Monday, January 3, 2011

More on Language as Anesthesia

We have found that circuits from feeling centers to the top level cortex are stronger and more numerous than the circuits leading down from the neocortex. The implications are that language and thoughts do not change feelings so much, but that feelings do change ideas a lot. Thus the premise for so many insight therapies contradicts how the brain actually works. And explains why those who have undergone insight therapy (in all of its ramifications) have been self-deluded into thinking they are much better. The whole point is that the brain figures out a way to be self-deluded. Too much imprinted pain sets this in motion. And so thoughts go off in the direction of the feelings. If we feel like a loser then we give up trying to go to college or to study, in general. Or don’t try to get the girl or guy of our dreams. After all, “Who would be interested in me?”

We have to think, “Why would the brain grow itself in a certain direction; a direction that evolves to repress feelings? How is that a survival mechanism? Think: suppressing feelings helps survival. It has to do with blocking menace, the danger from terribly painful feelings, and

then we have to wonder where do those powerful feelings come from and what are they like? They are mostly imprinted from our womb-life and birth and are memories of what we had to do to survive. Those behaviors become fixed and drive our lives. When a fetus, for example, is probed (in amniocentesis) he withdraws and he shows signs of withdrawal. He grimaces as if in great pain, which he is. And his pain chemicals, stress hormones, rise radically. He is learning what to do in times of danger; withdrawal, removing himself from the scene, is one approach. Because the experience is life-threatening the system remembers it as a heuristic experience (setting guidelines for future behavior). In short, there is a flight to the head, to the intellect; a flight away from feelings and toward something that will reduce the danger. And what is that? Ideas and beliefs. It is the last in evolution and is our most precious defense. We can rationalize and theorize; we can project blame and mentally escape from the danger of terror that lies below so much intellectuality.

So in a strange paradox we flee to our heads to escape feelings and that flight is what becomes dangerous. We live in our heads or take drugs for further suppression, or we drink to help sequester our feelings, but no matter what the feelings never go away, grinding away inside, wearing down the system. They are treated as alien forces by the system; the enemy who must not be allowed to attack us from inside; hence we take blocking-medication to keep the attack from inside from happening. The drugs slow down or block the message from rising to the level of conscious/awareness. So we can think we are fine because we have blocked out of awareness of the painful feelings.

Language is the last evolutionary weapon we have against ourselves! Isn’t that strange? We develop something that can combat our own experience. And shunt it aside. And which allows us to pretend it never existed; and instead of feeling bad because of it we have the tools to make ourselves feel good; a self-deluded state that we all can share. That is what is universal, repression and denial. Wonderful.

Now how is that we evolved a thinking brain that anesthetizes pain? When we think about that too much we get into theology. I prefer science. We first impress pain into the system; we register code and store it for the future and then we develop a system to block it from conscious/awareness. We smother it with thoughts; and you thought they were a wonderful new addition to the human being. They are, and they are also this pharmacy of painkillers which is also wonderful. The system knew it could not go on under a terrible load of pain and find love and avoid danger. So it pushed it aside in order to remain stable and functional. Those who could not set pain aside are the ones who are dysfunctional. And what are those terrible pains? Lack of love, by my definition, of lack of fulfillment of basic need. So it must follow that we need love more than anything. We need it for life, for survival, for sanity. We need it to maintain the basic physical and physiologic structure. Otherwise, we don’t grow properly and our organs do not evolve correctly. Think of it: we manufacture chemicals that block the experience of pain. They do not block pain; that is another matter, although scientists are now close to removing the biochemical elements that build into pain. But most of us will settle for not knowing about it. Repression is the original denial. It denies reality, a reality that lives on a different level of brain function; on a different level of consciousness.

Look a the cult leaders; they hypnotize us with their promises of fulfillment, if not in this world then in another of their choosing. And it is indeed hypnosis; grabbing our need and twisting it so that we no longer are conscious. We follow blindly. We obey without question. And we do so in psychotherapy. They lull our critical capacities so that they are rendered useless, and then they move in to control and manipulate us.

