Saturday, March 31, 2012

On Being Non-Functional

We can easily understand when all kinds of things are happening around us and we get confused and don’t know what to do first. But suppose all kinds of thing are happening not around us but inside us, things we cannot see or even imagine? And we get all confused, cannot concentrate or focus and stop functioning. Too much input, but from where!? Let’s see, hummm, maybe from inside? From all those imprints down low in the neuraxis that are constantly sending messages to the top cortical level, trying to inform us about danger down below. So many strong messages from preverbal imprints, messages with no special content but simply high-level electrical charges to try to enter our conscious-awareness, only to be rebuffed by the gating system.

So now imagine when there is all this current tumult going on that sets off the internal tumult and begins to overwhelm us; we can no longer focus and get immediately overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks to be done. It is all too much. We imagine it is because we are being pressured by domineering bosses but in reality we are being pressured first and foremost from inside, by importuning painful memories hidden away seeking exit and surcease. They are groping for priority, for access to top level processes that will allow for some peace. But they are competing with other external priorities that must be done…! Who wins? No one; nothing gets done as we break down and become non-functional.

Primal memories don’t just go away; they are as yet not connected, held back by the gates and so are unresolved and non-integrated. And the biologic system “knows” that connection means liberation. So they continually send their message higher up for connection. Alas, it is not to be. But those inchoate messages enter the cortical arena and create chaos because of their inability to connect. They have no specific content to allow them to be relived and be done with. They are preverbal, by and large, and can only be relived and resolved after many higher level imprints are integrated. And then, as we relive lower level, earlier imprints there is a resonance effect, a kind of dredge which raises up the earlier imprints. They now merge with imprints from infancy and earlier childhood providing the energy component to the feeling and making the reaction all the more powerful. Making a rather banal feeling incredibly strong. We may not understand what is going on because we have neglected the resonance factor that makes similar feelings connection or bind with each other, remained stored in memory and tend to rise together when the time is appropriate. So we feel disappointed at age seven but that triggers off the preverbal sensation of deeper aspect of the feeling, which can be many things but often is simple hopelessness. They now rise together and, as the reliving goes on there is a simultaneous reliving of the preverbal, energy part of the feeling, as well.

That same resonance goes on all of the time, higher level deception can trigger off deeper feelings but those feelings do not get resolved and simply create burgeoning chaos and tumult. They do not get resolved because not enough of the less powerful feelings have been integrated as yet. The system is simply not ready yet. And that sometimes can mean pockets of insanity as the system struggles to hold back feelings or perhaps tries to make sense of them, but to no avail. Enough premature breakthroughs and we have frank psychosis, which is when painkillers are necessary. And those same painkillers can, paradoxically, make us functional, as the painful imprints are held down below, out of harm’s way. It is when the pain is so strong, so many imprints that tranquilizers can no longer do their job. So we have to titrate the dose to make sure the patient gets enough to hold back the input from inside. After more pain is felt the person will need less and less painkillers.

Those early pains broke open the gating system initially because serotonin supplies could not keep up with the demand. So what is in those tranqs? Serotonin. All the pills are doing is doing what the system could not do at the beginning because it ran out of supplies. And it ran out because those early life endangering events demanded too much of the gating system. Don’t be afraid of offering chemical help because the system is demanding—non verbal therapy for non verbal pains. We just need to understand and comply, and above all, to tell our patients what is going on inside them. We are only boosting repression for a time until their system can take over.


  1. Another good post.

    I think I can sense the low-level scattering effect in my own mind. I suppose we all have it. It becomes exaggerated in company that makes me tense (aka, threatened) which "jacks up" my subconscious mind and makes it harder for me to concentrate...

    My brain-stem is then ordering me to watch out for threats coming from around me (which are no doubt more over-reaction than real) and likewise screwing with my ability to absorb myself in the material at hand. This is probably why I tend to work best when alone and unsupervised. I'm a lot more "intelligent" by myself.

    -and yep, modern therapy is all about *functioning* - never mind the feelings, stuff them back, just so long as you can work and pay the debt/tax.

