Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Dialectic

My therapy is based on the dialectic; that means that you need to reach into the past to really live in the present.  You need to feel terror so that you can be rid of it. You need to feel fearful in order to get rid of it and become courageous.  Things turn into their opposite:  too much pain turns into no pain as overload and gating/repression set in.    Above all, you need to feel unloved in order to feel love.  Let me explain:

  As kids we were not held, caressed, appreciated; in short, loved.  That pain for a child is devastating so it is repressed and takes its place in our storehouse of unfulfilled need.  Now we cannot let much love in because repression blocks it; we can no longer feel anything fully.   We need to feel that unlove to the maximum. That opens the gates in and lets feeling in and out.   Then we can let love in.  No exhortation, encouragement, praise can do anything.  Above all, to be hugged in the present by group therapy members is less than useless.   It can only go so deep as the gates are slammed shut.

   That is why if we bring mama into the therapy room and she hugs her son for the hour nothing will change.  But if he cries and begs her in that child’s voice to love him and hold him everything changes. He is now free; been liberated from his history.  And we can measure all this precisely.  How much cortisol stress hormones are there?   Vital signs going up or down?   If the vital signs after a session do not go down to or below baseline, the beginning values, then there is no progress.  Ours is the first science of psychotherapy; the art of science.

   Dialectics is the interpenetration of opposites, first espoused by Hegel then by Karl Marx.  They never applied it to psychology but we now can.  It is a law we cannot abrogate.  We cannot overcome fear by getting on the horse again.  We just bury it. But it stays and will shorten our lives. 

   Better to fall off the horse, stay on your back and scream out the hurt and fear. Then you are brave.

I think this dialectical law applies to many different things. For example, when blood pressure is over normal, or even under, something is wrong in history.  If the body temp is far over normal there is something pathologic going on.  And again, we must turn to history for answers, not simply thrusting pills on the hapless victim hoping to normalize the readings.   We cannot normalize from outside.  It has to come from inside; from the events and times when the original deregulation took place that made things exceed normal.   That is why when we do biofeedback and try to normalize the brainwave readings we cannot succeed.   Here we are just forcing the issue; we need a “softer” approach that slowly evolves. 

Let me reiterate: anything we therapists do to normalize patients cannot succeed, because action/pressure from outside must be continued ad infinitum.  We must continue to give Prozac for a lifetime, or we add thyroid to the regime to normalize it.  That is an endless program.  But if we normalize from inside it can endure for a lifetime.  The original causes of the deviation have been addressed and done with.


  1. Ok, this all makes sense to me. But Primal books sometimes give the impression that it is all or nothing: either your past is cleared up and you are well; or your past is not cleared up and you are not well. Obviously there are degrees of pathology. And, if so, that means we can live some happiness and love and joy within neurotic limits that can vary. And perhaps some shallower therapies out there can help us maximise those neurotic limits. No?



  2. Well, I think another way to see the problem is to look at a hedgehog:

    When a hedgehog feels threatened in curls up into a spiky ball. So take a traumatised hedgehog that, due to an imprint of fear, feels threatened even when it is not threatened in present-day reality.

    So how would you cure this hedgehog of it's "excessive curling-up disorder"? Would you try to behaviourally train it to not curl up...or maybe you would just jack it up with some drugs to force its muscles to relax? Would that be a cure? Obviously not. With those cure's the hedgehog would actually become more "weird", because it wouldn't curl-up when feeling threatened, as it should do.

    Obviously, the only true cure would be to address the rouge feeling itself - likewise, the Imprint. That is the only part of the hedgehog that is really at fault, the curling-up is merely the right reaction to the wrong FEELING.

    It's just so bloody simple, yet the world still doesn't seem to want to know.

  3. Art, I never found the dialectic idea you put forth in Primal Therapy (that if somehow you can face, feel, and experience old pain, it and the accompanying symptoms will go away) to be true.

