true, but it also
prevents anyone from advancing the therapy in meaningful ways without being
blocked for political reasons. It is up to you, the reader and potential patient
to evaluate each source individually and make your own informed decision, which
is as it should be.
I really like this next section. It recognizes that a
number of movements and ideas have been moving toward Primal ideas and are
helpful to it, not a hindrance. As the Bible even suggests, he who is not
against me, is for me.<<
The founder of Psychodramatic Bodywork for therapists and counselors, Susan
leads workshops on a variety of topics, offers anger videos and ongoing personal
The Accelerated Recovery Process is a well developed, planned recovery system
combining some very well known and successful applications of recovery
techniques that Heal (not Just Cope with!) Emotional trauma and also free one
from severe cognitive disorders... those severe negative and abusive inner
thoughts that drive us to our addictions, wrong decisions, limit us and have
catastrophic effects on our relationships... based on experience and dramatic
results, not theory.
Dedicated to improving society's understanding of adoption and fostering issues
with an emphasis on emotional experience and human rights.
(Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health)
An association interested in the psychological dimensions of prenatal and
A philosophy of child-rearing that questions traditional assumptions about
children, the website includes a book list.
by Aletha Solter, Ph.D.
Alliance for Intelligent Arts
A worldwide alliance of performing, visual, & healing artists dedicated to
A website created to educate those interested in the well-being of infants and
children by advocating principles described in the book "The Continuum
Examines the emotional origin of the social and political behavior of groups and
nations, past and present.
Boyden System Psychomotor (PBSP)
An internationally used technique in which people re-experience past trauma,
then re-enact the event using ideal parents who satisfy the early developmental
A system in which two people, alternating between counselor and client roles,
use talk, emotional release and reevaluation to resolve issues.
>> There is a great recommended reading list
). Arthur Janov is fully supported and recommended. Many
other great works have been published. This, in contradiction to what Arthur
says. If you have only ever known Janov, you would not be aware of any of these.
Thanks to the IPA and like minded ones, we can be aware now, if we so choose.
This next article is ESSENTIAL. It nails it good and
did so way back in 1975.<<
Herman Weiner, Ph.D.
Janov's brilliant discovery and enlargement of primal catharsis, he has
seriously underestimated the strategic significance of at least one very central
aspect of long term psychotherapy - the transference phenomenon. This crucial
omission of the omnipresent transference, threatens to create a solipsistic cult
of primal technicians. The transference in cultism is, ironically, embodied in
slavish imitation of the authority figure.
Thus, for example, the "three week intensive" becomes sacrosanct,
and total isolation is demanded even of schizoid patients whose lives have been
long scarred by chronic isolation. Similarily, the self-abnegating hair-shirter
is proffered a "primal" hair-shirt. Pleasure and joy are not
universally accepted. They often provoke intense anxiety among applicants to
primal therapy. Yet, the role of pleasure, so important for Reich, is
conspicuously absent in Janov's theory. He views the therapist as essentially a
"dealer of pain."
An authoritarian pain-dealer, understandably, must dispense with the
phenomenon of transference in the therapist. This eliminates the therapist's
responsibility for excess and needless pain inflicted upon the patient.
Seemingly, the more pain the better the primal therapy, for only pain provokes
primal feelings. The simplism of this idea is demonstrated by patients who
characteristically celebrate their screaming masochism interminably without
therapeutic change. In such instances, an old child-parent transference may be
re-enacted endlessly, just as it occurred in the crib.
The therapist does not wish to comprehend that he is now the uncaring mother
who tolerates this old pain felt by the child. Urging the patient to "tell
it to your mommy" does not exonerate the therapist's ignorance of
transference. The specific nature of the transference and of the therapist's
own emotional reactions, must ultimately dictate what the therapist does or does
not do. If the patient's mommy felt helpless, or annoyed, or angry, or
indifferent, eventually the therapist will begin to feel those corresponding
Only by understanding the nature of such re-enactments in the here-and-now
with himself, can the therapist hope to transcend his own reactive transference
feelings towards the patient. If not, he will unconsciously conspire with the
patient to recreate the old child-parent pattern. Not only will the painful
pattern of feelings be perseverated (preserved?) needlessly, but the patient may
lose trust in a therapist who can only deal him the same pain his parents dealt
Primal therapy is deceptively simple. Almost anyone can learn to begin the
primal process in someone else. And, the primal process is sufficiently powerful
to provide dramatic and early breakthroughs. But there is much more to therapy
than primalling, for at certain junctures, impenetrable resistances may arise
which tend to halt and even undo earlier gains.
It is at these crucial points that the therapist's knowledge of his own
reactions as a potential part of the therapeutic blockage may be vital. His own
transference and counter-transference feelings may provide stifling feedback and
keep the patient "stuck" in therapy. That is the junction at which
gimmicks and techniques may provide illusory but short-lived movement. No
technique, however powerful, can substitute for critical self-awareness in the
therapist once the primal honeymoon is over. At this point, the primal
facilitators and the competent psychotherapist may be distinguished.
The transference (or re-symbolization) of unfelt early feelings is endemic in
our culture. It finds expression in every variety of symbolic substitutes for
the past, in present "objects," physical tensions, and in behavioral
patterns. An optimal "primal" is an actual living out of an experience
that has been repressed rather than fully felt and expressed. It is, ideally, a
return to the origins of the transference. This primal paradigm probably led
Janov to dispense with transference. "The primal does not deal with the
transference." He is busily engaged in having the patient feel his wants
towards his parents. In fact, "the patient-therapist relationship is
Then, he paraphrases Freud: "I believe the transference is the memories.
. ."; Janov, however, believes that all transference acting out can be
"shut off by the primal therapist" as he pushes the patient to feel
his pain. Moreover, the problem of counter-transference in the therapist is
presumably resolved because no Janov certified primalist is still neurotic.
One could heartily wish that Janov was, indeed, right about this. But,
neurosis, and therefore transference and counter-transference, are here to stay
- at least for several more generations. The patient-therapist relationship
"ignored entirely" by the therapist, stubbornly remains operative. To
ignore these ever-present two-way interactions between the therapist and the
patient serves to emasculate the primal method, and it deprives the therapist of
a very important source of self-awareness. For example: The therapist's need for
"success" with his patient, can become part of the patient's problem,
because of his own earlier experience with his parents' need for success foisted
In such a case, the primal work may circle endlessly around these old family
feelings blindly re-enacted by both patient and therapist. Subtle, but
persistent needs for power and control by the therapist may limit the primal
work as it sets up an apriori inequality: the real, non-neurotic therapist vs.
the unreal, neurotic patient. Once again, here, an old and familiar parent-child
relationship is repeated and reinforced. At some point, the patient is compelled
to choose continued submission and abasement, etc., or exacerbation of somatic
symptoms, or acting-out in his external life, or even flight from therapy rather
than express his mounting rage towards his parent-like therapist.
The potential infantilization (not therapeutic regression) of the patient
implies the overly sanguine division of humanity into the sick and the healthy,
the patient and the therapist, as propounded by the notion of a
"cured," transference-free therapist. It is difficult to imagine a
more "unreal" conception than the "normal therapist" notion!