  2. Art

    It's too easy to be true... you have to look in another direction than what containing the biological reality. Incredibly well written Art. But I will also be silent... confused of this science... my defense does not permit a full "understanding"... you are talking me in to feelings... the little boy Frank can be seen between the lines.


  3. Dr. Janov
    Underlying pre-verbal trauma and present overwhelming demands can be a recipe for going mad. No wonder if people act out, or even commit suicide. The problem is, even professionals don’t understand and react with “lecturing” instead with empathy and care.
    On the other hand, the pre-verbal traumatized person can indeed become a real burden.
    They are stuck and unable to make the right move toward healing. Their favored neurotic and paranoid act-out is repeating the same pattern, by unloading their pain onto others and even holding them responsible for their miserable life.
    Over the last 10 years I collected evidence that the people who need most help (primal therapy) are wasting not only time, they are gullible and settle with nearly everything.
    4 years ago I introduced a friend, I have known since 1966, who has massive birth and early childhood trauma (and sexual abuse) to primal therapy. She however chose “Hellinger” instead. Now she is reading “Life before Birth” criticizing every chapter, while pre-verbal pain drives her to the edge of insanity.
    Dr. Janov, is there such thing as “no hope of healing” for some?

    1. Sieglinde: You answered it. For that person, yes, if they chose booga booga there is nothing anyone can do. We cannot lead anyone's life for them. We write how to get well, and they do the opposite. Alas! Remember: chacun sa vie. By the way, who is Hellinger? art

    2. Sieglinde

      As long as something is perceived as relieving the choice is easy... if not the question of why we suffer is relevant to the pain we seek to alleviate. I mean if not the text has its function to "open eyes" about why we suffer… it's impossible. There are as many escape routes as there are people who are suffering... as well as many opportunities to find ways in to the cause... it's just a matter of patience... teaching practices and not least what the patients is up to... what he/she is going thru... thru in the question of how much they are suffering in life. What is the attitude society has to primal therapy is CRUCIAL.


  4. Art has a good solution to leaky gates. Leaky gates prevent healing. They are a sign of damage from long ago. And this is expertise that can not be done by the individual in pain and you can not just "feel it," as one brilliant soul once put it. We need that skilled external help. But my real point is the last line, underlined. The drugs are only applied to block the gates from letting too much up so that higher level pains of say, the 2nd level, can come up and out before moving on to 1st line feelings later.

    My point being that not all people in the world have leaky gates. Art treated many patients successfully without using drugs. That is because they did not have leaky gates. Functioning gates do allow us to do many things, if we wanted to. Many could, by hardly any do. Not all have the excuse of leaky gates. Not even many do, though many at Art's place might, because they can find relief no where else. Art attracts the most damaged people as a result.

    My 2nd point is that in life, if all things are functioning well, especially the gates, then we, too, can "boost repression for a limited time" so that we can clear our heads and think carefully, letting our 3rd level intellectual abilities do their thing in our holistic long-term behalf. Art says it can not be done without full-blown total primal therapy and elimination of any and all pain in the 1st level. If we have gates, we can function in all areas. It will not always be easy, but it can be done if we really and truly want to do it

  5. Dr. Janov thanks,
    Hellingers approach:

    He made people kneel down and be grateful to their parents for the beatings, because beating strengthen the character... and many more such perverted rituals.
    Germany is full of Hellinger-therapists.

    1. By Bert Hellinger, Hell lingers on in Germany. So sad that the Germans do not understand this most descriptive name.
      Jan Johnsson

  6. Hi Sieglinde,

    -"He made people kneel down and be grateful to their parents for the beatings, because beating strengthen the character... "

    This is all a perversion of the heroic model in the name of feudal control. It was really part of the boarding school 'training' I had too. Absolute fascist regime. Real Heroes don't need to make other people suffer with torture to 'prove' anything.

    He who could take the greatest pain in my boarding school was the master and deserved to inflict it on others. Whimps beware. . . It's really perverse. Look at the famous cult film "IF" with Roddy Mcdowel.

    Paul G.

