Saturday, February 20, 2010

On Overeating And Over Everything, Including Tiger Woods And Pussy

There is a story in today’s paper about an overeater and how they are going to treat him. And I thought, “Do they know why people overeat?” For the same reason that they overdrink and overdrug and overbuy and overtravel and over and over. So. When anyone does more than is “normal” it means they are filling old needs as well as current ones. That is, there is the current need which triggers off the old need and makes for “over.” Now why do that? Because there are order levels of needs that correspond to levels of consciousness. The first line deep brain level has the urgency of life and death. It is not necessarily the need to eat but perhaps the need to live, the need for adequate oxygen and nutrients. But that need stays open and unfulfilled. When there is a current need, say, for food it can trigger off the old need and it drives the “over.” The same on the second line when a child was not fed enough or perhaps fed too much based on the anxiety of the parent. It is still an unfulfilled proper need and that can drive the later “over.”

OK, so there are levels of need, and as we descend down the chain of consciousness those needs get far more urgent because they often involve life and death events. So when the fattie sees food he goes crazy with urgency because the old need for survival is driving it. He eats for today, yesterday and the day before. The same for alcohol. One drinks now to be sociable. But drinking ten drinks is no longer social, it is pathologic. So let us not try to treat all this with current techniques when it is the past we must address. Somehow that has eluded all the drug and alcohol abuse centers. It is not a lifestyle we need to change; it is one’s whole history, his physiology and brain function. That is a bit more difficult. When Tiger Woods sees breasts he sees pussy because if you see his mother, that hard-bitten emotionless face, we see why he needs a woman’s love (now called sex). He needs one after another. Is he that sexual? His drive for oversex is old and new, but it is the old urgent unfulfilled need for love that makes it frantic in the present.
Now does anyone think his rehab is going to work? And by the way, what is a sex addiction. I know sex but addiction? If you like it as we all should, is it addicting? Only when it is inordinate. Most of us are not born with an inordinate sex drive but it becomes so when lack of fulfillment over years now drives sex. It could have driven food or money, but here it is sex.
We need and have found a way to dip into the remote past that drives so many “overs” and eliminate compulsive eating, drinking and drugging.

What Woods should have said is that it is no one’s business with what I do with my peepee. I did it cause my mother never loved me and that is that. I got it elsewhere. It was huge because my leftover need was huge.


  1. Primal therapy is not about feeling. Any amateur could make the average joe feel a deep feeling. Primal therapy is about making permanent connections between all three parts of the brain. "Connection". Dr. Janov says it so many times. It cannot be said enough. When we connect we do two things:
    1) We become able to understand and resolve a past feeling WHILE WE ARE CONSCIOUS OF IT. We don't invent answers after being hit by confusing feelings (unconnected feelings).
    2) We establish permanent, unblocked highways between all three parts of the brain. When we do this, we can feel freely, without neurotic diversions. When we can feel deeply and freely, we can fulfill our present needs.

    Fulfilling present needs is easy when you are not defending against old ones.

    I am speaking to all the well-intentioned therapists out there: I am neurotic but I gave myself time to understand this therapy and why it works. If I can do it, you can too.

  2. Art, this is a great psychological explanation for all the "overs" but I feel it doesn't cover what happens to us 'addicts' prior to the moment of our over-indulgences. I know from my over-indulgence which, like Tiger, was sex, and since it's been designated an addiction like all the other over-indulgences I feel we need to get some definition of what addiction subjectively does to us. We had previously considered addiction, especially to drugs, as some sort of chemical imbalance but this did not show us a way to overcome it. I define addiction as those ingestion/behaviors that 'kill pain'. By pain I mean that subconscious pain (forever wanting to re-surface into the consciousness) that was relegated into the subconscious in early childhood, which at the time was too overwhelming for the child, baby, fetus to feel and absorb/integrate. The triggers can be many, dependent upon the person and the "Primal" pain being invoked.

    The 12 step programs (the off shoots to Alcoholic Anonymous) suggest that we are avoiding or running away from something but never clearly define exactly what. The problems with this even when we accept it (which for many takes time and for some never) does not give us addicts a means to transgress the upcoming pain except to perhaps suggest another, less lethal addiction. In the case of AA suggesting that to way-lay the desire to drink--get laid. This resolves nothing and as Dr. Janov states in this blog, the only way out is to get down to feeling the feeling that drives the over-indulgence (addiction)--easier said than done.

    My prescription is that we should be making attempts at prevention. Preventing this pain in the children of tomorrow. It is so depressing to me that none of the caring professions look into this with any seriousness. Most of the pain to the fetus, baby, child are done inadvertently and if so, could there be a means making first the mother and father, then all the caring professions, and see if we are able to lessen the addictions and all the other anti-social behaviors we humans pass down from generation to generation.

