Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oxytocin (Part 4/5)

Another hormone, vasopressin, contributes to male nurturance of offspring – it makes for caring fathers. It also has pain-killing effects and helps make animals venture out and be more exploratory. If vasopressin is blocked, there is immediately less paternal behavior. When injected directly into a section of the brain of male voles, vasopressin increased their paternal behavior. They couldn't be loving fathers without it. Vasopressin is a counterbalance to oxytocin, creating more aggression and territoriality in animals.

Scientists recently took mice that are loners and injected a gene of vasopressin into them. This was taken from the prairie vole, known to be gregarious and faithful to its mate. Result: they became more social, more caring about female partners and spent more time with them. They were generally nice to them.

Both vasopressin and oxytocin have a role in brain maturation. When there is trauma early in the brain’s development, such as in the womb, the maturation of the brain is hampered. This is where the old adage, "We don't have all our marbles," comes from. A brain that suffers such impairment is a different brain, thanks in part to these two neuro-hormones. It is crucial when synapses are being organized and neuronal networks being set, that there is a proper balance between these neuro-hormones to support a healthy process of brain development.

Vasopressin and oxytocin, which are similar in molecular structure, can be traced back millions of years through evolution. We see from this that love and attachment have always been important to mammalian organisms, and closely related to sex and reproduction. Sexual activity increases oxytocin levels. In sexual arousal, vasopressin is at its peak, while oxytocin peaks during ejaculation. Vasopressin cells are concentrated in the amygdala, in the feeling centers of the brain. It is love that motivates us toward reproduction, towards sex. When there is little oxytocin, there is no attachment. When there is no attachment, there is no love. When there is no love, survival is at stake. Love, therefore, is a key survival mechanism, and that is why it plays such an important role in human social commerce. It is the first step toward survival of the species.

Male rats treated with vasopressin during the first week of life were more aggressive later on to strangers. Vasopressin, released when there is stress to the system, can be combated by oxytocin. This may seem strange, when they are so molecularly similar and can use the same receptors. Vasopressin plays a role in determining partner preference, and in some male animals encourages the selection of specific female partners. It is one essential element in pair bonding in animals. It is also associated with testosterone, which increases vasopressin levels.

When we "love" there is a chemical component. It is my hypothesis that the more intense the love feeling the higher the oxytocin level. And the reverse may also be true – the higher the oxytocin level, the more love there is to give. To be clear, love changes the entire physical system and can be measured in any number of systems. This is just another way of stating that the love we receive early in life helps our ability to love and have healthy sex later on. There is a hidden implication in all this, however: Even though we may swear we love someone, our biochemicals may betray us. So here is the second lesson: Stress, pain and anxiety are all enemies to love; they deplete our chemical supplies, the essential elements of love.

Research has shown, as I noted, that when the bellies of animals are stroked, not only is more oxytocin secreted into the system, but blood pressure drops, as well. Most importantly, there is a shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance, as the relaxing, rest and repair system takes over to promote survival and good health. Love is calming and normalizing. While oxytocin helps lower blood pressure, pain raises it. That means a lack of love raises blood pressure, which is what we see in our patients; after one year of reliving pain, blood pressure drops an average of 24 points in the group. Oxytocin in animals inhibits the secretion of stress hormones, known as glucocorticoids. When the system is in a vigilant mode, the oxytocin levels drop and the anxiety system heightens. Oxytocin release is an important aspect of serotonin secretion. They work in harmony to help us repress pain.

Mother's milk contains high levels of oxytocin. That is one reason why breast milk is so important in nursing young. It is sent directly to the suckling baby's brain for comfort and calm. Research shows that mothers who nurse are calmer, more sociable, handle stress and monotony better, and have more skin-to-skin experiences with their baby. It has been found that when a newborn has not undergone a birth trauma and is able to suckle the mother’s breast right after birth, the gentle massaging by the infant’s mouth and hand increase the mother’s oxytocin level. What this does is enhance the mother-child bonding, producing an even greater closeness. So we have an increase in milk production and heightened maternal feelings, all wonderful for the baby. ("Alternatives." Sept. 2001. The Numbing Down of America. Page 21)

If we prevent oxytocin production in a baby animal, preference and closeness to the mother does not occur. Bonding does not occur. When there is no closeness the baby suffers, perhaps for a lifetime. Attachment is a basic need. It is a two-way street: lowered Oxytocin in the baby prevents him feeling close to his parent. He becomes a baby who does not adore being cuddled, who squirms while being held. When the mother gives birth, her oxytocin levels rise dramatically, offering her the wherewithal to deeply love her baby. Some of that is transmitted to the baby. This biochemistry is telling us that love is essential. In the womb it has already been transmitted by the fact of love for her baby. That love, even when the baby has not been born yet, has chemical roots. Yes, the baby can feel loved in the womb. Not in the sense of comprehension, but of biology. That is why biology can speak volumes, even contradicting our thought processes which came along much later in human evolution.

