Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More on Attention Deficit Disorder

I would let this go, except that last night there was a one hour special on PBS about ADD, with four major specialists in the subject. The diagnoses they came up with is what I think is the problem with the whole field of psychotherapy, psychology and psychiatry.

Not once in the hour did I hear what the origins of ADD might be and why it occurs. Most of the time, it was spelling out how to cope with it. So we also might add how to deal with phobias, obsessions, migraines, high blood pressure and on and on. It is tantamount to saying that the illnesses stay but how we deal with them changes. It is all about our attitude. So you still have the allergies and you avoid this and that to cope with your allergy. Or you have a chaotic mind, try to avoid clutter.

The first point they made is that diagnosis is essential. And they list ten things that make you an ADDer. You need to be impulsive, not able to focus and concentrate, unable to pay attention, hyperactive, unable to sit still (I am adding here), low self esteem, learning disorders, can’t listen, needs to talk constantly, cannot wait, no long-term goals, lose temper easily, act without thinking, very impatient, a bad memory, an underachiever, etc. I added here some from a list of the Brown Scale for ADD. It pretty well covers it. But you have to be suffering from this for six months or more, they claim.

What the experts concluded was that a diagnosis was critical. Once you are aware, they claim, you are half-way there, because you know what to do; which includes: making future plans, making your environment work for you, find a calm partner and a job that suits you, making an effort not to lose patience, and above all, they claim that the therapy for this is success. Once you have a success you can build on it. And you will have a higher self-esteem and won’t be an underachiever.

So let me see: you tell the doctor that you are impulsive, impatient, cannot wait, cannot concentrate nor sit still, and she says to you that you have ADD. Ok there is the diagnosis, now what? She has told you what you just told her in more simple terms. Have we made progress? Is that what a diagnosis is? Saying things in esoteric language? The doctors have then many suggestions: don’t do too many chores at once, stay in a calm environment, jog to work off tension but do not over-talk. Don’t work amid chaos. I say to the doctor that I cannot stand crowded restaurants and he tells me to avoid them. And he adds “do not take so many risks in your life”, yet he adds it is the risk takers who invent and innovate and tend to be more creative. Now I am confused.

Not once did I hear in one hour the word, why? Where does it come from and what I can I do about it. What is the generating source of all that? So now you will read my opinion about it. It is an educated opinion since I have treated many cases. What happens is that cognitive/behavioral approaches have taken hold so that the psychiatric diagnostic manual indicates all these behaviors, and it is assumed that to treat it all, we need to change behaviors, hence, behavioral therapy.

Let’s go back to womb-life; there is a good deal of evidence that a mother’s hyperactivity, the drugs she takes, such as cocaine can leave an imprint or a residue that affects the offspring for a lifetime. If the mother is “hyper” the child may also be. Just that can set up a child who is revved up from the start. An Israeli study found that the children of holocaust survivors, very anxious people gave birth to anxious children. At first they thought it was because the parents told horrible stories to the children but then they discovered that the anxiety came down through the genetic chain; that is, it was descended from the mother’s physiology—epigenetics. (Laura Spinney, 2,Dec. 2010. Internet) Then there is the trauma of birth and infancy where the child may be left for days without warm cuddling. And then harsh parents who fill the child with feelings of rejection and abandonment. All this sets up imprints down low in the neuraxis. This is then transmitted to higher centers (as they develop and evolve) where the child is filled with input from inside that frazzles his brain; that feeds constant and varied input to the neo-cortex, no different from listening to ten people at once all talking at you. Except...,except that this information is constant from inside not outside. It competes with stimuli from outside but it all gets to be too much. It is paying attention to too much input which is normal, not an aberration. The disease, if it exists at all, is stimulating information that floods the cortex with electrical input just the same as being flooded with shock therapy.

Of course, he is hyperactive, he is being prodded all of the time from below so that any new input is overwhelming and he starts to crumble. He cannot manage complex instructions; you go to the right two blocks and then one block to the left and then go straight to the roundabout and then………we have already lost him because the internal input is crowding out the information. And of course, he cannot sit still because there is information that needs connection and resolution, the integration. That cannot happen so long as he has no access to his early imprinted memories. The information is constantly climbing upwards and forwards for that connection so that the system can function better.

And then he cannot get down to things, quickly start a paper, a project or an article because there is so much going on in his brain for him to focus on just one thing. So others get impatient because he did not turn in his paper on time. He was so busy, doing this or that, as his moods dictate because he is being twisted and turned here and there internally with little cerebral control.

So why so little control? Because trauma in late pregnancy can damage or prevent the evolution of prefrontal cortical cells, as well as the cells that carry information from down below via the right to left brains, the corpus callosum. So there is damage or impairment of sorts. They do not have the cerebral equipment to control impulses thereafter. And we know that the prefrontal area works often times to control right subcortical feelings in order to shut them down for a time. When control is weak it is harder to put off an impulse, to wait for later to do something, to reflect and ponder rather than act. But those impulses are the imprints originating deep down in the brainstem centers. The impulses, the same as with the salamander or snake or shark, are there for an evolutionary reason: to strike, attack or flee at the instant when it is necessary--survival. They come out of those primitive brains and are essential, as well, for our survival—needing to swerve to avoid a car accident, for example. Here we do not want to be too reflective. Immediate reaction is called for.

Now think of the snake; he too must act immediately for his survival. It is not an aberration unless the snake brain overtakes the rest of our cerebrum and runs the show. In a way, in ADD he is running the show. What are we fleeing from? Danger. Menace. Feelings that are overwhelming. Pain that is much too much. Suffering that threatens our mental stability. It has to be contained. Think of this when we are dealing with ADD, and believe that a different turn of behavior can solve things. Think of this when we offer advice to “Make your world comfortable to you. Make your world work for you.“ Think of what and whom we are talking to because the salamander brain is doing its best to deal with matters and it isn’t getting much help from the impaired neo-cortex. Remember, then, it is an ancient survival mechanism there for a reason and very necessary in our evolution.

What is behind a lot of this, is anxiety; that is the major prod. It is pure terror engraved down below from traumas in the womb that have been reacted to just in terms of the non-verbal brain system. Or imprints from a bad birth that was life-threatening.

