Monday, August 19, 2013

What I Don't Understand

You may wonder why I  don’t understand this, but I really don’t: why, out of 200,000 shrinks in America very few reach into science to prop up their theories.  Why is it that every time we read about a new theory, such as mindfulness,  it is concocted out of whole cloth by the therapist?

I was thinking about that today in reading about research  starting in Science 1997 about stress hormones, which activate  us.  And what makes their rise?  Lack of love in animals, lack of licking and grooming.  In humans not enough kissing and hugging.  I  will take a simplistic notion here—cortisol.  It is a complex matter but one thing we do know is that lack of warmth in humans raises those levels; that is why my beginning patients are uniformly high in cortisol levels.  And after they feel deeply unloved their levels lower radically…..because they feel, and  feelings lower levels.

But here is the point; lack of love activates us and that means faster metabolism, more brain activity, faster heart rate and higher blood pressure.  We go to a doctor and he cannot see the “lack of licking,” so he prescribes drugs to stop the activation.  Usually the drugs that slow down the neural message from one synapse to another. Meanwhile the child is now eight years old and he is diagnosed as ADD. He cannot concentrate or sit still in school.  He is activated, and if therapists know their science they would look right away at what is causing that activation.  They need only look at animal  studies to find the answer. Everything is souped up when we are not loved enough and we are activated to find it where we can.  There  are myriad of other factors but this alone should help us understand an overactive brain.

What the Science journal was emphasizing was the long term effects of deprivation.  And how is  this done?  By methylation.  Now, just this fact and no more than that should inform those treating ADD sufferers about why children are so activated.  And that in turn should tailor a therapy toward dealing with this activation.  Up to now that has mean medication to slow down neural impulses so the message of pain cannot  reach higher brain levels.  But surely we can do more; we can go back and find the imprint and the origins of methylation and stop the activation in its tracks, which is what we have done.  Doesn’t that seem logical, an overly active child  is revved up due to a cause.  We don’t just look at the end product, the excitation, but the generating source.  Lo and Behold!  We find the answer.  And it never is about pushing back the activation/pain

All I am trying to point out is that there is simple science out there that can give us so many answers.  We can learn from neurologic science and we can change our treatment based on their findings. Alas, too often the research remains left brain and cannot inform the right of how to apply it to therapy.  So what the therapists know cannot be applied to their work.  The patient gets more of the same-- repression and repressive drugs to hide the source.  Is that therapy?


  1. Neurotic psychology students are looking for theories that support their personal beliefs. That is why universities sell courses that do not address the cause of neurosis. Ultimately it is the student's responsibility to find meaningful information. It is not the university's responsibility.

  2. Very few people - so-called educated or not - have a desire to understand anything for its own sake. They do not have a drive to get to the bottom of anything. They just want to believe what they want to believe - and believe what will help them to play along, to get along.

    Just look at the way the kids operate in University. Incredible redundancy of independent interest - everywhere you look. They don't grow up. They just learn how to make a living. And that's all they really want. It's also all their parents wanted from them.

    They are living the dream, Art. And outside that they just don't give a shit.

    They laugh at you because that's the "right thing to do". But in truth they don't have a real opinion on anything. They are intellectual prostitutes.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      I watched this rather horrifying documentary made by ecologists I think, to find out how many postgraduates understood what wood is and how photosynthesis makes it. There was some amazing footage of ad hoc interviews. Virtually none of the interviewees had any memory of what they had already been taught and most had concocted a lot of rubbish in place of it. On student even said that wood was made up of the soil from the ground it grew in. . .

      Paul G.

    2. Academic memory is overrated. The postgraduates probably didn't need to know the answer at that particular time. Memory is always pulled towards need. I would be more concerned about a student who can remember a lot of unneeded information or one who shows no interest in anything at all. Things become interesting when they become relevant to your needs. Free-schooled students "perform better" because they are guided by their own feelings to some extent.

    3. Hi Andrew,

      thing is though, that these people get to vote on land management issues they know or remember nothing about. . .

      Nearly every one realises academic memory is over rated and thus academia becomes degraded whether it espouses the truth or otherwise. The academic students were asked to answer a simple question that relates directly to most issues on sustainability and their likely future employment as civil servants / governors of our planet (rather than merely 'menial workers' like me). YET it is the menial workers who so often actually know the principles of a sustainable society. The menial workers are the ones still using their hands and therefore massaging their brains 8 hrs a day. . .

