Psychotherapies Without Feeling

by Dr. Arthur Janov

Posted June 2005 on

Introduction to Chapters on Psychoanalysis

Because Freudian and Primal theories appear to have a number of formulations in common, some believe that Primal Therapy was developed directly out of Freudian theory. From a historical perspective, Primal theory is clearly the logical extension of Freud's position on many issues. However, Primal theory did not grow out of a theoretical scrutiny of Freudian literature, nor is Primal Therapy a psycho-emotive rendition of psychoanalysis. Primal Therapy grew out of a discovery which at first appeared to be one person's private experience, but which then turned out to be a primary (primal) experience potentially available to most people.

This is not to say that Freudian thought had no influence apperceptively. On the contrary, the development and scientific validation of Primal Therapy is in many ways a tribute to Freud's pioneering concepts on the biological basis of defense, repression, and neurosis. These concepts show that Freud was "on the trail" of a psychobiology of feeling more than eighty years ago -- a trail that was cut short by a lack of scientific proof, the primitive state of neurology and neurochemistry, and professional pressure. In effect, Freud was ahead of the science of his time. It is not unreasonable to speculate that, had he had the science and technology available to him then that we have had in this era, he would have arrived at the key concept of Primal theory and therapy: the permanent, neurobiological imprinting of Pain and its release through feeling.

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