Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Dialogue About "Science"

This is a dialogue between me and my scientific colleagues

Art: 
Think of it, in one hundred years of psychotherapy, and with thousands of scientific studies on psychoanalysis, hundreds of studies on EMDR, many on mindfulness, thousands on hypnosis… blah blah they have never come close to a real cure and a real theory. Why not? Because point by point studies will never get us there. It is a failure of imagination, the missing link in therapy. …Feelings. They are the missing link, and you can never get there through statistical studies, intellectual pursuits and philosophies. It is the antithesis of finding a cure. Yes I know about science and its importance, but I was discussing all this with a friend and I added up the hundreds of thousands of so-called scientific studies and it all came to zero. Think about it. How come?

Bruce: 
I was just thinking about this.
 You see, the problem with mainstream science is not the science but the people doing it. It's not statistics, per se, but the analytical approach. Statistics are only a tool, which is why I don't like your concept of "statistical truth." I know what you mean, but statistics aren't to blame -- it's the unimaginative and UNFEELING people doing the statistics with their paltry theories of mental health. Someday, statistics can and will be used by FEELING people to demonstrate that primal works. Not that it's needed for patients.

But is it worth it? That's what I'm asking these days. Unless people feel, they'll never believe it, even with the numbers. Dr. Jaak Panksepp got part way there but who else in science recognizes your work? No one that I know. They're all in cognitive la-la land.

So maybe primal will always remain small, suitable only for those who recognize it. And smart people who feel will see the connections in biology and early life and the meaning of the imprint.

But I'm with you. It is stunning that no one sees this. They circle around and around it but never get it so I can only conclude that being non-feeling is its own form of blindness. You wrote about that in Primal Man and it's still true. Feeling people are like a different species.

Art: Wouldn’t you think by accident someone might come close?  It is like there is a cure for cancer but no one is interested.  Some years ago I got a letter from the Cancer Society asking for money for research.   I wrote back saying I had no money but I could offer them a lot of help in finding a cure since I know a lot about it.   No answer.
No one was even curious. After all, I am a Ph.D and an Academic Hall of Fame, blah blah.
 So objectivity is limited by the personality of the scientist. Does that make it objective?  In other words, there is this subjective side of science that can lead scientists astray.  So there is no pure objectivity.

Bruce: You see, science is still a left brain activity, and for primal theory and therapy we desperately need the right brain.  And to become a professional we first and foremost need our left brain. So what do we do?  We ignore feelings and get on with our studies, using our left brain to get ahead and to get a diploma.  We are like compulsive mice, we search here and there but never come up with the right answer. We never reach our goal because we never define what our goal is in the field of science and therapy; we don't know what that goal is. We know how to study this approach or that but we don't see it all in the macro sphere.  If I say, "the goal must be feeling," the researchers suddenly go deaf.

Page: I agree with Bruce that it is the people. It's not the statistics per se, it's not even the analytical approach, it's the analytical approach without feeling that's the problem. No feeling, no whole, no truth. As scientific evidence of what trauma and lack of love do to us continues to grow and it becomes increasingly difficult not to put it together, theories will continue to get closer and closer to primal theory (and I think your writings provide a scaffolding that help that, whether acknowledged or not in our lifetimes), but at some point it gets personal and then it just boils down to access and feeling. I think "scientific" evidence of the effects of feeling, healing, that primal therapy works, is of value--I'd love for someone to put up the money for your research proposal--to increase the cognitive dissonance of the mainstreamers and help point the way for those who feel enough to sense the truth. But I wonder where it goes. The theory will be there but the feeling won't be; will it just help make people crazier, like my old friends? Add in power relations, economics, etc., I'm not optimistic that primal therapy ever gets broad acceptance, at least in our lifetimes. But I don't know, maybe way down the road, long after we're gone. Every little nudge we make might help.

