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Basic Theory

The following is taken from Why You Get Sick – How You Get Well by Dr. Arthur Janov and reviews some of the basic theory behind Primal Therapy.

Why You Get Sick - How You Get Well by Dr. Arthur Janov

There is one neurosis, many manifestations and one cure feeling.’”

Repressed pain divides the self in two, and each side wars with the other. One is the real self, loaded with needs and pain that are submerged; the other is the unreal self that attempts to deal with the outside world by trying to fulfill unmet needs with neurotic habits or behaviors such as obsessions or addictions. The split of the self is the essence of neurosis, and neurosis can kill. 
That pain is the result of needs and feelings that have gone unfulfilled in early life. Those early unmet needs create what I call Primal Pain. Coming close to death at birth or feeling unloved as a child are examples of such Pain. The Pain goes unfelt at the time because the body is not equipped to experience it fully and deal with it. When the Pain is too much, it is repressed and stored away. When enough unresolved Pain has occurred, we lose access to our feelings and become neurotic. 

The number one killer in the world today is not cancer or heart disease, it is repression.

Primal Therapy is important in the field of psychology, for it means, ultimately, the end to so much suffering in human beings. Discovering a way to treat Pain means there is a way to stop the misery in which so many of us are mired every day of our lives. After two decades of research, after dealing with thousands of patients with every imaginable psychological and physical affliction, we have arrived at a precise, predictable therapy that reduces the amount of time one spends in treatment and eliminates all the wasted motion. It is a therapy that has been investigated by independent scientists, and the findings are consistent. Primal Therapy is able to reduce or eliminate a host of physical and psychic ailments in a relatively short period of time with lasting results.

About Drs. Arthur and France Janov

Primal Therapy is miraculous, but it is not a miracle, it is science at work.

Dr. Arthur Janov

Dr. Arthur Janov

Dr. Arthur Janov one of the worlds leading psychologists and the author of 15 books, including the international bestseller, The Primal Scream. He was the Founder and Director of THE PRIMAL CENTER in Santa Monica, CA. He had been elected to the Academic Hall of Fame of Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Janov received his B.A. and M.S.W. in psychiatric social work from the University of California, Los Angeles and his Ph.D. in psychology from Claremont Graduate School.

Before originating Primal Therapy, he practiced conventional psychotherapy in his native California. He did an internship at the Hacker Psychiatric Clinic in Beverly Hills, worked for the Veterans Administration at Brentwood Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital and was in private practice from 1952 to 1967. He was also on the staff of the Psychiatric Department at Los Angeles Childrens Hospital, where he was involved in developing their psychosomatic unit.

The course of Dr. Janovs professional life changed in a single day in the mid-1960s with the discovery of Primal Pain. During a therapy session, he heard (as he describes it) an eerie scream welling up from the depths of a young man who was lying on the floor.” He came to believe that this scream was the product of some unconscious, intangible wound that the patient was unable to resolve. Dr. Janov devoted his professional life to the investigation of that underlying pain and the development of a precise, scientific therapy that could mitigate its lifelong effects.

Dr. Janov conducted revolutionary research in the field of psychotherapy for more than four decades. As the originator of Primal Therapy, he treated thousands of patients and conducted extensive research to support his thesis that both physical and psychic ailments can be linked to early trauma. He concluded that patients can dramatically reduce such debilitating medical problems as depression, anxiety, insomnia, alcoholism, drug addiction, heart disease and many other serious diseases. In 1970, he introduced his radical new approach to therapy to the general public in his first book, The Primal Scream, which became a best-seller and has since sold more than a million copies worldwide.

In the last 40 years, Primal Therapy has established itself as the only therapy producing deep changes in a host of psychosomatic symptoms and psychological problems. As Director and Supervisor of Research with the Primal Foundation Laboratory, Dr. Janov was the first psychologist to submit his results to scientific scrutiny. Studies at Rutgers, the University of Copenhagen, St. Bartholomews Hospital in England and the University of California at Los Angeles have all supported his theory that Primal Therapy can produce measurable positive effects on the function of the human brain and body.

Dr. Janov and his wife, Dr. France D. Janov, lectured worldwide on Primal Theory and Primal Therapy, including at the Royal College of Medicine, London, England; Hunter College, New York; and Karolinska Medical and Research Center, Stockholm, Sweden. His work was also the subject of a PBS special in the United States and of documentaries in Germany, England, France and Sweden.

The latest research conducted at Dr. Janovs Primal Center on the effects of Primal Therapy on the brain was performed by Dr. Erik Hoffman, former Professor of Neurophysiology at Copenhagen University. This research showed very clear changes in the brain as a result of feeling.

Dr. Janov authored fifteen books. His last published book was Beyond Belief: Cults, Healers, Mystics and GurusWhy We Believe, published on May 3, 2016. These books have been translated into 24 languages throughout the world. Prior to his passing on October 1, 2017, he had just completed another book, The Psychology of Everyday Life, a collection of articles soon to be published.

France D. Janov

France D. Janov

Dr. France D. Janov was the Director of THE PRIMAL CENTER, located in Santa Monica, CA. 

In 1980, she married Arthur Janov and accompanied him at numerous conferences throughout Europe and South America. It was during this period that Dr. France Janov translated The Primal Scream, Prisoners of Pain, and The Feeling Child into French. Later, she would supervise the translation and editing of The New Primal Scream, published in 1991.

Dr. France D. Janov also took part in editing several of Dr. Arthur Janovs other books, as well as the development of films on Primal Therapy. Most recently, she completed the Legacy Program, a series of videos that comprises six years of indepth training with Primal Therapy students. It includes videos of therapy sessions, followed by clinical discussions that include diagrams of the brain exposing levels of consciousness and their function.

In 1982, the Janovs relocated to Paris with the opening of the European Primal Institute. Dr. France D. Janov was both the administrator of the Paris Institute and Dr. Arthur Janovs research assistant in London and did clinical work. She was also responsible for the creation and management of the Primal Foundation.

In 1989, Dr. Arthur Janov opened THE PRIMAL CENTER in Venice, CA, now relocated to Santa Monica, CA, with the goal of training Primal therapists.

Dr. France D. Janov assisted in the training by teaching classes and supervising tape reviews. In 1991, she was named Co-Director and Clinical Director, assuming responsibility for the clinical training program and supervision of the advanced therapists work with patients, as well as treating patients and managing THE PRIMAL CENTER. After the passing of Dr. Arthur Janov on October 1, 2017, she became Director of THE PRIMAL CENTER until her retirement in November 2018.

Frances Retirement Letter

Ken Seman, MSW

Ken Seman, MSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, took over the operation of The Primal Center in December 2018. Mr. Seman was a patient of The Primal Center since 2004. He entered the Primal Training Program in 2007, was clinically supervised by Drs. Arthur and France Janov, and became the clinical director for Dr. Janov’s Primal Center.

Mr. Seman’s interest in Primal Therapy began as an undergraduate student studying psychology. He received his MSW degree in 1991. Prior to beginning the Primal Training Program Ken was the clinical director, for 16 years, of an addiction’s treatment program in NYC.