Thursday, February 9, 2012
More on Disease and Loving it Away
I want to go on about compounding from last blog. I stated that we can pretty much tell the depth of neurosis and addiction by noting how the basis of addiction can begin in the first months of gestation which then gets compounded by trauma and lack of love as the child develops. Imagine now, that if a therapist does not focus on gestational life how on earth is she going to cure addiction or even know about its depth? She won’t. The same is true for both neurosis and psychosis.
But there are several new studies that state that we can pretty much love away pain; and that is true. Even reverse it, which is also true. But there is more to this story.
One study was of babies who had amniocentesis at age 17 weeks in the womb. And then they were measured with cognitive tests at 17 months after birth. Those babies who were high on stress hormones during gestation did least well later on, not so surprising. “Children showing ‘insecure attachment’ to their mothers had high cortisol/stress levels in the womb. In other words, the babies were already preprogrammed to be afraid, not outgoing and also not social even before they were born. WOW! Oh la la, as they say in France, my adopted country. So you see how early it all starts. What went along with this was ADD a shorter attention span, and in my view, anxiety states, all before life on earth had a chance to intervene.
Now here comes a good mother months and years later to give the child lots of love. And that love can reverse a lot of these deleterious symptoms and behaviors. So you can love neurosis away? Not so fast. What we can do is love the child enough to bring the stress level down below its manifestation level. That is, bring down the inner latent stress below where symptoms begin showing. This can begin to reverse some of the effects of trauma in the womb and afterward. But we cannot erase memory entirely because it has been registered all over the system not just in the brain and not just in the stress hormones. It is an organic, systemic event imprinted in the blood, bones, muscles and nerves. But still it is very important to lower the overall load, but we don’t want to be bereft of our history; to be history-less.
Children with love do improve in their concentration, memory and attention span. But let us not equate that with reversing the imprint. It is still there, a stealthy enemy always waiting to pounce the minute there is more stress that brings one over the symptom level producing overt problems. Certainly, we cannot be memory-less. Otherwise we would be robots living only in the present. But when we are talking about cancer it is very important to get this straight. That is one reason when cancer appears later in life and is well treated, the patient still has to wait five years to see if it returns.
Symptoms in my scheme are the result of overload; too many powerful feelings to integrate, and they slop over into headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes and ultimately, when the imprint is powerful and early enough, into cancer. The deeper the imprints the more devastating the results when they start to come up, which is why we must follow evolution closely and not let the patient drop into heavy feelings too soon. We can avoid it; we have the techniques. But when a childhood trauma comes up there can be a transient headache which soon passes, but if first line, loss of oxygen at birth comes up too soon there can be terrible migraines which do not pass away soon. What has been triggered are powerful imprints way too early. One way to measure all this is what the study cited above did; they measured stress hormone levels. This can be downloaded from the mother’s placenta or can be manufactured by the baby all by himself. The result is high stress levels and a propensity and vulnerability to serious symptoms later on. Medical doctors and shrinks need to pay attention to all this and begin to focus on generating sources of behavior and symptoms. In short, to stop only tinkering with symptoms to the neglect of causes. Yes symptoms must be addressed and treated, but it is a never-ending process. And unfortunately that is the practice of therapy today. We have to know that there deep imprints and that there are ways to access them.
In our therapy we see every day patients who has had bad therapy previous to their coming to us, with a history of overload and symptoms. Feelings need to be titrated; otherwise they can dredge up first line powerhouse feelings that arise prematurely and cannot possibly be integrated. Hence symptoms, transient, but if it goes on month after month and year after year I am not surprised if it results in cancer something we rarely see in our therapy.
There is just so much the body can do to absorb and integrate feelngs; and after that it gets sick, and then treatment is a bitch and very difficult. It is no longer, preventive, our work, but post symptomatic, others’ work. Bad therapy, therefore is dangerous, and some mock therapists, in the absence of science in their work are warm and kind to their patients, thinking they can love neurosis away, while taking away the curative part, “ I need to have a kind father who can love me.” It is the imprint that saves lives and prevents cancer in therapy, not love, strange as that seems. So let us get this straight. Love can ameliorate the effects of trauma but cannot totally erase memory. Love from parents in childhood is crucial but not the whole story. Love in therapy is too late; we have to feel that it was not thre early in our lives. Pain is imprinted and leaves an enduring memory and its by-products--symptoms. Pain is where hope lies; it lies in the feeling of hopelessness, not in giving false hope to patients. You can get sick from false hope. It is not real and you end up not dealing with your inner reality.
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.