Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: What is it?

We had a staff training today; our practice is to bring in patients who need extra help to discuss their problem with them. Today, we saw a gentleman who has been sidelined for four years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Very few know what it is, which is why he has been shuttled from one doctor to another, getting one type of medication after another and he still is unable to work. He did receive the diagnosis, however, which shows how useless a non-dynamic diagnosis is: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He is exhausted at all times, cannot drive or go to work; just lies around. Let me explain this affliction and see what can be done about it. And in do so doing I will try to help us see what the act-out is. And the act-in, as well.

Chronic fatigue can often be so subtle as to be undetected. In the case under discussion exhaustion was his act-out. What that means is that he is not just tired now because he has no energy. There is an imprint of exhaustion from far back in time that that dominates his life and drains his energy. He really is tired in the same way that someone deprived of love early on acts out sexually trying to get touched as much as possible to make up for that past deprivation. She really needs love and touch, and is really sexual; driven by the past and its imprinted pain. Or in the case of early food deprivation, especially during womb-life, (the mother on a strict diet to keep her form), they are really hungry…out of a memory!

All of these patients are acting out their need from the past in the present; that is called symbolic acting-out. It is never satisfying or fulfilling no matter how much one does it; and if one is dissuaded from the act-out in therapy the need and imprint are still there doing damage down below.

During the birth process our fatigued patient struggled mightily to get out only to be smothered by a massive anesthetic given to the mother. He couldn’t struggle any more, so that failure set in. He exhausted any and all resources he had in the battle to get born. The exhaustion became an imprint. Later, he felt chronically fatigued and unable to struggle. It wasn’t so evident during growing up except that he disliked exercise or “making a move,” and he had less energy. Making a move originally was impossible. He gave up easily when he should have pushed forward. So when I say “he gave up and couldn’t struggle any more” I am indicating nothing thought-out; it was a biologic memory that had nothing to do with conscious-awareness. The imprint was purely physiologic with no awareness counterpart. It can only be understood after the fact of reliving the imprint when the feeling rises to the top level for comprehension, at last. Clearly, there is no “reaching” for the imprint because the patient does not know it is even there. So he cannot deliberately think it out to go there.

Our fatigued patient began to run off the imprint over and over throughout his life, with no idea what was wrong. The distance between the birth trauma and current-day fatigue is so large as to make it seem absurd. It is not. One way we know is through patients who suffer from it; they relive and relive, first the terrible struggle to get out, then the lack of oxygen and near death sensation back then from massive anesthetic given to the mother, followed by shutdown of many key biologic systems, and giving up…the struggle-fail syndrome. It is that syndrome that is carried through life and acted out without cease…until there is conscious awareness. For it to stop one needs connection; it is the only way, the only way, to stop the act-out. Yes, we can smack some man who gets erect when seeing a picture of a nude man or of someone who salivates at the sight of a juicy steak but it is only temporary until the imprint again rears its head, which it will certainly do. That is why anger management cannot work. We can find tricks to push down anger but the imprint dominates and never lets up. Nearly every treatment in the anger management armamentarium has to do with suppression, pushing back. Anger is not to be managed; it needs to be felt in context; then it is over. We have to manage it, like food and sex addiction, when the person does not feel the feeling. So either feel or manage. It is one or the other.

The imprint is a memory that is unconscious because that is where it resides. And it resides there physiologically, put in place long before the neurological capacity for full comprehension. It is an imprint, nevertheless, and agitates us and forces the act-out without stop. It was physiologic originally and remains so. It is impelling and compelling. Because it is purely physiologic, treatments that work on the physiology such as tranquilizers do work. What is diabolic is that the there are mental consequences, impulsions from below, that force compulsive ideas that lead us to believe, somehow, that it is mental in origin. Not so.

