Thursday, August 25, 2011

Let's Go Over This Again: Why is Connection Important?

We have a triune brain—3 brains in one, with each one having a different evolution, different function and a different survival system. The reason that this is important is that when we begin our evolution our brain is not fully developed. So when there is a trauma while we are being carried or at birth it is imprinted in the lowest brain level, and therefore, we can only react with that level which is the most developed brain system at the time. This is important because it is in this deep brain system that terror exists, and we can react to terrible events with terror; which is how we know where and when something is imprinted, and where that anxiety can come from, and can only come from. When a person with chronic anxiety comes into our clinic we know where we have to go eventually, and that if we do not go there the person will always have a tendency to anxiety.

In the same way when we have a migraine patient we know that its origin may well be at birth or before when the blood circulation and oxygen level is inadequate (mostly during the birth trauma). So an upset at the age of thirty that leads to a migraine means there is a deeper level substrate that is set off; if not, there is no migraine. There may be severe upset but not deep enough to elicit a terrible headache. So there are levels we deal with that are precise and contribute in their own way to trauma. Let’s put it another way: when there is a migraine it means that there is a very early imprint involved that involved the oxygen supply. And when the person has deep internal access and there is no longer the migraine it means it has been resolved; or perhaps that deep level trauma never existed. But if she always had migraines chances are that level imprint has always been there. Thus, the kind of symptom points to when the imprint was registered, and more important, the resolution of that symptom means the person now has deep access. And by implication, with that kind of access one may well live much longer because the pain is no longer aggravating the system. Deep catastrophic imprints often lead to catastrophic symptoms, which is one way we know what level of imprint we are dealing with. Thus when we have deep mid-line trauma resulting in sex problems, either frigidity or premature ejaculation, we know where we must for resolution. And we know about the nature of the imprint—-sympathetic nervous system and premature ejaculation, or parasympathetic nervous system and lack of sexuality.

An overload of anesthetic at birth can lead to parasympathetic dominance, and the opposite when there was a struggle and success at birth.

When there is a life-and-death struggle at birth due to lack of oxygen (anoxia), for example, the existing reactive system is activated (impeded oxygen circulation), but because it cannot fully respond due to the complete load of pain (to feel it completely would be to die, or at least to lose consciousness), it reacts partially within its biologic limits and then puts the excess part of the terror away for good keeping; it houses it until our system is strong enough to feel and resolve it. It lives behind our repressive gates. And when triggered will lead to a migraine; that migraine tells a story of our history; of how it all happened and how we reacted originally, perhaps decades ago. And now we see how ahistorical therapy cannot resolve the migraine problem and why, therefore, the great push for migraine pills: a failure of psychotherapy.

However, we continually respond to this stored terror with chronically high stress hormone levels, a compromised immune system, misperceptions, strange ideas, nightmares, and chronic malaise: all the contributions from the different levels of consciousness; from different parts of the triune brain.

During a primal therapy session, when a person has access to feelings and the connection is finally made there is first great hurt and then great relief. In a primal experience (reliving an early lack of love completely), there is such a rush of pain that the defense system is temporarily overwhelmed, gating is weakened, and symptoms appear. These are often deep-brain originated and lead to life-threatening symptoms, because it was originally life-threatening at the time of the imprint. Symptoms mean a non-connected state. And clearly, it is connection that resolves the symptom. That is why connection has to be the goal of therapy, and not simply the release of tension.


  1. The feeling brain is vital and healthy. It has absolutely no scruples. If it is life in pain… if that is what is there... there at the time of development... we must just listening to it ... listen with “ears" for lyrics it plays... that is lyrics we can learn... and when... then we will experience the lyrics and ton the feeling brain "plays" in our childhood. Then we will learn about our symtoms.


  2. In time from time I recall feelings. The panic…anxiety I got when my mom left me at five year old in a hospital for suspicion that I had infantile paralysis ...was panic from long time before ... I was in a “trance”… hypnotized away from feelings. The intensity of being left… awakened the memory… broke the hypnotized state of loneliness since long before... a need in traumatic experiences when life extinguish.
    Symptom from feelings talks the same languages as then… I just need to listen to the tone from it. When I experience panic here and now… that is where the pain is at… here and now. The tone and lyric from it will help me. I feel exactly the intensity as it was… there is where I have to begin. When I says mom from the feelings the symptom causes... that is when the tone and lyrics will become as “beautiful” as it was supposed to be for me as a child… yes it’s beautiful to feel… remember what all was about and suppose to be.


  3. Hi Frank,

    I remember my Mum taking me to the cinema when I was about 5 or 6yrs old. I got lost in the aisles and then the lights went down as the film started to show.

    I remember the blind panic I felt as a consequence.

    Only much later did I start to 'notice' the lyric and tone of this.

    I am sure that for about 45 yrs my intellect and what I believed about myself generated a 'short circuit' to protect me from a still earlier (and serious) abandonment episode when I was about 3yrs old.

