Friday, December 3, 2010

On Depression

The following letter to my blog was ostensibly about depression but I found something in it that to me is astounding. it also sounds kooky but it is not. She grew an inch at age twenty three. And she made no big deal about. "I grew" and then she went on to other matters. Growth happens pretty often and the patients always seem to have that "belle indifference" about it. Like it is expected and not surprising. I guess with all the other emotional improvement it may not be a big deal, but it is to me because it means that when you undo repression you undo not only a "mental" phenomenon but a total physiologic one, as well. And it means too that the patient has already gone very deep and normalized some hormones, including those that control growth. How else to explain it. My wife's foot size grew by a size and she could not understand it for years until we began to get many other reports about growth. And I have noted that there is sometimes a wisdom tooth growth after the age of forty. I have never much pontificated about this so as not to influence patients and others but it seems to me to be a monumental affair, not because of the growth but because it means that so much has been liberated in the entire system. So, yes, I would expect the depression to be lessened or eliminated. It is all of a piece. The system is one integrated affair so that change in one area means change in many others, as well. Yes, it is great that depression was cured but the "proof" of that is found in bone growth. and....and.....change in brain waves, vital signs, etc.

"Looking back to the way I was at the beginning of therapy, I can see how many things have changed. For a start, I have grown over an inch since my twenty-third birthday. I am much more relaxed in general, able to go out and live life without too much anxiety. I am not nearly as afraid of people as I used to be, and I do not let anyone push me around or take advantage of me. I am more spontaneous, following my impulses whenever it feels safe and appropriate to do so. I have periods of optimism and enthusiasm for life when it seems that I have been given a second childhood. During these times I feel good to be alive whether playing sports, listening to or playing music, watching a movie, talking with friends, or simply sitting quietly and doing nothing. I have more friends, and I can be myself around them, rather than trying to impress them or get them to like me. I have less anxiety during stressful situations, and I make better decisions to resolve problems. My memory has improved; I am not scrambling around to take care of myself anymore. I am less stuck “in my head” and more aware of what is going on around me. (People used to think I was stupid because they would say something two or three times before I heard them.) I have better coordination playing the piano despite almost no practice and I have discovered that I have a fair talent for ball sports. I can cook for myself now, which is a recent and exciting development -- I have had a huge block in that area. Food tastes different as well. Before therapy I had to smother my food with herbs and spices to give it any flavor, whereas now a small amount seems to go a long way. I get depressed from time to time, but even when I feel really bad I know that it is just a feeling and I do not consider suicide. I notice my act-outs and curb them. For instance, when my job is going badly I find myself obsessing about winning the lottery. When I feel bad about myself I tend to bounce from therapist to therapist, afraid to stick with the same person in case he or she grows impatient with me. Going against my fears is the way to feelings. Most importantly, I have a sense deep down that I am going to be all right, which I could never have said a few years ago.

In conclusion, I would say that depression is a state of emotional flatness resulting from a strong system of defenses. There is a voice beneath conscious awareness complaining that all is hopeless and that there is no point in living, but it is never heard because the defenses are working overtime. How does one cure depression? The platitudes my parents fed me certainly did no good, and I suspect that most self-help systems only push the “voice of doom” somewhere more obscure but ultimately just as damaging. The only real changes in my life have occurred after feeling, connecting to the source of my pain. The voice is being heard in part; one is not feeling sad for no apparent reason but for a reason that is known and felt. This second childhood is a great gift. To anyone reading this who is a long way from being able to do therapy, let me say that there really is hope. Above all, find friends that accept you for who you are, and look after yourself. You deserve the best."


