Saturday, October 4, 2008

How Long Will I Live?

Good question. Answer: It all depends on your Janovian gap. Proper diet. Check. Exercise. Check. Stress free environment. Check. What are we forgetting? The gap between sensations and feelings in our neurologic system and the conscious/awareness of them. This gap, I believe, is the central internal dynamic that determines what kind of serious disease befalls us, and how long we can expect to live. Another way to put it is that longevity depends on full consciousness. Anything less can shorten your life because it means that there is a measureable amount of repression that is holding feelings down, draining energy and using up previous life resources. It means that various organ systems are required to take up the slack when feelings reverberate in lower brain structures and are unable to connect and be integrated.

I believe that this gap is one of the most important factors in determining how long we stay on earth. The only progress in psychotherapy is to become whole again, to retrieve a self that was lost long ago and to recapture feelings that we disconnected from at the start of our lives. Only a therapy based on the experiential, on the development of the individual’s brain, can succeed. The patient’s whole system must be considered in such therapies so that the whole system can get well, not just a part of it. If we “get well” only intellectually the body remains in pain and this pain will wear down vulnerable organ systems. That vulnerability may depend on genetic factors; a family history of high blood pressure or migraine tendencies.

The real killer, then, is repression; many diseases lie above that bedrock. When there is a force holding down pain, the system does what it can to fight back. (Psychiatrist John Diamond, way back in the 70s, wrote about how the body doesn’t lie). The energy of the pain has to go somewhere, and it travels to the kidneys, liver, heart, or blood circulating system. One way we know this is that after a patient has relived major early traumas, including the lack of love, symptoms disappear; blood pressure normalizes as does heart rate.

Most of our entering patients have high levels of stress hormones; we know that long-term elevated stress hormone levels can lead to a number of diseases, not the least of which may be Alzheimer’s. Let’s be clear: if the actual imprinted pain traveled upward and forward and made a connection, the energy would not travel to various organs. But when there is a disconnection only the energy portion of the feeling is liberated to meander here and there in the system. The pain has an energy source that has to be dealt with somehow. It drives us; very much like a motor that constantly accelerates. As I discuss elsewhere, long-term high stress levels actually diminish the size of the hippocampus—the seat of memory—and thus adversely affect memory. So with disconnection you have a foot on the accelerator and have no idea how to take it off; no way to slow down the terrible pressure one is under. You may simply die due to overwork, the inability to rest. Or of a heart attack from a constantly overworked cardiac system that is in a constant state of vigilance.

Drugs deepen the disconnection between deep pain and the conscious mind. That is not a way to dissolve neurosis and improve longevity. On the contrary, they enhance it, and the so-called improvement is artificial. We think we feel better, but the body knows the truth. And problems continue and life gets shorter.

Symptoms are the expression of imprinted memory or memories of experiences we had in our earliest moments that have been laid down neuro-chemically within our brain and nervous system. That is what lies in the primal universe—monumental emotions of imprinted memories that have been sequestered in the far reaches of the brain. We are now learning how early, and that is while we are being carried in the mother’s womb. These are life-and-death events that impact the system forevermore, affecting heart and kidney function, blood pressure, digestion and breathing; key biologic functions. For a patient to get well, it is necessary to access those memories in a safe way, bring them to conscious-awareness and finally to integrate them. When that happens the individual’s entire system is harmonized, key hormones are normalized, and the system is finally righted. After a connection is made between feeling-sensations and the thinking mind, perceptions are more accurate and a sense of calm and relaxation never before known is finally experienced. As the janovian gap closes the system gets more and more in balance; take for example, the various vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure. They have a lot to do with how long we live. They tend to normalize after one year of our feeling therapy. Or more importantly, there is an average of just under one degree of body temperature lower after one year of the therapy. All research points to greater longevity as body temperature is lowered. All this means, for one thing, slower metabolism, the less burning up of fuel and the better utilization of oxygen.

Because so many of our patients resolved so many different ailments from colitis to migraines; from hypertension to fewer epileptic seizures, it seems logical that with less wear and tear on the organs they will, and we will, last longer.

1 comment:

  1. I had an interesting experience jogging was hot, so my energy level was lower than normal, and was vulnerable to thought patterns, unbeknowst to a negative thought passed my mind(I was struggling to deal with an few issues in my mind) I would actually physically tire and have to stop. I therefore experienced first-hand how negative thoughts literally sap your energy...positive and/or flowing, on the one energy, is the energy all professional athletes are thought by sports psychologists....No individual can achieve even physical mileposts with blockage, let alone live a full, fullfilling life..amazing the little lessons you can learn while jogging..indeed, the body, like GW, cannot tell a lie!


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.