Saturday, December 27, 2014
Imagine trying to concentrate while trucks and trains and cars are whizzing by, make noise and creating tumult. Well that is going on in the brain of those who belong to that not so exclusive class of ADDers. Where do all those trucks and cars come from? Those are the imprints/traumatic memories are shooting up noisy information from below. And they never stop, trying to tell the higher brain about so many dangers that the person no longer knows where to turn. He cannot select out a single task to focus on because of all those inputs (trains, trucks and cars) whizzing around creating tumult. The brain has to focus on so many inputs, so much incoming information that it cannot concentrate on one thing alone. Focus means to eliminate extraneous input from outside and inside and select one single topic. How can anyone do that when the input is so strong and intruding? It has to be intruding because it includes life-saving information. Something we must pay attention to. It tells us there are things inside—memories—that need to be addressed and resolved. And the ADD person must give priority to memory, for that is lifesaving. That imprint is saying, pay attention to me. And because of that, what do we get? ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER. It is signaling to every part of the higher brain; I am important and can help you live. It is not attention deficit; it is hyper-attention disorder; having to pay attention to many other things. Remember it is a lifesaving fact. The brain is performing correctly with ADD, not something to be overcome and done away with. It is warning us; hence the need to be hyperactive. The imprints over-activate and keep the person going and going, running from the terror, while the information is pushing, seeking higher neuronal ground. It is carrying out its function of trying to inform us of the imprint. So activation blocks and suppresses through hyperactivity; keeps us from focusing completely on what lies inside. The imprint is so strong and life-endangering that we have to keep running away; our minds go everywhere at once.
What the “going and doing” all of the time does is help drain some of the activation, lower the level of input, and help us function a bit better. Isn’t that what pills like Prozac do? To lower the reactions, slow the hyperactivity and help us slow down and relax. One of the reasons that pills are weak in the face of all this is that there is sometimes impairment of the neo-cortex which should work well to repress, but doesn’t. The reason there is a failure to repress is that the Primal Terror chews up so much of the painkilling supplies and never allows it to achieve normal levels. What Primal Therapy does is lower reactivity so that the cortex is not overwhelmed by input and can begin to do its job of integration and resolution; the job it was made for.
This is the particularly true of those whose imprint involves massive terror/anxiety and therefore exceptionally strong input. That input scatters the organic sense of the brain and it seems like it is in pieces, having lost its cohesion (and it’s cohesion that keeps the train on the right track) in terms of how it functions. And with the ADD individuals there is often a lack of cohesive, overall, gestalt thinking. So easily distracted, so easily disconcerted, so often losing the train of thought. As I said before, when you get on the wrong train every stop you make will be the wrong one. It is not a matter of correcting the destination, it involves redoing the beginning of the trip; getting on the right train. And that right train is always the right one, the normal one, the one that instinctively knows the right track. It is the track of feeling.
I have treated many ADDers. One is now in a doctor’s program who was unable to finish high school. This is multiplied by many patients.
When we remove the terror and pain over months and years we also extirpate the neurotic drive they suffer from. End of distraction and lack of focus. End of ADD.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The first easy answer is that you can never get it back; it is gone forever. And one day when you feel empty and lonely, and “down”, and missing something, you may know where it came from.
Remember there is critical period for all of our key functions; once gone it is history, and then we play make-up, trying to compensate for it. Starving in the womb? A big eater later on. Not eating for today but for when you were starving because that starving is now an imprint, deeply embedded in the brain.
Not touched as an infant becomes insatiable sex later on; again, trying to make up for the past deprivation. It becomes insatiable and uncontrollable because being held at the start of life, right after birth is life-giving, survival and the key to normalcy. We need to make up for that lack so that saturyisis is an attempt at being normal.
We are trying to get our past back, a past that should have been normal—fulfilling children’s needs. Alas, it was not. So we act out symbolically; we need to be touched now! And often: we cannot get enough. Remember, we are trying to fill up deprivation. Get our childhood back.
And if we all look at our neurotic behavior, our obsessive act-outs, we will find what was missing in history. Do we eat too much? Take painkillers? Hey that means you have pain. I have an idea: let’s try to find out where it comes from instead of just trying to get rid of it by pushing it down. “Out of sight very much in the mind."
You get mad when your husband won’t help you? Your parents also did not. You are frustrated because the wife does not listen? Guess what was missing.
Worse, once married the husband’s wife becomes his mother; his property. He can become dangerous and stalk her. She must now obey and do all of his bidding. He is living in his past; in his deprivation, and cannot get out of it. And she is obliged to live out his past with him. Otherwise, his fury knows little bounds.
