Saturday, December 19, 2009

On Tiger Woods and Sex anonymous

There is a rumor that Tiger Woods will check into a sex addiction center in Arizona.  Now what exactly are they going to do there?  Whatever it is, it is not going to stop his sex compulsions, which seem to have dominated his life.  If it is the usual psychotherapy it will miss the driving force which happens to be low in the brain; in brain structures which are far below the thinking structures where most current therapies work.    Why is that?  Because the force behind inordinate sex is mostly lodged in the impulse/pain areas; specifically in the brainstem and limbic/feeling areas.  It isn’t just a matter of addressing the sexual behavior as addressing the imprinted pain force that drives such behavior.

  In fact, any compulsive behavior depends on two things: the first is gestational trauma, birth problems, lack of early love, and other factors which sets the accelerator on “high.  The second is life experience that channels the compulsion.  The reason the compulsive is out of control is because it is first and foremost an impulse driven by deep brain forces.  And those forces are not necessarily sex.  The second is that the behavior has an explosive and relieving ending.  One can end the impulse temporarily through orgasm.  Explosive pain and explosive release.

  But where does the pain come from?  We don’t know him well enough to say but we do know that since the time he was a toddler he was being channeled into golf; acting-out the quest for perfection and fame for his father.  He was living out his father’s needs not his own, and that spells pain even though none of the participants were aware of it.  Any time any need is extraordinary, all else being equal, it is driven by extraordinary pain/feelings.  If normal we all have sexual needs.  They get out of control when pain enters the equation.  That pain can radically alter the sex hormone levels just as it can change the thyroid levels.  And the behavior that follows is a dynamic where high levels change behavior and then that agitated behavior that keeps the hormones elevated.  In the case of thyroid, there can be chronic fatigue and lack of energy which keeps the person from accomplishing much—down regulation.  That didn’t happen to Tiger, who accomplished a lot because his trauma produced an upregulation, that carried over into his sex life which drove him in the same way that the golf compulsion did.  You do not become great without an enormous drive, witness Andre Agassi and his life.

    In conventional psychotherapy if the lower driving forces are not addressed, expressed and resolved, there will be no success.  Yes, he can be taught through cognitive methods to try to control his impulses but that is usually a vain effort.  Impulses nearly always win out because they are biologically stronger than ideas.  They are designed for survival and therefore must be strong.  In any case, there is no convincing or exhortation in the world that will change a compulsion, which I think is what happens in these so-called treatment centers.  They usually try to put an ideational/belief cap on impulses and feelings so as to reduce the sexual act-outs but then where does all that energy go?  We can be sure that later there will be even more severe symptoms.

Do those centers ever publish what they do?  Based on what science?  On what theory?  Are they aware of the unconscious forces at work?  If so, how do they square addressing the top level cortex without understanding the neurologic underpinnings of brainstem forces.  These are memories laid down while we live in the womb and during birth and infancy.    Are the therapists satisfied with controlling the problem rather than resolving it?  That need for constant control doesn’t mean that the underlying forces are not continually gnawing away adversely affecting the body and ensuring an early demise.    Being unconscious is not a solution; it is denial in a major way.  But one cannot deny the churning physiology that will wrack the person without cease.  And one day inflict a grave symptom in the body.


  1. Great article Art, but I would like to address this from the inside. I am a sex addict, and I have done 29 years of Priaml Therapy and more than 15 years of 'Sex Compusives Annonymous'. In my early teens onward I just rationized that I had an extraorinary high sexual proclivity and since I was gay and gay sex is realtively easy to come by, my act-out (sexual compulsivity; pain-killer) worked well for me. The ejaculation was for me the act-out to end all act-outs (an easy gateway to an exctatic feeling). However, within hours I needed to get my fix again. Short of some early arrests for 'importuning' (in the US called 'lewd conduct') I got away with most of it. Trouble was, the pain-killing effects of ejaculation after ejaculation became my career, and I neglected any real career that might have earned me a decent living.