In one experiment, women were encouraged to place their babies at the breast right after birth. The earlier the contact, the more physical the mother was later on with the newborn. We see more loving contact with early bonding. Lactation and nursing is one expression of loving a baby. The best preventive medicine – mental and physical – is love and its hormones.

Oxytocin is responsible for most ejaculations, including the "ejaculation" of mother's milk to the baby and sexual ejaculation in the male. A mother who was loved as a child is apt to have more milk to breast feed her baby; and the male who was loved early on has more active sperm as an adult. Being unloved early in life may very well limit sperm production.

As I have indicated, oxytocin injections in animals facilitate the onset of maternal feelings. Of course, early parental love would eliminate that necessity. If you give a female sheep this hormone, she will adopt other infants for mothering, whereas without this hormone, she tends to reject outsider’s babies. When animals suckle they have higher levels of oxytocin. In rhesus monkeys that received oxytocin, there was an increase in touching, lip smacking and watching by mothers of their infants. Primate conduct parallels human behavior and the human brain; it is, therefore, quite important towards understanding human behavior.

How we feel, our attitudes about love, parenting and bonding, may well be dictated by our hormone state, and that, in turn, may be dictated by the set points of our hormones from experiences going all the way back to the womb. Those set points are fixed by the amount of love, or its lack very early in life. Early love gives us the capacity for love later on. It means a parent who looks lovingly at the child, who matches his mood, who touches and caresses softly, who listens without distraction. We may change our attitudes about love through exhortation by others, but we will not change our hormone state permanently.


  1. It looks to me as though when conditions are good, our system gears towards reproduction - when they're bad, it does not. We see this with zoo animals too; when their conditions are bad enough they don't breed. And I suppose what we call love is, ultimately, just the subjective expression of a reproduction-focused animal, who is responding to their positive current and historic conditions.

    Using myself as an example: I am a neurotic who has an ambitious enthusiasm to change his world for what I believe to be the better. I do not have children - my 'obsessive' priorities dominate my desire to have a family (though I do have some desire for the latter). I believe that my situation, in large part, could be described as "A little boy trying to create the [childhood] world he can possibly bear to live in" (I'll spare you the details). My point: Is this ultimately natural and right? Is it best, in evolutionary terms, for a deprived child to focus on conditions ahead of love/reproduction itself, if those conditions are bad enough? Maybe that is what the ultimate evolutionary purpose is of the removal of oxytocin and the like - to refocus the animal towards a different survival priority outside direct reproduction?

  2. Dear Dr. Janov,

    I just wanted to thank you for your series on oxytocin. The truth in it has hit me like a lightning bolt. I now have an explanation for the five days of labour both my son and I endured before he was born. What was worse was the cascade of events that came out of such a long labour. I had planned on a home birth with widwives. However, the length of labouring post water-breaking lead to fetal distress and fear of infection. So I was rushed to the hospital and given oxytocin. Because of the long labour and being born covered with menconium there was a risk of infection so my beautiful son was wisked away from me after only a brief glance then poked and prodded with needles to start an IV for antibiotics. Also, after labouring for so long, I didn't think I'd be able to endure even greater contractions with the oxytocin, and demanded Demerol. In my exhaustion, I forgot that it would put my baby at risk of respiratory depression - no one thought to remind me - I would have gladly endured more pain to avoid my son having to be given Narcan shortly after birth.

    At one of my pre-birth meetings with the midwives, I was given a referral to a obstetrician who could write me a prescription for oxytocin in case I needed it during the home birth. I didn't follow through because in my misinformed logic, I believed that taking oxytocin to speed up labour was more out of convenience to the doctor and mother. If only I had known! I could have saved my son from so much trauma. Of course I breast-fed my son around the clock during our three-day stay in the hospital and three years later, I still nurse him before bed and when he wakes up - but I know that nothing I can do will make up for the struggle he must have felt in the womb of an unloved mother. Years ago, I took Primal Therapy at your center, and did a lot of primaling at home as well but most of my primalling was more for childhood experiences - not birth or infancy. I'm so deeply regretful that I did not find a way to continue Primal Therapy. I have no time, and no money, but through your inspiring words, I have once again found the impetus to get back into primalling. Thank you for your work, and your lifelong dedication to helping people become whole again.

