Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ken Rose on "Life Before Birth". Part 1/6

This is the first part of a 6 part series. It is the transcript of a December 2012 interview of Jeff Link, the editor of my book "Life Before Birth". He talks to Ken Rose  on his "What Now" show on KOWS radio.

KOWS 107.3 FM Occidental California it’s the ‘What Now’ Show Mondays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm every Monday, today is December 12th. On the telephone we have Jeff Link, good afternoon.

Jeff Link: Good Afternoon Ken.

Ken Rose: Welcome to the show, thank you for joining us, where are you in Chicago?

JL: Yeah, I’m in Chicago.

KR: How the heck is Chicago?

JL: It’s great, we’ve been having the first taste of winter here but Chicagoans are pretty hearty people so we’re ready for it.

KR: Yes you are, Chicago is… people of good strong character come from Chicago.

JL: Right, right. I hope so anyway.

KR: This is an important hour for me and I hope for our listeners and hopefully our guest Jeff Link, Jeff is the editor of a very very enormously important new book called; Life Before Birth. It’s written by Dr. Arthur Janov and I hope it doesn’t take a long time before the book gets recognized for what it is and before Dr. Janov’s work is likewise recognized.
How did you come to be associated with Dr. Janov?

JL: Well, I work for a publisher NTI Upstream in Chicago and we’re fairly new but we focus a lot on children’s health, specifically issues that happen during gestation and the first years of life and how those affect a child’s development, and then emerge later on in some of the conditions we see in adults.
We came to Dr. Janov, because we knew of his work, we knew of his work with Primal Therapy, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Kimberly Cameron, his agent who had a manuscript that she sent me, we had expressed an interest in this subject matter; gestational health and some of the new research that was coming out regarding epigenetics and prenatal stress, exposure to drugs and alcohol in the womb, and she sent us the manuscript.
I read the introduction and was instantly astounded by Dr. Janov’s writing and his voice, which I think is uniquely direct and compelling, and able to sort of able to translate very complex ideas into relatable metaphors and concrete images and descriptions that I think anybody can latch on to.

KR: So your background essentially is in publishing, is there any particular connection personally that you have had to the topics that you talk to; gestational life and early childhood, this type of thing?

JL: Yes, and maybe I’ll go back to kind of a little bit of a background of our publisher. We have kind of a unique motto here in Chicago, Dr. Ira Chasnoff, who has done a lot of work in the past with prenatal drug and alcohol exposure started NTI Upstream years back, about ten years ago. He was one of the first researchers to really identify and sort of sound the alarm for the effects of exposure to alcohol and to cocaine and many other drugs. The media kind of ran with it very early on and sort of exaggerated some of the first claims or some of the early research about the effects of cocaine, and we’ve since learned that alcohol exposure during pregnancies is in some ways just as if not more dangerous, but this work and this study of how the brain was developing in this sort of critical phase really prompted us to look for new material, to look for writers who are doctors, psychologists, mental health professionals and just what they were researching affecting children.
We also work pretty closely with the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Foundation, so we do a lot of writing on these topics with them. This all sort of coalesce into our desire to really pursue somebody at the forefront of this new research, and that’s how we came across Dr. Janov.

KR: So this was your first exposure to his work?

JL: Yeah, after I learned of this book I did some research and went back and examined Primal Scream and some of his earlier works. I guess I maybe predate the attention that book got, I’m 35 myself, but we really saw in this book his ideas from that book coming back full circle and really placing many of his ideas about Primal Therapy and the importance of biologic truth back before birth. I think he says in the book; this is by no means a negation of that earlier book, but it just sort of moves everything back. Whereas before the focus of trauma and kind of looking at the past as a source for mental illness and afflictions we find later on, initially people thought it was just the first couple years of life. Now this book really takes it back another nine months.