  3. From a European perspective Woods' confession and apology to his public does make you wonder whether he is being controlled by the society he lives in or whether he is trying to manipulate it. Of course, it is no one's business but his what he does in his private life and quite honestly who cares!
    Yet, retaining sponsorship deals etc. may play a part in his contriteness. If this is so then maybe we can identify an ontological basis to economic thinking itself as a need for power and control over events. Woods' sex addiction led to him losing control of his life to the media, his family's disapproval etc. So his apology is about regaining control and ultimately restoring the normative social approval that accompanies someone of his economic status. He needs to reposition himself within normative social boundaries in order to regain the security his sex addiction and unwanted media attention has cost him. This way he regains the ability to predict events around him by restating his commitment to the family system and the socio-economic relations it validates. Repressing his unmet needs will be his means to doing this. Chances are he will not attempt to deal with these but will probably obtain help to 'work on' his relationship that will involve a cognitive-behavioural therapy.
    Of course the process of 'recovery' will be completed the next time he steps out on a golf course to no doubt standing ovation from the masses!

  4. Richard: Why can't I say it so clealy? AJ

  5. As a matter of an 'evolutionary psychobiology type' principle:

    Evolutionary success has in the long run most often befallen neuromuscular individuals of the human lineage whose (neural) "actention selection serving system" (abbreviated to anywhere from AS - such as what figures right in the middle of AEVASIVE - to ASSS) did not only "synaptically sequester" (so to speak with reference to the function of inhibitory co-released transmitters or inhibitory interneurons) - whilst likewise automatically recording (or in general becoming "conditioned" by) - traumatizing predicaments but whose "ending up in potentially overtaxing ordeals" and, given that these predicaments or ordeals were survived, whose subsequently incurred and insidiously stored (conditioned-in) primal pain or Pain was handled in an "ambiadvantageously" adaptive rather than just 'mono-advantageously' adaptive way;
    that is, not merely handled in a Pain blocking (~=CURSES containing) way - and of course a "pain (and fear) gating" way - but in a way that exploits the possibility of an individual (of any new generation of individuals in our phylogeny) "taking" whatever likewise naturally provided - and provided as if in parallel - evolutionary pressure of 'opportunity type'.

    {Traumatizing predicaments = potentially perishingly overtaxing ordeals caused by any unavoidable or inescapable need-negating environmental source of sensory stimulation.}

    One may, at a pinch, refer to this principle and to its behavioral and psychological consequences NOT by the (with inEPT associations sullied) word "neurotic" but by way of the eclectically pieced together - and elaborately plaited to be elastic - philosophical term "AEVASIVE".

    What this "blocking" or (synonymously) "gating" achieves is a state that can be thought of as a highly localized state of "specific/synaptic hibernation" (SH) - as distinct from though also logically and physiologically related to "general hibernation" (GH). GH refers to any almost or entirely behavior-blocking and consciousness-canceling metabolisms-minimized adaptive state of living - a state entered into most typically but not only on regularly occurring climatic (seasonal) cues of impending harsh living conditions.

  6. Hi Richard,

    Sounds great.From the institute where I went in therapy I got the notion that the 100% non-neurotic person doesnot exist.
    It is not such a bad idea to speak in percentages.I am disappointed in how my therapy went but I can still say that it might have been 30 to 40% succesfull.
    I can express myself for instance towards my dentist,what I want and what I don´t like.I can observe myself when I am starting to go to far in overpowering her and take a stepp back and reflect on myself without taking back what I have said.That is progress that prevents me from getting in trouble emotionally lateron,it is not a complete resolving from my past trauma´s.
    It is part `dealing with´ Actually when I started therapy that was what I hated that other people accepted that as an outcome.Still it is much better then how I dealt with problems before.


  7. Paul All I can say is that I know that we do Primal Therapy at the Primal Center in Santa Monica. What others do I have no control over. Primal gets a bad name because there are so many charlatans out there claiming to do Primal Therapy. Caution! art janov

  8. Will: look If he do not go to deep brainstem first line you can NEVER solve addiction which gets its impetus from deep in the brain. All that rehab stuff is pure nonsense. It is the price we pay for forgiveness. art janov

  9. I was being ironic in my comments Art. I agree that rehab is no more than putting a bandage over diseased wound and doing PR for one's damaged reputation.

  10. In a future blog Arthur would you be able to write anything about the extent to which PT offers a universal theory for approaching the human personality. For example, Freud is often critisised for offering a theory that reflects white middle class Viennese West European society but which has little to say about the psychological experience and development of people in Eastern cultures. For example the oedipus complex may not occur everywhere. Are there any cultural divides that PT could not cross? Thanks for your blogsite - always interesting to read.