The ADDer is an underachiever because he could never stay with anything long enough to learn it properly. So he becomes a salesman; someone with a gift of gab who runs off at the mouth, running off part of the tension and energy of anxiety. When he recognizes this maybe he suffers from low self esteem, as the project stated. He must know that he cannot succeed because success requires sustained effort; his scattered mind cannot do that. But he may find a job that suits him and that will allow distractability. But do not ask him to be calm and to follow directions because his brain is revolting. To infuse too much input into his brain, even a simple idea, is overwhelming and that is how he feels—overwhelmed. The cortical level is being overwhelmed so he should feel that way. It is all too much. Literally.

I cannot help but feel that current therapy for ADD and most other psychologic afflictions is just “get over it”. One psychiatrist tells his patient that you must first identify the problem and then develop good habits to overcome it.”Do not live in a cluttered environment.” But he needs chaos because it reflects his brain. And as one specialist in ADD said at the end, “I am not interested in making you normal. I just want you to be successful.” The reason he is not interested is that the depth of the problem and its origins seem so mysterious, arcane and recondite that the condition, like Freud’s Id, becomes a given, not to be tampered with; an immutable force, part of genetics—our inherited weakness. All because the field and the populace is not used to considering womb-life and birth experiences as critical in our development. The science is now there; we have only to use it.

In my previous books I have discussed the notion of the parasympath and sympath. These are two different personality types governed by the hypothalamus. The parasympath is the slow, reflective type and the sympath is the hyperactive unflective type who keeps driving and going and doing. This largely is set up during womb-life and at birth; was the end of the birth difficult? Was the newborn shut down by anesthetics given to the mother, or was the end a success because the child struggled and got out successfully? He learned that he could not wait because waiting could have meant death. He wants out! It sets up an inability to wait, impulsivity and a driven brain. The parasympath is much more passive, less driving and less spontaneous. Keep in mind that those experiences happen to a brain that could register, code and store. The memory endures. And it creates a hyperactive system that is largely beyond our control. It goes to where we are weakest and most vulnerable. Trying to go to sleep is a big effort because impulses from down below are activating the mind into constant rumination and won’t let us relax enough to fall asleep. That is, it won’t allow us to go below the top thinking level and into where sleep might happen.

One of my senior therapists who has stayed with doing therapy for years was a classic ADDer. He never went to college because he was sure he could not concentrate enough to do classes. He can now and is on his way to a Ph.D.

I have treated enough of those who have ADD to know what a successful therapy entails and it is not advice, even though that might help a little. It is a deep voyage to the antipodes of the mind to where it all began.


  1. Hi,

    I had this dawning insight gradually over the last week or so that our social, educational and cultural life does not acknowledge the tri fold nature of our brains. Worse, The limbic and neo-cortex manufactures symbolic realities based on the limbic and neo-cortical relationship which itself is in denial of the lizards' existence. and this makes for a lop-sided self fulfilling prophesy driven by the totally "unconscious" anxiety and terror of un-acknowledged first line stuff. It's like an anti evolutionary engine. An Involutionary engine.

    What this ADD nonsense shows is just that; and how blind mainstream science has to be to what Art is presenting as the plain facts. . .

    It is inside this big lie that bigger liars are made of us all.
    People suffering from chronic acute symtoms are obviously being driven by first line stuff, surely one doesn't need to know much theory to see the corollary, how can science ignore the idea which is so obvious, let alone the evidence?
    As long as any of us do not look at the way we exclude our Lizard brain from the way we make meaning of our lives then as Art says the snake will come back to bite. We won't get any closer to Primal therapy either.

    After all, It's taboo, culturally and socially difficult to address, trauma is born out of our most vulnerable time, who wants to remember? then so easily dismissed until too late, or until disillusioned enough to take Arts' therapy seriously. . .
    It's good to maintain and contribute this blog because it allows us the opportunity to deconstruct our culturally acceptable masks. How do you feel now? How do I feel now? Am I being driven by those terrors?
    That anxiety seems like a fuel for our modern culture and fashion and most of it is trivial distraction or mindless violence, look at hollywood. People explain it off as "Mans' Natural Agression" but actually does the Lizard have to feel terrified and drive the chimp into a stranglehold of false belief systems?


  2. I listened to a couple of these same type programs in the PBS Charlie Rose show (12 in all) and it was frustrating and stupefying to see all these, so called, expert, pontificate and the various studies and then statistically suggest something or other, that had no real meaning to anyone that was looking for an answer to the WHY or WHAT could be done for these afflictions. I wrote a comment on Charly's blog that for all those 12 programs it told us nothing. He promised to get back to me, but never did.

    Cognitive and behavioral studies on 'matters of the brain' make it sound like they've done their homework, when in fact, as I see it, they've come up with nothing. Each of these programs wallow in the potential to finally be able to get to the bottom of some of these maladies and then ... THEN assume from there they can find a 'cure' The medical profession plays in the very same arena and assumes that if a diagnosis is formulated then we are on the way to solving the problem: BS

    All great advances in mankind's thinking and innovation arise when the thinker gets 'outside the conventional thinking box'. My examples are Galileo, Einstein, Planck and another fellow who made great stride, even getting some popularity and then the professionals trashed it. That guy IMO made the greatest discovery mankind has ever made or, for that matter, will ever make. If that one discovery were ever to be seriously looked into I feel we would have some REAL solutions, but alas, I feel I am "whistling in the wind."

    Who comes onto your blog Art, other than those already 'in the choir'. Words, language, argument go no-where in convincing anyone. It was all set up in those pre-birth days, trying to make sense with our reptilian brains. I don't know what or how 15th century thinkers began to see the Copernicus/Galileo concept, but we sure need another re-awakening. You made your bid Art: now I think it needs someone else to write something that might capture that same magic that I got on reading "The Primal Scream."

  3. The neurotic shrink will always make an effort to be normal. From the moment he is conceived, he lives with a lethal 'force of gravity' which forces him to make that effort. The gravity and the effort required to overcome it -- it all seems so normal to him. Naturally he will tell his patients to "make an effort....that's what a normal person does."
    The neurotic shrink never contemplates the origin of that lethal gravity. He believes it is normal for all people to experience the force of gravity, and he believes that some people cope better than others. He believes the gravity comes from "Life's challenges"...and his patients are "People who need to make a special effort."
    Well shrink....I've got news for you: life is not supposed to be a struggle.

