Monday, May 10, 2010

On the Science of Primal Therapy

I am reading the life of Albert Einstein now. In it is a phrase that he wrote to someone. “How glorious it is to discover an underlying unity in a set of phenomena that seem completely separate.”

It is an important idea because I think it is the case with Primal. We have managed to understand enuresis, migraine, high blood pressure, impulsiveness, obsessiveness, phobias and violence due to an underlying unity. Thus, instead of treating each new appearance of symptoms or behavior de novo, as something unique, we search for the underlying dynamics that give rise to all of those phenomena. It makes our job much simpler, and of course, more complex.

But think of its elegance: we don’t need a new diagnosis for dealing with phobias of various kinds because there is an imprinted terror lying about that explains it all. It eliminates the labyrinthian task of tracking down each new symptom or behavior trying to find the cause. Here we find a specific time and place where a past event is engraved into our system. We no longer have to rely on mystical variables to explain things such as id or shadow forces. That past is knowable, even for events during our womb-life. And moreover it is treatable; for a single underlying variable may account for the treatment of most of the separate behaviors or symptoms — the imprint.

We work within the guidelines of evolution to find causes and solutions. We know we cannot contravene the evolution of the brain if we want to understand how we become what we are. If we remain in the present in our therapy we automatically avoid what surely are the causes of so much deviation. We know that behavior is linked to our history, and we if avoid history we avoid cure. We no longer rely on the beliefs of the therapist, we relay on the inner truths of the patient; hewing to those truths keeps us from going wrong.

Where we part company from all other therapies and theories of mind, is thinking that presenting symptoms are the patient’s reality. Underlying pain unites so much of our lives, behavior and diseases. If we do not understand that pain we can never understand a patient’s plight. It can be a single pain (incest) that uncovers so much about us. It is the unifying principle for neurosis and psychosis, as a matter of fact. We can begin to understand the imprint as it simultaneously affects cancer, depression and high blood pressure. It ties so many disparate phenomena together.


  1. Dear Dr. Janov

    Can PT help by “Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome”

    The mother of the now 4 month old boy with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (diagnosed 4 days ago) experienced enormous stress during the first month of pregnancy. Her first child, a 6 year old girl, shows no Shwachman-Diamond symptoms, no inhibited SBDS gene.

    Your answer would be greatly appreciated.

  2. If what I know…
    Is nothing to know for the sake of my life…
    But to not know about my life…
    Then what do I know that I know?

  3. Art, quoting Einstein, “How glorious it is to discover an underlying unity .....," is perhaps the greatest clue signifying the NATURE of 'science.' We are forever (us science fanatics) pursuing 'unity' or "Unified Field Theory," hoping to find the ... holy grail, everlasting life, the answer to end all answers, et al? I wrote (to Stephen Hawking) that "Unified Field Theory" had been formulated ... finally, and guess what? it did not turn up in science or physics but in psychology. Alas, his 'doorman' did not allow me in. Primal Theory IS 'unified field theory' in so far as we have now discovered what's wrong with us (after probing for perhaps 20,000 years). Now all we need to do is propose it generally (population wise), get it accepted, then and apply it. The only application IMO is prevention--prevent the damage to the fetuses, babies and children of the next generation (perhaps for three or four generations) and (as I see it) then we can live a quality of life never realized since we became neurotic some tens of thousands of years ago. Erron in the last blog insists he's NOT bought into it (science). He THINKS he knows. Is that NOT the very foundation of our neurosis and isn't that why neurotics will forever deny our REAL knowing; that comes only from our very feeling-full being?

    Using science to validate (or invalidate) your theory is reasonable, but using it to augment the practice has the tendency to swallow it's very principle (patient is 'king' not science). Case in point:- Patrick in your last blog stated that he merely sat and listened to his girl friends child whilst it pursued 4 tantrums. Richard extrapolated that, to assume he'd done therapy on that child, and then concluded from that (erroneous IMO) extrapolation that, that is why practicing this therapy without your 'authorization/certification' is dangerous. What a strange play on words Richard. It seemed Art you were backing his extrapolation. I just hope that all you really meant was the practice of Primal Therapy. If most parents were able to just do as Patrick said he did, I contend we'd obliterate a huge percentage of the damage, specially early damage, to children.

