Monday, April 16, 2012

On the Use of Medication in Sleep and Psychotherapy

There is a recent piece in the NY TIMES (“Pills’ Risk Complicate Long Wait For Sleep,” March 13, 2012, Science section) that states that those taking sleep medication on a regular basis are nearly five times as likely as non-users to die over a period of two and a half years. Now why is that? Before I answer, let me say that in my life and in my practice I find that at least half the people I come into contact with have trouble falling asleep or sleeping more than an hour or two without waking up. So many of us cannot sleep, and sadly that includes doctors and surgeons who really need their sleep, not to mention airline pilots. The article states that there were 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills last year in America.

Of course, those who need sleeping pills are already in trouble, usually suffering from anxiety disorders and/or deep depression. And these people may already be on daytime pills for a variety of psychiatric disorders. So why no sleep? I think that lifetime sleep patterns are established in the womb and at birth and just after. A carrying mother who is highly anxious or depressed may interrupt the fetal sleep patterns. It dislocates how we sleep thereafter in the same way that trauma while we are being carried produces lifetime patterns of behavior or symptoms such as headaches. It is also the time when our hormone, neurotransmitter, and neuromodulator output all begins, so that traumas during this period can change the setpoints of so many neurochemicals that affect sleep. Just not enough serotonin can do it, as well as alterations in dopamine. The system may be imprinted with too high a level of vigilance hormones that work against sleep. Or there may be compromised gating functions that prevent us from blocking low-level imprints.

But let us not concentrate only on sleep because any serious anxiety imprint that the carrying mother suffers means the baby suffers too. And that means overloading the gating system early on. The result is that when we try to cede high-level cortical alerting functions in order to reach down deeper in sleep levels, the pain is there waiting and prevents any rest. This is usually the result of serious neglect and trauma while we are living in the womb. And so because the gating system is weak we cannot block enough of the pain in order to get some rest. And we take pills in order to quiet the onrush of pain. And those pills work on pain centers; some work directly on the vigilance centers of the brain stem such as the locus coeruleus. They do what they are supposed to do: quiet the agitation.

The faulty gating system already means serious pain when the gating system was being organized, sometime around the midpoint of pregnancy. An anxious or depressed mother can overtax the baby in the womb; too much input from the mother, so much so that the inchoate gating system becomes defective. And later in life when we try to sleep our minds are racing, racing because the first line is in a hyper state. Why hyper? Because there is danger from the imprinted deep first-line feelings, and so the system must stay alert against the feelings. So long as that imprint of a turbulent agitation remains in place sleep will always be a problem. That imprint has no doubt already lowered the effectiveness of the gating system, making sleep problems unavoidable. So of course we take pills to try to make the physiologic function be normal; those pills are an attempt to normalize the system, to establish a brain system that can shut down when necessary. So they are life-saving and life-threatening. In the daytime we see this in the anxious patient who is go-go-go all of the time, unable to sit still and relax. Sleep problems are only an extension of the daytime behavior. It is still the same person, night and day. He may also exhibit impulsive behavior during the day, as an expression of impaired gating. It isn’t that we have sleep problems at night but are perfect during the day. It is the same system misbehaving at night: on the go when one shouldn’t be, night and day. Same imprints driving it all.

Taking sleep pills is, of course, life-endangering. But here is what an expert, the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, says: “If someone comes to me on a sleeping pill, usually my tactic is to try to take them off it.” Without looking into its biological necessity? Maybe one needs it to equalize the psychic economy. It is clearly what the system needs to go on functioning. Today the experts believe that it is safer to take non-benzodiazepine sedatives than benzodiazepines or barbiturates. Not sure. Maybe, although it is still suppressing the pain, just by a different method. How about discussing the pain, what it is and how to get rid of it? Why is it always a given that we must suppress? Why don’t we express? Assuming we know what we are dealing with, that is. Ah, that is the problem—not enough knowledge about what is behind sleeplessness. It is, after all, a big leap from womb-life to not being able to sleep last night. I could never have figured it out without observing patients who have sleep problems relive first-line feelings and begin to sleep peacefully at last. We see the great inner agitation during the primal, and then see the drops in blood pressure and heart rate and later, reports of sound sleep. One piece of advice: when there is that stab of some feeling upon arising in the morning, instead of running from it, lie back and let it sweep over you. It often helps, and you will eventually understand why that problem is there in the first place.


