Monday, January 2, 2012
On the Right and Left Brain. There Is No Cure Without Their Unity. (Part 4/10)
Let me reiterate: the feeling is experienced; the rape victim invariably creates the same bound hands together during a primal,(her father held her hands as he took her from behind), and she now sees what it made her do. She was hostile to men and became a lesbian. (This is from an actual case that we have filmed). She only felt safe with women. These are the insights that tumble out after a feeling. If she cannot have the insights, then perhaps there was not yet a connected feeling. Perhaps more was dredged up that has yet to be felt and connected. In other words, if there are no insights we are bereft of understanding the act-outs. It is as if to say there were no consequences from a disastrous feeling. And as I noted elsewhere, the earlier and feeling the greater the chance of a serious affliction later on. The valence or force of the imprint never lessens; the left side just covers it up better. So we see here how the obsession with the gas jet and the turn to lesbianism may have the same roots. It is behavior in an unconscious attempt to control a past harmful and traumatic feeling. So in a way, neurosis is the current way we control the past. The only problem is that in the present it remains out of context. It was appropriate to be afraid of father in the past but not normal now to be afraid of authority figures. It is logical but not normal.
So why are there attention deficits? Because the right which is charged with sustained attention is so loaded with pain that it off-loads some of its burden to the left. Now all kinds of inputs are coming in to disturb concentration and focus. The right cannot do its job. Remember that the very early trauma is lodged in the right and takes up space there, and above all, it constantly agitates because pain is driving it incessantly. It needs to connect with the left, and the neo-cortex but the gates stop it. Connection means the end of it as an agitating force. It means rest and relaxation; it means integration. No longer alien feelings but those who have found a home. So long as they are alien the system treats it as a foreign force and considers it as an invading stranger. When the feelings come too close to conscious-awareness the system goes into alarm mode; the white cells treat the feeling as alien and dangerous and the blood pressure and heart rate mount. The happens to almost every patient when they come close to deeply-lodged feelings. The left sounds the alarm when feelings come close and the system goes into alarm/panic mode; mobilizes to keep it all away, while gating swings into action. It stimulates evasive action, avoiding anything that will evoke feelings.
Those who had a harridan for a mother will avoid aggressive women in their lives. Most of us avoid whatever might set off alien feelings; and so in a way we are programmed. Those who had a tyrannical father may become obsequious in the face of male authority in order to stave off anger. The latent fear is already so high that the person cannot take any more. We can tell ourselves—the right self, not to be afraid but it is a weak force against a lifetime of terror; in the same way we can tell our selves not to eat chocolate when the imprint of starvation in the womb hidden on the right is importuning. The left is no match for the imprints on the right. They are always packing more power than the left, as they should; it is our emotional self. So we have an emotional self, an intellectual self and finally, a real self…united. It is that real self that can control things such as overeating or premature ejaculation. Why overeating? Because there is a history underlying it. He is eating out of his history. He is not only hungry now but back then—starving in the womb. He is trying to get fulfilled back then, as well. The same as trying to get love now to make up for no love as a child. Fulfillment is sine qua non; it cannot be forgotten so one is always looking for fulfillment in one way or the other. It is the left that takes need from the right and tries to find ways to get fulfillment, and it is always symbolic because the left side is basically the symbolic side. It wants more and more money because he cannot feel any fulfillment. The left brain sees the steak and the right brain rushes in with its history of starvation or deprivation to make the person eat for both times…..that is over-eating. The intellectual self has no emotional wallop by itself; that is why it is so weak in the face of powerful feelings. So there is sexual stimulation with the resulting premature ejaculation because the early pain is so heavy and the controlling left brain so weak.
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.