      Unlike the 'mental' cases working in governmental departments and 'academic circles' who cannot even find their pencils or remember what day it is.

      Paul G.

  3. Thank you Dr. Janov, for your brilliant contribution to humanity. I first read The New Primal Scream in 1992, and followed with 11 more of your books.

    This is a comment on Mindfulness. Without a strong ego structure, I don't think primal therapy is possible. It’s too disintegrating for some people, like myself. The deeper the pain, the deeper the holding environment has to be.

    This is where mindfulness, as explained in this article, is a technique to strengthen ones core self. It’s a body focused meditation. Feeling the sensations on the body actually helps to create more grounding in the body, and out of the thinking brain. Feelings come to the surface more easily.
    This article explains it precisely. It’s the best description I have ever found. Before I read it, I thought that meditation was some chilled-out dissociative state. And sometimes it is. But I have been using this technique for 10 years, with results that extend to every aspect of my life. I use it as a companion to primaling. In this article there is no dogma, just the mechanics of how it works.

    To primal, the difficulty is to have a witnessing self, and not to be totally blended with the traumatized self, or, as you have explained so beautifully, you get abreaction. Paradoxically, one has to stop " reacting" to feelings in order to have enough calm and centered space to allow the feelings to emerge. And for me, this is the central difficulty of primal.
    Here is a good scientific article from MIT on the benefits of meditation.
    One has to be able to achieve this space of equanimity and tune out distractions in order to aim oneself into the primal zone. You speak so clearly to this. One cannot be too overstimulated, or too numb. Accessing this zone is much easier for me if I use these meditation techniques and another technique for accessing the body called Qi Gong, an ancient Chinese modality.

    I think that this reactivity is a problem for a lot of people with trauma. Of course meditation can be used to dissociate, if one does not know about feeling work, and have the intention to recognize and process feelings when they arise. But Primal can be used to avoid also. Or more accurately what people think is primaling, but is actually abreacting.

    The kind of meditation I do creates the skill of focusing awareness more and more deeply into the body, into the whole realm of sensations we usually ignore, or numb out, or run from. Being grounded in the body creates an anchored space for feeling. The two things, body focused meditation and primal, are related. One, as the article I sent states, focuses on allowing stuck energy in the body to move, and the other, focuses on allowing stuck emotional patterns to move. These are intimately intertwined. Meditation helps one to build a stable ground of non- reactivity from which one can go more deeply into feelings. The deeper the feeling, the stronger that anchor needs to be.
    Thank you again Dr. Janov,
    Elaine Diamond
    ( I could only post this as Anonymous, as I didn't have access to any of the other ways.

    1. Part 1

      Hi Elaine

      I find your comments very interesting in that for the last few weeks or so I have been frightened of my feelings. My response touches on meditation and the dulling qualities of prescription drugs.

      It has almost that I have been approaching something very big in my past that I had to place inside a fortress as a child so I could survive. Almost the Labyrinth in Greek Mythology and I have to face the Minotaur to rescue little me from the dark tunnels of the subconscious. I recently told my therapists that it felt as though I would fall apart if I felt all the feelings I had to feel. I suppose this is where Art's titration of feeling comes in useful. A bit at a time. Having spent 10 years on Zeroxat (an SSRI) when I came off I did fall apart rather. Not totally related to Art’s piece but even so such a drug dulls us down. I called it my chemical confidence because I suppose in many ways it was even though I now recognise that my body kept fighting to tell me what had happened to me while I was on it. I suppose some would call it a partial nervous breakdown. I met my younger self in a very involuntary, disorganised and confusing manner. All the events from my past thrown up in metaphor, symbolism and strange terrifying feelings. I am now facing some of the terrifying feelings again, but in a voluntary more ordered way via Therapy and that is sometimes really tough. I have felt great pain in my body and mind in the past few years. I decided to embrace it as a friend (due to Arts writing) and maybe that is why I survived. However the next hurdle of pain may be much bigger and more difficult to straddle. Perhaps it is more a wall of the fortress and it is going to take some skilled climbing (or maybe digging) to get through it. I will need my body for this too.

