Thursday, September 26, 2013

Suicide is Painless (More on Suicide with some additions)

I was discussing the difference between self destructive behavior and suicide with a colleague. They are quite different, although you would think that suicide is destruction of the self, but it is not at all like that. To understand, we must go back to the imprint, as so many of my suicidal patients have done.
In many of these cases, the person has experienced an oxygen deficit, perhaps due to a heavy dose of anesthesia to the mother during labor, or being strangled on the cord during birth. And after an agonizing attempt to get born, death approaches and there is a sense of impending relief. That memory of possible relief is sealed in so that later, in the face utter hopelessness, an impending divorce for instance, death becomes the answer. An attempt at suicide follows. The memory of possible relief becomes stamped in, or engraved, and it endures for a lifetime. It is the last link in the chain of pain, as it were, the logical denouement when current hopelessness can set off the primordial (primal) hopelessness where death lurks and where suicide seems the logical step.

You may wonder: how is it that hopelessness today sets off the same feeling created during birth? It is again the chain of pain, the descending links between levels of consciousness. It is known as resonance, where one feeling, which evolved out of similar feelings at earlier stages, ultimately triggers the earliest related feeling that was originally imprinted at the start of life. I have written that it may be a specific neurological brain frequency that sets off the imprinted counterpart. Each deep feeling, such as hopelessness, matures and evolves onto higher brain levels where there are more advanced levels of consciousness. Thus the deep imprint becomes reflected in the same or similar feelings higher up. Conversely, in our therapy we start at the top, the last stage of the evolutionary chain, and work down the chain of pain to those earliest imprints. Normally the gating system keeps the brain from evoking those deeper levels but when one has undergone years of neglect and lack of love, the gating system falters. Then, a current frustration can set off profound feelings of hopelessness impressed deeper the brain. Here we may see violent act-outs as those more powerful feelings are elicited. It is why, for example, a student’s current fear of failing in class can set off a full-blown anxiety/terror attack. The manifestation of the feeling in the present gets amplified through resonance. Thus, the current feeling sets off the same deeper feelings until the whole system is engulfed in utter hopeless feelings. And worse, there is no scene attached to it, since it is pure feeling, naked and unadorned, the exact same feeling from gestation and infancy, rising again to smother the person and make her suicidal. It is the most profound hopelessness. The current feeling has triggered its progenitor with sensations of approaching death becoming paramount. When that feeling becomes excruciating one may want to kill oneself, just as the fetus/infant had no other options. The accompaniment of this hopelessness is nearly always lower body temperature, the parasympathetic nervous system dominance.

That early hopelessness is later expanded and ramified as the whole system and brain mature. As each new brain system comes on line, it adds its emotional weight to the feeling. But it is the same feeling with increased neuronal development. It is that feeling that is the essence of depression. As I explain in my extensive article on the subject, “The Mystery Known As Depression,”  it is the system’s effort to suppress the feeling that produces depression. So depression is not a feeling; it is what happens as that feeling is blocked from higher level access. And when we unravel depression that is what we find: utter, unarticulated hopelessness. And as it is felt and experienced with all of its pain, the depression begins to leave, at last.

This means that we must not trump evolution and experience the deep feelings too soon in therapy. This happens when gating is leaky or faulty. And it is here that for a time the patient must be given pain blockers to temporarily hold back resonance. We are not blocking higher levels of expression, only that portion of the feeling that might be catastrophic if experienced too early. Inadvertently, I think this is what doctors are trying to do with their drugs; sever the possibility of triggering off deeper pains for a time. They are attempting to block resonance, though they may not even acknowledge that it exists. Yet, painkillers that work on lower levels are targeted precisely for that. We can only feel those deep hurts as the body and brain allow – current hopeless feelings first, then those from childhood and finally infancy, where the deepest feelings always lie. I use the word “compounding,” because these are not different feelings; they are the same feeling compounded. The child just seems unhappy and sullen and no one knows why. And certainly the child has no idea at all, nor do his teachers. He is in the grasp of that early primordial, devastating feeling that no one can say or name. It is literally ineffable – so deep and overwhelming as to defy description.

