CITE: Janov, A. Prisoners of pain: Unlocking the power of the mind to end suffering. Anchor Press/Doubleday. 1980


The book shows how psychological traumas are processed by the brain in the same way as physical injuries, and how they can surface as painful diseases in adult life. It prescribes a fascinating, permanent cure for the psychological injuries which the brain’s natural painkillers, endorphines, may temporarily heal in childhood and adolescence, but which often fester into severe psychological diseases in adulthood


  • “Painful events can become locked in the brain and body, and they can generate continuing physical and emotional illness until they are processed and released.” (p. 6)
  • “Repression is the primary method of storing pain, but the brain uses a range of other defense mechanisms to hold pain at bay. The body stores pain as well, in muscles and other tissues.” (p. 23)
  • “The infant’s brain is programmed to shut down conscious awareness of pain, to allow the body to survive. But the cost is high, as the repression of pain sets the stage for a lifetime of emotional and physical suffering.” (p. 48)
  • “Primal therapy is a process of returning to the original pain and facing it head-on. The goal is to experience and fully process the pain, in order to release it from the brain and body.” (p. 135)
  • “Through the process of primal therapy, individuals can learn to access and express their emotions in a safe and supportive environment, allowing them to achieve greater emotional and physical health and well-being.” (p. 207)
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