I was talking with a work colleague recently, a top Wall Street attorney, hard as nails and intellectual as they come. His last name is a Swedish one (I'm half-Swedish) so I asked him if he was Swedish--turns out he's Irish, his dad died while his mom was just a few months pregnant with him and later remarried. We got to talking about the anguish his mother must have felt and how that must have affected him in the womb. He proceeds to tell me he's convinced that's the origin of his vision problems, all the stress hormones, must have been a critical period in optic nerve growth, etc. He goes on to talk about how his stepdad took years to adopt him and give him his last name and how he's always resented that and now wishes he didn't have it. No problem accepting the "development" side of Primal Theory, but if we had ventured into talking about laying down to cry and feel to unwind the past would have been a non-starter. Theory never gets you to feeling.

Bruce: Art, it always comes back to one major truth: what you can't feel, you can't understand, and to understand primal, you really have to feel the truth of it.

I often ask why there is no one who has gone through your therapy who has gone on to research it seriously. Perhaps it's because of the massive amounts of bullshit you must consume to get a PhD in psychology.  Or perhaps it's because you must shut down your feelings to get through school. Or perhaps it's the fight you must wage against the cognitive paradigm that still poisons psychology after half a century.

There is no funding for unpopular topics so people give up. You can get a $ billion a year for studying brain mechanisms of addiction but ZERO for studying the real cause of addiction.

So in the face of all this struggle, it's not surprising no one has stepped forward.






16 comments:

  1. No doubt the theories will gain acceptance as time goes on. The bigger obstacle is the feeling process itself. It's not an easy or natural thing to do, defending against painful feelings is.

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  2. Quote: "And smart people who feel will see the connections in biology and early life and the meaning of the imprint."

    Well I'm an unfeeling bastard yet I still understand it. The difference is that I have a penetrating need to understand things in REAL terms, and I am by nature an evolutionary psychologist in that the functions must make sense as a system derived for the purpose of survival.

    Primal theory is the ONLY theory that stands on a robust and sound premise. It's the only theory that makes sense as an evolved adaptive system, and the only theory consistent with what I know of myself and others in everyday real life within the subjective (and objective) human experience. Other theory is competitive with pulled-it-out-of-my-backside new age-ism. And people probably like that about those other theories for the same reason why people like the new age stuff; that is it's a kind of escapism. Escapism from their pain.

    ...Jungian psychology is a magical fix for the mind that wants to float far, far away.

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  3. 3rd Line part 1.

    Hi All,
    I can't remember who but recently some-one said on this blog that the cognitivists are just re-packaging 'common sense' as a pseudo science. Something like that any-way.
    Well I agree.
    As the 3rd line is the latest evolutionary development it follows that every human society and culture will be largely influenced by the 'advantages' (so called) that the intellect offers those individuals who think (believe) they are 'impartial' in their perceptions to assume what's right for every-one else. Thus the cognitivists always believe they are right to be in control of the resources because they believe the intellectuals' advantage is beyond the need for internal self reflection; IE: Consciousness turned onto itself, IE: turned inward.

    I'm sure this is as Art says an absence of feelings, pure and simple. Without some access to feelings from below one's own internal world, from the antipodes of ones' own history as Art says one will have only awareness, not consciousness. The consequence of this absense is the inability to see other peoples' reality objectively at all. So this so say intellectuals' advantage is really only an advantage 'over other people who do not make the same assumptions'. Felling people take note.

    The 3rd line offers tremendous forward thinking and information processing ability which of course is a great advantage to survival. . . being able to communicate in detail about that and then co-operate in teams, well, there you have us all in a nut shell. . . Arn't we co-operating well?

    It seems to me that as an outgrowth the 3rd line is largely focussed 'out there'. We use it for precise development of survival needs; we survive 'out there' don't we?

    All the evidence stacks up to deceive us further into an 'out there' frame work. The resources for survival are all 'out there', all you other people are 'out there' too, arn't you? Eventually the sum total of all of us 'out there' beings becomes worth not only less than the potential 'more' but destructive of the whole human and mammalian world, the world of conscious feelings. Thus we need 'Common Law' to direct the boundaries and when those boundaries are in conflict we need 'Common Sense' to moan about.

