Sunday, December 18, 2011

On Rearing Decent People: How the Imprint Works

A kid acts up and acts out and we ask, “who does he take after, his mom or dad?” Maybe his grandmother? Or maybe none of them or all of them. I will need to explain. The point I am going to make is that we are pretty much driven not so much by our genes but by our epigenes; that is, what happens to our genes as we mature. Because experience, especially while we live in the womb, channels those genes into diverse circuits, turns them on or off, and generally, controls their behavior. Is it nature or nurture? It is what happens to nature through our nurture, and that is not a play on words. What happens to us early on doesn’t change our genes but changes how and when and if they are expressed. And there are chemical processes that help explain all this, as well. I won’t make this complicated but it helps us understand ourselves and others if we take a little effort to suss out how this all works.

So it is not surprising how signals from the environment change the expression of our genes. What may be surprising is how early all that takes place; from the earliest months after conception on. The fetus (and embryo) changes according to its environment; we are too used to thinking about environment as what happens on the playground, in school or at home. But what is crucial is that the mother is the key and only environment for the fetus in the womb. What happens to the mother happens to the baby, as well. When she is anxious her stress chemicals are dumped into the placenta and affect him. He is born into a world of stress; he anticipates a stressful environment throughout his life, and it doesn’t take much later on to set him off. His latent stress level is already very high. When the mother is depressed the fetus can be down-regulated so that many of his biochemicals are also depressed. He will be in the “hypo” mode where his vital signs are low and there may not be enough key chemicals, such as thyroid, produced. His physiology duplicates his mother’s. He is a reticent and diffident child with little aggressive, little energy and drive and little enthusiasm for life.

I have been writing about the imprint for over forty years. It is how early experience becomes engraved in our system and endures, driving behavior and symptoms for years to come. We now know a bit more about that imprint. It is a chemical signature, actually two of them. One is methylation, and the other is acetylation. Very early on when there is stress, the carrying mother and father are arguing all of the time, there is the release of part of the methyl group which attaches to the DNA of the baby. It is like a “stop” or “caution” signal that says, “go slow.” “hold back,” “do not express yourself.” It “speaks” in biochemistry but it still speaks; it just has not words for it as yet. There will be words for it years later. Meanwhile, when there is serious trauma while we are being carried the genes are being methylated; and once that happens there is a greater tendency to depression and suicide later on. In the brain study of suicide cases there was a much greater incidence of methylation of the genes that turn off stress than those who died of other reasons. It would seem that in stressed babies there may not be enough steroid chemicals to overcome the methylation, and then there is overt anxiety. The stress system is in overdrive and cannot adjust properly. It may be that there is insufficient serotonin secreted to bind or gate the stress. Higher levels of methylation adversely affect the output of serotonin. . We need serotonin to help in repression and gating in order to keep us feel comfortable. What analysis of serotonin often reveals is not only trauma but the fact that it is unresolved. I believe we have found a way to resolve pain.

In early loss of a mother or in early abuse there is increased methylation. And I wonder if when we resolve those pains we also decrease or reverse methylation. It is true that genes and epigenes change us but it may also be true that we change them. And then they are visited upon our offspring. One thing has been found. If deprived babies are later licked a lot by their mothers there is a reversal of methylation.

In short, methylation is one major factor in the imprint that I have been putting forth, lo these many years. It endures and can cause major serious symptoms as we go through life. Not the least of these is cancer. Cancer cells most often have changes in the epigenomes which become abnormal; that is, there seems to be trauma to the cells that may cause them to go out of control. Cells that ordinarily prevent the appearance of cancer are heavily methylated and less efficient while the genes for cancer cells themselves seem to be less methylated. So we have a reverse function; cells which shut off are not, and cells which should be functioning are not. We do not want a “go” in developing cancer cells.