What has this to do with self-destruction? Let’s take a literal example of destruction, cutting oneself. This is a later ploy, making hurt obvious. It is a plea for help: “Please see my hurt. See that I hurt.” This in lieu of screaming out that hurt. And the cutter is not often aware of what she is doing or why. It was never acknowledged by anyone because perhaps the parents had no idea of that hurt, or even that such emotional hurt existed. There are many aspects of this. For one patient, the feeling was, “I’m trying to let the hurt escape,” even when she had no idea what it was. She just knew it was inside and it had to come out. In therapy, that is exactly what we helped her do – let it out in methodical ways, so she no longer had to cut herself.

Examples of self-destructive behavior are myriad, but all the manifestations come from subdued feelings. There are people who set themselves up for certain failure, who always make sure things turn out bad, who drink themselves into oblivion or who repeatedly get involved with a low-life they know is bad for them. Here the driving forces are nearly always deep-seeded pain. But in the strict sense, a sense not in the psychoanalytic lexicon, these are secondary effects of imprinted hurt.

An example: one patient in graduate school could  not get feedback from his professors for a paper he turned in.  After weeks of “trying to get through” he sent a most nasty letter to the instructor.  For that, he was delayed in getting his degree. So he shot himself in the foot (self-destructive) because he could  never get through to his father and also because he literally couldn’t get through in being born. Being blocked from getting what he  wanted and needed had set off a rage in him, and as we know rage is first line,  brainstem originated.  It is the seat of the most atavistic anger possible.  He was helpless before this surge of fury.   Resonance reached down and dredged it all up, surging beyond control.   He knew when he  sent the letter it was wrong; this is what used to be called “emotional.”  His emotions got the best of him.  They weren’t irrational; they were real but buried deeply.

In the news, there is story of a man who went on another mass killing spree, this time at a supposedly secure Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. The shooter walked through the facility with a shotgun and calmly fired at defenseless people, killing twelve. Somewhere he might have known that it was suicidal but that was a faint force against his feelings. A month before the rampage, the killer had told police that he was being followed by three people who were talking to him through the walls and ceilings of his hotel room and sending microwave vibrations into his body to deprive him of sleep. In this case, we see clearly that the killer’s feelings are so deep and so remote as to seem like a machine controlling his brain. Otherwise he would know it derives from deep in the  brain.  It has been discovered that when such disturbed people hear voices, they really do. And what those voices really say is,  “I hate.”

Here is the important point. This man did not suffer a “thought disorder.”  If it were a simple thought disorder then it might be treated with more healthier thoughts; i.e., cognitive therapy. But to believe it is a thought disorder means  to ignore the evolution of the brain, to deny that there are lower levels with their own characteristics and functions.  To believe this means that the thinking cortex arrived de novo with no antecedents, and that it was not  anchored anywhere in the brain. It  is considered by cognitivists as an entity unto itself. These are the deniers of evolution, the “creationists of the brain.” They might not agree  to this characterization but there can be no other. It is feelings that drive thoughts, in the here and now and in the history of the brain.  The killer  suffers from a feeling disorder.  Until we acknowledge that we will go on treating the wrong thing  in the wrong way.  Feelings have that great power in history, and when it comes to the brainstem,  unleashed,  it  can lead to murder. Ideas, remember, are the last vestige of brain tissue that we can resort to.  Feelings slop over boundaries and surge into the ideational brain where we manufacture ideas to match them. The most bizarre come from the earliest imprints where they provide a terrible neuronal force that the cortex has to deal with.  When ideas no longer do their duty, a stroke cannot be far off.

  How can we be so sure? We see this in our therapy: as deep feelings rise they can sometimes provoke strange ideas. When we give patients medication that addresses mainly the lower feeling centers, the paranoid ideas may disappear for a time. We would not think of attacking the ideas head-on.  We address the underlying feelings, but again, only when they can be safely integrated. Indeed, when a patient is on the verge of a deep, heavy feeling, she may get paranoid transiently: “They are trying to suffocate me.” We know immediately where it comes from and can treat it post-haste.  Once our patients begin to relive deep brain imprint those paranoid ideas disappear.

So what are the self-destructive people among us doing?  What and who a re they destroying? The feeling self, the one with all the pain, but they are not destroying it, they are keeping it from destroying them. Drinking into oblivion seems self destructive but it is the person’s means of keep pain under control.