  1. Art , nearly each and every morning I have
    this amorphous "feelin"? of terror and depression
    fear...You nameit... but I try in vain -till now at least to u s e it !
    Perhaps itis too much for my still fragile "ego" to tolerate.and integrateß
    Besides many years as an adolescent I used to wake
    me up in order to look after my mother who was h e a v i l y on sleeping pills .
    I see red when I read of sleeping pills and I abhor women when they seem drunken and the like.
    Sleeplessness is that symptom of mine in decades that crippled me most (besides the pitiable physique 2,2m... I thank the lord of sleep (how isthe greek expression..ß That I quit those prescribend little helper many years ago
    Yours emanuel

  2. Dr. Janov,

    These are my thoughts also: “Ah, that is the problem—not enough knowledge about what is behind sleeplessness.”
    Relating this issue to my personal experience I can say that I sleep very well (8 hours, waking up without an alarm clock) if I feel safe. Feeling safe while sleeping is not only my problem, many abuse victim report the same – feeling the need to be alert while sleeping or reporting racing thoughts (high adrenalin).
    The sleep pattern changes instantly when fear is involved and there are no sedatives that would erase the underlying fear/nocturnal vigilance that leads to sleeplessness.
    After we moved to NM in 2005, I experienced something wonderful, I could sleep. The reason is, no noise. Everything changed in 2010 when someone tried to break into our house at 2:30 in the night while were sleeping. Since this event, I have become the listener in the night again. An early childhood fear imprint (just one of many) is awake again. My father sneaked into my room in the night and ripped the comforter away and yelled get up. What followed was punishment (beating) for what I forgot to do.
    Now the same imprint is alive again and I rarely fall into deep sleep (REM) sleep – I feel I need to be vigilant. This unstable and unhealthy sleep pattern contributes to depression, which turns into a cycle –depression and insomnia.
    I would suggest sleep-research should test the night time adrenalin and cortisol level. That could bring insomnia closer to the reason and explanation why people can’t sleep. I’m convinced non-sleep is related to “leaky gates”.

  3. The whole issue of repression comes up when dealing with lack of sleep perhaps. If dreams are our subconcious feeding us snippets of early experiences then if we cannot sleep perhaps that is us racing away from our experiences. That is my experience. I don't sleep and am anxious and paranoid before I remember something from my early life and the symptoms subside. It makes sense. Why do we wake from dreams or nightmares? Because to stay asleep would mean being confronted with the trauma at too an intense level. We wake before the experience of the trauma is too great. Dreams are a gentle way of introducing us to trauma. In the same way that Art describes how it is dangerous for a client to experience first line before second or third line so too perhaps experiencing too much of a dream would be dangerous. Perhaps this is when nightmares burst through into the concious mind (perhaps when the lizard brain is awake but the human brain is still half concious). A Nightmare is too much dream. My nightmares have always been about particular things (falling) and people in the bedroom (abuse).

    I am not sleeping at the moment. I know something is coming to the surface. it's a biggy. It's taking a long time. I find it difficult to write my diary or even talk to my therapist because to do so would be to face my trauma. I am getting migraines and paranoia. I take on board what Art says about experience in the womb but I think much paranoia comes from the diassociation from recognising how much a parent ca persecute a child. My mind is taking it slowly because it needs to before it remembers this big event. lack of sleep is part of the process. Lying awake in the middle of the night is not dissimilar to having to stay in isolation for 3 weeks during Primal Therapy. Slowly slowly catchy Monkey.

  4. For those who are interested, I have posted a survey I have done on the cause of death of 72 world artists with regards to Arts' surmising that artists tended to die more from cardiovascular disease because their leaky gates allowed feelings to rise to become creative ideas, rather than being totally repressed and leading to cancer. Posted April 14 under " On Being Crazy And Creative At The Same Time. How Come ? " ( Nov 24, 2011 ).

