Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Am Happy If I Think I Am?

The question so often posed in philosophy class is, “Are you loved if you think you are? Are you happy if you think you are?" I mean, what’s the difference so long as you think you are happy? Well, we might ask, “Are self-delusions useful? Do they take the place of reality? Not if you believe reality is in your “head,” in your perceptions; not if you're thinking that thinking is what counts. But alas, it doesn’t because, no matter what you think, the body “thinks” too, and it sends out messages of pain and unhappy and unloved. That is why patients come to us saying they were loved as children, and six months later they learn from themselves that they weren’t. When they get to their pain they suddenly realize what happened to them in their lives.

What does that mean, they learn from themselves? Are ourselves the best teacher? Yes. We learn from our real history, not the self-deluded one that could not see what was going on. We learn about love from what we didn’t get, and we learn that happiness for us, was a poor façade to cover what we dare not faced. We learn, above all, how we fool ourselves unconsciously, how we cannot see what is right in front of us. How do we do that? We learn that when our early pain got too much there was an automatic shutoff, repression set in and blinded us to reality; first the inner one and then the outer one.

So there are several levels of consciousness; one is our top level perceptual one, and the more important is what our heart, brain and blood system say about our lives. It is often not a pretty picture even though we are taught to pretty it up, not complain and look on the bright side. Isn’t that what cognitive therapy does? Look on the bright side, think happy thoughts and have wholesome ideas. It is how we grew up writ in psychologese. So who is the real you? The happy one or the unhappy one? Well, there are two you’s, the unreal self that you present to the world, and the other one that you present to yourself. And that one you cannot really face even though it talks to you all of the time. It speaks to us in a language we barely understand; in high blood pressure, in migraines and muscle aches. We need to speak that language and we need to learn it if we hope to get rid of the complaints our bodies are making.

Does it matter so long as I think I am loved and happy? No if you don’t mind falling sick and dying early. Otherwise, yes. Because all that repression kills. I think the real disease so widespread today is repression.

When researchers put animals in pain they developed symptoms, but when they gave them chemicals that stopped repression the symptoms went away. In short, it is blocking pain that creates symptoms, and unblocking it that eradicates them. Those with leaky gates, inadequate repression, do not have the symptoms others have, specifically cancer, because they cannot repress as others do. Leaky gates are the anxious ones, the ADDers, the hysterics, all over the place, unable to focus or listen to instructions but they cannot cap it all to develop serious symptoms, at least in the beginning. Over long term anxiety, there are consequences. They will die of heart attacks and strokes, but it is the repressives who will die of the diseases of repression.

So to answer my question, yes, it counts a lot not to be deluded, not to think we are fine when we aren’t. There is a price to pay for not facing reality, and yet so many do not get physical exams because they “don’t want to know.” Denial is so convenient, and so deadly. Then we wake up and want to know when it is far too late; when our disease is so advanced that nothing can be done such as in emphysema. People know that smoking is harmful but the need to suppress pain is a lot more powerful than that knowing. Understanding is helpful but a weak sister to need. And eventually our pain-killing habits are what will kill us, and we don’t want to know because we know that we can’t stop. The only way to stop is to get rid of the early imprinted pain. Not easy to do and painful. Who wants that? Those with leaky gates who suffer all of the time and cannot delude themselves. So those in pain can be helped; those who do not know it cannot. Such a dilemma.


  1. Thinking, in and of itself is an illusion/delusion.

    One can think all one likes; it won't change the reality.

    Question:- What is reality. Your realty is what you feel ... in spite of Socrates, Newton, Einstein, Hawking et al. Jack

  2. One other comment:- Descartes said i think, therefore I am. I've updated that to read:- I feel, therefore I exist. Jack

  3. Hi Art,

    There is not a single word I disagree on in this Reflection. My whole life is a perfect illustration to it. My epilepsy in a way was my luck. I could not repress my pain and had to learn from my real history slowly to work at my way out of my split personality, eliminating my unreal self who established the often successful but repressed and suffering project specialist thanks to my leaky gates. It is an irony of fate that I became quite successful as a change and crisis consultant as a consequence of my 2-3 year periods of energetic painkilling. Today I think I would have made an even better specialist in my old fields. However, I would have choosen fewer humilliating projects.