  4. Arthur Schopenhauer said that progress in philosophy can be only out of academic walls.
    Perhaps, there is similarity, in destany, between philosophy and Primal therapy.
    "Mediocritety in feelings" cannot accept idea of pt, even many intelectuals.They are not enlightened in feeling way, right brain, right way.
    If average people is not enlightened in feeling brain, they will never accept primal therapy in tottally.
    Perhaps pt will never be popular as people dont belive in science but in god...

  5. Yes! To me, the essence of science is penetrating into the 'foundations' that give us the manifestations.

    It's a shame, but I think too many scientists are content to just collect surface-level data so as to identify surface-level relationships.
    Looking into the 'founding dynamics' is where the really big progress happens.

  6. Hi,
    Art, in talking about the science of primal therapy is it possible to mention how you go about compiling your data or doing your Primal research? I know research is expensive and time consuming but if someone were to challenge you and ask for proof that pain is an underlying factor to different presenting symptoms how would you respond? As a student of psychology we have been doing a lot of work on different research methods (quantative and qualatitive) and I wondered what evidence, aside from clinical observation, you would point to. Can underlying dynamics be proven at this time?

  7. Jack: You're always refreshing to read. art janov

  8. Sieglinde: Hi. It is illegal forme to make a diagnosis regarding medical conditions. I am not familiar with this disease. I wish I could help but there must be someone in our country who knows about this. Sorry When my book Life Before Birth comes out you will see what stress does to the baby. art janov

  9. Dear Art "it" all sounds to beautifully logical and scientific Yes look into the latin origin of this abusable... word that I am always stunned and flabbergasted that so m a n y of Your former colleagues not Your scientific "enemies" seem to really h a t e You (Mr.Knecht for example..) Why comes that?!!! And does a former patient(?)claiming to be such in 1982/3 publish in a well-known!! german newspaper weekly periodical ZEIT online under the "google heading" in search for Vivian Janov a voluminoud "article" "Zwillingstürme wurden mit den self-intelligence Waffen..." in which she (?) a trained chemist ! claims that Your former wife and You are "responsible" for 9/11 and many other terror attack on this m a d !!! world ... It would be perhaps worthwhile if someone could translate this mixture of science sic! and madness... Yours truly emanuel

  10. Art,
    Goteborg University has contacted me regarding our request for interest in doing a clinical trial of primal therapy here in Sweden. They are very much interested and want more information?
    Of course… we will do other arrangement then… if you can and wish.

    If you wish my e-mail is.

  11. Will: Look at Primal Healing. It is discussed there. But when several thousand people over 40 years come and find pain that should count too. Remember biological truths first and then statistical. You need statistics when biology is not enough. art janov

  12. Emanuel: There are those who never finished their therapy and stopped at the anger phase and never got over it. They are the barking dogs at the heels of progress. art janov

  13. Frank: They should contact me. I will be in Europe in June. art janov

  14. Just before reading this last blog, I just happenned to be reading about a disorder called "Asperger's Syndrome", which the child of a friend of mine has, and which a character has in a beautiful touching animation film called "Mary and Max".The main symptoms are:

    "Asperger syndrome or Asperger's syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, and people with it therefore show significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported."

    Now, it just may be that this is another organic brain affliction, or perhaps genetic; but nowhere in the Wikipedia article ,from which the above is an excerpt,is there mention that it could possibly be a neurotic affliction. Naturally , all research on the disorder is fragmented, and they propose the following treatments:

    - the training of social skills for more effective interpersonal interactions,
    - cognitive behavioral therapy to improve stress management relating to anxiety or explosive emotions, and to cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines,
    - medication, for coexisting conditions such as major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder,
    -occupational or physical therapy to assist with poor sensory integration and motor coordination,
    -social communication intervention, which is specialized speech therapy to help with the pragmatics of the give and take of normal conversation
    -the training and support of parents, particularly in behavioral techniques to use in the home.