Obviously, the reliving cannot be faked because the memory has been hidden and does not become conscious until it is relived. No patient can foresee this and “decide” to relive it. And no one would want to fake it since it can be uncomfortable. Since several thousand patients have gone through it with success, some long before I wrote about it, we have a good idea that our hypothesis is right. There is nothing quite so liberating as that reliving process. Once relived and the sequence completed it is over and one is no longer driven by it. The compulsion is over because the imprint has been experienced. Meanwhile, until then, it captivates and rules most of our lives. We are often bedeviled by our need to eat, or our constant exhaustion. Now we know what to do about it and treat it properly.

Until there is connection for this fatigued man the smallest effort now leads to exhaustion and giving up; he does not want to try any more. The birth has been hijacked and is run off continuously. Effort, struggle, blocked, smothered by drugs, anoxia (diminished oxygen) exhaustion, failure. To be clear, the physiologic component of the original imprint is run off and will be run off until it is experienced and made conscious. That is, the entire biologic panoply, all of the physiologic components of the imprint, are there and active all of the time. We act it out because there is no conscious connection; like a headless chicken.

If our patient even thinks of going to look for a job he is literally paralyzed into inactivity. It is as if the anesthetic is administered all over again after his birth struggle. In this case, the act-out was giving up and failure. This was then a repetition compulsion where any kind of effort he made exhausted him, the analogue of the birth imprint. Unfortunately, he could never waver from this scenario because it was held fixed by the imprint itself, which never allowed any wavering or alternate behaviors originally. If we want to know the hidden feeling we have only to examine the act-out; it is nearly always a direct reflection of the hidden feeling. As we see in chronic fatigue. This is not to say that it is always thus, but close enough. It is often hidden by some kind of concocted philosophy or theory but it is still the outcome of an imprint.

Why isn’t the act out fulfilling? Because it is symbolic; the fulfillment is for a past event and not current. And it is not fulfilling because it is driven by an unrelenting memory of “no fulfillment”; that is what is driving us. And will continue to do so. The “no fulfillment” is always there no matter how much we eat because it is an ineluctable imprint. If we do not understand the imprint (explained by me in the blog…the mechanisms of methylation and acetylation) we can never understand what drives our compulsions and how to treat them. Understanding is primordial. Otherwise, we are forever prisoners of pain.


27 comments:

  1. Hi,
    since I can remember and over the last three or four years I have become used to lying in a hot bath for an inordinate time. I have become increasingly fatigued, particularly after a hard weeks' work. Utter listless exhaustion. Like being very drugged.

    This fatigue /depression is worst at weekends and particularly Sunday nights. The dreaded Sunday nights. When I had to go back to boarding school after a visit home. . .

    I dread the weekends. Since separating from my partner and moving out of the family home I have begun re-living the extreme fear/ depression from that repeated trauma, aged 8yrs onward.

    One interesting point, I wasn't allowed to cry. . . . . it is bizarre reliving something you should have but were unable to do. . . to cry when previously you could not for fear of retribution. My experience of this is confusing. Various parts somehow re-arrange to allow me to feel it. . . . . Actually tidying up the depressing mess of unfinished documents on my desk has helped. They say having a good tidy up can help but the "Act Out" in document form on my desk is a reflection of my emotional state at age 9.

    Housing documents (where really do I live)? Medical documents (what's really wrong with me)? Financial documents (what is my privilege really worth)? Skills and Training documents (I'm renewing my H&S CSCS card and what is my education worth)? Arts' books, technical drawings (unfinished homework). Tomorrow when I 'wake' I will be filled with the dread of the 9yr old getting up for the Monday morning beating.

    I reckon I must have been alerted on adrenalin all night prior to the bastards' ritual beatings; two or three times a month we were all beaten. Lying there wide awake counting the minutes to hell, all f*****g night. So I feel going to work as a dread too. My boss is the head. . . my colleagues are the other students. . . my ex is the matron, COGNO MATRON.

    My daughter waves at me from the bedroom window with a glum look on her face as I depart. . . when I look up at 9yr old her I see the me I was then as well and I feel the me I was then. I even got photos of me waving good bye at the boarding school gates that look like her.

