Thursday, April 7, 2011

On EMDR (Part 2/4)

Van der Kolk says that the child never made the proper psychologic assessment of the trauma and therefore never prepared for the future. I submit that the assessment is inherent in the trauma itself. Reliving never being touched as a child makes immediately clear the reason for one’s nymphomania. It puts the need for touch in the past so that it is no longer acted-out in the present. If there was insufficient skin to skin contact very early on, we can be sure she will get it later on in her sexual act-out.
The patient does not need to be told how to appreciate the trauma; everything is understood within the feeling, provided it is a full reliving. We seem to think that nymphomania is some kind of sick symptom, rather than seeing it as a survival mechanism; trying to be touched to make up for a terrible early lack. Almost every symptom may be considered a compensatory mechanism that should not be altered without regard to roots. Symptoms are anchored in those roots.

When I mention a “total reliving” it can mean the reappearance of the original bruises from an early beating or the forceps marks from the birth procedure. We have photographed these marks. The whole system must be involved in reliving, because it was originally. That is why, it is being recognized more and more, that simply discussing the past trauma will not get the job done. That is, by and large, a cortical operation that remains in the area of thought. It is the inordinate pain portion that is limbically (and brainstem) stored and held away from conscious-awareness. And that is what constitutes the unconscious. It is that portion of pain that must be relived. Waving a wand in front of the eyes is most certainly never going to help a girl get over being raped by one’s father over and over again for four years at the age of ten. In my mind that is not science. It is magical thinking to believe that being abused by an alcoholic mother for ten years of one’s childhood can be eradicated by waving a few fingers in front of the eyes of the patient. If the reader could see the amount of pain this engenders he would understand right away how impossible this is. The caveat here is that it is not possible to understand the depths of feeling until a therapist has seen it. It then becomes clear.
Another point by Kolk: As I pointed out, he describes the PTSD sufferer as someone who cannot integrate memories of earlier trauma and instead gets mired in, “a continuously reliving of the past.” He states that those PTSD individuals suffer from persistant activation of the biological stress response. Part of this reaction is decreased serotonin levels, or a deficit in inhibition. This translates into an inability to modulate general arousal; hence impulsivity, irritability and hyper-excitability. Good neurologists who lack clinical experience do not have enough patient information to get it right.
What he says is true. The early trauma is obviously imprinted into the neurophysiologic system and produces repetitive or “neurotic” behavior. There is often a decreased serotonin response and therefore faulty inhibition. The imprinted trauma “uses up” serotonin supplies and produces lifelong deficiencies. I call it a faulty serotonin pump. There is just so much repression the system can produce. He suggests that serotonin uptake inhibitors which keep higher levels of serotonin in the brain, help keep the past in the past, allowing the person to function in the present. This is not entirely true. Drugs help normalize the system artificially and, above all, temporarily, but the imprint is implacable and immutable, and does intrude into everyday life; hence migraines, high blood pressure, phobias, etc. These are the sequelae of the early trauma. They are part of the memory.
But suppose we could raise serotonin levels by purely natural means. Would not that be preferable? We do. We have done a double blind imipramine binding study on our patients and have found that levels normalize after one year of our therapy. Our rationale for the imipramine study is that we can consider it an analogue of serotonin; that is, what happens in the blood platelets would be mirrored in the brain. It is not only imipramine binding that we have studied but also salivary cortisol (stress hormones). Cortisol levels normalize after one year of therapy. (See research on imipramine platelet binding, done in conjunction with Open University, Milton Keynes, England).
Van der Kolk believes that we need a high level of arousal to heal a patient. He is right; not any level of arousal but the same as inherent in the original trauma; and we must remember that one of the greatest traumas of all is not being held enough during infancy. Further, when any situation including sex, reaches the arousal level of the original trauma, it sets off the prototypic reaction of survival. For example, total shut off or repression in response to being strangled on the cord. This is the “freeze” reaction that Kolk describes. It continues on into sex, and the frigidity will not be cured until that original trauma with the whole panoply of physiologic responses are reawakened in context. But Van der Kolk has a conflicting message; he states that we must relive with the same intensity as originally, yet using EMDR will tend to block a full reaction, hence cutting off the healing process.
Again, no one has to help a patient integrate; the neurologic system does that all on is own. The lower level stamped-in feelings move to frontal cortex for connection and integration when that feeling is not such as to inundate the cortex. That is why integration takes place over months or years as the neocortex allows more and more pain to connect to conscious-awareness.
There is a point where all of the EMDR theorists merge. They believe that after moving the wand or hands the patient needs a different solution to the trauma. Kolk stated that, “If you are stuck in old memories, you can't have new behavior. Only changing the outcome of past events can result in new behavior in the future because the purpose of memory is to prepare you to deal with future events. There are a few problems with this: it is basically non-dialectic. Instead of having a patient relive totally an event as it happened, they provide a different solution, not recognizing that the solution lies in the imprint itself, not a different ending, which when we think about it, can only be imaginary, a false ending, because it never happened. The deeper one plunges into the agony of the imprint, the less pain there is to repress. The person is then free to deal in the present. The deeper one feels one’s very early hopelessness (someone who did not have a nourishing mother right after birth), the more hope there is. One way we verify this, is that the vital signs move from very low to normal after a reliving—the physiologic sign of the resolution of hopelessness. The patient reports feeling more hopeful, at the same time. We have treated thousands of patients over the decades and have seen beneficial outcomes through the five year follow-up studies we undertook. (see Primal Man. Janov, a. Holden, M. for results) The symptoms do seem to remain resolved.