      I think it was my body that saved me as well as the writing of Art and Alice Miller. They helped me recognise that my mind and my body were one and that perhaps I should learn to understand the strange messages it was sending me (a bodily Morse Code perhaps) because in fact it was simply little me tapping on the walls of my conscious mind trying to communicate, to say "Hello, I'm here, I'm you too". For many years while on the drug I used to have dreams that I had murdered someone, buried the body somewhere and would wake up terrified that I was guilty and would be imprisoned. It often took a few minutes to recognise it was a dream. I suppose I was murdering myself with the drug and burying/imprisoning myself in the process and I didn't even know where the body was. Perhaps the body was little me. The small terrified little boy who just wanted to be loved.

    2. Part 2

      I found that in the place I was a few years ago after the drug, I could not meditate as had been suggested. Mindfulness was a hindrance rather than a help. There was so much going on in my mind that how could I sit still and let these thoughts just flow past and ignore them. My thoughts and related feelings were clues to my recovery and were intrinsically linked to my body and it's reactions. My recovery was hastened by learning about my past. Having empathy for the small child I was and seeing the world through his eyes. After all we are like an Onion and each layer is built on our experiences at that time, using the Eye's, Ears, Skin, other senses, feelings and related experiences that we have at our disposal at the time. After all a 2 year Boy is going to view the world from a very different perspective to that of a 53 year old Man and so perhaps to understand the feelings and related symbolism of that time, one has to be able to place oneself in the shoes of that small child and isn’t that Primal Therapy?. A 1 year old child is going to communicate without words. With feelings and how he saw and experienced the world at the time. My own view is that much symbolism is directly related to the experiences of that child's view of the world and no matter how strange only the child will understand them. Thus an unborn child only knows the dark and feelings and chemical response, so is it any wonder that dreams that come from that period are the most terrifying to an adult who sees the world from the perspective of the present, so cannot equate the terror felt in the dream. How much of that terror in a nightmare is the feeling from the unborn child and how much from the adult experiencing the experience of the child? Perhaps a bit of both seeing that dreams are a muddle very often. A Cat's cradle of feelings that needs unravelling and one needs the body to help with this. My chemical straight jacket, which is what the Zeroxat actually was, stopped me doing that until I came off them when they then dropped me right into those times and those feelings.

      I had to understand my thoughts and feelings to make sense of it all. I had to blend my left and right Brain and to do so I had to join up with my body as that is such a great part of me. To distance myself from my thoughts and split my mind from my body would have made matters worse I feel.

    3. Hi planespotter & Elaine,

      I did TM for decades. . . I have reached some conclusions about it.

      about 15 years ago I was on a walk with some other meditators after a group meeting and one of our party started talking to me and my partner about how he felt TM holds emotions down.

      Well, at the time I was interested and open to the possibility that TM wasn't all it was 'cracked up to be'. But more importantly I wasn't all I cracked myself up to be. . . Of course I didn't know that at the time did I ?

      This is really important because any technique that allows the imprints to "Settle Down" including work, hobbies, creative pursuits, sex, sport etc etc is eventually (if made into a discipline) merely another layer of repression.

      Let's not beat about the bush here. The chemical consequences of trauma in the histone layer remain completely untouched by meditation and / or all the other 'distractions' we can carry out.

      The veracity of the imprint.

      Nevertheless and worryingly so, TM made me feel so good that I really believed in it and I keenly incorporated it into my 'repertoire' of palliatives that I believed were ME. I even believed it made all the other palliates work better (and that is what I was told by the top TM teachers).

      Getting to the important bit now, when I eventually 'broke down' uncontrollably and cried and cried and cried (I think they call it Primalling) as a baby for my Mum, the TM technique made not a jot of difference to my suffering or to my release from it. Although I must say it appeared to help. But actually I now seriously doubt it.

      What I have noticed now is the tremendous difference between the 'temporary bliss' of meditation and the 'complete normalisation' of my sensual and feeling self. IE: with crying I feel comfortable in my skin.

      Don't get me wrong, I am meditating often now as a palliative to get me through the day. I get tired in the workshop so, after lunch I get into my little car and meditate. But, BUT it's really like a drug. . . Like a cup of tea or coffee or a sleeping tablet by comparison to the after effects of crying as a child for my Mum and / or Dad.

      I am intrigued by how convincing a 'high' meditation was for me PRIOR to contacting true feelings. I have concluded that it works very well to 'prop up' the false self we are 'chained to' as a consequence of being 'locked out' of our own true feelings.

