Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On What Tranquilizers Do

I often talk about our internal pharmacy. When pain enters the arena our brains go to that pharmacy and order what it needs; say, more serotonin for the synapses to help with repression. What the commercial pharmacies do is produce the precise molecules that we manufacture inside our brains; and they do it because we cannot manufacture enough ourselves. I am convinced that most of us manufacture what we need in the ordinary course of life. But we know that just as the brain is developing in the womb there are traumas that beset us that cause lower serotonin set-points; that is, we cannot secrete what we need because pain (noxious elements such as a mother very anxious or who smokes), has caused the brain to use up its reserves in the battle to stave off being overwhelmed. And this sets up a permanent deficit. And then what happens is that the offspring/now adult, is also chronically anxious because her gating mechanisms are faulty; and so the cycle goes on.

There is a debate going on now about the advisability of using tranquilizers in the womb to normalize the mother’s system. There are minuses in both directions. If there is no medication given to the mother than she is anxious or depressed, and will pass it on to the baby. If we do give tranquilizers while the fetus is still in his womb-life, then that can be transmitted into the baby, as well. We are overloading the fetus’ serotonin levels with medication. There is no great solution except one: normalize the system before getting pregnant. That can be done, and we have shown in any number of studies that we tend to normalize the brain system after one year of primal therapy. This is preferable to messing with our inner manufacturing plant.

Frederich van der Veen presented his findings on serotonin to the Forum of European Neuroscience (July 2010). They gave one dose of a serotonin enhancer to subjects. They then watched sad films. Those on medication cried much less. It effectively brought down the levels of pain and opened some access to tears and the sad feelings. We are not normally low in serotonin except for trauma; and those traumas that occur the earliest in our lives are the most powerful, dealing as they do with life-and-death matters. Crying less doesn’t just mean less flowing tears; it also means less access to ourselves and our feelings. The purpose of serotonin enhancers is to numb out some of our feelings and reactions to them.

Taking shots or pills does not eliminate the pain or the churning of the system; it hides it all, making us more unconscious. But that unconsciousness can kill; what you don’t know can hurt you. Taking medication needs to be seen as a stop-gap method and not a cure.


  1. Hi Art. Last night I watched a video: Insights in Primal Therapy. France constantly returned to many examples to help illustrate her points. I found it very easy to listen and understand...much easier than reading a book. Obviously it's not possible to convert that video into text. Books must be written in a style which compensates for a lack of subtle expression.

    I recommend that you try to give your documentary a similar style to the videos at If the narration is over-scripted, it will read like a book.

  2. Hi Art ,"those on serotonin cried less than the others2( or the like..)
    My experience with my feeling ,compassion and other "empathetic" sentiments is such.
    when I`m down after a sleepless for example I can`t f e e l very much compassion but when I am well and feeling that zest for life (my "dream-life") and hear ,read or see something really cruel, mean and devastating events occuring to other people t h e n I can feel the horror of it all !-and the conditio humana in general-by the way!
    Since I am not a "primal man" I I think my serotonin level is then h i g h ...
    Thatnotwithstanding I am still waiting for my next crying ...(6 years ago)
    Yours emanuel

  3. Off-Topica:

    I just got this notice (below) from the main Reichian organisation, which refers to traumas during womb-life. This is the first time I`ve ever heard Reichians talking of those traumas. There is also an upcoming Time Magazine article about the topic (see below also). I thought this might interest Dr Janov and others here. I would also like to suggest that Dr Janov meet with some Reichians and Bioenergetics people for a ``summit `` meeting to try to hash out their differences, before he shuffles off this mortal coil.It seems to me that you all have a lot more in common than you might suppose. But, hey, maybe I don't know what I am talking about either!


    Fri, October 1, 2010 8:25:11 AM Modern Research Reconfirms Wilhelm Reich's Discoveries - Time Magazine Cover Story
    From: American College of Orgonomy Add to Contacts


    The American College of Orgonomy

    Time magazine's October 4th cover story, "How the First Nine Months Shape the Rest of Your Life," reiterates what Wilhelm Reich discovered in the 1940s and 50s; that life in the womb is a critical factor in shaping the person you become as an adult. The article reports an "explosion" in recent years of literature in the field known as "fetal origins." In his ground-breaking 1948 book, Cancer Biopathy, Reich discussed the effect of the bioenergetic state of the mother and her connection with the fetus in the womb, and subsequent tendencies for emotional and physical illness.

    Board-certified Greek psychiatrist, Dr. Theodota Chasapi, will address this timely topic during her presentation, "The Roots of Love & Hate," as part of the ACO's ongoing series of Social Orgonomy talks this Saturday, October 2nd at the Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon St., Princeton, NJ from 3:00PM to 5:00PM. Admission is FREE thanks to underwriting support from Jack and Jean Sargent. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Refreshments will be served. Call (732) 821-1144 or make your reservation online by visiting

    Time magazine article,8599,2020815,00.html

    This presentation has been approved by the American College of Nurse-Midwives for 0.2 continuing education credits and by DONA International for 1.75 continuing education units. (The ACNM does not endorse this program.)

    This announcement was created by The American College of Orgonomy (ACO), located near Princeton, New Jersey. The ACO is a nonprofit education and scientific organization devoted to setting and maintaining standards for work in the field of orgonomy. The ACO provides information, training, and research support for those interested and involved in orgonomy. This press release is meant to inform those who may have an interest in the science of orgonomy and the activities of the ACO. The ACO is not affiliated with any website, newsgroup, bulletin board, network, service, or other media that may be reproducing this release. The ACO does not endorse any information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages, or other materials transmitted, posted, published, distributed, or otherwise disseminated on any media other than the ACO's website at Please contact for information on the ACO as well as to verify the original text of this announcement.

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  4. Art,

    To "understand" something that is tied to life-vital effects ... physiologically bound in its experience… impossible to explain in words. Words of intellectual performance ... put themselves at risk if the effects of physiologic cause leaking through at the explanation?
    This happens without reason as above explained... when we look at epileptic reactions and in all virtually phenomena we have as a method to keep the pain at site. What I mean is… it by intellectually performance can be enforced?

    In't this a problem Art?



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.