Monday, March 20, 2017

Can We Inherit Neurosis?

Yes. But let me explain.   

First neurosis results from the impact or introduction of adverse events very early in our lives. So a mother smoking and taking drugs, a birth with far too much anesthetic, an infancy of lack of touch and indifference, a mother who goes to work and therefore cannot nurse and cannot love the child, etc... The ramifications are endless. But the brain and body do not forget.  It produces methyl to mark the spot and informs us of the force of the pain.  But that is not the end of the story: methyl can be inherited, inherited methylation which mingles with methylation from trauma to disrupt normalcy.  That is, a neurotic parent can inculcate adverse chemicals to change the trajectory of the child. In that sense it is inherited; it joins with imprinted pain to add to the load that must be absorbed and integrated.

In other words, trauma alone may not be enough to produce a full- blown neurosis, but parental legacy might put us over the top into neurosis. Those parents, also loaded with pain, may spill some of the load onto the baby; this adumbrates to foreshadow a danger ahead. This inheritance research is the work of BioMedical Research by Rudolph Jaenisch of MIT and can be found here. I assume that this has an effect on the genes where inheritance seeps into the newborn. 

I believe that with a normal parental configuration and with a loving life, one can avoid a deleterious neurosis.  Not completely, but enough not to be mentally ill.   But failing healthy parents, one cannot.  Believe it or not, they call it parental imprinting.  And it is imprinted and becomes part of  us.   

Methylation affects and alters gene expression and eventually distorts us, our behavior, and our neurochemistry. This results from when the egg and sperm are fertilized and  then shipped to the offspring.  Inside that shipment is a whole history of the parents, and the history contains fragments of the pain from the grandparents, as well.  This all happens so early and with such an impact that serious disease might result, including cancer.   

We need much research in this area but inheritance counts, not in the booga-booga sense, but in science. 

33 comments:

  1. Well then the entire human species is screwed.

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    2. Hi Art,

      Perhaps mental illness/neurosis was initially an evolutionary adaptation that was 'designed' to promote the survival of the species rather than the individual.

      The question has been raised, if mental illness is so maladaptive and the so called 'survival of the fittest' is the evolutionary rule, then why hasn't evolution found a way to weed out the genes and/or other mechanisms that contribute to mental illness, particularly those mechanisms that Art has written about here in his blog and in his books?

      The survival of the species is certainly a different concept from the survival of the individual but still no guarantee of success.

      In that sense I tend to agree with Mark's comment and although I do feel we will survive somehow, I only hope it is as a fully feeling species such as Art has written about.

      Kind regards

      Steve

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    3. Mental illness is adaptive as the brain under attack by adverse input searches out a defense, and then lands on the last brain developed to use beliefs to counter feeling: they always fail. Art

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  2. Love is far from being a reality for me... but pain is!

    What did I do all those days alone with my father when I was five years old... mom worked and my siblings were in school... and I'm home alone with my father... who had worked night so I had to be alone in a room without to make any noise and wait for him so that he could sleep before he came into the room where sat and got mentally ill. How I then get away from it that is a mystreie for me.

    He came in around lunch and looked as if he could beat me any second. I know that this happened day after day but I do not know where I went in myself... I know that my mental health become schizophrenic when there at the time and I can get there by my sadness that nobody wants me. Yes that's all it is ... I'm myself as mentally ill and have absolutely no way out from there except that it erases down and I return... so am I growing together with what I have never been but are without any knowledge of it.

    That is my condition that I return to over and over again and so I grow together with it... a self I now understand would have made me to sit in a mental hospital for the rest of my life if not primal therapy come in to my life... but I still feel no need for my dad... he's just a threat to me.

    I can in some form recall what is beautiful to me... where I can experience a peace of mind... but it is still in the secret room of myself... so I am still in a threat to my self from memories that I am not done with.