      I am now addicted to TM on a diminishing basis. I have to do it to help me cope but it is no longer the PANACEA I believed it was.

      Lastly, the idea that some people have weak ego structures, correlates with an idea I have about the need to develop a sharp and critical mind LINKED to the body. I get this from carpentry and I suppose I was lucky to have had lots of "Mind / Body" training as a child growing up: Sailing, Scouts, Cadets, shooting, Sport, Crafts and now as an adult Carpentry. But none of this has changed the imprints in me and I am not convinced any of it has 'prepared me better for primalling'. It might have but the more I get into my true feelings the more I sense all this is irrelevant.

      Am I being churlish ?

      Paul G.

    4. Paul: How about writing a detailed account of meditation and how it's done and the results. What exactly is the process.? art

    5. Hi Paul

      I don't think stating what helps you is being churlish.

      I was quite fascinated by Art's assertion in the The Primal Scream that many people who mediate end up having nervous breakdowns. The fact that at the time I was being told by my Doctor that "Mindfulness" etc was very effective at dealing with the high anxiety I was feeling, then meant that this revelation was very revolutionary to me. I found that instead of ignoring my thoughts and odd bodily twitches etc I embraced them. Being lucky enough to find a therapist in the uk who encouraged me to explore these did a huge amount in helping my recovery.

    6. Hi,

      this is my second attempt at answering Art's question.

      The TM people, since Maharishi came to America & UK in the early 70s, have conducted many, many research programs to show the efficacy of this particular meditation technique. Probably you can find the published stuff on the net if you look far enough; check out EEG / TM. I used to have three volumes of it given to me. . . . . Basically, the mantras (of which there are probably about 27, a multiple of three different types: Kapha, Pitta & Vatta- see "Vedic Science") produces a 'synchronisation' of brainwaves. On all brainwave levels, all brainwaves are synchronised into the base Alpha Wave frequency (am I getting this right)?

      In my opinion (before I get into explaining how 'profound' an experience this is) all it actually does is produce a pain blocking device through the synchronisation. Like a good music event.

      But it's a temporary state, not a permanent station.

      People have said to me that after about 2 to 2 1/2 yrs of regular practice twice daily for twenty minutes they'd had enough because they felt it had taken them to "Where they wanted to be" but also it was starting to have a dissociative effect on them. I can vouch for that too.

      After everything I have learned about Primal and evolution in the last 3 years on this blog I must say that the effect of meditation has indeed put me closer to my feelings but only by default. . . It's hard to explain because the effect of meditation PRIOR to contacting true feelings is a facsimile of the after affects of Primaling. Nevertheless in the bliss of meditation there is a buzz which is not connected to my body, it's definitely in my brain, ok, I can sense bodily relaxation, like a drug which affects the brain / body connection and results in body relaxation afterwards. That I can categorically say is true because after Primalling I can get on with seriously practical stuff because the after effects are entirely through my whole body. But after TM I frequently end up back where I was before; by this I mean it wears off. I think it just pushes feelings down again and if you Primal you want true feelings not TM bliss. . . It's very convincing if all you want is re-enforcement of your already modified self (the one with much energy invested in repression).

      The advanced Siddhi program perhaps takes one so far one indeed can experience such alienation as to produce a breakdown. I didn't do the advanced technique but I did have a breakdown and for the twenty years or so I 'relied' on meditation it is possible that the technique gradually and inexorably "Removed My Attachment to my False Self". . .

      I don't know; for all I know, if I had actually come into contact with a real Primal Therapist in UK (rather than a charlatan) I would already have been to California and found out for sure one way or the other.

      One thing I know for sure TM has not changed my imprints.

      Paul G.

    7. Paul: I need to know exactly how you get into it. art

    8. Hi, part 1,

      Ok, there is a very charming ceremony involving flowers, a piece of fruit (for the guru) and a chant in Sanskrit which ends with the recipient repeating their mantra after the teacher. Thus one is induced with one's mantra (word) sound. This is then intoned internally to oneself. The teachers use the analogy of 'descending' ever more deeply into the source of thoughts. Knowing the basic Primal Theory of the three brains, I can now see a correlation with the idea that one starts on the 3rd line with the word / mantra. Then, as one 'descends' more deeply into the 2nd line the word ceases to be a 'word' as such and becomes a sound/ feeling. . . Then (I presume in the light of Primal Theory) the sounds becomes a vibration in the 1st line.