    Now imagine if Janov is right about this affliction, as he seems to be for so many others. He writes (above):

    "We have managed to understand enuresis, migraine, high blood pressure, impulsiveness, obsessiveness, phobias and violence due to an underlying unity. Thus, instead of treating each new appearance of symptoms or behavior de novo, as something unique, we search for the underlying dynamics that give rise to all of those phenomena. It makes our job much simpler, and of course, more complex.

    But think of its elegance: we don’t need a new diagnosis for dealing with phobias of various kinds because there is an imprinted terror lying about that explains it all. It eliminates the labyrinthian task of tracking down each new symptom or behavior trying to find the cause. Here we find a specific time and place where a past event is engraved into our system."

    Think of all the dead-ends all these well-intentionned researchers may be following, with respect to Aspergers and so many other afflictions! All that effort, all that expense! This discussion , of course, brings up again the question of scientific methodology ,and recent exchanges here as to the nature of scientific inquiry. I have no doubts the fragmented nature of so much contemporary science has brought great benefits, especially in dealing with the physical non-living world. But when you are dealing with the living, a new type of science is needed , it seems , to explain the overall and holistic functioning of LIVING systems (not specific biochemical and physiological factors here and there) But, that being said, as for myself, I cannot articulate precisely what that new science is. But , be assurred : it is science; and it seems that the deep nature of the inquirer, her emotional health , is a key variable in ascertaining truth of the overall bio-psychological-behavioral system of a living organism, ie THE WHOLE PERSON (or animal).(See ,for discussion about these issues, , in addition to Janov , Reich's "Ether, God, and Devil", previously mentionned).



  15. Jack, I want to show you the part of Patrick's post that you seem to have missed. Patrick, I don't want to offend you but I think it is important to quote you so I can make a very important point.
    "the mother was trying to pacify her child by indulging her. I simply did not allow the child to act-out her pain and she promptly sat down on the floor and "threw her tantrum"

    Patrick had good intentions, but he tried to be a therapist after only a year of his own therapy. He didn't know if the girl was ready to primal....whether she should be losing her IMPORTANT defenses at an age when she is dependent on her "non-primal" mother....whether she was "cured" or perhaps only just beginning on her journey to serious first line pain. Now the girl might be in desperate need to continue that journey and she has no one to turn to.

    We are talking about a vulnerable little four year old child.

    WAKE UP.

  16. Hi Marco. what I say in the new book is that because medicine and psychology have not looked in the right places they cannot know ultimate causes. They need to redirect their efforts. art janov

  17. Marco: what you seem to be pointing out is the COMPLICATIONS we make out of so many things that could, if we just back-tracked a little, be made real simple. I quote Stephen Hawking here, from his book "A Brief History of Time" when referring to 'Physics Unification ' or 'Unified Field Theory':- "However, if we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientist. ......" This, I contend, was a great 'insight' on the part of Hawking. What I feel he was subliminally suggesting was that it was in the working of the MIND of mankind; not abstract reason and logic which; is merely PART of what takes place in the MIND anyway.

    I will indulge an analogy to demonstrate my point. If I were to drop a piece of beautiful stem-ware crystal on the concrete floor, chances are we'd finish up with a lot of broken pieces. If then we wanted to investigate the event, so called scientifically, we might start to talk about all the ramification of why each individual piece finished up the size and shape it did on finally settling. A useless task IMO, but redirecting our recollections on how we deal with a lot of our 'scientific' investigations we indulge in this complicated methodology. (The current investigation into the oil rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a case in point). We (neurotics) seek simple solutions using complicated analysis'.

