Monday, November 23, 2009

Pain-Killers and Overdose

There is an article in today’s paper about a DJ who overdosed and died. Many different kinds of painkillers were found in his system. It seems like a repetitious story; everyday brings another article about painkillers and overdose. This is to say nothing about Michael Jackson. So what is it? Why so much drugs? Let’s first ask, “Why so much pain?” No one takes painkillers who is not in pain. It may be done unconsciously but pain is there, nevertheless. So who or what put it there? And what can we do about it?

Having treated any number of addicts to all kinds of drugs let me state at the outset that the heaviest load of pain behind addiction is set down during what I call “first-line.” That is, during gestation, birth and the first weeks afterwards. These are largely irreversible pains that are often a matter of life and death. But that is not the whole story. Then comes a childhood without being touched, the number one index of “unloved.” Added to that neglect, indifference, not listening and not caring. Those are the ingredients of pain. Not show business, not agents and producers, not “the business.” The question is, “What drives individuals with such ferocity and determination to show business; to be well-known and famous? The pain. Why else the need to be applauded, appreciated by thousands? It should be enough to be loved by a partner, not a thousand of them. But that need is deadly, early and unfulfilled. The rest is an act-out. But even that is not enough; hence the pills and painkillers. That does not mean that acting is a neurotic endeavor. It does mean that those who seek it out are often the unloved and uncared for. It is such a tough business full of constant rejection; it requires the drive to succeed. And those “driven” are often driven to feel loved. One actor I treated would become depressed when not on scene. And deeply depressed when not at work. He came alive on set, when he was someone else; “I will be anything or anyone I have to be in order to feel loved,” he found.

Having treated a number of actors I can attest to the fact of their pain. But again I may be treating a special group of the unloved. The common thread of many of them is narcissism; everything is related to them and what happened to them. Any story eventually redounds to their lives. They cannot give because they are too busy getting. They cannot relate to other’s needs and pain because they are too busy trying to ease their own. Even with all the success there is the need for drugs. All in the service of the cover-up.

There is a saying that politicians are ugly actors. What is true is that they are also in show business. They too act out their needs. They rarely come to therapy because they are in the struggle, to feel loved. They do not put themselves and their lives in question. Whatever goes wrong is “their” fault.

When we do measurements of pain we find that the very early pains are always high on the measurements of brainwaves, vital functions and biochemistry. It is therefore not a guess as to what causes problems later on. Yes, later circumstances do exacerbate matters but rarely cause them. When in a business where almost everyone is desperately trying to get their needs fulfilled, there is bound to be cheating and deception. The exception is the exception. It is my experience that no one who was loved early on is desperate for fame. They want success, often as a result of effort. It is not other’s opinion that is primary. It is their own, because they count.

57 comments:

  1. Hi Dr.Art janov , I can confirm again Your statement "That the earliest pains need the heaviest load of pain killers2 or something like that. My suicided friend got -accoording to his treating doctor -a dose "that would calm an ox or some equal animal ... and still he was v e r y agitaed !Ma mother could take 10 or more sleeping pills (like me..) and did not die.. Yours emanuel

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  2. Just wondered what would cause a person to deflect attention and have an issue with accepting praise, love or anything for that matter? The opposite of what you are describing here.

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  3. USA CFO/Office Manager industrial concrete contractor (family owned).

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  4. because it tries to penetrate against a terrible feeling already in place of being inferior, unimportant, unworthy, etc. art janov

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  5. A girl tried to touch my face and she seemed genuinely affectionate. She loved me...or at least, that's what it seemed like. I'm not sure if I began to feel loved, but I certainly felt an "I-have-never-been-loved" feeling. A powerful and dark feeling. Not a weird feeling. Just cold hard reality. I panicked for a few seconds but soon I went back to my 'normal' unfeeling self.

    Hey everybody, welcome to REALITY. Look around. We can't feel. We can touch each other and smile, but that will only give us a short-lived neurotic buzz (at best). We are insensitive to other people's needs and our own. Yes we are...don't argue with me.
    Go to a mock therapist and get a buzz if you can. If you get a nice warm glow for a while, that's great, but there's nothing like a 'dark moment' followed by a panic attack to show you some reality. You know reality when you feel it, even if it only lasts a couple of seconds.

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  6. I think you basically make the point of why politicians are so poll-driven. Their acute need for recognition/fame makes them too easily consumed by temptation, and temptation to be basically corrupt if need be to stay in power.

    Example: In my home country, New Zealand, we've got a government that has shown it understands that if we go on our current debt-fuelled course our economy will end up like the way your (America's) economy is going today. But they are "strangely" not doing anything substantial about it; no doubt because they will probably lose the next election if they do (temptation to ignore long-term costs to a nation). And our Prime Minister has said that it was a boyhood dream to become the Prime Minister - alas, probably the best reason to NOT vote for him! (motivated by that narcissism - not service.)

