Talk:The Primal Scream

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Opinion about edit war[edit]

Apparently there's an edit war raging here about two issues: 1) whether the external links should be included; and 2) whether the paragraph describing the text of The Primal Scream should be included.

My own opinion is that the paragraph should be included, however it was right to remove the scare quotes ("Janov's 'discovery' of...") since they clearly implied a point of view. Although the paragraph was not sourced, it made claims which are obvious and indisputable, namely, that Janov claimed to have found the cure for neurosis. If I recall, even the byline of The Primal Scream was: The cure for neurosis.

As for the external links. There should be no external links on this page. If we have any anti-primal-therapy links here, or links which take up specific points of view, then we must include links to the other side for the sake of NPOV. It's silly to repeat the entire debate here. There should be no external links.Twerges (talk) 20:40, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

The edits by skoolgal seem to be quite distructive and biased. External links are helpful for readers and the only reason I see to want to delete them is to hide negative information. The fact that skoolgal wanted a source for the claim of the cure for neurosis is ridiculous, it was the subheading of the book. Then after deleting that, grahamking, I mean skoolgal, sorry, then put back lots of glorifying description of the book. Not acceptable. Zonbalance (talk) 03:16, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

New material[edit]

Skoojal has added some new material to the page, including a synopsis of The Primal Scream and a section for favorable reviews.

In my opinion, the synopsis clearly belongs on the page. A synopsis of the book is obviously relevant on a page about the book.

The new edits contained substantive, referenced, succinct new material, and definitely should not just be reverted. If an editor disagrees with some specific portion of that edit then he should modify that portion only, rather then reverting the entire thing. Please remember to revert only when necessary.Twerges (talk) 20:34, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

The problem I see developing here is that Skoojal has recognized there is a loophole that allows for cult-like propaganda to flood the wiki article, so long as he thinks he can source the material. This is a problem because the wiki page becomes a advertizing space to recruit people into a psychotherapy scam. The removal of external links, especially to critical, information only serves to funnel readers into blinkered thinking, in the hopes I guess of them picking up the book blindly and being enchantered in isolation from critical thinking. Zonbalance (talk) 20:21, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
They do say to assume good faith on Wikipedia. I have no interest in recruiting anyone for any kind of psychotherapy scam. Please note that I have not removed the criticism section Zonbalance recently added. The quoted reviews are part of the description of the book, and they also should not be removed. Skoojal (talk) 08:04, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

I have removed some recruitment-like material from the page re wiki policies RS, verifiability and NPOV. However, the article is still not satisfactory and contains a perpetuation of ideas, reports and beliefs that turned out to be misleading or false. Zonbalance (talk) 20:16, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Which particular ideas? Janov's ideas about homosexuality, for instance? There's some truth to them. Skoojal (talk) 03:54, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the "positive reviews" section violates RS since it's derived from printed material that was published by a large publishing house; and the reviews themselves were taken from the Berkeley Gazette and Time Magazine.
The positive reviews would violate NPOV only if negative reviews were removed from the page, leaving only the positive ones. We must have both kinds of reviews, or neither. That is the only way to satisfy NPOV.
Personally, I would prefer neither. I don't believe we should repeat the debate about primal therapy on every page having anything to do with it. We should just include a link to the primal therapy article. But if everyone wants to have both positive and negative reviews then that's ok with me.
Also, I don't think we should include the sentence with Janov's dedication to "my patients who were real enough to realize..." Although it's included as a quotation it definitely makes a claim. We would have to include text about the majority of shrinks disagreeing that Janov's patients are especially "real". Twerges (talk) 22:31, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
The sentence about Janov's dedication to his patients is simply part of the description of the book. I see nothing wrong with it. Skoojal (talk) 03:17, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with twerges that until you include a representative amount of positive and negative reviews there should not be positive reviews only. Psychmajor902 (talk) 05:24, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I am describing the back cover of a book. The positive reviews are part of that back cover. That is why they are there. Negative reviews can certainly be mentioned - in a different section. Why don't you add them yourself? Skoojal (talk) 06:26, 20 May 2008 (UTC)


