Arthur Janov

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Arthur Janov (/ˈænəv/; born August 21, 1924) is an American psychologist, psychotherapist, and the creator of primal therapy, a treatment for mental illness that involves repeatedly descending into, feeling, and experiencing long-repressed childhood pain.[1] Janov directs a psychotherapy institute called the Primal Center in Santa Monica, California. Janov is the author of many books, most notably The Primal Scream.


Arthur Janov was born in Los Angeles. He 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 in 1960. Janov originally 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 Neuropsychiatric Hospital and has been in private practice since 1952. He was also on the staff of the Psychiatric Department at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital where he was involved in developing their psychosomatic unit.[2][3]

Janov writes that his professional life changed in a single day in 1967 with the discovery of what he calls Primal Pain.[4][5] During a therapy session, Janov heard what he describes as, “an eerie scream welling up from the depths of a young man lying on the floor”.[6] He developed primal therapy, in which clients are encouraged to re-live and express what Janov considers repressed memories and feelings.

Janov's patients included John Lennon and Yoko Ono.[7]



  1. Janov, Arthur (1977). The Primal Scream. New York: Abacus. p. 40. ISBN 0-349-11834-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Psychologists on the March, page 251
  3. Arthur Janov CEO
  4. Back-to-Back Fires Damage Analyst's Primal Institute, L.A. Times, 1989
  5. 'Primal therapy' this year's rage Boca Raton News, June 16, 1971
  6. Janov, Arthur. (1977). The Primal Scream. New York: Abacus. p. 9. ISBN 0-349-11834-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Goldman, Albert. (1988). The Lives of John Lennon. London: Guild Publishing. p. 381. ISBN None given.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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