    Best wishes, Len Gibbs.

  5. Hi Art

    Have I got this correct?

    The symmetrical structure of the message is straight forward.

    Block the feelings of an emerging imprint and disease ensues elsewhere in the body.
    Block the feelings of an emerging imprint with a pharmaceutical and disease still ensues.

    The only solution that will reduce disease is to heed evolution's design and intent, and allow the overwhelming feelings to titrate upward - at whatever time is need - upward and into the consciousness.

  6. Primal Therapy a "divine" process!

    To get the thinking brain to accept death... it cannot be done without the sentient brain association with awareness. The total pain the sentient brain bears are in a disastrous situation...constrained by the thinking brain... which must... during a therapeutic process be handled with extreme caution.

    The total pain as the sentient brain carries is the reason for the therapeutic process… a process as must work its way backwards ... slowly and carefully into our history to avoid undesirable overcharge that is not manageable.
    Managing a horror that got all of our system to shut down and continue to be off because of the intensity of pain... must be "channeled out" to be curative... into awareness. It sounds cold heading and that is also what it was... a chilling situation that was impossible to live with. But with the "knowledge" of need of love it can be done.
    “Primal Scream”… which is a consequence of experiencing too much pain at one time… must be handled with the knowledge that currently exists at the primal center.

    We are missing love and continuing lack of it... the flourishing effects of the awareness of love is of importance inevitable.

    This in other words of yours Art.


  7. The professors cradle!

    What a satisfaction it pleases to be specially treated... to achieve fame as the plaster on the wound after such a traumatic experience... such as being denied love... the only love that would have given us life. Can we "understand" this equation then we have reached the primal therapeutic riddle.


  8. An email comment:

    "As an aside, I wanted to alert you that there are natural. OTC medicines to aid in sleeping and alleviating sleep disorders. Tryptophan and 5-HTP restore serotonin to the brain which you correctly indicated are depleted in the brains of people carrying repressed hurts and Pain from the past. Calcium and magnesium also help as do a group of herbs: hops, valerian root, passion flower, etc. What also alleviates stress and trauma are various homeopathic remedies and Bach flower remedies. Of course, primal therapy and primally related tools (raquet sports, jounaling, creative art expression, dancing, body movement, etc.) are vital along with the above biochemistry interventions. "

    1. It is obvious… when you do not understand something… it is also relevant to reality… and not least the Achilles heel the primal therapy has to solve... prove.

      When serotonin or other substances are used up… it means that something (pain ... suffering) burned them and burned them at a pace that shows that more serotonin than what would be necessary were used up… that is what we are trying to please when adding more serotonin... more serotonin to the combustion because it is used up

      When serotonin is used up then arises the apparent symptomatic reactions... suffering that burned serotonin and more are needed… and that because you not taking on board what the primal therapeutic process is about.

      Suffering has its source... a source that is manageable if you can "learn "to listen.


  9. I am an incorrigible night owl, partly because I have a slight terror of going to sleep but when I do I have no problem falling &staying asleep &looove sleep (:)). However this morning something interesting happened: for a moment I suddenly dreamt my entire environment was crushing in on me, I felt like I was drowning in it &was completely trapped. I immediately woke up gasping, the right side of my face was 'crushed' &I was having difficulty inhaling w my right nostril (just like migraine)..

    Youv mentioned Art that when on sleeping pills, that not 'processed' at night (because of the pills) gets carried over to the day. I shared this w/a senior reg' I was doing psych wards w/in '09 and he actually took it on board: considering sleeping pill type &dosage taken, when viewing patients' daily behaviour. Was great to see a psychiatrist listening to Primal. (Ps, I gave him The Janov Effect when I left the hospital, and the Consultant Primal Healing)

    1. Jacquie: Very smart and thanks for all the enthusiasm. art janov

  10. Hi,

    "Frank: I like the way you write. art "-

    I like the way you write too Frank.

    By the way, forgive me for getting all analytical again but I've noticed that in different languages, verbs and nouns and adverbs and adjectives are strung together in different orders. This reminds me of the way it's possible to 'imply' meaning in radically different ways. I think this subject is known as syntax, put me right if I'm wrong.

