October 6, 2017

Alumni Passings: ‘Primal Scream’ Therapist Arthur Janov, Historian Seymour Scheinberg

Books by Arthur Janov
A selection of books by Arthur Janov at Claremont’s Honnold-Mudd Library.

The New York Times, Washington Post, and other media outlets reported the death this week of Arthur Janov, the CGU alumnus and psychotherapist who conceived of the primal therapy method including the “primal scream.” Janov, who lived in Malibu and maintained The Janov Primal Center in Santa Monica, was 93.

“Primal therapy became a touchstone of ’70s culture,” noted the Times obituary, “especially after it drew a stream of luminary devotees to Dr. Janov’s Los Angeles treatment center” including John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and James Earl Jones.

“I never would have considered university without the Navy sending me,” Janov wrote on an autobiographical blog posted last year. “They even chose the University for me: Oregon State, and then I chose UCLA, USC, and then Claremont Graduate School.”

Higher education seemed out of the question for Janov, he writes, because of his father, who was “obsessed with making me dumb. … That is why I never considered university. My grades were terrible. I felt it was way above me.”

Janov received a doctorate in psychology from CGU, then known as Claremont Graduate School, in 1960 when he was in his mid-30s. By the time he decided to study at the university, Janov was already providing conventional psychotherapy as a member of the psychiatric staff of Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles.


In addition to Janov, this week Cal State Fullerton reported the passing of Seymour “Sy” Scheinberg, a historian and member of the founding faculty of that university’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He was 85. Scheinberg joined the university in 1969 and remained there until his designation as emeritus faculty in 1999.

Among Scheinberg’s specialties, notes the Cal State obituary, were the history, culture and art of India; the history of Bhutan, the Himalayas and Nepal; and Jewish history, including the Holocaust.

Scheinberg studied at then-Claremont Graduate School, and received an MA and PhD, both in Asian studies, in 1960 and 1965, respectively.