Why is there so much material about the opinion in The Primal Scream that homosexuality is neurotic? Although the claim is made in the book, it's not one of the main claims. Janov also claims that smoking is neurotic, as well as promiscuity, need for attention and self-esteem, drug use, etc; but those are not mentioned on the page.Twerges (talk) 22:40, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Ah, a reference to my motives! How good of you to mention the subject!
I will tell you exactly what my motives are. When I first discovered The Primal Scream, what really fascinated and upset me about it was all the stuff about homosexuality. That's because I'm a homosexual. I was really worried at the time because I thought that what Janov said about homosexuality might actually be right. I was so upset by that possibility that I soon threw my copy of The Primal Scream away (I threw it, as a matter of fact, over the fence and into the property of my next-door neighbours - I hope they never found it). Then, years later, I changed my mind, decided that throwing the book out had been a mistake since it is an important historical document, and bought another copy. I don't go along with all of Janov's ideas about homosexuality now, but I still think that they are at least partially right, and in some ways closer to the truth than the mainstream born-that-way point of view.
Try reading The Primal Scream again Twerges - it says a hell of a lot about homosexuality. Janov talks about it on page after page. It's pretty much his favourite example of neurosis. So I don't think that there is too much about homosexuality in the article. Far from it. I'm going to add more. Skoojal (talk) 02:49, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi. I wish to second and concur with the comment from Skoojal on this matter. If you are, actually, a homosexual, and interested in primal therapy, you might well find Janov's blithe, solipsistic, wildly underinformed, and truly harmful comments about homosexuality in The Primal Scream to be of extremely great significance. They are (were) about your very life. I think the matter otherwise sticks out as a "main claim" because it's just so particularly questionable. Indeed, while I think history will eventually recognize Janov's discoveries as important as Darwin's, it will not regard kindly his statements about homosexuality. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:30, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

I am considerably bothered with the edits just now, Some of them are prejudicial a little towards one direction, some the other. Skoojal, many of your edits are good cleanup of the wording, & I thnak you for them. But you should not introduce biographical material in here--the article on the author is where it goes and only there. Nor do I se the point about the capitals letters ands o on,and I've commented them out--they might be useful in explaining to someone editing why it was done that way, but to nobody else. As for the positive reviews, I've put in the correct heading. What is said on the book jacket is irrelevant, & not usually included unless there's a published source for it. Please find the references to those three reviews. More a little later about the negative reviews--I want to think about this. DGG (talk) 14:18, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

The reason why I added the biographical material was because it is part of the book. Is there a wikipedia policy specifically against referring to biographical material present in a book? Regarding the capital letters, I think it is helpful to know how they are used, because they convey information about the look and feel of the book. They're particularly relevant where the front cover is concerned. And is there a wikipedia policy against describing the back cover of books? Skoojal (talk) 22:30, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
More questions. Why remove the information about the dedication and acknowledgements, and why remove the mention of what the instructions to new primal patients were? I don't see why the dedication should be objectionable - I think it's useful in that it shows something about the spirit of the book. Skoojal (talk) 22:41, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
This page is just dreadful, and not what an independent encyclopedia would write. It amounts to a recapitulation of the original advertizing material that breaks APA ethics code for false advertizing. Aussiewikilady (talk) 20:46, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
What, in your opinion, should the article look like? Skoojal (talk) 23:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Recent edit[edit]

One of PsychMajor's recent edits removed the positive reviews, with the following comment:

positive reviews out of date, not NPOV and in one case misleading (Kirsch- see primal therapy criticism section)

That may be true. But that's not even the point anymore.

PsychMajor also re-instated the DebunkingPrimalTherapy link during the same edit, without mentioning it in the summary. Furthermore, he moved that link from the "external links" section to the article text itself, which I hope was not some kind of "one-upmanship."

Yikes!! PsychMajor... What are you trying to accomplish by doing this? Twerges (talk) 22:06, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

The positive reviews (one of them only partially positive, of course) are important historical information, because they show how people reacted to The Primal Scream at the time of its publication. They are thus valuable regardless of their accuracy or inaccuracy. Skoojal (talk) 06:47, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
right. Psychmajor, I've warned you about this at another article--& given you a final warning about deleting valid material or inserting inappropriate links. DGG (talk) 04:23, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
The insertions of positive reviews, which came out when the book was first published is not giving a balanced impression. In one case Kirsch actually was critical, yet they used one of his more open-minded lines to sell the book. It is totally unacceptable that a book that basically breaks APA ethics code is being advertized here on wikipedia considering the mountain of evidence not supporting and the scandals that have occurred in primal therapy. It is a cult movement and we are advertizing here for them. Psychmajor902 (talk) 23:10, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly what your concern is here, Psychmajor902. Do you think that someone will read this article, see those reviews, think, 'Oh, these reviews show that primal therapy must be a wonderful thing! I'll go out and try primal therapy!', and have their life ruined as a consequence? Personally, I think readers can be trusted to realize that Janov carefully chose positive reviews for the book and that they can be taken with a grain of salt. Skoojal (talk) 00:39, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

The cover of The Primal Scream[edit]

I see Twerges recently decided that this sentence, 'This edition does not reproduce the entire painting, focusing on the screaming figure at its center, holding up its hands to its head', is irrelevant and deleted it. I have now restored it. I only wonder why, if this information is not relevant, the article should say anything at all about the cover of The Primal Scream? Why even bother to mention its use of a particular painting by Edvard Munch? Skoojal (talk) 01:11, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Skoojal the sentence provides far too much detail and violates concision. We do not need to explain in great detail what the cover art looked like.Twerges (talk) 01:52, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
The cover art is interestingly symbolic of the book as a whole. So the details that are currently there belong there, and I may even add one or two more. Why make a big deal out of this? Skoojal (talk) 04:40, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

appropriate detail[edit]