KR: Right, and what a nine months it is. This really expands and clarifies the context for all of it.
Jeff, I want to tell you right upfront that what moves me so deeply about Dr. Janov’s work and it has for years, are the larger implications of it. I think near the end of the book, or somewhere in this book he very briefly makes an allusion to the concept of a universal theory, or a universal field theory.
I’m an amateur, I’m not a great scholar by any means, but as far as my own understanding goes, this comes closer than anything I’ve ever encountered to really lay out a viable and cohesive coherent context, for our entire human experience and reality.

JL: I think so. I think the breath of his ideas is what’s most compelling. You mentioned the Unified Field Theory, and really I think what he’s doing here is, I think there is a tendency for disciplines, unfortunately to work independently, so we have new ideas coming up in the field of psychotherapy, at the same time neuroscientists are learning more and more how serotonin and dopamine and some of these neurochemicals are affecting us from very early on, at the same time we’re learning things in evolutionary biology about when certain areas of the brain develop and what’s going on during those times. But really I think, Janov is one of the few writers out there who can really bring those ideas together, and doesn’t adhere so steadfastly to a single discipline but really tries to define the ways that those things can be brought together.

KR: We briefly talked about what we might spend this hour talking about, I will defer to you if you’d like to lead off the investigation, otherwise I’d like to just turn our attention to chapter one, which is called; “how love sculpts the brain.”

JL: Yes, I think that’s actually a great place to begin, I think it’s pretty interesting, just as a concept, the notion that love could affect brain development, particularly the fact that it could affect the brain’s development before we are born. I think when Dr. Janov uses the word, love, and I don’t want to step on his toes at all, but I think he’s using it to broadly define all the ways that fetal needs can be fulfilled, and later on early needs when an infant is maybe one or two years old. That spans everything from the mother’s emotional state; whether she has a balanced mood, if she has a good diet, if she’s abstaining from drugs and alcohol, if she’s maybe exposed to anesthetics during child birth, if she suffers birth complications, all these sort of myriad factors that can affect fetal development then shape how the child will develop. That is true above and beyond the child’s genes, but it’s a very specific time, a critical window as Dr. Janov calls it, where the effects of these things have a profound impact that can last a life time and really shape the way the brain develops.

KR: Right. The subtitle of the book is…

JL: “The hidden script that rules our lives.”

KR: Right, and the word is “rules” not influences, it’s “rules.”

JL: Right, and there was actually some debate about the subtitle, but I finally defer to him on that because I think it really is rules in the truest sense. What you think, and there are numerous studies some of which we could get into here as the hour moves on, which show that these things that happened to us during those nine months will affect our serotonin output, they will affect how our vital signs, how fast our heart beat is, what our body temperature is, how we interact with other people. All these physiological and psychological affects that just simply wouldn’t have happened under a normal, loving childbirth.  

KR: Right. You make a critical distinction about the word “love.” That we’re not talking about romance here or even the best intentions that a mother, or father for that matter, would have toward an unborn child, but you’re putting love into the domain of “need.” Of biological need, fetal biological need, with a discreet window.
So, is there anything more that you would want to elaborate about what’s meant by “fetal needs,” and how these absolutely must be met in their time, and that there is no future substitute for them.

JL: Yes, I think one line that I’ll maybe start with that I found really compelling in the book, Dr. Janov writes it; “there is one word to describe love from birth on, it is touch.” We see this in a couple different ways but touch becomes really important in the one sense from breastfeeding. He is a proponent of breastfeeding, and he talks at length in the book about a hormone called oxytocin, which is basically a hormone involved in a lot of different… it serves a function in labor, it serves a function in our sexual interests, it also basically just helps us show affection towards others. Early on when a mother transfers oxytocin to the child through breastfeeding, it not only increases her level of oxytocin, but it draws the child to the mother and that sort of bonding then has all sorts of implications for the child’s later development.
So what we see, on the one hand biological there is this hormone that has been identified as a source of love, but on the other hand it’s a cyclical effect. When a child is breastfed he then becomes attracted to the closeness and the bond with the mother.


1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    -"there is one word to describe love from birth on, it is touch.”-

    In a way, that's all it takes. . . "a touch in time saves nine"-. . .

    Paul G.


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.