Monday, December 27, 2010

On Getting to Need

In the old days I used a fake telephone to have patients call their parents and tell them everything, what they needed, the pain, etc. One patient picked up the phone and then complained to me, “There’s no one home.” This was clearly a double entendre. There was never anyone home, and when they were, there was still no one home. But I used the telephone to make a point: patients were always saying, “What’s the use? They are never going to love me.” And I say, “That doesn’t matter; what matters is that you feel and express your need.” In that need lies a world of pain. We can use the left brain to rationalize, “I don’t need it or them,” but alas, the need remains unabated. It drives so much later behavior.

So we rationalize with one brain while the other is hurting terribly. It does matter whether they can love you or not because that never changes the need; that need tells the truth of our lives, or our history. We do not want to cover over that history. In it lies liberation. For unfulfilled need means pain. Why? Because we are being warned that something essential to life and survival is missing. The trouble is that it becomes an imprint that dogs us for a lifetime. We are on constant alert, agitated and stimulated by that need no matter how much we try to relax. If we successfully repress it, the tension in our muscle system can lead to all kinds of maladies. Or we just ache all of the time.

If we never get to the right brain and the deep brain we will never get to need. It is covered over by the hyperactivity of the left prefrontal brain. We need to find a way to bypass that verbal, intellectual, rationalizing brain and get back to our nature; our feelings, which are our nature. Those who are distant from that nature cannot value our environment, or animals, or anything that belongs to nature. First they have to feel what is inside of them. Not an easy task; worse, when they chose a therapy they often chose one that also bypasses nature and flees to the safety of the intellect. Ay ay ay.

It is interesting about the right and left brain. A new study found that those humans with left brain injury became more creative. (New Scientist. Dec. 18, 2010) That is, they seemed to have more access to the right brain and feelings. After all, it is feelings that allow an overview, an ability to make the connection among facts. The left brain seems more point-by-point, punctilious; seeing each fact as an entity onto itself. Feelings seem to be more global and provide a deeper understanding of events. What the study seems to show is that the left brain can smother creativity, and of course, feelings. Language is wonderful and terrible. The more intellectual, the worse you are, as odd as they may seem. And yet, where would we be without Einstein. He was certainly creative. Yet he never got onto the Heisenberg theory. It is just that intellectuality in the social sciences seems to be deadly. How else to explain the lack of interest in a feeling therapy?


  1. In a conversation with a therapist:

    He made the point that his client is unable to defend himself against his abuser (Mother) who still controlled his life.

    He continued saying, I have tried even “Gestalt” without success.
    My question was, what should the client defend?
    His identity and his integrity, he answered.
    My question again, does the client know about his identity?
    His answer, everybody has an identity.
    My question, how can a person know its identity if they don’t even know their fundamental needs?
    Training, was his answer.
    How can you train a client to defend something they never felt, I asked. I continued - your theory pulls a plastic bag over the client’s head and you act surprised if he can’t breath.

    If a person has never been asked, what do YOU feel, what is it YOU need, their identity remains hidden under a mountain of pain and his/her true self can not emerge, nor can she/he defend it.
    As long as the disconnect between right and left hemisphere exists, one brain will dominate and the pain remains, holds the person hostage and unable to find the reason he should continue to exist.
    Every training, coaching, CT, is a left hem approach that leads away from the NEEDS (stored in the right hem) and clutters the already overloaded brain, dose not heal the already frail corpus callosum, and leads into new despair.

  2. Hi,

    I was complaining to an academic colleague about the narrow beliefs of some intellectuals and he cleverly (and truthfully) pointed out to me that there was also the obstinacy of the "Intellectualised". Later, I realized that he was refering to me. It is possible and common for each of us to become overlaid with an "acquired" personality or false self that we learn to use to get strokes.
    Monkey learning new tricks, teachers' pet.
    From what I understand the early imprinted intellectuals as a group of types are adapted to live relatively passion-less infancies and as later developing chimps are happy to also acquire an "Intellectualised" or 'remote' position in life.
    This is for them a terrible double bind and I wonder if they can ever break free from that way of living.
    It seems the longer a civilisation develops more and more resources get poured into a well of partial neo-cortical endeavour. The extremely partial scientific research institutes. (they always claim to be really objective).

