Monday, January 17, 2011

More on the Imprint

I have written a lot about the imprint. On the deepest level of our existence, womblife, the imprints are urgent because so much of what goes on is a matter of life and death. A mother smoking, drinking, taking drugs. A mother deeply depressed or manic. All this impacts the fetus and is coded and registered for eternity; it is imprinted everywhere in the system. That is why when patients relive the imprint there are changes everywhere in us.

As the brain evolves each new higher level of brain function represents the imprint in its own way; that is important. We add emotions and images on one level and then add ideas to represent the imprint on a higher level. Think now. Ideas are representing the imprint of the fetus on an ideational level. And those ideas make no sense because the imprint makes no ideational sense. Ideas here are trying to accommodate to the force of the imprint. And oh yes, the imprint down low is not just sending neutral, banal information upward; it is also sending the valence, the energy and the force of that imprint upwards. So the idea/thinking level now has an urgency to how it responds to current situations. And the response can be over the top because the current situation has resonated with the lower level imprint and its force to produce inordinate and off-the-wall reactions. And those reactions can be hyper-suspicious, paranoia because the imprint that has been triggered off is one of terror; the mother manic and superexcited terrifies the baby, and when he is old enough to form beliefs he will no doubt be paranoid. And anything that weakens the defense system such as LSD or marijuana can lead right away to paranoia. Now you see why?

Let’s go over this a bit more. The spokes radiating from the fetal and birth imprint are re-represented in their own way on higher levels. The dream level tries to cope with it but soon the dream cannot contain the pressure and the force and it leads to a nightmare. We wake up terrified, not because the Nazis or the tigers are chasing us, but because the feeling is!! The imprint is unrelenting. It contains the pain and the terror and forces us all of the time to deal with it. There is no respite. The second level manufactures the Nazis to justify the fear in the same way that when awake we manufacture enemies to justify our rage and our fear. And when we are in a weak state, it bursts through and produces a panic or anxiety attack. That anxiety is no more than the imprint forcing its way out. And we take painkillers and tranquilizers to deal with it; those pills work on lower levels and then calm or suppress our strange ideation for the moment. The bizarre ideation is not the problem; it is the imprint. That is why it seems like such a mystery in the real of psychiatry. No therapy has a method of getting down deep to deal with the imprint. And worse, no therapy has a theory that includes it. So how can they ever understand it?


  1. Comments on More on The Imprint

    A few years ago the talk about imprint and the beginning of our life in the womb scared me and made me tense and epileptic. Today, after having felt and lived through much early pain during the birth process and learned that my seizures were equal to the prolonged torture, I had to endure over 48 hours to meet my mothers biblical desire for a painful birth, I look at my experiences with new eyes.

    Now I can feel how my tendencies to block myself in many different situations goes all the way back to my birth process. The imprint has permeated my body, my feelings and my way of thinking and acting. First after 40 years I can with increasing ease liberate blockages on all levels. Now even in my dreams I can find a way out of predictable dilemmas that I have put myself into. Problems which earlier turned into sweaty nightmares of endless battles to find a way out. Often a resolved blockage is followed by the unraveling of whole clusters of deadlocks, which I have put myself into.

    Yesterday, Sunday, Jan. 16th, I was driving with my car in a 2-lane roundabout and made an error and caused a minor crash. My immediate reaction was a blockage. I told the other driver, that it was his fault and decided against the other drivers will that I wanted the presence of the police. While we waited for the police I felt through the situation, my numbness dissapeared, and I realized that I had caused the crash. When the police came it was an easy thing to fill out and sign a friendly insurance agreement and the police was friendly and informed me of minor administrative problems with my car and my driving license.

    Today I have been able to solve 7 different accumulated tasks related to authorities. Some of them connected to the accident, which I should have done long time ago but due to feelings of blockage and numbness on all levels in my system I had repressed. These imprints are going all the way more than 70 years back in time.