  4. Art,

    I want to dedicate you this comment who has the mind revealing his own secret. Written by one of your patients
    "A madman has not lost his mind ... he has lost everything except his reason". What a fantastic experience shaped in words... words reporting the mystery of life with just a few words. An intellectual has not lost his mind... he has lost everything except his reason.


  5. Absolutely Brilliant.

    I did the journey, so I understand totally.

  6. Jack: Alas, there can be only one primal Scream. I came to it totally naive and that is why it worked. I know too much now but the next book is by far my best. art janov

  7. The Primal Center needs more money and more students.

    Anyone got any ideas?

  8. Hi Art ,please allow me a late remark to Your answer to the question "what`s the greatest need in human life"...Your prosaic reply was surely
    correct.... but Your daughter`s poem "Lover" says
    it more beautifully-The lines "Take me into the shelter of Your love " and the final "how can I keep myself from loving You" express the two aspects of love so profoundly!!
    This poem helps me "to get through" more than I can express! Yours emanuel

  9. Psycopaths and ADD

    I have a deep feeling of unhappiness regarding your Reflections in the above topics. That does not mean that I don’t respect your opinions and your worries. Both fields represent symptoms of a society with problems to adjust to circumstances, which are growing out of its once established and accepted (at least for a while) norms in a fashion we have not yet been able to cope with.

    So why do I feel unhappy?
    When you (like many of the debaters) project all kinds of negativity into your emotional responses to “Psychopaths and ADD” and tell that everybody else is wrong, and that you know the correct way (which I want to avoid continuing to disprove), I feel dissatiesfied because you have a tool, a therapy, to heal and dissolve mental pain and to save lives. You have over time developed an intuition and timing to handle the Primal Principles, which has its tremendous ally in the evolution.

    I think all your thinking , and Reflections should go into how we can hand your Primal Theory (including your intuition and timing) over to the next generations. You have already done a Herculian work in this sense but now and then you are taking the role of someone who has outgrown his own really genial invention and start debating problems in society into which you have only vague insights.

    Suddenly, you are diluting your genius and seemingly, does as the crowd, and you move your image where it does not have any sense. It may be fun for a while, but when you are gone, we need your very best recipes: How to give Primal Therapy to those of us who need it, so we can be feeling, loving and sane individuals that can take responsibility for our lives and for our children’s lives in order to avoid psychopaths and ADD.

    Love Jan

  10. Arthur, you are quite right in expecting them to answer WHY? Isn’t it odd how these “doctors” and scientists seem to resist finding out why. Why, its almost as if they did not want to know what was causing the problems. Imagine that! Are they hiding, running, ducking? It looks that way to me. Odd that most of their patients seem to be running, hiding, and ducking and the “docs” act just like their patients. Maybe it’s the doctors who need treated, no? ;-)

    But it would seem to me that people need to start making these doctors accountable for their theories and practice. Tough questions need to be put to them, not by colleagues, who they can bully by taking their license but by us “patients” and ordinary critics.

    As for talk or idea therapy, I have this observation. When I was big into tennis, and being naturally inclined to ward skepticism and doubt about what I was taught, I and my buddied would listen to these tennis instructors talking to a group of students. Ever the critic, I pointed out to my buddy that what he was selling was total BS. I declared that tennis can not be taught be words, it must be experienced by repetition of actual strokes or situations involving strokes. There are some considerations in strategy or rules but these must be programmed by repetition, not words.

    Further, I disagree with the whole concept of group teaching for tennis. If you want to improve, you must be constantly hitting balls and getting the “feel” for it. The brain can almost figure it all out be itself if you have enough balls fed to you. But for that matter, get a ball machine and forget the “Pro.” To take one shot and then go to a line and wait for 10 more people to have one shot, that is a rip off.

    Sports is very much instinctive, no? and so is psychology. Yes, it is feeling. It does not hurt to bring the “head” along but in the end, change means release which means feeling. You can think before or after, but when it comes to feeling, the head needs to get out of the way. It can come back after and will.

    My basic gripe with science is that “lay” people are not involved in science and do not care about it, as if it was of no use or value to them. Politicians ignore the people if the people ignore them. It is Only when people get upset and start getting involved that politicians begin to scramble a little.

    Same with science. The phonies need to be confronted by the little people and continually harassed so that they begin, maybe, to feel some shame and bewilderment and maybe even seek some relief by addressing issues raised. Don’t let the phonies and hypocrites get away with it. Get in their faces. Its up to the little people to demand some respect by acting respectable and not being a doormat to be walked on. I have a right to know. You have a right to know. Knowledge is everything. When you are not getting answers, complain.

    Arthur says: “I cannot help but feel that current therapy for ADD and most other psychologic afflictions is just “get over it”.”

    Exactly! Everything is reduced to ridiculous simplicity. Nancy Reagan put it this way: “Just so no!” Oh, if only I had realized it was so easy and simple. I just have to SAY no! No means no, right? But we know better. It’s a lot more than just getting over it.

    My only reservation is that maybe even we fans of PT sometimes over simplify just how much effort it takes to not only to afford and sign up to PT, and establish residence far away but also the long haul of dragging up feelings and trying to carry on life while reliving one’s own feelings and coming to grips with things and just feeling it all out.

    Never forget what remarkable courage patients show to commit to the entire process, which is considerable and not a short period for most. Of course, many do it just for relief since their pain has become nearly unbearable.

    I guess I would be preaching to the choir here if I said that prevention was obviously far better than fixing it after.

  11. .........Finally.
    Hi Dr.Yanov
    If you mean how did I get your name? "I have red your book here. It is been published here and it is reachable. After reading the book I have searched in Internet and found your site.
    I am so glad to find you, I wish I could get there............
    And if you mean the "DEAN" name it is my nick name. It is the only way to connect you.
    About the therapy, my wife and I have stated the therapy since 2 monthe ago, we had good move and develope on therapy.
    Today is Saturday, Infact on wednesday my wife had a nerves and exciting talk with her parrents(they are so religois and prejudec and her father has 2 wife) for 2 hours and she faced with her pains and cried so much.she have breathed hardly in that time.
    So we have some problems in our therapy cours wich we think need your help, for example: most of the time I am confused and I do not know which one of my memory is correct? It is pushing me into weakness and fearnes. I think we need to talk to you DR.Yanov. (If you are agree).
    best regards,
    I do not know you have got my massege or not so,
    I have wrote this email and sent it twice. I am waiting for your answer doc.Yanov

  12. Hi Jack and Art,
    I have studied group dynamics and applied what some call community building to forming and managing groups and teams. Based on the four developmental stages.
    We all got poor attention spans, selectively. Different types select a focus compatible to their particular constellation of fixations.
    Predictable stuff. Eric Berne of TA fame has written on "Games" people play.
    I,m not talking TA. I'm talking personality clash and personality addiction, inside and outside ourselves. I have noticed say, in a group a clique of three may collude to form one complete individual, each only co-opperating with one or two of their brains. One is 'passionate' about the groups' aims, another is 'moved' to act and a third knows all the theory. A predictable faction forms. Without creative facilitation trouble erupts, the faction sees itself as whole, but only in contradistinction to the others.

