Dr. Arthur Janov's Primal Center
For treatment, training and research

Treatment Program


Primal therapy is available at the Primal Center under the personal supervision of Dr. Arthur Janov. The therapy is performed by our highly-trained staff, who have undergone a minimum of five years of intensive training at Dr. Janov's Primal Center. Most individual sessions are videotaped and therapy is monitored by either Dr. Arthur Janov or Dr. France Janov with the participation of the senior staff, so that each patient is supervised on a continuing basis.


New patients who apply and are accepted at the Primal Center typically begin treatment with three weeks of intensive individual therapy.  After the three-week intensive there is recommended follow-up therapy, which may consist of ongoing individual sessions, group therapy, buddying, telephone and/or video therapy, and occasional mini-retreats.  We also hold an orientation for patients lecture series every year.


Please click here for information about Primal Therapy for children at the Primal Center.


Please also see:  What is Proper Primal Therapy?



Initial Three Weeks of Individual Therapy

The therapy starts with three weeks of individual therapy. It is the first and most important step towards learning about your Pain and learning to feel it. To that end we usually require new patients to spend the three weeks of individual therapy in isolation, preferably in a motel or any place where he/she can be alone.

Upon starting therapy, new patients will receive detailed instructions regarding the three weeks. It is recommended that patients do not work, make phone calls, snack, smoke, take drugs (unless prescribed), etc., during the three weeks. The patient is encouraged to write and keep a journal of his or her experiences. Sessions during the initial three week period are open-ended but average about two hours in length.

It is also recommended that you bring your childhood pictures or anything else that brings up memories which have a special significance for you.


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Follow-Up Therapy


Although the length of the therapy varies widely, our recommendation is that all applicants should be prepared to stay an average of one year at Dr Janov's Primal Center. For those of you who have had previous Primal Therapy and wish to enter Dr. Janov's Primal Center, please contact the office for special instructions.


"I don't have to live my life in agony anymore.  I can finally be myself - the real me - the one I should have been all along - and be happy with who I am."  C.B., France


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Individual Sessions


Although individual needs for therapy vary, the optimum therapy includes at least one individual session and one group session per week for the first six months. Individual sessions are open-ended. One must have the financial means that will allow for continuing therapy, particularly more individual sessions during the year. After the third week of individual therapy the patient may return to work.


"It works.  It saved my life. . . . I feel so good. . . . I never knew it was possible to feel so good.  Now I am going back home to live."  P.F., Switzerland


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Group Therapy


Unlike any other form of group therapy, Primal groups are really individual therapy performed in a group setting. Being in a group setting allows patients to express their feelings, be triggered by each other, and realize that most of us carry a burden of pain. The patients deal with their own feelings and any interaction with others in the group or with the therapists has feelings as its aim.


Groups are held twice a week.


"Despair and hopelessness are no longer a state of being.  Feeling gives meaning to my life" L.B., USA


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Telephone and Video Therapy


Our patients come from all over the world, and cannot always stay beyond a certain time, but they can still benefit from the feeling process.


We have found over the years that "Telephone Therapy" works perfectly well.  We are currently doing telephone therapy with patients in England, France, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, and several other countries, as well as the USA.  Once patients have access to their feelings, the therapeutic process can go on perfectly well through the phone.  It allows the patient to maintain his/her therapeutic relationship with the therapist.  We have in the last year implemented a program of video therapy that has worked very well all over the world. In the cases when it is beneficial for the patient to be seen by the therapist and/or for the patient to see the therapist, we are offering therapy via computer where patients and therapists can see each other.

What is Skype?

Skype is a little piece of software that lets you make free calls from computer to computer, anywhere in the world. And even though the calls are free, they are good quality.

If you are using a web camera (also known as a webcam, real camera), it is a real-time camera (usually, though not always, a video camera) whose images can be accessed using the World Wide Web, instant messaging, or a PC video calling application. With Skype, this allows you to make free video calls that let you see the other person as well as speak with them.

Web-accessible cameras typically involve a digital camera, which uploads images to a web server, either continuously or at regular intervals. This may be achieved by a camera attached to a PC, or by dedicated hardware.