One of the crimes of the century, not including the holocaust and other disasters, is the psychotherapy of denial; for that is what nearly every therapy extant practices. It makes patients more repressed, hence sicker. It helps bury reality, through medications which are designed for that, and through insights and beliefs that shut out the truth of our existence. I mean just a bit of neurology will tell us that the prefrontal area has a major role in blocking feelings. How on earth can we enlist it for change? We are putting the mask of anesthesia over the brains of our patients and we are calling it therapy. Let’s stop the crime!


  1. Art: You say: "How on earth can we enlist it for change? We are putting the mask of anesthesia over the brains of our patients and we are calling it therapy. Let’s stop the crime!". If you are asking rhetorically "how can we enlist it for change?" I assume you are suggesting that an awareness of 'Language as Anesthesia' might help; but then what? I personally doubt that the study of psychology through language and thinking is likely to take us to this point, since we are already at the point of denial before we start. I would like to hope that a discussion might begin from this blog/article, but see little chance of that from my understanding of what takes place in the universities, teaching psychology or even neurophysiology.

    Until or unless, as I see it, we can find a base-line to begin, we are more than likely to pursue 'committing the crime' rejecting, on whatever grounds (defenses) can be used to defend the status quo. I sure would love to see another article by you Art as to how to pursue a new avenue. My view is to bash away at our un-naturalness as a creature on the planet and showing our neurotic life-style for what it is, and how counter-productive it is, to simply; living the life ... through feelings ... not thinking, and all that progresses from being a predominately thinking creature. Jack

  2. I hope in this documentary of yours that you show examples of the process of repression (like a real-time developmental occurrence) and directly correlate examples to the neurological processes within the brain. And keep showing the correlations: if you can adjust people to looking at psychology and psychological processes from that integrative viewpoint, then you can help get their thinking on the right track. And in turn encourage other therapies (and psychological manipulations of all kinds) to account for what they are really doing by getting them to think in these terms too. In theory!

  3. I had some thoughts on this idea of the cortex being impacted by below stem. Hence, the stem is blamed for all thinking or nearly so. And when I say thinking, I am referring to self-delusion. But here is my thought.

    There is a subjective view or reason and then there is an objective view and reason. Example, maybe someone while being born, gets frustrated and either angry or depressed because they can’t get out and are suffocating. Nothing they do seems to work. This is the subjective view. It is real and it affects the present.

    Then we encounter legitimate circumstances in the present that bring up much the same feelings. My boss won’t let me do my job. Co-worker makes trouble for me. Business is corrupt and cheats me. No matter what I do, it does not seem to work.

    The latter seems far worse than it might be, because of the former added to it. Now suppose we feel through the former and get rid of it. Does it mean the latter is no longer true? Maybe not. It is tough to get anything done. We are resisted at every turn. Yes, it was amplified before the pain was felt and integrated. But it is still there. The present has not changed.

    So feeling may change the truth of the present or it may be the feeling was right (in harmony with the present) all along but simply not in correct proportion to the present. When is the thought process right, such as when we recognize PT, and when is it wrong or deluded?

    I still maintain that if the mind is not too damaged, or if we have managed to exercise our cortex enough to hold back enough pain to make some sense of the present without undue interference from below. Many have recognized PT while full of pain. So it can be done. How can more do it? It needs to be done more and the intellect, as I see it, needs to be helped as best as it can. If enough people believe in PT and would like to pursue it, then it can possibly grow.

    But PT, that the good doctor heavily promotes, does not credit the cortex and give it any ability to struggle with and overcome to some degree, the illusions and lies of the world and our bring up enough to enable more to see. PT is about feeling and we all need that to actually change, heal, and eliminate the pain rather than bury or suppress it. Yet the paradox is that we sort of need the intellect and cortex to see the right course to begin with. PT only sights that at present and belittles the mind and thoughts.

    I see both feeling and thinking as part of the first step. And after all the feeling is done, there will still be thinking to be done and developed. Feeling is great for activating the ability to read, feel what others are feeling, and react without self-deception. But thinking will develop the strategy to get there, maybe.