    In English we tend to 'do things' (verb) to objects (nouns) in that order. Also we describe things by what colour they are and then what we're talking about, eg: the blue car. In French it's la voiture bleu, n'est pas? (Isn't it)?

    Having spent years needing to describe complex things and situations to satisfy urgent requirements in the workshop I have begun to speak English the French way around. Bizarre but effective! French seems more emphatic and English more suggestive. Probably you could demonstrate the opposite in certain descriptive contexts.

    I wonder if it is an advantage to a Primal Therapist being able to speak both French and English? (or any other combination of languages) because of the way meaning can better be transmitted through a more sophisticated choice or arsenal of syntax?

    I wonder if the way we can empathise (with a few words, as few as possible) is enhanced by this ability to swap words around so that the pattern of the flow of meaning 'moves' our defences in the 3rd line (verbal). Tempo, refrain, . . . language can be like music. I'm just a carpenter though, bang, bang, bang, saw, saw, saw!

    Paul G.

    1. Paul: Right on. Very often I can only think of the french word for something and France has to help me find the english word. It is amazing how speaking 2 or 3 languages helps. I recommend everyone learn at least one other language. art

  11. It's probably no surprise to you that I, too, have suffered from insomnia/trouble falling asleep/disturbed sleep for years. Started as a teenager, actually. I was always sleep deprived in school, so I slept past noon on Saturdays and Sundays to catch up. And when you're a teenager, your developing brain really needs good sleep. Like 9 hours/night, they say.

    "Today the experts believe that it is safer to take non-benzodiazepine sedatives than benzodiazepines or barbiturates. Not sure. Maybe, although it is still suppressing the pain, just by a different method."

    I agree with the experts here. Benzos aren't really that good for insomnia in the first place. In fact, they can worsen insomnia. And they're goddamn addictive. They're good for anxiety, in short term. That's it... long term use actually makes the anxiety worse and can also facilitate depression. Then there's the potential for abuse. I'm a living example of all these negative side effcts: a depressed, panic-prone Klonopin/Xanax addict & abuser.

    Now about sleep again. After I fell into a depression in the fall of 2007, my sleep pattern has gotten really bad. I was always a night owl, even as a teenager, but now it's ridiculous. I go to sleep after 6am and get up around 3pm. For me, staying up all night is a kind of defense. I think SWA is onto something when she suggests sleep-research for night-time adrenalin and cortisol levels. I'm always tired during the day and evening, but when the time comes when most people go to bed, I get energised. And this happens even if I wake up early and stay busy (i.e. awake) all day. It was that way when I was a teen.

    As far as alternatives to conventional sleeping pills go, I would recommend melatonin. It usually stops working after a few months, and you have to take a break, then take another regimen, and so on. I've been taking it before going to bed on a daily basis for two years now, though. It seems to still work. Whether it's the placebo effect or whether I'm some kind freak of nature, I don't know. Does it really matter in the end, though?

  12. Hi,
    -"Why is it always a given that we must suppress? Why don’t we express"?-

    Because as adults living and working in the 3rd line much of the waking day we all "gotta get on" with our own responsibilities. . . and, we don't want to have to resonate to the traumas of others. . . "Not My Problem". . .

    It is inevitable but also a crying shame. . . I don't want to believe that the Human Race had to come to this point of almost imbecilic self destruction because of the 'repressive philosophy' but in reality the structure of the Human brain almost guarantees such a terrifying outcome. How many of us only learn 'after the event'?

    I thank my lucky stars I found this blog.

    Paul G.