    The perfectly rehearsed facade of the tyrant, absolutely in control (but only with his neo-cortex) brings about the total destruction of everything valuable, including the knowledge. The "Intellectualised" end up destroying the intellectuals and all the documents. Look at the Nazis in Germany. . . That Romanian tyrant bombed the libraries. . .
    A big self destructive tantrum errupting to free people from the tyrany of such feelingless living? A huge act out.
    It wasn't just Einstein who didn't get onto Heisenbergs' uncertainty principle. In manufacturing and other walks of life it is nearly always the intellectuals or "Intellectualised" who fail to implement quality control, the ability to really think ahead, to consider others. . . Almost exactly like Arts' description of the way psychopaths never seem to learn from their experiences. . . I am not saying the intellectual types are incapable of empathy. . . what I am saying is they forget to remember to feel (or never found out)and their expression of instant gratification is to act impulsively (or obsessively) in the direction of a theory. Long periods of indecision followed by impulsive actions. Paranoia. Probably their 1st line pain is so repressed they continually reach for the closest defence in their head to justify their in-action/ re-action (meanwhile they are ruminating and re-presenting the information).
    This way of inter-acting with others always forces an authoritarian dynamic! too frightened to act, too paralyzed to consult and too ready to delegate impulsively at the end of a period of procrastination. Very frightened lizards with neo-cortical add ons (Arts' words).

    I don't bother discussing shit with people like this now because for them "Anything can mean Anything", just as long as they push away intimacy and prove their belief system.

    Take care not to waste time and energy on old (and new) dinosaurs like this!


  3. Hi,

    This mention of Heisenberg has really pressed a button in me.

    The Lizard can't think ahead, it is either too 'present' and /or too terrified. Bound to be one or the other much of the time. . . holidays basking in the sun help to calm the terror of existence. . .

    From a survival point of view, to have a warm blooded feeling ability is an aid because it offers a wider range of 'detection' in oreder to alert for survival.

    So, as evolution allows for the cold brain stem to flower with a warm feeling, so that must also be protected by another development. Which is the neo-cortex.

    Perhaps the most important aspect of this latest defence is in being able to anticipate hazard as a future planning methodology. Therefore the main purpose of the neo-cortex is in anticipating future hazard (not projecting fear).
    When the neo-cortex works for the rest of the organism to this aim over long periods of time, interdependent relations develop with other like minded individuals and you get civilisation.

    Heisenbergs' uncertainty principal is a diamond of proof for this. Everything currently developed in the field of mediation, counselling, Non Violent Communication and many others has this acknowledgement of uncertainty and "Self Reflective" quality to it. "IT" is quality control. That is what self referal and self reflection leads to, the ability to anticipate the future from integrating the past. This is the fundamental difference between us humans and the other "sentients".

    Heisenberg's not the only one. People say to me (as a carpenter) "how do you get it to all fit together" as if there really is a mystery to it. There is a natural and evolutionary pattern to the way things get done in the universe and we humans know it mostly by the term "quality control".
    In the trades, all over the world, for many centuries, there has been a tradition of an "overseer" who does nothing and hopefully rarely passes comment. He just observes the workers. . . maybe he makes tea, who knows because each group is different and what he notices is different each time. He is not on the tools but his role and the hat he wears could not exist without the other workers, the client and the society in which the deal was being transformed. For sure he is most interested in how the individuals are feeling because their co-opperation will make the project. Really we need our neo-cortexes to be reflective like this as a methodology for interdependence. Thats how 5 billion of us actually get on anyway, more or less. It's just the pirates screw the system.

    Quality control and uncertainty are where it's at. Living with these things is an adult and mature position.

    We can't rely on the stock market. . . nor the science institutions, nor culture, nor democratically elected leaders.

    Blogs are good though.


  4. I would like to respond to this blog with my own subjective response to need as opposed to want/desire. Any unmet need it is going to be catastrophic. Some, like breathing, would bring disaster rapidly, others less immediate would take longer and still a few others I could go for months or years before I would feel the pain from the lack of that need. My wants and desires don't necessitate fulfillment and, bring, at worst, frustration. Frustration won't kill me: lack of need will--by definition.

    It was the discovery of what happens to needs that are repressed that was our greatest discovery of all time, because, finally, we were now able to see ourselves as a whole, rather than just viewing ourselves through the intellect/consciousness. The discovery; that what was contained in the unconscious/subconscious, gave us a new awareness of our REAL nature as opposed to what previously had been only our behavior--disconnected from repressed feeling in this newly discovered subconscious/unconscious. The mechanism--brain physiology--now available, enables us to figure this out.