Suicide and self-destructive behavior, then, are indeed two different things. Even though suicide attempts to destroy the self it is not, oddly, self destructive. Suicide means one final act. It is not anything in the present that causes it; it is the result of a deep memory. And yes, if one could, then screaming it out could help temporarily, since it would relieve the pressure. There are some acts of suicide that are a cry for help; taking a certain amount of sleeping pills, for example. And there are others that say, I really don’t want to live anymore; that is a jump off a bridge. That is final, no call for help. It all seems so helpless and hopeless; they want to die for relief. No more pain; that’s enough. That’s why the theme song from the television series “M*A*S*H” rings with a profound kernel of truth: “Suicide is painless.” Killing oneself is not meant to be self-destructive, per se; it’s meant to kill the pain, which has come to subsume the self.

In Primal Therapy, we get patients gradually down to those deep feelings that are so disturbing. It takes time, but when they get there, they discover real relief, the kind that lasts and lets them live.


  1. Throughout my life, people think it is a thought disorder, thinking sometimes that I have to be habitually "put down". It's sad, because that is not it at all, and I just don't want to explain myself anymore to people who just refuse to understand, to people who "are connected", who feel healthy and strong both mentally and physically. I have to do a lot of things to feel "mentally normal"; to feel "up". People don't understand how depressed one feels at times. Now I have to just not let this depression "cloud me" anymore. It's a struggle, people don't understand. Dr. Janov, just by his writings has helped me to understand that this depression, that I have, for no reason at times, is "just there". I now try to "shake it off by doing "healthy things", and it works, but as we know only to a certain extent and it's not permanent. People just automaticallly look at me sometimes and think "I am up" and have to be "squashed".
    People also look at me at times and think I don't have a care in the world, and am somewhat "tough"; could be labeled as "cold-hearted", but that is not the case at all. People do analyze other people, especially the one who doesn't disclose a lot about themselves or the one who is a loner and quiet. When I do show that I am sensitive
    (really totally harmless) that is wrong....then the other people become "tougher", but that is the way of the world, not necessarily solely having anything to do with them viewing us as the way we were born. A lot of people don't know people; they don't know the person who went through birth trauma; cord around one's neck. We try. Some people think that the answer to the depression and sensitivity is getting a male or female companion, but we have been there and tried that....just absolutely does not work out; found it to be short-term happiness, and found the companion to believe that I could have a "thought disorder". Found love relatiionships to just be depressing in the long run. No one is perfect. I have gone through the motions of feeling connected....that doesn't work. I go along, I try. No matter how hard I try, I am just going through motions; which my Dad told me I would be doing many times. At the time, I didn't understand what he meant; but now that I am older and after reading what Dr. Janov has to say about birth trauma/primal therapy, I now understand. Funny (ha,ha)....what a spiraling web at times; too bad; - I could be better; I know.

    1. your instincts are smarter! if you seem closed or are closed there is a reason for it!
      and it has to do with your present environment too! there is a chance for us to get lost if we try to be smarter! can get badly shaken and lost in hopes, expectations, disappointment... ahh the stress!
      to be in healthy relationship we have to be in a process of feeling comfortable together... have to have access that is flexible, delicately balanced and expandable in time. ... not everybody can stand this adventure with anybody at anytime. but it is a precious school when it happens, however short might be. unique. unplanned. strong resonance. it led me to primal theory. but i kept spiraling the time it was just not enough to propel me up.
      so coastbeach7, if you sense to know how to go up do it now, not later ) because that spiral can get... @!!__#^^&*... well you know it.
      or maybe you don't!!! where is the end, how long it will last and how much time you can take it...?
      i guess it is good to know that there is some reason why we get sucked in depression more violently sometimes... when nothing seems to work. without the power to decide... to change... i could probably learn from you about it. going through motions i don't like.
      if i could stop judging my behavior ))
      and BTW, that closed attitude is a result of analysis. maybe subcortical and unconscious but still... an analysis of inside-outside inputs... and people react to it. probably many of them get scared. and/or just want to use the situation for their "advantage" whenever they can. some of them. me too sometimes.

  2. It's really not my nature (characteristic) to analyze anybody....seems like I have enough, just by myself. But I just learned for the first time, after living well over 30 years, that people, many times, do analyze other people and watch them. I don't and even after learning this, really haven't bothered. I was surprised when I learned this. Some people, just see what they want to see, and hear what they want to hear anyway.....not right, but it happens.

  3. So, suicide is the ultimate painkiller?


    1. it is one thing to kill the pain while still alive and another to die as a human being.
      we repress so we don't die. life is the ultimate value. in that sense death is not a
      but it is easier for me to say...

      repression denotes some sort of self destructive process. physical, chemical,behavioral,intellectual....i still don't understand the difference Art wanted to emphasize.