      Do you remember as a child experimenting with words and wondering at the feeling they induce as sounds ? Is this not also the source of verbal word play and humour ? I digress.

      The 27 or so mantra sounds are variants reflecting subtle personality differences. This is my subjective conclusion based on other intensive research and training I did into personality typing.

      Thus the 1st line gets a sonic & tonic massage ? (I am making this up as I go along, but at least based on personal self observation).

      There are theories that the entire universe is constructed of sound and frankly speaking, with modern science as it is, this is hard to deny. I mean, most scientific instruments measure wavelength, frequency and amplitude in one 'spectrum' or another.

      Therefore we should not be surprised to hear that what we call 'sound' is words on the 3rd line, sound & feeling on the 2nd line and vibration (sensation) on the 1st.

      At first (again bearing in mind the Primal Theory) beginners can't tell the difference between the word (mantra) and the sound because at first (I assume) our disorganised defenses are not differentiated. . . thus over time, gradually the experience of the mantra becomes a thought / sound at the feeling level as well as a word / mantra on the thinking level. Thus the intonation becomes part of the way one refers internally to one self, at increasingly deeper levels.

      Paul G. part 2 follows.

    9. Hi, part 2 (I may have re-duplicated some of this by accident):

      At first (again bearing in mind the Primal Theory) beginners can't tell the difference between the word (mantra) and the sound because at first (I assume) our disorganised defenses are not differentiated. . . thus over time, gradually the experience of the mantra becomes a thought / sound at the feeling level as well as a word / mantra on the thinking level. Thus the intonation becomes part of the way one refers internally to one self, at increasingly deeper levels.

      To re-cap: at first beginners don't get much out of it. As time passes the sound gets into your deeper levels of consciousness and eventually vibrate your 1st line (my supposition here). It is a buzz literally and phenomenally (in my head, just behind and below my eyes). It is easy to fall asleep and doze in deep breathing, it is certainly parasympath inducing. It can and does temporarily 'revitalise'. It is a substitute for sleep. It does help with anxiety but it is temporary and not the same as Primalling.

      That is my experience but I am certain this does not actually change the imprint.

      Now, whether or not the 'inventors' of this ancient technique had designed it to form a pathway to lower levels of conscious awareness, there is no doubt that successive interpreters of the Vedas and of the Bagavadgita in particular have brought their own interpretation to this very ancient form of mantra meditation (5000 years or more).

      Having personality typed Maharishi Mesh using various systems I can say I am certain he was an "Avoidance of Pain" type; just listen to the way he talks and you can see he is avoiding pain. His appearance on the scene co-incided with the psychodelic / hippy (so called) revolution and TM was marketed as a PAINLESS PANACEA. A cure all.

      This I feel is very important to understand. Most people who do TM do not expect to break down and feel their pain. On the contrary it is marketed as an avoidance of pain. Period.

      One thing I have realised about the 'false self' is that it is so convincing because it runs parallel to reality. That means for example that so much research can be done which literally reflects reality but it mostly doesn't actually reveal it. It so often doesn't UNVEIL it. All it does is offer a parallel symbol of it.

      So too the development of our false selves. So convincing we are, aren't we ?

      Thus one can do TM for years and may never get to pain. It all depends on whether you are satisfied with the more or less false self and assumptions / sensations / feelings / beliefs you tell yourself (or get someone else to tell you).

      Or maybe, just maybe the TM technique was indeed invented to gain "access" but successive interpreters have used it and taught it to dissociate instead; things like this can so often go one way or the other can't they ? - The Primal Center as a group of therapists is constantly alert to the blind alley of 'ab-reaction'. Ab-reaction may be all that I am experiencing and TM is the culprit (!!!! ????) maybe all the other things I do and ingest don't help. But actually I am just a poor carpenter trying to get by in life. I really don't know. I am glad I found out about my pain though.

      Paul G.

  4. Elaine: I wil write on this soon. Art

  5. That the academic endeavor not seek the right target depends on the emotional context... absence of feelings and cannot perceive the cause of the symptomatic reactions... in which notions of cause defends own suffering and the science is lost!

