Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Traumatized Brain

The orbital frontal cortex, which is the cortex just behind the eye sockets, reaches maturity between eighteen to twenty-four months of age. The right OBFC receives feeling information on the right side of the brain, and helps code it; it also helps control feelings and, above all, is involved in retrieving feeling information and integrating it with the left OBFC. This is a big job. Thanks to the right OBFC, we can know what we feel, and feel what we know; if only it will inform the left prefrontal cortex about what it knows and feels.

The right OBFC receives feeling information from below, from preverbal memories, and then provides a high level coding system that labels the feeling. What is important about the OBFC is that it has representations from the depths of the brain. In this way, we can make a connection between the awareness, and what happened to us even before birth. That is consciousness/awareness.

The right OBFC provides a map of our internal environment. Most early abuse and lack of love can be found coded there. If we want to regain conscious-awareness – full consciousness – we need to use the OBFC map to scan the non-verbal brain, the right limbic area and brainstem, to retrieve the most remote, ancient memories. Notice that I did not say “awareness,” which is left brain. Conscious-awareness is right-left brain working in harmony. We can be very aware and completely unconscious. We can be experts in politics or even psychology, and still not know what is inside of us. In fact, our hyper-alert awareness on the left can be motivated by the need to stay unconscious of the right. We can use he left prefrontal area awareness to dampen the amygdala/limbic areas and keep ourselves unconscious. I have cited earlier how in meditation the left OBFC becomes more active as the amygdala is less active. In some respects this is what happens in cognitive therapy; the left frontal area is stripped away from the right and treated as an independent entity. Thus, their efforts involve readjusting the left frontal brain to the neglect of other cerebral areas. Luckily or not, it is eminently adjustable and malleable. Ideas can be twisted and turned in so many ways; they can be “adjusted” so that we are convinced that we are feeling good when we are not. Thinking we feel good and really feeling good, involving the feeling centers of
the brain are two different things.

The right OBFC contains a model of what happened to us early in life. If we did not have a very strong emotional relationships with our parents early in life, the right hemisphere imprints will become a template for adult life that may cause constant broken relationships in adult life. We are victims of that template and then wonder what’s wrong with us when we cannot sustain an emotional rapport with someone. In that sense, it is more than a model; it is a fixed frame within which we operate. That frame is encased in biochemical chains, every bit as strong as links of steel. I have called this frame, the prototype (discussed elsewhere). The meaning is the same: lifelong patterns of behavior are organized very early in life, in pre-birth, birth and infancy experiences. The meaning is available to the right OBFC but not to the left. The patterns set up early in life become a guide for how we act in the future; for our adult compulsions and phobias as well as physical symptoms. That is why when we retrieve those early experiences with the right OBFC we can make immediate connections between our current symptom-- migraine, high blood pressure--and those early imprints. With the reliving the symptoms disappear, and we understand why. We carry around “broken relationships” inside of us all of our lives. We then develop a friendship with someone that soon breaks off, and it becomes a mystery as to why: the template. The template, as I have stated, involves all manner of biochemical processes. Thus, we may carry around very low oxytocin levels which helps determine how warm and close we can be to others. The brain’s neurochemistry, the levels of stress hormones and other activating chemicals, are all under right brain control. When these are altered they influence how we relate to others and to ourselves. In brief, we are rendered a different personality.

The traumatized brain has different cognitive capacities. It is not so much that one trauma compromises the brain; rather, it is an accumulated lack of love that does it. And lack of love means not fulfilling needs. When we consider that the right emotional/limbic brain is in a growth spurt in the first years when touch and love are absolutely crucial, it is clear that a lack of it will have lifelong consequences on our emotions. This is particularly true as the right brain relates to, and informs, the left intellectual side. Toward the end of the second year of life there is a leap in growth on the left side of the brain.

It is the right amygdala that forms a sensory gateway from feelings and sensations in the lower realm of the brain all the way up to the OBFC. This is where conscious-awareness lies. Connection means there is a flow between feelings that originate in the lower brain, and the higher-level frontal cortex, where thoughts occur. The amygdala also provides emotional information to the OBFC, which takes over some of the memory and codes it. When the amount of information is overwhelming the message does not travel all the way to the OBFC for connection. It can be blocked at the level of the thalamus and sent back down, retaining the disconnection. We then have a headless monster rummaging around the lower depths of the nervous system without guidance.

