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..
..BUT JANOV SAYS
..YOU'RE DANGEROUS
..
WHY YOU SHOULDN'T FALL PREY..
TO JANOVIAN ELITISM..
..
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For those who are worried about people who do primal therapy but were not trained and sanctioned by Arthur Janov or the Primal Institute, I think it is important to know some history of the development of Primal Therapy.
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Arthur Janov was the pioneer in writing about Primal Therapy, but he was just one of many people who were instrumental in developing primal therapy. Janov registered "Primal Therapy" as a trademark with the US Department of Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office in May 1972, a status that gave him the sole right to use the term. His trademark became well known when he tried to prevent other primal therapists from using the term. A few individual therapists along with the International Primal Association (an organization of laypeople and professionals) challenged the trademark Janov had received in a hearing before the Patent Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on October 11, 1977. Ten months later, the board issued a decision which totally and completely canceled Janov's trademark.
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Instrumental in the decision was the overwhelming evidence presented by the IPA and other interested parties that there were MANY other therapists who, prior to and concurrently with Janov, were instrumental in developing primal therapy. There was overwhelming evidence that Janov was not the only (and some say, not even among the best) "true" practitioner of Primal Therapy. Now Janov has moved on to start another primal organization and, as best I know, still claims to be the only true practitioners of Primal Therapy and that any therapist not sanctioned by him is dangerous. These dire warnings have many people unnecessarily alarmed. He continues to claim sole "ownership" of something that he obviously was not alone in developing.
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It is sad that the best-known spokesperson for Primal chose to separate himself, incorrectly claim sole authority on all things primal, and denigrate the fine work of many outstanding professionals - a practice that Sam Turton refers to as Janovian elitism. My connection with primal therapists (in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, Vancouver, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, the greater San Francisco Bay area and Melbourne) has been one of sharing, mutual support, and professional encouragement and growth. The intermixing of techniques borrowed from other disciplines, including Jungian sandplay and dream work, Gestalt, psychodrama and various bodywork modalities, has contributed to making primal an even more powerful and effective therapy.
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I do support his belief that primal therapy is a powerful tool and, in the hands of inept or incompetent practitioners, can do great harm.
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However, I do advise seekers to not be terribly worried about whether a therapist is certified by Janov or the Primal Institute. It is much more important to find out who therapists are as people and whether they still do their own work, whether they've gotten advanced training as a therapist, and to follow your own deepest sense of what is right and helpful. And, not every therapist suits the needs of every client - and even therapists who are very good for you overall might not be able to meet all your therapeutic needs.
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Best wishes for finding a therapist who truly suits your needs.
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Last updated April 9, 2005