    In the end, how do we confirm what is right or wrong, in science or any other pursuit. I believe it is the marriage or union of both feeling and thinking that is a winner. To attempt anything with only half the formulas seems a mistake to me.

    I quote Arthur: “They lull our critical capacities so that they are rendered useless, and then they move in to control and manipulate us.”
    Yes, they get us to shut off the intellect and embrace our feelings. Is that not the problem or what?

  4. "Language and thoughts do not change feelings so much… but feelings do change ideas a lot". Emotions have long been relegated to be defended by ideas and language. We think as defense to maintain the "purity "of the need for what love is. The effect we see in all these symptomatic reactions take place… not because of the emotions became ill… but that there was a defense that brought about those consequences. The need has to be expressed in its proper nature to show its nature ... that takes place in primal therapy.


  5. Comments on “More on Language as Anesthesia” 
    I have received some comments on my blog about my "Epileptic Journey", and a few have expressed their regret that I have had  to go through such a painful life to survive. One dear friend put it this way “it is Christmas Eve, and I am spending it with your pain and joy”! I had some of these issues in my mind when I read your last Reflections and my long life of pain and joy oscillated in my memory.

    How has it been possible to survive? Exactly, the way you are describing how pain figures out a way to create ideas/projects/ambitions in order to remain alive and not to feel the pain. By using the anesthesia my brain produced, triggered by painful feelings, and of not being loved and of being put through an extreme birth during hours filled of horror and close to death feelings. In many cases, the self-deluded result paid off handsomely and brought me further from my real self, however, they created resources to go to Primal Therapy... 
    My ideas/anesthesia worked most efficient from, the age when I was 20 until I was 55. 35 years composed of 2-3 year periods when I developed, performed, and succeeded and finally failed in projects in different layers. This meant one professional job / career layer, one with partners and relationships and another with countless body treatments, etc.. I was stimulated by a growing apparent success, but every time the pain started leaking, then I had to escape into a new project. It was a perpetual mobile of pain and joy. 

    I was fortunate to have had an insight through The Primal Therapy that this was a life pattern of “escape from freedom,” which leads to my early death. I left this pain driven rat race and experienced how my epileptic seizures turned into birth primals and a new life ascended based on real needs. This life was less flamboyant but sustainable and with a new ability to see much further and to stop creating ideas and projects, which drove me. Now I try to run some projects to stay alive and to fulfill my obligations to my daughter, for example. In spite of all, the pain I have suffered has been worth it due to all the experiences I have been through and all the fantastic people I have met during my life. Though I would not again go through the humiliations my pain has caused me.  
    Ever since I read the Primal Scream, I have been allergic to cognitive therapists. Every manipulation they could do, I could do better myself, and they did not help me. However, a few times I enjoyed the beauty of such a female therapist, but she never committed any crime to me.

    I can understand but not agree when you say that the traditional psychotherapy is one of the crimes of the century. A normative definition views crime as deviant behavior that violates prevailing norms- cultural standards prescribing how humans ought to behave normally. This approach considers the complex realities surrounding the concept of crime and seeks to understand how changing social, political, psychological and economic conditions may affect changing definitions of crime and the form of the legal, law enforcement and penal responses made by society. 
    I hope increasing the understanding for and the use of Primal Therapy might create a change of realities and as the culture changes, the political environment shifts and allocation of resources are influenced so that one day we can say that traditional psychotherapy is one of the humanities biggest mistake ever and then if necessary criminalize certain behaviors. With the help of science smoking, once so heavily promoted by Hollywood, slowly is being criminalized all over the world.
    Jan Johnsson 

  6. Hi, thanks for the confirmation Doc,
    I know this sounds daft but perhaps Primal could re-invent the Teddy Bear for grown ups. I mean they put green leaves painted onto the petrol pumps to make the petrol seem more environmentally friendly. . .There's not much marketing savvy in that and it works. Perhaps Primal Ted could be the next new adult toy for marketing Primal therapy?