    For me, and as it was stressed to me by therapists, it was more the case of acquiring a new set of skills with which to interact with the present. While feeling the humiliation and pain caused by my mother helped me integrate it to a place where I could actually be with a woman who liked me, I can't say the fear and hurt ever goes away. It more gave me the power to construct sort of a mantle of pain where I could shelve old trauma for awhile so I could live more in the present. While therapy helped be feel and identify it for what it was, I certainly never found any kind of permanent disengagement from it in the present.

    Now granted, I didn't have therapy at the Center and understand you can't speak for the quality of therapy one finds elsewhere, and I'm open to the idea I may have received something less than optimum help, but the disappointment in coming to the understanding that pain never really goes away was echoed by nearly every patient I shared a group floor with...and over the years there were many.

    From the first moment I read the Primal Scream back in the early 70's, I've always loved the clear, compelling, and eloquent way you've described the promise of a way through and out of the misery some of us live in. To this day your words still make me feel hopeful and want to trust your dialectic vision. But unfortunately, experience, at least my experience, doesn't bear you out.


  4. That's interesting Andrew, after trying to tell people about Dr. Janov's work even to people who are really interested but not looking further into it, I think one factor plays a major role, which is something Dr. Janov said along the lines of: "no matter how much someone wants to get well, there is always resistance to feeling the hurtful feelings."

  5. Art
    What makes us feel... see and hear is physiology. Experience of what we feel... see and hear is psychology. Experience do not need to be in par with what we would have felt … seen and heard if the conditions of our lives been the right ones. We must look at the fetus and the child's circumstances in order to understand the psychological wonderings. We must have the right knowledge... science of the physiological content.

    Psychology is what floats around in the air… it has no basis and can never get unless you look at the physiological content... look at what has been stored in the cells... the nerve cells that have information and maybe keep it until we opened the door by therapeutic approach.

    It's just fantastic unbelievable that my cell contains everything I have experienced... everything I felt… seen and heard. There are no words for this ... it is in my cells.

    For many of us there is too much feeling bound in the cells… emotion without words... a physiological language that frightens us... but we also have those feelings that listening to the words... words we all can express... words that ease the physiological language... just if we listen to what the primal therapy contains.
    Frank Larsson

  6. Danny: If you went somewhere other than the Primal Center you never have had primal therapy. AJ.

  7. I am not sure I follow the analogy of the hedgehog presented by Andrew, but I would like to add my 'two cents worth' of how I see my (Primal)therapy after 28 years. I was damaged in childhood, how severely comparatively, I have no real idea cos I am only inside me and my feelings. I can be empathetic to others as I hear them in group or buddying, but that doesn't give me their pain; only a sense of it from my own ability to feel my pain.

    That hurt (damage) in my early childhood, belongs to me and is part of my history. I have re-lived (felt) quite a lot of it over the years, BUT it DOES NOT go away. However, it does not run my life to the extent it used to do with me clamoring to act-it-out, day in and day out: and wow, that is some great freedom. How much of my total pain have I felt? I can't really say, but it feels like a lot, cos I FEEL more than I THINK and CONTEMPLATE than I used to, and am certainly more spontaneous. I sure am not the person I might have been had I not been so damaged, but, considering, I am more alive than I would have been without this therapy.

    For me, life is about one feeling experince after another and the cumulative effect is NOT happiness and/or contentment. It's about the whole range of human feelings coming up, willy nilly, as I traverse this life and my new found ability to express those feeling whenever and wherever appropriate. That's the dialectic for me.

    Put another way my analogy:- I was conceived as a perfect piece of crystal stemware. I/it got dropped and broken broken and I've spent the last 30 odd years trying to glue it all back together, but alas, it is still a broken piece of crystal stemware; functional again, in that it can hold some fine wine, but the cracks still show.

  8. Andrew Atkin: I don't know if you were responding to me, but if so, your hedge-hog could be at some times less curled up, and thus less unhappy. He may be not so curled up generally that he sometimes uncurls enough to feel some connection to others and even some joy.Anyways, if my analogy is not clear enough, let me say that I am not the epitome of health: my back is hunched with repressed rage, I wear glasses, I read too much, I am sometimes uncooordinated and awkward, I never had a girlfriend until I was 42. But let me say clearly that but I can sometimes feel joy, love, connection, peace. There is some happiness within my neurotic limits. If I can share whatever emotions I have that are not distorted or repressed, I can feel freer and connected to others. So it does seem that there are gradations to the severity of neurosis and levels of happiness within them obviously.