    Again: The predominantly intellectual or introverted type (not 'moved' much to act) who by definition of turning up at meetings, wants membership. This person is "accommodated" by the group. Unfortunately their indecision is taken as a free vote by others and yet further distortions occur.

    Again: Two "relating individuals" can gang up on a third; to cut to the chase this is exactly what the chimp is doing with the neo-cortex.
    A cosy relationship between them. The chimp will do anything the neo-cortex wants in order to feel secure and in control (Literally On Top). This 'position' is "Teachers' Pet". I suffer the same way, chimp in me wants to please the belief system, denying the terror of the lizard, which tragically is driving the denial.

    Some instinctual types end on poor wages for moving all the coal whilst the intellectuals direct the media to re-manufacture the symbols, keeping the illusion going.

    The same terrifying hypnosis is perpetuated in my feelings by my thinking mind. A great display of image, ab-reaction, feeling and ideation. Every day, inside.
    I am just starting to acknowledge my lizard (that I am three brained) I am at last no longer entirely enthralled.

    The lizard has more to offer than un-resolved terror. The chimp needs to wise up in the state of pure being. As Art keeps saying this requires the conditions for the chimp to sense the lizard and to feel witnessed by the neo-cortex as-well.
    A meditation state is not enough. Trained meditators can miss the point by only holding the chimp in a state of bliss. Intellectuals suffer this way. The purpose of that state is to be conscious inside through acknowledging our Lizard and self refering relationship with the neo-cortex.

    Any-body trying to do this without the sort of supervision that Arts' clinic can offer may end up in a chronic ab-reaction, pure terror leaking into pure consciousness but with no re-living.
    I can speak from my own experience.

    The neo-cortex is where our chief fixations are located, they hold the chimp to ransom, the lizard hiding under a stone delivers terror as a driving force.

    Two of the human brains on the planet hold the third to ransom, two against one. There is no direct way of appealing to the intellectual caste of elite scientists about this. We can only be aware of the same problem within. The tragedy unfolding on the oustide is being generated by what is inside.

    I can only turn my attention to preparing myself to face the lizard, once acknowledged he will come out of hiding. Speculating about the symbols at this point has to stop, further words belong to Arts' archive and books.


  13. Lady Portia: Come on! LADY? is this a put on? art janov. how about a description of your journey which i shall post.

  14. I got this comment in an email:
    Guys I know you may disagree with some of my views here, but remember I am someone trying to make the best of a bad deal where the poor are forced to fend for themselves therapy wise. We are forced to be creative and help ourselves and each other, hopefully without harm. I am open to corrections in my thinking of course. I tried to be sensitive to someone who wrote on you tube trying to "befriend" me, without closing doors to communication from which each of us might benefit. I think he saw some writings of mine regarding Zen without realizing that I don't see that form of "integration" as being the core healing that people need. I see it as a useful perspective which is far from saying that it "cures" or even "helps" neurosis and certainly it has side effects and can worsen situations in which people have a lot of first line pain underneath. When it cause problems these are often ignored. In Japan they call some of the bad side effects "Makyo" meaning devils. Obviously it can induce psychotic states in the pre psychotic. I have with some distaste and worry, and yes even humor, watched as Transcendental Meditation practitioners, attempting to get more life into their "calm" repressions began to imagine that if they tried hard enough they could "fly". Odd that they never consider over what they want to "fly" I am wagering is fear from the first line that is over whelming as a result of so called "safe" meditation practices. I do think it has its uses when it helps objectivity about the whole concept of reality and the "self", but it does nothing and may harm those with too much first line primal pain. That is why I try to use a variety of approaches and always have feeling at the core, using meditation merely as a mindfulness of feeling which can then be communicated to a more objective mind. Losing objectivity or open mindedness is a bad side effect of too much of this practice which amounts to a form of sensory deprivation that can cause "hallucinations" in even fairly balanced individuals. Note that those in deep prayer and meditation are those "saints" etc. who "see visions" etc.

    Here is what I said and I am open to criticism as it is not my desire to be cruel to anyone or misleading. Art, I do see a place for teaching others what has helped you as long as you take into account all known safety precautions and are frank about the limits of what you are doing. This said, spiritual counselling has its place, but it is NOT primal therapy and shouldn't try to be as that requires many safety measures and working in a team that is trained for the purpose. Bruce, that is why I am against therapists, even those having trained under the Janov's, doing therapy on their own, you need a team for safety and for various other reasons.

    I am always open to suggestions and cautionary concerns but I am convinced I can help, yet I do think my honesty about it all will make it so that I can't do it for a living. However I hope to start a more feeling "Church" along the lines of free thought but grounded in sane approaches to feeling."

  15. My response to it:
    Very right. You should always practice as a team so that others can keep you straight. art

  16. Another email comment:

    "Hi Art, thanks for the article on ADD. One thing that you didn't cover is that they place children on powerful stimulants for this so called illness. These drugs, amphetamines, have a life long impact on their users. Although psychiatrists deny it, thousands of children are turned into drug addicts on these medications. Adderol one of the main prescribed drugs, is readily used by speed users. Adult users of meth often have backgrounds of being prescribed stimulants for ADD as children. The flip side of stimulant use is depression from having your neurotransmitter burned out by these drugs. So stimulant users often have long histories of depression after getting off these drugs. Conveniently psychiatrists never connect the dots as to what they have done."

  17. Richard: !!!! by the way the training has begun. Our first meeting was yesterday. art janov

  18. Another email comment:
    I know the suffering of this ADD, Arthur. Maddening to be unable to function and have ineffectual suggestions coming at you that amount to saying "To catch the bird, put salt on its tail." No understanding of causes no addressing of the real condition is to me little more than getting treatment from some witch doctor cackling loudly and slinging a limp chicken around, albeit they may act pompous and do this in calm calculated though meaningless words.