    Being a construction expert I need my Neo-Cortex to put roofs over our heads. Somebodies' neo-cortex invented the umbrella too.

    Arts' neo-cortex is documenting and disseminating Primal Theory.

    I'm not convinced the neo-cortex is such a bad egg. . . I mean, sometimes mine makes me laugh and what would I have to culture my life without one? Where would I put my front door keys?

    Then there's all those reflections, like on the human condition. . . I mean, what would a human be like without a neo-cortex?

    Planet of the Apes? Excuse me but I really want to know what a human without a neo-cortex would be like? Anyway don't other mammals also have some rudimentary neo-cortex? Whales, Dolphins.

    Lastly, there are certainly ideas that de-integrate belief systems. This blog is definately de-constructing my defences. It's still talking and words but it's de-integrating my beliefs.

    I think "Motive" is really important. If we have the motive to lay down defences then they will get out the way. Art's showing us a way. This blog is highly sophisticated because it offers us a way to just that. I can see that we are getting free therapy in this sense. It depends what you want, I want to deconstruct, I'm fed up of being "constructed" in that way.

    Many thanks

  7. Art, if there is one person you would like us to write to, who is it? Perhaps fifty blog followers could write to that person. I would feel more motivated if I knew I was writing to the most appropriate person, especially if I knew there were other people writing too.

  8. Apollo, go to and look to the right for excerpts from training. Watch 'Insights in Primal Therapy'. In that video France answers your questions.

  9. 1) Talking about a feeling is NOT 'having' a feeling. It is merely talking (thinking) ... period end.

    2) Contemplating (thinking about) a feeling is not 'having' a feeling either. Merely contemplating it.

    3) Blogging, writing, discussing, teaching are using the thinking brain to explain ... feelings. If we all knew from uterine life onwords how to feel; explanations would become redundant.

    4) A Primal Therapist, practicing his/her therapy uses his/her own ability to feel, and empathize what is taking place with their patient.

    5) The method used to practice Primal therapy is the use of words to convey a suggested action, either by listening to an event being related by the patient and leading that patient to the feelings that took place at the time of that event OR, persuading the patient to express (possibly with words) those feelings, that he/she is currently feeling.

    6) It requires that the therapist has a deep understanding (and experience) to help their patient express that feeling, once the patient is feeling it. Easier said than done.

    I sometimes feel on this blog comments, that merely discussing feelings is all that is needed to DO Primal Therapy. Art is not doing therapy on this blog, but merely discussing the inner workings of the brain, through language, based on the theory he formulated to explain it. He has no other way.

    The end goal is;- TO FEEL. For many this is a whole new way of being.


  10. In order to heal with Primal Therapy, you need to allow yourself to become vulnerable. Many feelings cannot be expressed until one has let go of all defenses. Often, just to say two or three deeply connected words, requires such total vulnerability.
    As a result, one slowly starts to let go of that aggressive and competitive edge that is so typical of people in this world. It does not mean one becomes weaker, it's just that the aggressive act-out/defence-mechanism dissipates over time.
    As an ex-patient of Art I can understand the problems associated with marketing PT in a manner with which Scientology has succeeded. Marketing, in my opinion, means aggressive bullshitting, which is exactly what Scientology does. Btw, I know one or two Scientologists and they are so awfully driven and disconnected. Most of them are chain-smokers.

    The producer/consumer complex has brain-washed people into accepting the rah-rah-rah of marketing and advertising, as if nothing is valuable unless it is sold in that manner.

    PT is a slow, gentle process that requires immense skill from a therapist who also has to be vulnerable in order to perceive exactly where the patient is at. There is no rah-rah-rah, very little talking or advice, little direction. It is inner-directed, not outer-directed.

    A psychologist or other person with only academic training and who has not gone through the entire process of didactic training with Art or France, will not be able to help anyone to heal. They will lack that particular vulnerability to do so. How do you mass-market such a time-dependent, almost fragile process?