    There exist a method of getting down deep to deal with the imprint. The problem is that not all therapists have it.

    Jan Johnsson

  2. Art: you say- "And worse, no therapy has a theory that includes it". Since I claim that there has been no psychological theory since Freud, until Primal Theory, or since, and that no-one has attempted to invalidate Primal Theory, I wonder if it might be expedient for you to write a brief re-iteration of the theory, not for professionals (they should be able to re-read "The Primal Scream' and get the full version)

    I do feel that it could help the layman and the public in general. The shear simplicity and elegance would, I feel, be a great start to a re-assessment of it and, hopefully, your work.

    I have claimed that the processionals attack your work on the premise of their idea of the efficacy of the Therapy, but totally ignore the theory it is based on. It is on this bases that I feel a re-stating of the theory might be a great help and also make many things clearer ... on this blog especially.

    Since I have often been asked to describe Primal Therapy to many and also to state briefly the theory (few are willing to listen to more than a few seconds of explanation) I have even reduced the theory down to a summary of 11 lines in 2 short paragraphs. With your permission I would like to send my 11 lines to this blog, which I hope might be helpful to some. Jack

  3. Hi,

    Ok, so let me get this right. The imprint is driving the second and third line traumas in a sort of sequence. By understanding the trauma history and working back through the resonance, earlier traumas are reached. The question I ask is (for example): Does every single third line and second line trauma need to be relived prior to gaining access to the first line?

    Is the purpose of the trauma history to completely relive all trauma or to find a good enough path back to the first line? What happens if access is gained to early second line trauma (or first)without reliving all third line traumas?

    I feel this is an important question because there are some traumas which have gone on for years in my life; in particular five years of abandonment and separation at boarding school. How much of that do I need to relive before I can get throught to the earlier stuff? Sometimes I feel as if I have to relive every day, one at a time, this is like the labours of hercules and I wonder if I'll ever get there. . . .

    Is it possible that the reverse evolutionary pathway is the key? From what you are saying there is the temptation to make 'a good enough' connection between the traumas. Once first line trauma is reached then a new period of healing begins?

    I understand proper supervision is needed for this. Am I being too mechanistic here?


  4. Jan: and the state of your epilepsy? art

  5. Art,

    Never felt better. It is as if feelings over the last couple of years have drained most of the pain, on all levels, which was originated during my obstructed birthprocess. To get out of symbolic blockages is easier for each time. Maybe by extreme provocation I still could release a seizure, but that is no longer on my list. However, it is a "light" uncertainty I always will have to live with. Jan

  6. Richard and Art:

    I understand that there is a double, coded communication going on between you, with its roots in one or more imprints. As a commentator and supporter of Art's blogg i feel deceived and sat on the sidelines..


  7. PG: The theory is as follows: Normally the patient must be well anchored in the third line where the imprint is played out. Not always but most times. Then the vehicle of feeling will drive you lower when the pain is relivable. To drive a patient deeper before she is ready is a big mistake and that is what is dangerous about rebirthing. There are times when there is immediate access to lower levels. Prepsychotics have this and it is dangerous. But sometimes it can be done. And yes it is possible. Yes we all need a trained therapist. If the trauma has deeper roots then most of that trauma needs to be addressed and relived before going deeper. The pain level down deeper is such that you need to clear off much of the higher levels first. good question. art janov

  8. Jack: sure use the lines you want. It is a good suggestion and I think in the new book out June 1 it will be covered, I hope. But it is already well covered in Primal Healing. art janov

  9. In my book I took the liberty to state briefly Primal theory in seven short (roughly one half page) chapters. At the end of the last chapter of Part 1 I concluded with the summary below.

    In Summary
    Primal theory states that we as babies have needs which, if not fully met, cause us to suffer overwhelming pain which we then have to repress by splitting the memory of it from our consciousness. Unfortunately, this split from consciousness means we have no access through memory to this event, but are forever left floundering and only subliminally aware that something is amiss. Later in life, we develop defense mechanisms to prevent current feelings from recalling these deeper primal feelings which in turn permit the defenses to become embedded and reinforced as we get older.