There is also a “go” signal that can attach, as well. It is called acetylation, and the genes are infused with acetyl chemicals. The “gates” are more open and there is greater expression, for the moment. That is, activation is enhanced. So we seem to have repressor activity (methyl), and activating processes (acetyl). Love, or positive rapport, tends to enhance acetyl production (animals who were licked a lot after birth by their mothers). And it can sometimes overcome an excess of methylation. The point in all this is that early life trauma can change the baby for a lifetime. It puts an indelible tag on the cells. We are thereafter programmed. It is now a memory trace; an embedded memory that affects so many aspects of our neurophysiology. This methylation is a record of our past, our history of adversity. Remember, it is not just a tag affecting recall of early life circumstance, impacting only the top level cortical memory processes. It is neurophysiologic, with its effects everywhere in our system. When we remember trauma it needs to be physiologic, as well. And it is that kind of memory that is resolving and curative. Because it is the embedded memory we are after, not the detached, disembodied, eviscerated, devitalized, etiolated memory that is never resolving. How we behave, in short, gives us clear clues to what happened to us very early in our history.

We behave according to the imprint; and we will not make major changes until we revisit the origins of that imprint. It can be done.


  1. Art,

    So at what "stage" we are born... is also whats there is to come for us in lif... it also means that we do not have a chance to know what is a normal state or not as we are born such. We can not and will never be able to know what. So... we have no way except through primal therapy... to work our way through to where it happened ... and we must work our way thrugh because that part of the brain that has the consciousness of what happened is since the electrochemical process that occurred then... right then and can not be lived through before we are "there"... there just then.
    What a phenomena to be a self-evident


  2. Dr. Janov,

    My brain is in overdrive, since I’m reading “life before birth” in conjunction with Histone acetylation: “a switch between repressive and permissive chromatin”.

    I barely can sleep because I find so many direct connections to later appearing illnesses.

    On: Rearing Decent People: How the Imprint Works
    “The stress system is in overdrive and cannot adjust properly. It may be that there is insufficient serotonin secreted to bind or gate the stress.”

    In regards to methyl group:
    “An enzyme is a protein molecule that is a biological catalyst with three characteristics. First, the basic function of an enzyme is to increase the rate of a reaction. Most cellular reactions occur about a million times faster than they would in the absence of an enzyme.”
    In people with psoriasis (I have psoriasis and I had uterine cancer at age 29) are markers found related to an overdrive of enzyme. The reason for Psoriasis is an overproduction of skin cells.
    A global histone H4 hypoacetylation was observed in PBMCs of patients with psoriasis. “Epigenetics and psoriasis” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
    A measure of the risk of developing some new condition within a specified period of time was found and fits 99% of all people with psoriasis.
    My question to you, would you say that these markers set in a prenatal stage? If yes, what could trigger an later outbreak/symptoms.

    One other question: In “On Why They Kill Themselves at the End” you write: “ This analogy isn’t theoretical; I have seen this run off in patients, and the more unloved and deprived they were earlier on, the more violent the tendencies”.
    Would you please explain what you mean with “I have seen this run off” in therapy. How clients express the run off?

    Thank you,

  3. Sieglinde: It is the different stages patients go through before the get to need. art

  4. An email comment: "Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and autoimmune diseases can be caused by epigenetic changes in utero.

    Also see from the attached article:

    "The development of immune system, including the development of the repertoire of reactive lymphocytes that will exist in postnatal life, begins prenatally. Alteration of the fetal immune environment might pre programme the highly sensitive fetal immune system for aberrant immune regulation, leading to loss of tolerance to self- antigens and resulting in an increased risk for autoimmune disease. These changes might manifest in adult life and perhaps only after a second exposure to related environmental chemicals. There is evidence in humans and experimental animals that prenatal exposure to immunosuppressive drugs can lead to a higher risk of autoimmune disease in the later life." "

  5. An email comment: " "Love, work, and knowledge are the well-springs of our life.
    They should also govern it."
    - Wilhelm Reich"

  6. I gather from my reading that people who are tortured can develop Psoriasis etc. Many Saints had dreadful skins diseases during their tortures. From a layman's point of view could the damaged autoimmune system from pre birth then reacte to even more stress in later life from poor parenting and other life stresses to create these 'diseases'?
    If "The Cancer personality" is one that tends to repress emotions especially anger could not the same kind of thing be happening here. I used to have a really bad rash on my back that was often red raw and very itchy. Most often a good holiday and a bit of Sun got rid of it for a while. However the discovery that I had a trauma to my spine around the age of three recently has pretty much got rid of it. The rash pretty much covered the area of the truama. I have always thought it was stress related and now know why. The stress was perhaps partially caused by a subconcious repression of a terrifying incident in my early childhood and the rash was my bodies way of telling me something had happened. Could not things like Psoriasis be also caused by this as well as pre-birth events which I totally get?