    Authorities, or so called, need science and effective treatments that understand causes to gain my respect. Otherwise you come to them with a disease and they only make you comfortable in it and wait for you to die early. I am not coming from the "first line", (exaggerating out of anxiety), I am stating the facts. Like dominoes falling ADD and ADHD impair survival skills and options and so shorten lives and cause suffering.

    For those whose only excuse for not going to your clinic to help repair this is the desire to avoid reliving their hurt, they should understand that without doing this they are doomed to suffer for a lifetime, and the usual "practitioners" of psychology are just easing their pain while they slowly lose every worthwhile option in life: options that may only come for short periods of time, and then are lost forever. I can't count the losses and the losses to come from my own sufferings, and I am grieved that I can only help others to cope and ease their suffering since there is so much more for them that you have made possible. It is unethical for "authorities" to only offer the options they do without looking into the possible options that could come from your treatments.

    How long did humankind insist that it lived on a world that is flat? It took observations that were integrated together for those who had not yet "sailed round the world" to know that the world was "round". Such is the state of Primal Therapy today, some knowing clearly, others waiting for neurologists to "sail round the world" with their evidences. Nevertheless all the observances are there for a clear understanding: those that do not feel their pain are doomed to a shorter life with unnecessary sufferings.

    All the poetic comforting words available cannot heal the hurting heart, only the trust to feel the truth in the presence of full safety and permission can end the suffering of this world wide disease of neurosis."

  19. Another comment in an email:
    I have a deep feeling of unhappiness regarding your Reflections in the above topics. That does not mean that I don’t respect your opinions and your worries. Both fields represent symptoms of a society with problems to adjust to circumstances, which are growing out of its once established and accepted (at least for a while) norms in a fashion we have not yet been able to cope with.

    So why do I feel unhappy?
    When you (like many of the debaters) project all kinds of negativity into your emotional responses to “Psychopaths and ADD” and tell that everybody else is wrong, and that you know the correct way (which I want to avoid continuing to disprove), I feel dissatiesfied because you have a tool, a therapy, to heal and dissolve mental pain and to save lives. You have over time developed an intuition and timing to handle the Primal Principles, which has its tremendous ally in the evolution.

    I think all your thinking , and Reflections should go into how we can hand your Primal Theory (including your intuition and timing) over to the next generations. You have already done a Herculian work in this sense but now and then you are taking the role of someone who has outgrown his own really genial invention and start debating problems in society into which you have only vague insights.

    Suddenly, you are diluting your genius and seemingly, does as the crowd, and you move your image where it does not have any sense. It may be fun for a while, but when you are gone, we need your very best recipes: How to give Primal Therapy to those of us who need it, so we can be feeling, loving and sane individuals that can take responsibility for our lives and for our children’s lives in order to avoid psychopaths and ADD.


  20. My response to it:
    let me see: I should not be negative. I am not. I am saying there is something we can do about all this and they are saying we cannot......only cope. You are in a feeling. art Before you comment I will send you a psychopath for therapy but remember you cannot be negative. I only want to hear about how much you can do for him. AJ

  21. Emanuel:
    Her poetic sense was incredible. Where did you find it? art

  22. Dear Art ,thanks for Your reply! Several decades ago it was published in the "Journal of Primal Therapy" .Yours emanuel

  23. Hi,
    There are ways to be forward thinking and not dwell on the endless loss of opportunities.

    As far as I can see we need to construct a trauma history and enrole. Forgive me for being glib but the existing therapeutic community has at least given us a language to enter the maze. Art has added the main purpose.

    If a community of Primal interest could form we would embrace the preparation we have done so far in a communal way. Art is not denying the work we have done so far so much as attempting to move on from where we got.

    Coping strategies are good. These are our current defences now. Not the socially acceptible ones we had before.

    This is a stage for our future integration. Normal feelings is what qualifies us for interdependence. As far as I understand neurosis does not disqualify us from interdependence. Lack of direction, aim and intention does. These things are all the chimp petitioning the neo-cortex. We all want to feel better. Who can give us permission?

  24. Hi,
    I really agree with the observations about meditation. My previous contribution (not yet approved or shown) says something about that.

    I will say more now anyway. Maharishis' theory about how meditation develops and affects deeper layers (sleep and dream state) would seem to be true from my experience. It goes like this. . . over time and with repetition the state of deep bliss begins to resonate first in dreams and then in deep sleep. Maharishi claims the "Transcendent State" also allows for the development of higher realities. . . what ever that means is not what I am on about here.

    From my own personal experience I am experiencing being a blissed out baby as a consequence of this practice. I was worried when I re-discovered Arts' work on this Blog 6 weeks ago that perhaps I had produced a sort of "Super Repression" of my trauma and memory.

    Well, I discussed this with my current body work therapist (who also does TM) and we agreed that the 'directing of consciousness' in this way is innapropriate only to the extent to which it contradicts ones' intention. IE: Like any drug it can be used to repress or "Hold Up Archaic Defences" but by the same token it can also help direct consciousness toward trauma and I know I'm right because of my own experience.

    For example, in the state of pure bliss a thought enters about some tragedy, I have a choice, do I persue the thought and it's emotional corollary (leading to a genuine breakdown and catharsis)or do I continue with the mantra regardless and allow the bliss state to "Dominate". It seems that simple and in the end life is that simple... Choices are simple when we get to the important choices.

    I conclude therefore that meditation is only as repressive of emotions as one allows it to be.

    Those "Devotees" who have been on "Perusha" or "Mother DIvine" for umpteen years are so often the Intellectual types who are always drawn to an inward detachment; they seem to confuse "Detachment" with "Non-Attachment". This is a very very important distinction; for example:

    (in the interests of keeping contributions less than the allotted ammount I'm breaking this into several units)

  25. (continued)

    For example there was reported in the British press a while back a story about some "Voluntary Police" who witnessed the drowning of a child in a pond without intervening. . . they just stood back and watched whilst other people around tried to help. This event caused uproar but in the end the voluntary police were vindicated in their (non)actions. In this case we have the perfect example of "Detachment" over "Non-Attachment".
    Basically the belief system in opperation at that time allowed the voluntary police to over-ride their instincts and follow the guide lines set down in their training. . . SUCH IS THE POWER OF A UNIFORM. A uniform is like a belief system, this is very important to understand. And so TM or any other meditation system could be the source of "Detachment" or it could allow the development of consciousness into areas of pain.