    Reading "The Primal Scream" did begin to erode the notion that I had a high sexual proclivity, but in those early days didn't do much to help me get to the root of my pain, I had other stuff on top of that I needed to deal with first. It was not until after I began the slow and perilous decent into birth and womb feelings (which I could only take a few seconds at a time), that I began to feel the enormity of those early feelings. In hindsight, how did the fetus me, manage to survive at all pain? Now that I have spend many, many countless incidents of reliving that god-awful-pain am I relieved of much (not all) of the ascendancy of those perilous fetal moments.

    Do I empathize with Tiger Woods; I do indeed but his choices are either to find another pain-killer (that works for him) or go through years of Primal therapy, which I doubt he will ever be aware of. As I see it, it is his fame and celebrity that is the root of denying him his pain-killer. If he could find the partners to indulge it, that's the best he'll be able to do. Of curse, with that comes all the dangers of over indulgence, especially sexual over indulgence. The moral issue for most compulsions become mute under these circumstances, but then, as I see it, morality is another invention of our 'neuritic' being.

  2. Like all addictions, primal pain is the driving force of Tiger Woods compulsions. But because people are so unconscious of this fact, it instead becomes a moral issue. Because now he has been labeled as morally flawed. His imperfections will have to endure many years of torment. Therapeutic torments, that will probably parallel his fathers golf training regimen. Like most act outs, people try to bi pass the feeling bad part, and go right to feeling good. Thanks for the reality; I wish your blog was more widely read.

  3. Well Art, I know that you are busy with many projects, but I recommend that the Primal Center maintains a detailed account of patient hormone levels and vital signs and publishes this information for everyone to see. There's nothing to stop you from tweaking the results, so in that sense, the evidence is not proof, but at least it provides something for the critics to look at.
    Some people I have spoken to didn't take your therapy seriously until I mentioned the connection between love and oxytocin, and stress and cortisol, and how all of this can improve permanently through primal therapy. When I tell people it can all be proven with blood tests, they start to lose confidence in their irrational arguments. A few people have told me they will wait to see how the therapy works for me before they will make a decision.
    I'm just letting you know the hormone message seems to stick.
    I am selfishly targeting people who are important to me. I don't want to recommend your therapy to everyone because I know the therapists have a big workload.

  4. Richard: And by the way, we are looking for research help, not just financial but help in carrying it out. art janov

  5. Jack: I wrote a book you might like. I have not really tried to sell it: Sex and the Subconscious. art janov

  6. Richard: There is a syndrome: I won't believe it even if you prove it. We have done important double blind studies which no one seems to care about (see Primal Healing). We do not have the money nor human resources to do any research now. We need financial help, which we have some now that helps us give the therapy to those who cannot afford it. art janov

  7. Art, I know about all of that. I was talking about an informal publication on the net of the readings that you already record for each patient. If you think that would be a waste of time, then fair enough.
    If I have to ask you guys for money in the near future then I will be extremely grateful for whatever you can offer.
    It's very kind of you to say things like "rest assured" and "we can both wait". Thank you for making it clear that the door is open. I'm not resting on that thought. I'm making progress...I'll see if it speeds up soon.

  8. To Jack Waddington: You mention in your comments that you attended "Sex Compulsives Anonymous". Do you feel this 12 Step Group helped you? What do you think of 12 Step groups in general?