    It seem a reductionist problem where by default we all choose the lowest common denominator: "Cheer Up. Pull yourself Together and Stop Acting the Victim". . . As Art says now so called scientists are cheer-leading us to do the same and using Simon & Garfunkels' famous line to prove it:

    -"A man believes what he wants to and disregards the rest"-.

    That of course is a very shoddy way to build a bridge over troubled water is it not?

    Paul G.

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  4. Hi,
    So I've been having these insights into growing beyond the constraints that our 3rd line seems to believe in when left to it's own devices, (like a lonely little professor lost in the wilderness, observing and asking why but never being taken seriously).
    I observe the pure cognitivists reasoning to themselves that all people believe in something and so justify a counter dependent attitude to beliefs (essentially the paranoid concept that "You Might Be Wrong"). So in any given situation my belief could be more truthful that yours because you may be wrong. So we are all entitled to our own opinions, because yours out there might be wrong, except I can prove mine right over yours by using statistics. Better still because I am acting wholly outside the realm of human emotion ('impartially' not allowing my passions to persuade me, so I believe) then I can further extrapolate that any-ones' opinion that includes emotions and resonates passionately is bound to be flawed and should be ignored as a matter of imperative. Discard what feels, it's bound to be wrong.
    I have noticed that many of these types you can insult verbally but they don't actually get hurt by the words. It is because they don't have feelings to get hurt. It's really that simple and the tragedy is on every one else who has to endure what the cognitivists havn’t got and don’t themselves comprehend. Feelings.
    Many become Intellectual Pugilists, I nearly went that way myself but I couldn't pack enough irony in my gloves to floor those cognitive opponents. It is possible to floor cognitivists with Irony but you need a long term weather system of it continuously pouring Irony and Satire over them very publicly for a very long time. Eventually you get a public inquiry.
    The British Press used to be good at this but recently thanks to a different antipodean influence has lost its' way into the sewer and missed all the important targets.
    Good science that includes real feelings will win the day in the long run because of the liability on doctors and specialists who will continue to be confronted by people who feel a lot of pain and on new material entering the education system and the tendency for sons and daughters to try to be different from and better than the dogma that came before. Being a grandad now I see some evidence to support my wishful thinking/feeling.

    Paul G.

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  5. WHAT A PROBLEM!

    First... they must understand that there are feelings ... feelings that affect what they are saying if they knew what... feelings that are beyond understanding and full of pain... pain that makes it impossible to say what they feel. “Please help me ART”

    I think that they voluntary... for the sake of science... science itself... must expose themselves to the circumstances in which feelings involuntarily makes themselves known. How to go about it? Isolate them in the name of scientific research.

    Surely their brains would become more active in attempts to find meaning attached intellectual explanations. The question in the name of science becomes more a question of how do you get a defense to “crack”... crack to the point that the issue from an intellectual perspective about feeling is shown in the hidden of terrible loneliness?

    Loneliness is one of the causes of the lid on from feelings and binds the intellect to thoughts… thoughts of “nonsense”… nonsense as can become science of feelings for life.

    Frank

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  6. What is really great about that and hopeful is reading 3 people in the world of science and physcology actually discussing PT as though it is an accepted thing. What I mean is that I don't know anyone who even gets what I am talking about half the time which can be quite lonely.

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  7. Cognitive tutors are representative of their purpose... they have the charisma and looks more happy than their "knowledge" of what it contains... it is a rhetoric that is a winning formula... Perhaps the primal therapeutic presentation lacks a bit of it... for what is it that makes people listen to methods of quackery in FAITH to get well?

    Cognitive “techniques” are what we by our self’s use... use as neurotics without knowledge of what cognitive activity means.

    What would not be possible if the primal therapeutic presentation for its purpose achieved the charisma necessary to be representative of something that also goes to show scientifically?

    Frank

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    1. Hi Frank,

      -"it is a rhetoric that is a winning formula"...

      One advantage of a cognitive belief system is in 'loving' the idea as a substitute for plain loving. . . thus false hope is 'safer'.