    This is what I said in my book:- "The paradox; the more we understand the less we know we actually understand. The question 'WHY' never really gets answered. For example--if we pick up a stone and then drop it and then ask a child, Why did the stone fall? the child in all likelihood would replay 'cos you let go of it'. Later the same child is in high school doing elementary science and the teacher might ask the same question; the student now replies 'because the air underneath it is less dense than the stone'. When that student becomes a senior and the teachers asks again, the student now answers 'because of the acceleration due to gravity Later we might ask; 'why gravity?' Physicists are still battling that one out."

    Hey guys, let's back track. In the case of the oil-spill, lets just clean it up, know that accidents like this WILL happen and the only real solution is stop oil drilling, especially in the sea. Alas, we refuse (like most of neurotic act-outs) to go there. If anyone suggest that if we found the cause it will prevent it from happening again; isn't that what we always conclude? IMO the child had the best answer.

  18. Here's my slight variation of a famous quote by Einstein:

    "The discovery of nuclear energy has changed everything, except our modes of feeling; thus, we still drift towards unparalleled catastrophe." How true.


  19. I got this comment in an email:

    I will attempt to answer the question Art asked in response to Walden. No-one has a monopoly on feelings. No-one either has a monopoly on encouraging others, or themselves, to have a full-feeling experiences. However, some are better than others. Feelings are what (for the most part) we were born with. Neurosis, the blocking off of feelings, was a learned experience picked up later in life. Getting back to feeling-full-ness is very tricky cos from the perspective of 'defending', 'acting-out' 'neurosis', there is no awareness of what we are missing. There is a a sense 'in the back of our minds' that there is something amiss and religion, politics and philosophy has been mired in trying to figure this out for millennium. (without success IMO). Once one has had a full-feeling experience (primal) and integrated it there is not doubt in the mind of that person what it felt like when we were relatively feeling beings and the knowledge of that will remain embedded for the rest of our life. However, Primals (as Art designated them) are actually not new. I contend many over the millennium, many have had partial feeling experiences, but sadly, came rushing out of them with an immediate explanation. IMO some these of people are Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohamed, Copernicus, Galileo, Joseph Smith, Archimedes, Pythagoras, Newton, Einstein & Max Planck. Had these guys had a full feeling experience, their conclusions would have been very different. Who knows, Primal Therapy might have been devised centuries ago.

    If society was organized differently, I contend, that would facilitate matters towards becoming a more feeling species. IMO the abolition of money which would obviate the necessity of law and government. Competition, which would obviate sport and that competitive type entertainments and would promote co-operation and abolish the need for war. Permitting learning, as opposed to teaching would obviate Education which would permit each one of us to be precisely who, and what we are, instead of someone else idea of what we ought, or need, to be. Religious demise, which would obviate the necessity of someone else telling us how to live and think and what is righteous and what is wrongteous.

    If only we were able to listen to others especially children and yes babies, we would see that we each have different feelings about different things and there is no right or wrong way to do anything. If each of us could be encouraged to express our feelings with the caveat that we do not hurt other people or creatures and that we do not destroy property, I feel we would be well on the way to a more feeling-full (better quality) life.


  20. Richard: Not sure if this is the right place or time and I don't want to get into a 'war or words with you,' but, I feel, you are misrepresenting Patrick. Patrick's first language is Afrikaans and the particular sentence you picked-up on, I contend, is not literally what he meant. However, Richard, you then went on and on about the intricacies of what is required to do therapy, much of which, in principle, I agree with, BUT, as I read Patrick, he did nothing but permit the child to have its tantrum/s. I would hope that Patrick be the one to clarify all this. Your final remark "WAKE UP." says more about what is going on with you over this matter; yeah Richard--though I grant, you are the final expert on you.