That is the essence of neurosis; living in the present as if it were the past. No longer able to distinguish the past from the present. This is what I see all of the time; and this is the primordial cause of divorce. Unfulfilled need acted out on a partner. They can’t get along? Look for the need instead counseling each of them to try harder.
It is that past that drives obsession and compulsion because the combination of past and present is often overwhelming.
Just an aside about not making up for the past: many studies show the long-lasting effects of early deprivation. Michael Meaney’s work in Canada, in particular. One study by Eric Nestler, Friedman from the Brain Institute in New York, reported that when rat pups were deprived of licking early in their lives, they were later vulnerable to stress and were easily damaged. They had less curiosity and were less adventurous. Those rat pups who were given lots of love were quite different when they grew up. They were much more nurturing, whereas those who were deprived were much less loving. And that lasted.
We see confirmation of this need for love everywhere we look. It gives us a foundation, and without it we are weaker, sicker, lead shorter lives. We are more apt to become both depressed and/or anxious as adults. Shouldn’t all this “proof” say something to therapists? We need to examine that foundation and see how strong or weak it was. We need to ask the right questions and look in the right places and at the right time in history. I should not have to bang on about it.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
I am going to take several leaps: the first is to equate the imprint with methylation of the gene cell. That is, as very early trauma (gestation and its surroundings)enhance methylation, adding part of the methyl group to the cell. This is a sort of trace or memory marker that alters the gene and imprints the memory; for life. Well, “for life” is a big statement since if someone finds a way to rid us of those traces it will not be for life. Which I believe we have; we are now on our way to confirm this hypothesis.
The point being that the trace of methylation is an analog to my notion of the imprint; an embedded memory that endures and affects so much of us, our minds and body organs. That is the second leap. Of course it is complicated matter and I do not touch on that, but by and large, it is a good index of what methylation means.
Why do I make that leap? Because we are dealing with early trauma and it may well have to with the later development of cancer. Let me put it differently. We see very few cancers over the years of our therapy. I believe in part it may be due to addressing directly the memory trace; over months of Primal Therapy, wending the way down to lower brain levels, finally arriving at the deepest and most remote memories and reliving them bit by bit. What seems to happen to my patients is that full reliving without words and often without tears, the mark of primeval imprints, undoes the agony of the memory without disturbing the memory itself. The memory no longer drives us and impels neurosis. That means no longer a deregulation of so many organ systems and thought processes. There is then a systemic normalization of so much of brain and physical processes.
It is my assumption, then, that this normalization reverses methylation, at least in part. We note in late research on depression and suicide (measured by autopsy), that the heavier methylation is associated with greater tendencies toward suicide. That so-called “psychologic behavior” is ultimately a matter of neurophysiologic processes. Not the reverse, mind you, where everything is a brain dysfunction with no reference to or understanding of key early experience. The brain gets impaired through early experience. It is not a matter of investigating or changing thoughts and behavior in therapy that matters. It means looking into the deep neurologic imprints altering the behavior of the genes. In that way, we will stop imagining that it is all a matter of genetics, rather than epigenetics. Yes, of course, there are genetic effects, but in my experience they are not so effective and dominating as epigenetics. This is being supported by late work in addiction. (see, E. Heller, et al, “Locus-specific epigenetic remodeling controls addiction-and depression-related behaviors.” Nature Neuroscience, 27 October, 2014)(see the abstract: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v17/n12/abs/nn.3871.html). One thing they found was that histone methylation …….the locus in the nucleus accumbens (the reward area) was enough to control drug behavior. Again, it is no brain impairment; but brain reaction to trauma that may cause all this. What researchers are doing is finding the neurologic concomitants of it all. Still with no mention of what goes on early in our lives that may produce these changes.
The research I am citing is from “Disorder in gene-control system is a defining characteristic of cancer.” Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Science Daily, 8 December, 2014) (see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141208145512.htm).
So what are they saying? Basically, that derangement of the methylation process "has a direct bearing on the effectiveness of cancer therapy". And what does that mean? That changes and trauma very early in life impact the methylation process and deregulate it. This makes cancer therapy more opaque. There are times when this disorganization may help tumors adapt to its altered nature because of trauma. In short, disordered methylation may lead to cancer progression. This is far too complicated, but there is a strong relationship between imprints and the development of serious disease. And one way to measure this is through methylation which gives us a quantitative index of how much damage there is and where it occurs. In brief, when we think of the Primal imprint we need to think methylation.
Let’s stop calling all the disorders of the brain and behavior a “brain disease”. We have had some success in treating epilepsy. Is it a brain disease or one of bad early experience? Or is addiction a brain disease? We have treated many addicts and have found that when we take away the embedded pain we stop the need for pain-killers. If we neglect experience, specifically very early experience, we can never know how experience alters the brain. We cannot understand how methylation becomes “disordered” with adverse experience and what role that plays in the development of cancer and other serious diseases.
