Thursday, April 14, 2016

What Happens When You Can't Feel? How Fascism Gets Its Start

I  will use myself as an example. I worked in the meat-packing house when I was young. And once  a month we  played “the greased pig. “  We took a greased pig to the park and we stood around in a circle and dove on him to try to pin him down.  The winner was the guy who could pin him down for 2 minutes. It is abhorrent to me now and unthinkable and cruel. Why? Because I could not feel the effect on the poor, poor  animal. I saw but I did not see because my feelings were locked deeply away. I saw without feeling and that happened because cruelty was visited on me very early on, and due to its painful impact, I fell unconscious and could  not feel it.  I could no longer feel my own pain and therefore no one else’s. I participated in cruelty and never knew it. Herein lies the kernel of the cause of the Nazi Concentration Camps.  So the zeitgeist is all important.  It seeps into our minds like Trojan horse, stealthily, quietly and automatically. And soon we do not question anything. It took me decades to feel for those pigs, and it was far too late and now I cringe whenever I think about it. How could I do that?  I could do that because my feelings and beliefs were miles apart to keep my own pain at bay.

First, we need to dehumanize the victims; they are dangerous, threatening,  and not part of our world. The victims are not part of us. It is not that we are taught that.   It is in the  zeitgeist; we grow up with it and never question it.  It is implied in our abattoirs, the way we treat and kill animals.  Until  recently doctors operated on babies without anesthetic because they believed that they do not feel pain. And we treat “junkies”  apart, who can give up drugs if they are strong enough and make the right choice. They  can choose not to be on drugs, is the current belief. In short,  it is all in their head where choices are made; never in the body where pain lives.

How else can humans send young children to death without a second’s thought?   In the same way I allowed us all to attack a poor, lost pig and never think about its consequences.  He was just a thing to play with, not a living feeling being.

The kids were “Jews,” part of an evil empire. The leaders took away any empathy and offered a trick of the mind…..Jews.    Humanity deformed.  And they could do that in  a society already highly repressed and unfeeling. The Nazis just finished the job.  They inculcated a rationale to make killing reasonable and feasible. And for a society that was highly obedient and unquestioning it all made sense. The minute feelings push into conscious/awareness, none of that would be possible. The Nazis killed those who felt; they became the weak ones, cowards and far too sensitive,  the faint hearted who would leave Germany vulnerable. Their so called weakness was a danger to German society. They had to be eliminated. Germany above all else.

And now we begin to understand psychotherapy where we create a divide again between feelings and cognitive behavior. In a sense we are preparing a welcome, a pathway, for the evil and the Nazis to come; producing an unfeeling society who rely on beliefs, uber ales. An evil we took part in.  An evil that is the necessary consequence of a therapy that has eliminated feeling from any consideration. And when our feelings are twisted, all manor of hell can follow. They create the enemy for us and help us justify our violence toward them.  We leaders now direct our anger toward those who menace us.  Above all, those who are different from us,  especially those who think.   “When I hear the word intellectual I read for my gun,” as one Nazi leader put it. And my patients tell me that their therapists, when they hear that their patients are going to Primal Therapy,  become adamant against it, scoffing and derogatory. They won’t read about it and do not want to know about it;  it has a resonance as a  danger … with their practice and beliefs and the pivot of their lives.

We are relieved when Hubert Humphrey can go to Vietnam during the war and ask the soldiers,  “Did you get you any gooks today”?  (An exact quote). You see, they stopped being young people just married and going to school. They became “gooks.” And we can kill “gooks,” with the approval and encouragement of the vice president of the United States of America.  They were dehumanized.  I went to Vietnam and met with them after the war. They were the softest, kindest people I had met in long time.   You cannot are kill people like that.  So we made them monsters, communists who wanted to destroy us.  The story was that they were fighting not for their freedom but a proxy war for the communists, and we had to stop them.  They were “part of a giant conspiracy that threatened our very way of life.” Notice all the abstractions: vague, no proof but ideas handed down to us peasants.  Where do we go to find this great plot against us?  That is the convenience of politicians who create enemies for us; it justifies our fears and hatred.   Violence is soon in the offing.

