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, October 19, 2014

Alzeiheimer of the Heart

You know when in our young life terrible things happen, the pain is repressed and stored in the body.  Eventually, the body gives way and shows its damage; either in heart disease or (inter alia) Alzheimer's disease.  It is logical that the pain and its results end up somewhere.  And when it ends up in Alzheimer's it's not a surprise.  And what is that disease?  It is something the victim carries around and is unaware of.  He is as unconscious of his disease as he is of his pain.  And there must a connection between the unconsciousness that binds the two kinds of lack of awareness together.  Repression is the glue that makes the two adhere to each other. Of course you slip into unconsciousness because you are already unconscious.  The brain now just helps out a bit. It accommodates the whole process.

So what is it? Alzheimer's of the heart; a disease of the soul, which is already in place since childhood.  The person becomes ill without understanding that he is ill, and never can or will comprehend his dilemma.  Isn’t that true of all neuroses?  It is sometimes just happenstance that it becomes a mental disease and not that of the heart.  Those whose repression was mainly of feelings, who replaced those feelings with thoughts and ideas have the result of sweeping it all into the neocortex where Alzheimer's resides; using too much brain power in repression.  So thoughts and concepts take the place of feelings, but the force of those feelings is still there to drive ideas.  And that force eventuates in disease.  What is terribly tragic in all this is the unconscious factor; to drop into a disease without knowing it and losing all contact with humanity; first, your own, and then, with others.  Alzheimer's is a simple continuum of losing awareness, losing contact and eventually losing your life.  You die without once knowing what is happening to you; that is just terrible.

It also depends on many factors but it is often the place of vulnerability of organs and organ systems;  kidneys, liver, stomach, etc.  Repression means holding down pain, a counter pressure against the rising force of feeling.  Of course the body suffers.  Repression is not a benign force. It uses key chemicals in its service such as oxytocin and serotonin.  To say nothing of adrenaline and cortisol.  All those chemical changes wreak havoc with the physical system.  We already have evidence of this is a beginning study of Alzheimer's and very early pain. It is a study we shall begin anew soon.  But, in general,  those who lose touch with their feelings can treat others in horrendous ways because they cannot feel the effects of what they are doing.  So a well-known Republican can leave his wife who just came down with cancer, without a scintilla of remorse or regret.  His wants and needs take precedence over all else.  What matters is what he wants and only that.  Or a husband leaves his wife and refuses to pay alimony.  She has three kids, no skills, no money and is totally lost.  He has no remorse that he leaves his children to starve;  Why?  Repressed and alienated from feelings.  He is basically a robot, like an Alzheimer's patient.  There is no more top level connection to feelings that makes him aware of the effects of what he is doing.  Worse, he can never hold or touch his children because he cannot feel for or with them.  The beginning of many of the ills of society.  And why has conventional psychotherapy not changed in one hundred years, except cosmetically?  Yep.  No touch with their feelings, themselves and in their therapy.  They do not see the effects or results of their therapy because these results are couched in terms of ideas, healthy notions which they think signals change.  It doesn’t.

Friday, October 10, 2014

More on the Levels of Consciousness

 Years ago, when observing Primals, I noticed that there was, first of all, a resonance where one level triggered off similar feelings on lower levels.  This was not random; it was as if the system were reaching back in its memory bank to find help and/or a more efficient defense to combat current trauma. It was reaching into its memory to find the best solution. To combat and adapt.  It reaches to see what we did before when the going got tough.

 So first, it drops to childhood to find answers and ultimately it reaches down to the brainstem to see how we handled danger and threat,  originally.  Back years I noted that a woman whose car ran off the road,  totally froze and could not take the wheel to save her life.  It was the parasympathetic nervous system that dominated.    The other example I used was the man whose business was failing and decided to use up all his money pursuing a useless lawsuit; he was constantly aggressive and fighting all the time.  He was driven by his brainstem survival mode of struggle.  He could not stop because “stop” meant death.  There are variations to all of this, but the point is that we revert to lower brain levels in the face of danger.

 Why is this so important?  New research that tells us that, (“Cancer evolved to protect us.”  Scientific American, Oct. 2, 2014. Z. Meraldi, see  What?  We get cancer as a means of protection and adaptation for survival?  It could be.

 They want to go back to evolution to explain the appearance of cancer.  And guess what?  They recommend treatment with oxygen, inter alia.  They never said or knew that perhaps oxygen deprivation during gestation could be one cause of afflictions.  They simply tried to rethink cancer from the “bottom up.”  (Paul Davies, Arizona State, C. Lineweaver, National University of Canberra and Mark Vincent, London Health Sciences).

 And we think first, from the bottom up and then the top down.  For example, we take a certain belief and trace it down through the patient’s feelings. We know how the feeling builds into belief systems later on and how to treat it, if it indeed needs treating.  Resonance works in both directions at all times.  Without this concept I don’t know how anyone could treat a patient.

 Let’s get back to cancer; even though I think the concept applies to many catastrophic diseases, meaning that they have their origin when threats were life-endangering and catastrophic.  And catastrophic input usually means catastrophic output, or symptoms.  That is why Alzheimers Disease has, in my opinion,  such early beginnings.  And why the worst diseases are so opaque; they have very, very early origins.  And we cannot imagine that womb-life predominates.  Experience before we have words to explain to doctors seems so distant and non-verifiable.

 Oops, I said I was getting back to cancer, so I’d better.  Here is what the article says: “The effects of oxygen levels on cancer have been independently investigated for many years and appear to support Davies’  ideas.”  They noted that slightly elevate oxygen levels can begin to induce leukemia cell death without harming normal cells.  When they supplied a little extra oxygen it helped in cancer therapy with human patients.

 They also recommend immunotherapy to bolster the immune system to fight off newly developing cancer cells (research we did in England).  Theirs is what they call, the “atavistic model”.  When cancer starts to appear key cells revert to their primitive origins; and here is what is crucial:  when this happens, more recently evolved gene cells lose their function. Top levels, in short abdicated their function and ceded to primitive coping mechanisms.  That is my leitmotif, as well. Which is why the lady who went off the road froze and could no longer help to save her life.  Only in in my therapy we permit the regression and understand it as healthy, not an aberration.    And they are not driving a car while going back in time; and they really do go back until eventually they lose all capacity to articulate language.  We understand the bottom-to-top  top-to bottom relationships.  We need oxygen during the trauma and we add it now to treat it, even though the cause is unknown to so many.  It is called evolution.
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