I have once again removedan attempt to go page by page through the book, outlining every turn of the argument. this is not appropriate here--the listing of chapters, while perhaps a little unusual, explains the content of the book intelligibly. It would take a much more important book to be worth this sort of detailed explication, than this book on a niche therapy. (my opinion--this is talk page, not article)DGG (talk) 01:59, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

The Primal Scream is a book of immense importance. It is the major work of a key figure in the history of psychotherapy. Janov is comparable in his importance to Mesmer, in a way perhaps even more important. That Janov's therapy is 'niche' does not begin to suggest its full importance - Janov has been extremely influential on other therapists and therapies. DGG, you may remember that there was something called the recovered memory controversy? In the attacks on the recovered memory movement, Janov is often singled out as one of the major villains. This is one of the reasons why The Primal Scream deserves to be properly covered.Skoojal (talk) 02:13, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
'It's not important' is an extremely dubious and subjective reason for wiping most of the contents of an article. I will restore this unless directed to policies that show I shouldn't. Skoojal (talk) 02:18, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Skoojal I also think that some of the material on the page is not concise enough. For example I have already debated with you regarding what I felt was the overly detailed description of cover art. I also think there are too many references: every single sentence in most paragraphs has a reference, even though all of them refer to the same book and many of them to the same page in that book. I think some of those references could be condensed to a single reference with a page range (eg "pages 10-12").
I don't know if DGG should have gotten rid of all of that text. I think that if you summarize what Janov said in the chapters about pain, neurosis, and defenses, then that might be sufficient.
For example, take this text:
"The Primal Scream has two appendixes. Appendix A: Tom deals with a patient Janov called Tom. It was included in a separate appendix because Tom's treatment was the subject of a documentary about Primal Therapy. Appendix B..."
The text does not include any crucial information. Instead, it includes the name of an appendix ('A'), and the first name of a person the appendix refers to, and the existence of a documentary. I think that's too much detail. It does not refer to the essential argument Janov was making. And the same point applies to the text regarding instructions for incoming patients. Twerges (talk) 19:51, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
You're probably right about the references, but I disagree about everything else. I haven't changed my mind about the cover art, for instance; those details are a worthwhile addition to the article. It seems like a silly thing to squabble over. Skoojal (talk) 22:53, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Proposed cosmetic changes[edit]

If no one objects, I'd like to move the somewhat lengthy synopsis to its own heading, and remove a small bit of superfluous content that describes the appearance and number of chapters of the book. Aside from that, I think it's important that there be an expansion on what exactly is meant by "feel" in "Following the scream, Wilson declared that he could feel." Was he paralyzed before? Or is this some sort of emotional reconnection? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Reinderien (talkcontribs) 07:23, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

I do not think that the content which describes the appearance and number of chapters of the book is superfluous. This is a major work in the history of psychotherapy, and it deserves a detailed description. As for the meaning of "feel": re-adding some of the information that was deleted in some form should clarify this (the term did not refer to overcoming paralysis).Skoojal (talk) 07:07, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
Well things like "Both the title of the book and its author's name are in large capital letters." - That doesn't seem particularly relevant... Reinderientalk/contribs 06:16, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
It's relevant as far as I'm concerned. I added it because details like this help one to understand the impact that this book had on its readers. That impact starts with the initial impression the book's appearance created. This is fully warranted by the book's importance. Skoojal (talk) 07:12, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Regarding the clarification on "feel" - is this still going to happen? (out of curiosity.) Reinderientalk/contribs 00:12, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Reinderien, the changes seem good to me. Go ahead and make them.Twerges (talk) 03:03, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
There is no reason why this information should be deleted. It's interesting information about an important book. Please just ignore it if you don't like it. Skoojal (talk) 07:07, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
In this case I wasn't talking about content deletion, but rather your proposal to "re-add some of the information that was deleted" to clarify "feel". Reinderientalk/contribs 14:56, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
If you want to re-add the content DGG deleted, feel free. I intend to do that eventually (and to add more where it came from), but it's not a high priority. It may or may not clarify the meaning of 'feel'; take a look at versions of the article before DGG cut it back and see what you think. Skoojal (talk) 00:59, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Excessive Detail?[edit]

DGG has again removed part of this article on the grounds of its being excessive detail. I suppose he was probably right. Skoojal (talk) 02:46, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Not an accurate criticism[edit]

I notice the article contains criticism of Janov on the grounds that he allegedly thought "girls become lesbians through being seduced by older women". This is not correct at all. I can imagine that in specific cases he might conceivably have thought that, although I can't immediately think of any from what I've read in Primal Scream. But as a generalisation, it is grossly inaccurate. The book postulates many varied processes affecting sexuality, centred mostly on parent-child relationships, not external seductions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:21, 5 February 2021 (UTC)