However curative the primal experience may be, there is no evidence and even
less reason to assert that primal therapy can finally "cure" neurosis.
Janov has made an overly zealous leap from his brilliant primal paradigm
to the unreal belief that primal actually produces non-neurotic therapists as
well as "normal" patients. Given the complexity of life-long
reinforcement of neurotic character structure in our almost totally neurotic
culture, the expectation of a "cure" seems a patently naive one.
Certainly the ex-patients and therapist-trainees of Janov's thus far encountered
are visibly far from cured non-neurotics.
>> Boy, do I agree with the above paragraph. In
fact, I find Janov, himself, to be very neurotic and his logic deeply flawed and
inconsistent. That is what moved me to create the articles such as this one and
The "primal pool" dug by decades of living cannot be totally
drained by several weeks of intensive and 18 months of group work. Nor does the
primal pool seem likely to have a finite depth in any practical sense. What
must be admitted, however, is that primal therapy can be quicker and more
profound in its therapeutic impact than any other known form of psychotherapy.
This palpable efficacy is the major cause of primal's rapid, world-wide
dissemination. More people are turning to primal for help, and more
traditional therapists are beginning to modify their practice in a primal
The primal breakthrough, after three quarters of a century of fairly futile
psychoanalytic therapy, is indeed an epochal one. Its immense efficacy is very
promising both for the individual and for society. But like all great
revelations, primal is quickly threatened with dilution and erosion. Its
experiential core becomes overlaid and obscured by dogma and ritual in the very
process of transmission from teacher to student, from guru to followers.
The pioneering genius who cuts a path into the wilderness of the unknown,
begins to block the path with his own formidable stature. As he defends his
precious discovery, his views may become defensively rigidified and his
followers may begin to worship his personal idiosyncracies which become elevated
to dogma. Dumb fetishism and cultism begin to flourish around the leader as
idolatry obscures fresh experience and further discovery.
>> In my opinion, this above is what has become
of Arthur Janov and his followers.<<
But the primal breakthrough can continue to break through only if it
continually faces this ancient parent-child repetition. That
"repetition", in the therapy sphere, is transference to and from the
patient and the therapist. The elimination of transference is an ideal goal
which may be approached for the greater good of both patient and therapist, if
the therapist continually directs his patient and himself back to the underlying
origins of the transference neurosis. This is much easier said than done, but it
must be worked on ceaselessly. Let's face it: Sisyphus is still alive, and not
This article appeared in the Fall 1975 issue of the
International Primal Association's journal, Primal Community. Reprinted
End of Site info <<<
One thing I would like to see is a feedback or rating system from former
patients of Primal Practitioners. Arthur and some patients claim they have had
bad therapy results from others. There are bound to be some. But not all bad
reports will be legitimate, either. But open feedback is valuable and
constructive. It would enable improvement as well.
-- Psychotherapist MA MS LMFT PIT francesrinaldo.com/>>Frances
found me, I think thru a search engine, looking for stuff on Janov. She believes
in Primal Therapy as I do. She has been a patient and received some training in
the therapy. Art says if you have not been certified recently, you are not
qualified. This, of itself, is not a good reason. If what Art had been
practicing for 30 years or more was not right or correct, then how can he find
fault with others who do the same? He has never been able to address this.
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She practices right in the LA area, so
she is not far from Arthur or his former wife's Primal Institute, either. Her
education and practice are wide in scope. I think it provides a good range. I do
not know enough to say more. I hope to hear more from her. Anyone seeking a
therapist should interview them. Even good well qualified therapists may not be
the right fit for some people. Your best way of telling is to talk to them. She
is another example of a believer in Primal Therapy. That is not a bad thing,
that is a good thing. Below is from her site.<<
As a licensed psychotherapist, I provide short and long-term
therapy and counseling for individuals, couples and families. I am also a
dispute resolution mediator. I work with people of all ages to develop and
maintain healthy lifestyles and to resolve a range of crisis issues including
My more than 17 years of clinical experience includes:
• Training in Primal Therapy with the prominent psychologist Dr. Arthur Janov
• Counseling teenage boys in Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall
• Counseling foster children and their families in L.A. County as an
L.A. County Social Worker and psychotherapist
• Working with couples, families and individuals in my private psychotherapy
My clients are from all socio-economic levels and diverse cultural
• Master of Science, Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy*
California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1997
• Master of Arts Cinema Production, University of Southern California, 1994
• Bachelor of Arts Humanities, California State University, Long Beach, 1987
I am a member of California Association of Marriage and Family
Therapists (CAMFT) and a member of the Mental Health Team of the American Red
Cross (Santa Cruz Chapter).
>> Dec. 8, 2013. I have never
heard from Frances since. Like many, she seems to have good qualifications,
though not verified by me, anyway. But she has not expressed any ideas on primal
therapy or where she stands amid the pros and cons of whether Janov is right in
asserting that only his guidance is an assurance of success or not. Being
somewhat critical in my thinking by nature now, I wondered why she has had so
little to say, here, or anywhere else that I can determine. I offer anyone a
chance to speak out in any way they like on this subject and no one on either or
any side wants to do so.
This is yet another reason why I hold the
entire field of primal therapy and psychology as a whole, in a certain amount of
suspicion. A good primal therapist should have no problem at least discussing
past treatment successes and failures or what they might have learned or
improved upon, in their opinion. Janov has long had the option of dealing with
any issue more publicly on his own blog site.. He has chosen to remain silent or
with me by email. I can say no more. Too much silence in too many directions.
Hidden Observers Beware!<<
The Primal Mind
by Bruce Wilson
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Exploring the primal roots of mental health
Neuroscience has come of age and is going in some truly fascinating
directions. We now have hybrid “neuro” disciplines such as
neurophilosophy, neurotheology, neuroanthropology, cultural neuroscience,
cultural neuropsychology, and neuropsychoanalysis.
The most exciting development is the shift away from cognitive
neuroscience towards affective neuroscience. Human and animal emotions are
now a rich area of scientific study and thanks to the work of pioneers like
Jaak Panksepp, emotions are now regarded as bona fide experiences,
and not just mechanical reactions to stimuli. A rat that squeeks joyously
when tickled can now be said to be “laughing” and not “undergoing a
positive response to pleasurable stimuli.”
The purpose of this blog is to explore recent findings in affective
neuroscience and their relation to mental health and psychotherapy in order
to create lives with more authenticity and love. The blending of
neuroscience with psychotherapy is an emerging area, and although many
attempts are being made to link the two disciplines, there is a serious need
for the study of deep feeling psychotherapies, such
as primal therapy.
Sadly, psychotherapies that explore deep feelings are often viewed as
obsolete, unscientific, and unhelpful at best or dangerous at worst. This
misunderstanding is exacerbated by practitioners who combine deep feeling
approaches with supernatural or transpersonal approaches that take people
deep into imaginary states with little or no connection to reality.
(Examples are so-called past-life therapy or cellular consciousness.) The
greatest tragedy is that deep feeling therapies are commonly misrepresented
as “scream therapy” or “primal scream therapy” because of the title
of a book by Arthur Janov, called The Primal Scream.