      Sounds nuts but if you think about it you don't have to feel it and then you can love the thought instead. . . That's the basic attractiveness of the 3rd line as a defensive system.

      Also, once you have eliminated real feelings from your agenda (stuffed them down) you can 'hijack' other peoples' problems and feelings and live through them. . .
      The tendency to want an audience, to be heard and to be loved results in a drive to lead and perform for applause. I needed that when I was a toddler but now my critical window is long closed. At last I feel the original need my desire for fame and leadership is dwindling. politicians and paper publishing scientists are often just like toddlers waving the 'me' flag, trying to get attention from parents. . .
      Paul G.

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    2. You are so right Paul!

      When we are not allowed to evolve from the conditions we have as fetuses and child... the ONE SINGLE we have… there are only third-line left.

      Frank

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    3. Well Frank, there's a peculiar thing going on there because the 3rd line also seems to 'hijack' the 2nd line and make it a performing monkey instead of a Human Relating Being. Dare I suggest an example:

      I have just provided services and equipment for my daughters' birthday in the park party. A tent and party stuff, lovely sunny day. There is a particular crowd of cognensi mothers at this 'event' (all roasting on their own blankets in the sunshine 25 meters from the shade I erected for them at their request). They have all had CBT of one form or another, all dumped their partners and frankly all programmed their children with the same CBT approach which I add categorically puts the blame squarely back on the kids' conscience:

      All these mothers speak to their children in two opposing languages: one to suggest action and another to provoke a response to incentive. most of the time like cognitive matrons in a quasi religious matriarchal sect they are not really focussing on playing and interacting with the kids but huddling together on a gradually diminishing patch of shaded picnic blanket in a receding shadow of shade as the baking sun went around their gradually unshady tree. . . They spent most of the time talking about themselves, reading the newspaper and 'observing' their childrens' 'behaviour'. The kids at first 'obey' their mums unquestioningly for a while until they 'break' and tell (thank goodness) their mums to stop misinterpreting them and being so bossy with their false assumptions.

      The kids go off to play and I manage the infrastructure, the security, the coffee for the cognensi, the kids relations with the infrastructure, the transport, the landrover and so on.

      Patience I'm getting there: When it was time to go having spent most of the afternoon 'pouring from the empty to the void' on their diminishing blanket, the various mothers duly marched off their despondent children with little love or consideration for the childrens' relationships. In dribs and drabs alone, each child alone with their female PRIMARY CARER (I was the only father present). The mothers looked proud or fiercely protective or ready for the next party (which I was surely not invited to). None were consoling their kids disappointment that the previous sense of wonderful community was now certainly over. I tried to console the one of only two boys present but the mother soon cut me a 'look'. The child acted out a cognitive sulk so symbolic as the mother walked on. It seemed mediaeval. Like driving the outcast. . .

      So like a mediaeval tradesman working for a mediaeval Lady with a bastard child to quibble over I duly packed up the Landrover and went 'home' to my tradesmans' office. I got a telling off for being too efficient as I left.

      My point is that we are prisoners of pain because of the way the 3rd line hijacks the 2nd. It makes a profession out of it. It makes a quasi parental 'job' out of it. "IT" then delegates to others to get the feeling part done. . . A 'cut' of the profits is charged though, the agents' percentage.

      No wonder the kids feel ripped off.

      Paul G.

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  8. young people often say "i want to study psychology. i want to know why people do this and that. people are fascinating..."

    but when they go to university to study psychology, their questions are not answered! instead they are expected to memorise an endless ocean of purposeless information. no wonder many students lose interest.

    i know that some psychology students are following this website. perhaps they can see how the information in this website fills the voids in their textbooks. but maybe only one percent of those students will really understand primal theory. that's why we need to attract thousands of students.

    perhaps we could build a fun promotional website which presents the most frequently asked questions - questions asked by curious young people who have not been influenced by university - the people who ask why and how.

    yahoo and google would help to show the most popular psychology-related questions. the primal promotional website could provide brief, concise answers, almost like a dictionary - a fast food drive-thru for the hungry, impatient student wannabe.