What I have done is point the way to the imprint and shown how to get there to change the whole system. Now science is helping to pinpoint so much that is helpful. But let us not deify pure science is the sine qua non. Clinical work here preceded pure neurologic science by years. Our nerve cells store knowledge and store memory, and in those memories lies trauma and its enduring effects on all of us. We must address those traumas, not with words but with experience. Psychotherapy must ultimately involve experience.
Monday, December 15, 2014
I have often remarked that the most important memories that drive neurosis, our behavior and our symptoms are those that cannot be remembered; at least not in the way we think of memory. Therein lies the rub. Because what can you say when the body "remembers" something that affects our eating habits for a lifetime? And yet we do not "remember" it? That is because we are too used to thinking of memory as recall; something we can figure out, that has content and words. So we therapists ask the patient, "Do you remember your childhood?" Or, "What can you tell me about your childhood?". The truth is, "Practically nothing". Because the important stuff, the experiences that change us radically have no words; they long predate the use of words. Why? because we have found that gestational life and birth traumas change us significantly, and until we can wend our way down the chain of pain we are never aware of these experiences and how they motivate and steer us. It is when the neuronal circuits of the brain are getting organized which will direct our lives thereafter.
So what does a "body memory" mean? When a carrying mother is under-nourished, her baby will have a much greater chance of obesity later in life. He (his body) remembers it all. We can only put a name on it after months of our therapy where the baby is again a baby crying out for food. And he feels the deprivation and pain of it all. Or, in a study of mice, they found that the "memory" of nutritional deprivation can be passed onto the sperm of the offspring. ("Inherited memory of poor nutrition during pregnancy passed through the sperm of male offspring." Science Daily, July 10, 2014)(see:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710141547.htm).
We might say that neurosis means we are walking around in the constant grip of unremembered memories that the body remembers. We can be "aware" of its harmful effects but unconscious of it. We never experienced the pain of it. Awareness lives on high in the brain, devoid of the direct feeling of agony. It can explain, rationalize or deny but never experience it. How about the feeling of helplessness when unable to move out of the womb into life on the planet? I have seen how some male patients who have relived that hopeless, helpless feeling see why they could not be aggressive in sex; why they give up so easily and feel defeated so quickly, losing their erection. They cannot "go all the way". I know this sounds so psychoanalytic but it is observational science at work.
It is not a concocted hypothesis drawn out of my derriere. These are epigenetics in process creating havoc in our system, and we never know why because we cannot "remember" it. When we get down to preverbal experience we can finally "remember" it all. Now we know why Cialis is such a big seller. Until we remember we have no control of the memory. We only see its later effects, and because it is still a mystery, we find a doctor who will help us suppress those effects until we no longer experience even the results of the memory. Enter the erection booster, a doctor who has the secret answer to our sex problem. And since nothing but the real memory is liberating these "experts" can devise all sorts of treatments suppressing the symptom, and any of them might be "effective" for a short time. It has to be short time because the driving source/force is still alive in the subterranean caves of the unconscious. Can't concentrate? Might be imprint of chaos lying deep in the brain. These memories are so powerful because they are often catastrophic in content, and also life-threatening. Lack of nutritional when we are ten is not nearly as life-threatening as lack of it at six months in the womb. This includes a mother's chronic depression who has a "down" effect on the fetus. Most of it, including biologic processes are "down regulated". There is poor appetite later on, lack of energy, and so on. He is no longer a self-started; he needs to be encouraged or led as he cannot get himself to anything spontaneously. Suffocating from the mother's constant smoking or taking "downers" he learns a passive style of life from the very start. He will need the same uppers his mother needed in order to get going. All because he cannot remember. And worse, he cannot try to remember as it will produce the opposite effect. He will use the top of the brain to try to get to what is deep down. It is like trying to sleep when there is constant noise from outside. It keeps the neo-cortex active when it should lie quiet. The same brain at different stages of maturity. When there are many deleterious imprints, the top level is constantly activated and cannot relax or shut down. And if we have to get up out of bed, and shout out of the window at the bikers making a racket, all is lost, and that includes sleep. Suppose now we never knew about the bikers: it is the brain making all the noise that keeps us from sleeping. We are complete victims. Of whom? Ourselves.
I emphasize the early months here seeming to neglect the later years. Those later years are critical in shaping our lives out of the crucible of the gene/epigene foundation. But the early months are also heaviest in methylation, indicating to me that this is where the central damage gets done; where the imprints that sculpt our later lives are laid down. It is where the needs that make us human are predominant. Neglect here has terrible consequences.