In this blog, we will address these misunderstandings and hopefully
stimulate a lively dialog among psychologists, psychotherapists, affective
neuroscientists, and others who want to see this field advance in a truly
scientific way. We believe that these efforts are critical to helping people
who are emotionally damaged and need something more powerful than talk
therapy. More importantly, we hope to contribute to the creation a truly
compassionate society that will eventually eliminate the need for
Welcome aboard! Bruce and Peter
Bruce Wilson is a freelance science and medical writer
based near Montreal, Quebec. He possesses an infinite curiousity about
science, human nature, and naturalistic spirituality. He is driven by a desire
to see a more caring, loving, compassionate and feeling world. His other blog
Peter P. Prontzos teaches political science, political
psychology, and political philosophy at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C.
He is working on a book about the human condition and another on
End of Site-Blog info <<<
Bruce Wilson is very approved by Arthur Janov. That is both a good thing and
a hindrance, too. My impression is that Bruce never wanders far from what Janov
promotes. On the other hand, his articles are good and worth considering if you
have the time and interest. But I like those that are not Janov approved since
they have rid themselves of the Janovian neurosis as I would call it. They dare
to differ with the Zen master. That is a good thing.
The Primal Psychotherapy Page
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- A Resource For Those With Interests
In the Regressive Deep-Feeling Psychotherapies -
At 86, Dr. Arthur Janov, continues to rapidly add articles to his personal
blog, Reflections on the Human
His blog presently contains over 155 articles with many interesting comments
from readers. I liked The
Timetable of Feelings . Another of my favorites is, Life
Before Birth (revised) . Be sure to read his most recently uploaded, Who
Do We Marry? Answer: Ourselves. Most excellent.
- Primal Therapy was discovered by Arthur Janov,
Ph.D. in the late 1960s. With E. Michael Holden, M.D., a neurologist and at
that time, medical director of the Primal Institute, Dr. Janov formulated a
rich body of knowledge relating to why and how primal therapy works (See the
bibliography reference below for a listing of Dr. Janov's writings).
- Criticized by some because he does not reveal
his techniques for inducing primal regression, Janov has steadfastly
insisted that dissemination of this information into the hands of the
untrained is dangerous.
- A clinical psychologist and successful songwriter,
Dr. Janov, in his late eighties, presently operates the Primal
Training Center in Venice, California. His book, Sexualité et la
Subconscient was published in France 2006. It will soon be published
in the U.S. as Sex and the Subconscious. His forthcoming book,
Life Before Birth, is scheduled for printing in early 2011.
- The first primal center was the
Primal Institute, which for many years was associated with its founder.
The center is presently operated by Dr. Janov's former wife, Vivian Janov.
The institute earlier published the Primal Therapy Journal and still
publishes The Primal Institute Newsletter. To view a less than
complete listing of its articles, click on index.
- Since the late 1960s many articles and books have
been written about primal therapy. Stephen Khamsi, Ph.D., a primal therapist
in San Francisco, has compiled such a bibliography.
reviews - 147 book and movie reviews relating to the deep regressive
Primal-type Therapists and Training Centers
End of Site info <<<
This is a great resource for all things related to Primal Theory &
Therapy. Good articles with it, too. This perhaps, should have been the 1st
reference appearing in this article but I wanted to feature therapists, first.
But this site is a broad range and not indebted to Arthur Janov nor supportive
of Janov's exclusivity and elitism. It might be your number one source for all
things Primal. Very recommended.
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Debunking Primal Therapy . .
. A friendly heads up about primal therapy and other repressed memory
Now here we truly have a turd in the punch bowl. This site is shear nonsense
when actually addressing the fundamentals of primal therapy and theory. Strongly influenced by the Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptics
Associations, it seeks to suppress and deny the whole movement/science and not just
Janov. Further, they do not even refute Janov's basic theory at all, reasonably, anyway.
Janov's theory is valid, even if not perfected or distorted a little. It would
be a serious mistake to judge this basic theory because a man or practitioner
was flawed. Address the flaws and critique the therapy accurately.
These are, in my opinion, the worst of all academic and supposed
"scientific" vermin. Totally corrupt in their motives. Not worth the
time of day. This said, it has to be admitted that many of their articles often have a considerable validity to
them as to criticisms. Postings are
interesting. A piece on "Saint" John Lennon is very interesting, for
I found both valid criticisms and unfair ones in this: http://debunkingprimaltherapy.com/former_trainee_interview/
"The therapy did not work. Primal Therapy did not cure
neurosis." The problem with Arthur's claims is that his basic
core therapy is
not wrong or a failure, but it is often incomplete or flawed in some particulars
and in some cases,
incompatible, and therefore, fails at times. Maybe many times. There is a good
possibility that Arthur fails far more than he wants to admit. This seems to be
subtly implied by many former therapists of his or those who are very familiar with
him. Maybe they have met some of his former patients ;-) There are some good observations
There are concerns in Ethics Codes: http://debunkingprimaltherapy.com/ethics/
But on this one, I will say that sex is something bound to happen in nearly any
circumstance of life. It is powerful and hard to stop. Like transference, I do
not believe it can be stopped very easily. Abuse of sex takes place in politics,
business, employer/employee relations, professor/student, mixed ages, etc. We
carry on many pretenses in our society and laws. I think many of them are
unfair. This idea of vulnerability is valid but yet, prevalent and pervasive.
When it comes to sex, both parties are vulnerable. Money and power change that
dynamic but each person has to be responsible for themselves and not blame
Let me put it another way. A powerful or influential person also had lots of
sexual vulnerabilities that he can satisfy, but just as easily, he can be taken
advantage or or exploited. We all have vulnerabilities to sex. It is a strange
force, for sure, and a very powerful one.
I believe in self responsibility. I do not believe in blame games so popular
in law and society today. So I do not find sex between therapists and patients
to be the serious ethical violation that is commonly maintained. Yes, that is
bold but I assert it strongly. No patient should give a therapist full
unquestioning faith. I believe the Bible assigns very little blame for
sex relations. Both participants are held equally accountable by God. No one
sided blame! Allegations of male therapists are not certain and even if they
were, I would have little to say about it.
As well, I find most fields who often brag about ethics are themselves full
of flaws and unethical conduct in their work and beyond, "skeptics" in
particular. Science and Academia are very flawed. Medicine is saturated with
ethics flaws by my accounting. Religion is loaded with ethical problems. No
field is more corrupt than politics. So if we are talking about ethics, I say,
to borrow a line, let he who is sinless cast the first stone.
Sex will forever make monkeys of us all. Deal with it! Stop blaming one side
or the other. Let the buyer beware, right?
I felt these were somewhat valid:
Just in case: Recommended
Books for Recovery from Primal Therapy
While this site has done little to invalidate the basics of Primal Theory, it
does bring up an awful lot of concern. One can better appreciate why many
therapists left for their own practice and why they have banded together apart
from Janov into an independent organization that has real peer review and input.
For this reason, this is a necessary and important site. It serves a useful
adequate purpose. It is essential for a rounded view of the whole field of
More concerning is that Janov's Primal Therapy almost certainly is grossly
exaggerated in its claims to benefits and effectiveness. In fact, nearly any
therapy seems problematic. Really, when you assess it carefully, how do you undo
a lifetime of damage and abuse? How do you remove (or protect yourself from) the pervasive world wide
out-of-control human nature that harms us all and by which we harm all others. I
think too much is expected of all therapy.