  4. Art… what you write here is a reminder of how my emotion was buried!

    Feelings behind hatred for not getting something that is so essential as warmth in a physical contact... come close to dad where he stands with open arms to hug me... the phenomenon of love... something he cruelly rejected?

    How do I deal with a need that is met by madness... a need crucial to how I further develop emotionally… closer to “hell” is not possible to come!

    I can feel where and how my hatred was cemented when my dad chased me in my attempts to get his attention! I flee down the road... turn around and screaming... I hate you... as he just before wanted to punish me for my need of him. A now hatred in me… an recurring reaction when I without emotional closeness captures what the limbic system leaks... the limbic system full of hate for the absence of physical gratification... it in an attempt to get attention for my now opinion... a reaction beyond consciousness... not easy to handle... if not impossible!? Something extremely important to pay attention in a therapeutic process to recover from the repressed needs!

    How will I ever be able to understand that a reaction of hatred is a defense against experience for my need of dad? Well by the primal therapeutic process where I am headed to sink into my hat and let it takes over in a safe environment!


    1. Tough, that just seems really tough. Just not right. Why do parents do that? Do they actually think that "'s good for the kid"? If they are going to be that way, why do they have children, so they can play mind games with them, and see how screwed up it can get? What is it, a "joke" to the parent? They may not be serious at the time or think that much about lack of love/affection; but to the child, it is serious.

  5. Hi,

    Some people plan their suicide. We all at some point must accept that the one thing we share in common is that we will all die sooner or later. That we can be sure of and there is no escaping that tragedy; and it is a tragedy. Any loss is felt as a tragedy. We can and do develop belief systems to protects us from that original loss but when we can't get what we need the feeling is still there. . .when we can't have what we need. To plan suicide is also to try to act with some will, after all: "We All Die Sooner or Later". Even dignity is maintained through this final act.

    Buddha said "All Life is Suffering" and that is not so far from the epigenetic truth is it ?

    People often ask "what is the aim and purpose of existence" ? This is as good a question as "who am I" ? But to wake up to our pains (and feel them), then realise the evolutionary truth that science offers as answers to these pithy questions also raises a new question: "Is there any aim and purpose beyond my own personal gratification whilst I am still alive" ?

    This is too intellectual and is a perfect example of an "academic debate".

    The early Christian church once debated how many angels one could fit onto a pin head. Academics are trying very hard to 'reason a reason to live'. Science itself, as a body of knowledge is also a desperate attempt to find an aim and a purpose. . .

    Paul G.

    1. Paul G.,
      Hi. is unfortunate, but as we all know, times have changed. The character of person that is born into today's world and young adults in their 20's, many of them are/were allowed to do and say whatever they wanted to by their parents. How can one expect for them to feel goodness from helping someone; from doing good. To a lot of kids, and young adults, that is beyond their realm. Their own parents think it's funny when they act "wise _ _ s, and street wise. The child that was 10 years old 50 years ago, isn't the same as the 10 year old of today. Many of them just "don't care", and into their teens, seems to have a blah, blunt affect. Supposedly we are getting better with all the technology, but I don't see it. To find good qualities in kids, and young adults, sometimes, it just seems to me to be hard to come by. It's almost like the parents want their kids to have "so much power.". Is everyone just living for technology and the newest gadget coming out; what they think is progress. Is it? Maybe to a certain extent. What is more important, to me, is a person's human factor.
      The human factor: the brain, sensitivity, kindness,, and feelings are many times just forgotten and almost become obsolete at times. I know I still try to do good, and do the right thing. To me, it's got to be important, to have matter how much one has suffered or endured, still, to me, one must at least try to "carry on" with the human factor in mind.

    2. Hi coastbeach7,

      Though I want to agree with you (and feel so 'out of date'), I wonder if the affects we see that make us feel that so many more young people are astray due to lax parenting is merely the exaggeration caused by the doubling of the world population since we were kids 40 or 50 yrs ago? Also. all that increased state control and surveillance that puts all of us under even more scrutiny than ever before. Modern culture is hot-housing us as humans. We are being made into exhibits in our own zoo, we being both inmates and jailors and voyeurs.