    As for myself, I have attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for over 7 years. I have realised lately that I am not really an alcoholic in the sense that AA defines it: someone who just can't control his drinking. I can ; mine rarely gets out of hand these days, and consumption is pretty low or non-existent most days. My drinking was worse many years ago, so I decided then to try AA, because, well,I thought: not all Christians are pharasian hypocrites, and maybe these people had a touch of the true helpful Christianity that could help me out (although AA never talks overtly of Christianity, it is derived from a movement called the Oxford Movement which was explicitly Christian). My experience with them is that, in my opinion, most AA members are relatively decent people, no fanatics, but they are quite superficial, little depth. Rare in AA discussions is there an authentic sharing of emotions publicly (more so with their witnessing).Rather, there is often a stifling group conformity. There is a lot of head-tripping about the "spriritual" life; boy, some people really get off on that (me, I just get totally turned off by this and resentful).Rare is the dissident like myself who questions AA dogma overtly; if others do, they do it very carefully (wouldn't want to "offend" now ,would we, or risk ostracism?). Practically everyone is "pleasant", and any expression of anger or rage or frustration is met with fear and ostracised, which is so unreal. Of course, no good AA member gets into any controversies, that would not be too "spiritual", they are above all that. There are a lot of people in AA that are, I beleive, floating out there alone and empty , with only their imaginary "God" to comfort them (as Dr Janov has often well put it in his books), despite all their talk about love, and the importance of good human relationships for "recovery", and humility. If you attack this pretense , most get anxious or stay patronisingly "tolerant" of you, but you get subtily ostracised for telling this apparent truth (so I've stopped).

    Now, one may ask: why do I still go if I am so critical of them? Well, I have nowhere else to go and meet people,, and there are some decent people there, specifically some fine women, and some artists. So I seek them out, and try to stay away from all their spiritual talk, which I find boring. I flirt, talk with people about Art (no, not Art Janov, Art-Art, like films poetry, etc...), and stay away from "spriritual " talk. Now, imagine going into an AA meeting after reading deep and scientific Dr Janov, or reading a good poem, and then hearing all this weird talk about a "Higher Power". Like, gimme a break!! (OK, I realise intellectually, after reading Dr Janov that some people just can't help creating an imaginary God to help themselves out, but I have to admit that my actual emotional reaction to all this most times is contempt and irritation, so I would not make a good Primal Therapist!). Marco

  9. What kind of research help are you looking for?

  10. Re: the syndrome. Depends on what you're proving, and especially its distance from the status quo. In your case, the distance is too big. If you could find a way to present it so that distance is not so big, I think there would be more traction. I'm thinking of Jerry Weinberg's Ten Percent Solution, which says never offer more than 10% improvement, to be heard. You can be clever with primal patients and listen to the "subtext", so maybe take that strategy for a walk?

    For example, I'd like there to be a handbook for augmenting cognitive and humanistic therapies, for therapists (and patients) who are getting into emotional stuff in cognitive sessions and are not sure where they can go with it. It's not Primal Therapy, and that is exactly the point. Still, it's helpful, and it's in the right direction. Thousands of patients in these therapies could finally get some well deserved relief. Some will need, and be ready, to take it further...

    Have there been any studies on affect during cognitive therapy sessions, how it is dealt with, what its significance is?


  11. Richard: We are ready to help. I am still not sure what you mean. Art

  12. Marco: I love all these comments. All is not lost. Although sometimes I mire in that thought....that all is hopeless, that we cannot reach the populace. art janov I wrote a book called Beyond Belief which I will try to sell right after my Life Before Birth comes out. Art

  13. Walden: We are planning to do telomeres. We know that the longer they are the longer you live, and they work opposite of cortisol. When cortisol is high the less long you live. Since we lower it systematically the longer we will live. art

  14. Walden: I can't write that book. Others, many others already have. You want me to write strategically. I can only write honestly. If you want compromise check our the U.S. congress of late on health. That is what you end up with once you begin to compromise. I believe in honestly not politically correct. art janov je me méfie de cognitive.

  15. Dr. Janov,
    I see sex as an Oxytocin replacement for non received love and nurturing in early childhood.

    Children who were sexually abused in early age mistakenly confuse sexuality with love and affection.
    The benefit however is Oxytocin, a kind of catharsis (replacement for feeling good for a few minutes). The circle of feeling unloved again, is temporally interrupted with a portion of Oxytocin.