And what happens to parents who go to psychotherapy?  They still do not see really, how they treat their children.  They cannot because intellect and cognitive processed have been apotheosized to the neglect of feelings.  That is the ultimate deformation.   Psycho--Therapy has helped us lose our humanity and compelled us to follow the leader (doctor,  head of state, the same). Psychologists reign.


  1. Let me tell you a story I experienced as a kid! I was with my friends for what friends at the time constituted around me. We had bought air rifles for hunting! We headed out into the woods to hunt. After some hunting we saw a squirrel which we immediately began to shoot at. One of us managed to hit the squirrel and it fell to the ground. None cared about the squirrel exept me in my silence so we went home.
    I remember how I on my way back home felt uneasy. Once we got home so we parted. My tears began to flow down my cheeks... and I started my walk back to the woods to bury the squirrel. I damed our prank and cried at the same time. I found the squirrel and buried it. My life went on as if I did not care around my friends. In my loneliness I always suffered terribly for what all I was involved without no ability to stand up against it. It was as if my loneliness was not painful enough to admit it... so I took more consideration for what my friends were up to than I suffered from our prank... or I may say needed them to avoid my self for what my lonliness contained. My loneliness... I was a "weak" (feeling) little boy which I could not possibly admit to my "friends".
    So I could kill of keeping my friends more than I could admit my self... a weakness to be a killer in a quiet outcry of not being loved


    1. Frank I understand totally. art

    2. Thanks both of you. These words have touched me deeply. I have done too many things I regret early on in "a quiet outcry of not being loved". Now I just remain quiet usually. I do join in with my Facebook friends in write-in campaigns against government cruelty at times but in general have been forced to just look after myself in hope of better days to come. It takes more than I have in me to try to change this world. I'm just trying to outlive it, perhaps a ridiculous idea - maybe if I live as long as Noah!

    3. Grahame, as I always say, I don't want to change the world, I just don't want it to change me. art

    4. Frank: I understand totally too. Killing and hurting animals is abhorrent, and obviously that includes what they endure to create what passes as food for humans. I understand that primally aware people such as ourselves find witnessing the everyday abuse of children frustrating and painful, and you express very well how difficult it is to simultaneously have to live, however minimally, among people, yet also deal with their daily abuse of, and oppressive attitudes towards children. My awareness of the extent of animal abuse in a speciesist world - humans are just another bloody animal for Chrissakes, we´re not that goddam special and it´s imperative that we stop believing we are - makes this conflict so acute that I live my life with absolute minimal human contact. Gary

    5. My strength is my weakness!

      Emotionally... I'm not so old when I feel... and mentally I am my own obstacle to it... my catch-22. So my strength lies in my weakness to feel!


    6. From one day to another!

      I do not know that I had a mother or father! I find myself in a vacuum... my life flows on as if nothing had any significance. I do not even know if I'm alive. I am not... and have never been anyone... I'm always on the run from myself. I dont know about love... I do not know how I'm suppose to be... and still the whole society required it of me... I know I am not alone about it... that is all.
      I know about a lot of issues who I answer without any real knowledge... more than I am not alone about it. I know more than I feel that is my problem... so my thoughts finds answers that fits for where I am in my life of defenses. I do not want to say that it is lies... but well illusions.
      I do not talk to anyone I'm just afraid and if I do talk to anyone I have repressed my fear in a process of meaningsless things like talking about nothing that makes scence... scence as could take me out of it.
      One more day has passed... and I who am in such a hurry!


    7. Dear Art!

      "I do not want to change the world, I just do not want it to change me" if it is not going to happen in one way or an other... you know what to do!