    When I was 'religiously' adhering to the strictures laid down by Maharishi I was far away from my true repressed pains and catharsis. Like so many TMers I lapsed and the repressive effect of such 'mindless practice' was relieved.

    Nowadays I meditate occasionally, it is a form of self medication. I hope this does not get in the way of eventually fully regressing and re-living my first line traumas. If Art says it could get in the way then I'll stop all together.

    It makes perfect sense to spend 3 weeks isolated in a strange place from the usual repetitions of our lives so as to be able to get to the emotional places we usually can't, this aids "non -attachment", which is supposed to be the outcome of meditation. Theoretically meditation should not be practiced without the body work of hatha yoga, which means to yoke, therefore there is a risk of becoming detached from life and true feelings by practicing "The Stilling Of The Mind" without any other body work to "Re- Connect" it.


  26. We're limited to words here. It's a blog, after all. Still, could we augment things with videoclips?

    What doe a "non-neurotic" LOOK like? Can it be shown?

    Are the only "free' ("clear") folks those who act like "Kung Fu's" Kwai Chang Caine? That is, a slow speaker with a wise answer to every problem? If so, remember: In real life David Carradine died with a shoestring around his neck and johnson. Do we want to go there?

    How balanced was David, really, then? How does an actual t'ai ch'i master get into auto-asphyxiation in the first place? Is good sex death-like?

    How about some graphic examples of "un-neurotic behavior"?

    For example, how does a compulsive act in a grocery store? How would a "normal" person act in the same situation?

    Is the glass half full? Half empty? Or a way to quench thirst?

    If you are totally whacked, but Granny coddles you and says you are fine, and you ACT fine...are you not ACTUALLY fine?

    On the other hand, if you're "normal" but never get simple affirmations (cuddles-strokes-etc.) you might believe you're bonkers. What then?

    What are the "acceptable" parameters of normality? What do they look like in real life, not just clinical studies?

    If the only "cure" to modern woes is one-on-one therapy with Art in California we might as well all "kiss the train." Because we're doomed. But what if the way out is simpler: Telling 97% of the world that they're fine?

    Is Primal only for folks who poop their pants?

    I once took a course in Pathology. The professor said most patients present with variations of common diseases, not common manifestations of rare diseases. I found that comforting. Maybe because I never got rote, diurnal reassurances that I was okay. So I tend to awfulize.

    I fear Primal does the same.

    How many neurotics would be helped simply by being told, "You're not nuts. A little odd, perhaps, but in an endearing way"?

    Are we making mountains out of molehills? What does the actual mountain look like? Is there not a real difference between the nervous kid asking for his first date and Jack-the-Ripper?

    If most folks are NOT super-whacked, and merely mildly neurotic, what practical things can they do to get healthier? Cry more? Let themselves be sad? Listen to classical music? Run marathons?

    Who is Primal for, given that no one is perfect (or needs to be)?

  27. Art

    Do you know how your proposal has provoked Aida not to hear anything from you regarding your suggestions… suggestions for those who had no financial means to come to The Centre… an other way make the PT possible. For good and bad I would say… for good by for her feeling the desire of your proposal… how much tension it brought up… tension in form of painful hate when she discovered that ther was no walue… meening in the proposal.

    Now Art… given your scientific knowledge I still hope you have a proposel… any ide.. sugestion about your offer. I also sent my application for the same reason at the time as Aida together with Isabella ... Aidas daughter.
    I look forward to hearing from you on this issue? Excuse mynglish!
    Sincerely Frank

  28. "!!!!"

    What does that mean, Art? Are you saying "Warning! The Primal Center will close down forever because of the recession". Or are you just saying "Hurry up!"

  29. Ali:
    Please call my office and ask to speak to david or morey, and they can help you. 310 3922003 art janov I really believe that having no therapy is better than going to those who do not know what they are doing. Be careful!!

  30. Emanuel:
    I don't have it. Can you send it? art janov

  31. PG: Really well stated. Congrats. Art Janov

  32. Trevor: It is not a matter of being perfect; it is a matter of getting through lies without so much suffering. You can be told a hundred times a day you are fine but you will still suffer a lot. Words Won't Do It, is the previous title of one of my books. And they won't. art janov

  33. PG: The reason you are isolated for a short time in therapy is to get to yourself, not to be detached from yourself. To get to know the feelings you have been running from AJ

  34. Frank. I do not know what you are saying and I do not know who is Aida. You need to be clearer. Art Janov

  35. PG: Look it is simple. If you know that past experience even in the womb, leave a trace, an imprint, that affects the rest of your life than you have to deal with your history no matter how many gyrations you go through such as meditation. There is no other secret, no free lunch. We are historic beings, Period! AJ. Meditation is largely nonsense in this context, Capeche?

  36. During this last summer you wrote about an idea you had... an idea that you didn’t presented in detail ... which was expected later to shed... it was about those who could not come to The Primal center because of financial reasons… you wrote something like "you who do not have the economic means to come to The Primal Center… please get in touch I have an idea"

    Aida Castaneda and Isabella Anderson... Aidas daughter and myself responded to this "idea"? But have not heard anything since. Isabella has privious submitted her application to The Center with photo...biography and the on-line questionnaire but not heard anything further about it… she has sent that application on two occasions.


  37. Hi Art ,I do not know , whether I can find this issue (I am am a "messie" with 1200 books ..) but I`ll try in the weeks to come ...If You want all the other poems therein I could copy them and send them via mail ... Lover goes like this:
    Take me into the shelter of Your love
    hold me until You`ve secured me
    keep Your heartbeats in rythme with mine
    mix dreams together
    I love Your face
    I love way
    I love Your body
    How can I keep myself from loving You?

    Hopefully I could be helpful!? Yours emanuel

  38. Woodygatral: I once did some meditating; "stilling the mind" and was around many people practicing it, and still am. It seems like many other 'recommendations', something you have to keep up. That, to me, doesn't seem natural. If there is a state of being beyond "the chattering mind", it is simply feeling; 24/7, IMO. There is no-way, as I see it, to practice being in a feeling state; you either are are you are not. Being in a feeling state of mind all the time is being feeling-full.