People who feel uncomfortable in their skin, sense that rummaging monster but don’t know what it is. They just feel that they want to jump out of their bodies. It is not difficult to understand someone who has an “out-of-body” experience. Those with terrible first line pain do sometimes have “out-of-body” experiences where they leave their corpus behind and travel to another dimension. It is another way the defense system works; it is the flight from the pain on the right to the left brain with its imaginary powers. The person has made the leap out of himself—out of the feeling self--to an imagined state.

We see intrusion of this “monster”, literally, in our sessions when a patient will be reliving something from early childhood and suddenly be seized by a coughing jag, her feet and arms changing to fetal position. Here we have tapped into a childhood pain that has roots deeper in the brain. Sometimes the intrusion continues, such as a loss of breath, and interferes with a full reliving of a childhood event. If the patient is not ready for the deeper experience, we may recommend first line blockers such as Clonidine or Xanax. If the patient is ready for the first line experience, we may go there. This is rarely done in the first months of therapy.

The weakness or damage to the OBFC is often seen in our disturbed patients who relive first line events in the first days of therapy. We know from this that there was very likely pre-birth and birth trauma. We know, too, that there is infancy/chilhood compounded pain which has compromised the gating system. Institutional children and those placed in foster homes early in life, relive these traumas very soon in therapy.

There are reciprocal nerve fiber connections that run from the OBFC down to the brainstem. Terror that’s imprinted down low in the brainstem, in the locus ceruleus, for example, can send out noradrenaline to activate us; we become hypervigilant.

The locus ceruleus can activate us due to pain but it also contains a good number of opiate receptors to help suppress it. Traumas while we are being carried may redo the set-points of noradrenaline so that we are more hyped up from the start of life. And hyper-secretion of noradrenaline over years can and does adversely affect the heart. In other words, the seeds of later heart disease may have their beginnings even before birth. Is it any wonder that later disease seems to occur without any obvious current reason? Since noradrenaline is related to fear and terror, it will ultimately mount to the frontal area and affect our thinking processes.

Scientists have found locus ceruleus/noradrenaline fibers in the thalamus; in this way low level activation reaches the relay station to be sent to higher centers, finally interfering with our concentration. Not surprisingly, morphine and valium can suppress this activation and calm the pain. External morphine can help when we cannot produce enough of our own—endorphin. The result is the same, repression and calm. Left brain ideas can help stimulate the endorphin output to put down pain. Herein lies the reason for belief systems that embody hope. And herein lies the problem and so-=called success with cognitive therapy: using the wrong brain to do the work of another. The left can never do the right brain’s work. It can smother it for a time, however, with ideas and beliefs.


  1. Hi Art,

    I think what you really need to provide is a video for this kind of information (though yes it was comprehensively described here).

    Think of a profile view of the human brain that is made up of black-and-white outlines. Every time you say the word "amygdala" in the narration, or some other brain part, the amygdala is highlighted in colour on the diagram. Also use arrows to show the communication of relevant brain parts as you're narrating. Otherwise it's too hard for the mass-market to develop a clear picture the neurological processes.

    I would imagine you could be sorting something like that out in your documentary anyway(?).

  2. We go from "Wake up, you fat face-stuffers" to "Scientists have found locus ceruleus/noradrenaline fibers in the thalamus..."

    I love it. How about another angle: "We need the intellectuals to help us to become human"

  3. Ok, Dr. Janov on the lack of touching senerio you've written about here and brain trama... But do you have any idea just how many people are quite uptight about "touching"...."hugging" ?
    And even tho in most instances, a welcoming Hug can be misconstrued at the drop of a hat as being sexually inappropriate or for those who are totally against viewed as something they would rather turn away from or shrug off..! ( Avoidance )
    I completely agree with Touching and Holding an infant is vitally important in those early years you've given mention too Dr. Janov....but obviously Not that many people are educated about the human condition in these concerns. Ok?
    I also recall something mentioned in your writtings regarding "Crib Death" syndrome... I submit that Touching and Hugging and Holding are as real and important as food to a child...and later on to adolescents and teens and Adults as well.
    In the animal kingdom I've observed for quite sometime how Chimps, Gorillas, and the like allow alot of touching and holding etc. It's a type of reassuring intimacy in my view.
    Wouldn't it be fair to refer to all of this type of behaviour as "Nurturing"...?

  4. Art, a point of clarification please:

    "Institutional children and those placed in foster homes early in life, relive these traumas very soon in therapy."

    Are you referring to the later pains (Institutional/foster homing) or birth and pre-birth trauma?