  7. Thanks Dr. Janov for your answer.

    In a primal, years ago, I saw the wall of my mother's uterus extremely red, while I was in the womb. A later insight was, it could have been from an inflammation.
    My mother came back from WW2 septic and malnourished, carrying infection from lice bites and dysentery . She was an RN for the Red Cross in a German lazaret on the Russian front and self-medicated with Penicillin for years, even while pregnant with me in 1948.

    Today I have a very strong inflammatory response to the toxins, most of all to sulfa. Sulfa was used in Lazarets to disinfect the OR.

    The first time I was diagnosed with low cortisol was in 1972. Until May 2011, my cortisol level was between 1.1 and 4.6. Something has changed because my latest cortisol test resulted in 8.8.
    Now my blood pressure is nearly normal for the first time in my life(compared to before, always low) and for the first time I had a real fever (40C) and I could sweat.
    The most fascinating discovery is, my heart rate is climbing. Even in a treadmill stress test my heart rate would never go higher than 134. Now I have a nearly normal reaction, meaning when I’m upset my heart rate climbs to 158.

    My father and his father had psoriasis and I’m the only female who inherited this illness. However, psoriasis did not break out until I was 13 years old. I believe very strongly that the outbreak was due to a previous and then a second rape I had to endure. (Hormonal shut down?)

    It is fascinating and at the same time frightening, to learn how a human being is preconditioned to illness, by the carelessness/mishaps of a mother. At the age of 14 I told my mother that everything that happened to us children was her fault. I was certain then and now that a mother who can prevent or stop abuse and has a chance to bring healthy children into this world.

  8. If Psoriasis is an over production of skin cells (I gather that Cancer is runaway cell production) then if someone is beaten really badly say during torture would the bodies stressed autoimmune system start producing tons of skin cells seeing that our skin is our protection from the outside world. It's an over reaction to a highly stressful situation perhaps. Is it perhaps similar to Art telling his story about his nose running instead of being able to cry as a kid. An expression of pent up pain finding an alternative route?

  9. I suggested earlier that maybe “we are genetically hard wired not to kill.” Are we also hard wired for a time to kill?

    So what do you do if you are a drafted peasant staring eyeball to eyeball with another drafted peasant. You feel no hate nor anger. In the man’s eyes before you, you sense no anger, no hate. You are both armed and trained to the teeth. And you say to yourself, “It’s you or me.”

    I have pondered, and re-visited, the unmistakable look in those eyes, the veins in those eyes many times over the past 41 years. I have thought, if it was just a “you or me” situation, then I probably should not have survived. First, despite all of the military shrink-driven training, it just was just not in my heart to kill - especially if unnecessary.

    Indeed, if it was just the two of us on a lonely field in isolation, we might have tried to settle our ways just with body language - and somehow agreed to part. Such stories abound on the front lines of war.

    So what other dynamic might be operating there - that helped me survive ?
    Let me fill in a back story. It was nearing nightfall, our ambush patrol needed to secure a strange new area for our all night operation. The enemy soldiers were both within our midst and at our backs in bunker-tunnels such as the one I was now in. Tactically, we were infiltrated by the enemy and faced with shrinking time to secure a small area in which to defend ourselves.

    And that back story is the game changer.

    The total game was now changed to, “It’s you and your buddies, or me and my buddies.”

    Genetically, I was also hard wired to defend the tribe - in this case my band of brothers - who repeatedly demonstrated their loyalty and trust toward me. Whatever, our sharply different religious backgrounds, whatever the deeply different emotional baggage we carried in our rucksacks [for war, anti war, for God , no God, etc ], repeatedly we put our lives on the line for each other.
    We knew each other intimately. My buddies understood me far more deeply than my own brothers. I knew who would break down - and need some help. Who would always be there at my back.