  3. Hi Andy,
    From what you say the environment you are working to improve must be an intellectual &/or material one. If this is what you want and as much as you can integrate into your life at the present time then that would seem perfectly okay.
    In nature breeding does not happen if ecological or social conditions are problematic. In human terms this usually means access to resources (cash/job) and family support networks (kin are very important for young moms).
    But a 'different survival priority outside direct production' seems hard to define. If you have food and shelter (therefore access to cash/job) the question is what else do you need? Or what extra process of socialisation do you feel you must go through before you would be able to integrate the consequences of greater oxytocin release into your life?
    One quick question: is vasopressin restricted by poor attachment to a mother/primary care giver in the same way oxytocin is?

  4. Hi Hilary. You were at my center? When exactly? Thanks for the letter, so well seen. dr. janov

  5. Hi Will,

    Thanks for your reply. My essential point was about the ultimate evolutionary meaning of the removal of oxytocin, and how its must assist in our survival (otherwise it would not be removed?). I'm simply suggesting that it could be "designed" to turn us into a animal that is more focused on dealing [first] with our environment than having children. Maybe a similar process as outlined by Maslow's need hierarchy? The details of what constitutes an 'ideal' environment are another topic to my point, which you have outlined.

    With my own neurosis I am stuck in the past - like all of us are. No here-and-now modification to my status is going to stop me from seeing a world around made that's up of estranged, stuggling and maybe even dangerous people of which, according to my neurotic perception, I cannot yet bring a child into. But that's what neurosis is - An imprinted memory that controls the way you see your world, and leaves you stuck in the past (my bahviour will integrate with my perception - as all of our behaviour does).

    To say, I have no problem with my neurosis in itself - though yes, I look forward to doing something about it. I look forward to living as much for myself as my political/technical ambitions, and even coming knowing what that means!

  6. Hi again Andy,
    I liked your definition of neurosis (i was going to say i enjoyed it but that sounds a bit odd).
    The odd thing about lack of oxytocin is that it can produce two types of reproductive behaviour according to what i have read. Case 1 is that a child who is unloved and stressed may well develop later than one is loved and nurtured well. Therefore, lack of oxytocin will delay menarche in a female, postponing reproduction for as long as possible to ensure she has more time to develop before motherhood is reached. (Note, i am not talking about guys here.)
    Other evidence suggests that where oxytocin levesl are lower a child may take to eating more to offset stress and anxiety. Any resulting high fat levels could trigger menarche earlier because the body has achieved the necessary energy reserves to help support pregnancy and lactation. This does not mean of course a girl will then go out and get pregnant. But it is a possibility.
    (Other research suggests coming from a loving and nurturing home delays reproduction because this would interfere with the process and opportunity for extra socialisation. Whereas in poor unloving homes the lack of investment might put forward reproduction as an evolutionary strategy because if the harder the environment is the more beneficial it is for the mother/father to breed while they are still fit and strong enough to cope.)
    The weird thing about modern life is that we can thrive in terms of good nutritional intake even though we are neurotic & have no reliable kin network. Prior to this very recent development in man's history having no kin or being maladjusted would have reduced calorie intake and delayed reproductive capacity.
    Babies (of either gender) who were badly attached to the mother (due to lack of food or kin support) might well have been abandoned or not have survived. But nowadays this doesn't usually happen. In this sense living to neurotic adulthood is a fairly recent event - & dare one say one is lucky to be alive at all.
    If neurosis is the product of past endangering experiences it is fair to say that in our evolutionary past those experiences might have killed us. But of course, nowadays most of us don't die. We may not have been loved (I certainly wasn't - old story of neurotic anxious mother and aloof father) but we live on as the bungled and botched. In a sense neurotics are anachronisms - of their time yet formed by situations that are long in the past. (Which connects back to your original definition.)

  7. Will,

    Interesting post on the interplay of different factors stemming from altered oxytocin levels. The interplay is no doubt too complex and complicated for us to make general predictions, and we would not know that unless you or someone else at least made the attempt.

    I wish people would drop the dogma that neurosis is so unnatural that it should not be here, and that only because of modern technology do we have to perpetuate neurosis. That's just too naive a world view. Neurosis is a function of synaptic plasticity, plain and simple. The ability to postpone aspects of consciousness is both a curse and a blessing (state those in reverse order if it makes you feel better), and nature has selected for it. No, nature didn't select for one half of the bargain and we fucked up on the other. Nature is not like that. For some strange reason nature is just about perpetuation and nothing else, and failing to see that and trying to turn nature into something fundamentally benevolent is just another form of religion. God with a capital "N".