    1. Paul: And I found the luck to write it. We are all in this world together, trying to figure it out, trying to get out of it what we can, often lost, often sad and lonely but still truggin. We suffer and yet go on because there isn't much choice. My job is to make all of our jobs a bit easier and more understandable so we won't wonder what is driving us, and won't ascribe it to "demons." I wish there were someone like me when I was young and trying to figure out life. I was lost too. I was educated at 4 universities and trained at the Freudian clinic of the West (Hacker), mostly Viennese shrinks, more lost than I, trying to make psychoanalysis a science----a hopeless task. art

  13. I disagree with Len's comment regarding the connection between artists and insanity! I'm one myself and certainly do not consider myself insane and, although I had cancer in my 20's (I'm 63 now!)I have no problem with a possible heart condition.In fact, my writing helped me considerably stay sane! So agree about Dr Janov's comments on insomnia and sleeping pills. My G.P. in England has no understanding of the relationship beween early pain and insomnia. Instead he, like so many if not all the others I have known- regards pills taking to get to sleep in a moral sense.i.e, as a weakness.A patient is open to abuse from doctors in their ignorance in this matter. Being regarded as bad as taking heroin and illegal drugs. They all want patients to come off sleeping pills. They dont give a monkey's about reasons for taking them.

    1. Anonymous, I have not mentioned anywhere in my survey where I think artists are crazy. I have simply responded to Arts' premise that perhaps artists tended to die more from cardiovascular disease than cancer & I believe this may also apply to the rest of the population. I am also an artist(aged 61)- & I also think the idea that ALL creative people are prone to crazy ideas is a pretty general statement !


  14. Hi Art, I sent you the following to your Facebook inbox a week ago.
    I was wondering if you could please reply?
    Thanks x

    Hi Art
    I have a body of work I'd like to donate the Center.
    It is 12 20x30" black+white photography prints of a birth shot over 17minutes. The series is titled "Birth: 3 seconds later" as I counted 3secs between two of the images, where the woman is in agony and then holding her baby in ecstasy (the midwife passed it up). As the birth was so fast the images are almost consecutive frames, so when they are displayed as a single unit (4 rows of 3, covering an entire wall) the sequence is very clear. Or they can be broken up; one of the images is vertical. They are unframed but should be tacked professionally.
    They are very beautiful and have shown in galleries in Australia and have won awards. France wrote me how much you +her enjoyed seeing some I emailed (2008). I think I will be relocating to LA (for Primal) and am starting to downsize. I am coming for therapy this year as you know and can bring them w/me or send them ahead. When I'm there I can organise for them to be mounted or you're welcome to do what you like with them.
    If you're not interested please let me know and I'll donate to a university or hospital here. If you could let me know.
    Best wishes, Jacquie

    1. Jacquie: yes yes, I wrote that I wanted them but I have no mastered facebook yet. please? art

  15. There is a very intelligent... smart card for all of us to draw. I do it in all meaning as soon as there are opportunities. I know for myself how far away but yet so close I am in my feelings when someone expresses his/her approval of me... I mean... I react with the feeling that once was lost when my need to be loved by my mom and dad were essential… essential for life but failed and never appeared.

    If we are denied love... love the essential needs as small then it is cemented in us and we will remain in need of love from our mother and father for the rest of our lives.

    The symptom... the symptom of the feeling when I have felt more shy and stupid when someone liked me... is my defense against my mother and father a denial for my need of them. To feel stupid for need of love… can you imagine…that is the way the human system works when denied loved… in itself a threat to the human race!

    Today it is enough for me to read what Art writes "I like the way you write" to make sense for my need to be recalled… a need I had then… a need I was denied with emotional pain nothing could help against. At the time all was too late.

    To recognize the symptom… the pain of denial... the pain barrier to feel the need is the bottom line of our “understanding” of it... I mean that will be the last thing we do when it is associated with life-threatening response… the last we did and first that give us life back.

    That is why we are suffering and do not feel the specific pain of why we suffer. That is way we slowly have to get back to where it begun. Piece by piece has to fit in for what it means in the process to feel the need. The need as will tell us what love means.

    Thank you Art.

  16. Hey Jacquie,

    You could consider applying for international copyright before you 'give' them to the clinic so that the clinic could legally print them for sale and remain protected from theft.

    I know something about this. The copyright can be stolen by not having applied for it prior to giving.

    One way to raise funds. . . Some 'projects' like this have turned over millions by the way; due to the combination of the new owners' aims and the potential for a new market. God, what do I sound like? !

    Paul G.