  9. Andrew,

    With all due respect, it's just not so bloody simple, and your experience with hedgehogs (or more likely, inexperience with them) has absolutely nothing to do with anything. You haven't had your therapy yet, so yours is all hope and no substance. Get thee to the Primal Center and get this shit over with, please.

    Danny, I'm afraid I hear you and resonate with you all over the place. I also was surrounded with people in therapy who did not get the lasting effects they were sold on. Yet in spite of this I find that there is value and substance in the deeper feeling experiences. It's too valuable to just ignore, and yet at the same time it is increasingly frustrating to read blog entries like this one which foster an entirely unrealistic view of human potential. I'm so pissed at how this is being botched, in fact, that I feel like screaming right now.

    Art, not all logic and not all truths are binary. Therefore, although I believe you when you say that it's not enough to get back on the horse, I also don't believe you when you say that getting back on the horse is useless. Lying on your back and crying will not by itself restore your confidence in your horsemanship, and it's about time you stop fostering nonsense like this. It's because I believed this kind of bullshit that my own therapy was largely such a waste of time.

    For the hundredth time, you have something valuable to offer, but you are not coming close to actually offering it. Damn it.


  10. Macor22, you sound like you're doing okay. If you need and want this type of therapy you don't ask questions like that, you go to it like a fish to water. Expression is the most important thing, so as long as you express your feelings you'll do allright. I go to the Heimler Method, which is sort of like Reichian therapy, except it's extinct. It's so hard even, if you're highly motivated. It can be terrifying. One time I had a great session, came home, went to bed, had a nightmare where my mother was trying to accuse me of something I didn't do, I fought back in my dream and woke up with a bloody nose! It was clearly push back for me making progress.
    For those of us that do need this type of therapy I find this quote inspirational when I feel discouraged:
    Eugene Heimler, a holocaust survivor, survived not because he shut down the pain that the Nazis were causing him, but because he felt the pain in all it's agony. The ones who didn't feel the horror of what was happening to them, walked into the electric fences and committed suicide.
    Here is a quote from his book:

    "And man heard his voice for the first time, and in his own voice he recognized the voice of the infinite, and he gazed up at the great blue above and began to weep.
    And because of the force of gravity his tears fell downwards to the earth, but because of the force of God his soul soared upwards to the heavens.
    And this, I felt in that moment, would always be the destiny of man."
    Night of the Mist
    Eugene Heimler.

  11. If anyone in here is rich enough to donate me some money for primal therapy, I would gladly accept it.

  12. Thanks ,Erika ,for your message, a very touching one. I am glad Mr Heimler developed the Heimler Method, instead of getting killed by the Himmler Method...


  13. It would be really helpful (to me, anyway) if those claiming to have had PT included the identity of the 'Primal' centre they attended, as I'm never sure if those bagging the therapy on this blog have genuine experience of what Art offers or not.

    Anyone else feel this way?


  14. Richard. I already explained that we will help out as much as we can. art janov

  15. Erron, Your request to know which center/institution respondents attended for their therapy might be interesting to you, but I doubt it will tell you much about either the differences or the benefits objectively, IMO. You are left with your instincts (feelings), or taking their word.

    I will tell you my feelings about what I FEEL is the difference:- "very little". I did my therapy at the Primal Institute and started when Art was in charge there. All the therapist had been trained under his supervision. and the main ones still there, are among them. If Art had a change of approach, I presume it was after leaving the Institute to open a center in France and then later the center in Venice, now in Santa Monica. As far as I can tell the only 'objective' difference is the use of "vital signs" before and after a session. Subjectively, I feel there is little difference.