    My guess is that any attempt to mass-market PT will result in it being devoured and destroyed by neurotics. As the saying goes: "Do not throw your pearls before the swine"

  11. Jan The problem is when people go to therapy desperate for help and get nothing. Or worse, they get messed up. A problem is when you know better and yet you continue to do what does not work and just prolong the agony of the patient. The problem is giving someone false hope, providing mental illness/repression in the name of therapy. AJ

  12. Richard: I really don't know. I once called the head of the National Institute of Mental Health, and they would not accept a proposal for curing addiction that I had because they insisted I go through a friend of theirs at a University. art janov ANY SUGGESTIONS?

  13. I suggest that we all write to the director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

    In my letter I would try to explain as briefly as possible the nature of repressed memories/imprints, and I would state what Dr. Janov claims: improvements in heart rate, blood pressure and hormones after one year of therapy. I would say that the Primal Center has made huge advances in the last five years, and propose a cure for anxiety, depression and addiction.

    What do you think Jack? Does anyone else have any ideas?

    Dr. Insel's contact details:
    Dr. Thomas Insel, National Institute of Mental Health, 6001 Executive Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

  14. IMO the top of the ladder is Art himself, all others are on rungs further down certainly in the Mental Health field. The only others might be deans of faculties in higher learning institutions, but alas, they are already structured into the status quo and it is this 'status quo' that I feel you Richard, Art and myself would like to get through to. I personally don't see a way other than pure luck and/or co-incidence and perhaps persistence.

    I tried in my book to suggest that 'Unified Field Theory', or 'The Theory of Everything' had been proposed and all that was needed was an investigation to see if that was so. I wrote to Stephen Hawking at Cambridge University, Applied Mathematics and Physics department in England, only to be stopped by his gate-keeper. Any and every one in these kinds of positions of influence have these rigid gate-keepers. All that is left IMO is that pure chance entry, but sadly, as I see it, it's extremely well guarded; maybe for some good reasons.

    History has given us some examples of break throughs in mankind's thinking, but who is to say just how many never did get through and have have left us bereft of some great notions ... that might even have saved us. We are left assuming that most great stuff does eventually get through ... but I'm not so sure anymore.

    For me that break-through (the greatest in my view) is Primal Theory, not Primal Therapy it has too much baggage for the Mental Health community to see through. The theory, on the other hand stands a greater chance. Neurotics for all their denial, idiocy and blindness just MIGHT see the break-through.

    Least ways, that's my neurotic hope. Jack

  15. A profit-run world is not interested in an individuum (that which cannot be divided). The split is required in order to have people who can be managed, manipulated, ordered to do this and that. Fortunately, what has been done by man can be undone. The fear of the dragon waking up and breaking thru the thin protection wall is so great although deep down we know, without that our life is the life of a zombie. Thank you for contributing to bring an end to the painful separation. In great respect and appreciation, Gabrio

  16. Art,

    First of all, I think it is the right and responsibility of everybody (when grown up) to decide about their lives and destinies. Art Janov cannot do that. He can provide a voluntary and not mandatory alternative, which in many cases may help. Unfortunately, I know many who could not benefit and assimilate your help.

    You said once about people in general: “I think most people are good” and so do I, even in the case of cognitive psychotherapists. In good faith the majority of them try to cure acute, emergency problems like most doctors being prisoners of an old paradigm. And they often fail.

    What I cannot understand is that, during the last 30 years, science and research have not been able to prove the theory of your principles of “evolution in reverse” and establish a new paradigm. I found in my “Pandoras Box” a copy from you from 1980 (Brain, Mind bulletin, May 19, 1980) in which you and neurologist Michael Holden are talking about a “recently completed first large scale, systematic and long term physiological study of people undergoing psychological change”.

    What happened to Michael Holdens “resolution index” first described in 1977? Why has it not been possible over 30 years to convince science, authors of psychotherapy handbooks and therapists of this new paradigm? I know that things take time but there must be a few resons which are not being approached.

    I consider myself a living example of that your Primal Principals are working, but my story, of how I succeeded is tough stuff, and it has scared more than it has attracted. I would like to se more facts on the table!