But It is my belief at this point, that the therapist is the most important
part of the process. They must have the right and proper skills for such a practice.
Not just anyone can do it. Janov needs, deserves, and merits analysis that
includes critics and former patients and therapists. And understand that Arthur
Janov will never give you that. You need to go find it on your own and the site
in this section is part of that. It may not be great, but its all we got and it
The biggest problem is that Primal Therapy as promoted by Arthur is flawed
and incomplete. That does not mean it does not have successes. Other therapies
also have success stories. Some people heal, despite their therapy and
therapist. Some heal because of those. But Holistic Therapy (my own invention),
which is really much like what former primal therapists are now offering,
requires the full human treatment with respect and no insults or games. Those
might work at times but they are not necessary and can be quite harmful.
The Reality of Life
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In my Holistic Psychology article, I deal with Janov quite a bit. I also
expose his flawed contradictory logic on his otherwise very good article on
Hypnosis, a subject deserving of far more consideration in examining human
nature. And Arthur is flawed in logic. Were these his only faults, I might not
have more to say, but my findings amount to much more.
Humanity as a whole, has been deeply wounded. Many individuals are deprived,
scared, traumatized, vulnerable, weak, defenseless, untaught, unprepared,
unfortified, confused, and often very desperate. In most cases, they do not have
many answers or reasonably intact facilities to cope with things. They are going
to need help and mercy. Their chances of finding it are slim, since finding good
help requires a little bit of sound thinking, in spite of all, and maybe more than
a little luck. So it would help if someone can give them pointers that might
help guide them. I have tried my best to lend a hand and reveal what I have
found along the way.
Deep psychological trauma, the essence of primal theory, is usually a major
contributor to suffering and dysfunction, ineffectiveness. No doubt there. But
there is so much more that is a problem. Parents, in an idealistic world, would
teach their kids knowledge and skills to cope with various aspects of life.
Wounded people have not received much of these. They are without skills, and
abilities developed. This also needs corrected.
Such ones are often isolated, without social support or connections, that
many fortunate ones are born into, the ones with silver spoons in their mouths,
These wounded ones can barely function or hold on to sanity at times. I am
describing the most debilitated, of course. To lesser degrees, we might all
qualify at any given time. But generally, wounded ones will be suffering,
whether in the middle of a current crisis or not. As such, they are not able to
stand up to psychological assaults or any other type, either. There is no
foundation or internal reinforcement, no defense, and easily preyed upon.
It would be very unprincipled to prey on such ones or exploit them but it
happens all the time. They are sitting ducks. They do not need any more abuse or
exploitation and can not likely handle anymore.
So a psychologist has an awful lot to fix in order to make a person
functional again or functional for the 1st time. It is not just integrating old
feelings of wounds and traumas. In fact, before those can be processed, a number
of things have to be in place, 1st. This is the major failing of Janov's Primal
therapy. It is all about feelings and nothing else. But in fact, it is the
"else," the tools in place, that are needed in order to accept pain
and integrate it.
Its a bit premature to start building a house before you have a foundation in
place. It is also premature to bring up pain before the person has the skills
and abilities to absorb, process, and use that pain and its revelations.
Pain knows when it is time to come up, in ideal circumstances. Pain often
comes up prematurely or by defect, leaky gates, or whatever. But pain is held in
reserve until the circumstances are right. When our deep inner core, what Janov
would call our 1st level, senses all is right, then up it comes, almost like
when we vomit. What are those right circumstances? Enough understanding of the
world and life. Abilities and skills to handle and cope with the pain. Pain is
tough to handle, coming up. But if we are well prepared mentally, rationally,
psychologically, pain felt will be more like a formality. There will be little
to fix or conclude from the pain that has not already been deduced, ideally. We
have a strong system in place awaiting to receive the pain and make use of its
We would also be plugged in to a social network; we would have a place in our
world and society. Ideally, a loving family, community, nation, world. In
reality, we will have much less. If we have 1 or 2 friends, we are lucky. We
might well have a social network of limited use and value. But very damaged
people also have little to no place or acceptance.
If a therapist is to be of any real value to a patient, he (which includes
all she's as well) will need to help build some human contact for these isolated
individuals and teach them social skills that enable them to bond and function
socially, something they have not been able to do, previously. They will need a
variety of skills, knowledge, etc; in order to adapt to any number of
situations. These will enable them to weather a storm and fend off some attacks.
This will be important since, if one is to bring up pain and former attacks,
one does not also need to be holding off a mounted attack in the present. If one
can reduce a conflict to small sizes, dimensions, and proportions, then they can
add integrated pain into their lives. But if they can barely survive, then the
forces deep below inside us are not going to want to let pain up.
So a good therapist and therapy will involve creating the proper
infrastructure to handle life, living, and finally, bring up pain from the past.
Imagine a country who wants to become a manufacturer to make some money, but has
no energy resources, no people with skills in engineering, manufacturing, and
management; nor roads, electricity, bridges, or anything else that we call
infrastructure. They are unprepared to become an industrial nation.
Arthur puts the cart before the horse. Lets bring up the pain and create
chaos and see if we can make any sense of it. Well, it sounds like a wonderful
recipe for failure. Worse, if you badger, attack, and assault a person who is
not equipped for such, you will only do much worse, and maybe even create a few
new traumas as well.
I think many former Janovian therapists have realized and recognized this and
have sought remedies. They have tried to build things in place to enable some
functionality in a person so that they can handle most life matters adequately.
When you think about it, most parents have failed to give their kids proper
instruction and preparation. A therapist has to undo that damage, which is
really that lack of ability kids are left with. The love of a parent is often
lacking. Love is not just hugs. It is instruction and preparation. This is the
giant task that a good therapist has to address as a major issue. If not, the
therapy is likely to fail. Therapists will have to take on the mantle of the
parents, at least for a while. Eventually, the patient is "weaned" off
his breast feeding, which I use symbolically to represent skills and knowledge,
as well as some reinforcement.
Janov loves to pick on mainstream therapy. Janov only sees pain in the 1st
and 2nd levels. This is his major short coming. Pain can be created in the
present and cause chaos in the present. Patients need to learn how to stop
creating lots of chaos and problems so that they can free up some personal
resources to focus on other problems.
I am sure that getting primal pain to come up has always been a very
difficult problem. Part of why it is difficult is that we are trying to force it
up, when "it" has a mind of its own and will not let pain up till
"it" believes all is relatively right. If it senses lots of
"wrong" in the present, then it will resist releasing pain. In other
words, traumatic pain of the past is possibly the last part of any good healing.
At the very least, there need to be enough things present in our brain structure
and skills, as well as our social environment, for the inner being to feel safe
enough and comfortable enough to release the hidden buried pain into the cortex.
Janov works very hard to get pain up and out, for he believes, somewhat
correctly or partially correct, perhaps, that change can not be enabled without the pain being
released and integrated. But he is fighting the inner soul who does not want to
go along with the agenda. An idealistic therapy would not fight with the inner
being, but instead, cooperate and work with that inner being so that it
cooperates willingly and helpfully.