    One further point on this matter, of what and how to deal with a child having feelings is to refer back to something Art once said (can't remember exactly where) that in childhood and even babyhood the body is for ever attempting to heal itself. It is only after neurosis has deeply set in (roughly at age seven or thereabouts) that we have any capacity to stifle expression (act-out and/or defend) that 'theraputizing' anyone after that becomes inordinately complicated. Prior to that we are relatively open to expressing feeling when they arise ... naturally and instinctively. My suggestion is we just observe children (and babies) cos I contend they express their feelings naturally and beautifully That is what makes them so adorable, before we adults have 'squashed the very life outta them ... us.'

  21. This is a story written by my niece. As you can see, she is an incredible writer. She is 11 years old. This story is in the running to win an award at her school.

    Emily of the Wood

    “It’s your turn to do the dishes”
    “No it’s your turn!”
    “Emily, do the dishes”
    I stormed out of the house feeling angry and upset.
    I am Emily. I live next to a small forest and love to play in there on sunny days, but I never lose sight of our little brown cottage. I’d just had a fight with my brother about the stupid dishes. I hate jobs. (By the way, it was his turn).
    This time as I stormed into the forest, I didn’t stop. The anger was driving me. When finally I ran out of breath, I stopped by a shallow pond to have a drink.
    “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
    I looked up and to my astonishment there was no-one around.
    I started to cup some water in my hands and I heard whispering. “I must be hearing things.” But the voices got louder and louder as I lifted my hands to my mouth.
    Just then I noticed there was something strange about the place. The water was strangely clear and blue and had an eerie look about it. The rocks and stones were sparkling silver and gold at the bottom of the pond. The few lily pads there were, seemed like they weren’t there at all. I could see right through them. The rest of the forest was dense with trees, but there was plenty of open space around the pond.
    I let the water run out of my hands and backed away slightly from the pond.
    It felt like something was watching my every move – something in the pond.
    I turned to run home, but which way was it? I was lost, but being lost somewhere else was definitely better than being lost here. I picked one direction and sprinted, dodging the thick tree trunks.
    I ran and ran and longed for drink.
    Soon a pond came into sight, so I went to the water’s edge. I stopped in my tracks. This pond had an eerie glow, shimmering stones and ghost-like lily pads. It was the same one.
    After a series of running, checking the pond and running on, I realised that I couldn’t get rid of it.
    Since I had just run more than I had in two months, I was exhausted beyond limits. I was getting thirstier and thirstier as time went by.
    Eventually, I stumbled over to the pond (if you could call it one) and held the water in my hands, ignoring the quiet whispers.
    The whispering got louder and louder. I’d heard it all before. It got to the point where the voice was screaming in my ear. I didn’t care.
    Plain and simply, I, Emily, am going to drink this if it kills me.
    I couldn’t hear myself think as I swallowed the water. It tasted better than anything in the world. I longed for more.
    After a few mouthfuls my arms started to shorten and turn into fins. I kept on drinking. I couldn’t stop. My legs came together to form a tail. I was growing scales all over my body. I slipped into the pond. I had gills. I could breathe under water. I finally stopped drinking.
    I was a sleek, purple fish swimming in amongst the ghost-like lilies, gold and silver stones, and in the eerie water.
    The same whispering voice now laughed and the water was rippling along with the unnerving sound.
    “Told you so, told you so, ha, ha, ha!”
    The voice stopped laughing suddenly, as if someone had flicked the “off” button.
    I heard footsteps coming closer, accompanied by a voice.
    “ Emily, Emily, where are you?”
    It was my brother.
    I tried to shout out “Over here!”, but no sound came out from my mouth, only bubbles.
    The footsteps continued to come my way as if he’d heard me. They stopped at the water’s edge.
    “Choice fish! I’ve found dinner and struck gold! Those pebbles will be worth heaps! Mum will be so proud…..”
    The voice faded away as I slowly lost consciousness, gasping for breath in my brother’s grip.
    I, Emily, drank this water and believe it or not….it did kill me.

  22. Hi Jack,

    I am afraid I did not quite follow what you addressed to me in your second to last post. With all due respect, perhaps you are the one complicating things a bit; and the comments in your last post seem quite utopian. You beleive the old anarchist dream of no government and law, and no excessive competition; I agree with the vision , but it is a long way off.