      Your Frank

  2. Well...I think it is much worse now. The kids and even adults are influenced many times by coldness that a person possess towards another (and people misinterpret that as strength). Some are influenced so much so, that they, at times, "give up" who they have always been (compassionate, kindness)...just to be with the crowd or just to be on the side of a strong nasty force(man or woman). Kids don't know any better or what's going on many times, but adults do know because they have experience and a lot of them, just go along, not giving a thought to feeling or even their own real feelings. Almost like: "what comes around , goes around." and that is really too bad. Someone suffered, so the next person has to suffer, so on and so a chain many times that should be broken. But even if that chain should be broken, I now have to wonder if anyone would really take note of kindness, love shown.

    1. O.k. (sounds good). Thanks Art.

    2. Beachcoast,

      Don't underestimate the power of kindness and compassion.

      I work with children of all ages and adults. Frequently I see how affected and responsive children are when I look at them or talk to them. I feel such warmth and affection when I look at their innocent sweet faces. They respond and are touched, I can see it. Adults as well sometimes. Kindness shows and it is wonderful to give and to receive.


    3. Beachcoast, here´s my reply, if the link works. gary

  3. Quote: "producing an unfeeling society who rely on beliefs"

    I've been involved in politics to a given level in New Zealand. I align myself to the political Right - because they are in fact more "right" in policy...

    But people on the Left say the Right have no heart. Well, going from my experience, I think I might have to agree with them - it's actually (though stereotypical of course) true!...

    They are full of principle and dedication to doing the right thing...but do they truly care? Do they truly empathize? Some do for sure, but for the most of them not really. It's ultimately about pride - not feeling. And this might be why I can't gel with them very well. I actually find it far easier and more enjoyable to talk to the bar staff than the political group! I tolerate the boring 'high standing' intellectuals because I have to; but, there's something horribly missing in them. A lack of natural friendliness, I think? I just can't really relax with them.

    And yes - without feeling and only "high standing" principle, the individual is only 1 or 2 steps away from a black (fascist?) intellectual calculation. Morality is no substitute for humanity, and it's always dangerous when the latter is lacking I believe. The heart needs to hold the head to account.

    But that doesn't mean 'vote Left'. These guys tend to be passion but without objective intellectual discipline. They can be tragically good at paving roads to hell with their best intentions.

  4. Art!

    The meaning of love is so hard to catch on the run from it ... but so overwhelming when we begin to feel the need of it!


  5. I can so relate to Art and Frank's experiences.When I was about 10, I was with the son of friends of my parents.He had a BB gun or a 22 rifle or something and it was the first time I had ever been exposed to a gun. I had no reactions to the gun at first one way or another. He gave me the gun and then he suddenly noticed a robin on a wire a few feet away. "Shoot it!" he said. And for some unknown reason I did. I struck the bird and it fell to the ground, where it flapped its wings in agony, wounded but not dead. On seeing this, I was horrified at what I had done, and burst into sobs. I ran to my mother, and told her what happenned and cried and cried and cried.This happened 50 years ago, and I still can see it all clearly. Worst bloody thing I've done in my whole life, and I totally regret it.Needless to say, such a situation has never been repeated and never will be.

    The only perhaps positive aspect to all this is that at least I still had some connection to my compassionate feelings at that age and was not cruel like the gun-toting jerk who encouraged me to kill the robin.Pretty surprising considering I was brought up by a fascist mother. Perhaps it was the influence of my father who was mostly pretty sensitive, but detached.But why would such a person like my father marry a Mussolini clone like my mother?


    1. Marco, I can only sympathize. So so sad. art

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Art,

    Are you saying that no group of human beings can ever represent the "other", people who operate on a different set of values, a murderous, life-denying set of values? That seems a very dangerous thing to be saying. There are cults everywhere. And there are "super cults" that command the obediences of millions or even hundreds of millions. You yourself talk of the Nazis just as if they are the "other", people who have separated themselves from humanity. I think we just have to apply rational judgment.

    Sadly, not all cultures are equal. The European Jewish culture (but not really the north African Jewish culture, just to make clear it's nothing to do with religion per se) was and is of incomparable value to the whole of humanity. The Nazis gave humanity very little. Maybe rocket science. That's about it.