    -Got a lecture from COGNO MATRON a while back, when our daughter chased me down the road as I departed, she waving dramatically. COGNO MATRON said: "Paul, stop making it all into such a tragedy". . .(after 17yrs she knows my 'history' well enough). . . "You know you're just 'acting out' ". . . my daughter looks at me glumly but as I smile, so does she, clinging on like the limpet she is. . . I smile at her, put her down gently, promise to phone her soon and look at COGNO MATRON. Her eyes and lips thinned to a slit, furrowed brow at the ready.

    "It is a tragedy though, isn't it"? I replied, knowing that COGNO MATRONs' Mum went to boarding school and ran the family home like one too. . . . Only I'm feeling it though

    So, later I'm absolutely stuffed, almost suicidally so, as all the former trauma is resonated by the current 'circumstances'. I havn't plucked up the courage to look at my own birth records yet but I reckon my mum was given something very very powerful during my birth. She had slipped disk back problems and my brother was born breech 5yrs earlier. . . The white coats just knocked her out I reckon. 1960.

    I hope it wasn't "Twilight Sleep", feels a lot like it to me, lying there in the bath like a lump of live meat, waiting for the energy To Get Out.

    I've opened up enough to talk about these things. I'm realising birth trauma through drug overdose on the infant is common; virtually nobody wants to discuss it, it is still going on, it is still widespread.

    Paul G.

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    1. Hi,
      My ex has been seeing a 'feminist buddhist' psychosynthesis psychotherapist for the last 4 years.

      The Feminist movement was invented by the Edwardian middle classes (1901 to 1929); though womens' enfranchisement has been touching base for many more centuries than that, womens' enfranchisement is not dependent on 'old school feminism'.

      I know of hardly any working class women (and I know a few) who are attracted to 'old school' feminism. It is a middle class thing.
      It seems to me that the middle class matriarchy have gained a control base foothold in the caring professions and in education; they are partly responsible for imposing a 'Sexual Separatist Philosophy' on society as a whole.

      Linda Nielsen has something to say about this.

      Ever since I read "The Female Eunuch" I have felt guilty that Men are to Blame for Womens' problems. It seems to me that 'old school feminism' is Acting Out Revenge on men. It is doing this through the Social Caring and Education Institutions.

      I accept this is another one of my acute and emphatic observations but I've had enough of the relational vacuum created in my 'class' by women who really are just as unaware of the truth as the abusive men we men are all assumed to be (even some men assume men are bad).

      High Society Women in Politics, Education & Health Care are mostly all shooting on the wrong targets just like the Men.

      Primal seems to me to be the great 'leveller'. Sexual Apartheid cannot sustain itself in a Primal Context.

      Paul G.

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  2. This was an article that pleased me. I think Arthur would be well served to sort of make a list of the many problems that actually, or usually, or even just often, have primal pain as their origin. His books cover a number of causes but is not comprehensive. Just a list of problems which then can be looked up on page numbers or clicked on the web.

    But now think of this. Of all the “medical” problems and psychological problems that plague us and that the medical/pharmaceutical/insurance complex would surely lose most of its funding, wealth, power and last but not least, its nearly total control over the world’s population, do you really think they will just sit by while primal therapy undoes most of the damage, in theory, anyway? If you do, you are a good candidate for belief in Santa Clause, the Easter bunny, and he11, Mother goose, too.

    It is political power that is the real and true suppressor of PT. Never doubt it for a second . . . or I’ll send the Easter bunny after ya, along with some ghouls, ghosts, and demons ;-)

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  3. "Until there is connection for this fatigued man the smallest effort now leads to exhaustion and giving up; he does not want to try any more."

    OK so an anathestic may have caused this fatigue. OK birth trauma is common as is drug use. However how can anyone know what actually caused this until the Patient actually works it out. Art keeps telling us that the only person who knows what happened to a patient is the patient and if he has not yet made a connection how can Art or anyone else know?.