    We were so deeply driven by an instinct to define and thus defend the “tribe,” we openly defied major Army regulations, just to define ourselves as a “tribe” dramatically separate from the “squad, platoon, company, etc” tribes so formally defined by the military.
    I for one painted a large white peace symbol on the side of my rifle but, for both the enemy as well as our commanding officers to see. On our helmets, we penned our motley beliefs. Some said, “God, country...” Others said, “Give peace a chance.” At one point, most of us wore colorful Cambodian beads and headbands. Even the Lt and Captain - career officers - engaged in such dress! We looked more like a band of guerrillas, than a U.S. Army Squad.

    We not only shared deep pain and deep sorrow for loss of close friends. But we were - unwittingly - went to extremes to define our selves within our immediate military environment. “Our mini tribe” evolved in appearance, in culture, in ethos, and in behavior as we created the final tribe with whom most of us fully expected to end our last days.

    And that made all the difference. I did for my band of brothers what I might hesitate to do for myself.

    Unlike WWI, and WWII, this was a campaign of small units, often operating alone for days at a time. A small scale sergeant led guerilla war. A perfect laboratory in which to express tribal instincts - if tribal genetics exist.

    Ironically, these powerful and cooperative instincts are, I believe the same genetically driven, tribal characters and behaviors that would in happier times, leads us to form the teams that build buildings, create villages, and fabricate great organization that bring prosperity to our fellow man. The great “cooperative” achievements that Trevor spoke of.

    Indeed, after every major war, WWL WWII, there follows an economic boom - despite the dire predictions of all major economists of the time.

  10. My father tells of how he was regularly beaten with a cane round his legs as a kid and had to walk to school with his socks pulled up to hide the marks. He is now in his 80's and always professed that such beatings never did him any harm but now has Psoriasis on his calves. Perhaps his body expressing the unaknowledged pain of being beaten and not loved. Psoriasis as the bodies expression of unmet needs perhaps?

  11. Thanks Art. I don't know about methylation but have studied ACT in a developmental health grad unit last year. I wonder how this stress 'train' plays into (so called) mood conditions, mania etc- it is all related. Enzymes seem to play a large role.
    Anyway, stress is such a critical factor isn't it? And adaptation (to), as always. I have 2 clients in group at the moment who's wives are in their 3rd trimester. To me, the developing baby then becomes my primary client. I am constantly stressing to the (men) that their interaction w/their partners, how they treat her etc WILL affect their coming child. It is the very least I can do.

  12. i had one hell of a night terror last night. stuck in that horrible in-between zone...not awake, not asleep. the terror locked me in so that i had no chance of waking up. i guess it lasted about two or three minutes. i've had longer ones but not as powerful as this. a very 'demonic' and psychotic experience. it's easy to see why people believe in alien abductions etc.

    the feeling was trying to get through to my sleepy, non-receptive neocortex, and the result was disconnected chaos. the terror had nowhere to go, and so it moved in random directions, just like a dream. it had a mind of it's own. it needed help from MY mind. i needed to be fully awake, and fully conscious of IT so i could feel it properly and resolve it.

    here's an interesting irony; a total lack of consciousness (deep sleep) will allow the body to restore itself, but only within the set points determined by imprints. a primal will change the set points, but it's a process that requires full consciousness.

  13. Planespotter: With the new science everything is possible; if only the scientists and shrinks would consider. I have a fine new and long piece on the right and left brain coming out twice a week, starting this week. art

  14. Dr Joel Fuhrman claims there is also a profound contribution to auto immune disease from improper nutrition.

    Dairy proteins, and specific grains are highly stimulative to the immune system.

    Dairy protein are provided by nursing animals to specifically stimulate growth in an infant. But that is the very same reason why all mammals in their natural habitat stop nursing after an initial period of infant growth stimulation.

    The danger zone is entered when the same pattern of continuous hyper growth stimulation is continued past the age of nursing. Over a prolonged period of time, these once benign stimulants now continue to press the metabolic system toward an unnatural growth rate growth - in due time this can include not only muscle - whey protein muscle building as one example - but also the growth of other metabolic outcomes, such as tumors. Let’s just say that the nutritional contribution puts key parts of a metabolism into overdrive.

    Now, layer on to a persistently over - driven metabolic system a dose of primal pain, and you can only imagine the possible outcomes? In a metabolic metaphor - it’s sort of like a Toyota racing more and more out of control with no hope of putting on the brakes.

    The brakes are a more natural diet as well as access to primal pain.