    The problem academics have... whatever feelings are concerned... their feelings do not make themselves known sooner than anxiety and depression turns out. Everything that occurs before occurs in a cognitive order and they interpret the reactions instead of feel them... something an academic has extremely difficult to recognize in their academic role... what a tragedy for humankind in need of primal therapy!

    This is a case for a lawsuit by all the scientific physiological evidence we have and not least what all the patients can explain about the process!

    Who would not like to see the revolution before we die!


  6. "You may wonder why I don’t understand this, but I really don’t: why, out of 200,000 shrinks in America very few reach into science to prop up their theories."

    Going through "advanced" psychology courses allows one to witness the process of going from the right to left brain in motion. The zeitgeist we are all immersed and taught early on that is basically that introspection is pointless because you can't measure something like beliefs, intention or motivation only behavior, something along the lines of this:


    @ 19:30

    Do I really mean to say that plato's discovery of the mind didn't amount to much? Or that Acquines or Locke or Descartes or Kant had nothing much on the ball?

    Or that introspective psychology was not really concerned with the mind or that James or Freud were not really talking about things that are important with respect to our mental life, our inclinations to behave?

    Yes, I'm inclined to say, all of that is really a waste of time.


    -Dr. B. F. Skinner (1972)

  7. This information will never be enough to graduates before a change is reached!

    The limit for graduates... how far to go in trying to find the cause of suffering!?

    To acknowledge himself as a child in the training to become graduates in psychiatry and psychology... how shall that be done... as it is a long way from the prestige that is sought in education… prestige a cognitive self-therapy by invitation?

    The academic "longing" to not seek the right target (the child) for their education happens in the performance of intellectual demands! This is a fundamental order in academic circles... and not forgetting the intellectual performance ease pain! It means more than experience himself as a child... which may seem daunting when it addresses what the child has with him in the form of suffering… they don’t know what the child in them would mean!

    "An intelligent man can be intellectual... but an intellectual is certainly not intelligent." What I mean is... how shall anyone understand anything else than what the rules prescribe in academic circles... understand for what needs to be felt for what the rule causes a child?


  8. Dr Janov,

    didn't you write long ago that the major part of our neo cortex is used to repress feelings. So I concluded from that that most of our thinking activities are distorded by unfullfilled needs and unfelt feelings. Why on earth would it be different for psychotherapists? The few I met are a bit scary : cold and too intellectual, they always seems to try to labelled what you are and that's it.
    I agree with Richard : I remenber the reccurent feelings I had about people studying psychology at my former university : they usually seemed lost and very intellectual : the thing they liked most was to labelled behaviour (already).

    1. Yann: What is strange is that those deep feelings become an enemy just like a lion in olden days. `And as they rise they system goes into alarm state with much higher vital signs, changes in lymphocytes and all indecises of danger. The danger is consciousness, as odd as that seems. The safe place is unconsciousness, and that is where most of us reside. art

    2. Yann: Not sure about the "major portion" but I think it developed in order for us to disconnect from overwhelming pain. We can no longer run from it because it trails us but we can disconnect and that is what we all do. art

    3. but so is the limbic system or brain stem. did limbic brain evolved to repress the stem impulses? did brain stem evolved to repress... don't know what? should we only see repression everywhere we look? there is something wrong everywhere? something to fix.

      i think we just should to be careful when labeling. because someone (in future) could decide we don't need NC. it is just causing problems anyway. and eliminate it from the DNA. Or that we don't need feelings.... or that the sun is too bright, summer too short, water too thick... Art, you said more than once that we shouldn't invade the precious brain processes at wish. maybe i wrongly interpreted the labeling. to me it sounds like we could do better without a part of our body-mind. i don't like the idea.
      when NC recedes in primal it is ok. but that is different. it is short time. for bigger purpose. and when-where it is safe.

      every part of us is FOR something. not only AGAINST. Just like the whole of us. whether we think about feathers on dinosaur or brain that doesn't feel the pain we must look at the bigger picture. under the scull and near most of our sensory organs, protective reflex motor response, stress response, feeling brain, AND neo cortex, do we really need to pack a pain receptors within 1500 cubic centimeters of confined space to give the brain more protection? is it possible to do it and don't affect the functioning of other cells?

      primal message is the one of trust in nature... before we decide to DEEPLY interfere her wisdom. in a way i like the connecting message of evolution theory but am a bit worried because it implies that the process is not over. and never will be. "we are far from perfect and it is genetic and only genetic intervention can make us more perfect"... we just need science-technology-law for that step to make. another intervention from outside. same old story.