    I think Paul's comment that he gets very fatiqued on a Sunday night is very relivant when he had to go back to school on Monday. I sometimes get incredible fatique so I just want to curl up and hide. It happens at about 3.45 on a weekday which was when I had to go home from school and face my grumpy cold unloving Mother. I have also felt like I could not move on occassion. Like wading through treacle. It seemed to be a phase as I learned how unloved I felt as a child. It almost seemed like running through an emotional stitch as I got in touch with my early life.

    I worries me that we now have talk of a diagnostic manual which always seems like putting people in boxes. I don't want to be put in a convenient box by anyone. My life is and was my life and while I understand and appreciate how much our womb life can effect us and therefore there are going to be common trauma's that effect many people, my life is unique as are my problems.

    For example I was looking at the X-Ray my chiropractor took a year ago and noticed that a number of my ribs on the right side show fractures near the spinal column. I might be completely wrong but I need to get this checked out. Add to that a sensative area on the right side of my rib cage and I wonder whether I was shaken as a baby. I can imagine it. I don't want anyone telling me what happened to me. I am not sure as yet and it's damn frustrating. I have 4 or 5 years of my early life where I like many others do not remember very much. I wonder how much many of us would remember if we were treated with love and respect.

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    1. Planespotter: Don't forget he has had feelings already and we see all the signs we have seen for 4,5 years, which helps us make some conclusions. it is never whim or caprice. It is logic and science. art

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    2. Art:

      My father use to work in an organisation that helped people with disabilities (of all kinds) into work. With his experience he said he could tell if someone was a schizophrenic just by the way they talked. My point is that with experience you naturally pick up on all the subtle associations that go with a given condition, so that someone can turn up at your office and they just "look" like a particular diagnosis and you will probably be right.

      Do you find that's the case for you and your senior staff? 45 years is a long time to connect all those subtle associative dots.

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    3. Hi planespotter,

      It surely sounds like you were beaten or crushed. . .

      Also, it is inevitable that Primal starts with a theory, a hunch. But that hunch has been tested many times and ironically not even Art believed the evidence when he first saw it. That is the weird thing about repression though, isn't it? I mean until you start unwrapping your own repression other peoples' behaviour and events may appear surprising and unbelievable.

      The hunch is that we are repressing unmet need. We can't re-invent our own Primal Therapy, we need the guidance from other more experienced people who have trodden the path first.

      I like the idea that the therapist sits behind the patient. That is utterly novel. I always had trouble 'facing my therapist'. . . he wasn't ugly, nor unkind or unfeeling. Nevertheless having to face him compelled a relationship that limited my "scope" for letting go. . . Having to face him made the 'alliance' always half about him.

      That's the trouble with the 'transference' relationship. . . It will always be at least half about the therapist.

      But which half? Which half of the relationship is yours and which half is the therapists?

      Therein lies the main serious flaw of the conventional 'transference / counter transference' therapeutic alliance. . .

      So the clinic doesn't put so much emphasis on this "alliance". Thank goodness, it takes the pressure out of the compulsion to perform, to perform for the 'other half'.

      Paul G.

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    4. Andrew: Pretty much. I have been in practice for 60 years so clearly I have learned a bit about the human condition. I am rarely deceived or fooled. The person most likely to fool you is the psychopath, and they rarely if ever come to therapy. art

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    5. Art OK I understand. I would'nt ever suggest whim or caprice. Oh I don't now. I'm just totally knackered. I'm so tired of being tired and never really feeling that people believe me. Not even I believe me sometimes even when I do think what happened happened even with physical evidence! I sure as hell can identify with the idea of chronic fatigue.

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    6. Paul: And it is so hard to leave the other half who literally becomes part of your life. It is like leaving daddy and mommy. You write so well. it is what you should do. art

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    7. Well thank you, it's partly your influence. You're so right about 'the other half'. I now have an identification with my ex-therapist as if he were my older brother. . . funnily enough it was the unresolved sibling rivalry with my older brother (from being incarcerated in separate prisons, I mean boarding schools) that has really frustrated my separation trauma.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Look, in this "Therapy Centre of the Universe" I live in there is a quarterly magazine devoted to the therapies (It's enough to make you want to puke, all the booga booga is in there but not all the therapists have cloth in their ears). It has a wide readership, distributed all over the region.

