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Primal Reading List

The following is a list of books that members of the IPA have found helpful in understanding primal process. A more extensive list that includes additional primal titles and related topics is in continual development. At the end of the list you'll find some suggested sources for books both in and out of print.

Opinions and information expressed by the reviewers and authors are their own and not necessarily those of the IPA.

Introductory Primal Reading List

Arthur Janov
Alice Miller
Various Authors

Books by Arthur Janov

All books by Arthur Janov (the originator of the term "Primal Therapy") relate to primal process. Please note that Janov often states that his center is the only facility where primal therapy is practiced properly, a view not held by the IPA.

The following books cover essential background and theory:

The Primal Scream
1970, Putnam, N.Y.

This first book stands as the initial definition of primal theory and Janov's practice of primal therapy at the time. Please note that since this publication, primal therapy has been considerably refined and further developed by Janov and other practitioners.

The Feeling Child
1973, Simon & Schuster, N.Y.

Janov presents how poor parenting causes suffering and neurosis, and how meeting the physical and emotional needs of children is the best prevention.

Primal Man: The New Consciousness
Co-authored by E. Michael Holden
1975, Thomas Y. Crowell Publishing

Primal is presented, for the first time, as a neurological science in conjunction with Dr. Paul MacLean's triune brain theory. Janov introduces first, second, and third line consciousness, and the gating theory of repression.

The New Primal Scream : Primal Therapy 20 Years on
1991, Enterprise Publishing, Wilmington, DE

This book is the necessary update to the Primal Scream. It is Janov's most thorough compilation of advanced primal theory and case histories to date.

Why You Get Sick, How You Get Well: The Healing Power of Feelings
1996, Dove Books, Los Angeles

In contrast to the technical approach of Primal Man and The New Primal Scream, this book is a summary of modern primal theory for the average reader. It is intended as an introduction.

The Biology of Love
2000, Prometheus Books, N.Y.

Janov's most recent book is an attempt to explain primal therapy within the theoretic paradigm of modern neuroscience.

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Books by Alice Miller

Alice Miller's books present neurosis as a result of childhood abuse and neglect, and have inspired many people to embrace primal theory and therapy. In that regard, all of her books are recommended. Unfortunately, Miller's turbulent personal experience with primal resulted in an inconsistent presentation of primal from one book to another. For a more in-depth review of this issue, see the article: Alice Miller & Primal Therapy: A Summary

The following books cover the essential aspects of her perspective:

The Drama of the Gifted Child : The Search for the True Self
1981, Harper Collins, NY

Miller's first book is a popular classic that broadened the modern definition of child abuse, and shows how narcissistic parents form and deform the lives of their children.

For Your Own Good : Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence
1983, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, NY

Miller traces the childhood histories of self-destructive and violent individuals (including Hitler) to indicate the global consequences of abusive child rearing.

Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society's betrayal of the child
1984, Meridian/New American, NY

Miller continues to explore society's sanction of parental abuse, and how it creates repression, emotional illness, and destructive behavior.

Banished Knowledge: Facing Childhood Injuries
1990, Doubleday, NY

Miller shares her own personal healing journey from childhood abuse and highly recommends primal therapy.

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Various authors, listed alphabetically

Facing the Wolf: Inside the Process of Deep Feeling Therapy
Theresa Sheppard Alexander
1996, Dutton Books N.Y.

As a therapist who trained with Janov but went on to develop her own path, Alexander presents reconstructed session reports from her own initial intensive from the perspective of both client and therapist. It is also a simple introduction to modern primal theory and practice.

Emotional Fitness: Discovering Our Natural Healing Power
Janice Berger with Harry Hall
2000, Prentice Hall Canada, Toronto

Janice Berger introduces "deep emotional processing," her version of primal, by focusing on specific feeling states and relationship issues. It is a reader-friendly introduction to deep feeling work.

Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma
Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.
1997, Vanguard Publications, Boston

This book explains the social and cultural factors that perpetuate the practice of routine male infant circumcision in America in spite of growing awareness of infant sensitivity to pain and the traumatic impact the surgery has on the infant. It also discusses the impact of circumcision on mother-child relationships, the long-term negative psychological and sexual effects of circumcision on men, and the negative impact of circumcision on American society.

Reclaiming Your Life : A Step-By-Step Guide to Using Regression Therapy to Overcome the Effects of Childhood Abuse
by Jean C. Jenson, introduction by Alice Miller
1996, Meridian/Penguin, N.Y.

Jenson is a Janov-trained therapist who presents her own approach, with many exercises and suggestions for initiating primal expression, especially within the circumstances of daily life and relationships.

Primal Connections: How Our Experiences From Conception to Birth Influence Our Emotions, Behavior and Health
Elizabeth Noble
1993, Fireside Simon & Schuster, N.Y.

Noble is a childbirth educator, and her book focuses on how early imprinting from conception through birth affects our adult lives, and how these early traumas can be resolved primally.

Making Sense of Suffering : The Healing Confrontation With Your Own Past
J. Konrad Stettbacher, Foreword by Alice Miller
1991, Dutton, NY

This book is a simple, orderly program for self-primalling that also acts as a practical guide for primal therapists and clients.

Cure By Crying
Thomas A. Stone
1995, Cure By Crying Inc., Des Moines
1994, Merit Publishing International

Stone presents a version of primal therapy that he developed himself. Although the theory and potential problems are oversimplified, the book contains many useful tips and suggestions for feeling work.

The Secret Life of the Unborn Child
Thomas Verny, John Kelly
1981, Delta Books, N.Y.

Verny's book popularized the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, and introduced the prenate as an aware, feeling person sensitive to the world inside and outside the womb.

Books by Dianea Kohl

  • Tears are Truth...waiting to be spoken (1999)
  • Everybody Cries (children's book-watercolored, 2000)
  • EVOLution of an Orgasm...where sex meets spirit so we can make real love (2003)
  • Everybody you know Y? (children's book--photos, 2006)
  • Tears are Trust...waiting to be felt (2007)
  • Tears are True Love...waiting to be known (2013 projected)

Sources for Books

For "out-of-print" books, before going on-line, check your local used book stores. Books come in to these stores all the time, so the stock is always changing.

One of the best groupings of independent out-of-print retailers is found at the Advanced Book Exchange.

Other good sources for books include:

Amazon and Ebay





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