    1. Thanks Paul. They are gallery size prints, not easy to print from. Reprinting would happen from the original scans I have and own (digital files from negative). The Center would be able to do this thru me if they wish.

  17. Hi All & Art,

    -"My job is to make all of our jobs a bit easier and more understandable so we won't think it is some kind of demons driving us".

    What a job, it's working.

    By the way, I was a compulsive psychology book addict* before I got onto this blog about 18months ago. (* That means I spent years trying to heal myself by reading the instruction manuals, they're mostly all booga booga of course).
    I was so impressed by what I found on the archive here (isn't it a totally unique testament? Wouldn't it make the basis of a startling drama / book or radio play)? I realised almost immediately I should not read any of Arts' books until I came to my own conclusions about all this Primal Theory from having had conversations (albeit 'long distance & obliquely). . . with all of you. Seriously, that was my decision 18months ago; I read the old Primal Scream in 1984 (like everybody else). . . That was all.

    You see my realisation was coming around to what my intuition had always whispered in my ear: that my 3rd line is a hall of mirrors and can make anything mean anything; certainly I have been infuriated by others caprice in this way. So I realised that if I just went out and bought all Arts' books and read them, well then I would be conditioning myself with Arts' words before getting any true insights from my own condition. . .

    Ok, you could accuse me of trying to use this blog as 'talking therapy'. God forbid that any of us do that eh? ! But actually no. What I have done is to informally use myself as an isolated control for the Theory (ie: not just "Book Learned"). Basically I am (at least for my self) the living proof because all of what's been discussed here that relates to me and my condition is far too strikingly accurate to be mere belief or co-incidence. I am convinced through this blog of the Primal Truth of my personal condition (before reading the books).

    Thus, I am now reading a copy of Primal Healing. I notice there are things in it that Art does not say on this blog.

    Lastly, I was involved in New Age stuff and the Environmental Movement to quite an extent. I set up a not for profit business to restore British Woodlands, that failed like so many other attempts to empty the Aegean Stables. I lived for many years with the illusion that I could change the world for the better through my personal commitment to these sort of activities. I nearly destroyed my life with the effort. I became extremely cynical after a while, noticing time and again the self interest of the few screwing it up for the benefit of the many. I'm 52 now.

    I guess that this blog is as cathartic for Art as it is 'helpful' for us bloggers because of the extreme frustration Art and France and other Primal Professionals must have experienced over many years of trying to reach into the mainstream Psychology community and getting only the STONEWALL EFFECT. I imagine that this blog and the legacy program at the clinic must be essential for Arts' sanity and all his associates, friends and family because the STONEWALL will inevitably outlive Art.

    I think maybe we are 'under miners' of these walls of repression around the Fortress of Denial. Digging down. Digging in, letting in the light and fresh air.

    Paul G.

    1. Paul: Hey don't give up. We all do something bit by bit and one day, maybe, there will be progress. art

  18. Hi Art,

    Evolution's a peculiar thing.

    Paul G.

  19. Hi Art ,I totally agree with You :to be two-lingual
    is helpfull to Your one ..or me at least
    feel in Germany`s Italians ,Turkish ,russian "second"
    immigrants (Young people).
    I often "envy" (there a positive form of it !)their
    fluent wandering... between those two languages.
    By the way :for me The turkish people are in general
    (despite their religion..) the saner ones perhaps because
    of their familiy ties..
    Yours emanuel
    P.S. learning Italian helps me alot( I am infatuated in some
    Italian ladies.

  20. Len Gibbs, Very sorry I was reading your comment in rather a hurry and got it wrong! I have reread what you said and you are completely right!!I therefore humbly apologise. So glad another artist is on this interesting blog, by the way. I don't know about the idea that artists are more likely to die from heart attack than cancer as I suffer no heart problems yet had quite a serious cancer in my twenties. All the best to you from me!