    The question is, do we share a “empathy gene string” with the bonobo ape, who uses sex extensively to control violence and remain calm, or do we act out like chimpanzees who miss the empathy gene, sexually couple only for reproduction and live on a high adrenalin level.

    Freely expressed accounts about sexual needs concludes, it is very common among males.
    As one man reported: “I can not function, without a daily ejaculation, Sex is my stress relief, I can not think with the pressure in my head.” He also believes that it is absolutely normal to have ejaculation daily. His father showed him as a little boy (age 4 years old) how to masturbate.

    The majority of molested females on the other hand rarely seek the same Oxytocin/Adrenalin rush. They are more inclined to surrendering to the sexual need of the male, to feel loved and reassured. Very few females are addicted to the quick ecstasy, the hormone rush during a orgasm.
    However, both sides, according to my work with adults abused as children experience, repeat an early emotional/biological imprint (maybe altered genomes) – seeking an Oxytocin/Adrenalin rush as a (mistaken) replacement for love.

    Dr. Janov, is there a way to read your book “Sex and the Subconscious”?

  16. Art, did you get any response to the letter I sent to Harvard and other places? I tried to write it in a style which would be more persuasive for a sceptical reader.

  17. "If you want compromise check our the U.S. congress of late on health."

    I don't think they're comprimising. As an escapee from two places that had government run healthcare, it is a sign of our neurotic age that each day, as people have their lives extended or excruciating pain prevented, they realize that without these innovations they might not be alive — and, if they were, life would not be worth living. Yet those who produce these innovations are under constant abuse and inflicted pain from people who produce nothing.

    In the article 'Why Are We Anxious? (Part 1/6)' there is a case about a patient at the DMV, just wait till people experience the compassion of a DMV style government run system in something as crucial to a persons humanity as healthcare.

  18. Marco,
    The 12 step program did three things for me. The first, it was a cheap way for me to share (express my feelings) for $2, weekly. The second, it was a means to socialize, before, during and after the meetings. The third, it was a weekly reminder that it was a pain-killer (act-out) and NOT real sex.

    The downside was going through the boring repetitive rituals before getting to the 'shares'. I did create a 'sex plan' and wrote a very comprehensive 4th step for myself and read it to my sponsor. I liked the sponsoring, both ways, and used it frequently. I did find for ordinary folk out there, it was better than nothing ... but only just. Jack

  19. Dr Janov: Like many others here I'm sure, I am looking forward to reading your "Life before Birth", and have enjoyed reading parts of "Beyond Belief" that you have posted publicly elsewhere. With respect to the latter , I am happy to see someone unafraid of criticising others . I sense that you do that out of an attitude of searching for the truth, and not because of wanting to confront others for its own sake. Also, in contrast to the pretentious attitude of Alcoholics Anonymous , who never engage in any controversies with others in the alcoholism field, or others in the more general spiritual or psychological fields, because they are "above " all that, little spiritual saints and Ghandis that they are, I get a sense that you feel that you are not "above" all lesser mortals, that some controversies and wars cannot be avoided, because the stakes in terms of human happiness are too high. Marco

  20. Richard: thanks so much. They never answered and they never will. art janov

  21. Kaz:
    Hi the sex book is out in France. I have not released it yet to a publisher. You would do well to read my new book, out in a few months, Life Before Birth. art janov

  22. Hi Sieglinde If you read French the book on sex is out there now. art janov

  23. Dr Janov - Quote:"They never answered and they never will"

    According to Lord Christopher Monkton--a leading anthropogenic Global Warming critic--99% of all scientific research is government funded. So, if you want to win any research grants on climate science then, apparently, you had better sign up to the idea of problematic AGW and propose research projects that will help point in that affirmative direction.

    Maybe your research is basically in the same position Dr Janov. If it's not what the customer (government) wants, then no professional researcher is going to care about it or want to have much to do with it either?

    It might be just that simple. It would explain the asleep response to *anything* you may say.