  11. Pbef, I tend to skim-read your posts because I can't absorb those huge sentences. Could you please shorten your sentences so it's easier to read? Are you saying the brain takes advantage of it's natural sleep function to make us less conscious of traumatic feelings? We are half asleep even when we are awake? Are you looking for a link between sleep and repression?
    Also, what is EPT? You keep hinting at it in your posts.

  12. Have you ever noticed how many mainstream authorities warn us of the dangers of smoking, over-eating, over-drinking, over-anything, supposing that induced fear of consequences will cause people to change? They also usually add simplistic suggestions like: Stop Drinking and smoking! Make friends! Get Married! Don't Eat Too Many Doughnuts! Stay Positive!!! etc.. Funny how that most often doesn't work. Hey, I knew quite well the harm alcool does to me, but that did not stop me from downing a whole bottle of wine last wednesday! What about the misery that night that caused me to drink? These simplistic positive thinkers rarely talk about that in a realistic way! These mainstream medical journalists, and their colleagues in the celebrity-obsessed media make me laugh.


  13. Will: I think you want a theory of everything. I come close to this in Life Before Birth, out in the Fall. Otherwise you are asking for a book not an answer to a blog. Tell me more about what you mean. A

  14. Will; Dr. Arthur Janov formulated Primal Theory in the first 60 pages of The Primal Scream way back in 1970. It is, in essence, very simple and extremely elegant. His formulation took that number of pages as he backed up his ideas with studies by many others. In 2007 I published my book where Part I re-iterated Primal Theory briefly in my own words, in 7 short chapters (less than a page each) referring my readers to The Primal Scream if they required a deeper explanation than mine.

    In the prologue to my book I stated that the discovery of Primal Pain (Introduction; The Primal Scream) was the greatest discovery mankind ever made; and I reasoned it was the greatest discovery because finally, we humans had made a huge leap in understanding ourselves. Now we know what is wrong with us. We now are able to see the difference between our 'behavior' (the only knowledge we had of ourselves before Art's discovery), and our 'nature', which Primal Theory adequately explains. My whole book is concerned with the implications of Primal Theory and how we might circumvent neurosis for future generations.

    Science has been searching for a "Unified Field Theory" for more than a century and assumes science is where it will eventually be found. I claim that is has already been formulated, and it turned up not in physics (science), but in psychology. Primal Theory IS Unified Field Theory by virtue of the fact that we need NOT seek the nature of the universe, but merely know and remedy what is 'wrong' with us. Neurosis is: the problem.

    If Art will permit me I will give out my email address and for anyone interested and requesting I will return, for free, an e-copy of my book as an attached .PDF file, that can be read on any computer.

  15. To Jack Waddington: I would not mind reading your book, but your e-mail address was not included in your last post. Anyways , if you want to send me your book via e-mail, send it to me at

    I really don't know if , as you write, Dr Janov`s was the greatest discovery to benefit manking ever, since I have never experienced Primal and probably never will. But I have experienced just enough of similar discoveries by Reich and Lowen that I can say that these are remarkably important discoveries, in my opinion. Right up there with Einstein, Newton, Beethoven, Mozart etcc...And , as you say, probably any major breakthrough in the realm of psychology (or more precisely, holistic psychobiology ) is even more important than continuing scientific discoveries of the natural world, since wouldn't we all rather be happier inside our skins than, for example, knowing about and using the gravitatiional law while being neurotic? I would rather have undergone Primal at 13( to perhaps undo some of the damage of my harsh fascist Italian mother ) than learn physics then, beleive me! Maybe I could have had my first girl-friend at a normal age rather than at 42 years of age!!


  16. As a former patient that underwent 7+ years of Primal Therapy in Los Angeles (1992-1999) at the Primal Institute, not the Primal Center, I can certainly attest to the idea that the impetus for addictions lies at a deep first line level within us. I spent years in therapy on the floor crying, screaming, begging for love, to be seen, held, touched, making connections, shaping my life in a more productive and emotionally conscious way. On the surface my therapy would be considered quite successful. I still cry easily and am conscious of my life, my place in it, and what is good and right for myself. Yet still...I'm an addict. Not the shoot heroin in my veins type of addict...but a functioning one still obsessing with food, drugs, exercise, and pornography. Though most (including my therapist) would consider me a very conscious and feeling person, I acutely suffer daily with a deep sense of physical if my core were in a constant state of turmoil and vibration from which I find temporary relief through my addicitons

    Throughout my therapy I always had this sense that something was missing. There was little emphasis on the significance of first line trauma. Indeed, I had this lingering feeling that most, if not all, of the therapists I encountered were ill equipped to address it.