    I am learning to sing that unsung grief and to listen to my unheard screams. Afterwards it's just as you say; a rememberance of the sweetness of affection, how it should have been. I still have my Teddy from when I was 5yrs old. It's unbelievable that he should have survived his relationship with me because I was so repressed for so many years (through boarding school, through mad hippy years, through relationships, children etc).

    All through these times I never knew how repressed I am; Ted was there all along and I never even held him and cried for all the grief I had experienced. Yet he was still there.

    Something in my subconscience managed to keep him with me inspite of my repression.

    Then one day, about 3 yrs ago bang! My business, my marriage, my friends (so called) everything went pear shaped.

    But Ted was still with me. He is for me now everything my Mum could not be. She has Alzheimers and can hardly remember anything.

    Ted remembers everything and he is there for me.

    Paul G.

  4. Paul,

    Isn’t amazing to listen to a tone… a tone that now your Teddy plays for you… as now you’re Teddy with all the memories you have together with “him”? Isn’t amazing to feel how “someone” around you carries all your own memories as a child… without the "self" of explanation…but just a tone we have to listen to?
    Well… I also have / had a ted… a ted as I hid from my "friends" when they came to visit ... a Ted who "know" everything about me and now tell me the story about how afraid I was for love. Paul… they saved our life.


  5. Dr. Janov,

    May I ask?

    You say: “The reason that this is important is that when we begin our evolution our brain is not fully developed.”

    My question: When is the point and time we begin our evolution (related to brain development)?
    Are you talking about millions of years ago, or the first weeks after conception?
    Don’t we also bring brainstem information (genes) with us? How much impact has our brainstem info concerning later brain function?

    You say: “So when there is a trauma while we are being carried or at birth it is imprinted in the lowest brain level, and therefore, we can only react with that level which is the most developed brain system at the time. This is important because it is in this deep brain system that terror exists, and we can react to terrible events with terror;”

    My question: How would you prove (scientifically) this significant point?

    Thanks for your answer.


  6. Sieglinde: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny: first before I go on you need to read the latest in anthropology. It is fascinating. But the importance for us is that when we observe the ontogeny of a patient, how the primal unfolds, it obeys strict laws of evolution and seems to replicate the evolution of mankind. art

  7. Hi Frank ,


    -"How the Primal unfolds, it obeys strict laws of evolution and seems to replicate the evolution of mankind. art".-

    This would explain why and how a 're-living' experience can seem so completely different and disconnected from the thoughts we have. And the thoughts we can have that actually connect us with that re-living are very 'tenuous'; not many thoughts will bring our attention to our true feelings. Thus we need to practice paying attention to feelings in us and others. How else could this thinking machine on our shoulders be of any real use?

    (apart from solving problems and anticipating the future and reviewing the past, analytically). . .

    Paul G.

  8. Paul: You really don't have to pay attention to feelings; they will pay attention to you. art. don't get the cart before the horse

  9. The tone we have to listening to is the tone of depression and anxiety etc. … it has its lyrics… and that lyrics is the language our feeling brain talks… feeling brain since long ago.
    It was at the time fantastic… fantastic in the sense of how life protects itself from pain impossible to cope with.
    We got stocked in “hell” of understanding… but also an understanding we now by primal therapy can begin to admit the tone from… a tone for what it is and express the lyrics of… tone and lyrics from our past.


  10. Frank: nope! the tone is not lyrics. The idea of the tone and its meaning is lyrics. art

  11. Hi,

    Frank: nope! the tone is not lyrics. The idea of the tone and its meaning is lyrics. art

    I've been pondering about what you say about the horse attending us, feelings attending us, this you say to Frank seems to be saying the same thing. . .

    Which is that the 'movement' and direction is from 1st to 2nd to 3rd line. Not the other way around.

    How the mind plays tricks to defend us from pain, internal and external.

    Paul G.

  12. Thank you Art... sorry for my English.
    It is clear that lyrics is a consequence of thinking and the tone far deeper in to the motional brain ... much earlier than thought existed ... "idea that was developed to stifle what the tone contains".

    Therefore we must be "trained" in primal therapy... trained to say what we should have said ... said about what was happening ... when lyric was at its infancy in "prayers" to be heard ... prayers we never dared to express. Prayers that were silenced by brutal events.

    But also to approach the source for the tone... where we try to repress the tone for not suffer “hell' qualifiers ... where the tone itself makes itself heard by moaning and grunting ... a form of lyric ... physiologic lyrics... lyrics the tone itself speaks... a language the tone itself “talks"


  13. Paul: I am doing one more piece on how feelings go from bottom to top. AJ

  14. Frank: Therapists need to hear the tone and decipher it, know what its meaning is. you need inner access for that especially right brain. art

  15. Hi,
    Thanks to everyone, this is all very helpful indeed.

    Paul G.


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.