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  7. "It is my experience that no one who was loved early on is desperate for fame. They want success, often as a result of effort. It is not other’s opinion that is primary. It is their own, because they count."



    That is very interesting Dr. Janov, how do you define success? Does this include financial success?

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  8. Kaz: I use to say that success is living life your way but I bet the readers of my blog have a better definition. The book manuscript, Life Before Birth is now done. It is being translated into French now and we are about to make a sale in the US. art janov

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  9. I have just joined this blog, so thank you for having me!

    As someone who has been in Primal therapy now for over five years, and who also has met and observed people in the acting profession, as well as those who are of a strong political inclination, I agree with what you say, Dr. Janov. Never a day goes by when I do not reflect upon human suffering and why people do and act as they do. I too would act out at school to gain the attention and love that I craved. I still crave love, but am aware of my tendencies to act out so no longer do. Yes, I agree that politicians too are actors, and yet, from my own personal observation of them here in the UK, rather toxic actors. Here is a question that has been puzzling me for a long time; what makes a person right-wing, and what makes a person left-wing? Both seem to me very different and yet very similar. I am James, from Liverpool, UK now living in London. I am in slow training to hopefully be a Primal therapist. I drive a bus in London part-time.

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  10. Success is when you feel satisfied with your life most of the time.
    You live life your way, while enjoying, understanding and caring about your friend's ways.
    That is success to me.
    (and a 33 ft yacht...but that can wait)

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  11. yup, very true. When it comes to questions of is (x) normal? I use the formulation from one of your books: yes for the normal, no for the neurotic.

    I can't wait to get the new book, if I recall there was a detailed article on Life before Birth a year ago:

    http://cigognenews.blogspot.com/2008/11/life-before-birth-revised.html

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  12. This comment was sent by email:

    Dr. Janov, Yes many actors seem to have a lot of pain. Most of us do as you well know. I got involved with your therapy back in the very early 1970s. The PRIMAL INSTITUTE was booked solid for six years and I was informed of some former patients of yours who had started their own Primal Centers. I contacted one of them and moved to where this Primal Center was and began my therapy there. Before I continue I want you to know things went reasonably well for me there as to my therapy.
       I was a very neurotic young man at that time. I had recently been honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after serving two eventful tours of duty as a low ranking rifleman. I had been severely injured in the summer of 1968 but was back in action by early Jan. 1969 and had another eventful tour: large battles at close range with the NVA. Killed many and saw many comrades die and be severely injured. The usual things that wars are all about.
       After all this I was a very painfilled person. I know you know about these things and that at one time you did some work for the VA prior to creating PRIMAL THERAPY.
        I just want to thank you for creating this PRIMAL THERAPY. I consider it the most important discovery and development of all time. It is THE SCIENCE of the origins and treatment mental illness. It is everything you have said it is and it SAVED MY LIFE.
        I regret not being able to receive treatment at THE PRIMAL INSTITUTE. But I was open to and ready to feel all the misery I had amassed in my at that time, young life.
        The purpose of this response is to thank you for creating this marvelous therapy. For reasons of my own I wish to maintain what little privacy is left in this era we live in and will sign off with my web name which is Dr.Syntax. I am no doctor and do not pretend to be one. Dr.Syntax is a fictional character from early 19th century English transferware pottery. The Tours of Dr.Syntax.
       So,with that said, Thank You Sir for saving my life, Dr.Syntax

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  13. Well James. Thanks for the letter. I have written a book called, Beyond Belief about what makes for those tendencies. It is not yet sold but it does answer many of your questions about what makes a rightwinger. art janov

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  14. Success is being at peace with yourself, and being left in peace. And having a sexy woman to play with (smile).

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  15. Success is experiencing meaning in your life, real meaning in the Primal sense. Success is a brain that actually works as it was meant to. Those who have achieved this through Primal are so privileged. We only have one life and to live it without meaning must surely be one of the greatest sorrows. Steve, Scotland

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  16. Hi Arthur, thought I update anyone following, with my progress with the therapy. Overall. after 6 weeks, the therapy is going ok. Can't say I really access deep feelings yet. Sometimes a few tears. It's mainly been a slow process of chipping away at my defenses. When I'm thinking straight, I can see definite progress is being made. When I'm involved in a feeling, which is most of the time, I often feel like it's not working and never will. I see why people can become discouraged and leave the therapy. It's important not to lose sight of why your there, and what the the therapy can really do. There was one exception, where I was able to feel to depths I never known before. That was over the deaths of the 2 cats I've had. For them I was able feel. I started to reach cries of horror before I shut down. I guess to me, the loss of cats was like losing a baby. One was only 2, still like a kitten to me. I now know what the therapy is capable of. I can sense the depths of rejection and fear that's down there, I just need to keep in a feeling way, and I'll get there.
    Virgo Rising, thanks for your supportive commemt, if only it were that easy for me, to feel comfort, and just let it all go. Paul

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  17. Where is this therapy taking place? Since I don't know your name. AJ.