    and of course the promotional page could link to primaltherapy.com and arthurjanov.com

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    Replies
    1. Richard: I will take up your letter with my staff. art

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    2. Great idea, I like it. Jacquie

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    3. just to clarify; i think a promotional website should be 'fun' to explore but the content should be written in the appropriate serious tone, of course. it should contain a lot of eye-catching images, maybe even some slightly disturbing ones, and some interactive ones (click on one part of the brain etc.)
      it is essentially a brochure which means it should be immediately appealing to it's target audience.

      lots of people know how to build a website (i know a little bit of HTML - i built my own) DO NOT pay a web designer many thousands of dollars. there are plenty of people who can help.

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  9. Hi Art, Bruce, Page &friends
    I started searching for 'the psychological truth' when I was 15. At first my 'psycho-spiritually' inclined Aunt gave me books, 'The Findhorn Foundation', 'Eros on Crutches' (pretty sophisticated for a 15yo). I found the idea of gynormous cabbages magical (lol), and thought Eros on Crutches and the like esoteric and essentially utter rubbish.
    I think it was key that I was a little scientist, and a visual one, since day dot. I took out the Human Biol prize at school and studied Human Biol type science at uni.
    Left travelling when I was 20, searching.. More spiritual books in the East, then London. Reading Freud, Jung, knew the Id, Ego, Superego, Anima, Animus more utter rubbish; I mean where are these 'things'? People refer to them w/such certainty.
    Then, and I will always be grateful to Miguel, I discovered Primal, The Primal Scream. Started reading it on the tube after work, called in 'sick' and polished it off in 2 days. I knew immediately I was reading the Introduction I had found it. At such a young age. It is just something you *respond* to.
    I'm 43 and have never swayed.

    Also, had lunch w/a consultant psychiatrist yesterday, he called the Janovs 'revolutionaries'. Not everyone gets it, wants to get it, or save the world. I absolutely agree w/Bruce, and have said it before: this is a human resource/people issue.
    (Ps, I am grateful to this psych as he has s/one to sublet my flat while I'm in LA this year). Jacquie

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  10. An email comment:"Art, to me the question is this: Can a brain that is wired for repression as a primary survival strategy ever fully comprehend itself on a species-wide level? The easy answer is "no". The neurological repertoire of repression is so broad and deep, it's unlikely that any but a few will ever get that this is a survival strategy that only works in the short term and actually threatens our survival in the long term. Having said that, a wiser answer, in my view, is "we can't know at this time." It's true that we often see people in the field of therapy come breath-takingly close to getting what you discovered more than 40 years ago, only to veer sharply away. But isn't there some promise in the fact that they came close at all? In the current issue of Psychotherapy Networker (not exactly a heavy-weight publication but very popular in the field), there are several articles about the importance of feelings and the therapeutic benefit of crying. When you read these authors, all of whom are practicing therapists, you could react with "another miss as good as a mile" or, "hey, there are some people in the field outside the primal community who arrive in their own way and time at similar conclusions."
    While I tend to doubt that Primal will ever be "the" theory and therapy, I also have learned, through feeling, that yearning for absolutes is not productive (and is pain-driven).
    For a long time after leaving the Institute to make my life, I kept my primal experience very much to myself.
    I had the sense that so few people would get it, it might even be dangerous socially to expose this aspect of my experience. That was nearly forty years ago. Now, while I don't wear it on my sleeve, I'm much more likely
    to share it with people in simple human terms. People do respond positively. In fact, it's not unusual for people to ask how they can get into the process of deep feeling. (I have made countless referrals to your center and Barry over on Pico).
    So, my dear mentor, while I certainly wish humans were not so paradoxically bound, and I occasionally
    do grieve over the human condition, I have come to a place where I no longer struggle with it...largely because of doing my feeling work.
    I hope that you can fully feel in your own heart that you have touched countless lives very deeply. In my case, I shudder to think of who I would have been without Almont Street and the wonderful therapists who helped me.
    I might not have survived past thirty.
    All the best, Bob"

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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.
Editor