The trick is to gain the confidence of the person, the deep inside part, in
particular. If they do not sense warmth, caring, understanding, kindness,
gentleness, mercy, decency, sensitivity, then they will not respond and will
resist feeling pain.
Now I have always insisted that the patient is the most important part of any
therapy. The patient must be willing and determined to heal, and willing to face
any bitter personal truths about themselves and their egos. If they are not,
there is little that even the greatest therapist can do. But among patients, are
various levels of commitment. Some strongly determined and committed, some
reasonably so, some to some degree, some to a small degree, very little degree,
or no real degree at all.
How far can a therapist reach into those levels of commitment? That is the
task at hand. If there is a fair amount of commitment, then the therapist
becomes the most important factor. He might be the determining factor on whether
a particular person can be reached. If the therapist can connect with the
patient, and apply the right things at the right times, then success can be had.
But if that therapist is a bull in a china shop, failure will be a common
result. Ideally, a dedicated patient and a great therapist can produce
seeming miracles. Likewise, a particular sort of patient might do great if
paired with the right sort of matching peculiarities of a particular therapist,
whereas not every patient is a good fit for a particular therapist.
Since patients often do not know what to look for, it is often luck that
makes good matches between a patient and therapist. But again, a bull in a china
shop drastically limits the degree of success that can be expected.
Shelter and Protection
Janov speaks of feeling. Well, we are talking about sympathy and empathy,
aren't we? But the attacks I have heard alleged, which may or may not still be
part of the treatment, are just plain wrong. People in deeply wounded states are
like exposed open painful wounds that are easily aggravated and kept from
healing. People need protected in this state.
I watched 2 or 3 seasons of "Celebrity Rehab" on MTV, with Dr. Drew
Pinsky conducting the rehab. Drew has a very good demeanor about him that is
attractive to many. I like him. But some of his choices do not sit well with me.
He would sometimes let patients rip into each other savagely. He would let some
break rules and get away with murder, or even let it get to the point where
staff might lose control, due to being pushed beyond their reasonable limits.
Both staff and patients need protection and care. Some patients were not
committed to the treatment and should have been sent home. There should be
ground rules strongly enforced. Some people should have been rejected as
patients. But they were accepted for their "entertainment" value, I
But patients were continually "assaulted" verbally by other patients in
various ways. It was very counter-productive to healing and progress. It favored
some over others. It left things to be desired.
Deep inside, we all have egos and also have that very sensitive child inside
us and our walls of defenses. That needs to be protected and addressed
correctly. Patients need respect and protection. They often did not have those
as kids. They need to be able to learn and trust someone in someplace,
somewhere, at some time. The therapist and therapy are that time, place,
circumstance and person. Janov may be cynically referring to this when he speaks
cynically of "feel good" therapy. Its not about feeling good or having people
tell you how good you are, a sort of ass kissing, really. But you do accord them
human compassionate treatment.
What would not be acceptable is allowing a group to circle around someone and
attack them. They may be assholes and might even deserve some accurate
observations. Can you say Janice Dickinson? But when in therapy, assholes can
not heal if you continue the treatment that made them assholes to begin with.
Therapy needs to be their place of shelter, protection, and relief from that
Primal therapy has often involved "breaking" people. Done, I have
no doubt, to touch off, stimulate and bring up stubborn pain. The intentions may
be good. But the result may often be more damage and harm, or at least an
eroding of that trust and confidence that patients need to be able to develop,
so as to get them to let down their defenses some.
I see Art try to break people on his blog. I suspect it is still a common
practice at his center. And I think it is wrong. It could possibly be the only
way to get feelings to come up for some, but I also think that feelings should
not be forced. But I have addressed why in other parts of this article. There
have to be rules and boundaries for both patient and therapist, toward other
patients and therapists. Therapy has to be shelter and protection, a sanctuary
to promote healing, not more attacks.
Arthur's preoccupation and obsession with getting feelings up is the problem.
Feeling is everything in his book. But a proper state and place in a person,
needs to be prepared before the feelings are bought up. Art does not believe
this. Just get the feelings up, he says. Everything else will change after. But
he fails to report to us in his books, the many failures. Failures are possible
or even likely indications that the treatment is not correct for the failures. The failures are
the scientific data that should not be ignored. Selective data is a no-no in
science. Or worse, ignoring or throwing out data.
If Janov and company are so feeling and sensitive, why the harshness? They
act almost as if they are wounded and protecting their own egos. Or maybe they
are not caring enough? Maybe they are not feeling the empathy. All I can say is,
that where there is smoke, there is fire. So we can only ask, in the case of Dr. Janov, is he the right guy for the
right job? Is his theory correct, the whole theory? Is it whole? Is it missing
anything? Is Arthur missing anything as well? Is his treatment missing anything?
New Jan. 11, 2014
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I have come across a Ph.D by the name of Marvin Minski. He is a MIT wizard
working with others at MIT on Artificial Intelligence
and trying to duplicate the human brain. I have a deep respect for Minski. His
1st book I read was called "Society of Mind" and I am still reading
the 2nd, "The Emotion Machine." A lot could be said about AI. There is
what is discussed publicly and then there is what has been alleged by mind
control victim Brice Taylor, who says there are brilliant computers that can
solve nearly anything imaginable. We can not be sure of what we are dealing with
but can be certain that much is being withheld from us.
But from "The Emotion Machine," pg. 232, I offer this quote:
other words, we can sometimes improve our Ways to Think by creating
higher-level Selectors and Critics that help to reduce the sizes of the
searches we make. However, to make such kinds of credit assignments, we'll
need to use higher reflective levels of thinking than those that have hitherto
been proposed in most traditional "theories of learning.""
>>"higher-level Selectors and Critics" are names for specific forms of brain functions that
Minski refers to. This is his best attempt to help us understand how these
function. Minski and MIT (and far beyond MIT, too) seek to understand the mind
on a far great scale of depth and detail that any psychologist has ever dared to
venture. This is not to Psychology's credit, either.
carefully the 2nd underlined portion above in the quote of Minski. New territory
is being trail blazed in advancing "theories of learning." That is a
very good thing. But since we are just getting under way, its also going to be a
"How do we organize our collections of
Critics? How do we make them and
how do we change them? Do some of our Critics scold other ones when
they produce poor performances? Are certain minds more productive
because their Critics are better organized?
"How do we organize our collections of
Ways to Think? How do we make
them and how do we change them? Do some of them recognize when other
ones tend to produce poor performances? Are certain minds "more intelligent"
because their Ways to Think are better organized?"
These are delightfully tough, but very good, questions. Janov has never answered
or addressed any of them and I ought to know. I have long been the biggest
critic of him on his blog site. Minski speaks of how we think and rationalize.
Janov says that is all a waste of time. Just feel it! and primal away! Janov
seems to detest logic and reason, as if such were an impossibility. Maybe for
him they are. But note very carefully what Minski says next!<<
"The following sections will argue
that, today, we have no plausible answers
to questions like these—and that these issues should be recognized
as central to the development of psychology."
