Monday, July 11, 2016

Ideas That Evolve Out of Feelings


  I was wondering how it came to be that psychotherapy became a thought therapy and that mental illness became a belief and perception disorder? So that psychosis became a thought affliction.  I was wondering how it came to be that psychotherapy became a thought therapy and that mental illness became a belief and perception disorder? So that psychosis became a thought affliction. So only a part of us seems to be going crazy. What about the rest?

So let me start at the beginning. There are levels of brain function which my friend Paul Maclean described fifty years ago in his Triune brain; and there are levels of the brain which I describe decades ago which largely coincide with Dr. Maclean. Only I learned about them through reliving those levels and the feelings, needs and pain that reside in them. It became the basis of my theory on the levels of consciousness and the neuronal chain of pain.

  So why didn’t Freud and his pals discover that? Because there were not the scientific tools we now have at our disposal.  Brain science in his time was in its infancy; that is how brain lobotomy could gain acceptance.  There was no “point de repère”, no scientific frame of reference to not accept it.    And it killed many.  So good old Dr. Freud did the best he could and he did want to target feelings but he believed the way to do it was to have patients talk their way into it.  Eventually they would run out of words and get into feelings. It could not happen neurologically but he did not know it.  And words and insights became “de rigueur”.  And the whole idea of psychoanalysis, which I practiced for 17 years, was to offer insights to the patient.  Knowledge would make him well, we thought.  All it did was have the patient internalize what we thought was inside of him.  And we had to be wrong because we were guessing.

  But the die was cast and we all thought mental affairs were only a matter of the verbal, conceptual brain. We now know that cancer can be a psychosis of the body with the exact same origins as the later development of cancer. We now know there is a body attached to that brain that must be accounted for. It is not mental illness; it is illness, period. That illness takes different forms as we mount the evolutionary ladder.  We cannot have mental psychosis until we are fully mental but our bodies can express all kinds of symptoms.  And when we get to attention deficit syndrome, we know that internal agitation has reached the thinking mind and disturbed it so that concentration and focus become impossible.  And in 1920 we did not know about imprinted and embedded memory, nor of how the three levels of the brain worked. So how could  they know where ADD came from?  Sadly, it is very true today where most therapists have no idea that inner cerebral agitation perturbs concentration and focus. I have read volumes on the subject and it nearly all avoids inner imprints.

And what do we get instead?  Behavioral therapy which avoids feelings altogether.  And all other cerebral approaches which are feelingless.  We want a therapy of feeling not only because it is nice to have but because it means the cure of  mental illness.  I mean, the cure of so much illness.

38 comments:

  1. Great lines as usual!

    It is not only "the scientific tools we now have at our disposal" you also have to have something that brought thoughts about what is happening so you can imagine right about it (maybe a feeling)... thus not science but thoughts that figured in the wake of science. But everything else you say is right Art... what if we could think right about it.

    your Frank

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shrink Rap Radio Full Video of #511 on Primal Therapy with Drs. Art and France Janov on this link:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxbc9UxQXL8

    ReplyDelete
  3. When psychotherapy was invented or discovered or developed 100 years ago it was in fact and effectively a new branch of medicine and boldly made the announcement that our thoughts, feelings and emotions matter just as much as our liver, kidney and heart matter when it comes to improving wellbeing but unfortunately our psyche was not given the full credence it deserved when one considers how much ill health is caused directly by self-harm activeties such as smoking, alcohol, addiction to psychotropic drugs and the general quality of life depleting conditions such as 'anxiety' and 'depression' brings to society instead psychotherapy often became an outbuilding tacked on at the side of a hospital or health clinic and was given not 50% of financial resources as one might expect but less that 1%.
    Psychotherapy is not a clinical-science any more than a trip to the theatre or the opera or the cinema or the art gallery can be said to be clinical-science because psychotherapy is of course a social-art form because it's not so much dealing with amounts and equations more with thoughts, feeling and emotions which is quite a different kettle of fish requiring intuition and personal experience which can neve be so easily quantified but that's not to say that the benefits of psychotherapy cannot be objectively measured of course they can by seeing the real improvements in people's lives that it brings to them in terms of improved emotional experience, communication skills and general integration into society.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill,

      I'd rather have your version of a really long sentence than the one the 'mainstream' offer. . .

      Paul G.

      Delete
  4. Are these policemen in the U.S. shooting suspects from a 1st line scared lizard brain, responding to a perceived or misperceived life-threatening situation? They are so frightened that any rational judgement goes out the window. Guns and lizard brain--not a good combination.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Katerina,

    I finished reading Beyond Belief. Conspicuous by it's absence in the book is the phrase projective identification. Apart from the boring old Klein stuff I researched online (words strung together), I also found on U Tube Dr Rune Fardal's fine explanation, he's got a very interesting way of presenting it, he's Norwegian by the way.