    Dr Fuhrman recently published a book on “Super Immunity” in which these ideas are clinically documented. But his larger work on this subject can be found in an earlier book titled, “Eat to Live.” For 17 years, Dr Fuhrman has documented an outstanding track record of treating autoimmune disease. I have personally met some of his patients and seen the before / after photographs of deep psoriasis that stretched from the shoulders down the entire back. One patient cried herself to sleep for many years - because doctors found no cure, and no medicine could stop the itching.

    There is much clinical evidence for what primal pain can do to put key parts of the brain into overdrive as well as key metabolic processes.

    Now consider the possible hypothesis that improper nutrition might parallel many of these same destructive processes, as well as adding elements of other uniquely nutritional contributions to disease. It is at least a potential double whammy.

    Sometimes I wonder how the average human makes it through all of this biological insult and survives as long - and as wrinkled - as we do.

    There is more to explain, but I wish to keep this short and readable.

  15. Art and everyone:

    Here in this short video is an example of how scientists can act when someone comes along and says something that they don't want to agree with.

    The guy who discovered quasicrystals received a reaction that I would describe as pathetic, from his (so called) scientific community. It's a bit of an eye opener - I didn't think they could be THAT bad. It also made an example of the group-think/conformity effect as well.

  16. Hi,

    So it seems the histone layer and epigenes are a protection of the core genetic material; a "buffer" from the outer environmental and relational impacts on the genes themselves?

    However, such a good "quality control" mechanism (layer) as this is only as good as its' operators!

    I mean the epigenes offer a clearer interpretation to the nature/nurture debate, don't they?

    Now we not only need to study this chemistry and biology at the molecular level but also try to understand how it is to be correctly operated in the social and cultural sphere, don't we? I mean as parents and members of society we are responsible for this "layer" through our love, care and relationships with each other. Because; well, our children not only are members as well (and need this care & love directly) but they learn through observing their carers' behaviour, don't they?

    Thus, having two parents of the opposing sex becomes the dual framework for programming the epigenetic, quality control department of our psyches.

    Isn't it?

    We are fine tuning (or fucking up) consciously relating beings (as well as feeling beings) through our social & cultural relations as Men & Women. Through the hot potato of Gender.

    So by now I hope you've all had a good look at the challenging document by Dr. Linda Nielsen called:

    "Disenfranchising, Demeaning and Demoralising Divorced Dads".

    For in this document you find the evidence that shows what most of us dare not consider due to the tremendous pressure this puts on women and women mothers who also are traumatised from their gestation/birth/childhoods. . . as a consequence of the hazard of having two opposing sex parents who themselves carry unresolved Pain.

    It would appear that the combination of the "buffer zone" and the cultural mother/father dual programming frequently results in a complete 'switching' to the 'memory' of one or the other of the two sexes. So, on the Patriarchal side boys find themselves psychic clones of their fathers and on the matriarchal side girls find themselves psychic clones of their mothers.

    In families where daughters predominate there is the risk that traumas (or the tendency to traumatic re-en-actment/ recurrence) may carry over epigenetically many generations because the trauma is 'embedded' or 'enmeshed' in the cult of the feminine. Which came first, the wrong programming of the epigenes or the cult of the feminine? It seems a chicken & egg situation.

    And so, in the patriarchal version where there is a long sequence of boys and control of assets and resources by the men you get the military, capitalist version.

    Primal Theory answers many needed (but mostly as yet un-asked) questions about the state of our countries and our international relations and the long, long history of it all. . . .

    Primal shows there is a gender link between the political systems of socialism and capitalism.

    Primal suggests where the muddle is between these two systems because currently you can see that the meaning and worth of the feminine and the meaning and worth of the masculine is being muddled & lost in the ignorance about epigenetics.

    If this sounds muddled or far fetched, I admit it but my spin on this stuff is not original, there are others who are suggesting it but they may not yet have discovered the Primal Truth. They surely could be open to it though because their' lines of enquiry and their published findings line up with Primal Theory.

    Paul G.

  17. > "The fetus (and embryo) changes according to its environment;"

    I think NPR recently reported on a study showing that children whose mothers smoked while pregnant had thicker-walled arteries. That facat made the vessels less flexible and the children later prone to heart attacks.


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.