>> I will accept Minski's
declaration that we have no answers at present for these tough questions we
ponder. But there are those allegations of others who also ought to know a thing
or two on the matter, like Brice Taylor. I do not ignore her testimony but nor
would I thrust it upon anyone else. But Minski strongly asserts that though we
have no answers, these are the very ideas that should be pursued by psychology,
in order to further develop it. These directions to pursue are central to that
development. Minski is saying, as best as I can tell, that psychology has not
been doing its job well at all. It is certainly my opinion that psychology has
been doing a lousy job in many respects.
What I also want to point out is that Janov has never
even come remotely close to pursuing any of these central issues. In fact, to
me, he seems to run from them and declare them impossible to know. Its all about
feeling says he. Janov has taken about as big a wrong turn as a psychologist can
possibly take, as I see it. I am going back to black text now.<<
I understand Janov's possible frustration with the difficulty of trying to
help people who do not really seem to want to be truly helped. He wanted a full
proof way to "fix" people and heal them. That is commendable, but it
might not have occurred to him that it might not be possible. The thing is, he
has had many failures or at least patients who never took the therapy all that
far. I have encountered some on the net. You can lead a horse to water, but you
can not make Hilgard's "hidden observer" drink. But I can only find
Janov's anti-intellectual attitude, which often seems to me as if he hates the
intellectual functions of the mind, as very disturbing as a fan of science, of him supposedly being a scientist of sorts. What a contradiction! Neither
Psychology nor Janov seem ready to tackle serious examination of thinking
as a process with sub-functions, etc.
In fact, I see Primal therapy only being useful if it can make us better
thinkers, more effective reliable thinkers with better results. Can we advance
as individuals or as a species if we can not advance our thinking processes and
judgments? I think not! Do we accept as Janov seems to assert, that we are
hopelessly enslaved to our emotions, or do we have some ability within us
somewhere that can over come a fair amount of dumb decisions and
As I have often said, it only takes one person to prove an idea wrong. If
just one person can make substantial progress in thinking, then Janov becomes
wrong in his proposition/assertion. But Minski, who may well be in a better
position than Janov to determine that, seems to suggest it is possible. If
one accepts the concept of a Creator God, then it is possible.
take up one other cause now. Janov has recently indicated mock or fake primal
therapists as having caused problems and not practicing true Primal Therapy and
this is no doubt true. But he has not addressed people I have in this article,
as far as I know. But I do say this: Since Primal Therapy is not well received
by the establishment, they may well be the ones encouraging useless primal
therapists in order to hurt the movement.
Cash Registers, back in the early days of registers, use to buy up competitors
broken down registers and even working ones and then make them defective or
cause them to break down quickly so as to make those brands look even worse.
Business was a nasty business back then and psychology has a lot in common with
those tactics, I suspect.
Primal Therapy look bad and then people will move away from it, perhaps. If
Janov continually looks like the only one that can perform adequate Primal
therapy, it certainly does put that therapy into suspicion. But surely a few
could have mastered this besides Janov. If not, then Primal therapy is just too
tricky and dangerous for anyone to reliably perform. I just don't subscribe to
Janov's elitism or what some might now call "exceptionalism." In order
for it to be a valid theory and practice, it needs to be reproducible, as all
good science and science experiments need to be.
real problem as I see it, is that Janov seems quite unaware of the many times he
violates the principles of the Scientific Method, which is an intellectual
process. Little wonder he does not grasp it.
My Final Judgment
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After having reviewed criticisms, former patients, former therapists, and
having had a number of dealings with Janov myself on his blog and in a letter to
him in 94, and the response of his nearly hysterical wife to it, I have some major concerns about the man and his therapy and
theories. It was in researching this article that I really came to realize the
full weight of the problem as I see it now. Even just a week before (I first
wrote this article), I might
have had a milder outlook. Now, I must issue some warnings.
I have always been a big fan of Primal therapy and theory. But I was left
with concerns (very early, beginning in late 87), which in time, led to a letter to Janov in 94,
addressing some concerns. I discovered Primal
Therapy through "The Primal Scream" of 1970, in April 1987. It was mind
blowing. A bit tough to accept at first, but impossible to continue to deny. But
by 1990, concerns began to grow. Now, In the last 2 years I have been keeping up with
his blog and commenting. I had read his more recent books, too. I thought
"The Biology of Love" was a great book. But the one before that and
the one after, "Primal Healing," left me with some lingering concerns.
The blog really brought it all to a climax. The "Arthur" I came to
know on the blog, was not the Arthur I expected and was the one that caused me
great concern. Who was this man, really?
I found his logic very flawed and contradictory at times. He would blame the
1st level at times as being strong, dominant, and overwhelming, and then at
other times suggest is was all the cortex and intellect (3rd level) that was the problem and
that the 1st level was a poor weak helpless victim of that mean old intellect.
But blaming the 3rd level cortex almost seemed like he was denying everything
else he had ever published or promoted. He really almost seemed irrational or
insane. I could not reason with him. He would not answer much, either. So I had
to do it for him. So the 3 articles you have on Janov and Primal Pain from me,
are the results.
Primal Pain is a valid concept and at the root of many problems, and ideal
healing would involve integrating that pain into 3rd level consciousness.
But the path or road to healing is not always a straight direct one. Arthur
seemed to despise any sort of thinking or analyzing, which seemed like a
refutation of the entire field of science and philosophy as well. Psychology
really, came from philosophy. Arthur did not like being cornered with logic and
reason. His theories were revealing some contradictions, prejudices, and bias.
So bad were they, that I had to wonder if he was all there and how useful he was
as a therapist. I considered the few failures I have heard alleged as well as
what I had learned from mainstream psychology and had expanded on or changed in
my own views. It was mainstream psychology that led me to Primal Therapy. So how
could I totally turn my back on mainstream psychology? But Arthur had seemed to have done that very
I pondered for a couple years and then did the research for this article. Dr. Janov, the man,
is not a warm or reasonable person, to my view. He is,
in fact, someone who rubs me very much the wrong way. It is hard to imagine him
having all that much success as a therapist. I could go into detail, but it might
be better if you read his blog from 2009 into 2012. Note in particular the one
who identifies himself as "apollo" in his posts. That is me. Then you
can decide without me tainting your finding ahead of time, though it is not
unreasonable, if I had chosen to do that.
I have found his therapy grossly inadequate for many, if not most. He has had
success, for sure, and he promotes that intensely. But Arthur is a spin doctor
and I sense from the feedback and the fact that he can not keep therapists or
expand his practice, and still control it all, that he is controlling in an extreme
way. Secretive, dogmatic, hard headed, egotistical, defensive, censoring,
lacking candor, and certainly elusive. In short, a very disappointing person and
personality traits. Is this a man I want to trust or rely on? Not a chance
Now what do we really know about his therapy? Only what patients tell us, or
former therapists. If Art has changed anything, he won't tell us. He is
secretive and protective of his "techniques," or maybe it is just a mystique
he tries to create to benefit his market and income. But if he will not answer to
anything, then what we have by way of observation must stand, unless he wants to
account for himself or explain and defend himself. I have not found him willing
to do so. So he will be judged on what we have available. He leave us no choice.
