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California's resident Primal Therapist has already logged a lot of miles on his approach to curing neurosis (The Primal Man, The Primal Scream, etc.), but the surprise here is that he comes across as literate, thoughtful, and almost convincing (so much so that his book is almost too clinical for the lay reader). Janov's primary concern is not with the immediate pain that causes what amount to our lesser neuroses, but Pain (as in Primal Pain) arising from early childhood (mostly infantile) scars, at a time when we are operating on a visceral level (deprivation of mommy at this stage is a life-and-death issue; later rejections operate on an emotional level, while still later we deal with neurosis on an intellectual basis). So he sets about reversing the process of neurosis, through Ids now-famous technique of reliving and re-feeling that basic Pain; the screaming and weeping are played down here, and some readers will be surprised to learn that the treatment takes from one to two years to complete. There is a tremendous amount of technical information about the neurophysiology involved; and Janov attempts to explain our natural body pain-killers (endorphines) as part of the repression mechanism that keeps the Pain manageable, but never lets it go. Of course, there are also the usual attempts to discredit the effectiveness of other therapeutic modes; and much of this will already be familiar to readers of Janov's earlier books. Still, a persuasive accounting.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1980
Publisher: Doubleday