      It seems to produce this "hall of mirrors" affect. . . whereby we can only be more unsure and less confident in our surroundings. The feedback we get from it is so much more contrary and multifarious. "Shall I park the car here, shall I walk down that street there, am I going to but Sky, or Virgin , or O2, or Vodaphone or just get along fine without any of it ?

      It seems to me like society and culture is the end of a giant fractal report of primal pain and the symbolic act out of it.

      Oh ! I must buy insurance, Oh ! I must get that new security camera. Oh ! I must prepare for old age and also for the worst. . . The WORST might happen if I don't.

      It's a paranoid act out and when we look back to the middle ages and through history we find the same thing. It's just that all these 'human condition' situations are now magnified 100 times over due to the gross over population and the increased friction between us all. Science , technology and education has developed the neocortex to such an extent that we are all in some way become "Little Professors" now.

      We almost have to be to be able to cope with this giant machine we are become called : "Human Life on Earth".

      Paul G.


  6. Hello Paul,

    "We all at some point must accept that the one thing we share in common is that we will all die sooner or later". No paul!

    I want to tell you that very very few people are aware that they will die... they may know in their head of what neocortex intellectually can explain for all of what that means in philosophical sentences... in other words... far far from what the limbic system tell us about death... what it contains emotionally. Something that we had to sacrifice our lives for... to litigate in to the limbic system and close the door... we died then! So first we have to come to life before we can know... feel that we will die!

    Yours Frank

    1. Hi Frank,

      I was one of those people who was unaware. . . I really truly, know what you mean.

      I have similar issues with my dad who also chased me down the path and even went as far as stuffing a bar of soap down my throat so far and so hard I choked and my front teeth came loose.
      later, when I was older, he came after me with a knife. I am those feelings of terror now and I also beg him for love in my Primals. Maybe they're not Primals. Maybe it's all abreaction. But I tell you when the tears come hot and salty they squirt so hard onto the inside of my spectacles my face gets wet all over and my shirt gets wet and I am so relieved to experience the loss rather than try to hide it.

      Anyway, my neocortex still can't quite help itself thinking and writing 'prescriptively'. . .

      Thanks for reminding me. By the way, when my dad was 'laying into me like this my mum was often a witness and frequently tried to remind him: "YOU CAN'T PUT AN OLD HEAD ON YOUNG SHOULDERS".

      Some parents can't understand why their children are so resistant to "advice", they forget what their children need is love; at least my mums attempts at limiting my dads unreasonable expectations helped me to "stay firm" with his extreme fascism.

      Something I still retain today; resistance to fascism and to unreasonable authority.
      Even my own.

      Paul G.

      Paul G.

      Paul G.

    2. yes Frank.
      and that is why we heal. because we know, we finally (at our own pace) care for life. that is what moves and guides the healing process! the integrating process happens not only within us... we become SAFER for life... and health is just a natural consequence. not only our health... not only our life. this is WHY primal therapy.... changes us to the best, i think. because we change our relationship to what matters in life. we are less out of life. for me all Art books that i have read finally come to this.
      Art, you somehow miss to say it explicitly but after spending much time reading... book "the primal healing" that is the (intellectual) conclusion i finally came to. and the lower the brain we explore the wider the life variations we can communicate. the ultimate are the life and death situations... that is really knowing the core of life, becoming in tune with everything that lives ... which is everything actually. it is not mystical. maybe for me it is.

    3. Hi Frank,

      I used to dice with death on the road with motorbikes. I felt euphoric, when I fell off and skidded down the road on my arse at speed I suddenly sobered and began the slow journey to consciousness. I kept on doing it, what an act out.

      This thing we call the neocortex allows us the privilege of acting out our imprints and those of us who keep on trying to use the neocortex often end up as a kind of scientist for our own evolution, (if we survive the act outs).

      There was a time when ordinary morality taught us to consider death. Death was everywhere. I remember watching a documentary about the East End of London and the squalor there. And the child mortality was so high the authorities couldn't keep up with their own policy to dispense with the corpses. . . There was a record of a family where the authorities (early social workers known as "ELMONERS") arrived and the father said "she's in the drawer". . . The 'social worker went over and found the still warm corpse of their 5 yr old daughter in the bottom drawer of a chest of drawers. . .

      The father said "she was such a sweet child, we really loved her". . .

      Now we hide death away, it is a 'sin' to consider death. . . "Be positive". . . "Be alive". . . "The world is your oyster". . . "Live life to the full". . . etc etc. . .