    Love Jan

  17. Jan: Hey thanks. You must understand. I just threw out fifty cartons of my writings cause I have no more room in storage. Since I write every day of the week I am surrounded by thousands of pages that I have more and more trouble organizing. So I lost the Holden stuff. Can you send me it. I even forgot what it was about. I loved Michael. He was so bright and so pure. Art Janov

  18. Richard; You suggest "...... that we all write to the director of the National Institute of Mental Health. " If you can garner several thousands to write to The National Institute of Mental Health you just might get someones ear, but getting that many people from the Primal Community is in itself a major task, if YOU were willing to take-it-on. There are billions of ideas-men out there, but I doubt there's even thousands willing 'to-take-it-on'. Therein is the rub. Art knows all about just this. He wrote a best seller, then when every "Tom Dick & Harry" with a degree in psychology wanted to jump-on-the-bandwagon, Art put a stop to it--and for good reason, foreseeing the potential danger of all those guys from reading one book, wanting to practice this new methodology. In hind-sight did he do the right thing? Only time will tell--if we have that much time left. Those that saw the brilliance of his discovery, but felt thwarted for being left out--in spite of their assumed educational qualifications BA's MA's and PhD's then questioned the IDEA. Many still practicing their own version of it.

    I spent years writing a book based in the theory behind this discovery and after self publishing am lucky if I got twenty people to read the book, let alone see any value to it. Since, I have looked at how and why certain ideas and people with ideas gain prominence. My mother once told me as a teenager running around with lots of ideas in my head that it was not WHAT I knew--but WHO I knew. Meantime I have been searching for the ones I hoped might help me 'climb the ladder' ever since. Alas, I never found even one of them. C'est la vie. Jack

  19. Art

    You all said what there is to tell about the possibility for Primal Therapy to get a foothold ... it is almost impossible.
    I can’t see other than a legal process must take place for a worldly commitment to enabling… a legal process with all what there is to prove PT. I do think the cost would be of a minimum compared with now going on… with all of us badgering instead of doing our therapy.
    Art… just do that… get the best of help and let us pay what we can?


  20. Jack: even if there was such a ladder, how long is it? And what will you do when you reach the top rung? All the ones who reach the top seem to have the greatest instability.

    Thruth is self-evident, one needs to open the eyes to see it: as an egg will hatch when the time is ripe, so will human consciousness.

    Those who are ready to admit to be lost in the labirinth of the mind will be ready to accept help and each one has the inner knowledge to recognise what is true guidance. To relax in what "is" seems to be the key. Greetings from Munich, Germany. Gabrio (teacher, sculptor)

  21. Just an might be usefull to use former patients testimonial with a recorded case (a recorded medical file?) in a systematical way.
    Let's say 50 former patients willing to help.
    Just by using their medical history and how they make it nowadays (ex. a former drug user or somebody with a severe disease). No additionnal and expensive scientific survey needed,just people writing how the therapy changed their life.

    Another side of the problem is that most people on this blog (including me) are "outsiders" with no first hand experience with A. Janov's work and/or treatment.
    When Dr Janov says that therapists usually talk to the wrong brain in their patients, we deal with the same problem when trying to convince the scientific community: even in front of facts and figures, they won't "feel it".
    The liviest part of A. Janov and France's work is the therapists they have trained and keep on training. If they failed at passing the "right state of mind" nobody will keep on going in the right direction, scientific studies/papers or not.

  22. I do not think anyone will get anywhere trying to enlighten academia, professionals or orthodoxy. Those are dead ends and I say that because if you fully understood their motives and agenda, you would realize they often know the truth and want nothing to do with it since it conflicts with their dreams and goals.

    It must be the little people, average people, people not accepted by academia or the status quo. People who do not fit in. Square pegs in round holes type people. These are the ones that must be reached and won over, if that were possible. In numbers, they can get through to others.

    Avoid any path leading to the Status Quo gate keepers. they are the ones that suppress and persecute. Persecution takes many forms. It is not just attack. Sometimes it is nothing more than ignoring something or denying it any publicity or giving it any respect or sullying its reputation.