That is his fault and only he can change that. But I have never found people hiding and resisting accounting to be a good
Sycophants and Acolytes
What what amazed me most was/is Janov's power over his fans, enamored by his
authority and celebrity. It scared the hell out of me as well. I had come from
an abusive controlling religion, commonly accused of "mind control." But
they had nothing on Arthur. These people/fans have no critical thinking ability and
are lost, as you would expect of deeply wounded people. In fact, it was the
lack of intellectual skill that most got my attention. And they really loved
kissing his, well, you know what I am hinting at, right? It was sad and
disgusting. He beats on them and they thank him for it. Elsewhere, this has
sometimes been called co-dependency.
But it has been said that you can judge a person by the company they keep or
attract. I was concerned by the quality and type, of his fans. And they, for the
most part, seemed very anti-intellectual and anti-reason and anti-logic. No critical
thinking allowed. They did not want to hear the other side. No objectivity. I can not quite call it a cult, but I certainly would say mind
control. Art uses censorship on his blog to silence any critics or those who
dare question anything. I know 1st hand about this ;-)
I have addressed my own theories on psychology, and my concerns with Janov's
therapy, that are the common concerns of those who have engaged in primal therapy
without Janov's approval. Janov mentions the horrors and damage that those
"untrained" or "unapproved" by him have caused, which he has
had to fix. But oddly, Arthur has never described at all, exactly what damages
were done or how he fixed them. If no explanation is given, then I can not
consider his accounts valid. Either he explain in detail, as he does in success
stories, what was done wrong, or shut up. But to the contrary, in very careful
limited language, break away primal therapists have described, without blame,
why they have found more needed than what Arthur supplied.
Many things might have been implied. Having my own experience, I sense subtle
implications against Arthur. I suspect it is many of Janov's failures, refugees, and cast-aways
that have made their way to these "unauthorized" (though very capable,
it would seem) primal therapists, for a more kindly and considerate therapy,
which Arthur might call "feel good" therapy, which he says in a
negative way. Perhaps indicative of his own possibly harsh "unfeeling"
I also suspect that Janov has been the cause of much harm to many patients.
Like some others, I find many of his patients a mess. For any therapy to be
called good or effective; I expect, and you can call me harsh, to see a person
feel better and be better off than they were before. But let me qualify that.
Some patients of Janov complain of feeling bitter, cynical, seeing the world
in much worse terms than before. This might be nothing more than harsh reality
setting in, which reality they were blissfully unaware of, prior to therapy. I
am not sure Janov deserves blame for this. But even though more cynical, they
should have found a healthy way to deal with that. For this, Janov might deserve
It is also possible that Janov might have caused cynicism or bitterness in
some, for all I know. But without explanation, Janov must remain innocent.
But the patient should be more sure, more capable, more functional, and
better able to reason, analyze, contemplate, etc. Only one problem? Janov does
not teach these or believe they are necessary. In fact, I think he might despise
them. Little wonder his patients do not improve. He does not give them the tools
and skills to enable them to better cope.
As I have heard it said, the fruit don't fall far from the tree. And that is
the problem. Some ex-therapists seem to suggest that Janov might not be the best
therapist or maybe even a qualified therapist, based on treatment and results.
Let me state that my opinion is, that he is not a good therapist, and could
potentially do a lot of harm, as some seem to suggest he has done in the past. I
think you can do much better with these "unapproved" primal
therapists. Just make sure they really do practice primal therapy or explain why
they believe you need some other things first. They may be right. But if they
are, they should be able to convey that to you in a way that makes sense.
Arthur expects a lot from patients, upfront and continually. You will spend years in
his treatment, quite likely. Well, it does guarantee a good income and I hear
it alleged that he lives in a very fancy house and drives very nice cars. Could
that be a reason for his exclusive claims, so common among other advertisers of
Arthur says "unapproved" therapists do harm. But no info or
examples are given. On the other hand, Janov's mistakes are well known and evident to all
and are common, too. So who do you trust? I say, the logic favors the
"unapproved." Janov offers no real evidence to support his claims of
damage. Anyone daring to seek out info, can find lots of evidence for damage on
the part of Janovian therapy. The supporting evidence again, seems to favor the
"unapproved" therapists. I just think your odds are far better with
the break-away primal therapists who offer the whole package, who have been able
to recognize failures and adjust to them, accordingly.
Patients come in many varieties. Each needs their own special care. One way
does not work for every case. The therapy must be varied as the patients vary.
Janov claims that patients lead, not follow or obey. I say that is a deceptive
claim. Janov does lead and bully and has all sorts of one-way rules and mantras. His way
or else! It is actually the independent primal therapists who practice
individual unique therapy for each patient, as it should be.
Now I am no therapist nor do I have a degree or any formal education. I am
well read and studied on the subject and I can think and I have opinions. By far, I think you are in better
hands with therapists who do not have to obey the rules of a tyrant and can
modify their therapy to address individual patients and not have to follow some
strict formula or be beaten and burned at the stake.
Janov has put a great spin on things but I feel it is totally dishonest. What
I beg you to do is openly and objectively investigate the evidence, most of
which I have supplied in this article, directly, by references, and by links, enabling you to go right to the original
sources. Read Janov's blog. See for yourself what he is or is not? See
what his competition is or is not. Conduct your own trial. I think it will be
hard to come to a verdict any different from what many like myself, or
independent primal therapists, have found.
Arthur promotes himself well, and
often. He has been writing the same old thing for years now. He says he has new
improved techniques but I see very little difference in 40 years. He has
celebrity endorsement in John Lennon or Steve Jobs. Most independent primal
therapists do not do promotion or do very little, such as just a website. They
might seem to sort of ride on Janov's back, who obsessively promotes the theory, and they stand ready to intercept his harvest, so it would seem.
But Arthur is no fool. By continually insisting that no one else in the world
can do what he does, he insures that all those who read his books will come to
him only. So independents do not really benefit from Janov. They just help clean
up his messes. As well, fans of Janov will buy each new book, as if some great
new revelation was to be revealed in them, but it never is. Its the same old
same old. It does keep Arthur in good income, though.
I speak out to independent primal therapists now! How about telling us
about your patients? Tell us your experiences with Janov rejects and your
success stories. Lets not just let Arthur do all the bragging. Its time to blow
your horns and do a little promoting here. Find some patients who want to tell
us about what they think and feel. Part of Arthur's success is his successful
patients and that is as it should be. His competition needs to do the same. And
that they do not, leaves them without representation of the most important part,
which is the patient feedback process. We need it and should not have to beg for
it. If you are Primal practitioners, lets hear from those who were treated by
you. That is fair and necessary!
In all honesty, though Janov seems to hate religion, he imitates the hell out
of it. Arthur sounds almost identical to the Pope. Janov is the vicar of primal
therapy and only he can interpret the deep science of the mind and convey it to
you. If you try to do it yourself or listen to others, you will burn in a hell
of failed harmful imitation therapy. And you will waste your time on cognitive
therapy or other such named therapies. God Janov is a jealous god, who will
tolerate no rivalries with other gods.
I also point out that Janov's therapy lasts years, most of the time. Often it
never ends. Really, self improvement is this way by nature. Learning is life
long. But it should not cost a fortune and once you have the essentials, you
should be able to carry on, on your own, or only occasionally require a session
or 2. I have always believed that no one can search your soul better than you
can. Try it!