    Frank

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    1. Frank, I understand what you have been through. Art

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  3. Sorry to hijack your blog Art but I have to write this. Today I was in a dangerous situation. I was walking across a pedestrian crossing. As I walked in front of a motorcyclist, he revved up his engine to make it sound like he was accelerating, but he had his gear in neutral.... he was just having a laugh. My terror quickly turned to rage as I realised I was not going to die. I aggressively put my hand toward his face signalling him to stop, but with obvious sarcasm and hatred... and most of all, rage.
    He was a stocky, strong looking guy. He started to ride off but then he started to pull over... couldn't make up his mind...and then rode off. He was obviously contemplating whether to pull over and confront me.
    As he started to pull over, a massive wave of adrenaline rushed through me, and time slowed down. My rage went out of control. I was totally out of control. At that point I was 100% ready to kill him. I am NOT a murderer, but all of my rational mind was gone, and I was totally ready to kill him. I even knew what I was going to do... and it was not premeditated... I just knew what to do. I was going to trip him up and when he fell to the ground I was going to stomp on his neck... the only vulnerable part of his body.
    This whole scenario went through my mind in less than a second....absolutely immediate. Anyone in court would not believe me...they would say I had time to think of it before doing it. But I didn't think of it! I was just going to do it.... without any thought of going to jail. I was truly out of control.
    Lucky for me, the asshole decided to ride away. At the time I also felt that the guy had no chance of winning the fight. I was so enraged like a super-charged animal... I KNEW I would be a hundred times faster than him and he would be immediately thrown to the ground, and stomped on. I KNEW this would happen.
    Very dangerous feeling!!!! All of my moral conscience was GONE. I don't ever want to kill anyone....and yet, right at that moment, I could have really done it.
    Now I can understand why so many people kill and go to jail. They were out of control like I was. I don't like to admit that I am no better than them. I often think of murderers as disgusting animals....but that's what I was...an animal.
    And in reality, it is quite possible that the motorcyclist could have beaten me to a pulp or even killed me. I know that now that the adrenaline has subsided and my rational brain is working.
    Now I can see why you, Art, will not judge a murderer they way most people do. You know what happens when a person loses control. It's not pretty and it's unstoppable.
    I need to resolve much of this dislocated rage so that nobody can trigger me like this. And I have more respect for those who murder...not because of what they have done, but because they are not totally evil...they just lost their humanness for a moment... and they don't deserve to be persecuted forever afterwards.

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    1. Richard,

      We are all only as good as we have been bred and brought up.

      We are all products of a conception, a gestation, a birth, and an upbringing. If you have a problem with the product, you have to check with the factory for the cause of the problem.


      Criminals, assholes, perverts, neurotics, psychotics,, misfits, people will every kind of emotional, or mental or physical disorder, or malfunction, like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, schitzophrenia, personality disorders, and everything else, is caused by some sort of failed parenting.

      There needs to be a law passed, where if an individual turns out (grows up) with some sort of disorder, malfunction, or any kind, anything less than perfect, the individual has the right to sue his or her parents for damages.

      If the individual is in such bad shape, that he lands up on welfare or disability, which means he becomes a ward of the state, the state has the right to sue the parents for damages and up keep and maintenance.

      When you understand all this properly, it is the only right thing to do.

      No difference than if someone broke your arm, you have the right to sue him for damages.

      David

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    2. Most interesting. I have made out the papers for my parents. Art

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    3. LOL!


      Yes,the law needs to be similar to what it is for suing auto manufacturers, if they make and sell a defective car.


      The individual or the government sues the manufacturer.

      David

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    4. But David, don't forget that the parents were mistreated too, or why else would they raise their children without love, for they were unloved too and take out their problems on their children. Then there should be generations of lawsuits. But then I guess the present generation without therapy and messed up can decide to not have children and invoke the premise: 'the buck stops here.'

      Also, we don't know for sure if dyslexia is a genetic occurrence or not. It can follow several generations in a family.

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    5. Sheri,

      For one thing:

      What was true yesterday, is not necessarily true today.

      Today, the knowledge of what causes mental and emotional disorders is sufficiently well known.

      And has been since at least the 50s.

      And very increasingly since.



      Today there is no good reason, no excuse not to know how to make and gestate and birth and raise well adjusted children.

      If people were intelligent enough to stop and do some homework and research, (read the right kind of books, and do some thinking and preparation) before jumping in the sack and make babies, they could prevent these problems.

      The principles were actually known and actually written about for thousands of yrs.

      The knowledge was available for those with the mind to seek, know and understand.

      I read those books more than 30 yrs ago.

      But I will give people some slack for what happened before the last 50 or 70 or a 100 yrs ago.

      Maybe only ten lashings instead of 40.

      From today onward, there is certainly no excuse.

