As time goes on and I learn more about the human condition, I have decided to share some of my thoughts on what we are all about. I will publish my reflections on this blog, hopefully to enlarge our understanding of what makes us human. Art Janov

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Where and How Does Deep Repression (and therefore depression) Get Its Start?

There is a new research that sheds light on this problem;  (See ) only it is not this problem of repression that they target. Their target is how pain in infancy alters response to stress later in life. They studied early life stress (prematurity) among infants who had undergone prenatal treatment, without anesthesia or painkillers. They were all patients in neonatal intensive care who had a number of invasive and painful intrusions. They found that when this happened, and when the pain was not dampened by medication the whole pain regulation system was changed and brain circuits were altered.

They found that when pain was not suppressed there was a lifelong change in stress and anxiety reactions so that later reactions to pain were lessened. In short, the pain reaction was repressed and not reacted to fully. So here we have evidence of repression of pain very early in life, and that this reaction set up a prototype for further reactivity.

The first thing that stands out is that doctors still treat newborns as unfeeling blobs that has allowed for physicians for the last many decades to operate on fetuses and newborns as blocks of flesh with no pain response. This was systematic during the beginning of the last century.

The infants who were studied spent an average of 25 days in intensive care with often undergoing 10 to 18 painful procedures. It is not surprising that the system becomes activated to suppress the pain response when he is assaulted over and over again before having a life on earth. This becomes a prototype and that means blocking input as an habitual response to any kind of assault later on. This immediate reaction can affect the development of severe and deep depression later in life; the blockage accumulates and occurs over and over again as the prototypic response. The point is that it begins so early which we have always suspected. What is new in their research is that when pain is blocked early on there is less of a prototype; the imprint is less forceful and the brain circuits are not so readily altered. The imprint is not so readily stamped-in to control later automatic behavior. In other words ameliorating a child’s pain with a hug, kiss, soothing words or painkillers might abort the depth of the imprint.

That is something new and important. After a surgical procedure the child needs physical support and caresses; just as we all do when undergoing a trauma.

Now we see why having a parent there immediately after birth is critical. Otherwise, it can imprint a basic loneliness and fear of being alone for life. When the parent falls ill on the arrival of the baby there is great trauma for him. If he then undergoes a time in an incubator we can imagine the damage being done…..all alone with no one to reassure and hug and kiss, no physical contact and support figure there. This on top of no parent to hold right after birth. The imprint is set and fixed. The researchers noted that in the children studied about 65 percent of them had procedures done without any analgesia.

The neuroscience department at Georgia State University studied rat pups who had a single trauma on the day of birth. There were site- specific changes in their brains. These changes determined how they responded to stress later on. Without medication to suppress pain, they call it unresolved pain, children under-reacted to pain later on. May I add? They were deadened because they already had so much assault that they could hardly react any longer. I think this is the missing link in the research; they show what happened but not why or what it really meant. There was no broadened implications, no wider context, of the research. Still it is damn good.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

On Mental Resistance

A confession:  a year ago I was recommended to a naturopath for stem cells.  He was even near my house.  But I never went to him because “naturopath” didn’t sit right with me.  I was resistant; had mental reservations, and was prejudiced.  And then a few weeks ago my old MD called me and re-recommended anew this same stem cell group.  So I went just after going to Cancun for adipose tissue stem cells which did nothing and cost a fortune.  So now it is 2 months into the new stem cells and for the first time in 45 years I talk and am out of pain.  And this is a naturopath.  What does this tell me?  Stop with mental prejudices and resistance.  It kept me from getting well for over a year.

And they were recommended by a "proper" medical doctor.  The same is true of most medical doctors who cannot see and adopt the new.  This is especially true for shrinks, several hundred thousand of them in America.  After my 17 books, published in 26 countries, not one has come to us and wanted to know more about our work.  Thousands of scientists downloaded my scientific articles in the World Congress of Psychiatry (It is considered one of the most downloaded pieces in their history),  yet not one has contacted me.

I have found that most MDs stay in their groove and never seek out other alternatives.  And the question is, why?  One answer is, "I have the tools and will use it hither and yon, whenever I have a patient."  This is true in psychiatry where "I have the shock machine, the favorite pills, the rigid adherent to one single therapy often with no basis in deep science".  And what is wrong with that?  It is therapist oriented, not the patient.  It is he who has the power and the magical therapy; he is the holder of all the secrets.  And we the patients remain powerless.  Their "tool" is applied to all kinds of patients with no acknowledgement of individual differences.

So what is wrong?  Doctors are doctors, without a broad perspective.  They are rarely inclusive, mostly exclusive.  My prejudice came from the fact that when I grew up there was nothing else. Our MD was the be-all and end-all of status.  So therefore I began to suspect anyone who was not a "real" doctor.