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  18. Art, My pain killeer was sex ... an it served me well, until I became HIV. Michael Holden, when I applied for therapy in 1981 suggested that I not despise my defenses as they had saved my life, so far. That was meaningful to me though I was aware that it wasn't my only defense, slowly, my therapy evaporated them one by one, even though it was a slow (and painful) process. Only now at 77 I am finding sex does not do it for me anymore. as I put it; sex has given me up. Actually it turns out that it's not as bad as I have previously been afraid of. I will forever be grateful that you were brilliant enough to formulate the theory that brought the about the therapy. Thanks again.

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  19. I would like to comment on Jamesrand's question about right and left wingers. My feeling is that parasympaths are more prone to be left(wingers) and are also more right brain dominant, whereby sympaths would tend to be left brain dominant and have a right(wing)tendency. In most societies
    we have a right middle government of left hemisphere dominant people. To see the world as needing a complete haulover (leftwing) one needs to have experienced and felt the oppressiveness and defeat at birth, whereby people who accept what their society offers(conservatives) usually are sympaths who struggled at birth but came out feeling O.K. . Parasympaths have better ideas and are more creative, and tend to be more left oriented politically, but right wing sympaths are more productive and aggressive, so they usually win out and are able dominate in most societies. That is the way I see it at least.

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  20. Success is an illusion that we neurotics pursue IMO only to discover it don't do anything when we get it. Life is a continuum until to we keel over: hopefully we experienced it or some of it, rather than symbolizing it.

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  21. Hi. OK, you printed my before last post, a bit late, but you did. So I`ll risk posting here again, hoping it ain't for nothing.

    With reference to actors and their neurosis (above), it just so happens I have been reading biographies of some of the most famous actors and playwrights and directors of the 40`s, 50`s ,and early 60`s. Why? Because so many of the great films from that era really touch me (more than before and after). But I am also left uneasy because so many of these artists were so troubled. I am thinking of Montgomery Clift, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Tennessee Williams, Richard Burton, Ava Gardner,etcc. in such incredible films as "The Night of The Iguana", and "A Streetcar Named Desire". In their personal lives: heavy use of alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, homosexuality, psychiatric confinement etc... It's a wonder most of them could work. How Tennessee Williams cranked out his masterpieces, I cannot understand ,because he was wasted half the time. I would have prefereed that these people be more stable , of course, but the writings and performances out of their neurotic lives really touch me ,like practically nothing else can (except for our friend Art Janov, and Wilhelm Reich).Is that a sign of how sick I am? Yet I am a left with a glow after their performances, because what they feel is what I feel. I've never understood this connection between neurosis and creativity (maybe that would be a good topic for Dr Janov to address). Does anything a neurotic create have any REAL value? Or is only art from a normal healthy person of real value? Questions, questions, questions.... Marco (artiste manqué!)

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  22. I agree both with your assessment of politicians and Andrew Atkins. Further, I find the variety of actor that is elected into office nauseating and depressing.

    This is straying off topic a little, but for me it is a prime example of winning the majority over at any long term cost. I am also from New Zealand and recently we have had changes proposed to almost quadruple the annual cost of operating a motor cycle on public roads. And possibly to try and charge slightly less for using a bicycle (yeah, you read right!) on public roads.

    As someone that has defied statistics and ridden sensibly and defensively for over three years and not had an accident I am disgusted at this anti bike policy. I owned cars for a number of years, had two serious crashes in them. The reason I downsized was because of the inefficient nature of sitting alone in traffic encased in almost two tonne of plastic and steel with four litres of gas guzzling engine idling away our global oil supply.

    Statistics argue that I am four times as likely to be seriously injured riding. My argument? Don't become a statistic by trusting a car driver has seen me!

    I guess what I am trying to say is that in another twenty years when bikes and bicycles have been taxed off our roads and our cities are chocked with smog, will we regret the actions of our current government? I know I will, and I feel foolish for voting for them.