      Paul G.

  7. Hi Dr Janov,

    I have a couple of questions that I've been mulling over for a while now, which I'd like to ask you about - both of them about 'post primal' ex-patients.

    The first is that I was wondering why more post-primal patients don't go on to do 'great things' as society would see it, but I suppose this is because they are less driven by neurotic behaviour and seeking to obtain emotional satisfaction through the symbolic fulfillment of unment childhood needs. So... do post-primal patients, having their capacity emotional experience restored, become lost in a world of endless fascination (like children normally are)?

    The second question is: if a person like myself was (for whatever reason - maybe lack of amniotic testosterone being a determining factor) an inordinately emotionally sensitive child, who was easily traumatized by bad experiences; then by undergoing Primal Therapy and reversing the maladaptive repression of capacity for feeling; are you restoring the original level of vulnerability? If so, that would explain why (as you mentioned in one of your books) some patients decided that they've gone 'far enough'.


    1. Ben: Good questions first of all, you do not know who went on to do this or that because we have no celebrity center to help us promote what we do. And we would never want it. Secondly, many patients feel relaxed enough to no longer be driven to achieve great things. But many of our artists do go on to do important things. There is no rule as all are differemt and have different interests and ambitions. But it is true that many are no longer driven to do this and that and conquer worlds. They have conquered themselves. If I told you that right now world class musicians who have done primal therapy are releasing albums you might not understand but we are not a publicity machine. I need more info on your second question. But when you do open up you are vulnerable, there is not much I can do about that. art

    2. Hi Ben & Art,

      I havn't been in proper therapy but I have been crying a lot and since then, gradually I have become less driven to 'succeed' as some kind of 'environmental / craftsman entrepreneur' (which is what I secretly desired for myself, well, perhaps not so secretly). You know, the ones who write great books and change the world ; like Jonathan Porrit et al.
      I have touched on feelings as a toddler, the un-met need to be loved and approved and valued by my mum and dad. It's still going on in layers, like archeology as I return again and again through 3rd line boarding school loss to that earlier 2nd line need.

      As time passes my fixation and obsession with the perfect and with fame is dwindling and my act outs are changing colour. Interestingly though, things other people who know me (who have not made these inner connections) have assumed I should discard, I have begun restoring. They think I'm wasting my time and acting out, stuck in the past ! ! ! Fortunately I am realising that though my mother abandoned me to my fathers false wishes for me (boarding school) she still retained with me an emotional reality which has kept a certain fire alive. A little flame which lights my way and re-kindles interests which should not be discarded.
      To fail to get the love and attention we needed at 3 years and to never re visit those losses can so often result in the act out of discarding the very things we actually need to proceed in adult life. We throw away opportunities as a defence against actually realising our needs. I now believe our terrible wastefulness, throwing away and land filling so much produce so soon after we've made it is a giant social act out of this. . .

      Paul G.

    3. Paul i was always amazed by our ability to trick and avoid the feelings. in short: i don't believe in selfprimaling. wherever you are (in your transformation process)....
      hey, did you thought to measure your vital signs before and after? if nothing, then just to have a record until you go to Santa Monica.
      you know that eventual abreactions after some time can provoke damage.
      if you do have well ordered primals then you are an exception from a rule.
      it is not impossible but...
      when are you leaving the damn island? )))

    4. Hi vuko, I am not trying to make Primals happen, I broke down and wept nearly 4 years ago and things have evolved along the way..

      I'm not sure what you mean by 'well ordered primals' but I know what I mean by those words if I had to use them:

      If I had to choose those words then I can add more by saying that when I wake I get anxiety/terror followed by loss and then the build up of my neocortex till I can cope; a cup of tea helps as well as the aim to get into my workshop and make carpentry frames for money and for my self desire to make things; I gave up coffee, it was ruining everything.
      1st, 2nd then 3rd line. I seem to have given myself permission this last year to start grieving the loss of my dad as a child. The year before that, the loss of my mother as a child. It seems I can descend into 2nd line non verbal stuff and have done so in the past quite a lot. All of this was triggered a lot more at first, randomly and then over time in succession with returning my daughter after contact; (it's like the boarding school gates).
      My reliving experiences have evolved over time to reflect something Art said in response to a question I posed about how soon and how much access one can get to earlier stuff. The consensus seems to be that if there is too much (in my case boarding school) top line stuff then that must be dealt with first.

