Friday, May 10, 2013
Why do I Mistrust The Intuition By Cognitive Therapists? By Jan Johnson
Why do I Mistrust The Intuition By Cognitive Therapists?
Because I sometimes get asked how I dare to be so sure of my judgmental attitude to Cognitive psychology, I have tried to identify my basic reasons, guided by the Primal Theory and critical thoughts from Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”.
Having been involved in Primal therapy during four decades and having worked in various positions with human resources and recruitment experts in my career, I have met and gotten to know (even privately) a number of psychologists. Most of them have been ambitious and genuine professionals, whether they have worked in the therapy context, or if they worked as selection or test psychologists. I had, according to a female friend, since my teens a psychological aptitude (whatever that is?), and I can say that I have mostly had a positive relationship to this profession.
However, my attitude to the psychologic corps has over the years become increasingly split as my knowledge of the brain and the feelings has deepened when I experienced a fascinating demystification of my problems caused by an epileptic stigma which was caused by a painful and horrific birthing process. During the years, it took to be cured, Primal Therapy and the understanding of the evolutionary process played a crucial role.
The more I hear about Cognitive Therapy treatment from different contexts, the more skeptical I have been. The lack of cure causes an intellectual, short term attitude to reason and to medicate depressions away, instead of feeling / reliving the cause of the underlying anxiety and pain. My frustration is all the greater that the alternative to Cognitive Therapy, for example, Primal Therapy, for various reasons do not seem practically capable of filling the endless need to be met.
Add to that the fact that many sufferers / patients choose Cognitive therapy / medication as a delusion and a quick fix. By repressing their anxiety / pain, they think they have found a rapid solution, but in most cases, they may soon find another quick solution, etc., etc., an eternal recurrence. All this, of course, plays into the hands of the Pharmaceutical industry that develops and markets painkillers, by the name of science, that patients in the absence of natural solutions are forced to eat at an accelerating extent to enable society to function.
An experienced psychotherapist is skilled in working out what is going on in her/his patients mind and has good intuition what the patient will say next. Why? Because the shrink and the patient are having a left brain oriented intellectual / verbal communication. As a consequence it is tempting to the shrink to conclude how the patient will do in the next near future. However, this conclusion is not equally justified. Why? Because the medium / long term forecasting is a different task dominated by deep lying (2nd and 1st line) feelings which the shrink has not had the opportunity to learn. This is the main reason why psychologists in spite of certain skills in their tasks, mainly fail.
They have not learned to identify the unpredictable situations in which intuition will betray them. These situations are due to unique 2nd and 1st line experiences / imprints, from early childhood and from life before birth, in their patients. This shortcoming to identify the patients history is further confused / enhanced by the shrink's own, unidentified, unique and unresolved imprints. The shrink and the patient can share and draw conclusions from intellectual reasoning and agree on short-term solutions. However, prediction of long term cures, based on intuitions about not relived feelings / imprints, both on the shrink’s and the patients’s side, always ends in a betrayal. To claim correct intuitions in an unpredictable situation are self-delusional at best, often worse.
In the absence of valid hints, intuitive “hits” are either due to luck or lies. If you find this conclusion surprising, you have a stubborn belief that intuition is magic. Remember the rule that intuition cannot be trusted in the absence of stable regularities in the environment. For example, in Primal Therapy a number of hints, to follow your development in the therapeutical process, are being used. The most important of these hints are the vital signs (pulse, blood pressure and body temperature), which can be measured regularly before and after sessions. The more repressed, imprinted 1st line pain the patient can relive the more normal and stable the vital sign. Mainly a cured Primal patient has healthy vital signs which is one of the prerequisites for a long and full life. How often can that be said of patients undergoing Cognitive therapy?
I’m not looking for one right general truth of existence. What I am looking for is the individual human right to our own inner truth, which, if it becomes clouded by the repressed pain due to lack of love or neglect, leads to a distorted and neurotic personality. Moreover, if people with these shortcomings under the cover of psychiatric expertise treat other people according to standard manuals, how can we ever get a healthy society?
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.