    Having had to live on the unreal conditions, which a lot of split feelings, being unloved, numb and anxious created, was that I got used to manipulate myself in many situations. An interesting reflection I now often make is: “Hey, I could make it off the cuff, I didn’t need any faked or hidden agenda any longer”. Suddenly, life is “easy” even when I have problems. I recognize more and more that if I act and react direct and honestly, people around me seem to appreciate it also in situations, which before would have been uncomfortable, for them and they become more real. It is a natural form of Primal Therapy. The dilemma as you say is that those who can delude themselves cannot be helped. That is, in todays paradigm.

    I think the psychotherapy has to create better connections with physiologic treatments to read the complaints our bodies are making when the brain is in the deluding driving seat. When we cannot put into words what we feel, our body will show it.

    Jan Johnsson

  4. I just woke up before reading this post with the feeling I have wasted the last 15 years of my life (the reasons are complex, and irrelevant to my following point). In major ways of course I have. It's a nasty feeling I can't directly confront - yet. I could also feel/see I don't normally feel it, and in the ways I push it out...as I must, for now. I can also see how the defences to it--subtle ones--drive me into a b-grade "happy" state: we all live in one. When you can't BE real you can't LIVE real. And you even forget what real life is or should be...so busy running with your denial and defences. And when someone asks you if you're happy you think you can give them an honest answer, but you have no idea of the difference.

    *No doubt a primal that will be amongst the first on the list when I finally get this bloody therapy.

  5. one of the things about siding against pain is that you are also siding against your own psychological development. In a sense you are arresting your own evolution because no new state of personal growth can emerge until you go through the process of acknowledging and accepting those feelings that one has previously tried to ward off.
    As Art writes, the dangers of repression are huge to physical and mental health. One interesting instance is something called 'natural autism' in children who when placed in painful relationships with unloving parents actually repudiate or disengage from that part of their being where the pain is located - as a result they may give up on trying to communicate completely because the attempt to do with their carer so was just too threatening. Indeed, they no longer identify with the part of their being that is communicative. They opt for complete inertia and close off completely. I think it is this lack of motion that is key to many human problems.
    I recall reading somewhere that someone gave the example of stubbing one's toe. If you go with the sudden sharp pain then it is over briefly. But it is when you try to inhibit or not feel the pain that you actually increase the experince of suffering. It is a plain and very simple validation of what Art is saying I think.

  6. May I finish your comment? Those with leaky gates who suffer all of the time and cannot delude themselves...are not fonctionning as well as the repressed ones. Therefore they get less social rewards such as a well paid job or at least a steady one in order to save money, they don't have many friends, so they feel alone and rejected and don't get many supportive relationships. They don't travel much and so on. I am wrong? It's another part of the dilemma...

  7. Jan I have many ideas for research that you mention but do not have the money for it. I wish to hell we did but someday.....art

  8. It is an interesting dilemma that stands before each person, if they are aware of Primal T, and for all, even if they do not know or believe in it. There are problems with each direction. Suppression can allow one to function in brain, body and life. But it will take a physical toll, leading to many illnesses or expensive treatments, supplements, and more controversial but effective techniques practiced by the more informed who left the mainstream far behind.

    Or one can be feeling all the feelings that make it difficult to function and be productive, which the world tends to demand if you want to make a living. So one can try to satisfy the requirements of life and functionality or embrace that they are a wreck and closer to their pain and getting it resolved if they can make the jump to California and all that goes with that.

    It is a difficult choice for either way it going to be a tremendous challenge. No one said life would be easy and if they did, they were lying. That happens a lot.

    But here is the tough thing for those unfamiliar with PT. Seeing what looks like a train wreck does not seem like something to imitate or think is a good place to be. It seems quite the opposite. “Boy, I sure would not want to be like that person,” they might say.

    Instead, they look at the guy who is earning and carrying on, something we would all like to be able to do, and try to seek satisfaction, as best we can, in ways like love, independence, self-contentment, even peace and internal serenity if possible.