  1. Art,

    Yes there certainly is hope. For many reasons, depending on my life situation, I have spread my primal experiences over 40 years with accelerating improvements over the time. A few years ago I took a couple of painful steps to clear out who were those who accepted me for who I am, and I was at a relatively high age able to relive a crucial amount of the pain and horror filled confusion from my birth, and I have since then grown in all aspects.
    Even if my ambition to inform those who might be interested (including myself) about my insights about terror and pain, may seem exaggerated, it feels pleasant. When those who accept me tell me that they feel better influenced by my story, it gives me additional satisfaction.
    Your unconditional support to all of us is immense, and it has given me not only a second childhood but a second life. Or as the say in golf: I have got a Mulligan (when a player gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action).

    Jan Johnsson

  2. Hi Jan,

    What you made sounds great… I would appreciate to hear more from and about you... my true a personal contact if you like. Your name sounds Swedish but I have not perceived where you come from. It would be interesting to get in touch with you if you are in Sweden. We... me and Aida puts a lot of attempts to influence those who could make a change in getting Janovs Primal Therapy to Sweden ... Aida also makes great success with herself therapeutic. We have a couple of times visited the National Board in trying to affect them to make a clinical trials to prove primal therapy’s effect... it does not sound impossible but I think that the effect by being more of us would be beneficial for the purpose ... at least for achieving a clinical trial here in Sweden... which Arthur suggested by my request of bringing primal therapy here. You may have experience we can benefit from… and my help each other. I looking forward to hearing from you.

    Frank Larson

  3. interesting post. you say:

    "To anyone reading this who is a long way from being able to do therapy, let me say that there really is hope."

    hope? hope for what? where does it hid?
    how many sessions does a fucked up neurotic need to do in order to feel that there is actually "hope" ?
    until he/she starts to reduce some of the first line pain? earlier?
    here is a question:
    do you know how it feels to "hope" that someday you are going to find the money it needs to go to usa and have pr therapy because you know that this is what you need to do if you want to have a life? but still it remains a dream when your life is fucked up in many ways.
    a friend of mine said it better: if janov visit's athens for a month and if the cost is no more than 2000 eyro i will try it! but do i have any chance to feel much better after 1 month?
    i answered no. you can't expect to be well with only one month of therapy. and he responded: then primal therapy is very expensive for me!
    so, when you talk about "hope" you should mean those who are in therapy already.
    the rest of us don't really "hope". i think we just keep trying for the chance. useless efforts in a way.

  4. Athanasios: I have said it many times. Health should not be in private hands. I tried to give our therapy to governments none of whom wanted it. So I have no choice. Yes it is expensive but we do not make a profit nor do France and I take a salary. But there are enormous insurance costs to deal with. Sorry. art janov

  5. Art:
    Again and again the question arises what depression is. You wrote a complete book about this subject, I can only say a few words about it: From my personal experience I would say that heavy depression is the outcome of a balanced duel of two powerful antagonists. On the one side you have compounded very early pain (womb, birth, infancy) surging upward to the surface, on the opposite side you have a strong defense system that does what it can to keep this horrific monster stuff at bay. The result is that subjective state of being agitated and simultaneously being nearly squeezed to death. As soon as one of these two rivals is going to gain the upper hand, depression begins to diminish. If repression/defense fails and early pain begins to go upward for integration (in a reliving process), depression will cease gradually. And conversely, if your defenses are much stronger than the load of imprinted early pain, the result should be a well defended/repressed (neurotic) person who is well away from depression and functions quite well in day-to-day life.

    Heavy depression occurred to me some ten years ago at the beginning of a reliving sequence when very early stuff (prenatal) started surging upward for integration. For about three to four months I was absolutely unable to integrate those imprints and this was the time of my heavy depression. The whole of me, including my thinking mind, was in a desperate fight against this creepy prenatal bullshit. My everyday idea was: Boy, don’t let it happen, don’t let it come up! It will kill you straightaway by cancer or by whatever! During that time I really was pushed around between terrible fear of deadly disease and suicidal thoughts. Hopelessness here and there and everywhere. However, after a while “we” (my thoughts and, most important, all those physiologic parts of me which do not use words) got much more courageous and we decided to let it happen, after all. From that day on my heavy depression began to lift and some months later it was completely gone. Feeling/integrating/resolving this prenatal womb stuff did not kill me, but it killed my depression! Since that time ten years ago it has never appeared again. It cannot reappear because one physiologic key component of depression no longer exists: a heavy load of early pain. By the way, in these 10 years I haven’t spent one single hour thinking about or working on “self esteem.”