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  23. I want to say something about some of the ideas expressed here about people in the public eye such as actors 'needing to be loved' because they are in 'pain'. The danger here is of a sweeping generalization which I don't think Art intends (correct me if I'm wrong here). Art says "I may be treating a special group of the unloved". I agree. Those that seek deep feeling therapy are inevitably to some extent a self-selecting group of people who hurt, whatever profession they are in. I've worked in and around 'show business' most of my life (after PT in the 70s) and met with and worked with many people who are in the public eye, including a few household names. The reality is you can't generalize about why people go into that world. For some it's all about the creativity. In other words, they're not out necessarily to get an audience to compensate for their personal pain.They may be famous, and lots of people 'love' them, but fame sometimes comes just as a side effect of being a very creative individual.On the other hand, others just want to be a celebrity and have everybody worship them. The creative process is secondary. And lets not be black and white here; in real life it's probably a bit of both. Human beings are not robots. So what? Live and let live. I have no struggle with someone elses pain. The key for me as an artist is this: do I create in order to get something; to fill up a black hole of unmet need inside me no amount of adulation will ever heal? Or do I create in order to potentially give something, to bring into being art or music or writing which others might find resonant on their own journeys, and which is also an outward expression of my own unique being-in-the-world? Some of Art's own writing falls into this category surely? I don't suppose, when the Primal Scream first came out anyone could have known just how successful it would be. I assume that you just felt moved to write it Art, felt something needed to be articulated, and have in a sense been refining those ideas ever since, in public.There's always a price on that, fame is a double edged sword of course. It spreads ideas and images, but it also often distorts them, amplifies some elements, ignores others, criticizes your mistakes... all this happened around PT, especially in the 70's when it was very much in the public eye.This is life on planet Earth. This is the risk we take by placing something we have personally created, or indeed ouselves, in the public domain. But is it not better to put things, and sometimes oneself, 'out there', and hope that the kernel of what you are driving at will get across, despite all that?. I think so. Will Shakespeare had it down many years ago "To be or not to be: that is the question".There is primal joy as well as primal pain and what's more, life is not a rehearsal.

    best wishes

    Jennifer Musician/Integrative therapist

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  24. I want to say something about some of the ideas expressed here about people in the public eye such as actors 'needing to be loved' because they are in 'pain'. The danger here is of a sweeping generalization which I don't think Art intends (correct me if I'm wrong here). Art says "I may be treating a special group of the unloved". I agree. Those that seek deep feeling therapy are inevitably to some extent a self-selecting group of people who hurt, whatever profession they are in. I've worked in and around 'show business' most of my life (after PT in the 70s) and met with and worked with many people who are in the public eye, including a few household names. The reality is you can't generalize about why people go into that world. For some it's all about the creativity. In other words, they're not out necessarily to get an audience to compensate for their personal pain.They may be famous, and lots of people 'love' them, but fame sometimes comes just as a side effect of being a very creative individual.On the other hand, others just want to be a celebrity and have everybody worship them. The creative process is secondary. And lets not be black and white here; in real life it's probably a bit of both. Human beings are not robots. So what? Live and let live. I have no struggle with someone elses pain. The key for me as an artist is this: do I create in order to get something; to fill up a black hole of unmet need inside me no amount of adulation will ever heal? Or do I create in order to potentially give something, to bring into being art or music or writing which others might find resonant on their own journeys, and which is also an outward expression of my own unique being-in-the-world? Some of Art's own writing falls into this category surely? I don't suppose, when the Primal Scream first came out anyone could have known just how successful it would be. I assume that you just felt moved to write it Art, felt something needed to be articulated, and have in a sense been refining those ideas ever since, in public.There's always a price on that, fame is a double edged sword of course. It spreads ideas and images, but it also often distorts them, amplifies some elements, ignores others, criticizes your mistakes... all this happened around PT, especially in the 70's when it was very much in the public eye.This is life on planet Earth. This is the risk we take by placing something we have personally created, or indeed ouselves, in the public domain. But is it not better to put things, and sometimes oneself, 'out there', and hope that the kernel of what you are driving at will get across, despite all that?. I think so. Will Shakespeare had it down many years ago "To be or not to be: that is the question".There is primal joy as well as primal pain and what's more, life is not a rehearsal.

    best wishes

    Jennifer Musician/Integrative therapist

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  25. Jack: I am very happy that it all helped you. You and others are my raison d'etre. art janov

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  26. Eddy: Most interesting. What do you others think. art janov

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  27. Marco: You mentioned many of my favorite films. That was my era, of course. I wrote a piece on creativity and neurosis. I will try to dig it up and publish it on the blog. Marco where are you? art janov

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  28. Richard's long post: Well thank you. very well thought out. I would like to have others comment on this contribution. art janov You did not address resonance as a matter of frequency.

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  29. Hey John. I too am a biker. I rode in Europe where traffic was impossible. Still have my biker license. art janov

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  30. Jennifer: Very well stated. Everyone is so bloody bright. I love it. art janov

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  31. "Most interesting. What do you others think. art janov"


    I agree with how you described neurosis of liberal left wingers in Grand Delusions Dr. Janov.