    We don't need to have "re-lived" events stored in our subconscious/unconscious to understand this phenomenon of a divided consciousness. We are able to be aware of it--if we were to just permit it--and be able to see our real nature as feeling creatures, having, like other creatures, a left brain to express those feelings.

    It's when there is no access to the subconscious/unconscious, that the left brain works overtime to rationalize that other something that is, at best, only subliminal.

  5. "A new study found that those humans with left brain injury became more creative"

    I believe that our consciousness can only receive a set amount of input at any immediate time; and no more nor less than that set amount. So, if your left brain is defunct you will simply have no choice but to "switch on" to your right brain.

    Generally speaking of course, our left brain is our No1 distraction: a mass of over-active intellectual(ism) input incessantly filling up our conscious attention so as to literally make no room for emotional input. And of course left-brain therapy just helps that process (distraction) on its way.

  6. PG: Are you sure you are not a professor? AJ

  7. PG: I try not to waste my time but alas, some things have to be said. art janov

  8. Sieglinde: you asked and answered. bravo AJ

  9. They used to call me "proff" at my extremely elitist and perverse prep school in England. I know it's just a clever defence.

    I've studied a lot and done a lot of group work and therapy, much of it useless.

    Actually I'm a professional timber frame carpenter and woodwork craftsman. When I'm busy doing that, I have little to say and a strong sense of purpose and achievement. When there's no work (or money)I shrink and go straight into my head (reaction formation). We perfectionists are always ever persuing the error and the detail. . . It's infuriating for me too, f*****g neurosis.

    fortunately I am very much in touch with my feelings. It's hard writing about feelings even at the worst of times. I dont want to compete with your actual patients and therapists, whos moving testimonies bring me to tears. I want to do Primal Therapy but as so many of us keep saying it is going to be a major life change and needs planning for. Money is just one of several issues. I'm aiming at Primal from where I am at now.
    It is a privalege to be able to contribute and get feedback. This has helped me tremendously at a very difficult time in my life, I've lost nearly everything apart from my basic tool kit, my feelings and contact with my kids. My current therapy had gone well past its' zenith and this blog has opened up an avenue that I had not expected but sorely needed.

  10. Speaking of Einstein. Perhaps great than the uncertainty principle was his 1928 Grand Unified Theory. It was a completely refutation of the 1905 Relativity theory. In fact, he called gravity his biggest mistake. I do not now completely what he meant by it.

    But for some reason, few have noticed this dramatic change in his ideas. They still cling to much of the Relativity theory. They do not seem to like the newer theory and its direction and implications. Most interesting.

    Most mavericks are summarily reject. Too often, they call for change when the status wuo would like to keep it where it is. Here we have the problem with PT. It seeks to moves us ahead, when others would prefer we stay behind, confused and easily misled.
    Most all movements have mavericks, those bold and brave souls who risk much to bring something good to the world. But what often happens is that the status quo will try to stop them. After a movement is started, the status quo will move to infiltrate and corrupt the movement, gain control of it and redirect it or make a mess of it.

    It might give us reason to ponder about the future of PT. After 40 years, it is still only available in one place where only a few can be helped at a time. Can it grow? Can it die? To me, that depends on more mavericks. But if some should rise to the challenge, let it be known there will be resistors who will seek to stop or change it. It happens with religions, philosophies, science, schools, anything or movement that brings new advancement that might conflict with other agendas. Just something for you all to ponder, if you will.

  11. The finding of more creativity with left brain injury is good. I notice so called idiot savants have amazing abilities, almost seemingly beyond human. One can only wonder at our progress and abilities if we could avoid serious trauma and grow up in a proper environment.

    Arthur once wrote about the original primal pain in primordial man, way back in the old Primal Institute Newsletter. That too, is interesting to ponder. But then there is that question, can we ever dig ourselves out of our own hole? I think not. I see PT as great for healing and self discovery, an emancipation of sorts. But it is not likely it is going to catch on unless a movement of people who care will brave the intense dissatisfaction some will feel toward such a movement. Or we can just get fixed ourselves and let the world melt down.

    Alcoholics Anonymous adherents have an interesting thing called Acceptance. It is pretty much impossible to control or change the world. Perhaps we can barely make an impact or influence a few. But when overwhelmed by a feeling of loss of control, we might try to change the world. But I would not recommend it. Then what to do? Any ideas?