    As I see it (and I have NOT been trained by either place) is that a Primal therapist comes to his patients listening to them and being acutely aware of their feelings from his/her own feelings about what is going on with that patient/client. The therapist must (as best he/she can) not take their own "old" feelings into the therapy room. Are therapist 100% able to do this? My perception is: NO. Having been traumatized in their own childhood renders this almost impossible, but a good therapist will, for the most part, be very cognizant of just this. Hopefully, if they do, they will admit it. It is for this reason that it takes a great deal of time to train a Primal therapist, according to both houses, and I agree.

  16. Richard. i feel you the most. money is a huge problem. worse and worse in my country. hey.. if i ever have enough it will be my pleasure to help. but right now i have an idea...
    hey everybody. let's do some good here. Richard wants financial help in order to follow therapy. most of us do i guess. i'm trying 12 years to collect enough money and i constantly fail. that because i'm neurotic. among other reasons. but fuck it with me. here is something we can do for Richard Atkin. if we all give something it will be a really good thing. personally i have no job the last 11 months. my surviving looks like the one of a parasite. still it is easy for me to find 100euro and give it to somebody who needs it for this purpose. and for this only. this is not a joke. if 1000 people give 10$ each that will be 10.000$ it is a very good amount to start therapy. let's help somebody save his life shall we. pay attention people. wake up a bit and think about it. gamblers will gamble 10$ less. you pay 10$ for a phone card.10$ for 3 hours parking.10$ for junk food your stomach wants to reject... we pay many 10s$ for silly things we don't even need. let's deny once our neurotic need of the amount of 10$ that gives us no joy for a purpose that will do so much good. if anybody laughing this is 03:18 in the morning and i'm already making up my mind for the next few 10s$ i can deny veeeeeery easily. Arthur. please post this up or share it with everyone you wish. i don't care who sees that. i care for the effort. even 5000$ or 2000$ can help a lot. i know that for sure. any thoughts? anybody?
    Richard. i will give you nothing on hand. i will send it to pr center for you. like paying 1 hour of a private session for you. i'm sure we can trust Art and his wife. Art, give me the green light for this. i will be glad to start it.

  17. Hey, Marco! I posted my post before you posted your second post, so I didn't realize you were in that much pain. Again, I find expression is the most important thing, Dr. Janov said it best, "Those who get it out last it out, those who keep it in, cave in." If you're not into regression therapy (it's not for everyone, I myself have been going so long it's embarrassing) just keep that in mind. What you described you wanted in your first email is something that a behavior therapist may do. Behavior therapies only work for people who are pretty much okay. One BT gave me really bad advice, since she wasn't in touch with her own feelings and couldn't really help me to overcome my anxiety, so she attempted to steer me away from a career that has given me much joy. She did this just to play it safe!
    Take Good Care,

  18. "Danny: If you went somewhere other than the Primal Center you never have had primal therapy. AJ."

    Dr Janov/ Art– hmmmm… I’m not sure I agree. I can’t see how one therapy centre in L.A. can claim a monopoly on emotion– which after all is what primal therapy is– a system of feeling ‘old’ emotions in order to heal. I know that I ‘felt’ birth feelings before I even began formal therapy– (which probably gives you some idea as to how ‘faulty’ my gating system is.) I am no longer in formal therapy, but still have primals, including major insights. As you said once yourself, in an earlier book (I think it was ‘the new primal scream’)– ‘any friend could do the same’ [as a primal therapist]– before going on to explain why this rarely happens. These days, almost everyone seems to be storing massive pain overload from at least one of the three levels/lines. As a previous commenter said, ‘maybe we’re all just chronic cases’. I’d tend to agree with that.

    As far as primal theory goes, I first read about it around 20 years ago, and it rings as true today as when I first read. It can’t be faulted, and you totally nailed it in your books– what the problem is (neurosis), how it manifests (compulsive neurotic behaviour, including neuroses of the physiological system) and how it becomes healed (feeling the original trauma).

    I think that the problem is, we live in a neurotic world. It’s hard to heal from original wounds when all around you are acting-out as if their lives depended on it (which originally, I guess they did). From reading your books, I know that you have met ‘spontaneous primallers’ who have successfully healed themselves, but also that this is rare. I think the problem is that neurosis is so endemic, it’s a bit of a lottery as to if you can find both the understanding of the process and also a safe place to heal.