    So it’s time to say goodbye: Farewell, my dear depression, was nice and impressing to meet you, but we’ll never see again each other!!

  6. Athanasios: Hi, e-mail at I have a suggestion for you with respect to your problem.


  7. I see that I am not the only one who thought that letter was written by you or about yourself.(did this post appear first without your comment?)
    Actually I couldnot believe that,for instance the things she say about fear is the opposite from what you normally say.

  8. Art says that he is against therapy/health in private hands. However, even if therapy is run under social security it has to follow business principles and be rational. The big difference is hopefully that there is less cynical thinking and that eventual profit stays within the organization.

    We are talking about a therapy which can improve and save lives and seen from that perspective Primal Therapy is not extremely expensive. The Primal Center, I think, isn’t charging more than necessary to make their world turn around. The total volume is too small for different reasons.

    Primal Therapy takes time and I dare to say that not only because I have been dragging it out over four decades. However, it is necessary to create the correct combination of circumstances in which money, job, peace, housing, counseling and physical and mental equlibrium make the therapy possible. It is certainly not easy when one is crazy and full of pain. That is why we should not only talk abouttherapy but an integrated solution.

    It is important to make up a long list of must, which make PT accessible and trustworthy and to figure out how the patient ant the clinic/institute/center might be organized to give a long term positive and lasting result, The investment in a new and better life is an investment in the future worth the same as a home, an education or a cardiac surgery to mention a few examples of the similar magnitude.

    Instead of subtle “intellectual” territorial pissing I would like to see young bright people like Nino Roso, Miguel Urtizberea + several others with or without experience to come up with suggestions in a brainstorm to develop Primal Therapy to its full potential.

    To help out how to improve and build the image of Prima Therapy among experts and authorities the help of an expert should certainly not hurt. It is a professional job which takes the thinking of experts from both science, therapy and marketing.

    Are Art and France prepared to participate in such a development?

    Jan Johnsson

  9. Paul: Yes we first published it without my comments; then I commented about her growth. AJ

  10. Hi, there are so many of us in the same boat, a global boat and we are all in so many different parts.

    I can't afford to do this yet either (for more reasons than money alone)but I am becoming more and more convinced of the truth of Arts' Therapy, this doesn't feel like another "trip" either. This is more important.

    Through this Blog we are able to face the truth of our condition at least with the neo-cortical part of ourselves. . . something tells me that sooner or later the Big Lie will exceed the current "Therapeutic" vessel in which the Status Quo comfortably sit and watch their "clients" suffer; times up!

    This is a question for Art as well as all us recovering neurotics:

    "How could we set up a charity to fund poor peoples' therapy"? Is there not already a bursary?

    Also, as the Big Lie gradually unfolds through this source (and others)we are all able to plan more accurately for the future when we will be able to afford this. This is a major life step, for those of us who have already achieved something through therapy as it is in Europe or elsewhere we will just have to look ahead to "Start Again".

    If before, our life purpose was to develop some sort of symbolic meaning to our suffering then in the future we can look forward to just having normal feelings instead of the symbols. I'm fed up with the symbols, now I know the scientific truth I can sense a lot of presumptions falling away, at first it seems depressing, like another "Loss", but frankly what loss is there other than loss of my delusions? Who really wants to carry on with a facsimile? I want my true feelings bacK!

    A big debate in all this is to do with defences in our neo-cortex. Many traditions keep their "Scientific" information secret, not only to maintain its' purity but also to prevent our egotistical nature from constructing even greater defences from it. One can see that this is true for theoretical science but Primal is not only a theory! Therefore Knowing the facts about our brain biology and learning to recognise the symptoms of its' activity aught to be an advantage. . . I certainly feel far less deluded than before I read all this stuff. Without the stuff I've already done the impact would not be so strong either.

