Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Anxious Mind

Look at this review in the Sunday N.Y. Times (Oct 18/09): “For millions of children with anxiety disorders, Jerome Kagan*’s groundbreaking research has relieved a burden of blame by identifying highly reactive responses as hard-wired and thus nobody’s fault. The other burden that can be relieved is anxiety itself — the most common mental disorder but, luckily, the most treatable. With empirically proven cognitive-behavior therapy, children can learn to reinterpret their overprotective brains and their unreliable first-reaction data and, in doing so, outsmart the worry and not let their amygdalas ruin their days. Although Robin Marantz Henig’s excellent article ended on a note of resignation, given the proper tools even the most anxious children in this age of neuroplasticity can override their neural presets and make a world of difference in their lives."

This is a professional’s view of Kagan’s work. If I interpret this right it is our job as therapists to ease the guilt of patients. Since most anxieties are hard-wired according to this, it is no one’s fault. And they say, very treatable. I think it is just the opposite: anxiety is the most difficult to treat because it starts its life almost when we do, at the very beginning with a newly developing nervous system that organizes the midline responses generated by the lower brain such as respiration, digestion, heart rate… blood pressure, body temperature, stress hormones, and so on. It is our most primitive system that alerts us to the presence of danger. It is basic to survival. Anything that profound is not trivial and certainly not so easily suppressed. Remember, this is a basic survival strategy not some esoteric bizarre reaction that comes out of nowhere. Kagan is a well-known name in our field, which is why I shall spend time on his ideas.

What happens is that very early trauma, in the womb or at birth causes great pain because of the danger, for example of lack of oxygen, and it is immediately repressed in the interest of survival. Constant pain and life-threatening reactions to it are a menace to the system. So what happens when early-on the pain is compounded by infancy, childhood neglect and lack of love there is an increasingly compacted agony so that alarm reactions (more cortisol secreted), are set in place. Those primitive reactions continue their life extracted from their painful roots. Thus, seemingly “out of the blue.” A mystery? Not if we access to the deep unconscious where we can observe raw terror as it is taking place. And we now see the context of it all, which in the reliving, is resolving. We don’t have to guess any more.

We see a situation where the patient is in full terror mode with no words or scenes to put to it. Afterwards, the patient will know exactly where the terror, now called anxiety, comes from. Absent this one must guess. In science we call it something else, (hypothesis) but it is still a guess. What if we did not have to guess? Isn’t that preferable. We guess because we don’t think we can access the deep unconscious, and we are not even sure it is there. I have not seen this level of consciousness/unconsciousness discussed. It is not in the lingua franca of the scientists in our field.

But it is not just observation that counts. We have done blind studies of our patients and found that cortisol levels (stress hormones, part of alarm system), high when entering therapy, normalize after one year of treatment. The only variable to account for this is primal therapy.

It is interesting that, by the by, they agree that there are neural pre-sets, that certain biologic functions are in place. They think they are genetic, that is, hard-wired. And the general effort, they believe, is to over-ride the genetic tendencies, to hold them back, suppress, and get on with life There is not much discussion of epigenetics; what happens to those genetic tendencies as a result of trauma in the womb and at birth. If scientists don’t pay attention to the latest in neuro-biologic research they are going to neglect an awful lot.

It looks like science, the fancy laboratories, men in white coats, all the accoutrements of science. But it lies within certain boundaries that bind the investigators; that the deepest levels of the brain are inaccessible, that they are fixed and unchangeable; that these basic hard-wired tendencies are not changeable and are genetic. There is no question as to why they are in place and their basic biologic function. They take it all as a given and go on from there. Kagan sees in children a way to outsmart their pain and fear and keep the amygdala from ruining their day. This is basic cognitive therapy given the patina of research, but the guess (hypothesis) already has a frame of reference lodged in cognitive therapy; that we can think our way to health, that we can overcome our biologic reactions, that thoughts, beliefs and ideas can hold down all difficult feelings. This is forgetting that feelings and sensations are survival modes and are not meant to be suppressed. I suppose for intellectuals, locked into their heads, it is a solution but a costly one.

Just because we can suppress anxiety doesn’t mean it isn't doing great damage on lower brain levels and their bodily counterparts. Eventually strokes and cardiac attacks are the result. The brain wasn’t meant to suppress its survival mode except to keep the thinking brain functioning. Hiding the truth, which is their basic proclivity, is not a healthy option. Since intellectuals do that as a matter of course, they think it valuable for all of us. This is a neurotic strategy raised to the level of a scientific principle.

*Jerome Kagan, Yale Child Study Center.