  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dr. Janov.

    Now my question is; how much longer must we explain the value of PT, instead of challenging CT to deliver Neuro-science proof for its function and success.
    It is time to call it officially a farce, a money making business.

  6. Dr Janov:

    Here's a quote from Wilhelm Reich that I think you will apreciate and relate to. I thought about you immediately after reading it. I dedicate it to you and your great work. Marco

    “The man of science has a hard road. He must prove his every
    claim, he must carry on arduous research, must deliberate,
    recognize his mistakes, screen vicious criticism, understand
    and refute false theories. He cannot use force. In his struggle
    against the emotional plague he is without weapons. The mystic has an
    easy road. No one demands that he prove his claims.”
    Journal entry – May 10, 1943
    (American Odyssey, p. 180)

  7. Arthur, I thought I would ask a couple questions or so.
    1. if the gate system does not form completely, then the person has problems with too much pain coming up/out at once. If the gates ARE well formed, then can I assume that the pain would be easier to control, meaning that only the 3rd line and then 2nd would come up first without the 1st line intruding or needing medicated. Is this so or are problems experienced for good gates anyway?

    2. Bad gates could allow disturbed feelings to disrupt "thinking processes." Do good gates allow pain to be well managed and leave the thinking process relatively unaffected?

    As I see it, the logical reasoning process of the brain can continue to function, though not without challenge. Good Pain gates allow control of the pain to manageable levels, if that is what one wants. Some prefer to be deceived.

    But really, the "evolution" if you prefer, of pain gates allows the intellect to continue without too much interference unless the gates are not formed well.

    My contention has always been that logic and reason can still progress independently and effectively, otherwise how did we get the science and tech we have to day. You discerned Primal Pain while a neurotic yourself, correct? And many of your patients could see the need for it as well, while being neurotics.

    Many people through history have managed to overcome remarkable odds in order to survive or succeed in life and grow in knowledge. Just some thoughts of mine.

  8. Erron: What seems to happen is that institutional life seriously weakens the gating system so that traumas such as birth come up early in therapy and we need to suppress it when necessary. AJ

  9. Jerry. Touching is the sine qua non. And my theory about crib death seems to be supported more and more; they found very low levels of serotonin in these babies, as though they already had earlier traumas so that alone in the dark with no one to comfort, they succumb to fright and terror. Art Janov

  10. Dr. Janov,

    would you please explain what is a low, high or normal serotonin level in babies and
    the low, high or normal level of serotonin for adults.

    How can an adult be tested and what is the lab test name/code for serotonin.

    Is a cortisol level of 7.5 (or lower) an indication of low serotonin?

    Your answer would be appreciated.

  11. Let me apologize. by now the full article should be published. I left off the entire first half of it. check it out. AJ

  12. Richard. At least I am diverse and catholic in my interests; only "the traumatized brain" is badly written and badly organized. Sorry. AJ

  13. Andrew: We are doing videos and a documentary. Takes a lot of time. art janov

  14. Art, I wasn't going to mention your double-post in 'On Avoiding Murder' (final version is same as rewritten version) because I assumed it was just another one of your attempts to get people to re-read.
    Just letting you know in case it was a genuine mistake (I doubt it).

    Another thing...when I apologise to hot-heads, they calm down immediately. My apology kills their act-out. If you think I am projecting onto you, and you are apologising to kill my act-out, then you are missing my point. You might want to re-read my comments :D

    I think the biggest problem the primal center faces is the lack of curiosity from intellectual professionals. In fact it is the biggest problem the world faces. So I am making a pretty big point, regardless of whether I am projecting.

    Here's the point: the Primal Center (or someone) should study the personality of the typical intellectual professional. From my experience, they are almost always power-seekers and highly egotistical and they are extremely sensitive to crticism. Their act-out is much like 'Revenge of the Nerds'. They want to get on top of the bullies who made them feel small at school and at home. They want to be the boss, or the first person to invent anti-gravity, etc.

    If we can give them food for thought, in a way that makes them feel special, as if they are heading towards their own grand discovery.....then they will be less likely to skim-read your 'defiant' and 'arrogant' articles. Instead of forcing them to read twice, we could simply write in a way that is fun for them. When a person is having fun, his/her ability to concentrate increases dramatically.

