Official site of Primal Therapy

Ken Seman, LCSW, Director
Dr Arthur Janov, Founder
Dr France Janov, Founder

Dr. Arthur Janov examines the power of beliefs and how they are used as a mechanism for dealing with early trauma that goes as far back as birth. Beliefs are a way to rationalize with pain rooted deep in the unconscious, and reveal that love is a biological need. Dr. Janov applies engrossing case studies and his many years of experience to bring the reader one step closer to understanding human behavior, and how pain can become converted into an idea. Available on Amazon:

This is Dr. Janov's opus magnum, a revolutionary work in every sense of the word. It may help to change the practice of psychotherapy as we know it, and above it, how we give birth today; the shoulds and should nots. It explains in detail how early trauma and adversity can have lifelong consequences and result in serious afflictions from cancer to diabetes. It can have monumental implications for medical practice, as well, and points to how we can rear healthy children.

Dr. Arthur Janov's Blog
A collection of articles by Dr Arthur Janov and comments from his readers.

Patients Survey 2004

Results from Patients Survey January 2004

We conducted a survey among the current Primal Center patients.

The feedback we received was so impressive that we decided to publish it on our website, as well as some of the commentary from our patients.

As you will see in the following statistics, to the question "Do you feel the therapy changed your life?", the answer was overwhelmingly yes.

We were happy to see the overall satisfaction with the treatment. Also extremely positive was the general feeling regarding the Center and Staff, as well as Primal Therapy as a tool for life.

To the question "Do you feel generally better?", the answer was also confirming what we knew empirically, that Primal Therapy, when done right, allows us to feel generally better in our life, "feeling more alive", as indicated in the survey, being a big part of that good feeling.

Below are the statistics. We included additional comments, pertinent to the various questions.

Countries of origin:

United States


















South Africa


90% feel the therapy changed their life.

5% have access to feelings.

75% are able to feel on their own.

90% noticed improvement with insomnia, 70 % with blood pressure, 95% with
heart function, 50% with depression.

50 % reported a much better quality of life.

75% feel generally better.

80% feel more alive.


Main decisive factor to come to therapy:

No therapeutic process had ever worked for me, and I felt that the method used might have some hope of success.

Fascinated by the research on the brain.

Didn't have a life, didn't feel, other therapy (which had been doing for years) not working.

Depressed all my life.

Depression, suicidal tendencies

Explain how it changed your life:

My severe, relentless depression vanished after 10 months and I was able to go off all medication.

I had a totally uncontrollable compulsion to regularly torture myself physically which vanished, never to return after 10 months. Perhaps there is significance in the fact that these two dreadful problems were healed at the same time.

Before Primal Therapy, I was a cardboard cutout, a spaced out zombie. Now my whole body feels like living flesh and blood for the first time. This transformation started to happen dramatically immediately after a primal scream in the third week of therapy, and was accomplished by increments. I'd read about all this, but never seriously considered that it could happen to me.

The instant after the primal scream, all my senses came good - colors were vivid, sounds were vital and the world glistened. Although I am not very religious and am a poor singer, at the start of the next session I actually stood and sang an old hymn I remembered: The World Looks Very Beautiful (And full of joy to me;/The sun shines out in glory/On everything I see)! I realized that the world had not changed at all, but that my senses had been dulled and had now become normal. The improvement has been permanent, with no deterioration to this day. I was totally skeptical when I entered Primal Therapy, having endured three decades of therapeutic disaster.

I was a workaholic, with a full time responsible executive position plus four unrelated part time jobs. There is no way I'd put myself in that situation now. I always worked to pathetically try to please others - now my work is for myself.

I was painfully shy and inhibited, but now am much more relaxed and outgoing. My body movements and speech were contrived, now they are both more natural and spontaneous.

I always felt physically sick, but never knew what was wrong. I must have been tested for just about every disease under the sun - always with negative results. (I have certain injuries due to violent physical abuse during childhood - but that is a different issue). I always felt very upset when all the doctors and hospitals I consulted failed to come up with solutions to my feelings of physical distress.

These days, I don't even have a physician, and never set foot in a hospital. Before Primal Therapy, my mind was always working frantically over the supposed wrongs a doctor or a hospital had done to me. (Although there was substance in my concerns sometimes). I always had a non-existent social life, and was agonizing over it all the time. I was always left out of social events and felt - no doubt correctly - that people didn't like me. The difference now - after Primal Therapy - is that I don't care whether people like me or not! In other words, my self-esteem has increased dramatically.
I'm not depressed any more; I am calmer and more content; I have more self confidence; I'm in a relationship; I am doing excellent in my work, and have a level of responsibility that I never would have been able to handle earlier.

