Friday, April 8, 2016
What Lingers On (Part 1/2)
I am in my nineties now and many of you have asked for more of my feelings; since I had another Primal last night I will tell you how it happened and what it was about.
Primal feelings go beyond therapy and become a way of life. We help patients learn how to get to feelings so for a lifetime they can do it on their own. We teach patients self development so that they do not have to depend on others for getting better. Otherwise we would enable patients to lean on therapists for a lifetime and not achieve self-direction and self control nor maturity. That is not health; it continues immaturity and the need for external advice and direction. Healthy adults don’t need that. Look at animals, some have at least a five year period where they need parents to watch out for them; then they are on their own as adults. We want to help humans become adults not dependent babies. If they don’t get love and nurturing early on they will try to get it later from a partner or a shrink who will foster it.
But in my opinion they need to go back to when they needed it and open themselves up to begging for it in order to evolve properly. We cannot ignore the early loss of love and protection and become human adults. We must go through the evolutionary steps; needing help, direction and love. I did it last night; let me explain.
I watch many nature shows to see how animals develop and also because I relate to them first and foremost. Sad to say, when I read about people hurt in an auto accident I look to see if any animals were hurt, first. They are so vulnerable and innocent; I am reading about me. It is how I felt all my childhood. My mother was always mentally ill. When I was five or six she was sent to an insane asylum, as it was called back then for three years and my father went to be with her. All my facts are faulty as they never talked to me nor touched me nor protected me. So they left without a word to my sister and me. They split up the family and sent us to different and very strange homes where we knew no one. Not a word about what was happening. Not a word when they would come back; they were Russian peasants who had no understanding of anything. My mother was illiterate and could not read.
There was never a book, a record or even a magazine in the house. My parents were my whole world. And it was a pretty barren one. I never expected love and never knew what it was. I never heard a laugh my whole childhood. That should be a big part of any childhood; to lighten the atmosphere and make life fun and enjoyable. It was grim; early, we lived in the ghetto and never saw the real world. My sister worked in a bank her whole life and died recently of what? I don’t know but I can guess; no love. Without Primal the same fate awaited me. Yes, we need a good diet, but also we need an organic and harmonious system, and that is what feelings give us; to integrate feelings in us smoothly. And when that happens our love hormones increase and stress hormones decrease and I think we live longer. I will let you know when I am 100...
I never knew about swimming pools until my mid twenties when I saw a private pool, and was amazed. I never heard an intellectual conversation until my late teens, and that changed me. I began to realize that there was a different world out there other than, “Did you take out the garbage today.?”
It is hard to believe that parents never said a word to us but we were treated like animals and could only relate to them. I recalled the story of visiting the neighbors and the mother was standing in the kitchen with her two sons, laughing and joking. I was shocked and ran home to say what I had seen, a mother talking to her kids. I spilled it out only to be chastised by my father for wishing someone would talk to me. I stopped asking. I had an underlying terror of him because when he got mad, which was every five minutes and he would scream at my crazy mother, and his eyes turned red and watered. I knew then to watch out. But it became an imprinted Primal of fear.
Never a kind word, nor of “How are you doing?” Never an arm around you. Just chores by parents who thought that the job of parents was to give orders and demand respect; never defy their need for respect. We obeyed “religiously.” My mother had no needs; she lived in some world I never understood. A world of talking to herself, only. And never to us.
Now my Primal: I watched Nature on TV. They raised orphans chimps and elephants until they were ready for the Wild. Their trainers went back to the jungle after the animals were in the wild for 2-5 years to see if they were remembered. Of course they did; the chimps came down from the trees to hug and kiss them. They never forgot; and my Primal was that I was waiting a lifetime for them to come back from the Asylum to take care of me and love me. I never had it and that need burrowed inside and never left. I carried it around for ninety years and felt it last night. I had to get to so many previous needs and hurts first. Then later descending to age five and being left alone with strangers. I never got it and I never had a warm contact with my sister after the family was split. Nothing was said but we were no longer family.
I used to feel that I was waiting for something but I never knew what it was, until last night. My wife wanted to hug me to ease the pain and I stopped her because I had to feel alone and lonely; that was my salvation, my health and sanity. I was getting “ME” back. It was no more than what I had always felt deep down. And when I was alone I was very uncomfortable. It was the equivalent of my early life. Alone, empty, unloved and untouched. Not ever to be addressed directly or having a parent call my name. And I will play you a song I wrote called SAY MY NAME.
Half the time my mother never knew who I was. I expected it and was never shocked when she exclaimed, Who is he? But the Primal was about needing someone to love me and be happy for me. That never happened. When I got my Ph.D it took place in an old English auditorium with British seats and atmosphere, I invited them, maybe to give them one more chance to offer love, but after the ceremony they were two stones who never said a word, and never showed any happiness for me. One reason I became a shrink was to make women well, so I could have a sane mother. Ayayay.
So before Primal I looked for love by starting with cold, hard people and trying desperately to have them be warm and kind. Never happened. I was lost and confused and alone. I had 6 majors in college and never could talk to anyone about what I wanted to do in life, when one day I was walking across UCLA campus and Jean Fargo was waiting in a line. I said “Jean what are you waiting for.”? She said I am applying to graduate school where they help students learn to help others. I said, “I want to help others.” She said, come on along. I did and went to Social Work school, where I was selected for a special psychiatric internship at a famous clinic. But when I graduated I realized that the job was like a low-paid teacher and I could not support my family, and I wanted to know more about humans. So I started all over again in psychology. And years later I received a plaque that made me Academic Hall of Fame. A lost kid from the ghetto; not bad.
But inside nothing changed until I saw a Primal from Dennis; at that moment my life changed; I realized that there was another world I had never seen before, well hidden and explosive. It was me I had discovered. It was me I liberated but along with me was thousands of others who shook their pain. They began to have a life. I realized it had little to do with what was in their head but what was deeply lodged in their feelings. Feelings not Intellect was the answer. That was a revolution. Simple truth is always revolutionary.
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.