Which selves? The methylated ones, of course. Why are they methylated? Because they are signs of our wounds from very early on; the stripes/traces foretell of disasters yet to be experienced. Those they foretell, as well, of the wounds/imprints we cannot remember in any cerebral way; the ones doing so much damage. So you think we can do Gestalt exercises and feel free? Think again; in order to feel free we must free ourselves from an overload of methylation, and in no other way. We need to experience what has never been fully experienced before. How come? Because the pain content was so great that it provoked the gates into action so that we would not experience it. Back then, we travelled a few millimeters into our private pharmacy and grabbed up as much serotonin as we could to stop the suffering. The problem now is we need to find a way to plunge into the suffering and finally be free of it forever. Too often we do the opposite. We take serotonin again to bolster the gates against memory (Zoloft, etc.). We deliberately make ourselves unconscious. And this is the way we try to get well?!
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Is that possible? To learn to love? Is it ever possible? Nope. Just a wee bit? Nope. How about liking someone more? Yep. Then learning to love should be possible? Nope. What can we learn as adults? How to build a computer, fix a propeller, mow the lawn, blah blah. But love? Here we are confusing two parts of us that are often antithetical. Learning is top level; cerebral, a brain devoid of feeling. Don’t forget; it cannot feel and is not supposed to. It can interpret feelings, explain them and write about them ad nauseum. But when feelings surge forth, the top level recedes. Love is deeper in the brain, does not need language or learning. In fact, it is impervious to learning. The more lessons we have on how to love, the less loving we become. Saying “I love you,” all day long is not a substitute for hugging and kissing and showing joy at seeing each other.
The military learns to take orders, and obey without thinking. Feeling would screw it all up and we wouldn’t be able to kill any more. And why is obeying so important? Because it blocks feeling. You would not hear a woman who is hugged and kissed often complain, “You never say you love me.” It was just said in the language of love. It exudes out of every pore. But what you can actually learn is motivation, a willingness to work and study. That comes within a loving environment. The teachers that I had who patted me or put their arms around me are the ones I learned from. So I perfected Spanish and typing; and after about 12 years of four universities I learned very little else. I learned a lot from those who called my name and asked me how I felt and how I was doing. So, Mr Reagan, it is not the three R’s, readin, writin and rithmatic. It is kindness, generosity and interest from those who teach; who show approval and encouragement. Who love teaching and the students who learn. School is not the military and “military intelligence” is a contradiction in terms. ….,an oxymoron.
What was so important that I learned about child rearing was from my dog. She taught me about loving and how important it was. I gave her every freedom yet she always stayed by my side. That is why I always took my dog to therapy sessions. She heard cries and licked my patients who then cried and screamed—they never cared and never showed empathy like my dog. When we are loved the right feeling brain grows and develops and we learn nuance and music and art and kindness and empathy and love; that is a lot of learning. And that is the springboard for real learning. That is why most of my Ph.D’s cannot learn to do the therapy, even though they know every theoretical answer. They cannot sense what the patient is feeling; cannot know when they make a right or wrong move in a session. Cannot know when to stop pushing a patient (in order to feel that they got the patient to a feeling, even though they overloaded her.).
How do we learn to love? How do we learn to be a good therapist? We don’t. My kids, when they were young, did my therapy and they were right on most of the time. If they got a doctor’s degree I am afraid that all feelings would have been squeezed out of them. Primal Therapy is an art within a science. We need to understand nuance coupled with scientific understanding. Not one or the other, but both at once, conjoined into one outlook; one therapeutic perspective.
So we know what is going on inside patient, both in her feeling brain and in her intellectual one. But alas, we have very smart therapists talking endlessly to patients while crushing their feelings and taking them out of any chance to get well. Because, they cannot get well in their head alone , but everywhere in their system. But intellectual therapists are satisfied to get patients well in their thinking, intellectual brain. The feeling part, the sexual one, the artistic one is neglected and overlooked. And what do we get? a smart dummy, who knows history and literature but not their own history and not what they could write if they were in touch with their personal literature.
I would like to redesign a doctoral program that includes empathy, touch, hugs and kindness. I would remove all statistics and graphs and concentrate on the doctor herself; help her understand her life, her beginnings and how it shaped and sculpted her. I would offer her Primal Therapy so she could learn everything she needs to know about treating another person. And guess what? No charge. I do not think medicine and therapy should be paid for. We do that with our taxes. It is not a profit making venture. I tried for years to offer my therapy to several governments. I took my son to see the English Minister of health and offered him my therapy. He smoked a pipe, took a deep breath and said, “Let me see if I got this right. You have a psychotherapy that cures, are willing to have it examined by our specialists and there will be no costs? Whereupon my 12 year old son said, “Dad let’s get the hell out of here before it is too late.” And we did.
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.