    Finally, I just wanted to say that it’s a pleasure to write to you– I’ve held you in great esteem for pretty much my entire adult life. And, as for the dialectic… your post is right-on-the-money.


    PS. Keep up the good work you are doing. I enjoy reading your blog, as indeed I do all your writings.

  19. Art,

    Just my two cents here. No one can partially climb over a wall. I have had uncompleted feelings with some minor release but it was always lacking. Half a truly relaxed comfortableness with yourself and your history means you haven't felt the truth that sets you free. In feeling something you either felt it all out or you did not, in my opinion.

    From what I have seen in the tapes on your site, my clumsy attempts to connect to feeling could take a life time, and the therapy I received elsewhere was not nearly true Primal Therapy. Why? Because present glaring realities were never addressed. I have experienced moralizing, pushing myself, being pushed, and I don't think that someone without adequate access can do this therapy. Such people can't help but push, run away, and moralize.

    I urge anyone here to try to get the real therapy from you Art. Having seen the alternatives I would have to say that the cognitive and other similar approaches come closer to brainwashing, hyping with hope dope, and painting smiles on deadened faces.

    Maybe I won't be so long winded after therapy, another glaring reality that didn't change from mock primal therapy or any other either.


  20. Jack. What we do now is light years ahead of what we used to do. it has change radically based on new science, new ideas and new neurology. Don't be fooled. art janov

  21. Joe All I can tell you is that the therapy and its techniques are very complex. I have never seen it done properly outside of the Primal Center. And the stakes are high because when it is done wrongly the results can be disastrous. art janov

  22. Athanasios, thank you very much. That is a great idea. I would be very happy to use the money. If I can live as cheaply as possible in LA, with some help from other patients, $10,000 would go a very long way, especially when it is combined with money from the Primal Foundation. Even $5000 would be great.
    Then later I could help to sponsor you and many others. That would be my commitment so I don't feel like a parasite.

    Currently I'm finding it impossible to save money but I'm sure I will earn a good income eventually.

  23. Richard, and others...

    When I was 19, I read Primal Scream and Primal Revolution and I had to have primal therapy, there was no other option. Do some of you relate to this response?

    Okay, so according to the rules at the time, I was under-aged. I wrote to the Primal Institute in LA explaining why I should be allowed to start my therapy even though I was only 19. I received a nice letter back saying that both Art and Vivian had read my letter and that both felt I should be allowed to apply. This was 1972.

    My next problem was that I could not write an autobiography as part of the application. I could not be satisfied with anything I wrote, because I believed none of it was good enough to convince them that I was the kind of person they should admit into the program. I was that afraid of rejection. I tormented over that for years and finally wrote a letter back to the Institute saying that I could not write an autobiography, but I still needed the therapy. I thought they would see how much I was suffering and cut me a break. Hang on, because here comes the point.

    The reply was that I have to be able to do that (write the autobiography), or get help doing that. It shows that I have enough of an existence to be able to bring what was needed into my therapy sessions. Words to that effect. I was disappointed. I wanted special treatment, and I wasn't getting it.

    The story goes on, but the point is this, Richard. I think you are a capable guy with some self-discipline problems along with the other things that you think are wrong with you. IMO, you need to hold a job long enough to save the money you need to pay for your therapy. Why? Because you can.

    Am I being a dick and beating up on Richard here? Nope. What I'm telling Richard is that if he doesn't start taking care of himself real well right now, then the first n years of his primal therapy will be nothing but a waste. You need not repeat my mistake, Richard.

    Good luck.