    Next problem is that our internal saboteur often derails our attempts at those elusive goals, because they do not understand what is really going on inside themselves. Well, really, it is not the most intuitive thing, is it? But many of us here, when we sought answers and read the Primal Scream and other such books, it dawned on us what might really be going on.

    Yes, to heal, it is best to feel. But to function, it is best to control our feelings. It is the natural thing to do. It is not as helpful to PT feeling but it allows us to make sense of the world and survive. As I see it, the intellect can help us contemplate these seeming mysteries in human behavior and unlock the clues that open our eyes to PT. But we have to be looking, seeking. It is not a natural path or reaction. This is why do few actually make it to California for PT.

    But to suggest that one way is better than another, well, that depends on circumstances. But to me, I see a need for publicity, for all PT converts or former patients and believers to help promote why PT is the real answer and why Psychology, well meaning or not (I say not), is not actually the productive solution. Meaningful change and resolution does not come from Psychology or from anything the mainstream status quo has to offer. If you keep seeking the same thing, you will keep getting the same result.

  9. Part 2:
    So how do we get different results? It should be clear by now that talk therapy and psychology have been abysmal failures. I assume there are no arguments there. But why is PT still so far out of the common or ordinary? Like it or not, PT does need to be promoted far and wide. No business prospers without advertising. Neither do politicians get elected without it. Government schools teach and promote to slaves, I mean, students, what they believe will be productive for the interests of government and big business.

    PT is no different and no exception. It needs publicity and wide promotion in order to gain acceptance and understanding. Anything that has made an impact has needed it. It certainly is not at the heart of healing, directly, but if PT were to gain much more awareness among the public and even some wider acceptance, then it might have a chance to grow. In growth, there might finally be enough numbers to spread treatment to other places.

    But I also warn that those who seek to “influence” the world, or even control it, do not appreciate competition. If PT awakens people and frees their minds and feelings from the suppressive auto-pilot that we all tend to follow, without thought, which, by the way, makes us very easy to manipulate and control, since it makes it hard for us to make sense of anything. Just follow the guy in front of you and do as you are told.

    I know most here would like to stay away from controversial or conspiracy type ideas, but if one acts without though to how they are going to be perceived and reacted to, one could end up in much unforeseen trouble, sort of like a deer caught in the headlights.

    PT has obstacles and whether you want to accept it or not, there are those who watch it and all things very carefully. Nothing escapes their notice. But as long as it is not a popular or growing threat, they do not worry. This is where PT is at the moment. No threat. But if it gained publicity and respect, that would all change. I guarantee it.

    With knowledge there is power and danger, both opportunity and risk. PT is small. Too small. If PT can not achieve some greater influence, it will eventually fade away as the next generations seek and think less and less as they are dumbed down and numbed down more and more. That is the challenge before you all.

  10. I got this comment in an email:

    Thank God for people like you!! I absorb ALL your mail and I so so so resonate with EVERYTHING you say! Funny, a man behind the moon I can relate to....from far-away South Africa.

    I have not the money to do the Primal therapy in the USA. I am confined in my beautiful home, no more friends, no more family....only me and my husband....waiting it out, waiting it out. Many years ago I decided I wanted to become at least 150, because of all the things I still want to do, to see, to experience in this wide world. The consequence of that decision was what I am experience now....DISCOMFORT on all levels!! I think my processing is getting exponentially worse, or rather intense....to the point of 'insanity'. It's like it's nearing a crescendo.

    Your emails are like salve to my wounds. My husband deserves 1000 medals for his support, patience and understanding. I'm beyond asking questions, I ONLY have enough energy to barely survive until the veil of suffering is lifted and I have my life back. I'm NO psychologist and NO physician (thank God...referring to the latter), but in my own way I know a lot of energy shifting/releasing.....name it whatever you will...trauma release. The physical symptoms I endure is hard to describe, let alone the agony of psychological pain & discomfort. The light in the tunnel is what keeps me going. As a pharmacist (non-practicing for YEARS by the way) it is HARD to NOT opt for the pharmaceutical crutch of numbing....but it's the ONLY way. You are always spot-on with your articles....well...98% (in my books that is); see I am a Christian and I see the whole thing from another angle, not pointing fingers to anyone not sharing in my thinking though, you included. My own views are exciting to me and my book is in progress, but so controvertial....maybe too hard to digest for anyone for that matter, let alone Christians.