  15. To:
    Dr. Janov,

    I don't know if my efforts here have gone thru or not I may have messed up on my Post Comment approach.
    So Just in case, if I may:

    It was in Sept of 1976 that I bought your book entitled "The Primal Scream".
    And that was when I entered Primal as a patient. I did that "Intensive" with the first two weeks in a motel room approach at the very start. And then later graduated into full therapy at the Center. And began working with other patients.

    Later, I bought a copy of "The Primal Revolution" and then yet another book entitled "Prisoners of Pain". Oh, and "The Feeling Child" as well.
    I came into some difficulty with yet another book you wrote "The Primal Man".
    It began getting more and more technical and medical that some of the previous books, perhaps it became just a bit more Analytical. Ok?
    I was wondering IF you have New Publcations that are more oriented to the Basics and Fundamentals of The Primal Process...??
    In closing, Dr. Janov, In my eperiences it would seem that the majority of people I have met are of the upper I.Q.'s of our Society.
    And I have met some extrodinairly intelligent individuals involved in Primal Therapy over the years. That became a big help by the way, Dr. Janov.
    Jerry Hawkins Tulsa, Oklahoma

  16. Jerry My two latest are the best, aside from the primal scream. First Primal Healing explains it all. Then Biology of Love. I think you will find a lot of answers there. What are you doing in Tulsa? art janov

  17. Siegelinde you are asking too much of me. You need to address the medical specialists who study this all of the time. Moreover, I know you know more than I do about this. Yes? Your comments are always brilliant. AJ

  18. Apollo: You must read my Primal Healing and then The Biology of Love. They have the most uptodate information. Logic and reason NEVER progress independently of the lower levels. They evolved out of those lower levels. Read my discussion of the biochemistry of the gating system. It may be on the blog but certainly in the two books I just mentioned. Then if you have a question I will answer it. art janov

  19. Hi there Siegelinde. I guess no one knows because 'typical' or 'average' is probably not normal. As long as I see positive changes, that's good enough for me

  20. hi apollo
    "My contention has always been that logic and reason can still progress independently and effectively, otherwise how did we get the science and tech we have to day."

    Any dumb-ass can build a rocket, only to end up mixing imperial numbers with metric (apparently) or come up with a dumb theory of how large the universe is, or discover a chemical that kills an "acceptable" quantity of brain cells while purifying the drinking water. What science? We are a bunch of fumbling idiots. It just takes time and motivation to make a discovery. Neurotic brains can do it. Actually it takes a LOT of time....even after a lifetime of tormented motivation, Einstein made many dumb mistakes, which will be proven wrong.

    Art probably began as an idiot with a hunch, and now he is a fully-blown genius, as we all should be.

  21. Art, I like the way you pretend to mess up an article so that your compulsive neurotics will hoover it up. If you're going to play games like that, I suggest you dangle your carrots in front of other donkeys. I'm already hooked.

    I totally agree with your idea of organising a team to work on a Unified Field Theory. It should be promoted as a glamorous which requires the work of the world's top scientists...the elite....people who can put an end to all the psycho-biological confusion and arguments.
    Glamour, fame, nobel prizes. Who wants a carrot?

  22. Richard: I see that you know no scientists. They could not be less interested. They have found their niche and they will stick to it.

  23. Hi Richard! I am aware of errors in some of Einstein's stuff. But he was aware of many of them too, and tried to make up for it till pressures interfered, not of his making. Scientists usually do not want to see. But really, my focus is on (and is ignored) whether intellect, whether scientific or otherwise, can function despite impairment often cause by primal trauma of the past. I'll finish reading Primal Healing but I do get the feeling that some things are being ducked and that I suppose I should accept the authorities who know far better than a little mind like mine could and just blindly go along with what they say.

    But if I have learned just one little thing in my 51 years, it is: Never trust any authority who will not address what is put before them, openly and candidly. Authority is not a reason, it is an excuse and an escape, pure and simple. I know when I have hit a nerve.

    Neurosis runs and hides or resorts to claims of authority. Real people fear nothing and tread where angels fear to go. Real people crave the complete truth and not just 75% or so. Truth hurts, which is why so few prefer it, especially in science, politics, and religion. I fear nothing.