  1. Hi Dr Janov,

    My spin again:

    I think these scientists could save themselves a lot of grief if they try taking trauma-imprint theory seriously. They need to consider that the integrated brain is indeed rational: not one silly amygdala doing battle with the clever Mr. cortex.

    I think a most simple example is with a person who freaks out over air travel. Their higher-cortex knows it's basically safe, but their amygdala tells them it isn't. Why does the brain choose to disagree with itself? Because the higher-cortex can't talk to the amygdala so as to tell the amaygdala to update (rationalise) its response, due to the repressive split.

    Instead the amygdala is reacting to yesterdays repressed traumatic imprint that won't shut up. So what is cognitive therapy? I think it's nothing more than the art of distraction. I think it's basically just an attempt to take your mind out of the aircraft, via diasassociative mental gymnastics. Is that curative therapy? No. The amagdala will be just as "dumb" as ever. If you were really cured then you could keep your mind in the aircraft and not overreact to it, and without psychological effort. Your responses would likewise be inherently rationalised. You could keep your amygdala with you (in your conscious mind) and it won't keep telling you outdated things.

    And the article you quote seems to relate to the amygdala with the assumption that it's inherently stupid. But that assertion itself is a bit stupid: because an "irrational" amygdala would surely, over the millions of years of its existence, have debugged itself if it really ever were genetically flawed?

    Hence imprint theory makes the most sense. Anxiety disorders are most likely to be just a right reaction to a wrong input - and, of course, wrong input = yesterday's repressed imprint.

  2. Just to give the proper context, this is a comment about a blog about a review about a Times article about a researcher named Kagan and his research. Whew. Kagan didn't make the claims about cognitive therapy. The article writer, Henig, didn't make those claims either. They were made by Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., Director of Children's Center for O.C.D. and Anxiety, Plymouth Meeting, PA. Chansky is the one who introduced the ideas about "relieving the burden of blame" and all that. Kagan's research mainly focused on two things. One, whether anxiety tends to be a stable trait over a life span (it does). Two, anxiety as a behavior versus anxiety as a biological (brain) measurement, and how these two things may seem to diverge (people who are calm and well adjusted on the outside are not so calm on the inside).

    I see more agreement than disagreement between Janov and Kagan on these points within the limited scope of the research in question. I thought it was important to point that out, because it's important to realize that it's not all a matter of "us against them".

    Here is the URL of the Times Letters in response to the article in question:

    Readers can go there and read for themselves a variety of responses to the Henig article, which I reiterate, is not a pitch for cognitive therapy so much as it is an inquiry into the nature of anxiety and life expectations for temperament, if one is found to be "over-reactive" in the early years.

    Chansky's letter is about the least interesting of the group, to me. It serves a rather obvious agenda, appealing to parents in a salesy way that may attract some (the more guilt ridden ones), but frankly puts me off. However, there are some very good letters in the group.

    For example, Dr. Caludia Gold: "The question is not what to 'do' but how to 'be' with your anxious child." That can go deep. It can mean that we sometimes have a choice about which hemisphere to favor, left or right. A psychologist once advised me "try responding more from the heart than the head". Gold also mentions being "fully emotionally present" with children. There is no mention of how to do this, but at least it's in the right direction, I think.

    Dr. Joyce Schmid points out that treating the age of four months as if it were the beginning of life is a research error which renders Kagan's work silent on the etiology of anxiety. Very good point, and I'm sure Janov would agree.

    Dr. Sandra Buchholz points out that anxious parents, despite best intentions, will not be able to adopt the right approach to nurture an anxious child, that the anxiety itself communicates more strongly from parent to child than parental intentions do. Dr. Buchholz just states this as fact and does not offer any hope for anxious parents, unfortunately.

    Dr. Malaspina, however, does offer that hope. "The positive effects of a healthy environment cannot be underestimated and should inform our discourse...". She refers to our "remarkable abiality to adapt". I wonder if she is aware that there can be a difference in this ability to adapt that comes from learning later in life (versus never learning) how to access feelings.

    I think the Times article and the letters to the Times give a nice sample of how different professionals (mostly professionals; one of the letters was from the mother of an anxious son) yield up different points of view. There are a couple of dogmatically "cognitive" responses in there. They have a certain "smell" to them. ( I wonder if you follow the link and read them, you'll sense it.) But there are also other more neutral responses, and I thought it was important to point that out, because I sense hope in them.

    Walden Mathews

  3. Dear Dr. Janov
    I read “The Yale Child Study Center guide to understanding your child” and asked puzzled by advice given in “introduction page 4 [1]”.
    To whom is Jerome Kagan talking?