    My experience in therapy saved my life...but I know it didn't go far enough. There still lies incredible suffering and trauma inside me...and I know it still drives my addictions.

  17. Danny: Hi. Sorry about your therapy but if you look at my Life Before Birth and all the documented scientific evidence you will know and already probably do know how crucial womblife and birth are. I cannot take responsibility for those who claim to do Primal Therapy. All I can say is I do know what you get at the Primal Center, and that is proper therapy. art janov. It is the first line that gives the power to any addiction if one has the remotest idea of how the brain works.

  18. Dear Danny,
    It really made me sad to read about your sufferring. There is nothing much I can do , but perhaps this sympathetic message can help.
    There is a little about me on two other posts by me (above).
    Good luck. Marco

  19. Yeah, well, I am just writing to say that I had a great afternoon today, outdoors in the woods, sculpting a snowman, and a snow-woman (with boobs and everything!).What a treat! And, man, to see the sun go down from this hill, wow!! It's nice to know that I can still have great experiences once in a while, that it is not all dull greyness for me, that there are ways to improve our lives. And even though I have never done Primal, I am inspired by the fact that Dr Janov and so many other humanitarians have helped others out like me ,so that they can also experience such moments more often. So take care everybody, and hang in there!


  20. Art
    I am invited to the Social Board here in Sweden… to discuss the issue of different treatment methods and their place in health care… to a meeting about why primal therapy should be introduced in Sweden. The meeting will take place the 16 of mars. What are your requirements to come to Sweden for the introduction of primal therapy here? Are there any questions you want me to bring forward? The meeting will take place the 16 of mars.
    Frank Larsson

  21. Frank. I tried 30 years ago in Sweden they were not at all interested. But my new research and new book should pave the way for a whole new science of psychotherapy. also the import for women who are pregnant or who expect to be is crucial. I would love to come to Sweden in the spring but they have to pay my way and hotel. I paid my own way last time and it got me nowhere. You should tell those authorities that I have been elected Academic Hall of Fame, a most prestigious honor. art janov

  22. Wow, I just looked at the first comment above (Richard) and while I do see the point that Richard is drawing out, I also think the post as a whole is dangerously misleading and unbalanced.

    First of all, Primal Therapy most definitely IS about feeling, and it is not really helpful to construct a false dichotomy like this so that we have to choose between feeling and connection. Everyone will have a different experience in therapy, but one constant is the element of exploration. You are basically going where you have not been before, and because of that, mistakes and partial results are just the order of the day. Feeling is the vehicle. Connection is a kind of destination, and guarantees are just out of the question. Along the way are bound to be as many misses as hits. This is normal, although practice and skill should improve the percentages over time.

    Now, if you ask Art or anyone in his organization to write you a warranty on your progress as a patient, you will hear these words "That would not be ethical". Obviously.

    Sometimes terminology helps clarify things. There area de-scriptive models and pre-scriptive models. Primal Theory, as Dr. Janov has described it, is a descriptive model, especially in its treatment of connection. What this means is that the model helps in the identification of a connected experience, but it is does not give a recipe for making that happen in a deterministic manner. This is why you need to think in terms of travel, in terms of what the vehicle is, and in terms of probable destinations. Over time, if the therapy is any good, the numbers will bear that out. Any other approach to precipitating connection is artificial, and Dr. Janov has covered this form of mock therapy extensively in his writings on insight therapy.

    By the way, it is this nondeterminism in the journey that makes therapy a challenging undertaking. Otherwise by now neurosis would be entirely a thing of the past, I imagine.

    What I'm wondering is how this gaffe slipped through without Art catching it.


  23. Walden exactly what gaffe? I have been carrying on research on gestation and birth trauma with a German medical clinic. the lead physician tells me the results, which he and I are writing up, are "astonishing." art janov

  24. I think that a man of Art's age even trying to catch a giraffe is very impressive. The fact that it got through in no way diminishes the amazing efficacy of primal therapy.

  25. I too was at the Primal Institue (in the eighties)and had a bad experience. Due to various events I lost my trust in them, although at the time I blamed myself. I have wanted to go back to therapy ever since I left but was too afraid. All my first line feelings have been at home. But I dont think we have to accept an incomplete therapy. Art has stuck with this and I think it has developed and improved. The new website is great and I find my self excited and inspired again. The last time I was at the Primal Center I had a really good feeling (I just mean general feeling) about Art the therapists and the center, and I'm hard to please. I think Art should be praised for being so devoted to Primal Therapy against the overwhelming negativity

  26. MrSlatersParrotSpeaks: Where is the parrot? Does she speak? If so, can she explain what your comment means? AJ

  27. MrSlatersParrotSpeaks: Thank you. 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.