    1. Anonymous: Primal therapy will lengthen your life; of that I am sure. art

    2. Anonymous, apology accepted !


  21. Thanks for your comment, Len Gibbs. As for your's, Art. I only wish I could afford it!Yours is the most important, in my opinion, and the ONLY therapy which I believe in and which is the most fundamental, real help that can be imagined because it gets to the pain, the reasons and the vital truth of our existence. I have wanted it since my twenties but I am 63 now!
    I have a few thousand but I don't think it is enough and I am also unsure that 3 months would be long enough for me. Is it worth having this, which I know fully how life changing it is and how it turns the whole value system upside down when you realise what matters and what the hell doesnt. I wish I COULD HAVE IT!

  22. Referring to your comment, Art. I only wish I could afford primal therapy! Also, when I wanted it in my twenties, I was turned down, for whatever reason at the time.I was somewhat fragmented and in a lot of pain after taking LSD, which may have been it.Or possibly due to my limited funds.It doesn't matter now, but what I want to please ask you is, if you think it is a good idea for people to have primal therapy if they are coming from abroad and are only on a 3 - month visa IF they live in relative poverty back home? Surely, but I could be very wrong in my presumption, for your therapy to be successful it has to be undertaken for a longer period? Also, from what I have heard, people need to have a safe, soundproof place to do the therapy in after they have left your Centre. If they haven't got this or live in blocks of flats with poor sound proofing or know anybody else who is doing the therapy, who may have a place they could use for the therapy work, then it would be a terrible blow to have to abandon it after being opened up to the primal process of feeling. What do you think about this, please?

    1. Anonymous: Listen it is better than nothing and we carry on with Skype for however long you need it. Do it! If you need a quiet place you will find it. Sometimes just a pillow over the face helps. art

    2. I agree w/Art Anonymous, don't overthink it, it's a matter of just making a start. Then it will come to you, have faith. This is the position I am in too, also since my 20's so I sympathise. Jacquie

    3. Hi Anonymous,

      Anonymous: Listen it is better than nothing and we carry on with Skype for however long you need it. Do it! If you need a quiet place you will find it. Sometimes just a pillow over the face helps. art

      That's all I've got, and Ted. I don't care what anybody says about stuffed toys but Ted is King and I am his loving subject. He's been hanging around in my life for 47yrs and for the last 3yrs since I hit rock bottom he's all I've had to rely on. Call me nuts if you like but Ted has saved me from the Pits of Hell. He gets so salty from my tears that I have to wash him in the bath. Sometimes when I look into his eyes I see all the loving care and concern that I should have had when I got him 47 yrs ago.
      I know this sounds mad but when I look at him his eyes are bluer and his nose blacker and his ears more floppy and laid back. His mouth now has such an enigmatic smile that never was there before.
      One thing's for sure, when I eventually get to the clinic and to one of those Halloween dos Ted will be there. I'm even thinking of booking him into the clinic as an intern for Primal Training. He'd certainly learn a lot faster that most of those other stuffed toys charging £50 for 50 minutes.

      Paul G.

    4. Fantastic Paul, that made me laugh! My Golden & Wendy Darling will be my carry on luggage and can't wait to do a tour of LA. Beverley Hills bears.
      Golden boxed in pale green tissue paper for my 4th birthday is my earliest concrete memory. I rounded the corner and knew it was her by the shape, so excited. She was the matriarch of my sister&I's teddy kingdom for years. She represents ultimate love and care to me.
      I am hoping to be at the Primal Night at the Center/Halloween this year. A 20+ yr dream come true. I hope you make it there sometime too.

  23. Thanks for your support, Art and Jacquie. It is very much appreciated! I am, frankly, uncertain that I have sufficient funds for the therapy and the return fare from England. This is my position now.

  24. Thank you, Jacquie! I wish you all the best of luck in your own primal therapy and hope it works out well for you. It's a pity there is nothing like it in England, where I live, or Australia, where you do.

  25. Art, is it possible that a person should stop taking something like klonopin to help them sleep, like myself, and not get sleep for a while to allow feelings and memories to come up?

    1. It is very individual and I would not fool around with drugs without a doctor. art

  26. Hi Art. I am seeing a Dr and I told him what you said. He wondered if you could clarify your answer. Maybe give us more information. He read some of your books.

    1. You know I can't give advice on this matter. art


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.