    Thanks for all your insights!!!

  11. And my response to it:

    I bet you don't know how spiritual I am. I am honest, don't cheat or lie or take advantage of anyone. I am kind. I revere all life not just human life. I am generous; I give every week to animal shelters. I never compromise my therapy, which is why there are so few therapists, I want to protect patients and their mental health. And I can be all that without once citing a diety for inspiration. You can lead a good life because you are good, not because there is some higher power somewhere directing you. art janov

  12. Pain. Raised as a Catholic, I was taught that pain was good. After all, Jesus got a PhD in it. The trouble was/is there are many kinds of pain, most bad. Pain, after all, is a sign that something is not right. The problem is what we DO once the fire alarm is sounded. Do we go back to sleep? Shoot the firefighters? Pour gasoline on flames?

    Stevie Wonder sang about "Ordinary Pain." He went against the macho grain, urging guys not to fake happiness (Someone once said Frank Sinatra gave working stiffs permission to cry. "So set 'em up, Joe..."). Stevie sang:

    "Don't fool yourself
    But tell no one else
    That it's more than just
    An ordinary pain
    In your heart"

    There's a difference between healing pain and masochism. Yet culturally, especially for guys (and nearly everyone in the military and corporations), the rule is to act like an unfeeling robot. If the CEO gave up his/her personal happiness to climb Mt. St. Achievement, you'd better not remind him/her that there were/are options.

    In the 1959 version of" The Horse Soldiers" a doctor applies moss to a soldier's wounded leg. It's a treatment he learned from Native Americans. He returns later and learns the soldier had removed the moss, mocking it as "Injun medicine" and complaining that it "itched." Because he couldn't take the temporary pain of itching, he lost his leg forever.

    What would have happened if the doctor had gently told the soldier of the consequences: that temporarily suffering for an itchy night or two would heal his leg? That he would sit with him during his suffering?

    Similarly, how many would flock to PT if they saw its kinder, gentler face? Many people suffer today because they had no kind, caring, attentive caregiver when younger. They'd be fools to jump in now with both feet if they thought it'd be no different than in the past. They need to see gentle sessions (on youtube maybe? I just learned there are some clips there) and read your blog and see you in public. You're not a terrifying young turk but a kindly santa/grandfather figure.

    Finally, the words to Primal Patients ends, "We look forward to another exiting year of training. We hope you will join us." I trust you meant your trainees are "exiting" their own (and helping others to exit THEIR)...pain. :>)

  13. Art,

    Tell you local animal shelter to lobby your government for the introduction of this law: All pets must be bought in a sterile state (having had an operation). Only licensed dealers can breed pets. People with violent criminal convictions cannot buy pets.

    It would go a lot further toward avoiding unwanted animals (coming into being), and would also ensure the animals stay with their mothers for a longer time, so most pets people buy will be sane.

    ...I think NZ is looking at moving in this direction?

  14. To the lady from whom Art received an e-mail from South Africa, I would like to ask her to contact me. May I say something in Afrikaans:

    "Ek was nogal heel verbaas toe ek jou hartstogtige en intelligente brief gelees het. My hart gaan uit na jou. Jy klink na iemand wie so na is aan jou gevoelens en ek sal graag met jou wil kommunikeer. Ek het in 1980 gegaan vir PT, was daar vir twaalf jaar en primal nog steeds. Ek woon in Johannesburg en my e-pos adres is patrem@iburst.co.za. Hoop om van jou te hoor. Ek praat vlot Engels, so taal is nie 'n probleem nie. Groete. Pat Van Niekerk".

  15. Andrew: YES YES. most of of what I have extra goes to shelters. They are the most defenseless creatures in the world. And Michael Vick is NEVER to be forgiven. AJ

  16. I got this comment in an email:

    Check my site this is perhaps one of the clearest things I have said concerning my faith in primal therapy as it is practiced at "the clinic". I am open minded to the possibility that others are doing the therapy right at other places, but I have never found this to be so.