    Dan Read

  7. Beachcoast: Feeling, showing, being kindness is like trying to hold back the tide.
    When all you´ve ever seen is coldness, anger, threats, violence, rejection, harshness where there should be hugs, warmth, understanding, acceptance...LOVE, in a word, you believe humans are NATURALLY like that. That is called cynicism.
    Because what people know in their hearts to be wrong, they instinctively feel impelled to justify, years of immersion in such an overwhelmingly cruel & cynical society brainwashes us with such justifications. We become like parrots, automatically trotting out cynical clichés.
    And then in our unconscious hypnotic state, we attribute the same negative attributes to animals, and children as we have been dealt about ourselves: cruel, pests, FEELINGS DONT MATTER.
    What i´m saying is that it takes a hypnotic, brainwashed state to abuse. A fair fight with an adult is not abuse if in self defence. Dumping ones own unresolved psychophysiological trauma on weaker, defenceless beings such as children or animals IS.
    The justifications I refer to are the likes of "Spare the rod and spoil the child" and "A good sharp shock is what she needs" when it comes to children, although a child-phobic society rarely asks for justifications
    It does when it comes to animal abuse, because the murder & torture of animals is NORMAL in our world. A whole ideology now called "Speciesism" exists to justify it. UNLEARN IT. Gary

    1. Gary, A lot of truths of slaughter houses are hidden from the public. We know about them but we don't feel about it. If everyone toured a plant for a week you'd get a lot of future vegetarians or fish consumers at the least. I think all children would find it repulsive.
      It's not like those living on a farm in olden times where the survival of the family depended on what you raised.
      Our growth in population and its demand for convenience and mass production overshadows our feelings for the lesser animals.

  8. Here's another way of unlearning speciesism as Gary puts it. If you have only 2 minutes of video time available, and you don't want to watch how Australian cattle are slaughtered ofshore to save the cost of doing it "humanely", watch this message from Koko, "the talking gorilla":

    If you don't think this is for real, and you can arrange it watch the full documentary, A Conversation with Koko 1999, PBS Nature Documentary:

    It will give you a real sense of how she has learned over a thousand signs of a sign language designed for her by her trainer and guardian, Francine "Penny" Patterson. Towards the end Koko is extending the language by teaching Penny new signs! She has clearly learned to understand a lot of English in the process but naturally she is not equipped to vocalize it.

    There are others in this series from PBS, on Koko, which follow on.

  9. The problem seems to be other people not dealing with their feelings, but what are the tools to deal with people who are not feeling? It's not good enough to just say their not dealing with it! How can I deal with people in my life who are not dealing with their feelings. I need some every day language to name and identify the unfeeling behaviour of others who are close to me. So I can say 'This is what your doing' ! It's unfeeling humans that seem impossible to deal with. K

    1. Katherina,

      to me the frustration is in the 'absence'. When people don't feel, or worse, when people find a reason to feel only for who they care about (oh yes, the human condition makes us very partial, cruelty for the 'enemy' but love for our clan) then we are at a loss. It's impossible to describe the colour black. You cannot tell someone what they cannot see, nor feel.

      The harder one presses people the more their defenses lock onto their 'stuff' and the more their prejudice controls them and generates a vacuum. It sucks.

      Paul G.

    2. Paul
      I very much appreciate your empathy.

      I agree that defenses tend to resist when some external tries to undo the locks, even in the name of care, and even when there is a safe feeling environment, and even a guide. I don't want to ask them to walk through the doorway into primal feelings, or even to open the door, I simply want to be able to take them to the door, and show them that there is a door, and that they can open and close that door if they wish.
      Art says , we are dealing with a brain that doesn't talk in words, but I think words can bring us to the door or gate of feeling, and I would like to know what words help to gently show someone to 'the door of feeling' , and what words make it safe for them to stand and look at the door, and then, perhaps, another day, show them how the door handle works, until they feel safe enough to open the door, knowing they can close it again.
      What I want is to be able to show someone I care about 'the gate of feeling' . Are there some words I can safely use that would guide them to their feelings even just for a few moments, safely. It's like their in a prison and I'm trying every key, and I can't get them out. Maybe I could just touch them through the bars and then walk away, and just keep coming back and walking away, and then one day surely they will want to walk free of their prison too. The problem is he thinks my primal is living in the past, and trying to show him it's not is keeping me in my past, and proves that he's right.So I have left him to go deal with my grief, and leave him with himself, so that I am no longer the problem. Just dealing with my own problems now. My problem is I miss him !