  1. "well....i developed inside a poisonous womb as my obese mother smoked through her pregnancy, my birth was too fast and i was taken away from my mother before she could even get a look at me, isolated from her for three days while doctors operated on her, never received any breast milk because she couldn't lactate, and shortly after that ordeal i was circumcised without anaesthetic because my father wanted my penis to look like his. and then i never received any physical contact during my childhood hugs, no kisses, nothing as far as i can remember."

    that's what i said to my mother when she asked me why i needed to get primal therapy. before giving her those facts, i had prepared her for the conversation by telling her that i was going to be ruthlessly scientific, and that my intention was not to lay the blame or be vindictive or anything like that. she understood and she listened. her response: "i don't care about any of those things." i was impressed. she was looking at herself in a ruthlessly scientific way.

    and there lies the merit in science. if you have no feelings, you can use this predicament to your advantage. just take a step back from your usual routine, and try to be honest with yourself, without getting upset. after one is to blame. if you can do it, you will be on your way to a new life.

    unbelievably, my mother, of all people, is now showing some interest in primal therapy. she has joined with three other people who are waiting for me to do it first. i am the canary in the coal mine. but i don't see it that way at all. the primal center will be my primal toilet. it will be relief at last.

  2. At the level of neurotransmission and/or the synapses involved:
    Is what is achieved by a 'primal therapeutic reliving' a result of that newly engaged (possibly frontal lobe situated) neurons respond by sending a new kind of inhibitory feedback along pre-existing but not previously used neural fibres?

    And, for the cure to be as complete and permanent as is 'primal theoretically presumed' that it is:
    Does this inhibitory feedback also result in an extinction (possibly involving endocannabinoids) of the LTP'ed state of the neurons whose excitatory output most basically drives the neurotic (≤ AEVASIVE) symtoms?

    With appreciative regards,

    I still find no reasons that suggest that primal healing involve a pneumatic release (and corresponding relief from) of pneumatic pressure. ;)

  3. Dr. Janov,

    In 1998 I try to approach my night fear with a therapist who used EMDR. It didn’t work.

    My night fear is very much alive and so is the memory of the night where my PTSD begun.
    Since, I have no more emotional access to the event that has caused my night fear in the first place.

    I wrote about it 20 years ago, but I can’t access the feeling. It is locked in the left hemisphere and plays the same scene over and over again.

    Will I ever be able to feel the pain of this horror-story, I ask myself:

  4. Art,

    A question; you have hinted at symptoms that can be symbolic to the trauma and/or "re-actional".
    By that I mean potentially opposite to.
    So, for eg: in lack of touch the person may crave some touching. . . is it possible that another person with the same neglect may also show a fear of touching? Each of these opposite symptoms originating in the same neglect.

    I have noticed in myself the tendency to "Desire not to Desire". Is this a double bind? Is this like an early neo-cortical attempt to rationalise the lack? If I say "NO! I don't want it"! then I am protecting myself from the disappointment of loss and betrayal arn't I?
    Loss of love, neglect and betrayal are far too powerful to cope with when I am tiny but to say (heroically) "NO, I don't need"! is a defence.