    Primal Theory suggests that nothing short of a reliving of the original feeling event will connect it back into our consciousness where the defense mechanisms will then cease to be effective or necessary. Jack

  10. An email comment:
    "You could subtitle this one "in a nutshell."
    Good post! Thanks."

  11. Another email comment:
    "Arthur, have you written much on the medicalisation of childbirth? Things such as: increase in numbers of 'booking' a caesarian, instead of letting baby come naturally, stupid lying down position to give birth, standard practice in some places to put babies in incubators if they need it or not, poking, probing, anointing with anti-biotics, not to mention all the rush fuss hysteria disorganisation & stress. There's a fair few women out there think that men should have nothing to do with it. I tend to think it's general improved hygeine that's lowered birth mortality in western society, rather than medics hovering over everyone. Have you met many mums & offspring that can cite happy birth experiences? I think you need also to examine the immense pressures young women face. Equality, respect, autonomy, support, choice, (& in US, decent healthcare), nothing but a distant dream for many women, especially those from low income backgrounds. You're a good bloke, you can foster change."

  12. And my response to it:
    I have written a book to do exactly what you suggest. Life Before Birth. comes out June 1. let me know what you think. dr. janov

  13. Another email comment:
    "Dear Dr. Janov,

    Your writings help me in a way that only a miracle can do, really! I have no words of gratitude that would do justice to you. Thank you SO much !
    I KNOW you are extremely busy, but is it at all possible to make time for questions I have? I so want to understand all the terminology you use and there are some questions, very very important to me Dr. Janov. I bought ALL your DVD's. These last postings of you are like written specifically for me.

    I go through the most difficult time in my entire life. I turn 60 in April, but want to become 150! Such a beautiful life, so much I still want to achieve, but I'm STUCK in my process.

    I am at a stage where I experience anxiety attacks, anger attacks and whole bunch more at any time of day and night. Is what you say here what it says.....?

    " That anxiety is no more than the imprint forcing its way out".

    that the body rids itself of these imprints/traumas/feelings automatically without intervention? Without me having to do anything, besides waiting. (I'm SO done with all these therapies I explored....primal therapy is the only one with substance, but I cannot afford to come to LA)

    Dr. Janov this is SO important for me to know. It gives me hope. There has been NO one whom I could turn to, no one understanding the dynamics I experience....YOU are the first!

    Please find a minute somewhere to answer me.

    Thank you!!"

  14. And my response to it:
    "Yes, I have a hundred page chapter in my book coming out about anxiety. It sounds like you can use our therapy. If my projected research pans out, if we ever get $100,000. to do the telomeres research I am quite sure that we prolong life by a lot. So you and me both want to live a long time. Because we lower body temperature by one degree over one year of our therapy that alone should lengthen life another several years. art janov"

  15. Hi,
    Thankyou very much Dr Janov. Also Jan and all others. It sounds to me as though I am in for the long haul, possibly that's a good thing as I can't come to Santa Monica for a while anyway.

    What is a prepsychotic?

    Lastly I am also completely convinced of the unconvincability of most other people about Primal Therapy and Theory. In many respects I was the same because I read the Primal Scream 25yrs ago, then assuming Primal Theory was part of psychotherapy I spent 25yrs barking down the wrong hole.
    Only by a small reference to your work Dr Janov, in one of Alice Millers' books am I lucky enough to now be reminded of the truth.
    I discovered Alice Millers' books almost accidentally as well.
    People are dismissive about anything painful or taboo, that's how it seems to me. Pain is the taboo.
    Many thanks