  8. Again. very astute. Sometimes I wonder why I am writing cause there is so much knowledge out there already. Dr. janov

  9. Hello Walden,

    I don't think anyone thinks that neurosis is unnatural. It's as a natural as a bruise - a natural defense. 'Natural' is a just a short-cut way of saying 'non-neurotic'.

    Personally, I think the key reason why neurosis perpetuates in humans is probably because of enduring serious hardship from resource scarcity, cultures stoping neurotic mothers from throwing away their babies when they don't attach to them, and also, in part, modern technology saving people (especially babies) who are heavily damaged, and likewise allowing them to reproduce when maybe they otherwise wouldn't. That might be wrong in part, of course, but it's a logical assertion.

    I will also mention that I don't think nature "forgets" much. Natural selection (plus eons of time) seems to be formidably precise for the purpose of optimising an animal, as our incredible, fully co-ordinated physiological complexity would suggest.

  10. If oxytocin is given to the fetus, will the effects be permanent? The fetus is in a controlled environment so there are no environmental contradictions to the artificially regulated oxytocin/stress hormones.

  11. Hello, Dr. Janov,

    I haven't been on the computer in a while so sorry for the delay in answering your question. I was at your center in Oct/Nov. of 2000. My main therapist was Valerie Beusolei (sp?). It's probably still not up, but at the time, there was a picture I drew of a young girl (me) with a brick wall being built up around her. I never met you, but I met your France at a retreat that took place during my five weeks at the center.



  12. Hi Hilary. There is another retreat coming up soon. Valerie is still with us as is, of course, my wife France who is now doing the training. dr. janov

  13. In my previous statement I was thinking of a pregnant mother who artificially increases her oxytocin and serotonin levels for the full duration of her pregnancy.

    Been doing a small amount of research on the effects of antidepressants on a pregnant mother, and the resulting birth defects.

    OK so we don't know enough to play God while the fetus is developing. We don't want birth defects. Maybe it is better to focus on giving oxytocin and serotonin to the baby for the first few years of life. The baby's brain will develop according to a drug induced reality, which might be a lot better than developing in response to real reality.

    The young child might cry less and make more physical contact with it's unloving mother. This might stimulate a rise in the mother's happy hormones which will benefit the baby.

    Artificially supplying a baby with happy hormones might result in permanent increased happiness because the brain will develop according to the medication. An adult's developed brain will consider the medication to be a contradiction to reality and this always leads to complications. Let's focus on the baby instead.

    When the child is exposed to a kinder reality later in life, the drugs can be removed and replaced with real love.

    You see....this is the stuff that we should be thinking about. It would be inhumane to consider Primal Therapy when there are so many clever alternatives.

  14. Richard,

    There is no need to "play God" with artificial oxytocin injections when we have massage. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, she and I fell into the habit of nightly massages. We would each work on the other for 30 or 40 minutes before going to sleep. We'd flip a coin, but the lucky one got to go last, slipping right into silent slumber (as Ka would say!), while the unlucky one would have to regain his or her senses enough to give a massage. By the way, I noticed (and my wife confimed) that giving the massage is also a trance-inducing experience, if you know how to let it be. We theorize that the best massage technique occurs when the "giver" is in this trance, because it puts him or her in touch with the sensuous body thing. Without that, the massage can feel kind of mechanical, the tempo a little off, too much dwell in one location or not enough, etc. When done right, it feels like you're massaging yourself.

    Anyway, this is a great way to naturally administer a whopping dose of oxytocin, and it also feels a lot better than sniffing something up your nose or shooting it into your arm. I suppose it helps strengthen the relationship as well.

    Just wanted to say I like your innovative approach, Richard.


  15. Hi Walden. I didn't really like my innovative approach. I agree with you in the sense that we should aim to keep things as natural as possible.

  16. Dear Dr Janov,
    Your series on Oxytocin and the above in particular. Extraordinary, and extraordinary that I read it today, now, of all days. My poor son. Everything was and has been against him from the very beginning. Dot one and before that too. I would that I could undo the undo-able things, but at least I now do understand better. My father to me - I am sure he was seriously lacking in vasopressin. And then me to my son, in too many ways from not enough oxytocin for many reasons I believe, to and including just how I could not stop myself from feeling. I hope one day the whole world will wake up to what you are saying, and it cannot happen quickly enough.
    Thank you. What you have made me realise is pretty frightening stuff in his/my case, but at least I now understand perhaps another bit of the even more frightening puzzle.


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.