The Science Behind Primal Therapy And How It Helps You Heal

Last Update on January 20, 2022 : Published on January 21, 2022
Primal Therapy

Coping from trauma can be demanding on your mental and emotional health. To deal with the distressing emotions many of us choose to repress our feelings and make ourselves numb to emotions. Many therapies can help heal the trauma and one such therapy is primal therapy.

This body-focused psychotherapy helps you first identify your repressed identity, emotions, and feelings and later helps you express those feelings further healing your trauma.

Primal therapy believes that many of your psychological issues stem from unresolved childhood trauma. The idea of this psychotherapy is to let you express your feelings and emotions either with the help of the empty chair technique or other similar techniques.

Here, we’ll take a look at what is primal therapy, the benefits of primal therapy, the stages of this therapy, and how to get started!

What Is Primal Therapy?

what Is Primal Therapy

Primal therapy or also known as primal scream therapy is a type of psychotherapy designed to help you connect with your deepest (and repressed) feelings and emotions to heal. This therapy aims at helping you resolve your unresolved trauma by expressing your feelings in a safe, non-judgmental, and supportive environment.

Developed by Dr. Arthur Janov in the 1960s, primal scream theory believes that our psychological health issues are caused when we suppress our emotions and feelings. These repressed feelings can even cause poor mental health including disorders such as depression, anxiety, anger, and can also cause physical health issues such as headaches, ulcers, and asthma.

According to Dr. Janov, our psychological issues can be traced back to our past trauma that we haven’t fully recovered from or haven’t been allowed to express. These traumatic incidents can include childhood emotional neglect, emotional abuse, or other traumatic events.

When you undergo primal therapy, you’re encouraged to express your repressed emotions freely in a safe environment. Expression of your emotions can include talking, screaming, yelling, etc. Hence, the name primal scream therapy.

Also Read: How To Release Emotions Stuck In Your Body & Relieve Pain

Stages Of Primal Therapy

There are four stages of primal therapy that you experience. These stages are as follows:

1. Regression:

At this stage, you relive your traumatic experiences. You will experience the feelings and emotions you felt during that time in the past. At this stage, you need to allow yourself to feel the emotions as they come up.

2. Release:

At this second stage, you’re encouraged to express or release your tough emotions and feelings as they come up. Here, you can express your feelings by talking, screaming, or crying. The aim is to release suppressed emotions.

3. Integration:

This is the third stage of primal scream therapy and it is at this stage you’ll begin to put together your broken pieces. Here, you make connections between your past and present and see how your past experiences have shaped your present.

4. Resolution:

This is the final stage of primal therapy and here you’ll experience closure. At this stage, you may find yourself feeling freer than when you first came into therapy. You’ll experience that your emotional pain is less than it was before.

Issues Primal Therapy Can Help With…

Primal Therapy Can Help With

Primal therapy can help treat many psychological issues including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Rage
  • Anger issues
  • Emotional abuse
  • Emotional neglect
  • Childhood trauma
  • Loss and grief
  • Major life changes
  • Divorce
  • Job loss

Primal therapy can also be used to treat physical conditions caused by psychological distress such as headaches, ulcers, back pain, hives, or asthma.

Read: Alexithymia: Inability To Express Emotions

Benefits Of Primal Therapy

Many of the benefits of primal therapy are only theoretical and need further research, however, some benefits can help you heal.

Primal therapy benefits can include:

  • Feeling a sense of relief and emotional freedom. Primal therapy can help you relieve the pain you’ve been feeling for years
  • Resolving painful and traumatic memories. With primal therapy, you can process your childhood or past trauma and resolve the issues that have been making you uncomfortable all your life
  • Processing events that have caused you pain recently. Primal therapy can also help you cope with difficult emotions caused by events such as the loss of a loved one and can also help you move on

Suggested Read: The Importance Of Expressing Emotions

How To Get Started!

Primal therapy may not be the right choice for you if you’re uncomfortable expressing your emotions or feelings. Primal scream therapy is a personalized experience that may work for others but not you or vice versa.

If you’re considering primal scream therapy, then it is recommended you speak with a professional first and understand if this therapy will help with your problems. If you decide to go with primal therapy, then make sure the therapist you choose is experienced.

Typically, a primal therapy session lasts for an hour and after the session, many people have reported feeling less tension and pain. Many believe that expressing one’s feelings and emotions, while cathartic, can give similar results as physical exercise.

Final Words

Primal scream therapy or primal therapy was developed in the 1960s by Dr. Arthur Janov who believed that our psychological issues stem from unresolved, repressed feelings and emotions. With primal therapy, you can learn to express those feelings and emotions by either yelling, screaming, or simply talking about your painful past.

Remember, if you choose to go with primal therapy or any other therapy, you don’t need to rush your recovery. Take things slow and at your pace. Deciding to undergo therapy is a big one and must be taken keeping in mind care and caution.

I hope this article on what is primal therapy or primal scream therapy will help you. If you’d like to share your thoughts, you can write to us at or comment in the section below. We also post regular updates on our social media so don’t forget to follow us there!

Take Care.

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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