    In the end we are going to have to let go. Until the money comes along at least we have the time and opportunity to get used to this. It is a risk to know in advance what is going to happen, all the details whirring around in my mind. . . I have planned enough carpentry projects to know that focus of attention, it is all useful preparation, including the frustration and impatience to achieve the goal. Nevertheless, once the project starts and one enters in, IN, the experience is rarely the same as the expectation!
    Alice Miller said that positive thinking can be an obstacle to re-living painful experiences but so too can an excess of despair. . . The Big Lie is terrifying, it's not only in us neurotics. We can have some pride in our true selves that we have come this far to see and feel reality more clearly as it is. . .



  11. Ferdinand: Wow! that is an impressive story with a great outcome. Why I feel it could be truly helpful to others is that, that "horrific monster," though it feels like it could kill in the present, actually doesn't on letting it come up. However it does require the ultimate trust in feeling it. That to me, is real bravery.

    If I could press you further, had you read or had some Primal Therapy prior to this? What gave you that trust to 'let go?' Jack

  12. Yes much better in the hands of institutions like the post office. What bureaucracy would come up with something as innovative and groundbreaking as Primal therapy for the countless problems still left unsolved? The DMV?

  13. Thanks Ferdinand. I like to read stories like yours.
    It's interesting how you say "we"; your thoughts and your physiologic parts. I wonder how much of one's courage comes from will-power:
    "I'm going to let this happen!"
    ...and how much comes from a signal from the physiologic parts:
    "My body is strong enough to feel the pain now."
    I guess the physiologic parts won't allow you to be too brave. Perhaps your heavy depression was a necessary stage as your body prepared itself for the next onslaught.
    It doesn't look good on paper does it? Scientists expect to see clear signs of progress every step of the way.
    (yes Art, I know I'm pontificating again, but you never know...there might be a few quiet scientists reading this)

  14. PG: Well Done. The only way to make progress for the therapy is to get help from government agencies. We don't have the people nor the resources to do that but a bunch of you could. I am not good at promotion or getting government agencies to help out. I tried and I tried to no avail. art janov

  15. Jan: of course we would always participate but who will organize it? art janov

  16. I got this comment in an email: is nice....and the institute and you and yours have to make a living....yet I am stymied as to the reason(s) there are not so many many more Certified Primal Therapists on the planet. Where is the list of these people? (I wonder what Vivian would say?) "This is the only etc..." is a great sales tool..a good aspect of the pitch...yet were Newton or DaVinchi or Einstein or Libnetz or any other scientist who discovered a major breakthrough in the improvment of the human condition reticent in divulging their methods and detailed processes so they can be replicated to the general population of sincere researchers, practioners etc we would all be in a sorry state. Science would evaporate. I can only anticipate after you are gone...and I am gone for that matter...that there will be a manual of Primal Methods for the Professional in Mental Health. Otherwise you have reduced yourself and primal to a mere cult. I mention this because you have refered time and again how far off the mainstream Psychological arena is in regards to their conception of the practice of Primal. Primal is not rocket science. Also, one would be interested in all the mistakes you have made in your explorations of the ramifications of your initial discovery or perspectives circa 1969. I can hardly believe you are shy. Science is afterall about doing experiments..positing hypothesises, failure etc. What you have actually done during the practice of Primal Therapy behind closed doors is to many an open secret....all the f--k ups etc. There have been some big ones. And both infants AND adult NEED love (check out the stats on that one amigo...older adults DIE when love is withheld....which kind of defines what need is about vrs want or desire). One would be refreshed to hear of the mistaken perspectives etc you have had in the past. (Then again, god, I am not going to read another book on the subject...maybe.) Thanks for the last post regarding further elucidation of what love you...and hence lets just say to dispassionate others who follow your lead. It was beautifully written and quite informative. Also, your blog regarding the difference between Sex and Romantic Love and the brain centers both involve..both being quite different..was to me a vital distingtion crutial for the interested to know about. You have no idea how important your work is and has been. Cudos, well done etc. Primal is a business for you...and that makes a lot of sense. Yet you have an obligation to humanity (it only takes 2% of a population to turn it around...or are you just going to let evolution do it??) to devuldge and empower MASSES of practitioneers and humanitarian people the in EXACT...means and methods you use, find vital, in a have a humanitarian obligation, an ethical obligation, to diseminate (Maybe a programed learning manual...the old fashioned kind) the techniques of Primal.