    Maybe later I let myself have these loving things but I beat myself up for having them and also maybe the loving things I allow myself never quite replace the original lack. . .

    My intellect used to carry all sorts of crazy belief systems to help me stoically carry on regardless; for eg: Pessimism, if I believe things will go wrong I won't be disappointed when they do. Also Fatalism, If I believe life is on rails headed to a repeating series of predictably unpredictable events beyond my control, then when things arn't satisfying I can Sigh and say "well, it was in the fates".

    At what age does the little me start to invent these neo-cortical belief sytems as a defence against realising the earlier loss?

    Am I on the right track here?

    Paul G.

  5. At base, the brain is a reality-based machine. It needs to be to facilitate survival. And so in turn it would seem a little peculiar to think that it would have evolved to cure past pains by fantasising "new" histories that were/are just not real. In fact it's bizarre. Indeed, the only way you could conceivably pull it off is to actually believe that your fantasy was real. (And that sounds like psychosis, does it not?)

    The EMDR people just need to realise that it's not about reinventing the past, but leaving the past *in* the past - a true, emotional acceptance of reality, not a denial.

    Okay, so you get close to an historic pain with the EMDR therapy(?) and then you reinvent an ending at that point. What would you really be doing? My guess: Creating an imagination/fantasy-based memory (linked to the old repressed pain) of which then becomes an efficient ESCAPISM bepass from the pain that has been triggered. And that is what every therapy on the planet today, wittingly or not, is about - escaping from pain as opposed to resolving it.

    If the pain was really resolved then you wouldn't have to make up silly fairytales around it, eh? You can't cure truths with lies.

  6. Art,

    Which of your books would be best to represent the primal therapy's scientific side? A lawyer might have as a basis for evidence of the content?


  7. Dr. Janov,

    Would you please elaborate on: “The imprinted trauma “uses up” serotonin supplies and produces lifelong deficiencies.”

    Is the serotonin supply restricted (born with a limited amount), or is this effect comparable with adrenal burnout (shut down of the adrenal gland).

    Thank you,

  8. You know, I find it hard to believe that EMDR can be unaware of PT. In fact, I do not believe they are unaware. And their simplistic waving the wand as Art puts it, is verification for me of this. Who could suggest it was as easy as just saying no. Art’s results have been repeated 1000’s of times, as he points out, and been done over 40 years, with lab tests and studies to boot. The data is there and clear.

    But some would rather try and deceive us with a slightly modified “theory” that will begin to take us off the path or at least muddy up the waters so that some might come upon EMDR instead of PT. It has happened many times and will continue to happen. Consider the following:

    Many religions began as one thing. But over time, they grow and transform until the first instance is unrecognizable. If one examines the Bible and the 1st 2 centuries to follow, once can see the corruption and slow take over of Christianity. In fact, the Jewish religion is also one to have undergone many changes, almost in the exact opposite direction. I have seen and heard enough of the Bhudda to believe that the original teachings of Bhudda are nothing like what is practiced today. Confucianism has been changed many times over the centuries and copies of those changes exist in antique print.

    Or consider the Magna Carta of the 1200s. Said to be a landmark legal document. But while there are some basic contradictions, what remains is that the king is supposed to obey his own laws and the King was put in check by some interesting people. We could ask, who puts them in check? As the Romans said, “Who watches the Watcher?” But everywhere we note leaders and enforcers who seem to be above and beyond the law. What happened to the great Magna Carta?

    The Declaration of Independence said a people ought to be able to ditch their king with good cause. Said (implied) in between those words was the idea that we the people are not objects to be owned by a King, but should be allowed to serve voluntarily and leave voluntarily if the arrangement is not satisfactory.

    Yet oddly, when the South decided it was no longer happy with the North and the union, that it should be able to leave, even as the Declaration of Independence says. I do not say the issue is not without lots of concerns but in essence, they are right on that point. The 2 actions, the “Revolution” and the “Civil” War, are in complete contradiction with each other.

    I could go on about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and say even more about law, but these documents have become completely meaningless and shredded, raped, torn asunder and scattered to the four winds and seven seas.
    part 2 of 2 to follow.

  9. Einstein completely refuted his old theory of Relativity and called gravity his biggest blunder when he introduced his 1928 Grand Unified Theory. But the academic mainstream was not as happy to go along with the latter as it had with the former. What is up with that? Was it science or something else?