I'm not depressed any more; I am calmer and more content; I have more self confidence; I'm in a relationship; I am doing excellent in my work, and have a level of responsibility that I never would have been able to handle earlier.

The knowledge of how feelings work makes life soooo easy.

I am less afraid of people, more outgoing.

I feel more alive and more myself.

More at ease, more myself, less pressure, more ready, more alive, more in the present, feel much better, more complete.

In 3 weeks, I made a good start. The previously impenetrable shell around my feelings was cracked open in the area of feeling and expressing love. I had thought I was unfeeling but I was only SHUT-DOWN. I actually felt a lot!

I had a lot of pain and terror attacks. The therapy changed how I interact with people. Much less terror, I am closer to others, I have friends and a work that is steady.

I just started but already I can sense the changes and the potential of transformation in my life.

It saved me from trying to function in terrible pain with no tools to feel it. Originally, I had tried some other therapies and they obviously were useless. Then, I read The Primal Scream?Ѭ?

I enjoy life now. I can make eye contact, very little fear of crowds. Developing a strong sense of my self worth. Not thinking of death on a daily basis.

Quality of life:

Don't want to change with nobody.

More optimistic but I need to test myself back in everyday life after 3 weeks.

Quality of insights:

Much Better - insights are accurate for the first time. Other therapies always led me to have ridiculously incorrect insights.

Life makes perfect sense.

Comparison with other therapies:

Do you want me to write a book full of horror stories? More Tales from the Crypt perhaps? The previous therapies I tried over 34 years either had no effect or made me worse. Most of them were talk therapies, and medications were used very often. The more competent the therapist, the worse I'd get. (I told you I was a back to front person!). I presume I'd get worse because they would start to uncover my negative emotions but there would be no proper resolution of them.

The medications always made me feel unwell - sometimes I would be driving under their influence and the road would seem to be spinning under the car. I drove because I had to go to work, and was never advised not to.

However all of these treatments have made one big difference to my life - if I hadn't had them I'd be rich.

By comparison, Primal Therapy healed naturally without medications. I would like to say too, that the method of working together in a friendly, relaxed environment where people get to know each other if they wish is, in my opinion, the best possible way. Otherwise there is a situation where the patient is permanently isolated with the therapist, and even if there are group sessions they become negative discussion exercises where (in my experience) you can be made to feel even more oppressed.

It was primal therapy performed by someone who wasn't trained to perform the therapy. (I didn't know this at the time.) Although I gained access to feelings, I didn't feel the feelings very deeply, and didn't connect them with past memories, which means that feeling them wasn't healing. Although I did feel better in some respects, there were areas of my life which actually started going worse - I was unable to concentrate at work, and became so unproductive that I feared at one point that I might lose my job. And later on I had terrible insomnia. I came to the conclusion that I was actually functioning worse than before in my life after this therapy.

I was trained in Hypnosis, Gestalt and a few others, but the concept of PT is the only one that works.

Transactional Analysis: therapist blamed me for not responding well enough, getting well quick enough, for feeling the way I felt. Lot of pressure. Not Ok to be where I was. Sometimes she talked more than I did.

All my previous therapies - traditional non-feeling therapies - can't compare to the improvement I've made in Primal Therapy.

Individual Adlerian Psychology. No other therapy could take away my tension and anger.

Scientology (reducing emotional charge on past incidents), Transpersonal Psychology (emotions, thoughts, dreams and spirituals aspects), Cognitive/Reliving Emotive (changing your mind/thoughts).

No comparison. Other therapies did not help at all.

Primal Therapy helped more than Bio-Energetics.

Relief and change could be felt within days of starting Primal Therapy. With "talk therapies", I never felt sure of any progress, even after many months.

No comparison. Psychotherapy = 1965 Volkswagen Beetle, Primal Therapy = 2004 Porsche. Primal Therapy is top of the line and was life changing for me. It gave me the desire to live life to the maximum. Psychotherapy: no changes, just stirring up pain and making it even more difficult to function. Emotion = energy in motion. The energy shifted, causing more problemes. Never resolved (felt) with no insights for change.

Do you feel more alive?