  16. Friends, I am enjoying these comments a lot, especially I am very happy to have you Art taking active part everyday with us in the discussions, commentaries etc. It shows that you really care. Thank you again. I' d like to plug on again to the topic "lack of recognition on the part of the medical world to PT". Towards PT is the attitude beeing applied: "ignore it, maybe it'll will go away". Instead of going to the roots of the problem and solve it, they prefer to go beat around the bush "ad infnitum". Fear or cunningness? I think both

  17. Dear Arthur.

    irrelevant to the article. sorry.

    i want to share this video with you. i don't know why. maybe because deeper inside my i still hope that by sharing it with as many as possible something could change in this fucked up world? though my opinion is, it's too late for humanity. i watched it 3 times and i cried a lot!!! i sent it to pr center and so many friends. i also posted it on facebook. and what a response so far! nobody at all has to say something. no comments at all. i feel so sad.

    you feel you must post this here?. as you wish
    i'm sure you will enjoy it

  18. Sig: You know people, especially therapists, and even my students cannot go any deeper than they can go or have gone. Until people feel or are in great emotional pain from their childhoods they cannot feel where the patient needs to go. art janov

  19. yes, and when you say "feel where the patient needs to go" i think you mean see and hear all the subtle information coming from the patient, and all that information is experienced and understood quite easily by the therapist. it is seen as a's obvious (usually)....a holistic interpretation. and that holistic experience continues whether you are listening to music, sailing a boat or whatever. it's not some kind of's just a natural intelligence...but it seems so mysterious to people who can't fully feel.

    people who can fully feel are clever. they are creative and skilfully achieve their goals....and their goals are meaningful and very rewarding. they live a far better life because they are normal.

  20. Art:

    Not to oversimplify, but your therapy seems like learning to lift weights or dance or master kung fu. That is, one needs to do things gradually, building on prior skills. That is, it's not wise to go deeper into pain than you're comfortable with or ready to handle.

    Even so, some “experts” cause people to try things too soon and go too fast, resulting in torn ligaments, stubbed toes, broken bones, or damaged psyches.

    Like most adepts, those seeking therapy need to find caring and competent instructors. Unfortunately, there are too many sink-or-swim hard-asses who act like crazed drill-instructors. They are the beaten kids who grew into adults who beat their own kids “for their own good” claiming “Spanking didn’t hurt me!” (Really? They think beating defenseless children is okay?). Or hazed frat pledges who pass on the pain (in the name of brotherly bonding, of course) by hazing subsequent vulnerable newbies.

    Raised a Catholic, taught that suffering and “mortification of the flesh” were good things, I’m defended against many pains. In the past I probably sought them out, too, to show I could “take it.” What unglues me is kindness. I don’t trust it (my bipolar mother being untrustworthy), yet crave it.

    The deepest I ever went in therapy was when the therapist asked what was wrong in a gentle voice. I wasn't prepared for it. I got scared, started panicking. I felt I was "wrong" and everyone knew it. I felt trapped, like there was no way out. So I slid off my chair thinking I was going insane. I started sobbing… and new that instant I was just scared. I finally stopped crying, sat back up, and felt and saw the world differently.

    Tragically, therapists soon changed and, self-crucifying Catholic that I was, I chose the biggest, baddest one to be MY “helper.” It about killed me.

    I’m also amazed when people say we should be self-sufficient. Most saying so fail to see or admit the help they got. I mean, who raises a barn alone? Can a farmer be a doctor and CEO and pilot and so on all at the same time? People have to cooperate to survive.

    Alas, too many are numb to the pain of not getting mentoring/help themselves. So they hector others to “Suck it up!” or “Be a man!” and so on.

    Someone once said most men in prison are little boys hiding their fears and vulnerabilities under mountains of muscles and tons of posturing.

  21. It is fascinating how emotions and feelings work. I can only wonder about the many purposes of such powerful feelings, as opposed to thinking, which is often void of emotions. I once was in a situation where I was in a religious group where mind control was strongly practiced, which is sort of redundant for most of the world continually also practices such things.