    Trevor: No sure if your comment was 'tongue in cheek' or what? but I am tempted to respond to you. It seems to me you are looking for some means to 'nirvana', something idealistic, some answer-all. Mankind has been on this quest for several millenia and seemingly not found it, certainly not on a mass scale for most of us. To me, "the problem" is simple:- NEUROSIS.

    What might a non-neurotic (feeling-full) existence be like? Having spent the last 30 years doing Primal Therapy has given me some insight, but that doesn't mean I'm totally feeling-full--the damage was too severe. It is my contention that there are NO fully feeling-full humans so there are NO human guides, but looking at the other creatures I get a sense of what it could be like. It is not some 'utopia' (whatever utopia is supposed to be) since there would still be sadness, anger, fear and occasionally happiness, but the striving for perpetual contentment would be boring; life's not like that; it's an ever state of flux.

    We need to seek the SIMPLICITY and for my money that simplicity was revealed when this guy in Los Angeles discovered Primal Pain then ingeniously formulated a theory based on it. All else, from there-on-in is blah blah blah. Trevor, I read your comment, but to me it was just more blah blah blah. Toooooooo complicated.

  39. Hi Art ,even my poetic amnesia did not completely mess up the beauty and artistic value of her poem...!
    My only excuse: decades are a very long time and my knowing by heart is rather limited.
    Here we are again:
    Take me into the shelter of your love
    Hold me until you`ve secured me .
    Reach me by yourself.
    Take where my feelings
    have placed me
    and share yourself with me.
    Give me your heartbeat
    in rhythm with mine.
    Mix dreams with me.
    I love your way
    I love your mind,I love your face
    I love your body.
    How can I keep myself from loving You?
    Yours emanuel

  40. Hi Art,
    I think we're say ing the same thing but I'm using too many words to ask a simple question! Meditation is not an alternative to re-living. Though I am sort of asking what use it is beyond a source of stilling the mind?

    I have found that as long as my intention is to search for memories and feelings then meditation (stilling of the mind) can help through relaxing other obstructing mental blockades or defences. It seems to be the accompanying "Spiritual Belief Systems" that are obstuctive as they can decieve one into believing there is an alternative to feeling hurt. Avoidance of pain by being blissed out instead, in a crisis when all is going "tits up" meditation is a useful technique. I dunno, I'm just a potential patient hoping for a future! Hope I havn't warped my mind with too much meditiation. . .


    Assembling a trauma history is not easy if one is constantly in a stressed hall of mirrors.

  41. Hi Art,

    Just a suggestion; I would be interested to see your thoughts on "control freaks"...I would like to understand why people have the emotional need to control others. So just a post suggestion.
    I also think controlling-type people (and 'bitter' people) don't like seeing real happiness in others - I think some neurotics really take pain, not pleasure, in other peoples happiness and even try to suppress it if they can. But I'm not sure. Again, it's a just a future post suggestion that I would be interested in if you've got something to say on it.

  42. Art, you talked about giving uppers to a patient who is too down, and downers to a patient who is too up, to move him/her closer to the feeling zone.
    If we can push some therapists/scientists/politicians closer to their feelings, they might be more willing to listen to your ideas.
    Perhaps we can convince some of them to take the appropriate uppers or downers for a while. If we tell them the drugs are harmless, and imply that the drugs are enjoyable, some of them might be willing to do the "experiment".
    I'm not talking about a million-dollar double blind study. I'm talking about a friendly chat at a cocktail party...which leads to a few pills exchanging hands.

  43. Richard: I am saying that I am 86, been in practice for a straight 60 years and I shall not go on forever. AJ

  44. Frank: I am afraid my idea fell because we ran out of funds from the Foundation so we do not have the money to carry it out. I wanted to have a meeting at our center in Santa Monica but that would be impossible for most of you due to money problems. I am not sure what to do but I am open to suggestions. Art janov

  45. Emanuel: I think she wrote that when she as twelve. She was in my opinion a true genius. She is missed every day terribly. I could have taken lessons from her about how to write. art

  46. Jack: Everyone seems to be looking for someone who has the secret to life and to living. It does not exist. no one knows any more about you than you. No one has the secret to anything because life is not a problem to be solved. It is simply something we live. art

  47. Another email comment:
    "Alright, I'm done. You started Primal when you were a younger man in a different part of your life. "Seasons In A Mans Life" is a study of ten-thousand men and the arc of their lives...the changes they go through, the areas of interest that consume them and how it changes through the years. The book "what color is your parachute" was based on it. The study is longitunidnal and many many pages long over many many years. So you were young and had to make your bones. Unfortunately in your ferver I got caught up in the wake of your passion and over the years got really fu-ked-up...sacrificing minimum a hundred grand and the women who loved a house and a pending marriage to the daughter of the president of the American Political Science Association in order to remain true to the percepts of Primal. We were going to do Primal together just before the marriage and she backed out at the last minute...from the Primal Part. So I left her. They had the entire top floor of the LA Hilton booked for us. Honest Art, you are reading the words of one of the biggest idiots on earth. I was a true believer...Eric Hoffer style. Not much to say at this point. My life cannot be relived. I know one hell of a lot. At 65 and disabled now with ten-twenty grand and the usual storage locker full of great solutions to societies problems and no strength left nor any honey to message my back leaves me in a rotten place. If it were just not for the back pain I would't mind...I could still make my moves...but the pain...the medication...all the sh-t just leaves me with a dismal prognosis. I'm a fighter like you're a fighter. A Professor from UCI once told me...he was a big deal Dr. of some sort...I forget..that there was no cure for a wasted life. The Primal thing simply wasted a lot of my life. I wish it were different. No hard feelings was my choice. Take care. "

  48. And my response:
    I don't get it. Did you go to some center? AJ

  49. on Andrew's post: Anyone want to try? AJ

  50. Richard: I don;t do cocktail parties, nor do I drink so someone else will have to take over. AJ

  51. Andrew, I think what you are describing is jealousy, right? Hating seeing others happy, right? I'll take a stab at it. Jealousy is quite the common trait, wouldn't you say? But we can try to bring it to a primal level.

    I guess I see it a lot like the Dog Whisperer on Nat Geo. Caesar gets the dogs into the right frame of mind before he can change behavior. A person can not rationally think when they are in a rage or out of control.