    ---The following is from Monckton, if anyone is interested:

  24. Dr Janov: Thanks for the compliment about my writing well. I think that is the second time someone has told me that in all the years I have been writing! It sure is nice to hear. And especially coming from you, who wrote "The Primal Scream" ,whose language I consider unparalleled in its clarity and lucidity in explaining the subtleties of neurosis. Marco

  25. Andrew Atkins
    Naturally, all scientific research that is government funded serves to create mainstream blind followers to support the existence of the US cooperation: TITLE 28 - PART VI CHAPTER 176 > SUBCHAPTER A § 3002, (15) “United States” means— (A) a Federal corporation.
    Research outside the cooperation must be ignored. The reason, it does not feed the majority dependency, which is the sole purpose of every cooperation.

    Historically, it was always a confident individual who changed conventional thinking, by questioning motive and consequence.
    There are many uncluttered minds out there hungry for nee knowledge.

    Change will come from motivated individuals who freed themselves from the pain that holds our thinking and objectivity hostage.

  26. Dear Jack Waddington (and others),
    Thanks for your comments about Sex Anonymous. Looks like you have some of the same attitude about the 12 Steps as I have: better than nothing. I went last night to an AA meeting, and as usual the discussion was boring as hell, basically a bunch of people reinforcing their mutual belief system, and getting a little warmth from the AA herd. Despite the usual boring rituals and discussions, I do often have some interesting talks with others at the breaks or in the lobby outside the formal mmeting area. And so it was last night. I met a AA guy whom I told about Janov, because he is one of the rare AA members who talks a bit about his childhood in terms of possible trauma (everyone else is, like: "my parents did the best they could, I 'forgive' them " or "I just had a 'normal' upbringing, everyone in my family was agreeable" . Which is all nonsense in my estimation. One must never "judge" others in AA. After all : " THEY ALL DID THE BEST THEY COULD ,FORGIVE THEM!! ". I do not know whether to laugh or scream when I hear this stuff). Anyways, it turns out that the above guy to whom I mentionned Janov ,had already done Primal with what I presume to be a mock-primalist here in Quebec. He said he was turned on to Primal 20 years ago after reading The Primal Scream, sought out a local primalist, did 4 years of therapy, got nothing out of it.I suppose that was due to the mock-primalist; or perhaps, Primal does not work for everyone (even partially), given either a mock or a certified Primal therapist. Marco

  27. Marco: In no other dimension of medicine would people with no training set up a practice. Can you imagine a surgeon doing it? There are now thousands of so called therapists damaging people all of the time. art janov

  28. Art, I agree with you 100% about the need for training, but in all sphere or learning there was a time when it had to be dealt with from scratch. You too Art was floundering for some time, however, I feel strongly that one characteristic you had, others didn't, was integrity. (what is meant by integrity is also debatable). IMO there needs to be a SINGLE guide-line AND the integrity to question ones self at all times AND that in the final analysis, the patient has the last word.

    Many professionals out there claim that if you Art could start from scratch, why can't they. They have a point. What I would have wished for was that in the early days there could have been a forum of 'Primal Enthusiasts' in which you would have easily have been the founder and leader. To me, it is a pity that route was not taken. All that aside, I know very well why you took the route you did, and feel that it was more for integrity matters than any other factor. The real problem here is 'capitalism'; we all have to make a 'buck'. Therein, IMO, is the greater problem. Making a buck takes president ... always.