  7. Hi Sieglinde & Art,

    -"Sieglinde: You answered it. For that person, yes, if they chose booga booga there is nothing anyone can do"-

    I feel the worst booga booga is CBT because once you eat that 'fruit' you are truly brainwashed; you have become 'independent' and no longer 'need' anything or 'any-one' at all. You might even give up God and become an atheist! You will have 'chosen' your future. . .

    At least the traditional holistic and palliative therapies/medecins acknowledge history and our ancestors' influence. CBT is all about 're-invention'. F*****g Hell, that's really scary. Brave New World. I've lost two really dear people to CBT. CBT and CBT like therapies and philosophies have influenced my circle of friends in a really underhand way. . .

    Paul G.

    1. Hi Paul G.

      Hellinger has some of his Website in English:

      He also claims that he trained with Dr. Janov.

    2. Sieglinde: Of course he did not. art

    3. Dr. Janov,
      Hellingers claim "In 1973, he left Germany for a second time and travelled to the USA to be trained for 9 months by Arthur Janov." should be corrected in Wiki.

  8. Dear Mom & Dad:

    I loved you more than I was needed
    I needed more but then acceded
    I needed love but at last seceded
    After love and need were never deeded
    Now more at peace I feel completed
    Your Daughter / Son

    1. Anonymous: Very good indeed, art.

    2. Now everything is too late!

      If I only could have been myself around you mom ... you would have loved me!? I would have looked up on you through eyes of lust... lust for life... and you mom would have been delighted...even if you brought in grief ... for grief seeks patient love... patient love you would have been seeing in me... I just had you mom.

      When life is at its end there will be nothing to do about it and that was what there was. It's all too late... but I misses you mom for what could have been... through primal therapy.


  9. I wonder why there isn't a Debunking Hellinger website? You must be doing something right, Art :-)

  10. A Child's Lament

    I see things you'll never see Papa
    I can be things you'll never be
    If only you could see me
    If only you could see me
    If only I could be me Papa

  11. Hi All
    I'm back from vacation, great to read your comments.
    I've been in the state's northwest, on an ocean bed where 'we' first came out of the water, 420 million years ago. I saw one of my favourite things again- Stromatolites, 3,500 yrs old, the oldest living organism on the planet. Their fossil ancestors are in the Pilbara, a massive 3,400 million yrs old. Gives you some idea of the power of the primitive brain, doesn't it? It's been around a lot longer!

    1. Jacquie: OK I give up. What are you doing at the bottom of the sea? art

    2. Ha ha, that made me laugh Art! I was on coastal cliffs, which are ancient ocean beds, they used to be the bottom of the sea. There are relics of when life first came out onto land there, which then led to who we are today. I love all that stuff, and being on much needed break from work!
      Happy Easter :)

  12. Picking up on Jacquie's point about how long the Brain in it's many forms has been around it is interesting how long it takes for something to develop.

    I was diagnosed that I needed EMDR and went along and spent a number of weeks seeing this very nice empathic therapist who said I needed to remember more before she could do the EMDR. I got in touch with my hurt and my anger but when I started talking about my Father she burst into tears and I left wondering who was getting the therapy?

    While not defending EMDR it would seem that this slow evolution of people understanding about trauma as being the basis of people's emotional and mental issues etc I would say that perhaps it is an evolutionary step in the direction of understanding about trauma. The fact that trauma is seen as important is vital.

    It's like Galileo stating that the Earth goes round the Sun rather than the other way round. It challanged the status quo well before the vast majority of people were able to accept it as a theory.

    In the UK before seat belts were introduced a campaign was run to make people aware of the need for them. The Government did'nt bring in the legislation until 40% of the population were in favour as that is the watershed number for something to be accepted.

    I would suggest that Primal Therapy and it's understanding of pain and the way a child can be so hurt by it's Parents is ahead of it's time. It is an evolutionary or generational step ahead of the vast majority. However with the advent of the Internet it has a wider audience than ever before. In the same way that the web and social media contributed to the Arab Spring so to can these contribute to a wider understanding of how trauma can be so damaging.

    The understanding is there whether adverts by children's charities against the abuse of children in the uk and elsewhere.

