primal therapy

noun Psychiatry.

a form of psychotherapy in which the patient is encouraged to relive traumatic events, often screaming or crying, in order to achieve catharsis and a breakdown of psychological defenses.

Nearby words

  1. primaeval,
  2. primage,
  3. primal,
  4. primal scene,
  5. primal scream,
  6. primaquine,
  7. primaries,
  8. primarily,
  9. primary,
  10. primary accent

Origin of primal therapy

An Americanism dating back to 1970–75 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for primal therapy

primal therapy


psychol a form of psychotherapy in which patients are encouraged to scream abusively about their parents and agonizingly about their own suffering in infancyAlso called: primal scream therapy, scream therapy

Word Origin for primal therapy

C20: from the book The Primal Scream (1970) by Arthur Janov, US psychologist, who originated the treatment

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for primal therapy

primal therapy


A method of psychotherapy that encourages patients to identify and relive early traumatic experiences and to release anger and other painful emotions by aggressive behaviors such as screaming.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.