    Even in PT, one has to be brought within the primal zone, being either above it or below it. They have to be ready to feel and let feeling take place. It might require some drugs at first. there has to be a starting point. Once a pain is released, then they can start relating more to the actual present.

    Hurtful people? My father is angry at the world and everyone in it because he did not get what he wanted when young. It is an anger from long ago imposing itself on a completely unrelated time and circumstance. But the anger is real, though from the past. but it does not work in the present without being released in the proper way (feeling it). I think this is why some people are nasty and hateful. Their anger is misplaced. They are very frustrated and they know not why. They just swing at the first thing that comes along. Its usually whoever is closest to them at the moment. Ask me how I know ;-)

    Same at work or anywhere. they are mad inside and it comes outside on those those poor unsuspecting souls who wonder in bewilderment as to why they are on the receiving end. They just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

    As you can see by this point, PT would release all that anger inside over time, so that they would not want to strike out blindly. ah, but those psychopaths, they are way beyond this. Damaged and broken, they can be vicious or worse, cold and calculating. No win there. But the difference is Jealousy and anger can still be resolved but damaged feeling and reading centers eliminate any chance of correction by PT.

    that's my best shot, for what its worth.

  52. PG: The mind is not still because it is being stimulated all of the time from inside. We need to deal with the source of the agitation. Otherwise, we are just looking for caps on the feeling. Art Janov.

  53. Jan: Would you rather be in the dark about other approaches? Doesn't someone have to yell, "The emperor has no clothes!?" If you limit me to only positive things then those other individuals will do therapies that can only hurt them. Try discussing psychoanalysis while being totally positive. The negativity is what others are doing in the name of mental health. It sounds like the old religious canard, "If you can't say something nice don't say anything." AJ

  54. Thank you Apollo,

    Jealousy is strange. Why should we want to hurt someone just because they have something we want? Maybe you are right that that's the basis of it. But what is the ultimate basis of jealousy? Maybe it's an act of avoiding the (direct) pain of feeling that you have (catastrophically) missed out...which the individual who "has so much" is threatening to trigger??

    Jealousy, as a function, sounds very unconscious regardless, due to its intrinsic irrationality.

    --I'm also interested in the need to control others if anyone wants to comment.

  55. Hi Andrew!
    One kind of Jealousy to me is fear! We fear that we will lose someone. We fear that someone else is going to take what we want. Some of it is based in insecurity. Some of it is about losing control of a situation. Losing control is definitely a primal feeling and when it comes to the fore, it causes people to act, over-react and go crazy.

    The other jealousy is seeing something good happen to someone. But I am inclined to think this is related to lack and want. I know of a person whose identity Iwill shield for his sake, who lacked so much as a child, that he can not see anything good happen to anyone since he never saw anything he truly wanted. So because he did not get what he wanted, he begrudges seeing anyone get anything at all.

    Jealousy at its worst. Deprivation in the early days can be a devastating thing. One thing for sure, he who acts on irrational impulses is a hell to deal with. These are among those who are mean spirited and begrudge anything to anyone. The more they feel lack, the more crazy and mean they become.

    They are often hard to distinguish from psychopaths since the 2 so often has so much in common and very little to separate them. Me thinks it possible that you still got a lot of humanity and compassion so that you can recognize these things and do not like them. Count me in, too ;-)

  56. Hello there, I hope you read these older comments also.

    I was diagnosed as ADD some years ago (28 now), got meds for it and because some of the problems stayed - mainly social ones - I went for psychodynamic therapy for three years. At this time I learned a lot. As my therapist stated, three years was so brief time, implementing truthfully that more would have been useful. I agree. That kind of relationship sure is something one wouldn't want to terminate - in good and bad.

    During this time, with the help of add-medicine, I did quite a lot of notions in awareness - with and without going for it specifically. Sort of an obsession of mine which keeps me away from being here & now.

    Bit about year ago I started to get the kind of emotional and physical reactions that you describe in your Primal Scream (which I just now finished, after 2 months of reading). I found myself having kind of an growing wish and urge to let some part of me (ie. my body) to let go and do it's on thing - which was sudden muscular twitch, resulting in relieved position. For example, as I laid on my training mat, I could end up on contracting my other leg and to strech other side of my upper body and arm and neck (this was purely imagined example). The reaction was and was not spontaneous, just as your patients described that they could stop it if they wanted, but did not want to do that. I kind of sense the movement beforehand as if the system in brains which will execute it is already wiring up and kind of ready for it - like engine ready humming and just waiting for the gas pedal to let it loose.

    This event contains emotions and kind of non-describable flash images, for example I might have strong painful feelings towards some situations that had happened in the past or the behavior of my parents, as if I'd recall my memory of that feeling. But this ain't so easy part to catch, it's more easy to let some anxious feeling come to me, than to be able to identify it and keep it on hold in thought after the twich. It's more like only the memory of it that prevails, like that I could think to myself "Damn, that was tough thing to feel (or more likely, to not feel!) in that time, in that age, in that situation".

    I've come into suspect that this is something similar to your patients reactions. Could you spare your views?

    On the notion of ADD and neuroses, your theory in Primal Scream is the most convincing so far. It was true pleasure for my egoistic self to read it and note how your observations and notes were similar to mine - although mine were not consistent but only bits and suspects here and there. I've had a huge portion of the neurotic ways adult ADD's compensate, for some reason I've like resolved one and developed a new one and gone through that cycle for half of my life, and comparing to this I must say practically all written in that book of yours makes valid sense.

    Especially the notion that being here & now requires the full feeling which is prevented by suppressed pains. That's something that is missed in the current teachings of western gymnastic-yoga, meditation and affiliated "philosophies" that come in the sale.

    I'm currently on my first year of studying to become a kind of mental health / attention deficit disorder - focused social worker and I'm looking forward to seek ways to synthesize this theoretic perspective of yours, along some other therapeutic methods, to the future way of providing help to young adults here in Finland. The rates of adhd, add and anxiousness & depression among youngsters, adolescents and young adults are peaking here. Steadily. And seeing how "adults" are acting with their children, the reasons are quite obvious but for those who wish not to see it. For religious and historical reasons, the mothers and their child-parent relationships are quite sacred here, something you don't poke to. So it's gonna be one individual at the time.. as it should be, I suppose.

  57. PG: I may use this in my book if it is OK.Very astute. AJ


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.