    We have all had challenging relations at some time, the scope for confusion is rife.
    Art said earlier on this blog 'pushing the envelope back' to include the 1st line. Primal is it's dialectic and it offers serious possibilities for conflict resolution, particularly when & where it really is emanating from early trauma (most of the time). It is not the 'belief system/fixation/identification' going on in our heads but the 1st line conflict inside each 'subject & object'; that is what drives our personal quota of 'acting out', so to speak.

    So any 'meaningful' application of the dialectic can be used to subtly avert direct confrontation caused by acting out. It shifts the focus away from the defense. . .

    Of course trying to get the 'other person' to use the dialectic is another issue altogether, but at least it's helped me stop flying off the handle when meeting injustice. . .

    Primal offers no accounting system though, it's not the new karma (!) But if you allow Dr Fardals Video to collide with what Art says in Beyond Belief and then apply it to your relationships you wont go far wrong.

    The weirdest thing about evolution in reverse is though you may regret the years wasted from being neurotic, the best insights come from the relief of retrieving what you lost and not believing in what you never had (which turns out to be the larger part in my case, and the longest sentence). . . Obviously both are extremely painful, but even small gains yeild worthwhile relief and new avenues. That would be the marker of true insight.

    Take care, good luck

    Paul G.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      ah dear, oh dear. . . truly jealousy is the snake in paradise.

      I awoke this morning from a jealousy dream which at first left me feeling hopeless and then as my thinking brain kicked in, thinking disgusted thoughts about myself. Of all the passions, jealousy has to be one of the most complicated 'binds' there are. Particularly if you're caught up in behavioural judgements about yourself and others, which infact the word jealousy actually is; it is a partial judgement of a complex imbalance hard to fathom.
      There's been a lot of talk about narcissism in the media and it would seem that has superseded jealousy as the psycho crime of the century. But I feel they're linked, maybe different facets of the same old chestnut.
      You have to introduce Piaget's model (always bearing in mind the Primal origins driving stuff) to really get a grasp of how complicated the act out can get, particularly when jealousy seems to be the overt manifestation.
      Art has said that we are still imprinting into year 3. It's from 2 to 3 that we are really emerging. . . If I say 'emerging from the merged state' perhaps I'm not repeating myself too much. My point is that this part of our development cannot be over rated. As tiny babies quite a lot of 'flack' simply goes over our heads because we don't have the capacity to notice it. Thus some things aren't traumatic for the baby whereas, as we begin to get a sense of separateness in toddlerhood, our ability to emerge intact really becomes strained.
      Toddlers begin to notice what others are doing and getting and as toddlers we want some of that action too.
      Thus the beginning of emergence of our 'selves' is also the beginning of the emergence of the terrifying realisation that we aren't getting our needs met. It's hard to say what happens then but certainly unmet need at this stage becomes complicated by a multiplicity of new unfolding brain functions. . . Jealousy if not overt certainly crystalises as a suppressed 'feeling' as the poor toddler begins to realise the crushing truth. Maybe, somehow repression does a good job and the child grows up with modified behaviour to hide that unmet need. . . Until 20 years later when his girlfriend dumps him, or he gets the sack and is replaced by a better performer at work. . .

      If Primal is to face up to the mainstream then we cannot expect the mainstream to 'fess up' to Primal. . . The reason being that for this to happen the mainstream has to address the bottom line, the 'basement'. . . and for that to happen those mainstream thinkers and theorists will have to begin to realise that Primal has something that reaches the parts other therapies simply don't reach. Thus, no doubt about it as a Primal student you will be confronted with the jealousy of long hidden un met need. . . When confronted with what they never had (access to true feelings) most people will do almost anything to shut out those old (narcissistic?) feelings of jealousy. . .

      There, I wriggled out of that one didn't I?

      Paul G.

      Delete
    2. Hi Paul,
      Beyond belief ...isn't it an incredible book. I'm still trying to find time to read it and do uni study....
      Am really feeling the title of this current blog as I engage with my ideas about the ideas of experts, in my attempt to make sense of my Psychology studies. My frustration has hit a pitch where there seems to be no other way but to feel about it because all my efforts at thinking without feeling, is only producing the same inadequate results and gives me the sense of going round in circles. The feeling of wanting to be seen as 'good' in my studies, has surfaced as a core feeling/motivation and block to my thinking and writing outside my own personal box.
      Also the feeling of 'what's the point' because it feels too frustrating to keep trying for something better from my writing. So I'm testing the theory that ideas come from feeling and can already vouch for the fact that my ideas are flowing more freely from feeling. I don't have to effort to make myself think a certain way when I can have space and time to feel my thinking.
      Thanks for your encouragement and enthusiasm as usual.
      Ps. I will try to watch the Dr. Fardal video.