    "All of this is no more than saying that you cannot "love" neurosis away. That concept is an old liberal, democratic notion that love solves all."

    http://www.primaltherapy.com/GrandDelusions/GD09.htm



    "These are wonderful, liberal thoughts, but lack a bit in the science department."

    http://www.primaltherapy.com/GrandDelusions/GD01.htm



    "To focus only on ideals is praiseworthy but not scientific. It is a nice liberal weltanschauung."

    http://www.primaltherapy.com/GrandDelusions/GD11.htm

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  32. Dr Janov: I was very happy to read that you appreciate the films from the 40`s and 50`s and early 60's, and perhaps the actors, that I cited in my last post here. "The Night of the Iguana" , for instance, was so beautiful, so meaningful, especially Deborah Kerr's performance. Of course, I'd love to read what you wrote about creativity and neurosis. As far as where I live, I reside in Montreal, Quebec.

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  33. Art, I wrote that long letter with important separations between the paragraphs. Without them it's confusing. Did you receive it without paragraphs? I could delete and send it again.

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  34. Donc vous parlez francais, et moi aussi. art janov

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  35. For My own self I can say that it is true, before I started Primal therapy, I was a drug addict. My addiction began at age 12, until I started therapy at age 27. For 15 years, not a day went by that I didn't use some sort of drug to excess. My father was also an addict and died of alcoholism at age 51. Since my therapy, I have been clean for 31 years, no A.A. meetings, no N.A meetings, instead I just let myself feel bad, when ever my feelings come up. I consider myself lucky to have found Primal therapy. I am also grateful, that I've never had to go to a rehab. I know lots of addicts, in Los Angeles, where I live, it's not unsual for peopple to go in and out of rehab, dozen's and dozens of times. Feeling is just so much easier, but then there's no ego gratification in doing something easy.

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  36. OK, try again and I will try and do the paragraphs

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  37. Cher Mr Janov: Effectivement je parle et j'écris le francais , depuis l'age de six ans. Mais je ne suis pas francophone, plutot Italien (mais qui ne parle pas italien!). Ma premiere langue c'est l'anglais.In other words , a typical North American brought up in the white-bread suburban middle classes!

    Now some comments on EDDY's observations about sympaths and parasympaths and politics. There might be some truths to what what he says, but it would seem such an analysis would need considerable elaboration. Not to much mention questionnaires evaluating the political views of sympaths and parasympaths; but I`m sure Primal Therapists do not have the time for that! Just off the top of my head, though, it seems to me that such prominent left-wing politicians (from Center to Hard-Left)do NOT seem to be parasympaths: Bll Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Hugo Chavez, and Fidel Castro. Perhaps the intellectulals and academics of the Left (not the active politicians) are more the parasympath types.As one of these intellectuals of the Left (not too grossly removed from my feelings I like to beleive), I do have some tendency to the parasympath type, but I have never experienced DEEP hopelessness or depression (luckily!). I am not action-oriented: I leave the organisation in politics and elsewhere to the sympaths!

    I also have to vehemently disagree with EDDY's assertion that seeing the need for a whole makeover of the world is a characteristic of sympaths, and thus perhaps not objectively true. I think it is an OBJECTIVE fact that the whole world is a damm mess (a "demented slaughterhouse" as Paddy Chayefsky called it), and even the most non-neurotic normal healthy person would agree with that.

    Let me add here that the subjects of "psychology" and "politics" have always been of great interest to me. These are artificial conceptual distinctions, since all human sciences are dealing with human beings. Nevertheless, most people follow these distinctions, and I have found over the years that few are the people into politics that are also into psychology, and vice versa. Now if anyone out there would like to pursue some interesting readings on political pychology, may I refer you three authors. 1) Harold Lasswell and his book "Psychopathology and Politics", the first Freudian to apply Freud's theories extensively to politics. Despite the great limitations of Freud, this book is worth the read. Then 2) there are the extensive psycho-political writings of ERICH FROMM, one of the prominent neo-Freudians who broke with Freud for the usual reasons, and who developed what he called "humanistic psychotherapy". His book called "The Sane Society" is an interesting analysis of capitalism and socialism, backed up by some deep human insights that one never sees in the writings of other socialists. Finally 3) , is a chapter called "The Socio-Political Character Types" in a book called "Man in the Trap" by a Reichian named Ellsworth Baker, who was appointed by Reich to continue Reician training (which is done at the College of Orgonomy in Princeton New Jersey).These are extensive Reichian analyses of all major politiclal types from Facists to Communists. And since Reich and Janov overlap a bit...that may interest some of you.I disagree with a lot of what Baker has to say, such as that moderate conservatives are the healthiest people psychologically; but, hell, what do I know!? Anyways , people at the College of Orgonomy are pretty right-wing (but in their own idiosyncratic way) and that turns me off for the most part. Marco

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  38. HI, Marco again. I would also like to express my appreciation for the extensive lucid insights and comments of JENNIFER (above) on the topic of the arts and neurosis .Not only was the post beautifully written, its contents adressed very directly my own questions and perplexity about that topic, as expressed in one of my posts above. So thanks Jennifer! I hope you will post here again.