  24. Dr. Janov : I read your post and in response to "What are you doing in Tulsa?" Excellent question...!
    You'd be amazed at how many psychologist I've met here over the years and how many don't have even a Clue as to what Primal Therapy is all about. Don't get me wrong they are intelligent people, obviously....but they "think" it has do with me having been a war vet or something....which I'm not or as one phd friend for years put it...."So are going to move to an Island soon?"
    ( lol ).
    I get the feeling that most phd psychologists are totally Book Learned about the human condition or psyche' so to speak.
    Freud made sense in many of his writtings, but when he leaned on Cocaine...I felt his views became affected as a direct result of that substance.
    Dr. Harry Stack Sullivan MD once said "A Healthy Personality is a Result of Healthy Relationships" He also provided other themes or postures that I agree with in as much as developing ONE relationship in life that is of acceptance, love, and respect etc vitally important, perhaps a foundation to begin life with if I may. I worked with an MD for years before Primal who was a student of Dr. Sullivan's. Dr. Carl Jung had some interesting views on Alcoholism that make sense.
    Sheldon B. Kopp offered some really interesting views about people and pshycology too.
    In closing, books like "I'm Ok You're Ok" are "Ok" Dr. Janov but they leave you ...doing a mind dance in your head and not dealing with pains fears phobias ...and that oh so special word I have grown to love..."Anxiety"....Oh yeah...!
    Anywho, I realize how eveyone has their own preferences in approaching dealing with their own personal problems....I found more success in dealing with many problem issues within myself doing Primal. If that's "Ok".....Best wishes Dr. Janov

  25. Dr. Janov,

    I assure you, my question was genuine, thinking you could bring a little more clarity in the contradicting information available, regarding serotonin.

    Marty L. Hinz, MD President Clinical Research NeuroResearch Clinics, Inc. Cape Coral, Florida USA has his doubts by Neurotransmitter Test:

    How can anyone declare that serotonin and dopamine play a vital role in depression/mood swings, if there is no guaranteed test available.

    On the other hand a new pharmacy-industry that sells serotonin-supplements is booming. The nature-lover recommends beans and chicken on the list for “natural” serotonin enhancer.

  26. Dr. Janov:
    Hello again. Not to wear you out here Ok?
    In a previous mention, you remembered that topic I wrote to you about...namely: "Infant Crib Death Syndrome". ( And I thought I was the only one who read your )
    Anywho...After experiencing many other patients in Primal and getting to know them in a much different light so to speak, rather than in say a social get together...
    I realized "then" how there really is something to "How we were born" whether by natural childbirth or say Ceserian....etc.
    I met a patient who's ribs were sorta caved in looking....He pointed out how it had to do with much difficulty during his birth. ( Now there aren't too many people who are aware of 'that' sort of thing in my experiences, before Primal Therapy...Ok?
    But Primal really does get down to the essentials of our very beginning in life.
    Now then back to the infant crib death dialogue earlier:
    IS it possible that some babys are born and some may have experienced quite painful and difficult births....
    and in the same theme or context here Dr. Janov...perhaps leaving that particular child all alone for too long in a crib and perhaps a dark bedroom...and the baby has NO idea how to cope or deal with these pains...
    Is that too abstract a view on my part of potentials...?

  27. Jerry: Yep. new studies show that the crib death babies are very low in serotonin. My guess is that womb trauma and birth trauma cause a radical lowering of serotonin in the baby so that when now in the dark all alone and terrified there is not enough suppressants in his system to combat the terror. He succombs. art janov

  28. Dr. Janov:
    A "Quickie" here if I may. In one of your previous books you pointed out the issue of "Pain Gating Centers" in the human brain. Ok?
    I realize you've probably slept since then but what I have wondered about is this:
    Where are these lil puppies located the proximal areas of the brain..?? And are these pain gating centers designed to regulate the amount or intensity of human pain felt by each individual..or how does that all work..?
    In closing, Dr. Janov, I believe you gave mention to these Pain Gating Systems having great difficulty in people who were messing around with L.S.D. ( Lysergic Acid Diethlamide )many long years ago during the Hippie "Love Child Generation" as it were.
    Something I would know so very little about personally....( lol.)
    And oh that oh so dear Dr. Timothy Leary...what a guy...!
    I'd like to Potatoe Kick that dude clear across the universe for promoting that crap.....!

  29. There are several books by neuroscientists on the subject or read Primal Healing. If you want names I can give it to you. AJ

  30. I hear ya Dr. Janov. I did pickup the Book "Primal Healing" this week at Barnes & Noble Book Stores here that I orderd recently...and I have begun reading it, actually.
    It's by some ...some physcologist far it's interesting.... ( lol ). Hope to discover some answers in it about the above comments.
    Have a good day sir.