  9. Those deep feelings were the enemy at the beginning of our life during the birth process and it said "don't turn back and move forward" or "freeze and everything will be ok" because something wanted to kill us from the very beginning. Then we are outside but the danger is still there and we can do nothing but crying or sleeping (becoming unconscious) and the unconsciousness becomes the safest place because sleep was the only safe place. That seems bio- logical from my point of view but maybe I will sound conceited in writting this. I'm not really qualified.

  10. And I could add that when you look at babies exhausted after crying too much for nothing (not having their needs satisfied) they just fall asleep because everything is "too much" and we have a pattern for disconnection : they are disconnecting themselves from reality.
    Well I don't know, maybe that's too simplistic. I'm just trying.

    1. Wow Yann not too simplistic!!! You have perhaps just helped explain some of my recent reactions in therapy sessions. I just kept falling asleep.

      I had said to my therapists that I felt as though I would fall apart if I felt and cried as much as I felt I needed too. In my intensive two week trip to LA recently I got in touch with a lot of feelings in my first week and then went a cold as a stone for the second. Every session was me trying to stay awake but not succeeding and not feeling very much. I said at the time that I thought it was a defence. It was the sweet peace of sleep. It was as you say disconnection.

      There seems to be the use of a strange phrase in the UK at the moment. People say "Only three more sleeps before my holiday". That seems to suggest people who are so fed up with life that they look forward to sleep and perhaps for the same reason. No more mentioning "Only three more days to my holiday". Waking concious time is a trial to be ignored and avoided.

    2. Hi Yann & planespotter,

      "Crying too much for nothing"-.

      That's a dead give away for the veracity of the imprint. It always looks (from the outside) like a totally alien behaviour. Remember that the brainstem is all alone. There is no other brain for the being to use as a mirror; as a quality control mechanism, as a "Reality Check". . .

      Thus all symptoms of 1st line trauma look like "NO REASON".

      I have been trying to fathom what it is about the 1st line that makes it so inaccessible, so mysterious, so veracious and now I know.

      It is solitary; or at least it was when it registered the traumas. My advice therefore to mothers and fathers to be, is to talk sincerely to your children whilst they are in the womb.

      Develop a relationship with the tiny unborn before she is born. At least that way parents will be trying to form links to bridge the gap.

      Paul G.

    3. Hi Paul

      Good point about getting Parents to talk to the child when in the womb. Many Parents get older siblings to speak to the new brother or sister in the womb and I am sure this is about getting the baby used to who is out there. I have often wondered whether the unborn child hears what is going on in the outside world and can hear for example a Mother getting upset and screaming at her husband for example and because of the way sounds travels through the bones of the body the baby can start to develop a positive or negative view of it's Mother. After all if stress hormones rise in the Mother and the baby will associate these with the agressive sounds coming from the Mother. The baby may not then know that it's enviroment is the Mother but once born it is going to associate the same voice patterns with the Mother and Father. In the same way positive sound will have a positive effect so long as the parents know this.

      I think it was Alice Miller who raised the whole issue of hot housing Parents trying to produce a musical genius by playing lots of classical music to the child before it was born and simply producing a traumatised child.

      Of course the Parents need to be fully aware of their own past trauma if they are going to make this work. I am sure if the unborn baby simply hears a relaxed and happy home enviroment (directly linked to the associated positive hormones) he or she is going to be born a positive and relaxed baby.

  11. if neo cortex is grown out of repression than he would be useless when the repression is gone. he wouldn't know what to do. is that true for experienced patient? is his NC dysfunctional?
    it seems to me that our every cell and organ... has a plan for extreme conditions so has the neo cortex. nothing specific about NC, just that he does it his way according to his function, cell structure..... and that doesn't mean that he is meant to do it. made to do it. he just has an ability to do it. in tune with the rest of us.

    1. Vuko, it is made to do it. Neurosis is generated by many different neurological backup systems. Those systems are powerful enough to lock you into a belief in God, and powerful enough to cause you to faint when God is not enough.

    2. Maybe it's the same evolutionary process at work whether it's a limb or a neo cortex : it wasn't "designed" (don't know how to put it other way) for repression but things turn out that way (like feathers on small dinosaurs which were not design for flight but were perfectly fit for this).


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.