Yes. Let's put it this way: I feel alive for the first time. Before that, I didn't know what alive meant. And of this started to happen when I was 50 - at an age when most people feel that they have been through the best part of their lives!

Did it improve your relationships?

Traditionally, I have not had proper friends - only fellow misfits with whom I had friendships of sorts. Since my improvement, I have been able to separate the sheep from the goats, and some of them were goats, so I don't see them anymore. But I seem to be making new, more appropriate friends. Before Primal Therapy, I was quite often associating with inappropriate types of people. I can see that I was mixing with others who were dysfunctional. That has stopped.

I have decided that I would rather have no friends than abusive friends - another demonstration of increased self-esteem. I have also made a number of decent friends in America - some are other Primal Therapy patients and others are not. We keep in touch by e-mail.

All social relationships are much better - except those with my abusive family, which are much worse - devastatingly bad in fact.

Intake procedure:

It seemed to me that the intake therapist (Jim) was the first person ever who really listened sympathetically and understood accurately.

General comments:

It struck me that the Primal Therapy books were the only books about psychology (and I have read very many of them) that actually described the evolution of my illness accurately.

If Primal Therapy heals as claimed (and it has in my case and in other cases I have heard of), the patient may have to deal with a whole new negative family situation - such as I have described above. Where is help and support with this novel and potentially extremely damaging phenomena meant to come from? Just as you are doing well and improving, you are being re-traumatized by your abusive family. In my opinion, the solution is not simply to do more Primal Therapy. Why should anyone do therapy for someone else's neurosis? Why should I do therapy because my son in an alcoholic and hates me because I won't pay for his alcohol? Why should I do more therapy because the female members of my family hate men, and step up their abuse to fever pitch just as I am starting to feel more masculine? I have been left with a dreadful dilemma. As improvement has happened, my family has turned viciously against me. I don't know how to handle it. I don't know what to do. The family neurosis has become well and truly unmasked. I am being made to be the victim, and I have no idea how to react. I have tried many avenues of getting help, but all have come to a dead end.

You should translate some of the newer books in German. Also you should work or open a center over here in Germany. Primal Therapy booms over here! Read the German Psychology Today Newspaper. A LOT of people offer primal Therapy here. No other advertising than Primal Therapy Centers. Off course nobody is trained in California. But patients here are interested. Just a suggestion. I am not talking about tomorrow, but maybe in the next 20 years or so. Otherwise I think that it's very very good that you have more Therapists working at the same time in one Center. Those way patients have the possibility to change their Therapist any time in case there therapy does not work well! I have no more criticism; you guys do a great job over there!

I was disappointed that one of the main factors or reasons for coming to Primal Therapy remained unresolved. This related to 2 LSD experiences I had in the 1970's. David explained to me that in the process of Primal Therapy we deal with feelings in the present and work toward deeper levels of feeling involving pain, hurt, etc.

I no longer have low self-esteem or depression. Therefore, I am NOT unhappy. On the other hand, If I had had 30 years of proper Primal Therapy I feel that 2 issues may have been more adequately addressed as well:

- The possibility of being able to have a physical, sexual, relationship with a woman.
- The resolution of the fears behind my bad dreams.

This latter issue being the most stressful and exhausting. I can deal with this to a degree where I can cope.

Primal Therapy has changed my life. I'm facing to go back to my home country in 2 weeks, which I'm quite afraid of. Will I be able to feel on my own? Will I be able to afford phone sessions when I need them? The answers are "yes, I will". I have made it to come so far, so I know that I will be able to go on with my life. Primal Therapy is an easy tool, just sometimes hard to do. I want to make changes in my life and keep growing.

Thank you to all of the Primal Center, you have made it possible for me to see a tomorrow. Thank you!

The scientific basis of Primal Therapy and the peer review procedures were all important!

Everything is great! Thank you for your incredible work.

I was impressed with the emphasis on distinguishing between authentic Janov Center trained therapists and imposters or those only partially trained yet pretending to be accredited. This made me feel safe.

I really like the therapists and the secretaries. I think they are very professional, warm and caring. The mini retreats are very helpful.

It is important to say that a major good was attained for me despite the shortness of my time. I ended a misbelief which has been in place for at least 2/3 of my life, namely that I can't or don't feel much. I discovered I have been feeling strongly all the time but it's all been hidden from the world and from ME! The trick is to access it and marry up the outer life with the richer parallel but hidden life. But it's enormously heartening to know it's THERE!

Primal has really changed by life, thank you, thank Art for the continued research.

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