    In the meantime, there is a lot of work to do figuring out what the hell has gone wrong with our species so as to then move scientifically, pragmatically and humanely towards that utopia. And solutions to the age-old mind/feeling, head/heart conundrums are, I beleive, keys to human improvement. And, in this last regard, I also beleive that Dr Janov and Reich (and some others) have made tremendous contributions. Tremendous ones.In fact, their psycho-biological discoveries seem to me to be even more important than Einstein's discoveries with respect to human happiness. If we did not know that E=MC2, well, so what?

    One last thing: about the oil spil, the average person doesn't give a damm, the elites even less. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal today, in which that paper gleefully reported recent surveys that revealed that most people don't think oil drilling should be slowed down or stopped, just because of this spill or any future ones. And I bet most people would also be very comfortable with the unleashing of the US (and other ) militaries against anyone interrupting important oil flows anywhere in the world.

    Well , screw all this bad news for today, I'm going to continue reading a couple of very funny books by a guy named Ben Stein, and have some good belly laughs. And I will leave you all with this quote (even though it mentions "God" ):

    "There are three things that are real in life: God, human folly, and laughter. Since the first two are mostly beyond our co mprehension, let us see what we can do with the third..." John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, 1961-1963 .


  23. Art
    I heard that you are coming to Europe in June. We are in need of your help… it is not easy to find other means in knowing what you need... we have no money to travel to the United States… so… the question is… if you have any opportunities to help us at any time when you are in Europe? Perhaps at the clinical trial... if it comes into a being? I was at the institute on Almont drive 1977-78.I know this is a lot to ask but what do you do?

  24. The psychological connection happens first when then thinking is developing… it’s behind in time and room… time and room of what we experienced physiologically. This difference is the cause and determines how we feel and “understand” the human issues around the psychological equations.
    What we feel ... see and hear is physiologically. How do we interpret what we feel… see and hear is psychological. It doesn’t need to be a tracing of the physiological reaction... because the two systems are not developed during the same time… that cause… to much pain cannot possible be linked psychological ... also depending on… it in time and room was not possible.
    What is it… that is so difficult to “understand”… that we later psychologically interpret and do not feel the content… depending on the physiologically intensity? This is the psychology major problem.
    Just this lesson leads us to trace right and move forward with our own problems ... because the issues face the obstacles we are trying to avoid… an intellectual learning to ease confusing thoughts… at least bring them on track.
    The understanding…meaning of the words can rely screw your mind sometime… if not always… as protecting the frightening truth. I wish my English would be more of my feeling.


  25. Marco: Who is, or who isn't, the more complicated becomes a matter of 'value judgment'. It's not really arguable. I would rather take up your suggestion that I am being 'Utopian' (definitions here are not helpful cos the definition only talks about 'perfect societal order' not a state of being, living within it). Yes I am promoting the abolition of money, hence law and subsequently government (designated 'anarchy'). An 'emotive' word if ever there was; considering that we already live with many anarchic (chaotic) situation, like, the weather and nature etc.

    A feeling-full world would encompass the whole range of human feelings:- including anger, sadness, fear and and happiness. That is not what I would feel most of us, would consider "Utopian". It would, I contend, make living life way more simple ... and obviate the many complexities we neurotics indulge just to exist. My word, I grant:- "simplicity."

    If you were to 'think' of it for a moment, isn't that the way all the other creatures live? Don't see them with money and democracies to create laws and governments to house (in comfort) the law-makers!!!!

    "Far off" depends upon your vision. Had the economy gone into total collapse, (inevitable anyway IMO) we'd already have been in it.

  26. Jack, you said:
    "Richard, you then went on and on about the intricacies of what is required to do therapy, much of which, in principle, I agree with..."