  17. Continued...

    Doing so down to the smallest detail is called Empowerment. You know..a term we invented that has been bastardized. The smallest detail. Claremont College is a triffling of recognition for what you have garnered. Personally I am not interested in sitting in any more vans in Hawaii having people wrenching their guts out or cavorting with damaged individuals as social connections. Pity those who think they are going to find the "love" they once so much needed to feel...but were instead..lets say..deeply not recieving. (Synthetic Intimacy I believe you called it once. Good term.) Big surprise for them if they think they can. Art Janov..pugnatious Art...who by golly still has some primaling to do himself... Art, I wonder once again...because I forgot...just what real training you have in the world of Behavioral Science. Two a social worker...and your demeaning Statistics...and there's more...dosn't add up. If you wonder if Heisenbegs Principles are real...or Quantum Mechanics are real...just turn on your t.v. or watch a clip of the atomic bomb going off. Hummmm, seems that they are true in that neither would occure if the principles were invalid. Primal is of the same ilk as the aformentioned examples. I know personally Primal is right on but... all me...what do I big deal. I'll see you when I see you. And you're still one of the all time big guys in my eyes...and heart. Take care and my wishes for the smoothest holidays to you and etc. Barry Fisher. PS...Did France get to buy a whole new wardrobe of shoes? No wonder you charge so much. Completely understandable.

  18. And this is my response to it:
    Barry: Primal Therapy is not a business for me, otherwise we would make a profit, instead of us financing its operation. We stay in business to help; we do not help for profit. We need income to stay in business but that is definitely not why we work. My therapist said to me yesterday, "Art it is an honor to work here." We all feel that way. art janov

  19. Understanding English
    When, for example, I read NYT, LA Times and Science Daily, I understand with few exceptions everything like I do when I read books regarding business, medicine and technical information. Some novels and memoirs can at times be more complicated due to the authors need for a flamboyant language but with the help of my dictionary, I can often understand. After many years of practice, I understand and enjoy the reading of your books and Reflections.
    However, reading some of the comments you receive on your blog and Facebook, I feel confused and deceived by the language being used and then I’m not specifically thinking of the modern day abbreviation techniques but more of the specific allusions and the internal therapeutical jargon which, Barry, for example, uses in his comments. To be straight, I feel that these in my mind whimsical expressions may be hiding a direct and clear thinking.

    A limited task group must develop the will (vision) and purpose (mission) and appoint those who develop a project. I can consider myself to participate in both steps 1 and 2.

  20. Hi,

    I never once thought in my life before that I'd be able to get involved in such a mind boggling and stimulating debate about something so important that touches so many peoples hearts, to the core and it's about our brains!

    Let's use them!

    My traditional carpentry business was set up as "not for profit" to try to help bump start vocational training. We were encouraged by the authorities to do this. Later we were accused of trying to farm grants. . .(we never got any, surprise, surprise).

    I'm also not very good at marketing or do I mean brown nosing?. . . but what are we marketing when we set up something to try to help others as well as ourselves that could be funded by an existing health care fund?
    That's part of the Taboo, if we try to sell or even give away to the authorities something more effective than their current provision they become suspicious and defensive. It challenges their authority.

    Call me counter-dependent but that is the 'Tyrany of Care' and woe betide us if we're not greatful for the extra happiness such care has brought.