  24. Art, thanks for your reply and I take your word that it is "light years" ahead of what it used to be, BUT I feel the Institute would also claim to be "light years" ahead of where they used to be. I personally would not put a great deal of faith in the scientific community at large and if what I see on the Charlie Rose show series about modern developments in 'neurophysiology' then science is about (to coin a phrase) to disappear up it's own ass-hole. To refer back to my previous analogy; we neurotics are broken delicate stem-ware and all any therapist (the best and the worst) are merely 'gluing' it all back and hopefully making it functional again. Since the body is for ever attempting heal itself (I am quoting you here) then maybe the best any therapist can achieve is permitting that natural process to take place; best they can. It sure is a very, very complex process. However, for me the ONLY REAL solution is to promote and encourage PREVENTION by not damaging the children of the future. Something, if the promotion was long and loud, would IMO, circumvent the need for therapy in the future.

  25. HI again Erika: I do not know how much Pain I am in relative to others who are attracted to Primal, but I certainly have some. But I also do know that I can have my moments of calm and happiness, so I am not desperate, just another victim of the mechanical routine. "Just" living a life that has mostly a lot of loneliness, boredom, and rage in it. All this could be made better without any therapy if I had more people I could really talk to, but I don't, due to this surrounding alienated ignorant society of barricaded people who do not wish to talk of their inner lives. I do seem however to be on the verge of connecting with some women that I find satisfactory as to looks and character. But I am not there yet.The point being is that it is not impossible.I am looking forward to that! There are a lot worse than me: two people from my utterly boring, nonsensical and superficial AA groups had it much worse, for instance: one, a well-known shy socially-conscious film-maker here in Quebec, committed suicide 2 weeks ago after his film company went under (and he lost his home) , and another dude in his early 50's is dying of cancer(who had also been psychotic and homeless, and had also been a businesman).So there are worse.I can enjoy the sunsets and a friendly meaningful exchange with another pretty regularly.So it's not all a drag.

    Oh yeah, if the Primal-Therapy-for-Richard fund gets off the ground, and gets a lot of smaller donations, I'll put in $50 US, if that can make a difference.

    Oh yeah (2), to Jack Waddington, your e-book got bleeped out of my Inbox because of a screwup due to the fact that I got "phished" recently, which means scammed by some dude that got into my computer account.In the ensuing chaos, I lost your book. So, could you send it back to me at Thanks.


  26. Jack - I would love to read your book too - I read the bits that amazon would allow me to! and would love to read the rest.

    How do we donate to the primal therapy for Richard fund?

    Unless anyone wants to come and join me in the Gulf (UAE) and use the money saved on tax for therapy. It would be nice to have some primal friends around.

  27. The best way to donate money for my therapy would be to make a payment directly to the primal center. I have no doubt they will keep an account under my name and send out receipts.

    I appreciate the responses :)

  28. The dialectic is a tough idea to comprehend. It goes against a lot of our cultural thinking, regardless of the pain we carry. But as a teenager, I found the dialectic to be one of the most powerful ideas in Primal psychology. I was familiar with it from basic philosophy, but it was Dr. Janov's approach that really made it come alive. Others, like Marx and Reich and a number of New Left writers, had all gotten close to saying that human need is a dialectic force, but they never made the leap from the theory to the flesh -- at least in a way that I could understand. Sometimes it takes a while to really "get" it, but it's the kind of thing that eventually "gets" you.

    I worked in neurology for about 15 years, and I always thought alpha waves were an excellent non-Primal (yet still Janovian) example of the dialectic: cortical activity while alert is a cacophony of complex low-amplitude high-speed signals-and-responses. It resembles noise; out of its context, it IS noise (yet another important Janovian point). But when the subject relaxes with eyes closed, all of that is swamped by a powerful 8-12 Hz wave from the depths of the neurological Permian, a commanding electrical shout of ... relaxation. Quietude, the call of a neural foghorn. Who'd'a thunk it? (In the 1970s, Drs. Janov and Holden wrote that the alpha rhythm response may be the electrical signature of the second line defense system, a high-energy effort to reduce the "noise" of suffering. Years later, I'm still surprised how much they got RIGHT at such an early period in brain science.)

    By the way, this is my first message to the blog, though I have been reading it for a while. Between Dr. Janov and my first employer (a neuroscientist who employed me to clean up his lab), my interest in psychology/neuroscience and my dedication to scientific perspective were established by the time I was 17. I want to thank you, Art, for setting me on a long and fulfilling intellectual journey. With a little luck, I will soon embark on the feeling part of that journey as well.