      I think it's time somebody got to do a book review on your books in this magazine, it is a very influential magazine. In order for there to be 'no prejudice' or 'conflict of interests' you could try writing directly to the editor, or alternatively I could just write myself. Shall I send details to the clinic?

      Paul G.

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    8. Paul: I have done enough. it is up to you to write to those people. art

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    9. Good point. Years ago "Mothering" magazine published reports from many parents & grown children who remembered, for example, their birth, including what people there were wearing & what they said. Of course the newborn didn't understand the words, but the memory, as Janov says, is accurate, & when the child became verbal the words could be repeated.

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  4. Hi apollo,

    -"It is political power that is the real and true suppressor of PT. Never doubt it for a second . . . or I’ll send the Easter bunny after ya, along with some ghouls, ghosts, and demons"-.

    I'm not convinced. I'm not convinced the 'power complex' has that much collected co-ordination. I mean if even a few 'power elite' even knew about PT in word form alone they would not understand the implication of PT. I doubt the Bushes, Bliars, Camerons and so on have even heard of Art Janov.

    The consensus is that expressing negative emotions is not good because the moral majority and holding down their own pain and to resonate with the pain of others is out of the question. . . That's how beliefs close ranks with repression.

    Primal Scream is a band right? Even if a few powerful elite scientist money makers got to hear about PT they would not be able to comprehend the implications. You don't have to be a power monger not to comprehend PT. Most people are utterly blind to the idea of expressing pain as a method of getting well.

    My gut feeling about this is based on my significantly revised view of evolution. Basically when there is only awareness people are shooting at the wrong targets anyway. The power possessors are shooting at 'foreign invaders'. Their scientists are devising ways to 'shoot pain' with 'chemical ammunition'. It is all an act out missing the point entirely; not an act out shooting at PT. Nor holding PT away from the State Induced Drug Addicts for profitable gain by the elite minority (though I'm sure the elite are happy to stigmatise 'druggies' whilst supplying).

    Ok, a few 'scientists' have actively dismissed PT with published words, it's only a few though. Most just do not have the neural nets to comprehend it at all. That is what I find most terrifying. That is the really terrifying thing. It motivates me to do Primal Therapy for reasons beyond my own need. If there were a 'plot' to subvert PT then one could fairly easily mount a 'counter plot' against it.

    That's how the Allies made D-Day work, There is no way you can mount a Primal Therapy D-day because there is no "organised plot" to destroy Primal Therapy. The worst that could happen to PT is that not enough trainees come forward to sustain the clinic over the next coming generations; (there's certainly no shortage of people trying to get to the clinic for therapy though, is there)?

    The problem with UN-Consciousness is that you cant UN-do it. The absence of consciousness is UN-tackle able. It is like trying to wrestle with your own shadow, or some-one elses'.

    I love your contributions apollo and I agree there are many real bastards out there who 'club together' to profit from the labours and pains of others; there's no doubting that.

    But PT is like a rare orchid. Hardly any-one cares about rare orchids. Frankly, I imagine there are many more people trying to promote PT than trying to suppress it. So, I'm sorry, show me the evidence there's a plot to subvert PT then I might agree with you. Apollo, a point comes when such things cease to be important, life is so short, I need Primal Therapy and I intend visiting the clinic to get it. That is all that matters.

    Paul G.

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    1. astute observation paul. art

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    2. Hi,
      The trouble with the cognitised is that they can't tell the rare orchids from the booga booga.

      How does such a rare orchid survive in such a dense jungle?

      It has evolved into its' own 'low lit, padded and quiet niche environment'. . . Meanwhile the vast trees of society, the 'standards' tower up above to the canopy, shading out everything below, but not that rare orchid, or those little lizards and strange humming birds that come to drink its' nectar.

      Oh petals of rarity, save my soul.

