Kanye West: Mental Health Intervention Led to 'Scream Therapy'

By David Konow 07/18/18
Kim Kardashian staged an intervention for West's anxiety and enlisted the help of famed motivational speaker Tony Robbins, who then turned him on to scream therapy.
kanye west

Most people know the term “primal scream,” but they may not know that it was named after a type of therapy created by a psychotherapist named Dr. Arthur Janov. Now scream therapy is back in the news, thanks to Kanye West, and it may indeed be an effective way to shout away anxiety and depression. 

West told the New York Times that Kim Kardashian staged an intervention for his anxiety and enlisted the help of famed motivational speaker Tony Robbins. Robbins turned him on to scream therapy, and West recalled, “He could look at me and you know, I don’t know why he mentioned suicide, but he could tell I was very low. Really medicated, shoulders slumped down, and my confidence was gone, which is a lot of the root of my superpower because if you truly have self-confidence, no one can say anything to you.”

Robbins had West stand in a warrior pose, and West screamed his head off. “I was so self-conscious about the nanny and the housekeeper that I didn’t want them to hear me screaming in the living room. I think that’s such a metaphor of something for the existence of so-called well-off people that they’re not really well-off—they won’t even scream in their own house.” 

As Yahoo reports, Dr. Janov treated John Lennon and James Earl Jones, and called his research, which is called Primary Therapy, as “the most important discovery of the 20th century.”

Screaming can indeed be therapeutic, and as psychotherapist Gin Love Thompson explains in Shape, “For the inner-child that was silenced by being repeatedly intimidated, the domestic abuse survivor that couldn’t scream back when attacked, anyone who has suffered severe bullying, anyone dealing with grief or common psychological issues such as depression and anxiety, ‘scream therapy,’ or ‘primal release’ has the potential to be therapeutically beneficial.”

Thompson recommends that people should not perform scream therapy unsupervised, or rely on it as the only tool in fighting off anxiety and depression. “The client must be taught coping tools before such a therapy is implemented in order to manage what it may very likely stir up,” Thompson continues. “If attempted before the client is ready, or in poorly managed situation, it could potentially be psychologically damaging… The key is learning healthy ways to express our anger and the vital tools responsible for the processing of it.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.