Friday, April 25, 2014
The Unconscious As The Last Frontier
How come the unconscious is constantly neglected. I know: No one knows what it is or what it contains. Best to let sleeping dogs lie, especially since we don’t know what kind of dogs we are dealing with. One could be dangerous; but that cannot be true cause all we do is dredge up our own feelings; how dangerous could that be? Well, let’s see: no one likes or loves me. Nothing will change. There is no hope to ever be loved by two people who cannot love. I know those feelings and have relived them; they are painful but they cannot drive you crazy because you are feeling them. That means that your compulsive behavior, migraines, high blood pressure, epilepsy will go away for good because there is no residue of pain to drive the symptoms again. What a relief; no recidivism. The end of criminality. But………but you need to feel a lot of the pain and not stop in the middle. Otherwise, there is that residue.
So let me ask you this. Why is all this love, this hugging and kissing so important? Why is it the linchpin of primal therapy? Because it is essential to our life, longevity and healing. Nothing matters when we lack it and success means nothing without it. Life is empty not because you don’t have it now but because the lack of love was imprinted even during gestation and overshadows everything in life. So even when someone comes along who is warm and kind we cannot feel it because the imprint dominates and colors our lives. And what happens? The person thinks it is others’ fault and seeks out love from others; alas, it will not happen. What will happen is divorce.
So what really happens to us when there is no love, even during womb-life? Your brain shrinks and you no longer play with a full deck. I should add that most brain studies are on children but the results play an even more important role for the evolving brain of the fetus. So how do we love a fetus? Correct nutrition, careful behavior while pregnant; no very hot baths or sweat cabins, no flying, no extreme sports; but most important you need to be normal. WHAT? Janov is nuts, it seems. But if you are chronically anxious or depressed it seeps into the fetus and affects is functioning. It will be either uploaded or downloaded; not normal. And the physiology of the mother will be visited upon the baby. He will end up with many of the maternal traits. But wait a minute; how do we get normal? Get rid of what makes us abnormal and that means imprinted pain. Better yet, be born to loving parents. Aah.
Look. After we make for the best gestational life possible, we need to sleep with the child, hug and kiss him and help him feel wanted and welcome to this planet. Talk to him, approve of him and lay off all the criticism. Not so hard? When it does not happen you have a brain that does not function well; does not remember well and cannot focus. It is a smaller brain. This is a brain that underwent serious neglect and abuse early on. What they found is that the smaller brain has a right hemisphere, the feeling one, that lacks some essential elements. The larger is nearly always the smarter one and the more socially adept. When there is no close bond with parents, starting with gestation, there will be faulty relationships throughout life. But why do those with smaller brains seem smart? Because they become intellectuals and that ain’t smart. (For more on all this look up the Health Freedom Alliance. April 8, 2014, and also Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition). When we think about smart we need to think about emotionally smart, yet neglect causes the limbic structures to become smaller. As they get smaller we find ADHD and lack of good focus. Not surprising, there is diminished growth of the left hemisphere. All this from lack of love? Yes yes.
When scientists discuss this research why do they not follow suit and address those very early events that lay imprinted deep in the brain? Instead of using the higher level neo-cortex to suppress it? Why do we need to plunge into the abyss of the last frontier?
When there is inadequate stimulation early on we do not get the full quantity of neurons we need; the half-full deck. And, I might add, we lack the full arsenal of repressive chemicals we need to block pain; hence anxiety as a chronic state. Chemicals such as serotonin get “used up” in the battle to keep the gates closed. As a result the gates get “leaky”. Pain passes through the porous brain, and we are very uncomfortable and can turn to drugs.
So where does addiction come from? Those in pain who need to kill it. We usually address taking drugs and never “why”. The key element is left out of the equation—pain. And the rest of the equation is where does the pain come from? Neglecting need, the most basic physiologic need to the needs of a growing child. It is those very early needs we cannot see and never know exists. If we leave those early imprints untouched we can sure addiction will thrive again. Do-gooders help with higher levels but never the deeper levels. Lo and behold; the one with the smaller brain is much more likely to be addicted. And he will be violent. Why? Because the early damage can exist on the deep brainstem level where violence is organized and imprinted. This means very early and deep damage. We have found a way to go deep and we hope others will allow us to teach them and there abort so much suffering. We need to travel where there are no words and even no tears; into our prehistory. That is what this has made it all such a mystery.
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.