    I suspected they were not happy with me being somewhat independently inclined in thought and actions. I was quite like them and that did not set well. Now, I sensed that there was some resentment toward me and sort of knew how they might respond to my ideas, if they ever got out. But knowing this as a fact was nothing compared to the actual experience of it and its emotional contents.

    When the big show down finally came, even though I knew it was coming and only a matter of time, still the ferocity of it did take me by surprise. I was expecting them to be upset but not to the degree it finally became. I sensed why but it was no easier to bear. I went home numb and essentially stayed that way some. I was changed after that. The experience is far more than when the mind and thoughts can relay. You have to feel it to really believe it. There as a break or split in me at that point. I could feel it. Actually, it was the opposite of feeling. It was feeling nothing at all but anxiety and depression were felt for many years to come. I had been “touched” stained, damaged. It happens to everyone many times, no doubt about it.

    Now I have not experienced a primal episode, though I did come close twice, I suspect. But all I can try to convey to those who might be unfamiliar with PP and PT is that feelings have a far greater impact than thoughts and ideas. I, for one, value ideas very much. But I have never underestimated feelings or their vast importance.

    So let me state plainly and unequivocally, that no matter what you know, and knowing can be important, it will never compare with actual experience and actually experience is stored and can be relived or revived, though in truth, we avoided it and bypassed it the first time, so that it is actually the first time when it comes up in a patient after being hidden away so long or at least remained unknown but not entirely unfelt.

    I would ask all to ponder, what is the great value feelings. I have ideas to offer but it would be good to hear from others, too.

  22. Just to clarify, Arthur. I personally do not think psychiatry is as ignorant of PT as they might let on. It is simply an area they “perceived” (interpret as you like) to be taboo. It might make someone unhappy and you don’t want to seem them when they are unhappy ;-)

    Many are truly oblivious to PT but not all. Some prefer just to avoid it, knowing at the same time that it really does make sense and reveal answers. Just my suspicion running away with me  Damn those primal feelings, huh? It reminds me of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In in the 60s, and early 70s. They had many little slogans and catch phrases. One was, the ”devil made me do it.” Its nice to have escape routes, huh?

    But the value of emotions? They might cause us to over-react at times. But they can also be handy in alerting us to dangers we might otherwise not give that much credit to. I think of the account of a woman in one of Arthur’s books who was conversing with the seedy man who invited her up to his apartment to see poetry or paintings, I forget which. She was reluctant but thought it was just her mother in her head. But it turned out “mother” was right. She was raped.

    It was sad but you can be sure she will avoid those situations a lot more now. Many do not take seemingly “small” warning signs seriously. On the other hand, they may take them too seriously. The challenge in life is to try to put it in perspective despite PP trying to disrupt our thoughts, though unintentionally. The instincts simply do not have regard for our thoughts. They have their won sense of urgency which always tries to disrupt as it nothing was more important.

    Indeed, that may even be the case in many respects but since we have to get along day by day, there is some need for functionality until circumstances become more secure or till we can no longer bear the constant intrusion.

    Athanasios, you have a right to feel sad. It is sad. But sadly, only people like you will have that resonance with that. Most people are too dead in feeling to have any concern for children or anyone in a vulnerable state. Many pretend care for the helpless and innocent but few actually let it change their lives and actions. For many, its just lip service.

    It will be up to the brave few among former kids to face the problems that have brought them to where they are and try to heal through PT or if their thinking brains are stronger enough, to at least modify their former course and give more thought to what they say and do.