    Oh and in case you just want to read it here:

    I believe in primal therapy because when you use comfort from various perspectives you end up with a primal and that is proof to me that something needed to be comforted, and that something was a terrible degree of helplessness associated with desperate need which was stuffed down by fear. That my friends is Primal Pain by definition. It calls out for comfort but is never comforted because it can’t be felt due to the amount of fear involved and the lack of a sense of safety to feel at the time.

    False comfort which is “neurosis” in a nutshell falls apart under the light of a variety of comforts that essentially leaves the hurt no place to “hide”. Why would comforting attempts produce crying and a re experiencing of trauma in ways that feel safe? Why? Primal Pain is why, it is a reality in us. Primal Pain is real, grieving is real, comfort produces the grieving process, and comfort brings up Primal Pain which is the “loss” we haven’t processed. This is grieving folks, something people have been doing for centuries and to say its a foolish exercise or not good for you flies in the face of all reason. Since Primal Therapy sets up a kind of safe situation in which to feel our “losses” whether from trauma or deprivation to the point of panic, it helps us grieve on a much deeper and, we can easily predict, more healing level. Primal Therapy is necessary and real and a scientific boost to the grieving process. Denying its validity is like standing in the bright sunshine of a summer day and declaring that it’s winter time.

    Additionally, Primal pain creates an inner lie, or a whole group of lies, that set us searching for falsely calming routines, or “comforts” which are “addictions”, as the need for them can never be satiated. Lies also mean we can’t tell friend from foe, and this logically should affect the immune system and not in a good way. Add to this idea the fact that sources of grief in our lives are good predictors of disease and you really begin to understand the big picture that literally shouts that Arthur Janov and his therapy are real and worthwhile.

    Now, as to mechanical forms of relaxation like “meditation” in the usual sense of the term, or deep breathing in some mechanical way, or controlled breathing to ease tension, or massage to relax muscles, or soothing stories and suggestions from psychologists and priests and preachers and politicians do NOT get to the route of the problem. Talking cures aren’t cures at all, and “spirituality” without any grounding in neurology is just a form of mild or not so mild psychosis.

    I am a rational person and my spirituality is the same, it is just the joining of our feelings and our sense of safety to grieve what once could not be “let go of”, the unreal hopes for love that turned into food addictions and drinking and a host of other addictions. Letting go is Primalling anything artificial is not. Primal therapy is the science of grieving the only real science of intra psychic psychological practice. Period, end of debate.

    This “spirituality” that I endorse also allows for our minds to be better integrated and this means we are more reflective and able to be empathetic, objective and creative. These things are the basis for goodness, truth and art which allows us to appreciate life better. These are real spirituality, not pasting on notions that comfort us in unreal fantasy based ways.

  17. Part 2:
    "Once my father told me what had most comforted him when he was grieving the loss of a loved one. Many came to him and said “She is in heaven now.” etc. etc. He said that what most comforted him was a lady who kindly put her hand on his shoulder and said simply, “I’m sorry.” Real empathy isn’t symbolic…

    Some may be too unreal to see the sense of what I just said but I am willing to show you how various comforts from various reflective perspectives reveal the evidence that your false comforts are avoiding. Yes, Primal Therapy can be demonstrated as true, even without vital sign measurements etc. Yet, gee whiz, Arthur Janov has even given you that…

    All this is why I believe in Primal Therapy and why I practice things that help me to feel and grieve."

  18. I found this article to be enlightening. What works? I can't be myself many times in the outside world and when I'm working. At times , one's job doesn't allow it in order to perform properly. Throughout my life , I just tell myself to be strong, and to constantly try to "obtain strength" . People and society, I find, make me feel weak many times; that is why I look for strength...even if it means being alone at times. It is a dilemma, as Art says.
    Repression for me , I know, does make me weak; until , after work, or something I am able to work out to feel more like myself.
    It is a mystery as to what does work for one's life.


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.