  29. Richard: I don't think we want that responsibility. We are not in any position to do that. remember what I said: don't think we are going on forever cause we're not. art

  30. Emma,
    It's probably many of us who sits in the same boat as Richard ... who depend on money for primal therapy at The Primal center.
    Let us keep in contact to see what we can do to get the economic cooperation ... seek funds to needy and perhaps not least to ourselves. To get the authorities in our respective countries to ensure the enormous needs of primal therapy would be beyond what any individual can achieve.
    Frank Larsson

  31. Arthur. why not? it seems easy that way. i mean as Richard says. an open account where everyone can send money in and only his therapist can use? by no means should he be able to have access in this account. only his therapist-pr center. but still Richard should be aware of the amount at any time. for example: he has 10 hours sessions in a week. there is enough money in that account? good. the therapist-the center(however you work there) gets the amount from there instead for cash. simple and easy... if you can't do that then how else can it be done? you could also add a weekly post on how much money Richards account is so far and so everybody can see. you could also put the names of those who donate may you-they wish. if you think that this might be a start for others too, to demand-wish the same help then i agree. it is a possible case. everyone would start asking for the same help. oh.. that would put them into feelings? i suppose. let them ask. they ask they get. or not. they don't ask they never get. for sure.

  32. Alright, if anyone wants to give me money, email me and I will email my bank account number. If no one wants to do that I will understand.
    Art, something is going on. You're not telling the whole story. The therapists are all going to retire soon? Something like that? If you're trying to get me motivated, well done it's working

  33. Art, are you saying the Center may shut down in the not too distant future? Is there no one else to carry on after you?


  34. Richard nothing is going on except time. I will be 86 this summer. I have been in practice for 59 years. When should I stop? art janov

  35. Well David thanks. How good are you at things like MRI? art. And by the way, you write very well, like so many of my blog friends.

  36. Erron: Yes there are those who carry on but one day without me. art janov

  37. This is an email comment:
    " Dialectics

    One hobby horse I have in my efforts to understand reality and the external world is dialectics. The point of dialectics is that every force, event or tendency gene- rates it’s opposite and results in a synthesis between that force, event or tendency and its opposite. Hegel the philosopher, sets out the triad of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis. Karl Marx used dialectics in his theory of society and his ideas had a reach unprecedented in history.

    When Marx had been dead for 100 years, it was said that 1/3 of the world´s population were following Marx ´s ideas and the other two thirds were quarreling about them. Marx proceeded from a specific view of history as a dialectical process. History moves like a zigzag pattern. Contends in his book the Primal scream Arthur Janov states that the essence of his primal theory is the dialectical process in which we get warm by feeling cold, mature by feeling our childish needs and become real by experiencing the death of an unreal system.

    This is the opposite of being neurotic and then pretending to be brave, for example when you are afraid and acting out the past in various ways in the present. The opposite way is to feel and be in contact with your real self and therefore react in a reasonable way as a real person. This means that we sometimes feel unhappy , but as real individuals we can deal with our problems in the present and solve them in a real way.

    I, Hans Kvinto, think that the dialectics is credible and that we can build constructive thesis using dialectics to guide our actions such as creating a more life-friendly and less life-hostile environment, increasing beneficial production and decreasing harmful production in society and increasing welfare and decreasing abject poverty in society. This sets out a satisfying direction for us so as to enable us to live a real and meaningful life as real sentient human beings.

    However, it is not enough to explain the world as philosophers. Marx was right when he said that philosophers have only explained the world, but our task is to change it. I would like to add change it to the better. To do so by being more loving and less hateful, more constructive and less destructive. We need to build up our lives to be something fine and meaningful and leave something constructive after us that coming generations can benefit from and elaborate on. It is important that we think beyond our own needs and desires and give without reservation in a spirit of solidarity. I do not want to be too authoritarian and didactic, but want to give something you way benefit from with the best of intentions. Hans Kvinto translated by Ian Mac Arthur "


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.