    My take is, if a parent did not experience early trauma in the womb, or at birth, neglect and other abuse, they will interact with their children in a natural way - according to their non violent imprint.
    If they were neglected and abused they do not know how to care for them lovingly, - they can’t give what they never received – the early imprint becomes an automated response.
    It is my experience with humans who were reared in intuitions (James Prescott Rock A Bye Baby [2]), that they have a very limited emotional response to their children. Mothers who experience them selves despair in the crib, never being hold and loved, report the same distant feelings to their children.
    So, how much effect has Jerome’s logic training/advice? Is here intellectuality verses intelligence in the making? Will a mother be able “learn” (intellectuality) to respond emotionally (naturally) in the long run, while being coached, or will such “instruction” become a need for a weekly seeking advice. This is one way to make money if a client comes every week.
    I believe if we help healing adults (PT), the natural instinct how to care for a child (brainstem info) can surface.
    These mothers I mention, have read many books, (intellectual intake) agreed with every word of wisdom and still could not apply the given advice. As one mother told me “I cannot feel the need of my child – I was dumped in an orphanage when I was 2 days old”. Two of them live with low cortisol.

    [1] The Yale Child Study Center guide to understanding your child.,+Yale+Child+Study+Center&source=bl&ots=RrMgDZq4Yw&sig=Us--LgdZTLlIYzYLu9TuZf6t7hA&hl=en&ei=R5jtStKvEJqe6gPatpzpCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CA0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Jerome%20Kagan%2C%20Yale%20Child%20Study%20Center&f=false


  4. This is a combined responding to both this latest blog article by Dr Janov, and to Andrew Atkin's comment:

    Dr Janov has discovered and is promoting a relatively rare but very efficient and precise type of self-regulation (i.e., it is so when it gets to work properly within brains that consist of suitable hardware and software).

    However, I am not sure that Dr. Janov is fully philosophically aware of (and fully updated in line with his own - I believe in the past by him written or at least co-authored - insights into) that and how the "pain-imprint repressing and rerouting" relationship between the amygdala (or limbic region) and the neocortex (especially of the prefrontal lobes) is a _thoroughly naturally selected_ relationship.

    To me, this "relationship" can be interpreted as very logical _given_ that one has contrived (which is the case with me) or is prepared to use and is in the position to adopt a small but suitably representative kit of interpretative concEPTual tools. %]

    A slightly off-topic comment:

    It is lamentable to me [who can now only wish that the optimal 'primal therapeutic' method would have been scientifically defined and substantiated by now] that Dr Janov has not been able to set up one or several really extensive and thorough scientific tests of the efficacy (or otherwise) of _his_ (not his own or personal) primal therapy.

  5. Pbef: You should read Primal Healing where I cite several double blind studies others have done on our therapy. Must do your homework. art janov

  6. Dr. Janov,

    When I was a lot younger, I liked reading your criticism of the other therapies. It fed my need to criticize and invalidate others. There was something really joyous in being able to say that everybody else was full of shit.

    These days, I would love to read your thoughts on how the average person can discover the benefits of deep feeling, without having to declare revolution and war against the establishment. I was watching Paul Vereshack's video the other day.* He has some interesting things to say about the instability of the neurotic mind. I think almost everybody, if not pushed too hard, and not lured away from what is in front of them by grandiose promises, can find those decision points and favor the feeling alternative. What we need is a roadmap, and I suspect you could provide one for the profession, given that you've found that path with thousands of your own patients. What do you say?


    * Vereshack credits you with a quantum leap forward in psychotherapy, in the same league with Freud. Isn't that nice?

  7. Who is Paul Vereshack? And what is his video about? About the road map. It is what we do every day---training young therapists.This therapy is very complicated and it is not learned in a week. art janov

  8. A lack of intellectual humility?

    I think one of the reasons why there are so many 'mock' primal clinics out there is because they have been formed by people who already have big formal crudentials in the psychology field. The end result is they possess a "qualified identity" which, I think, can in turn lead to a kind of over-confidence which in turn leads to a lack of properly disciplined thinking and observation i.e. they are too quick to believe they already "know it all".

    I might be wrong, but I think I'm right. A fundamental over-confidence can stop people from challenging what they think. And I think that 'challenging' is critical in this tricky field, where there can be so many seductive false turns. (seductive because they satisfy our own defensive--or maybe professional--needs).

  9. This comment was sent to me by email:


    As always you are on the money. What I wish people could feel is the oppressive nature of this socially powerful repressive trend in the psychological profession.