The Biggest Problem
Arthur will not admit any value whatsoever in any other type of therapy. This
is patently absurd. Many will gladly claim how they have been helped by various
therapies or techniques. They can show change and progress. Arthur just blindly,
and practically psychotically, ignores it all. In this alone, there is serious fault
to be found. The man ain't quite all there. Just my opinion, of course.
Arthur's special technique. Arthur is very much a spin doctor. Often, a
deceptive one. He likes to change definitions so that he can say something is a
failure because it does not heal. He has a very special selective meaning for
"heal," and therefore, he is correct according to his very narrow
"corrected" definition and possible intentional deceit in doing so.
But this is circular logic. According to an objective and nearly universal
definition, he is wrong by denying other results and successes.
I know this tactic well, having studied and experienced the best religious
liars on the planet, Jehovah's Witnesses. As well, being quite the conspiracy
theorist, due to the overwhelming evidence supporting such a position, and
giving much thought and study to it, I can readily recognize a "spin
doctor," a term I use most often in a very negative sense.
Denial of reality is a common trait of liars. A liar is anyone who denies
reality and evidence, in my book. Redefining words and meanings is another
common tactic. It helps to cover over lies and deceit. This has been called by
some, "double speak." Call something what it is not! For instance, the
Environmental Protection Agency. Protection? Don't they mean destruction? Oh,
I'm just kidding . . . maybe. Many things are called what they are not. Arthur
loves to create his own definitions. It is one of his most common tactics.
Arthur is also skilled at aggressive authoritarian assertiveness. He takes
the offensive and tries to put critics on the defensive. But this tactic is very
effective with weak vulnerable minds. Any one who says there is nothing to NLP,
Neuro-Lingusitic-Programming, is a patented liar. Arthur, knowingly or not, uses
a forceful type of bold assertiveness to overwhelm the weak. It works like a
charm. I saw my father use it often, like a charm, for years. He was a big
bluffer. Politicians and spin doctors
love the technique.
Now the big problem, besides those I mention above. Using all the above,
Arthur will not admit any value to any other therapy, theory, or
technique. A cardinal sin for which Arthur should be ex-communicated, if
not burned at the stake. I speak only in humorous metaphor. He has many patient
failures, which he does not admit. Instead, he will blame the patient or the
intellect, or religion, 2 of his more hated concepts. Therefore, he has no
failures to report, no responsibility or guilt/blame. His theory is complete and
But honest therapists have realized the short-comings and made changes to try
to address these. I will sum up the problem
Arthur Janov ignores everything but deep primal feelings. He does not admit
our thinking is part of our psychology and being. He gives little attention to
belief systems. He sees religion as pure evil, in my opinion. It has no value at
all to him. So as far as Arthur is concerned, all other aspects of human
psychology such as thinking, beliefs, strategies, skills, tactics, diet, habits;
these mean nothing! They affect nothing, they do nothing, they are irrelevant.
He has made the most serious mistake of his career. These play a huge part in
our lives and functioning. He has left out most of the aspects of the
human mind and function. Could you be any more ridiculous?
Part of the problem is that while feelings set off meters and instruments and
show themselves in big noticeable ways, thinking can be much more subtle and
less noticeable. Bringing feelings into consciousness and memory, does often produce great
impacts. That can not be disputed. But decisions and choices can also be huge
and momentous in impact and just as noticeable. Thinking can lead to both good
and bad paths. There are strategies and skills to be learned. Not just as in
crafts or labor skills, but skills in dealing with people and situations, in
raising kids, in many things. To Arthur, it is all nothing.
He has left out at least half of what psychology is; what the function of the
mind is. The mind thinks as well as feels. But not to Arthur. How can a man be
so narrow minded and simplistic? I have a suggestion. I have 2 possibilities.
Either Art is out of his mind, which actually, I tend to doubt, or he has an
agenda that we do not recognize or understand.
What I can tell you is that in the academic world, there are those obedient
ones who routinely and systematically block and deny as much as possible. They
know many things are true, but their job is to cast doubt and hinder the growth
of knowledge and understanding. So they deny the obvious, slight the evidence,
ignore the evidence, make absurd assertions, and use authority as a reason to
So is Arthur deliberately serving another cause and seeking to prevent
intellectual growth, so feared by powerful controllers and manipulators? It is
at least a possibility. The other is that he is motivated by economics and his
own desire for profit and so has to make claims of being the only one with the
true answers so you can only go to him for relief and "cure" as he
defines cure. And maybe this is why he seems to hate religion, because he is
much like a religion and does not like the competition.
But we got 3 choices from this. He is mad, He is greedy, or he serves the
interests of those above him somewhere. Hey, maybe it is a mixture of all 3 or
the last 2. But it is my deep conviction that there is something seriously wrong
with the this man, be it his agenda or his mental state.
On the other hand, independent primal therapists seem far more honest, broad,
compassionate, reasonable, etc. I might offer just one caution on them.
They belong more to the mainstream. I have always mistrusted the mainstream,
which has always been somewhat antagonistic of primal therapy and theory. It
also has many political agendas as well. Arthur has more of an appearance as a
rebel or at least he portrays himself that way. I find him rather mainstream and
conventional, myself. But anything mainstream deserves caution, for it serves a
cause antagonistic to average peoples' interests, in my view.
But the evidence, which is strong, highly favors the independent primal
therapists. But that they do not promote or "evangelize" a little more,
does concern me. Maybe they are just getting enough business so that they do not
need "promotion." That is fine, but since we do have a questionable
and possible charlatan in Arthur Janov, it might be the humanitarian thing to
do, to help people avoid a near cult like mad man and his practice. I do think
what he does is that serious. Maybe the independents all need to get together
and share their vision and findings of holistic primal psychology, similar to what I have
done here in my site and give their opinions on Arthur a bit more voice.
Also, independent primal therapists do not offer my Holistic Theory Therapy.
Which is? I say that learning how to think, analyze, reason, distinguish,
deduce, weigh, search, evaluate, and produce sound logical lines of reason,
of vital importance; these need to be pursued as well. No school of psychology promotes, offers, or recognizes
this and for good reason. Because people with strong intellects are impossible
to fool, manipulate, or use, and they often have big mouths and influence others.
Philosophy used to pursue this. Philosophy has become quite corrupted now, as I
Now logic and rhetoric are taught, in theory, in universities, but within the
realm of philosophy, meaning love of wisdom. But they are to the mind what
pumping iron is to the body. A strong mind is a healthy one and a powerful one.
Knowledge and wisdom are power and protection. Sound rational thinking will
usually produce sound rational results in thinking, speech, actions, behavior,
even choices we make.
Well, far more than minds without sound rational thinking. And because sound
thinking produces sound minds and behavior, then sound thinking as an art form,
does belong in psychology and how!
But short of that, independent primal therapists are your best bet, since I
am neither educated formally, certified, or licensed to practice psychology. But
since the pursuit of wisdom is not a recognized field, much anymore, and is
often blended into philosophy and/or religion, you got the best there is right
here at this site ;-) And I'm real modest about it, too ;-)
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