The Primal Institute began operation as an outpatient clinic in 1968. It was co-founded by Dr. Arthur Janov and Vivian Janov. Today, the Institute is under the direction of its Executive Director, Dr. Barry Bernfeld and Gretchen Castle-Bernfeld. The Primal Institute is the only clinic in the world comprised of therapists certified and trained by both Arthur and Vivian Janov. We have a staff with over 40 years experience in the field of Primal Therapy.
For some time Dr. Arthur Janov had felt dissatisfied with the ability of most therapeutic methods to effect real and lasting change. In collaboration with Vivian Janov, a process of re-experiencing repressed psychological trauma was discovered. The Janovs observed many of their patients making an important breakthrough as they relived the pains of childhood. These deeply felt feelings became known as "Primal Pain". Further observation led to the refinement of both theory and practice, culminating in 1970 with the publication of The Primal Scream by Dr. Janov. The book systematically described Primal Therapy and brought worldwide attention to this new development in psychology. The book has been translated into every major language.
Several thousand patients from all over the world have been successfully treated at The Primal Institute of Los Angeles. To accommodate the enormous demand for Primal Therapy created by the success of Arthur Janov's book The Primal Scream, a training program for therapists was created under the direction of Vivian Janov.
Soon afterward, a continuing research program was developed to monitor the progress of patients and to assist in the ongoing evaluation and refinement of both the theory and practice of Primal Therapy. Results of these projects have appeared in the books Primal Man, Prisoners of Pain and the Primal Institute Newsletter.