      This seems to be what is happening and my access to earlier 2nd line (non verbal ) stuff seems much reduced and now it's nearly all about boarding school.

      I have to hazard a guess that Real Primal starts to an extent in a chaotic zone with at least some abreaction because of the way our system fragments pain as a way to securely lock it down. This could ( I assume) result in a need for some lower access because the middle is tortuously connected to it (the chain of pain) anyway. But then I assume having touched on the lower, then, where there is great higher pain, then that must be dealt with first.

      So, cautiously speaking, I sense that I have some abreaction and some real reliving experiences and the most important ones of those are certainly from boarding school days and I feel them most in my car., either on the way to boarding school, sorry, I mean work, or on the way back from boarding school, sorry, I mean work.

      Some days my gates hold, others they let a lot through. Recently I have been experiencing very challenging but educational affects in outer life with people picking fights with me or freezing me out or trying to 'get one over'. I seem to be handling these 'roller coaster events' much better than ever before and furthermore my son has just signed up to this blog, literally just now.

      I really hope he gets to the center for reasons too confidential for me to talk about now. It will be his turn to talk about that later I think. . .

      Lastly, you all really don't want to hear the glib, superficial, cognitive bullshit he and I put up with daily from so called adults and carers who know us and whilst I still 'stay' with him at his home and save the cash usually spent on rent I am planning to get a little house so that I can commit to my 10 yr old daughter and her secondary education.

      That is even more important than my own Primal Therapy and I will not abandon her to all that glib, superficial bullshit etc etc etc. . . .

      Whilst her mother allows 'contact' to dwindle', my daughter tells me she really would come to stay more often IF I had a little house close to her next school. She said this after receiving from me some tuition in applied arithmetic which helped her understand her homework. . . Something the entire educational system and all the other mothers involved are utterly and concertedly ignorant of. So, my daughter knows I can teach her important stuff really well and I sense she will get from me what she needs in a little house of my own.

      How cool that would be eh ?

      Paul G.

    5. Hallo Paul

      I believe you have had primals. When I did it alone in the 1970's after taking lsd I really primalled and made important connections. I had a really nice letter from someone I wrote to in detail about it,who worked for The Primal Institute then and who praised and encouraged me. Unfortunately, I lost the place to work when a couple sold their house and a soundproofed hut in their garden where I did this work. I'm glad I did it and will NEVER forget the experience. I was so sad I couldn't continue but lack of money to have my own place didn't permit it. Good Luck, Paul, and I hope everything works out well for you. I'm also sorry you can't go to the Primal Centre for your self yet. Sandie.

  8. CoastBeach
    I so sympathise with your last comments! Children when I was a child in the 1950's had an innocence and a happiness with simple pleasures without the technology of even television sets or computers, i.e, such as playing in the park with friends, tea at a friend's house. We didn't so often visit cafes in those times. Even finding out what sex was from the boys in the wood was more fun, if it didn't get nasty, than having sex education in school, which we didn't get then. More natural, somehow. Believe it or not, reading was a great pleasure while some now never read unless its on a screen or a kindle. Values have changed and society (at least in the U.K.) has got nastier, more selfish. Regarding your first comment, I too, have found 'friends' bully and like to belittle me when I dare show my sensitivity. In my experience, power always turns cruel, whether its by a bureaucrat sitting in a government office or a hard faced spinster running a childrens' home or even on rare occasion a priest with children in his charge, a teacher or headmistress, power makes minds callous to other people. It's merciless! Just be yourself, CoastBeach and be proud of being an individual, as I am. Sandie.

    1. Coastbeach, Paul and Anonymous

      Perhaps the change has been that lack of freedom and time to be ourselves. Anonymous talks about young fumblings in the woods. What about any kind of running about in the woods or playing football in the street. How many kids have the time to spend time with people of their own age without the controlling influence of Parents. There is a phrase "Helicopter Parents" who are perhaps so keen to see the child develop in the right way the child is never able to develop in the right way. My parents were pretty controlling but at least I lived in the countryside and was able to escape up into the woods. I went back to my childhood home the other week and found my old Treehouse. Even the bit of blue rope we used to haul ourselves up with was still there. Boy did that rope offer a sense of being King of the world as I stood at the top of the tree seeing the world from a very different perspective.