    Firstly, I don't know the intricacies of what is required to do fact, I don't even know the basic principles. You are talking about technique....something which takes many years to learn.
    But more importantly - your assumption is very much like the assumptions made by Walden and Patrick and hundreds of therapists all around the world. You're assuming that everything will be ok as long as we stick to the raw principles.
    I contend that the raw principles must be elaborated in detail (not in this blog). Why? Because defenses are complex. This is where the simplistic therapists are going wrong.

    I think I've said enough. I won't bug you any more on this subject, Jack.

  27. Marco,

    That must have been penned in one of those rare moments in which JFK was not thinking about sex.


  28. Art Janov,

    I know this is a off topic, and I have touched on the point before, but I would like to ask the question:

    I remember some years ago when I was working in a factory job - I was playing some music that I normally liked. As I instinctively predicted (and curiously observed) I did not enjoy the music at all in that environment. The music was fundamentally inconsistant with the *social tension* that was pervasive (and effectively controlling) in that particular environment.

    The tension state that I functionally (though temporarily) inherited from that workplace did not allow me to respond to the music. That is how everyone else responded too - no-one wanted to hear it. It was boring to all of us.

    Do you have any thoughts on this? Do you think there could be a natural resistance to being (functionally) feeling in an unfeeling social context i.e. is tension and the suppression (not repression) of feeling "socially contageous"?

    If so, then I can see how it could be harder for people to move through the primal process in a world of (supposedly?) anti-feeling tension that we are maybe *all* designed to respond to, neurotic or not.

    And maybe the "collective tension" of a neurotic world is the or a key 'signal' that stops us from moving into the primal process naturally? We are an intensely social animal at the end of the day. So I'm speculating, but I don't think it's unreasonable.

  29. Frank: I already answered this. I need to know what kind of help you need. art janov

  30. Andrew you got me. I never thought about it. I write songs with a composer and the note of tension never enters into it. art janov

  31. Richard: therapists of a just a few years ago might not recognize the primal therapy of today. We have come along way and we are far more precise today. art janov

  32. Art,
    We need to feel as safe as possible ... we need your knowledge about it... Failure about primal therapy is not to wish. I understand very well the importance of a my upcoming performance here in Sweden.
    We are making some good progress… obviously there is a balance we make with knowledge about your science and what it would mean to get help from you. You know what I said about the economy… it seems hopeless. As Aida said “for god sake tell him to come with some therapists for some time and help us… we will do a lot to have the Primal therapy introduced in Sweden.

  33. Richard: I don't mind you attempting to "bug me", cos for the most part you're not. You're actually an inspiration to me.

    The matter of simplicity:- You totally misunderstand me, but then maybe I'm not good at explaining myself. However, I'll give it at least one more try. It's the problem that is simple, if only we can really define the problem. It's the solution that is complicated. We neurotics (and I don't exclude myself) take complex problems and attempt to find simple solutions. Duh ... dumb!

    What was so ingenious about Art and his discovery and theory was he found the SIMPLE problem ... and then knew the solution was enormously complex. Therein was/is his genius.

  34. For anyone who might be interested:
    I have read many newsgroup posts by James Michael Howard - - over the years, and found them interesting and to be to some extent true (but of course I don't know *exactly to what* extent).

    His thinking is (quite simply), that DHEA is a very longstanding and important functional/biochemical factor of our lives and our phylogeny.

    Also that it is functionally counterbalanced by cortisol.

    [That is, DHEA vs cortisol = our capacity to grow and heal v.s. our capacity to cope by delaying growht and healing while we register/sense being under (in a) SHI type threat (or a ditto 'type' of predicament or ordeal).]

    His thinking clearly has logical/science-factual ties with Art Janov's (to a large and very significant extent true) assertions about "imprints of Pain" and symptoms thereof.

  35. "The discovery of nuclear energy has changed everything, except our modes of feeling; thus, we still drift towards unparalleled catastrophe." How true.

    Marco, check out this chart:

  36. Kaz: Feelings are impervious to change because they spell survival. 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.