    Repression is oppression and patients eventually feel it, when the psycho dramatic repressive religions of today are foisted upon those powerless to fight back but sensing in their souls the bottling up of their very life, by pleasant smiles that cannot deal with the deep hurt of their life, or the life in anyone else. The plastic pleasant killing smiles, and the white coats, and casual therapist attires are robes of a form of living death, a death that seeks to seal the lid on an already air restricting coffin lid of neurotic oppression.

    The very thought of falling into the hands of such people chills my spine. What is worse is that they become an arm of an already oppressive neurotic society that routinely sees victims, even child victims, as being inherently flawed and odd, inferior in some basic way to other children, if not out right perpetrators of their own pain.

    I understand all this first hand as a neurotic parent. I in no way want my children to feel inferior and flawed when in fact it was the parental inabilities of their parents and society that are the cause of their imperfections and troubles. Did I say that? Yes, and everyone who is an adult in this society should do the same. Neurotic parents sacrifice the lives, the healthy independent lives, of their children on the altar of authority every day, do we have to increase this pain by backing up repressive parents with an entire state sponsored profession in place seemingly to do the same thing? This can't be tolerated, the human species and its best survival, even its best integration of ideals, depends upon not repressing the hurtful truths that the "kid" in each of us can tell.

    When I have big feelings, I look back and see the devastation that was my life and am sad, but give me my life and my legitimate sadness over being set aside as less than worthy by a society bent on oppression of feeling. Feeling is life, it is essential that if we want to keep the human race alive and able to reach with its full potential that we must promote the feeling truth of life and not paste on a fake positivity.

    Positive emotions pasted onto a troubled past blames everyone for where they are, refuses to believe that the innocent can and do suffer, refuses to see that being truly positive may easily depend on honesty with the so called negative things we feel justifiably.

    Recently the Republican health care plan was seen as a two step process: "Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, don't get sick", and step two "Die quickly". Positive thinkers, of which cognitive "preachers" are a current sophisticated version, have a two step program as well: "If you're mentally ill its because you are inherently flawed, and continue to be by thinking negatively, so don't be sick, since you have chosen it, and in the long run it's your own fault if you stay that way." and step two "If you do get sick we will put you away, or numb you up, so your soul can die quickly." Do I detect a pattern here?

    There is nothing "nice" about plastic smiles, or plastic "philosophies". Give me life straight up even if it's "on the rocks".

    Well said Art, and I hope you read this as I think its perhaps the clearest thing I have said in a while now. Even though, I am quite sure you won't want to post such a negative rabble rousing set of statements in your blog.


  10. Benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for a person with Blown Gates (me):

    Say I had an old Ford Mustang sitting out the back on the lawn. It's up on bricks with no tyres, but it idles smoothly, as would a human being without anxiety.

    What would happen if neurosis wedged the gas pedal to the floor with a broom stick? The engine roars to life, its contented purr becoming a rasping scream. 'Stop! You're hurting me!' it cries. Even if I am not a mechanic, I know something is not right because of all the noise, which I find alarming.

    I call a cognitive behavioural therapist, he teaches me that the source of my anxiety is thinking about the sound of the engine (which has developed a light ticking noise in addition to the rasping scream) and all I need to do is think of more pleasant noises, and everything will be better.

    This person has a Ph.D in Psychology. They tell me that this means that they 'know', and I don't. I smile and nod my head, glad of the reassurance of someone that has the supreme confidence to tell me my own mind.

    I concentrate and begin thinking of the sound waves make crashing onto a beach. A relaxing sound which I enjoy hearing. I am jarred back to reality. That ticking noise has become a heavy knocking. The engine is beginning to's slowing down...BANG!! That sounded like a gun going off!

    The engine comes to a spluttering halt with a screeching, grinding racket. A wisp of smoke lazily drifts from the radiator grille of the Ford. I clutch my left arm as fire radiates up it into my jaw. I gasp as my chest explodes in a sharp agony. I collapse onto the lawn next to the Ford. We both grow cold on the lawn together.

    The Psychologist shrugs, 'I did my job. He stoped complaining before the end' A Geneticist turns up and conducts a detailed inspection of the engine, and concludes proudly that the cause was a defect at manufacture, causing one of the big end bearings to overheat and disintegrate, tearing the engine to shreds. 'Can I please have that broom handle, Sirs?' a drunken homeless man mumbles as he staggers over to scavenge through the contents of the Ford.

    The Geneticist and the Psychologist glance at his filthy coat, matted beard and glazed eyes in disgust as they walk over to their cars with their noses held high.

    Apologies for the length of my ramble, I have a habit of telling stories when I write.

  11. Good stuff. you are also a good writer. Obviously. AJ


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

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.