    On a more positive note in most of our societies there really is the money available to fund poor peoples' therapy; it's just a nightmare of beurocrasy chasing all the paperwork and writing the proposals.

    Maybe some of us will have to do some paper work and brown nosing!

    Sorry about the euphamisms.


  21. A few days ago I did a very lengthy intake interview with a primal therapist. She was incredibly patient. I had plenty to say, and she WANTED to listen and understand. She certainly wasn't looking at the clock! Despite feeling some mild anxiety, I found it very easy to talk with her. Now she is discussing the interview with the other therapists. The Primal Center knows I haven't got enough money. They are not interested in making a profit from me. If they were, they wouldn't be looking at the possibility of including me as a patient.
    I recently reviewed my finances and took another look at LA. I discovered a very cheap hotel in Santa's only a seven minute drive from the Primal Center. It has shared bathrooms - I couldn't care less. It's perfect for my three-week intensive. The cost of living in LA is not as bad as I thought. Patients help each other with living arrangements too. There are plenty of opportunities to live on a small budget.
    Realistically, I think I will probably have to save more money. I have already been offered significant financial help....I expected none.
    Art wasn't lying to Barry. Art, and the staff at the Primal Center are genuinely kind people.

  22. Jan: Hi it would be nice if some of you formed a task force to see how we can make Primal Therapy more accessible. art

  23. Jan

    I'm all ears about Art's proposal. I think that here in Sweden would be avenues if we just became a few of us with god argument.There are opportunities to launch an institution here ... but it would require support from The Centre? It is and will obviously be a major economic issue before a self-sufficiency would be possible. To show good results... also by I clinical trial should open the authorities interest and then from there get a financial support?


  24. Arthur, my suggestion for more accessible PT is perhaps an idea of living expenses, places to rent, newspapers for classified adds, areas to avoid, cautions, cost of living estimates, practical day to day challenges on the practical side to enable surviving near your place. LA could be intimidating, especially from a Maine boy, where life is far more sane.

    My general impression of this subject of depression and growth after there is not supposed to be any, is how scientists, so called, can so easily ignore such things, I guess because it threatens the paradigm. Clearly, these scientists and academics are not exercising their intellect and they are blocking out evidence. Naught naughty ;-) I find it hard not to conclude that there is an agenda behind their ignoring the very obvious.

    For those in power, questioning or thinking is threatening. Obedience without question is much preferred. Innovation always has the potential to threaten or jeopardize in their eyes, some. Maybe they just reject innovation and learning as a knee jerk reaction. Or it could be something more sinister, but I won’t go there.

    But what remains is that PT results are real and real obvious. If one rejects these as a scientist, there is something wrong with that science, even as religion often rejects good sound reasoning or compassion.

    Depression is debilitating, no doubt. But as well, ignorance, superstition and narrow mindedness are pretty debilitating, too. And too often, much of science seems the exact opposite of what science should be. Science should be open minded, objective, reasonable, curious, seeking, even eager to explore and discover and even courageous.. Oddly, Science is often the opposite of these, fearing progress and learning, and hindering others from doing so. Their mindset is narrow, biased, obstructive, even fearful.

    What a paradox, huh? I like exploring paradoxes.

  25. Art and Jan

    Why not ... in one way or another arrange a clinical trial... trial watched by the media... financially funded project by volunteers. I think there are great opportunities to spread the science about it here in Sweden... spread the science about primal therapy more to the public as established more see the importance to keep at a distance. A well thought out representation by a clinical trial I believe would result in a distribution to the public which does not seem to know at all about Primal Therapy.
    As you say Art people with anxiety and depression has a lot easier to join in PT probably… and there is a lot of those here in Sweden… they my do not know that there is something like Primal Therapy


  26. Frank: I suggest a study on the fact that I believe primal people will live much longer. It is simple to do a telomere study of before, six months and one year of Primal Therapy. We need research help and funds. Please help art janov