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  39. Computational Resonance - Part 1 of 4

    A man wants to ride his new motorcycle. The unconscious mind scans all relevant memories in an attempt to solve this new problem. The unconscious mind doesn't want to burden the conscious mind with all that information. The unconscious just wants to use those memories to generate informative feelings which are relevant to the objective. The unconscious looks for useful birth memories which will remind the motorcyclist of the dangerous world he is living in. The unconscious looks for memories of learning to walk, to sharpen his sense of balance and spacial awareness, and oh wow, there's even a memory in there of learning to ride a bicycle...the unconscious will definitely latch onto that one. Oh but wait...the bicycle-riding information is not complete until it connects with some of the walking information and even a little bit of that birth information. The unconscious mind will make sure the three memories continue to resonate with each other.

    The birth and walking and bicycle information is stored in a way that can be accessed not only as specific memories, but also as information which can be adapted for other purposes. The brain is designed to be efficient with space and does not consider any information to be only suitable for one purpose. Regardless of how much trauma is contained within the birth, walking and bicycling information, much of this information is used in an abstract way to generate relevant feelings which help the adult to ride his new motorcycle. The unconscious will always resonate as much as possible within the boundaries set by the defence system. If the motorcyclist had a really bad birth, he might ride his motorcycle in an overly cautious way, thanks to resonance.

    The unconscious mind also delivers feelings which are generated from visual information coming from the eyes AND ears (you heard right!) All here-and-now senses mix with each other and they mix with past-event information....all resonating together in a giant unconscious symphony. As all the information resonates, appropriate images and feelings are sent to the conscious mind where executive decisions can be made.

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  40. Computational Resonance - Part 2 of 4

    Did you know that retina cells don't work simply like pixels? The cells actually talk to each other in a language currently too complex for scientists to understand. The retina cells talk to each other and the rest of the brain. Every part of the human body resonates with other parts. Organs borrow from each other in times of need. Every part of the body tries to be as multi-functional and adaptive as the laws of physics will allow. Why? Because it can. It's more efficient. Resonance is conversation and cooperation on a cellular level.

    During a primal, the trick is to stay in the primal zone. My theory is that the primal zone is the point when the unconscious mind is used to Isolate-A-Memory rather than Learn-A-New-Task. If a person tries hard to primal, the unconscious will do what it always does when it is trying to help with a new task. The giant symphony will begin. Information is collected from here, there and everywhere. Too much information. The unconscious tries to send feelings and images which are relevant to the new task. What is the new task? Oh....the new task is to avoid the giant symphony so we can focus on one memory. Now we are trying to use the giant symphony to stop the giant symphony. Now we are in mock therapy.

    A person who is carrying too much pain may be inclined to depart from the Isolate-A-Memory mode and enter the Learn-A-New-Task mode because he is trying to learn a new defence. This causes the unconscious symphony to start up again. To learn a new defence, the unconscious requires resonance over a wide range of information because the mind is searching for ANY associated information that can be used to form a defence. While there is such enormous scope for resonance, it may be inevitable that undesired traumatic information will be accessed. If the undesired information is important enough it can generate "the pull" which I talked about in 'Transforming Feelings Through Resonance' (under June in the menu to the left). Whether the patient bounces off a traumatic memory or gets sucked in depends a lot on the therapist's actions.

    A person who is carrying too much pain may be inclined to do nothing at all. There may not be enough resonance to learn a new defense, but there may not even be enough resonance to access and process a single memory.

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  41. Computational Resonance - Part 3 of 4

    To stay in the primal zone, the unconscious will reduce the range of resonance, but without reducing too much strength of resonance. The unconscious knows not to stray because the conscious mind is sending confirmation back to the unconscious; "Yes you are getting warmer....this is starting to make real sense". The conscious mind is still not receiving all the information scanned by the unconscious. The unconscious is still abbreviating the information into packages of feelings and images...in this way it is still functioning as it did when it was trying to Learn-A-New-Task...except the giant symphony of information is now just a small choir. This means the feelings and images are no longer designed to represent a wide range of information (which would have been useful for learning a new task). No more spider images to represent "All those dangerous things". Now the images represent a very specific, small chunk of information, so the feelings and images can be more specific - less abstract. The range of resonance may be reduced to only one 2nd line trauma resonating with one 1st line trauma, and then finally reduced to only the 1st line trauma. When the unconscious mind receives full confirmation that the trauma has been consciously felt and understood, the unconscious mind is programmed to mix that 1st line traumatic information with real-world information. This is resonance again, but still only a narrow range of resonance. The unconscious is not searching EVERYWHERE for ANY associated information....it is just doing a simple update. The ex-traumatic information is now labelled as "not life threatening and still useful for further learning". The next time the man rides his motorcycle, his unconscious will make sure that the usual birth, walking and bicycle memories and here-and-now senses all continue to resonate with each other, but they will do so more fluently with less gating and less pain.