    Nothing good comes into being without forces of corruption taking action against it. An orthodoxy has always existed. When something ventures out beyond the orthodoxy, it will respond. As I see it, EMDR is one of those very slow subtle attempts to muddy up and confuse things so that over time, no one will be making sense. It is the order of things.

    So my primal friends, just be aware that we are on the wrong side of orthodoxy and authoritarianism. We will need to be vigilant and defending of the cause. And while I would like to say that just knowing about PT is enough, I do not believe that for a second. We need to be sharp lawyers and philosophers who can defend PT from nearly any point of view, whether legal, political, academic, scientific, philosophical or religious. Nearly all good rhetoric has shared roots in all of those areas. We can not be only specialists, we need to be broad generalists as well. That’s my 2 cents and over 700 words!

    After I sent the email, it all started working again.

  10. Hi Andrew,

    "If the pain was really resolved then you wouldn't have to make up silly fairytales around it, eh? You can't cure truths with lies".


    Paul G.

  11. Hi Richard,
    Yes, when I raised the subject with my Dad, not only did he subtly slag off Dr Janovs' basic theory and findings as just "another point of view that might be wrong" but he also said that he didn't care. . . It's uncanny how predictable repression and denial can be.

    Over time it seems there is such an investment in defences against the truth of some folks' being that they fall into a rigid view. When a chink of light gets past those rigid defences what is real in their core feels blinded. After all, such hardened beings as those may never have been given much light and so just don't have a taste for it.
    The Chilean Miners needed sunglasses after months underground.
    I've seen it in myself and others, what we havn't had enough of, we often can neither recognise nor therefore desire. Thus we deny.
    This mechanism is also common in people in everyday life. I am a bit like it myself. Nevertheless, I am quite numbed by the social chit chat that seems so much like "Sun Glasses", filtering out any penetrating view. . .
    Full consciousness is composed of three distinct ingredients. If the first basic ingredient (brainstem)is taken for granted and/or ignored then the relationship between the feelings and the intellect seems to become incestuous/symbiotic. It is rather like a day out with three friends. . . So difficult to refrain from two lovers and one outcast.

    All these theories that deny the imprint are an expression of a fanciful 'day out'; it would appear Primal Theory is the outcast.

    In this sense you could say (allegorically) that the two lovers are the parents and the outcast is their child; that makes Primal Theory the tripartite child of dualist psychology.

    I really hope that when I finally get more deeply into reliving my brainstem imprints that I will no longer be enthralled by the vision of two lovers whilst also feeling left out and betrayed. Alice Miller said our body is our child, now I understand that much better.

    Paul G.

  12. Sieglinde: I am in Italy til may so I cannot write long pieces. my new book has many pages devoted to this subject. art janov

  13. Paul: I am in Italy til may so I cannot write long pieces. my new book has many pages devoted to this subject. art janov

  14. Hi all,

    We're all struggling with our parents' legacy.

    Let's keep our eyes wide open and our hands on our hearts.

    Paul G.

  15. Hi Dr. Janov!On your blog I have opportunity to read about many interesting questions but I m not so educated and my English is no so good to understand everything, but my body and organism understand primal theory and therapy very well and that is much more important to me.So,I just want to say how horrible and toff for me was all this years having in my family some relations hanged on me, but rely owns to who knows who.. I know that is throe what I say becose after felling the pain(in my chest-stuck,or in stomach-guilty) I am for a little different,for a little more my self.I have so many interesting thing to write you when right words comes out. I wish good health and long happy life to you and your family and all good and primal people!

  16. Dr Janov: I am Italian, and you are in the land of my ancestors these days, I see. If you can make any generalisations, what are Italians like these days in the post-Mussolini era? My parents were born in the Mussolini era, in the Little Italy area of the North American city where I reside (they are the same age as you). Some of these people from that era (whether in Italy or here in N. America) , like my mother, are tough aggressive sentimental and confused people, full of HATE,of which I bore the brunt (FASCIST in other words) .I sense there has been emotional progress there, as well as here, but I wonder how much; perhaps a layer of consumerist bourgeois superficiality on the latent fascism?