  31. For: Dr. Janov,
    First of all..My Apologies for my most recent comments to you regarding Pain Gating Mechanisms in the human brain. I felt a bit Chagrined and stooped to Sarcasm rather than realize at that time, the Topic I had been discussing struck a nerve regarding a very Bad experience in my teenage life. Ok?
    For the purposes of gaining a better understanding here Dr. Janov, I was a very gulible Teenager back in the 60's and had been reading numerous articles about Timothy Leary, i.e. Playboy Magazine and various other media interviews and so forth. Those were the Allen Ginsberg days so to speak....I had been going to Fine Arts College in San Fransico.
    While I was in Venice California with a close friend Jan...we were at a girlfriends' home. We had been discussing this substance at great length at the kitchen table. No sooner than we talked about it, a Hippie lookin dude pulled up in his car and my girlfriend pointed out how he would probably have some fresh LSD with him.
    So in his car trunk this Hippie lookin dude had a huge white foam Cooler...he removed the lid and there were numerous metal trays of fresh Ozley's Laboratory LSD with large amounts of Dry Ice beneath them. All in glass test tubes aprox. six inches in length. So my friend and I thought we'd try some and see what this stuff was really like instead of always 'reading about it'.
    So Jan and I split the entire contents of a test tube full of a blue clear liquid that had a white mucus membrane inside the length of the test tube. Aprox. 2,000 micrograms is what the Hippie dude said it was.
    Jan and I drank down 1,000 micrograms of this Pure LSD,( Each ) in coffe cups.
    I had NO idea what I was getting into Dr. Janov. I was always curious and very analytical as a Boy. Not to mention how very 'Smooth' Timothy Leary was in his presentation of this stuff.
    It ended up one of the most Un-Forgivable experiences of my life. And I paid so dearly in suffering as a result of that ....'I just gotta try it for myself approach'.
    With this in mind, perhaps you can better understand WHY my resentments towards that substance arose discussing it with you. I admit that nobody made me try it. It was a concious decision on my part to do it. I just "thought" or "understood" how this was supposed to be a special "Journey" like never before. Which it was...Trust Me on that one Dr. Janov. Whew!
    Working with YOUR Primal Therapists helped Save My Life later on so what can I say...??
    I was in Good Hands with them. But I submit that Timothy Leary left out quite a number of potential Probs and Pitfalls in taking that particular substance. I highly recommend that Kids as well as Adults NOT experiement with it and I Don't recommend that Anyone ever go so far as to even try it...! I hope this helps provide you with a clearer understanding of my "attitude" in my previous comments. Take care Dr. Janov.
    P.S. and Thanks for dedicating your life to helping others salvage their own lives.

  32. Dr. Janov:
    Question: When a child has been beaten severely by a parent at an early age such as say 11 or 12 years old; Could That cause the child to later in life to have the new terminology known as "A.D.D"....? And would it be possible for other learning disorders associated, to become present as well..??
    I remember your comments in previous Primal Therapy Texts regarding the senerio of what you referred too as "Primal Scenes"...and I would estimate this type of behavioural experience very fitting to that emotional or psychological indexing.
    I'm not a Certified P.T. just a patient of Primal therapy for years who still wonders about things like this at times.
    Ok? Please understand also Dr. Janov, I'm very analytical about people and life etc.
    I really don't think a number of Parents have any notion as to how their angry or abusive treatment can carry in a child, much to say, and later in that child's life Dr.Janov.

  33. Sieglinde: You are asking too much of me. You need to address the medical specialists who study this all of the time. Moreover, I know you know more than I do about this. Yes? Your comments are always brilliant. did you ever contact Dr. Vollmer? art janov

  34. Dr. Janov:
    How are you sir? I wanted to say something here if I may pertaining to your Primal Therapists whom I have met and worked with intensely for years, so to speak.
    I have met quite a number of individuals who work with people in a theraputic manner, phd's -md's -ma's and so forth.
    However, I really got to know the therapists with whom I worked with in the Primal Centers years ago and they were the Strongest individuals I've ever met...! ( Not weight lifting strong ) not how I mean this.
    More over, "Ego" Strength would probably best cover it as well as confident and very unerstanding.
    People who have worked in your therapy come across as the most giving and nurturing individuals, in which words find difficulty in pointing out to others just how important that is. As well, each therapist had the highest regards for You and working with you, sincerely.
    Anywho...I shall now fade into the Sunset Dr. Janov in view of how much Space I've ended up taking here on your site. Oops..!
    Thanks for allowing me to share somethings with you and others and for being there sir.
    Take good care and IF anyone is debating whether or not to get into Primal Therapy...If your life is working for you and you like yourself alot and you're with few phobias and fears, pains...perhaps not...but IF you wish to work on yourself and become a healthier and hopefully stronger person and be on good terms with yourself....etc...etc. then I highly recommend this alternative therapy to say: psychotherapy, gestalt, bio-energetics, insight therapy, reality therapy and for sure...Chinese
    Best wishes Dr. Janov
    and yes, I'm still reading your book Primal Healing that I just bought at the bookstore here....very interesting stuff. Sir.
    Always your friend,