  27. Hi Apollo,
    the internet provides all the info and then some. If you type a question into Google, you will discover many people looking for the same info and many practical answers. I never go to promotional websites.
    Here's a few things I learnt:
    Santa Monica is a safe part of LA, but don't go looking for trouble on the beach late at night. You can live in a hostel for a little over $20 (USD) per night, or double that for a cheap hotel. (The Primal Center recommends the privacy of a hotel for the initial 3 or 4 week intensive part of therapy). Avoid living in South Central LA. If you want a cheap apartment after you've done time in a hotel, I recommend somewhere in Burbank if you have a car. Burbank and other adjacent areas have cheap rent, are away from all the crime, and are full of pretty Hispanic girls. And of course you could live even cheaper if you team up with patients who are already established in LA.
    For the best information I recommend reading forums as they contain arguments which help to correct any biased opinions.
    If you do end up going to LA, I'm sure you would get plenty of advice from other patients. You don't need to feel just need to be organised.
    My friend got lost when he first arrived in LA....he got mixed up with the buses and was late arriving at the Primal Center. For that reason, I would probably pay for one of the relatively affordable taxi services that would drive me from the airport to the Primal Center or thereabouts, so I wouldn't have too much to think about. Then I would learn the best ways to get around the city in between primals!

  28. Art,

    Aida is a person who would be of great interest ... the success she's doing is in itself revolutionary that anyone who don't know about PT will se somthing they can't deny. She is Swedish speaking without an accent which is likely to be of great help in the presentation here in Sweden about what she goes through.
    Art…why not just by her be representative of what PT is and spread the knowledge. Aidas process is open… honest… she is "strong" in her presentation of what is happening. I think she in her self would sprinkle difference in the perception of Primal Therapy.


  29. Frank: look you can ask her too. Art

  30. I got this comment in an email:

    The above statements are extremely biased, and ignorant of the facts, blatantly neurotic responses from unfeeling therapists... Needs critique big time.

    The above was connected to this site: A very harsh and ignorant review, heavily slanted emotionally as one might note from the mention of the "fires". Who is jumping to conclusions? Sounds like they are, while accusing our favorite psychologist of doing so when he did not. How neurotic is the need for pompous authoritative exclusivism which assumes the total ignorance of those who may not have attended their posh schools? I have met many an educated idiot in my day, and many an enlightened soul sans formal education. Soon, in the future of a few life times ahead, the deepest scientific insights will be the nursery school rhymes of five year olds. So let it be.

  31. Art

    What I meant was that Aida in any clinical trials… here in Sweden may be of great benefit because of her openness. She and I have several times spoken to the Social Board here in Sweden. I understand that they are confused and has extremely difficult to approach us… above all Aida at her straight questions. What I mean is that she probably would be very representative in and after a clinical trial for dissemination.
    What is needed from The Primal Center is to sends therapists and show results with Aida presence ... something I think… with her clear convincing way is of grate important ... in a way commercially… which would be very helpful ... if not decisive for her way of be convincing with the unbearable front stance… she would be of utmost importance for those who do not feel safe in their way of sourcing for help in their struggle.
    We will of cause continuously work with or without this trail but we would be very pleased if this would be possible.


  32. OFF-TOPIC:

    Dr Janov:

    I've been exploring the various controversies around Primal Therapy lately, just as I regularly read your books. I like to look at all sides of a topic.I can't come to any conclusions about Primal at this point, and maybe never will be able to.For now, your books definitely seem more convincing than the critics, as well as more convincing than any book or article of other authors and therapists using the Primal name to promote mysticism, and therapeutic use of LSD. But, I tell you, I came across an article by E. Michael Holden on one other "Primal" site, describing his conversion to Christianity, and I have to say that really threw me for a loop, especially since I was reading some articles by him in Primal Man last night! How would you explain this religious conversion of a former close associate?