      Paul G

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    3. Hi Paul. Society is based on lies so often, so why acknowledge something like PT. I remember someone writing a review about one of Alice Miller's later books and saying how she just seemed to be pushing the exact same theories. It was almost as though the writer thought that she ought to move onto something new like recommending the use of Dried Elephant Dung to cure depression. The fact is that many people say "Oh holding Parents responsible for the damage they do to their kids was dealt with in the 1970's. We have so moved on now." That is probably how PT is thought of. Part of the Hippy vibe etc. Dr Brazelton discovered how Mother's learned to be Mothers rather than inheriting the skill. The trouble with that is that this entailed a Mother having to take responsibility for how she treats her child. Once he had the whole scandle over Cats and cot death no-one needed to take him seriously any more and that whole area could be happily ignored.

      People like lying to themselves and blaming other people or shit like genes to get around their pain.

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    4. Paul: One day when you get here we will try to save your soul.....la petite orchidée.

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    5. hi planespotter,
      You have hit the nail on the head. "We have so moved on now". . .
      F**k !
      One thing I will say though is that once pregnant mothers approach full term, as individuals they become increasingly induced into the "birth machine" which is largely run by women. Now old school feminism (correctly) blames old school men for putting mothers’ feet into stirrups and peering into the birth canal like be-whiskered patriarchal pot-holers. Hopefully that world of unfeeling men in white coats is dying out. But not so fast. . .
      My daughter was brought into the world by a sassy Jamaican ward sister (dressed impeccably in crisp linen) who had her dangling by her legs under bright lights whilst my partner screamed "Where's my Baby"!
      Daughter was blue, rushed off to another room by the sassy Caribbean sister (in white) shouting: "Blue Baby, Blue Baby". . .
      Subsequently my daughter (now 9yrs) still pisses the bed and has acute elevator phobia. Only we PT people know why. . . isn't it?
      Sassy (I shall call her) had also panicked when she realised daughter was stuck in the birth canal, so she turned the Intravenous Piticin up to full watts tonight, in a rub a dub style. . .

      At that time I didn't know what the fuck was going on, except I sort of did know (I wanted our baby back too and had to hold my panick down); but I do know to this day that my partner (now ex-partner) was not happy with sassy. In fact, the look on her face was identical to the look she had when her mother had pissed her off big time a few years earlier.

      Women know about Leboyer but once the "birth machine" takes over, the sausages get served up like live meat. It makes no difference what gender you are. . . Sadly the "birth machine" is attended largely by ward sister types who really would not look out of place on a Chevrolet production line.
      Paul G.

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    6. "or those little lizards and strange humming birds" and small furry creatures that survived the Dinosaurs and evolved into the great Apes and us!

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  5. Hi Apollo I totally agree: I sent notice of Art`s EMDR article to 4 German
    EMDR practioners ...not even one replied!
    Why it is so nice and easy to ignore and so difficult if not impossible to argue against Art`s (I would better call it NATURE`s or REALITy`s point
    of view!
    I am the last one to "PRIMAL GOSPELLING" butb sometimes it boggles my (neurotic) mind how on earth does it work that all those sane therapists ...
    are able to lie to thnemselves!! (not to their clients,insurance companies
    ets Yours emanuel

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    1. emanuel they're not sane! but you know that don't you?!

      Paul G.

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  6. I have an experience of therapy. I have learned your technic and use for me to enter in my primals traumas. I have found health!
    I say: "all is the truth"
    France

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  7. Hi Dr. Janov
    a friend of mine send you this message:

    Thank you Dr. Janov. Your blog on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or my Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the best I've ever read on the subject. It fits my experience--from womb-life, birth, & after. As does the liberating benefits of reliving. How grateful I am for what you know & share!
    Ushanda Elima

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    1. Sielginde: You are welcome. I am not so smart as you think; I just observe and write down what I see and voila! there is the answer. art

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  8. I used to be recommended this blog by means of my cousin.
    I'm now not certain whether this submit is written by way of him as no one else recognise such distinctive about my trouble. You're wonderful!

    Thank you!
    My blog post : Adrenal Fatigue Brain Fog

    ReplyDelete

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