  29. Yes, Jack. In all of the mock therapists in the world, of which there are now thousands, not one has done anything to advance the therapy and its science. Not single research done, not a single paper presented, etc. It has become a business for most of them, not a little jewel to be guarded and enhanced with great care. This all means that they are not really interested in the therapy and how best to help people, but rather, how can I make more money.? If practitioners really cared they would come for training; it took us decades to perfect what we do. No one should be able to experiment on patients when it is no longer necessary. art janov

  30. Art; Worse still, they are not even interested in the 'background' to Primal Therapy:- Primal Theory, which is so simple and so elegant and which can be absorbed cognitively (even IMO by children). Whilst I can see that there is no "how to" in terms of the practice of Primal Therapy I do feel strongly that there could be a simple 'guide line' as to HOW it is practiced. I see no-where, where that has been suggested

    Also, I agree that there are hundreds if not thousands attempting to make a 'buck' from someone else' findings and ideas, but this is a neurotic characteristic that has been used all down time. (Witch doctors et al). I have long claimed that Psychotherapy is an attempt to 'MEND THE ALREADY DAMAGED'. I'm proposing that Primal Theory could be used to PREVENT that damage to the children of the future--alas, I fear; 'I am whistling in the wind.'

  31. Sorry to disagree on just one small point Jack, I think the mock therapists are the problem. Although not a cure, which is why I talk about the cure of primal therapy to everyone, when it comes to prevention, allowing people to be free is a very effective deterrent in preventing human misery.

    For example, if a buyer pays $1 for a cup of coffee, the clerk says "thank you" then the buyer respond with "thank you", because the buyer wants the coffee more than the buck, and the store wants the buck more than the coffee. Both of them win. It's a natural incentive that prevents wrongdoing between human beings.

    Its not an accident that the most misery in fellow human beings were historically caused and are today found in exactly those places with the lowest amount of economic freedom.

    reminds me of a quote:

    "Few things have saved as many lives as the simple growth of wealth. An earthquake powerful enough to kill a dozen people in California will kill hundreds of people in some less affluent country and thousands in a Third World nation. Greater wealth enables California buildings, bridges, and other structures to be built to withstand far greater stresses than similar structures can withstand in poorer countries. Those injured in an earthquake in California can be rushed more quickly to far more elaborately equipped hospitals with larger numbers of more highly trained medical personnel."

    -Thomas Sowell

  32. Hi Jack W. and Dr Janov: Are there actually thousands that have picked up the Primal name to do "therapy"? If so, that is quite an influence, mostly negative unfortunately if Dr Janov is right. I would add that there is not that much in the "Primal Scream" that reveals the techniques (at least the beginning techniques) as to what this therapy is about practically (in my opinion), and none in other books, yet all these people set up practices. If so, that is incredibly unethical ( I rememeber an acquaintance in Toronto, in the mid- 70's ,going for a 3 week "Primal intensive" and thought nothing of it as to qualifications; and then all those "rebirthers" I knew in the late 70's also, but they at least I did question a bit for their ignorant mysticism a la Sondra Ray et al. Yet I even did a seminar with her,a bizarre lady, can you beleive it!? How naive I was... Not these days, I hope...!).

    Even though I have never done Primal , nor probably will never be able to, I pay serious attention to what Dr Janov says about mock-primalists in case I have to recommend therapy to anyone, because, as he says, he wrote the books, and who else has contributed anything else of any signifigance, at least on paper? Just think of all the work in those books by Dr Janov. It is quite an achievement. Marco

  33. Hello everybody,

    It seems that we will keep coming back to the question of how to make Primal Therapy broadly available. I am not surprised that the theme is ineluctable. In my own case, I need to continue something I started years ago, but in my current situation, what I need is simply not available on terms I can accept. "It's not the money; it's the stuff." I can borrow 100K to finish the construction on my house, but I can't leave my family/job for three weeks. (Yes, it's that hard to get another job.) Ain't gonna happen.

    Marco, I do believe that PT does not "work" for many people in the chop-chop pseudo-miraculous way it has worked for some. For those who journaled their success so I could read it, I can only hope that the benefits they experienced were lasting. Is it a matter of training? I suppose that's part of the story, but it can't be the whole story. I'm a mostly self-trained computer software architect, and I'll put my stuff up against anyone with a college degree.