      Especially with the internet, pretty well everyone has access to almost all knowledge at their fingertips.


      Maybe you are doing sufficiently well, and were able to get married and have a family, and be sufficiently able to earn a living or be do the ideal and be a housewife and help your husband earn a living.


      But what if you were so fucked up, that you could not do so, if you were so neurotic, or with with so many mental and emotional disorders and physical disorders, and relationship disorders, or so schitzophrenic or even worse; psychotic, ....maybe you would think different, if your life was totally ruined or destroyed.

      Consider this:

      If some crazed nutcase came along now, and killed your husband and children and burnt your house down, burnt your car, and raped you, then broke your limbs, and then threw you in a ditch somewhere, what would you want done to that person?

      There is not really any difference in how a person's life is ruined.


      RE: Dyslexia:

      I know very thoroughly and exactly what the cause of dyslexia and
      most other disorders is.

      There are only a few left that I do not know the cause of.

      But I have some clues and ideas on some, that need to be verified yet.

      The research is continuing.


      David





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    6. My oh my. You know so much. How did that happen, or did it? Beware of arrogance. It shuts down real knowledge. Art

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    7. David, I cut people a lot of slack for not being perfect parents. There would not be any children born if would-be parents had no doubts about raising kids. And knowing how to raise children without pain just from reading books won't do. You can read all the right things to do but it won't put love in your heart. It won't make you sensitive to a toddler's needs, it won't make you a good and understanding spouse until you've gotten rid of the defenses that made you hide your pains growing up. It takes therapy. People can read about therapy and not see the value or promise it would provide. Otherwise everyone would be clamoring for it. Instead they go to church and send their children to Sunday school so they/we can learn to be good and harness our 'bad thoughts' and learn about how to treat each other nicely.

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  4. Someone once said that a son knows the grandfather through the mother and a daughter knows the grandmother through the father. In other words, each generation encounters in their relationship with the opposite sex parent that parent's own relationship to their parent. So, a mother with a bad relationship to her own father will project that relationship onto her son so that he receives an imprint of mum's relationship to grandfather. Is this one aspect of how imprinting works, Art? There are a number of concepts in psychology that do not get much coverage these days, which is a shame.
    Imprinting, imitation, instinct...to some extent these derive from animal observation which psychologists have given up in favour of laboratory studies of individuals (i.e. no social context) and data analysis. I think we need to go back to basics, personally

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    1. Long time I have not heard from you. What are you up to? Art

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    1. Only hopeless if we have neurotic parents. Art

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    2. Only "hopeless" if we do not have corrective emotional experiences that we may get from parents, therapy, or otherwise if we are very fortunate.

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  6. A lot of people just don't think; if they did, many wouldn't be the way they are. Some parents provide everything for a child (but not spoiling the child),and that child makes a mess of themselves all by themselves...a lot of times due to what kind of "friends" they make and/or peer pressure. There are still good parents in this world; there are still good people also. But I do agree with what Art is saying here (how things can be messed up from generation to generation). Many parents should have thought before they even considered conceiving a child (sad to say). Many times, with all the technology, the world is too-fast paced; where it is that many people don't show feelings, don't have feelings, don't have reasoning, and if they do, they won't show reasoning (good judgement) nor, if they possess it, will they show their intelligence either. What is it? Are people just too tired from fussing with all the technology out there on a daily basis. Are they so wrapped up with the idea that youth rules and/or "my kid is the leader now"? The new generation is so opposite from the past generation of kids. A lot of people, now, just don't think; especially parents of "today's child".

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    1. Part one:


      Beachcoast,

      If the parents were good parents, the child would know how to think and know how to choose good friends.

      Parents who provide "everything" for the child, are not good parents.


      A child does not make a mess of themselves all by themselves.

      The parents you refer to, were not good parents.

      The parents made the mess of the child in the first place.

      A child has the innate potential to be smart but is made stupid and crazy by stupid and crazy or ignorant parents.

      Or simply born smart and able, and made stupid and dysfunctional.


      Like I said before, all disabilities and disorders, are caused by some kind of parental failure, which includes damage inadvertently done to children by parents who do know anything useful about children and how to bring them up.

      All they really know of is the urge to have sex and make a baby.

      Anyone can make a baby, but very few know how to bring that baby up and make him able to fulfill his full potential.