      Katherina

      Delete

    3. Thanks Katerina, 2 more coming out soon. The Psychology of Everyday Life; and also The First Science of Psychotherapy. art

      Delete
    4. Hello Paul!

      It is surprising that there are no more suicides and murderers considering the pain for where jealousy belongs! Our neocortex is working incredibly hard for survival!

      True jealousy are so close that it is impossible to discern from our needs as it was associated with life-threatening experiences... to be in need that will never be peace set. It hurts so much that death could be a liberator if not primal therapy was possible at the center.

      Your Frank.

      Delete
    5. Art,

      I love the way you say in one post: -"This will be my last book"- and then in another post you tell us there's two more to come. . .

      As always, keeping us on our toes. . .

      Paul G.

      Delete

    6. Paul, OK after the next 2 I will quit. It will be past age 92. art

      Delete
    7. Dear Art,

      You will be 92 next month, happy birthday, a little early. Don't quit, we need you/I need you. Forty-five years ago I read the Primal Scream and forty years ago I went into Primal therapy. It saved my life; your words and truth often feel like the only thing that keeps me going on.
      Jean

      Delete
    8. Thanks Jean. This is why I write. art

      Delete
  6. I run my thoughts beyond feelings of love... to reach the pain of why!

    Frank

    ReplyDelete
  7. On the beliefes that kill.
    Bad happends in Europe. Another terrorist attacks in Nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Piotr: I know. It is mental illness at work. A terrible tragedy. art

      Delete
  8. Arthur I regret that PT is not common avaiable. You tell only truth, which is so hard to accept.

    ReplyDelete
  9. To you all!

    Hatred... the first thing we must tackle... but also the last thing we have left of our symptoms from our childhood... and we hate and socializing with other who hate!

    If you think you do not hate... it's just what you do... you think... you belief something you do not feel because if you did you would be afraid for yourselves... afraid of your hatred... hate so much that you would practically be able to do anything if that feeling would come up in time when you are so vulnerable and least expect it.
    I want to believe that you are still leaking hate you do not associate with being hatred but it is what it is... when you attack someone with your vocabulary for what you call everyday human behavior. You are lost in what morals prevent you from doing.

    If you have any idea that maybe it's you I'm talking about go to Janovs center... you need it to not corrode in canser... ulcer... etc. etc. etc. Your hatred is first in the ranks to your need of love if you're not lost for what happened to you before... but maybe it also shows itself in hatred.

    Your Frank.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have been pushed beyond my limits since I replied on your previous post, Art.

    Now that I have a moment of rest, I want to let you know that I think I will have to post less often here as our words get twisted by our pain, and I know my words, at their best, are mere shadows of my reality. I will be following every post but saying very little as I struggle to have a good life in this shattered world.

    With my passport already in hand, and my determination to be safe, I see no reason why I might fail.

    Your kind words keep me going.

    Grahame

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Grahame

      We've already failed... that is what we are... not by its own efforts but through others' inability to care for us. Your own words are more than a shadow of your reality they are more than you think in the effort to alleviate suffering. No Grahame... failure you fear is what you carry with you in the sense of what you are expressing to find a safe place. Kind words will never be able to save us more than we need them in the moments we are very close to break through what defense around intellectual sentences constitute. We "balance" our way through... and often we fail to listen to ourselves for the disaster we are in.

      What more can I wish you than to feel what you need to come to your senses for what love would mean to you/ us all in are struggle. A safe place will be there when we arrive at the need of love in us... where we feel what it would have meant to us. Then there will be a "security" no one will ever be able to take away from us. Well... there are better and worse places for us to live on!

      Your Frank

      Delete
    2. Right on Frank. So right! Thanks.

      Delete
  11. Just an opinion>
    Not sure if our system would agree that neurotic life is wasted. It is not expected for neurotic to know all the job that is done behind his consciousness… the reason for that job… the cause, the perfection of it.
    And it is certainly not expected for science to really understand it. but it is so important to understand it.
    I think it is important for healing.
    Our neocortex can do it and it will do it if informed from below. The system has done a great job then, and now when eventually connected. I really don’t see how any kind of planned sci-tech manipulation can do that job for us.
    What primal sci-tech can do, is find how to help the system do the job. Talking, massaging, amulets, lifestyles, obsessions, dreams, mattresses, drugs, light, music, movies, paints, silence, environment, epigenetic drugs … you name it.. all affect us and all can be helpful or damaging at some moment or period… but it can’t be all learned from the chair. We might need to fall from it sometimes. Unexpectedly. Just like life is.
    If I understand well, science should save lives. What is the point of knowledge if we don’t know the consequences of our doing, and don’t care? Primal therapy could be this indispensable tool for understanding of life and needs. Drs. France said that there is no more consciousness than the connection between all tree levels. Can I add that there is no more science than that? Organic, just like it should be. just like it could have been in a distant past?