    In "Thou shalt not be aware" by Alice Miller she has a chapter (10) called "The Lonliness of the Explorer" where she describes Freud stating in his Aitology of Hysteria that 18 patients had been sexually abused, had not been aware of it and would not have the same symptoms if the trauma had remained concious. Freud was so ahead of his time that like Galileo (who went blind) Freud had to renounce this discovery to be accepted.

    The Roman's had surgery skills that were not far behind our own but were held back by lack of anasthetics. Thus discoveries can happen again and again with each generation finding out something new. As Art says he keeps discovering new facts and refining his therapy. What may still be discovered that continues to back up PT.

    Thus when looking at EMDR we are perhaps looking at Neanderthal man rather than Homo Sapiens. Neanderthals existed alongside Homo Sapiens but died out as the world changed. In the world of physcology perhaps Neanderthals still rule at the moment. Therefore Ms Shapiro is shouting from the rooftops about a discovery that was superceded decades ago. She aknowledges that trauma causes pain but cannot face the pain of getting rid of the pain and thus people like Seinlinde are left with the pain without the context. Human's avoid pain at all costs even when to face it would get rid of it. It is perhaps that that double bind which needs to be broken before PT can be accepted into the mainstream. It's getting there though.

    1. Planespotter: very astute. art

    2. Hey Planespotter, yes it blows me away too, 'how long it takes for something to develop'. But I guess that's why we're so advanced/complex now.. Something I think about, how w/all the massive medical advancements we're actually severely inhibiting mutations/natural development, eg birth interventions incl c-sections.
      I don't know about your point on PT being ahead of it's time- I hope so. But it seems the more 'developed' we are the more neurotic we become; and they are not receptive to Primal.
      Best wishes, Jacquie

    3. Hi Jacquie

      I think Primal Therapy is perhaps ahead of it's time. If it was'nt then more people would see it's advantages. Maybe in the next few decades someone will discover something that overtakes PT while also building upon it.

      It's like Van Gogh not selling a single painting in his lifetime and now they are some of the most popular prints.

      Some theories hold for decades or centuries before something solves one of the problems in the theory. Newtonian Law held sway at the Royal Society in London for nearly 300 years even though no-one could explain why Mercury messed up the whole theory. It took new instruments and Einstein to recognise that light bends and physics change near the speed of light.

      Freud recognised Trauma as the basis of neurosis but society could not handle it and nor did he have the instruments to measure Brain waves etc as we have now so he had nothing to back up his evidence and even he found it difficult to recognise.

      In the same way Art discovered this process in the late 1960's almost by accident while observing a patient but at the time the science was not as advanced. He is lucky enough to have lived into a period where many of his theories (such as the three levels of Brain) are often confirmed by hard evidence from Science but that is not to say that such science won't be sidelined due to people's repression.

      Look at Dr Brazelton and his experiments about how a Mother learns as a baby to care for her own baby. I would contest that this flew in the face of femenism's need for liberation (totally in support of liberation) and so he is now more famous for his comments about cats and cot death. In essense he damaged the the Mantra "Mother knows best" and threatened a big power base so was sidelined.

      Sometimes things move at a glacial speed. Who is to say that our understanding of how we become who we are is as much part of evolution as no longer needing an appendix?

    4. Planespotter: I heard that it takes 38 years from the time of a discovery until it enters the mainstream. I am overdue. some have asked about my Sex and the Subconscious. You can get it at smashbox. art

    5. I've already got it on my iPad and am reading it.

      I think so many people get Primal without even knowing what it is. I pointed a cousin towards your website about a year ago and he replied saying he thought feelings came from somewhere else.

      Here's hoping for that 38 years to catch up now. :-)

  13. Hi planespotter,

    -"I got in touch with my hurt and my anger but when I started talking about my Father she burst into tears and I left wondering who was getting the therapy?

    It's becoming predictable that people are reporting this sort of thing on this blog.

    In the midst of one particular bout with my therapist where I (now realise) I was approaching something really 'leading', my therapist interjected and said that what I had been saying had nearly made him cry. I now realise my therapist was in awe of my pain. . . I also remember him saying: "such pain. . . such pain. . ." Other stuff too, let's not go any further down there now. Suffice to say that he should have started actually crying himself OR said nothing at all. Not those crass remarks which I now realise he was reading from a script he had learned in training. Oh dear.