  23. Trevor: A good case in point for going too fast and too far is Rebirthing.....very dangerous. art janov

  24. Apollo, to answer your excellent question:
    what is the value in feelings?

    Feelings guide us to happiness. They allow us to naturally absorb far more information from our surroundings. They allow us to notice the expression on our girlfriend's face while also noticing the smell of her hair and the sound of the ocean and the feel of the sand, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. A rich, detailed, full experience.
    I'm not fantasising. I have been there a couple of times in my adult life. It was like a big wad of cotton wool was removed from my head and I woke up to my surroundings. My consciousness opened up for a few seconds, I felt the intense presence of everything around me, and then I panicked, and then I plunged back into my comparatively unfeeling self....back to a state of consciousness that is probably similar to most people's. But I have not forgotten the fact that there was an ENORMOUS difference in holistic awareness. I am VERY LUCKY to know what I am missing out on. Well-defended people have no reason to question their own level of holistic awareness. They don't know why Art is so passionate about his work!! During the NIMH peer reviewed studies, Dr Janov was "trying to show the moon to people who have never known planets."

    Life is supposed to be huge, free-spirited, and instinctively understood. The world is a giant place for you to explore and enjoy, any way you like, without any undue fear or depression. You can't imagine that kind of freedom. You have to feel it. Primal patients feel more alive.

    Put away your calculator and take a risk. Be brave.

  25. Off topic if you care to print it anyways:

    For the last month I have been going through an especially bad time , feeling quite raw ,anxious, and vulnerable (my chest and stomach are almost perpetually like in a vise from fear and anxiety). I will spare you all the details.But I've noticed that when I have been reading Dr Janov's books during this period , I seem to understand even more clearly what he is talking about, although practically speaking , because I am not in therapy, I am not feeling better.Do you Dr Janov, and others, know what I am talking about?Do we need to be really shaken up to get some difficult truths sometimes? I know this might all sound vague, but I can't be more precise.

    Anyways, I just want to say that , like in all of Dr Janov's books, there are some very profound passages in The Primal Revolution, I can tell you all that (that's the book I have been reading the most).


  26. Hi Richard

    Perhaps I might appear non-feeling, but I assure you there is lots of communication between feeling and thinking. I grant, it is not perfect. I know of many things that would like to be resolved. But I can’t just pack up, dump the old man, and run to Cali. Its not that easy. I have obligations and responsibilities.

    Really, the goal of PT is to integrate. Feelings are not better than the mind and the mind is not better than feelings. They both have important useful roles. They need to work together.

    The way I see feelings is that feelings are sort of our instinct. Aristotle calls it our nature, what we inherit as human beings. Now those who wish to dominate us say we have no nature and we can be cultivated in any way they want to cultivate us. But . . . they are wrong. We do have an immutable nature. And that nature can be violated.

    Consider this Richard. You said: “Put away your calculator and take a risk. Be brave.”

    Here is how I see that. “Stop thinking and do whatever I say. I know better than you.” It is what many cult leaders say to their would-be followers. I look at it this way. If PT does not show me the risks in our society right now, what real good is it? If it cannot help me see clearly, or I end up running from clear vision and truth or fearing them, what good is PT?

    Yet, I do sense some fear and reluctance on some issues and maybe even some excessive prejudice in some areas. Fear causes a restraint. It inhibits and stifles. Love casts fear away. I will not run from anything. I’ll take my stand where I am. Truth can be as terrifying as Primal fears can be. I believe that. I have seen that. If PT is as great as they say, it ought to be able to overcome all fear, not just selective fear.

    You have assumed much about me and you could be right or wrong. But PT says no one can know me but me. I’ll leave it at that. AS Einstein said, if I were wrong, it would only take one to point it out. For those who cannot readily obtain PT, then what? This is what never gets answered.

    There has to be a back up plan. I think the intellect is a good back up plan.

  27. Hello Athanasios
    Thank you for sharing the you tube video. I am extremely grateful to have had access to it and have sent it on to my friends. I, too, became very emotional.
    Thank you again.

  28. Marco: Yes I know what you are talking about. I also didn't think you could get Primal Revolution any more. AJ

  29. To me, self-delusions are long as one doesn't get carried away with them and I feel that a lot of people do have self-delusions for at times, that may be what keeps one going. One cannot rely upon friends and family all the time to "keep them going". Actually, without know it, loved ones can bring a person "down" and a little self-delusion could help.


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.