    3. Katherina,

      I don't know of any such tools. Many of us are asking the same question as you, but when even good friends or even family members shun the subject of my own therapy, I realize that not only can you not lead the horse to the water, much less make him drink, but you can't even show him the lake!

      It's lonely on this side of the fence.

  10. Art, I'm surprised. I would think you'd know that human beings are the same everywhere. The Viet Cong & North Vietnamese Army committed horrible atrocities as much as we did. As much as anybody in the world who's gone to war. The Turkish /Armenian genocide for example. What has happened in Israel and Palestine is horrible as well. It happens everywhere in the world! Perhaps the only truly peaceful people on earth might be an obscure tribe hidden in the rain forests of South America.

    1. as a kid i had a tendency to cheer and support a loosing team. weaker one. it seems obvious who was who in vietnam war. one side even was in open war against the jungle. the weapon - agent orange.
      there are not many cultures that were not aggressive at some stage in history. it is only a matter of scale. at least we get some valuable information about how it all begins.
      i hoped different but researches say that women of Yanomami people, the largest tribe in South America are often beaten and raped.
      the logical question appears> how much of modern medicine is fascist? how much of military and marketing mentality is there? with the discovery of epigenetics the scale could be bigger then ever fighting the enemy smaller then ever.

      on the other side primal is so natural. so relaxed from trying to sell/prove/rule anything to anyone.

    2. Wait, I disagree. "The greased pig" is a little girl in the current zeitgeist in Tenessee! I agree with Art that the zeitgeist is central. It varies radically with time and location.

      Wait, your bottom line may be right - I'm moving to the rain forests of Costa Rica in January.

    3. Grahame, Vuko & Walt,

      I expect I'm preaching to the converted here but I don't get the feeling that any one social group on the planet escapes the hazards of Primal wounding. I think only a minority of each group avoid actual Primal wounding and the members of each group are always each other's worst enemies. I reckon it's down to who gets to be in charge of the group. If (and it's a big IF) a wounded member gains control and acts out their wounding in the group, they tend to attract others into a clique. Then emerges a culture run by the ruling elite, based on their own unconscious pain exploiting other's pain, particularly those who are least able to gain access to resources (and meet needs). It's all shaped into a class/ earnings hierarchy.

      If there were ever a reason why, a core reason why the world is in the mess it's in. . .

      Paul G.

    4. Paul, I didn't mean to stigmatize the folk from Tennessee. I was being too clever by far. I've since looked at some of the other entrees and seen some that were physically dangerous as well. Disney could be controlling these things if they hadn't become so money hungry.

      Seeing the little girl being ridiculed by her dad and his woman just broke my heart.

      I've seen things on the street, or in the supermarket etc but never anything that has made me cry like this did, because she can still feel. It's like watching someone being tortured. I wish someone could wake up old Walt.

      I reported it as spam when it appeared on a Facebook friend's account. It could take weeks for them to sort that out.

      America is ripe for a Donald Trump. I've been planning to move to the Costa Rica highlands for many months and still intend to go in mid January. I should be settling in there right around the time of Trump's inauguration. I will celebrate if it's anyone but Trump.

      With that all said, I don't think that much can really be added to Art's posts on the roots of Fascism. What's missing for me is more on how to live as a feeling person in this world as it keeps evolving.

  11. So we are not supposed to eat animals?

    1. Anonymous, this is not really for me to answer this question. You have to answer it for yourself. art


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.