    Resonance is not a case of the conscious mind recklessly leaping from one feeling to another similar and stronger one. Resonance is a function of the unconscious mind which is simultaneously accessing and processing a combination of related memories and senses, usually for the purpose of learning and performing tasks. Feelings, images, sounds, smells etc. are the resulting products of unconscious resonance.

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  42. Computational Resonance - Part 4 of 4

    For the purpose of isolating a memory, primallers should not be trying to learn anything while lying in the primal room. Their minds must remain in a narrow range of resonance if they are to stay in the primal zone. But how do they get into the primal zone in the first place? Resonance will get them there; very precise triggers/events designed to resonate strongly with a traumatic memory. At first, the patient tries to learn how to defend against the therapist. As he tries to defend, he sets off that unconscious symphony of information, but he tries to learn from TRAUMATIC information, because it is the most relevant information for the task. The patient may be resonating between several separate traumas, but atleast it's a start. As the patient bounces off traumas he displays behaviours which the therapist tries to exploit. The therapist chooses actions which will cause one traumatic memory to become the most relevant to those actions. The closer the patient gets to one specific memory, the more signs he reveals to the therapist...enabling the therapist to decide on the most appropriate action which will resonate strongly with the memory...making it very difficult for the patient to conjure up far-fetched defences. The patient is being trapped into a narrow range of resonance. Eventually the patient will stop trying to learn how to defend. The symphony will reduce down to a small but potent choir. The patient enters the primal zone; his unconscious mind is now resonating between different aspects of a single memory...sending brutally specific feelings and images to the conscious mind.

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  43. Hi macor 22,

    I would like to respond to your critique of my simplified leftwing rightwing categorization. Up front a misunderstanding: Seeing the need for a complete haulover of the world is a trait of a parasympath (Leftwing type,right brain person) not the sympath! If a person wants everything changed he probably experienced the existing reality as lousy. Where does this feeling come from? probably from a lousy (parasympathetic) birth trauma. The sympath or right(wing)type is in agreement with the existing status quo and is conservative, he is more of an aggressive action type because he had a stuggle and survival type birth. I do not consider Martin Luther King or the Kennedys or Chavez as examples of left(wing) type people, rather I would consider people such as messies,drugtakers,dropouts and if more healthy; people that have artistic, philosophical and spiritual aspirations different from the mainstream to be left-types.

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  44. to Eddy : why are you still associating left wing with right brain dominant, parasympath people? what about education? Conservatives and right wing people do want to change "the world" and turn it into what they need : less social security and medical care, less help for the poor and unemployed and so on. It's more a matter of "mum and daddy didn't help me so why should we help the others"? And for the liberal point of view that's something which could resonate whith a long and traumatic birth like "I don't want something in my way" because at birth they were stopped for a long time before being able to get out (Dr Janov wrote a lot about that). Ideas are used to avoid pain/the feeling of being defeated : the more you talked about being a winner, the more you try to avoid the feeling of being a complete failure.It's a kind of dialectic process. When you talk about the "world" don't forget that you're talking about human society not about the outside world (Nature). Especialy in our western cvilisation we are living in the conditions that we have created. If "life" is hard for poor people it's because the majority don't really care about a better social care system because they see poor people as lazy or dumb. Nothing has really changed since Dickense's time.

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  45. "It's more a matter of "mum and daddy didn't help me so why should we help the others"? "



    yann, remember the highest amount of charitable and eleemosynary activity in the history of the United States was during the Reagan era:

    http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/7943/67787361.jpg


    The era in which the highest amount of non profit and charitable organizations were established was before the era of big government and high taxes:

    http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/3443/37484607.jpg



    "Conservatives and right wing people do want to change "the world" and turn it into what they need : less social security and medical care, less help for the poor and unemployed and so on."


    I don't think they don't want to change anything or anyone, and more importantly they would never think of using force and coercion like government on anyone. They don't mindless chant change change change hope hope hope like drones. All the rhetoric in the world about compassion is not worth one scintilla if you don't get the RESULTS. The question is what is the best way for people to stop being "poor and unemployed" as you said?

    Certainly not the government, the most chronic and residual forms of poverty in society are again failures of government. Welfare dependance is just one of countless examples.