  35. Jerry: Mostly ADD comes much earlier and it is due to a faulty gating system which allows much too much internal input. read my Primal Healing for a discussion of this. I hate to push my book but if I spent years writing it why not spend 4 hours reading it? art janov

  36. Dr. Janov:
    Hummmm....once again, you've astounded me..! Your comment about "faulty gating system" and A.D.D. sorta hits the nail right on the head. Ouch. lol. Actually, you make good sense. That's the kinda stuff I was needing to know Doc. Ok?
    You see how you are? For a "Therapist" you're a pretty Cool Dude, Bro'.
    I am still reading your book:
    Primal Healing. OH....and 4 hours? Yeah well ya don't know me so good. It might take just a teensie bit longer. But I'll Get Er Done.!

  37. Dr. Janov: Hello again, I hope you are doing well sir. Very recently I went to see the incredible display or show entitled "Bodies". It's really revealing and quite well done. I saw all the stages of a Human Embryo from start to birth. ( Not "finish" ) got ya there But it says how All the information is contained inside this tiny tiny fetus regarding organs brains body parts the whole sha - bang and it's oh so Tiny Dr. Janov ! What you have pointed out in your books seems to fit right in with where it all begins and forming of brain issues as you've pointed out. Not to get into the No-Win Debates over abortion, but it would appear that a human embryo still lacks definition in the very first weeks or so. So that IF a woman has to decide a very very difficult descision to abort; well, at that point in time it would seem more humane in my view to do so. In closing, Dr. Janov; to bring an unnwanted and with No intentions of loving the child into the world is a much as "Sin" if you will as Aborting it. Seeing these various stages of growth in the Embyo's is truely interesting. It's an impressive exhibit to experience Dr. Janov.

  38. Dr. Janov: In brief, is the "Language" used in a Fetus' Mind narrowed down to Feelings? Is that a Fair Question. Since speech and vocabulary / alphabet as we know it in later life isn't as yet developed.

  39. Jerry: The language at the start is pure physiology and neurology, not even emotions for a little while until the limbic system is a bit mature. It is not that the mind narrows down. It is that the "mind" has yet to develop. AJ

  40. Jerry: I would like to see it. How can I get it? art janov

  41. Dr. Janov: I'm glad you showed interest in this Exhibit of "Bodies". In my experiences with the Janov people ( if you will ) it would seem that You would really find this a fascinating project and experience. It's Not gory or gross, Not at all. Here is a video on Youtube depicting a little of the process for you. Click Here:
    In actuality Dr.Janov although the brief clips of embryos in this one video show 'some' things, in the actual Exhibit there are quite a number of Fetus' displayed in thier entireity. I found it puzzeling in some ways and extremely interesting and educational in others. Shall We Say "thought provoking"? Please understand Dr. Janov that this "Bodies" Exhibit travels the country alot. Currently it's here in Tulsa. But I'm sure it will make it's way out there to California too.
    Here's their phone # 800.840.1157 if you would like to call them toll free and learn more about when and where. Ok? or visit and perhaps learn more there as well. I really think that someone of your background, studies and interests not to mention - intelligence ( if I may be so bold as to indicate such ) will enjoy it alot ! Take your wife and a Friend, if she's too squeemish - lol. Best wishes

  42. Question for Dr. Janov:
    Dear Dr. Janov, I've wondered about this aspect of Parenting and Children for along time now.
    I don't know if you have any answers for this but I would like to Bounce this off of you, if I may here.
    When a Parent is more often than not Demanding, highly Controling, let's even toss in Domineering in the strongest sense of the word, always or usually yelling or threatening and Bossing a child around to do as they are told. Let's say for the simple reason that it's "The Parent's House" and that's just how it is. Ok?
    As the child begins to growup, it would seem that making decisions for theirselve and deciding what that child would or really wants to do with it's own life can really make things difficult.
    In my view, Dr. Janov a Parent is there to love and guide a child as best as they can...and support that child in ways that are helpful to the child's life 's benefit and desires, asperations, if you will.
    How do you view "Dominating" and Highly "Controlling" Parents? Fair Question?

