Dr. Arthur Janov, a psychotherapist who rose to a celebrity status, died Sunday, October 1st. According to his website, he died at his home in Malibu, California surrounded by those who loved him.
He is best known for developing a treatment called “primal therapy,” which many top celebrities eventually took part in. Janov also had his own practice, “Primal Institute,” in Los Angeles, which became popular after he released his book titled “The Primal Scream.”
“The Primal Scream,” published in 1970, is what led him to fame. The book outlined the concept of primal therapy, which involves re-creating traumatic childhood experiences and releasing the pain with screams, and sometimes acts of violence.
This form of therapy is meant to treat a variety of physical and mental illnesses including depression, alcoholism, ulcers, epilepsy, and asthma, reported the New York Times. Janov claimed to have a 100% success rate with his patients.
The book became an international bestseller and initially gained a high amount of attention from the media. After releasing his book, Janov drew many well-known people to his practice, including top celebrities.
According to the Times, legendary musician John Lennon, Japanese artist and Lennon’s ex-wife Yoko Ono, American actor James Earl Jones, and popular pianist Roger Williams were among those who received primal therapy. Williams even referred to Janov as, “one of history’s five greatest men” beside Socrates, Galileo, Freud, and Darwin.
However, this type of therapy received a lot of criticism. Many others in the industry agreed that it was not credible and in some cases, could even be dangerous. The Guardian pointed out that today it is “widely objected.”
Years later in 2016, he published another psychological book, “Beyond Belief.” The description on Amazon states, “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.” His latest book did not peak at the high that his "The Primal Scream" book did.
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