    Jack, I like the way you made the point that even Arthur Janov started from scratch once upon a time. And yes, as well as Janov has done to research and document and publish what he has, it would be so much better if it were not a discipline that depended on any one single human being. Such things are almost defunct by definition. I'll be humble this time and say that I have never been part of the struggle for the integrity of PT against a world of idiots (if in doubt, please see a dictionary for the non-derogatory meaning of that word), so it is not for me to judge harshly. I only wish the base could be broader. I wish Primal Therapy were a Ford instead of a Jaguar.

    Dr. Janov, I'm sure you are right that there are a thousand and something selfish assholes out there who would only take and pillage and give back nothing. Not to take away from your rightful anguish over that. I do think there are good people, sensitive people, living in the dark because we have not reached out to them. Like a brain trying to find the right connections. They are there, but there is a perverse system in the way. It's more than a matter of practitioners caring, though. They have to be able to work stepwise from where they are today toward something which, only by hindsight, will eventually be seen as radically different. Their problem is the same as mine, is the same as that of all suffering neurotic humanity: today comes first; balancing the books can wait.

    The year 2010 may be better; let's hope so. I wish you all much love,


  34. Jack: I think in the future our role will be mostly prevention, especially after the Life Before Birth is published, which i hope will change a lot. Art Janov

  35. Art, Wow, can't wait to get a copy of "Life before birth". I hope that it might become a bestseller, if for no other reason than to give to future mothers some simple yet elegant guide line that appeals to their instincts (which naturally occur during pregnancy). That they can be assurd by permitting their baby to freely feel, they make life for themselves more rewarding and the child and her relationship to it. Frederick LeBoyer made a bold attempt at the beginnings of this with a very short handbook that had pictures that said more than a thousand words. Done right, might create the real Primal Revolution. I do so hope.

  36. hey kaz_iqbal,

    You say "Few things have saved as many lives as the simple growth of wealth" Where on earth do you get that from? Wealth, exchange, money, law are the very essence of neurosis; our greatest killer. This, to me, is thinking inside the box. We need to break out of the box and ironically it could be this economic tsunami that could rescue us. Just a thought.

  37. Actually, looking at Dr. Janov's work I just got the words to articulate the feeling, instead of sounding like a scrooge. Those are the feelings of safety, security and survival that prevents neurosis.

    With the rubric of "civilization," he effortlessly sweeps away needs for survival, safety, and love despite daily realities of poverty and malnutrition."

  38. Jack: yes it seems that some people (in America at any rate) still have this most touching faith in capitalism.

    Another point: is a government run healthcare system really so bad (see kaz iqbal's earlier comment)? Here in Great Britain our National Health Service is by no means perfect. But I wonder if the service is any better in the USA (where they spend a fortune on insurance) than here where we spend a few pounds on taxes for a universal service.

  39. Kaz Iqbal,
    It seems to me that it is the OBSESSION with wealth that is not only neurotic but bad for our social and ecological systems.Not wealth per se. But you never make the distinction between obsession for wealth and "good" wealth ethically acquired ,within the ecological limits of our planet. All "freedom" to acquire wealth seems good to you. And you have no compassion for some like me that have never been willing to play the economic game as it is set up: that it is to say, to benefit the greedy and obsessed, mostly macho male, those ignorant "Masters of the Universe" who caused the current economic recession that has impacted the world so negatively. Marco

  40. Kaz: If you want to know what real trauma is you have only to look at basic need; for lack of fulfillment is always a trauma. art janov. Because these needs can be subtle may of us do not realize how traumatic it all is.

  41. This is getting off topic, but I will throw in a response to these wealth/capitalism comments.

    Money is extremely important when you don't have enough. Look at the third world to see true poverty. Capitalism works very well when it's not being screwed with and appropriately regulated, but I think its fatal error is that it is a competitive system that dictates "survival of the most ruthless" - so, if your enterprise doesn't compromise everything for the bottom line, then your competition will and then they'll undercut you, so you have to be ruthless and even corrupt to merely exist.