Videoconferencing cameras typically take the form of a small camera connected directly to a PC. Analog cameras are also sometimes used (often of the sort used for closed-circuit television), connected to a video capture card and then directly or indirectly to the internet.

You can even call landlines and mobile phones at really cheap rates (and there's no setup or subscription fee).

Skype is free to download and easy to use. You can go directly to their website at: www.skype.com. where you will find the software to download as well as directions for how to use it.

Simply find and add contacts to your contact list, where you can see if they're online, offline, busy or away from their computer.

To make a call from your computer to ours is very simple once you're set up.
Our Skype I.D. is listed as "primalcenter"
Our Skype phone number is 1-310-392-8554.

That's all you need to add us to the "contacts� list you'll have once you've downloaded Skype.

Skype works on most kinds of computers � Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Pocket PCs. Calls, chats and file transfers work between all kinds of computers.

EncryptionSkype automatically encrypts calls, chats and file transfers before sending them through the internet so no-one can intercept your call, text or file transfer. It's also completely free of advertising, so you won't be disturbed by annoying pop-ups or banners.

You can talk on Skype over the Internet for free, and you'll always be able to do that. There are some other useful things you can do on Skype that aren't free (but they're pretty cheap, actually).

(Please e-mail us if you have any questions.)


"I think the phone session worked well for me - I don't think I would have cried so much in a normal session.  Fear of showing my feelings I suppose.  It is encouraging though to think that I can do this when I come back from LA in December.  Obviously I am keen to feature in your 2003 diary." M.N., England


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We want our patients to become independent of the therapist as soon as possible. Our goal is to teach our patients how to get themselves into their feelings so that feeling becomes a natural way of life. To that end, after several months of Primal Therapy, when patients have adequate access to feelings, they can enter the buddy system where they can help each other.


The Center provides therapy rooms for that purpose, depending on availability, at no charge to the patients.


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The format of the mini-retreat was created by Dr. Janov at the Paris Institute and was an immediate success. The idea is to bring together all people participating in Primal Therapy -- current and former patients and staff (including trainees, therapists and interns) for a period of communal living.


It is an intensive weekend where participants can have their feelings, individually in sessions and buddying and in the group setting, attend a live lecture on a subject of interest to patients’ lives, view “Primal” movies and other available Primal material, play music and, generally, get to know each other.


The mini-retreat is open to "old" patients as well, meaning people who have had prior Primal Therapy and who meet certain requirements before attending. Please contact the office for further information.


Mini-retreats are held twice a year.  Click here for information about upcoming special events at the Primal Center, including the next mini-retreat.


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Orientation Program for Patients


While in therapy, patients can attend a program of education in the fundamentals of Primal Theory and how it applies in their own therapy. Orientation is held once a year for eight weeks in January and February. The orientation is open to all current patients and we encourage all patients to take advantage of this unique opportunity to increase their understanding of Primal Theory and apply it to their own experiences.


The program is a combination of lecture and open discussion on such topics as need, repression, the chain of pain, levels of consciousness, act-outs, symptoms, the conditions for good therapy, resolution and integration, sexuality, drugs and “wellness”


"Above all, I will always be grateful to you for what the therapy has brought to Jacques and myself.  It has been a real turn around in our lives." (Translated from French)  A.F., France



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Primal Therapy for Children at the Primal Center


In some cases the Center has given Primal Therapy to children whose parents were in therapy with us. We discovered that children are capable of doing well in therapy as they are very close to their feelings. Provided that children have the right parental environment and their caretakers are in therapy with us, we will consider accepting them for treatment. Written parental consent is required for minors accepted into therapy.


“The therapy has changed my life!  I'm living in THIS world now, with all its beauty and joy and pain, not in a tortuous 'fog'!  My conscious and unconscious mind is pretty well connected.  (I only dream in the here & now!). . . . I want Primal Therapy to go on!!  I want it available to my son, if he should ever need to do it."  L.G., Germany


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Open Door Policy for Returning Patients


We are happy to welcome non-current Primal patients who wish to return to the Primal Center as well as patients having had Primal Therapy outside of the Primal Center.  Please call or e-mail the Primal Center to get the necessary information.


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209 Ashland Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (310) 392-2003
Fax: (310) 392-8554
E-mail:  primalctr@earthlink.net