      Kids are always surrounded by stuff and are given stuff as a poor substitute for love. I know I am pretty fucked up (hopefully less so now) but I did'nt get a lot of stuff. My sister did and still has a sense of entitlement which is infuriating. Most of the time stuff was taken off me and given to my sister because my Mother was so jealous of her Brother so my sister got what my Mother thought was love. Who needs "Stuff/possesions" if you were loved well.

      Many parents think they are loving by giving stuff as a guilt trip for not spending the right type of time with the kids. How many parents can spend time with a kid and just be with them and respect them. Not control them or tell them who to be but simply respect who the kid is. If a kid is respected for who they are and their opinions respected they will be naturally confident and be able to decide whether something they are doing is good or not and respect others. They won't need external praise because they will have confidence in themselves. They will be able to evaluate their weaknesses and build on them and so not lack confidence (which is simply someone too aware of thier weaknesses) and won't be arrogant because they are aware of their talents but also be aware of what needs improving in what they do.

      Kids have no space and so they have no freedom.

      What I would say is that perhaps power does not corrupt. I would argue that corrupted people take power so they can bolster their inadiquate sense of self. Thus they are far more likely to become even more corrupted. Millions of Parents do this every day with their kids. Those kids are then quite happy to follow a bullying dictator because they feel comfortable with the situation as it is just like their childhood. Hitler and the people of Germany at the time are perfect examples.

    2. Hallo, planespotter!

      I agree with what you say about corrupted people taking powerful jobs so they can feel superior over other people (more or less what you said). I certainly have found that power always turns cruel. I wish it wasn't like that but it seems to be true. I bet that meant something to you going back to that old tree house. I would be so sad visiting the place where I grew up. I tried it once, walking through the old park with a friend but when we came near the particular park gates which are at the path to the street where I used to live my legs became like lead and I couldn't walk there. Funny! They're all gone now anyway which makes it sadder somehow. I agree, kids have less space and freedom and time to BE simply themselves. Very sad for them. How can they learn if they're so pressured and moulded by laws and regulations in their schools from infancy upwards? Glad I was young when I was. Take care now. Sandie.

  9. Art!
    "There are neurotics who find life so rotten,that the last thing they would want to do
    is prolong life..." (Arthur Janov...)

    And in a sense still being lightyears away from being and living real as You and I hope
    numerous other patients and odinary folk... the last thing(pun NOT intended..) is for me
    (sometimes at least I get a glimpse of what a sane and healthy life could(have been)
    be) is to to end "this" (after decades of "un-lived" life in agony)

    Zest for life is the real antidote for sui cadere(as the Latins put it)
    I wonder how the real healthy people (who do not get and need not consolation by the mere thought of being " rescued" from their agony ) do get the power or strength to face death
    ending their "good life"!?! Yours emanuel

  10. What is not possible... in a sympathetic... warm and safe environment... in a direction for cause to suffering? It is long since I was there but it gave me what I needed to remember the significance of it!

    Being in the process of primal therapy is extremely interesting as I get the tools to experience... understand and anchor suffering to its cause... with the result that it does not affect my judgment anymore!

    Nothing else is for what then in time was of pain... impossible to change... difficult to detect without help... at distans possible to experience!

    Thank you very much Art!

    Yours Frank.

  11. is it so complicated to predict that a baby with some kind of baby disorder will have a greater probability to suffer as a child and as an adult? only that this baby will have added different brain structures (thoughts) to deal with whatever is the cause of this early disorder.
    is paranoia only a thought? paranoid FEELS threatened, feels danger, feels unease... the adult brain only adds the more or less complex story to this feeling and finds a more or less logical frame that can explain this story, that can help him keep unease under control. a belief system
    that is feeding on early near death experience. are cured slightly paranoid patients smarter than average?

  12. short and off topic:
    i reread about intrusion. few months ago i wrote that it was when one level is trying to speak the other level talk... now i think it is more a definition for suffering then intrusion.
    intrusion is when a patient feels a part of the feeling that he probably is just not ready to feel yet.
    because it is too strong and too early... out of proper order.

  13. you imply that the act of suicide is impossible. there is no root for act of suicide in human system.
    it is a yet another symbolic act, disconnected from the meaning of it.
    any form of self-destructiveness is not really that. it is an act of self-preservation but on a level that is out of proper context. from outside it looks even more confusing but it makes sense for patient eventually in real context of specific personal life preservation situation.
    so act of suicide is a symbolic act of survival. and many other things, becomes destructive in the present.


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.