    This is why private enterprise must be regulated to avoid unacceptable externalities that will otherwise *inevitably* follow as a prerequisite of existing. The real problem happens when private enterprises become so large and powerful that they start to regulate the regulator (government) themselves, which is a scenario that has been described as corporatism - not capitalism.

    From here you end up with a "bottom line society"...Politicians bought and paid for by the corporates, and education systems controlled by the corporates for the exclusive purpose of manufacturing "human resources" etc - profit becomes THE functional religion.

    In my view, corporatism is capitalism gone mad, but maybe it's inevitable conclusion. Your founding fathers in America did all that they could to suppress this progression via your constitution, but they couldn't pull it off long-term. And the problem with communism is that the government, in their own way at least, is just another corporate - only functioning as a super monopoly, and easily (and often morbidly) corrupt.

  42. Andrew Atkin,
    Excellent comments about the pros and cons of the contemporary capitalist system. What's needed , it seems to me , are both ethical changes within the souls of most business people (so that they do the right thing without outside pressure), and , outside pressure from government and public opinion, if they don't do the right thing, to force them to do what is right (i.e. regulation). There is a small movement within business circles to promote ethics, and it is called CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilty), and , here in Canada, an interesting and sincere publication called Corporate Knights ,does just that. Marco

  43. Thanks macor22,

    The problem is that the Corporates that don't conform to the ethics will sell their same products for less than their more ethical competitors - likewise, the ethical guys are undercut and forced out of the game. Corporates only put on a "nice guy" face insofar as it may affect their bottom line. It's just PR.

    The right idea, which you highlight, is regulation and informing the public of bad business practice. But I believe the most robust protection is economic/political decentralisation. I think it's the only secure foundation.

    If you're interested in my ideas in detail:

    I think that before we can eradicate serious neurosis from our ruling classes, we need to look at all these kinds of problems as primarily systemic. Currently, we need to look at neurosis and its corrupting effects as a natural reality to be managed, as best as we can.

  44. To Andrew Atkin (way down there in New Zealand) :
    I can see from your blog and your comments here that you have thought long and hard about these important economic issues. So have I. Of course, I've never run a business so maybe I don't know know what I am talking about. But , for whatever it is worth, I do have to agree with you that the careful overall systemic design of our economic organisation is very important so as to possibly avoid , for instance, situations like you decribe: unethical competitors undercutting ethical ones. I remember reading about the Levi-Strauss Company , who had a policy of ethical business practices, who then had to modify that during the current wave of savage globalisation, because their competitors were exploiting cheap labor in the Third World. So they felt they had to do it also to survive. I still don't agree with that but I recognise the pressures (I'd rather go bankrupt and do something else, rather than exploit labor in poor countries). Another example: many commentators are pointing to the abolition of a key New Deal law during the Clinton administration, abolition which contributed to the economic crisis there that has affected the whole world (the law, Glass- Steagal or something(?),had been instituted by Roosevelt to counter some of the tendencies that lead to the Depression). Naturally ,some of the people who pressed hardest for its abolition are now running economic policy under Obama, so don't expect any changes! Eventually, also, we will need a Global Minimum Wage, so that no one will be able to exploit laborers. But we are so far away from that . In the meantime it makes me furious that so many businesses get away with such merciless exploitation.

    One last thing: since we are on a website dealing with psycholgy and neurosis (which reflects my deepest preoccupations), I do wonder how all these economic questions tie into the questions of neurosis. For instance, what are the dynamics of the neurosis of greed and exploitation? As you say , we can't wait for our ruling classes to get it together. We need to beat them down with the Big Stick of government in the meantime, knowing their compulsiveness will make them do almost ANYTHING to counter ethical governmental regulations. But what an exhausting effort to continually track these "Masters of the Universe" and their relentless obsessive quest for profits. Marco (resident of Canada)

  45. Hi people. No more political essays for this blog. It is for psychology. art janov


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.