  17. ok people, while Art is away I will take this opportunity to explain the term "connection" in a non-Art kind of way.

    if you are improperly triggered, a bad memory will surge upwards and bounce off the gates like a pinball machine. it is chaos and you will suffer without healing.

    if you access the memory correctly, you will fully experience it. as it is fully experienced, it is resolved, but not necessarily all at once. it may be only partially resolved at the point when you've had enough and come out of the primal. however, you will have formed a good "connection". a connection is an easy-access pathway to the memory. although you have pulled out of the primal, a new 'sense' will remain with you; a sense of where the pain came from. this sense will lead to an intellectual understanding of how the pain has been affecting your life in the here-and-now.

    the 'sense' is a connection. it's an awareness of the present and past, but not just an's more than that. it's an easy-access pathway; a wonderful ability to travel from the present, back into the past, back into the painful memory....without any neurotic diversions. i say "wonderful" because the ability to primal translates to an ability to access far more than pain. the connections are like tracks in the jungle, the gates are gradually hacked away, leaving clear access to and from the feeling centers. so good feelings will flow easily too.

  18. Hi,

    Apollo, I reckon I'm a sophist then! I came across a book by an interesting guy called Colin Hutchinson. In his useful workbook "Vitality & Renewal, a Managers Guide to the 21st Century" he makes the point that involving people in equal discourse, attempting some participation and being ready to explore the boundaries is much more effective than holding people down to firm agreements and rules (rules always get broken and boundaries infringed anyway). So, to avoid conflict, avoid demanding agreements, avoid for a moment, even the hard facts.

    This doesn't mean I have to ignore the hard facts altogether, maybe just suspend disbelief. . . so, before (our so called) exact science was born we humans used to make it up as we went along. We relied more on the gist of a narrative than the hard facts of science. Nevertheless all those milenia ago, all those gistful ancestors of ours were quite sure (I'm sure) of their hard facts, right down to the last detail. I mean, it takes real precision to get good at any of the ancient survival skills and hey, they were working in teams to achieve these aims!

    We seem to have fallen into an age where we have become so paranoid about our relations with each other we need the seclusion of the nuclear family and Hard Facts as a defence against the chilling reality of our existence. The most chilling of all being the massive population issue, not to mention the environmental. . .

    It's hardly surprising really. So many of us packed together, like so many salamanders in a tin. That we have become so intellectualised, so many virtual realities for so many people. It helps us get by, hard facts, difficult feelings and all.

    That scene in the Matrix, when Neo wakes up from his dream. . . . There is something rather Primal about that first film, also the way the players can enter into the "perfect virtual world" this is really so similar and beguiling as the incestuous relationship I have uncovered, going on between my intellect and my feelings.
    Once I am awakened and disconnected from the film show, then flushed down, down, down into reality, then and only then do I see the hard facts.

    Paul G

  19. Andrew,

    Respectfully, I think you miss the point when you say:
    “At base, the brain is a reality-based machine. It needs to be to facilitate survival. And so in turn it would seem a little peculiar to think that it would have evolved to cure past pains by fantasising "new" histories that were/are just not real. In fact it's bizarre. Indeed, the only way you could conceivably pull it off is to actually believe that your fantasy was real. (And that sounds like psychosis, does it not?)”

    The primal brain, the reptile brain, is not reality based. Sorry. Its need based, for it is expression of needs by a baby, or parents aware of the needs of a baby, that is involved. But the reptile is not very good at sound rational long term beneficial behavior when its needs have not been met. On the surface in fact, the reptile seems a bit irrational. So a rational part was needed to contemplate itself (The greater whole brain and behavior) and figure out why it does what it does. This ability to look at our selves, so to speak , in a mirror.

    In doing so, it enables, if the primal needy brain chooses, to allow us that analytical look. That most do not take great advantage of this ability so lacking in animals is not fault of the intellectual part of the brain, but of the primal needs part. Those needs cause us to look away from long term benefits and only consider the short-term immediate ones. The primal brain is not patient or long suffering.

    The primal brain runs from feelings because they are so scary. Primal brain just wants peace and serenity, which it finds hard to come by, since its needs were denied when needed.

    Yes, feeling and truly relieving the pain is the answer, but you would never get there is the primal brain were the only brain you had. You need some insight into yourself. That comes by the intellectual part. Psychology developed because some were puzzled by our irrational behavior and our in ability to rise above our misery or “get over” something. It made no sense. In exploring that dilemma, the field os psychology eventually landed us in the lap of Dr. Janov. He then, basically with a hunch, tried something novel and got a very surprising result.