  43. Jerry: Domineering is never love. It is out of the need of the parent counter the child's need. No touching hugging love. AJ

  44. Dr. Janov:
    Ok, I read your post/respone, and Ummm...I'm glad you're not into Archery. lol.
    Very observant and it makes sense. It says something about Abusive Parenting too. Thanks.
    I'll let you Cool Off now for awhile before asking anymore Questions of you sir. Have a relaxing day. ( I think some parents should be required to take the MMPI Test before considering having children. )

  45. Well, it's now December and heading in the direction of the holiday season. Now don't get me wrong here, but I don't know fer sure if PHD Psychologists believe in Santa Clause or Christmas, so as per usual I am going out on a limb when I say:
    Have a Nice Christmas Dr. Janov and Yours. Sincerely

  46. JERRY thank you and a happy holidays for the readers of my blog. art janov

  47. To: Dr. Janov :
    Hello again Dr., it's now a New Year for all of Us here on this Dear Ol' Dirtball Earth. Somethings have happened of late in which my curiosities have been, shall we say : Stirred up just a bit. I don't know how you will view this issue about Developement in infants and later in adults, but goes : I am a very anaylitical person, my I.Q. has been presented to me by M.D.Dr.'s and The Institutes of Human Engineering as being somewhere in the upper 3 to 1 percentile of the population. 135-150 or so, ( give or take an enthusiastic motor neuron or two...Ok? ) What I don't understand about Me is simply this , I can do many things well and have a number of interests, but ever since High School I have always had a Prob with Mathematics, Algebra and that type of mental processing. I can do both, but I don't like Math stuff at all.
    I am a creative artist and a good one at that. Musician and play piano from classical to rock and roll and guitar, both instrumental and rythm and sing and play African drums...and do those well too. But I Dont' like Math. And I have to work harder at Math stuff....What is the deal with that Dr. Janov..?

  48. Jerry: I have no idea. Except in Life Before Birth I discuss a bit of it. But sorry. So Don't do Math. AJ.

  49. Dr. Janov : After all that exhausting and belabored effort to communicate to you my great frustrations with the issues of doing Math, and that's it? "So Don't do Math"...Actually, It sounds like wholesome advice. Thanks.
    Oh...and while I'm thinking of this: are you an advocate of "Right Brained" people and those concepts of certain anaylitcial profiles of alledgeding "Why" certain types of people do well in specific endevours due to their being as they say "Right Brained"..?
    OR is this just more "Smultz" in the world of psychology in your view ?

  50. Jerry: I like schmultz. art janov. you are asking questions that would take chapters to answer. Read Primal Healing.

  51. Well, Dr. Janov, if you like Schmultz...then I guess that says it all. lol. I meant to ask you IF it's possible to purchase a copy of one your previous books..."Primal Man"...? Can I order it from a local book store?

  52. Jerry: You can try amazon. If they don't have it let me know. AJ

  53. Dear Dr. Janov : Hello again sir, how are you? In regards to that one book of yours, "Primal Man", I went to Barnes and Noble Book store today. I forgot that it was originally published in 1975, so I didn't know if it would be available now. I looked on the internet and couldn't find a 'new' copy of it, not to say that it isn't available tho. Anywho, as my Primal Therapist used to put it, Barnes and Noble found a Hard Back Copy available in Georgia. So I paid for it in advance to be shipped here in about 3 to 6 biz days. I don't expect anyone to understand "Why" I wanted to go back to that Era of your writings so to speak, but since I started Primal in 1976, perhaps there's certain relevance to it. ( it's been awhile but I do recall some of it's contents and how it points out many interesting issues and concepts that I would like to Do a Refresh if I may.... I currently own a copy of "Primal Scream", "Primal Revolution", "The Feeling Child", "Prisoners of Pain" and of course, the latest edition of "Primal Healing", a very well articulated work with a most colorful cover. ( Do I sound interested in your work Doc, thus far ? ) lol.
    Best wishes sincerely
    p.s. this may sound Cornie, but I do wish I had an Autographed Copy or Edition of a Book you've written for a "Keepsake" if you will.

  54. Jerry wait til the new book comes out and I will sign it. art janov


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.