    The best way to stop being "poor and unemployed" as you said, would be to get a job. That just can't happen in big government places which impedes job growth and creating chronic double digit unemployment. Not to mention high tax rates which forces both parents to work just to pay off the insatiable government, leaving the kids at home.

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  46. Dear EDDY: First, yeah, I inadvertently made a typing mistake: I meant to restate your first point about PARASYMPATHS and a complete haulover of the world, before refuting you. Sorry for the confusion. But I still stand by my point that the state of the world is an objective fact INDEPENDENT of the parasympaths's problems. Furthermore, Kennedy, Chavez etcc are , of course, left-wing. That is just fact. If not, what are they?! All those other people you state (druggies, artists, etc..) can be left-wing, but not necessarily. Those categories of people certainly would contain a lot of left-wingers and anarchists, no question .They are my people ,I like them, and I and they are PROUD to be different from the mainstream! But there are some notable exceptions: Hitler was a drop-out down and out artist in Vienna before his rise to power.

    For YANN, here is a letter of mine that will be published in a local paper next week . I thought you might like it:

    To the editor: Well, all the predictable food drives to help the poor are now emerging at this "special" time of the year (including the humble editor of The Suburban's drive) .I always wonder why these drives don't happen all through the year. People have to eat adequately in august as well as december, don't they? But, yo, maybe I am just wrong about that... Anyways, besides unpredictable and fluctuating private charity, it would help, for instance, if our illustrious right-wing yuppie government (here in Quebec) raised the basic welfare rate from $580 a month for a single person, to maybe $680. That measure alone would reduce the need for food bank services considerably. But will that happen? Not on your life! The government know what the majority really feels. The ugly fact is that most people, despite their verbally professed Christmas "concern" and "charity" , don't give a damm about welfare recipients and other poor people' sufferring , wished they would just go away and die, so that they, the respectables, would have more money to spend on a better HD television, or on a trip to Bermuda.

    So, as always, I am holding my nose and am sitting out this season of "good cheer". Marco Ermacora

    Finally, on the topic of politics ,I made some comments on the abominable Ayn Rand, at the end of Dr Janov's blog two weeks ago :"On vital signs in Primal Therapy".

    Marco

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  47. you need a large group of unemployed to expand the labor pool so as to drive down wages and make workers take very little. art janov

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  48. To Kaz_iqbal : I wasn't really talking about political subjects but i believe you about charity and the Reagan area. Charity just reflects what they think about poverty : "we have the money so we can give from time to time to feel less guilty but we can't really do something about that because that would be trying to control everything or using force and coercion" (just what you said about the governement generally speaking). "Force and coercion" Conservatives don't mind to use during strikes when people ask for an increase of their wages for instance. What about the working poors? It's not enough nowadays to get a job. You can have one and be poor all the same.
    But anyway I was talking about the possible underlying feelings in political life/ideas.
    And of course there is the ecomical rationality that says (as Dr Janov mentionned it) that you need a large group of unemployed to keep low wages...
    You seem to overlook the political part and forget about the feeling part...were are on the Arthur Janov's blog don't forget that...

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  49. I am partly disabled and on welfare, and I thank that part of the Canadian population that is OK about some of their taxes being used to support me. I am also OK with the fact that our government also FORCES those conservatives in the population to give me money via coerced taxes , whether they like it or not. Conservatives would rather see people have the freedom to support me or not via charity. And if people decided NOT to support me, then I would be homeless, and malnourished. Perhaps I would die. But insensitive cruel reactionaries like Reagen and Ayn Rand and that sexy leggy Sarah Palin (mmmm...)don't care about that. So they and their ilk are my sworn enemies.

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  50. Relating to the left-winger right-winger thing again:

    I remember Janov saying somewhere that ideas come from feelings, and neurotic feelings generate related neurotic ideas. That's certainly consistent with my observation in life. So often you can just look at someone and have an idea of what kind of beliefs and thoughts they will have - it's written all over their faces and even body postures, and the latter is of course also driven by 'core' feelings.

    No doubt political leanings will relate to how we feel. I think the parasympath's are more inclined to vote for left-wingers - but that, I think, is because the so-called socialists capitalise on that personality-market by putting on the face and using the trigger words that the parasympath's are attracted to (PR!). Never mind if they end up achieving the opposite of what the parasympath's expected (your thinking brain has to come to the party too!).

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  51. Andrew: I think you are stretching. Parasympaths tend to be conservative because they do not like change; any change, as earlier on, can be uncomfortable and dangerous. But any wide net is too simplistic. art janov

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  52. Dr Janov: Yes it was a very 'generalised' stretch. I was reacting to the way people with 'defeatist' attitudes (which I think seem to be parasympath types?) appear to be attracted to the political left, from my casual view.

    Do you think the need to control others (and everything) has anything to with not liking change i.e. the desire to make things rigid and not flexible?

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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.
Editor