On the other hand, the "natural" healers I have known, whom I call booga booga merchants, were not high on science. They were more loosey-goosey.  Which is not a bad thing; they were open to everything; sometimes too open so that they lacked the discipline needed.  Their open-mind became a sieve.  And they used every vitamin in the book to treat patients.  They purveyed received wisdom.  And they too often say, that you have to believe to make it work; a bit of circular reasoning.  So if you are slightly skeptical it won’t work and they say, aha!, you see. So that field attracts believers and people who through wish fulfillment think they are doing great and say they feel wonderful.  Who can argue with that?  Nevertheless,  my current naturopath is curing me which 40 previous MD’s could not do over many decades.  They lacked the essential curiosity and willingness to look at all kinds of solutions, not just their bag of tricks.  So when I had surgery, and when it did not work the doctor washed his hands of my case.  He never explored about what others might do for me.  Why?  Because they do not know what others in the field do, and mostly, they are not interested.  This is what I call medical rigidity.

So here is what happens:  as we mature the zeigeist and all its ideologies, perpetuated by the medical establishment spin a web of ideology inside us which then takes charge and directs our choices.  We are now driven by inner forces.  And I for one, avoided the one thing that could cure me.  How tragic.  What is even more tragic is that the Big Pharma and the health institutions prevent them from even using the term stem cells. So what cures is banned. Not because it can help but because they flouted the regulations of “real” science:  double blind studies with plenty of subjects, and plenty of controls,  done at reputable science centers, blah blah.  The top guys don’t even want to look at the actual people who have been cured; they want statistics and proper procedures.
Following the rules is the summum bonum.

Why all this?    Because they can keep a monopoly on the whole business of science.  And extracted from their feelings, what they see and feel does not count.

In my field,  no one who has spent 10 years on his studies is going to say, Oh yes, I get it. I will start to learn something new all over again.  So it is not mental resistance so much as pocket resistance and energy resistance.

Let me diverge for a moment: today in science they reported that children who suffered emotional neglect were more likely to suffer stroke later in life.  Now if those researchers were to read a bit more they might stumble on my work and the notion of enduring imprints that lead to stroke. They lack curiosity. They remain in a medical cloister about what is out there; about what more there is to learn.  They lack a broad frame of reference, so what has been known for fifty years is ignored.  This is typical; everyday there is a new study stating the obvious. Researchers could not feel what was right because they lost touch with that baby inside of them.  They should guess that early neglect would lead to disaster, and they should say to themselves, “maybe I should follow up on that?”.  First, you need to feel what is right.  Living in your head for too long robs you of the innate sense; feeling.

Maybe it is not lack of curiosity? Maybe it is just indifference?  No matter, science and humanity will suffer from it.
Yahoo News!

Arthur Janov Suggests that Stress During Pregnancy Leaves a Distinct Cellular Imprint that Predicts Mental Illness and Serious Disease

In his new book, 'Life Before Birth' (NTI Upstream, Nov. 2011), Arthur Janov makes the case that events during pregnancy and the first years of life leave a distinct cellular imprint that predicts mental illness and serious disease.

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.
About our Therapy

Our therapy is constantly evolving. If a therapist has not had additional training in the past 3-5 years she is not up to date. The basic principles are the same but the actual therapy has taken a radical turn. It is much more precise, predictable and mathematical in practice. We have tried to tighten up what we do in keeping with current neurology and physiology. It is a constant learning experience. It is finally for the well-being of the patient who now has a much better chance of doing well. Yes, it was good before, but there is less time wasted now because the techniques are honed and the theory takes on more and more precision. We see patients from some thirty countries in the world, each with different cultures. It is up to us to continue the refining process so that the patient has the best chance of improving.

Training in Primal Therapy

The clear understanding and application of the theoretical and clinical aspects of Primal Therapy are essential in order to provide effective therapy. Citing the most current findings from the field of neurology, trainees will learn the role that the physiology of the brain plays in the shaping of mental illness. The training will thoroughly examine the scientific basis for Primal Therapy and discuss the unique clinical approaches employed in the treatment of various emotional and personality disorders.
For our first year students, the training will entail extensive work in the understanding of the basis for Primal Therapy. On the theoretical level, there will be an examination of issues that range from the nature of the unconscious to the nature of traumatic imprints and their lifelong effects on physical and mental health. On the clinical level, trainees will have the opportunity to learn proper diagnostic and therapeutic procedures as they relate to Primal Therapy.
Furthermore, first year students will be mentored by our third year students in order to ensure that the key concepts in Primal Therapy are clearly understood. There will be an extensive library of training notes and taped lectures from the past two years available as well.
For our second year students, the training will provide a unique and varied opportunity to gain more clinical experience. Through closely supervised clinical sessions, trainees will gain a deeper understanding of the various applied therapeutic methods and hone their skills as future therapists. In addition, second year trainees will have the opportunity to work with first year students thru discussion groups, tape reviews, and clinical sessions.
Our third year students will continue to hone their clinical skills through a rigorous series of didactic clinical sessions. These sessions will be video taped and will be reviewed by Dr. France Janov and our senior therapists.
Dr. Janov’s books have been translated in some 26 languages, have been bestsellers in many countries, and his theory is taught at many universities. He has combined decades of clinical practice with the latest in research. It is the therapy of the future.

To apply, please visit our website at and select the ‘trainee’ option when filling out the questionnaire. For further information, please feel free to call us us at (310) 392-2003 or email us at

We look forward to another exiting year of training. We hope you will join us.

My best,

Dr. Arthur Janov
Founder & Director