    The path from reptile to allowing feeling and connection is not direct or haven’t you noticed? In fact, it is not even something you can do alone, is it? So there is no direct path. The path is partly the work of our interesting intellectual abilities which are considerably greater.

    We have many more abilities than animals but far more difficulty in keeping them in check. The intellect offers possibilities but not certainties. Most allow the primal reptile to continue his tyrannical reign of power over the “will” of the person, making the intellect serve corrupt agenda rather than make use of the intellect to separate feelings from reason so that we can begin to make some sense of the fact that we need fixing. Then we can search out feeling and connection. You have the wrong road map, my friend.

  20. Paul G

    I am puzzled when you say “so intellectualized.” I don’t see the intellectualization. Far from it. The primal reptile seems to reign supreme to me. Population control is a long term wide view of things. But the reptile primal brain only cares about its needs being fulfilled, though all the while it misses the true means of getting its needs fulfilled or at least resolved. That is by feeling and connecting. But like our good friend Andrew, you seem to be missing this aspect. And that is, who is really in charge in all of us. Generally, is it not the reptile, the deep unfulfilled needs.

    I ask Arthur if it is not possible that he has been blaming the intellect for stopping or sabotaging therapy when he should have been blaming the needs reptile in each of us. And everyone followed behind him like good docile trusting, but not very bright, sheep. Now maybe I misunderstood Arthur. Maybe he could clarify to help whoever he sees in error. I’d like to see it.

    The intellect was the long term strategy to get us to look at the insanity of ourselves and our short term choices. It did well enough that by 1970, did start to work in a big way, though still by very few in number.

    My take on the hard facts of science is this. Hard science is avoided by the corrupt immediate needs of the reptile. He does not like facts at all. He likes mystery and the ability to go where he wants, where he believes his immediate desperate needs will finally be fulfilled, the poor fool.

    Hard facts lead to inescapable conclusions which the reptile often does not like. Hard facts can lead to long term solutions, which also tend to interfere with strong but very short term destructive solutions and choices. So I ask you to answer for me, who really is in charge of our brains? The reptile needs or the intellect?

    I will not let anyone off the hook. Your all running and I am going to corner you if I don't get censored first.

  21. Apollo, no part of the brain is in charge. That's why we are lost. When all of the brain is working in unison, then all of the brain is in charge. Thoughts will respond to feelings, and feelings will respond to thoughts. You don't want it to be that simple. You are stuck in a pointless argument.

    Sometimes I ponder on something until I realise I have been stuck in a pointless argument. And it's really hard to let it I become creative. I turn the pointless argument into a work of art. It's still pointless but at least it's more fun. And then I post the fun argument to this blog so that Art can put it in his recycle bin while a surgeon operates on his throat.

    You say my brother has the wrong road map. Well, my brother and I know there is one road map that will always be right. You can see it on Google Earth. It shows a quaint building very close to a beach. How cool is that? After my vital signs have reached near-lethal levels, I can stroll down to the beach and enjoy the ensuing relaxation.

  22. Apollo,

    What I meant by the brain being a 'reality-based machine' is that it is *primarily* designed to believe in what is real - not fantasy. That's all.

    I cannot imagine the brain achieving 'cure' by self-delusion, because I can't believe that it would have evolved that way. Of course the more we stray from reality the more our ability to survive is compromised, so in turn it's silly to think that we would have evolved to achieve 'cure' through fantasy.

    And this was the base-outlook I was trying to relate to the "invent a happy ending" idea of EMDR. My point had nothing to do with needs as such.

    --Cure means making peace with reality, not running from it. "Making peace", as a total physio-emotional event, is what "resolving" really means.

  23. Goodness! there are so many threads running simultaneously I've lost track.

    Apollo you are making a court room drama out of this Blog! You are consistently rail-roading your "opponents" into an adversarial choice of "either / or"; this is a cheap lawyers' technique for leading a witness into a false admission. This only works on unsophisticated people who themselves tend to side one way or the other and are thus 'caught out'. Are you sure the valence of your court room drama is not also driven by 1st line trauma in you?

    By 'intellectualised' I mean brainwashed, rote-learned, programmed, 'educated' and even trained or entertained.

    Best Regards
    Paul G.

  24. Andrew: and, might I add? that the more reality based we are the longer we live. when the system is organic we survive longer. Of that I am sure. AJ


Review of "Beyond Belief"

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

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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