    Maybe feeling the full extent the consequences of disconnection and maladaptation reveal us that it was all an adaptation and never a waste. all a survival.

    again, how science can get that?? science see on/off methylation trace. "0" or "1"? eventually sci-tech could succeed to fully control the gene expression or even genes itself. but will it be able to copy the meaning of it. to make sense of it? can science alone make us human? make us healthy connected humans who know who they are? i don't think so, and i am not sure sci-tech could ever distinguish primal patient. primal will never be better than science. even a draw is questionable ))
    it is their game on their field with their crowd in a league sponsored by them. can they understand primal game? i guess yes if they stop their own. make a pause at least and try it at the PC.

    Art, do you understand their game? Maybe i don't understand anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vuko, I understand a lot but I am not sure what I am supposed to understand. good letter. art

      Delete
    2. Hello Vuko!

      Is not that what it's all about? How will it be possible to understand something when what we understand is to not understand what it is we need to understand in order to understand what is necessary to understand to begin to undestand what it all depends on that we dont understand?

      This is what we should understand! We're stuck in our neocortex to that which exist in the limbic system and brain stem which was too painful and still is... if we do not get the right treatment so we also can understand it.

      What else do we need to understand in order to have ANY opportunity to understand anything about our life at all? Everything floats in a pictorial imagination as a small child in their most desperate situation organized to not feel who he / she was to her mother and father... WHO DID NOT WANT ME AT ALL.

      Your Frank

      Delete
    3. Cure for neurosis is based on knowledge about what the imprint is. if you define the imprint as a methylation trace all is lost. Because only the patient , only the person alive can see what it is… what made him do, why , and what to do now.
      Defining the imprint as a methylation trace gives science the power to cure neurosis. Gives legitimacy to someone who doesn’t have a minimal clue what he is doing. We are back at the beginning.
      Or not?

      can maybe epigenetic serve as a way to express the imprint. the alternative way. and a way towards the true knowledge about it. some kind of representation of the imprint. a neurotic treat. just like any other neurotic treat it is treatable by science. reduced to their game. and forever enigmatic. not good.

      Delete
    4. Vuko, yes exactly. Epigenetics is the way we express the imprint. art

      Delete
    5. Hello Vuko & Art!

      Knowing that it depends on epigenetics may help us to begin our therapy but it does not help us in our therapy at all! I think there are so many thinkers here on the blog that the issue must be vented for what it means to know about the process to a difference of experiencing it... feel it. That is the crux... because we know that we feel... a vocabulary equation that will never reproduce itself in the sence of what the issue of emotion would mean in the context... because the idea of ourselves is the only thing we have as neurotics.
      We suffer when we feel and that is nothing that we mention in the sense of being aware in an intellectual sense when we're talking about it with others... if we are not smart enough to know what it is to let go.

      Your Frank

      Delete
    6. Art, in your thoughts and conversations with certain people did it ever occurred the possibility that epigenetic treatment could require consistency over time, because the imprint is still there? That the methylation could maybe come back… if not constantly addressed. If not constantly “targeted”.

      Maybe in the future we could see the human system dethroned. Total loss of trust in it. in favor of another one, maybe digital one, that will be allowed to control us from the depth of our evolution ladder. The new trusted one. that we will depend on, and will have a constant access to. access against the access to our imprint?

      Another reason why your work is important. To culture the trust in a natural process… in a different kind of access that nature made possible from long, long time ago. it is a totally different kind of trust.

      Delete
    7. Imprinted pain is so great it takes many sessions to retrieve it and experience it.   We have to go slow to stop inundation and abreaction (see current long piece on blog re abreaction). art

      Delete
  12. When a house cat is put into the humane society in a cage they look depressed. It is sad to see. You can feel it, and you wish you could do something. There are enough bad and horrible things going on today that can be quite depressing for some. Some who are stuck in a horrible place, and cannot get out for whatever reason, may enter into deep depression. Your belief that all depression comes from an experience very early in life, is not based on reality. If you could move those depressed people into a new life with only loving happy encouraging and understanding people, the depression will almost always vanish immediately, without any therapy!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is interesting. Do you have any examples that immediately the depressions will vanish, almost always?

      Delete
    2. Erik, no I have nothing that makes symptoms disappear immediately but you can read my book. just out, Beyond Belief. art

      Delete
  13. Hello Art!

    I wonder how many times you have been drinking alcohol in need to achieve what is otherwise impossible without the alcohol or the primal therapeutic process for what obstacles thoughts build walls against wounded fragility of love?

    your Frank

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Art
    How are you? How is your health?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Piotr, Thanks for asking. So far so good. art

      Delete

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.
Editor