Book Talk with Dr. Arthur Janov
by Lisa Burns
Arthur Janov, author of The Janov Solution: Lifting Depression through Primal Therapy
Q: Since The Primal Scream was released in the 1970’s, your books have revolutionized psychotherapy and changed lives. Have you gotten used to people telling you that your books have changed their lives?
A: For years, I was getting hundreds of letters a month applying for, or claiming help through my therapy. I tried to answer every one of them, and even today in Europe I run across people who kept the letters I sent them. I am flattered by all this. Glory is not my thing, but helping people out of anxiety and depression and is my calling. Their numbers are in the tens of thousands now, and there is no doubt in my mind that primal therapy will be the therapy of the future; it is the first real science of psychotherapy. We have had success in areas I never thought possible--migraine, epilepsy, high blood pressure, etc.
Q: The Janov Solution explains how patients can safely access the deepest levels of the brain, relive primal experiences and conquer depression. Does a patient have to be open to reliving these experiences in order for it to happen, or does it happen involuntarily when you practice Primal Therapy?
A: It is never a matter of will power, even wanting to get well. It all happens automatically in our therapy. We are able to rid deep depressions because the origins lie deep in the brain. We are the only therapy that has access to those originating imprints that end up in depression. The reason that depression has been implacable is because no other therapy has found a way to go deep into the unconscious and root out depression’s causes.
Q: Can children practice Primal Therapy? Is there a certain age it works best?
A: Rarely do we have children in therapy, but those who did undergo (and we have filmed it) satanic rituals as kids have made real progress in our therapy.
Some people come to us because they want to feel better. I have seen a number of homosexuals who had no desire to change but did so after three years of the therapy. The best age for the therapy is in the early twenties, although we have had a number of elderly patients, including a sixty-five year old doctor who wet the bed all of her life. The therapy stopped it. We understand the neurology of it, and therefore know what to do about it.
Q: Do you think that if more people understood Primal Therapy, depression would be eradicated?
A: I have treated hundreds of depressives, from someone who put a bullet right next to his heart, to another who kept dynamite next to his bed. We have helped them because we can go back to the earliest critical period when infancy needs must be fulfilled and we have accessed the child and his feelings, the subtext of depression.
Q: How did you develop Primal Therapy? How does one develop such a revolutionary idea?
A: I taped the original primal in my regular practice forty years ago, and listened to it for clues. It took me twenty years to figure it out and then discover what happens to the brain during all this.
We have done four separate brain-wave studies of our depressive patients, plus some neurochemistry (serotonin levels) and vital signs. It has taken working on the theory for decades and then meshing it with new physiologic research to develop what is now a very precise therapy. I think anyone who wants to develop or understand our feeling therapy must have access to feelings; otherwise, what happens to a patient remains a mystery.
Q: What does the future hold for the Primal Center? What else do you want to accomplish in terms of psychotherapeutic techniques?
A: We are now training therapists from all over the world in a two-year internship program. Judging from our results, I think it is inevitable that it will be the therapy of our century. What other therapy can alter epilepsy? What we do is the exact opposite of the current, well-publicized cognitive/insight therapies. I have been trying to set up an fMRI study, but cannot get nuclear medicine gurus interested.