The Primal Scream

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For other uses, see Primal Scream (disambiguation).
The Primal Scream. Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis
The Primal Scream (first edition).jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Arthur Janov
Country United States
Language English
Subject Primal therapy
Published 1970 (Dell)
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 446
ISBN 0-349-11834-5

The Primal Scream. Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis (1970; second edition 1999) is a book by Arthur Janov, in which Janov describes his experiences with patients during the months he discovered Primal therapy. The book was popular and brought Janov fame and popular success, which inspired other therapists to start offering imitation primal therapy.


Janov describes the experiences he had with 63 patients during his first 18 months (starting in 1967[1]) discovering and practicing Primal therapy. He claims a 100% cure rate.[2] Janov writes that primal therapy has in some ways returned to the early ideas and techniques of Sigmund Freud.[3]

Influence and reception[edit]

The Primal Scream has been described as "incredibly popular".[4] The book made Janov well known across the English speaking world, and it has been claimed that it sold more than one million copies internationally.[5] Author Albert Goldman, writing in The Lives of John Lennon (1988), reported that Janov sent pre-publication copies of The Primal Scream to celebrities such as John Lennon and Mick Jagger, and that Lennon subsequently underwent primal therapy with Janov.[6] The Primal Scream was read by tens of thousands of Americans and brought Janov fame and popular success. This inspired many therapists who had not met him to offer imitation primal therapy, and led to the proliferation of programs offering happiness through radical personal transformation.[7]

Author Joel Kovel wrote that The Primal Scream shows that Janov is one of several figures in the history of psychotherapy who have come to be seen as savior figures, noting that the book had received "extravagant praise" from the Chattanooga Times and the Berkeley Gazette, both of which compared Janov to Freud. He credited Janov with tapping a "bedrock of great emotional power."[8]

A revised edition of The Primal Scream was published in 1999.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Back-to-Back Fires Damage Analyst's Primal Institute, L.A. Times. 1989
  2. ^ Primal Therapy this year´s rage, Boca Raton News, 16 June 1971
  3. ^ Janov, Arthur (1977). The Primal Scream. Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis. London: Abacus. p. 206. ISBN 0 349 11834 5. 
  4. ^ Laing, Adrian (1994). R.D. Laing: A Life. London: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 165. ISBN 0-00-638829-9. 
  5. ^ Williams, Paul; Edgar, Brian (2008). "Up Against the Wall: Primal Therapy and 'the Sixties'". European Journal of American Studies. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  6. ^ Goldman, Albert (1988). The Lives of John Lennon. London: Guild Publishing. pp. 381–2. ISBN 978-0688047214. 
  7. ^ Mithers, Carol Lynn (1994). Therapy Gone Mad: The True Story of Hundreds of Patients and a Generation Betrayed. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. p. 54. ISBN 0-201-57071-8. 
  8. ^ Kovel, Joel (1991). A Complete Guide to Therapy: From Psychoanalysis to Behaviour Modification. London: Penguin Books. p. 188. ISBN 0-14-013631-2. 
  9. ^