      Anyone can make a baby, not many know how to be moms and dads.


      It is difficult to find parents who know how to bring up children.

      Today's crazy world is a collective product of yesterday's collective failed parenting.

      Much of the bad parenting in society problem comes from using the bible as a parenting manual.

      The bible is a good book, it does have a lot of good wisdom and advice for life in it, it is a good self improvement and life improvement book, but it is not a good parenting manual.

      It is a horrible parenting manual:

      New International Version Proverbs 13;14
      Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

      English Revised Version
      He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

      Webster's Bible Translation
      He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

      World English Bible
      One who spares the rod hates his son, but one who loves him is careful to discipline him.

      Young's Literal Translation
      Whoso is sparing his rod is hating his son, And whoso is loving him hath hastened him chastisement.


      and other related or supporting verses.



      Now my commentary on the above biblical parenting advice:

      I will be blunt and say that such advice is not the word of God, it is just bad shallow, social ignorance, taken as wisdom. It is the shallow, uneducated or uninformed opinion of the people writing the bible at that time.

      (It was the best they knew.)


      Actually it is worse than that.

      In light of what we know today, it is religion incited child abuse, of which all abuse is criminal.

      That statement is in fact criminal.

      It is religion incited, condoned, motivated, justified child abuse (crime).

      And people extrapolate all kinds of other rules from it, for bringing up children, like the idea of "tough love". "Tough love" is an oxymoron. It is also criminal, because it means tough discipline, which means some form of capital punishment, which is abuse. And all abuse is criminal.

      Billions of lives were ruined because of that statement.

      It is the cause of much of the world's problems, much of the world's mental and emotional illnesses or disorders.

      Each generation getting a little bit worse over time and we have neurotic parents who are neurotic because they were "rodded" (which means beaten) and they have children which inherit the parent's neurosis in one way or another.

      Add smoking, alcohol and drugs to the mix and working pregnant women and working moms and women's liberation and feminism and you now have all hell breaking out.

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  7. Art,

    In your blogs you only talk about the causes of mental and emotional disorders.

    Which is all very good. It needs to be done. Everyone need to understand these things.


    But what also needs to be written about and fully explained is the other part of the equation:

    What is the ideal protocol on how to conceive, gestate and give birth and bring up children so they are without mental, emotional and physical disorders,..... of any kind?

    So they are as perfect and well adjusted as one can imagine, or at least expect?

    David

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  8. What can one do? Coming from a good family is important and if one is fortunate enough...it is good and very much appreciative. But someone once said to me, "of course...it's my family where I came from. It's the only family I will ever have and I love them" and he went through really tough times with his mother (his father was dead when he was 5. For this 5 year-old growing up and becoming an adult, it left an imprint; but what can one do? They can't rely on people "friends" from the outside or can they ? A good friend , one someone can trust and not have any false emotions given to them, or false pretenses, is hard to find especially now. Yes, it is something that does happen with bad parenting. But somehow, one should try, in someway to "get out" of that funk; if at all possible. Sure I read what is being said, and can see where this type of upbringing would definitely leave an imprint....but one has to be strong mentally and physically. One has to be able to feel that they can still breath, still feel that they can be able to "release emotions" , feel freer mentally and physically, and still feel good about oneself. One has to "carry on"; even if it is a constant "fight" to get out of "this funk" (to put it mildly). It is very sad when parenting isn't good for the child; maybe for some, it is impossible to "cure" or alleviate the pain of the imprint.

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    1. That is exactly the reason why I spent 50 years daily perfecting Primal; to put a stop to the madness, including my own. Art

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    2. Thank you Art...we do so appreciate your work; that's for sure!

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    3. Amen to that, says this atheist...

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  9. I live in a shared accommodation house. Where the kitchen and bathroom is shared by 6 men. Have been here for over a yr and a half. In places like this, is where mostly people at the bottom of the socio economic ladder live.

    All are fucked up, with various personality disorders, and mental and emotional disorders in all different kinds of ways, I can read them all like a book or see through them like a window. And I understand the "why", the cause of everyone of their problems.

    Two on disability pension. One on welfare. The others work.

    Two in particular have asshole personality disorder. An asshole is someone who shits on others. Another is a megalomaniac, and as well has asshole personality disorder, whose wife kicked him out, because he is such a manipulator. Actually both of their wives kicked them out.