    On both these occasions I was unable to fathom anything any further. . . I am beginning to feel like my therapist was a voyeur. . . and I feel it's my fault I feel like that. . . shit! I was the unpaid actor in his show. Jesus, he was my contractor but I was his subcontractor and paying him? F**k!

    Worst still is the "Competition With The Victim". . . The funny thing about these particular types of competitors is that they are attracted to competing with each other (or avoiding each other), for attention? From whom? There's plenty of room for acting out sibling rivalry in the therapeutic alliance (no witnesses). And for the patient? As Art said: "Buyer Beware", you may find yourself living your therapists' feelings and wondering what happened (my words).

    I promise that's my last testament about projective identification.

    Paul G.

    1. Hi Paul

      Oh Boy do some therapists gain more from the situation that the client. Our little self had learned to give up our feelings to keep Mummy or Daddy from feeling their pain. I am sure this is a common interaction and therefore the both of you were trapped in using the same dysfunctional device except you noticed it.

      I have had this with my present therapist but on the whole I think she is pretty keen on getting me well. I have had arguments with her about wanting it to happen in her time rather than mine.

    2. Hi, I'm in the unfortunate position of having my colleague; as much as I like him +he's 'good' at the work we do (domestic violence); interjecting +talking his damn head off every time any one of the (men) comes close to feeling. It kills me..

  14. Hi Jacquie,

    -"interjecting +talking his damn head off every time any one of the (men) comes close to feeling"-.

    I used to be like this. My old Quaker friend & I had a joke about what we would put on our gravestones. . . He really sniggered when I said: "Stop talking whilst I'm interrupting!

    Jokes aside though, before true feelings in a neurotic person rise up, it's almost impossible not to comment 'over' the testimonies of others. It is a sort of really unconscious 'resonance'(manifesting in the 3rd line). . . Luckily for me I always knew this about myself and never made a profession out of it. I stick to carpentry.

    Paul G.

    1. Thanks for your comment Paul, I'm sure carpentry is very 'grounding'. Jacquie

  15. Hi Jacquie,

    I even got to train a few people who now do well in the industry. One of them exclaimed: "But Paul you taught me all your mistakes as well"!

    A good question for all of us in any position of mentoring/supervising others is 'how much of our own eccentricity/naivety/error aught the pupil tolerate?

    I imagine even Primal Trainees have to learn 'on the job' to an extent. . . there is a risk isn't there? So what is it that allows for 'error' in the relationship between Therapist & Patient?

    I feel that after many years of training woodwork and parenting and imparting my 'mistakes' as well as my good points is my willingness to admit error and acknowledge the impact that has had. That's all we've got.

    In law (in court) and in prison parole the convicted are supposed to show remorse; but how do you measure remorse? Particularly if it's some-one elses? And if it's your job to measure other peoples' remorse what's your performance like by Friday night and umpteen case conferences?

    I appreciated Arts' description of error in an earlier post of his, made me cry. Mind you, in ordinary life, you need to be very careful of what you admit to who. Not everyone is willing to be charitable with forgiveness and many are looking for admission of guilt as an instant accessible target for their own revenge. Consciously or otherwise.

    Paul G.

    1. Paul: I have never had that problem and I ask advanced patients all of the time where I made an error or if I did. So much easier to be honest and not to be the "le grand seigneur", the MASTER. art

  16. Helo Art,

    i think that someone who's non functonal in everydays life is really in trouble.That person must acting out and adapt, literally acting out is the only solution that person is gong on n society, for the cost of simbolic behaviour.Othervise he is put on zoloft and it's a real zombie.Here n Europa, especialy in Slovenia, haven't primal therapy, just conventional psychotherapy and medicaton therapy.And if still can't function you are really alone in a mess of life.You can just watching others how they live happy lifes, but what can you do for yourself? Acting out! Just this.It's a magical circle.I agree with you that imprint of pain dominates.It's realy horrible situaton.This blog and your spirit can give us neurotics a little strenght, that i alow myself in the mornings to feel the mess i got in my body. Thanx art.Dean


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.