  12. An email comment:

    Hi Art
    The answer to your question[although it seems to be a rhetoric one] in the last paragraph "[ It is just that intellectuality in the social sciences seems to be deadly. How else to explain the lack of interest in a feeling therapy?]" is : The lack of interest in feeling therapy does not come from deadly intellectuality but from feeling of fear to feel feelings\needs as they apparently bring sensations and feelings of threat to survival, and thus should not be allowed because survival is in it self the strongest primal driving force of every organism. But I know that you know that way before I did.

  13. Apollo: I feel you are right on with your analysis, but I feel your analysis will do little to probe where we go next. I too have spent the last 20 year pondering how to make Primal theory available to neurotic mankind. Why I say Primal theory and not Primal therapy is because I realized the unavailability of this therapy, given that Art demanded, and I concur, that training therapists was a long and careful process, and even then required practice with several therapist in order that they keep one another "straight". Though I felt early on that it was the theory that needed the promotion and have, over that period of time, seen how the mental health profession was going to hang onto it's 'status quo'--It's very lucrative if not very efficacious--and it is in 'this realm' that necessitates "thinking outside the box".

    Whilst I agree that Einstein, Planck, and Hawking et al were able to to see outside their own 'box', each of them remained in the 'scientific box'. It is within this box that I believe we need to pull it apart from within and see; perhaps; mankind's salvation. Hawking, in his book "A Brief History of Time", recognized that Unified Field Theory (or, The Theory of Everything) was going to have to be simple and understandable outside the thinking of mathematics and physics. Alas, IMO he offered no clue as to where to look. I contend that Unified Field Theory is to be found in psychology in general and Primal theory in particular. I have written a book to this effect. I sent a copy to Stephen Hawking, but was unable to get beyond his gate-keeper.

    I disagree with you Apollo if you think 'a creative left brain' will fathom this, and further propose that neuritic man's 'Amazing Abilities' will NOT get us there. It needs first some acceptance of 'feeling-full-ness' hidden in that inaccessible area of the brain called: 'the subconscious. Only then might each of us really understand the nature of the 'subconscious' and what it contains--and then know that the only way for mankind to circumvent this inner core of pain is:- "PREVENTION--in the children of tomorrow".

    This, Apollo, is my idea. Jack

  14. Apollo: You say: "I notice so called idiot savants have amazing abilities, almost seemingly beyond human."

    The interesting thing about Idiot Savants is that their extraordinary abilities are exactly those that can be replicated on a modern computer (usually). Idiot savants are good at what is (now) pretty much useless.

    I think their abilities have more to do with a developmental reaction to an extreme eccentricity and narrowness in conscious focus (a deep form escapism from immense pain?) than substantial intelligence. I also think that many exceptional (but "normal") intellectuals are leaning toward the idiot-savant spectrum as well, and probably for the same ultimate reasons?

    The genius of the human mind is in its ability to integrate broad information and into a holistic and accurate perspective - a process light years beyond what any existing computer can do (try writing a programme for it!).

    We need more right-brain in this left-brain world. We've got too many "human computers" and not enough "natural" human intelligence's to guide them and run the show.

  15. hi,
    this is one of the most interesting post of yours. nice written also.
    i don't really want to comment anything.
    i just feel like expressing my "need for love" with a poem i wrote last days. it's about a beautiful girl(her name is Sheyla) who "likes" me but is in love with somebody else. a drama for me and my pain. well i'm in my feelings all the time...
    you might like it

    i miss your eyes
    i miss your smile
    i miss your smell
    i miss your touch,
    you are always in my mind
    i wonder why does "love" hurt so much?
    so much i want to see you
    i want to know you are fine,
    so much i want to be with you
    i want you to be mine,
    life to me is empty
    without you on my side

    i'm sure you can see deep behind the words. a lot of need for love in there.
    it would be nice to go into these feelings one day and get rid of this fucking pain about the "need for mom" and more. luck of love you say? a real hell...

    have a nice new year

  16. Hi Jack!

    What I suggested, sort of between the lines, was that in order for PT to become more available, there needs to be a greater market or demand. That is, more people need to see the need and value, even the authenticity of PT. Because as long as it is small, it will be largely unavailable to most. Do you open more centers and then hope for patients? Or do you create more interest in people wanting to become patients so that more centers can be opened elsewhere profitably?