    That is the short story.

    One man in his 50s, whom I find particularly interesting. He is a little runt of a man. He is of mixed race, black, Jewish and East Indian, and I think something else. He is the most likeable of all.

    He is a heavy smoker, and is working hard on becoming an alcoholic.

    He is a CNC operator and operates other kinds of machines in shops and factories.

    He has had no less than a dozen jobs since we have been here, maybe closer to 20. I do not keep track and nothing he says can be believed.

    He will get a job and work for a few days, get totally drunk and not go to work for a few days and this may happen 1-2-3 times and that is it. Then he is looking for a new job.


    The main point of me mentioning all this, is that this particular man is so emotionally unnourished, sometimes when he has had a few drinks, he grabs someone in a bear hug and holds on, shaking. He exhibits all kinds of signs that he wants love and emotional nourishment. He so desperately wants parental love.

    When he is sleeping, I very often (a few times a week) hear a type or a mixture of painful hollering/groaning,grunting.


    I once asked him why he makes this noise when he is sleeping?

    He said it is because of nightmares.


    The welfare case, is 28. He is a smoker and noticeably neurotic and is useless. His mother is a heavy smoker and is also neurotic and a total fuckup as a mother. Was always always screaming at her son to get a life and get a job. It was almost constant. Until one time (about 9 months ago) I had enough, I could not take it any more. I said a few well placed words. I said to her; there is no such thing as a bad child, there are only bad parents. I said children need love and support, not abuse. I actually said it twice over about a couple of weeks, because the first time it did not sink in. The screaming 95% stopped immediately. I am sure I saved the kids life.

    I left out lots of details for simplicity. I just want to share the story and experience, and make the point.





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  10. "We do everything we can to avoid suffering as much as possible"?

    There is much that hurts to be with... for what happened and to become part of to not suffer terribly... but when difficult to feel?

    Being with what happened is a delicate balancing act in the world of thoughts... it to extend over all obstacles to feel! And when difficult to feel?

    I "know"... to be what caused the suffering subtracts the suffering when feeling the cause of it.

    All that delicious makes anyone sick... so to return to what happened by feeling it is the key to improve life.

    And how do I do it without it becoming a disaster for what everything that I carry with me... when even to feel my need is hidden in it self?

    Why all is so hard!

    First... so I skim what is most viscous... then what is more fluid... to finally reach the milk... my self as I have been trying to avoid all my life... as now are avoided in it self of its terrible pain.

    I made this analysis by my memories of how my mother frothed milk. First whipped cream then coffee cream and so finally the milk... which is all of myself... as I need to be to survive and not die prematurely from illnesses.

    No... I do not give up... I can just see how hard it is for one and all. I know there is a way to go even for me!

    Frank

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  11. Love is a non existing thing for what words can explain!

    There is such a big difference between talking about love and living it that every word for love is the most impossible to define in the context of what love is in its nature.

    We simply do not know what we're talking about! We are and will remain perverted unless we have the great fortune to undergo primal therapy in its proper shape.

    It is in the truest sense a hypothesis we're talking about when we take the word love in our mouth. This is something to chew on for those who can not or do not "want to" give up his striving about words to express love... it without having a clue of what he/she says!

    We live in an equally empty world that we are alone in it... it until we feel what we want... but first for what we never had love is that possible.

    Frank

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  12. If you search for "human - clip #13" (without the quotes) on YouTube you should find a video of an afro-american man with a playing time of 3:33. This might give some focus to what is being discussed here. It is a shocking story with an amazing ending. I think what Art is saying is that this man had no chance of growing up un-neurotic given that we now know that methylation is passed on for generations. His father the same. The challenge of primal therapy is to help people recover from early trauma as much as they are able. Clearly we can not relive the experiences of our grandparents or our parents and I don't know enough about the biochemical research to know how to explain or interpret it in any simple human terms. But this video was for me hope inspiring. You could also see it as a demonstration of how unlikely it is that someone who has been so abused all his childhood could get access to his emotions and some sense of what he was denied - love. I had a rage filled chain-smoking father but my mother had a kind heart (just confused) - my early pains don't even come close to this man's or even Art's for that matter. If just one of the followers of this blog is inspired by this story enough to hang in through the difficult times rather than acting out rage or despair I will consider it was worth posting.

    Grahame

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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