  33. Frank: We do not have the resources to send anyone anywhere. AJ

  34. Art

    I wonder if any of us asked you about how you think Primal Therapy should be spread with sufficient knowledge… science. Maybe we need to know how you think and more abide by it?
    I think the big potential lies in how the Center will do their act… act by the content of what you write and the science you explain. But it is also a matter of trust. Is a representative personality with experience in PT something seen as a possible host for the presentation of Primal Therapy? Behind blue eyes can also reality itself be… be for those who can’t see.

    Pleas spread how do you think Art?

    Yours Frank

  35. Marco: Hey if you cannot feel the truth of what I say after many books and 160 blogs all is lost. Get the F---out of your head. Michael, my deal friend and colleague was getting into feelings which were catastrohic. I cannot reveal which but terrible and he did not want me to sit for him any more. He became a self primaler and went off and off over the years. I begged him to let me do his therapy but he refused. There was nothing I could do but watch him deteriorate into suffocating religiousity where he gave most of his money to radio televangelists. It was terrible and I loved him dearly. It is why I say over and again that primal therapy is dangerous in untrained hands or even in self hands once feelings begin. You need help. It is nothing to fool around with. We have worked for 43 years to make it t he best and most scientific therapy extant. What more can I do? art janov

  36. In regard to Michael Holden, here is a few lines from David. AJ

    "The first line can also hold a lot of fear and the danger of self primalling and "buddying" or mock therapy is the creation of abreaction which can slowly increase the pain/fear compounding. I have to watch it that I don't just use the first line shivering and silent cry without the other or slowly my pain becomes "raw" and the fear is magnified. I speculate that there may be a fear as well as a pain window that we are dealing with?"

  37. Frank: The only people who can represent primal to the world are Dr. France Janov and me. We are willing to go where needed when it is worthwhile. AJ

  38. Frank: my oh my. If you do not know how I think after writing for 40 years you will never know. I am not a promoter. I do not know how to spread Primal Therapy. I leave it to others. AJ

  39. I find Mr. Holden’s experience noteworthy. For I do realize that when dealing with such powerful forces as PT pain, one needs to be attended to by someone who knows what they are doing. Being above or below the primal zone needs help to get in the zone. A guide is needed, for sure. That is why it is a bit frustrating that options are limited to one place which requires relocating and all. And some will say, just do it, like it was just that easy. A bit simplistic. PT is going to continue to suffer due to such limited access. Perhaps this is unavoidable as PT is the sort of thing that is naturally rejected or feared.

    It takes personal courage to want the bitter truth of what is inside as well as what is outside. PT patients usually show an admirable amount of such courage. Reading of their experiences and struggles is humbling. I think PT may forever remain a sort of fringe thing unless many become promoters and take on the critics and persecutors. Christianity tried to right wrongs and promote good things but eventually got swallowed up by the wrongs around them so that they were overwhelmed by their own flawed natures. Now she is corrupt and owned by politicians and financiers.

    PT fans need to spread the message but with the knowledge that if our voices become large and with some effectiveness, you will be persecuted and tormented. I would like to think it would triumph in the end, as sometimes a revolutionary though in science does, but on the other hand, if history is the best indication of what will happen, PT will die a slow death and become corrupted and heresies will abound, even as they have in religion and science, and even politics.

    Sadly, history does tend to repeat itself. There were philosophical martyrs like Socrates and Aristotle barely escaped it himself. There have been scientific persecutions and even hits and executions. Histories have been wiped out and rewritten. Political movements have been born, only later to die. Religions would produce rebels and reformers but those usually died in time, too. Those who love and crave power do not like competition that conflicts with their own agendas.

    PT needs promoters who care not for their own welfare but that of the message alone. That’s a tough pill to swallow, I grant.

  40. Why is self primalling dangerous.? Isn't it having the patience to allow emotions of the past to surface in a safe environment with lots of courage and ability to feel pain?

  41. Anonymous: The defense system steps in and diverts the feeling into a symptom or an act out. It automatically shuts down excessive pain which is why you need a therapist to get you over the hump 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.