    But if you are suggesting that the left brain will never get on to this, I would suggest that is exactly what has happened many times and will continue to do so and produces those who want to become patients. We all discovered this will being “neurotic.”

    I noted Savants as an indication of what we might have access to, if we were not blocked off. I get the “feeling” that you do not see much value in the intellect making a “discovery.” Let me say this.

    I have no doubt that many who recognize PT as legitimate, do so with both the intellect and feeling. I suspect that as damaged as some might see themselves or maybe others see them, if they recognize PT, then maybe they are not as damaged as they or others might think. For I believe that a good intellect will need that intuitive side/insight to help guide it. Many truths are discovered, initially, by intuitive feelings or hunches. As well, intellect can sort of police feelings coming up that might interfere with the process of logical reasoning.

    I know PT and Arthur seem to suggest this is not possible but I disagree on that one. It would largely depend on how damaged they truly were. Some are somewhat damaged. Some, by Arthur’s own admission, would seem to be beyond help, permanently damaged. Others may not be nearly as damaged and so might not have their access to the sub-conscious quite as inaccessible as others do.

    But if there is hope of help, it will have to be recognized while still being neurotic and disturbed. Some have done that so it is possible. Is it also possible that more could be reached? I’ll leave that for the rest to ponder.

    But as those belonging to AA recognize, we have little control over the world we live in. I can accept that. I surely will not be able to change it. I am not hiding a blue shirt with a red triangle and a yellow S on it in front and beneath my outer shirt, nor is there a red cape tucked away in back.

  17. Hi Andrew!

    I see savants as being on one extreme and many intellectuals on the other. But I think that many talents displayed by savants like music and ability to carefully distinguish notes and remember every note in detail and control the muscles to reproduce it are beyond mere computer crunching.

    I see the gap between conscious intellect and savants as being the balanced in between that would be nice to have. Easy access to more ability, but not so much that we remember every date and every year and that sort of thing. It is important to be able to filter out excess info and set some priorities in abilities and what to pursue.

    But I once had a dream showing me many things in psychology. It was a knowledge and understanding the intuitive “sub-conscious” had that I did not consciously have. I tried to bring it with me into consciousness but without success. It took me 20 years to get to where part of me was, 20 years before, that I could not access and use. It was walled off to me.

    What else is walled off? I can only wonder. The same may be said for many of us. But apart from PT, most people go through life without pondering and trying to accomplish anything. This seems a waste of our minds and abilities and to make things worse, we are so brutally mistreated that we are walled off from having access to abilities that could enable us to accomplish far more far more esily.

    You mentioned: “We need more right-brain in this left-brain world. We've got too many "human computers" and not enough "natural" human intelligence's to guide them and run the show.”

    I am of the opinion that we do not have enough intellect in our world. It is contaminated and corrupted by basic instincts and drives that hi-jack the intellect and sabotage it. Despite all this, the intellect sometimes still manages to create enough serenity from within to put together some coherent rational reasoning that is solid. That is why many of us are here on this forum because we have gained at least this much insight in that we know what is wrong and how to fix it.

    Now we just need the circumstances that will make it or allow it. But I would propose that our job would be easier if more could see as we do, so that it might become a more available option in more places. PT is otherwise doomed to remain forever a very small seldom sought alternative. Perhaps that is the ultimate destiny, to never be recognized broadly since most do not want to find what they fear and are running from. I suspect that will prove to be the case.

  18. I have one stupid question in regards to all this theory of having to re-live our primal need. I imagine myself finally "getting" to know what this need is and re-living it, but my question is what is next? The need is not going to be met and we all know it. We also know that in order to heal and come alive, it has to be met. So, how does it help to re-live the need while knowing that it will never be met? I don't deny the value of re-living it, as I imagine, it'd help one become more accepting of the fact that the need will not be fulfilled, and with the partial acceptance there comes partial peace. But since the need will never be met, we will continue to be developmentally deficient for the rest of our lives. So, I don't believe that just re-living this primal need in and of itself is the key to becoming fully alive. I believe it is a part of what has to happened, but the other part, as I see it, is to learn how to live with your deficiencies without destroying yourself.

  19. Anonymous: It is not that the need has to be met; that is analysis. It has to be felt so as to dissipate the pain. You need to read my last 2 books, if I can take the time to write them, you can take the time to read them. 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.