  23. I just found this website which could possibly enable people to raise money for therapy if done creatively. Even research???

    I think 100's of people would do the trick in a letter writing campaign. This could be quite effectively organised through facebook. It would be easier after meeting/talking and nominating someone as a leader. You can easily talk with many people at once all over the world with software such as A rough letter could be drafted providing a template with statistics etc and then individuals could fill in personal stories and how therapy has changed their lives.

    One other thing that I would love:
    I often struggle to explain the therapy to non-primal type people. Would it be possible to develop an intensive course (ideally in the summer!) where people could learn the theory of the therapy and how to explain it scientifically (not in order to be therapists - just to have a more in-depth understanding). This would be an ideal ground for hatching these sorts of ideas as well.

  24. Gabrio: It has been my contention for some time, that we are approaching the "Primal Contention" form the wrong angle. Primal Therapy is a therapeutic process that Art and others have claimed to be dangerous in the wrong hands and ill-trained. I did 30 years of this therapy and agree with that pitfall 100%, but the discovery of Primal Pain offers another way to approach implimentation:- "PREVENTION". Because of the discovery it should be possible to see a way of preventing neurosis in the children of tomorrow. If it can be demonstrated just how NEUROSIS is stifling human life and the way we humans choose to live. I think any number of disciplines might easily look into that notion and see a way to prevent (slowly perhaps) this debilitating disease for the future of mankind.

    Primal Therapy is attempting to "mend" the already damaged. Promoting therapy is long, arduous and contentious Primal Theory on the other hand, could much more easily be stated to see a way to PREVENT the damage in the first place. It is extremely simple to comprehend. I have stated it briefly in 1695 words on 10 pages that I feel even older children could understand.


  25. Sig. Rossi,

    To have someone to understand something when something is what he do to not "understand"... feel what all is about… that is an equation like Einstein’s relativity. To have someone to “understand” that shyness… anxiety and depression can be explained like… the pain missing love causes is shyness anxiety and depression which means that our love is impossible to experience without feeling that pain… and we by that can begin to “understand” that something is wrong. The pain shyness causes is tremendous… more than a child can bear... it’s a question of life and death in the end… or the right term… the beginning of our life.


  26. Emma: Hey thanks. We are doing training every week starting now. It is open to those who want to learn more about it and for future therapists. art janov

  27. Emma, I love your idea of conferencing. I personally would prefer to use Skype because it has free video-calling for up to ten people.

    But if more than ten people want to talk, the service you suggested, with toll charges, might be better, although it looks like they require you to occasionally fill out surveys and stuff otherwise they terminate your account.

    We would all have to agree on the best conferencing tool and download it. Everyone is welcome to email me, stating your preferred choice, and I will get back to you with the results.

  28. Art

    The training... can’t that be done over the web for those you feel ready to participate? It might be a winning formula. Broadcast alive and recorded for those who currently can’t participate ... and for those who currently can’t get part of it by being members... members of this training over the web?


  29. Frank: It is an idea we are kicking around as we are finishing the legacy program where all of our years of training will be on DVD's and can be bought from us. AJ

  30. An email comment:
    "Art, thank you again! I so appreciate your last four sentences in this most recent blog
    about how just a cursory familiarity with neurology will "tell us the prefrontal area has a major role in blocking feelings.
    How on earth can we enlist it for change?" I'm sure, therefore, you're familiar with the work of Dan Siegel
    and his celebrating the idea that meditation thickens the prefrontal cortex. He recounts in the Mindful Brain how he's away on his first meditational retreat and connects with this feeling about his mother and cries deeply...yet he never demonstrates a curiosity as to what the experience is about neurologicaly!! Further irony--in recounting some case
    histories in Mindsight, he describes himself facilitating a number of patients into deep grieiving over childhood stuff
    and still doesn't really get what's happening. You know, it's been 38 years since I started therapy on Almont Street
    and for all I have felt and grown and learned, it still occasionally blows my mind that very smart (high IQ/lowEQ) people get so close to the truth and then veer sharply away from it. I've been telling my clients (a lot of very close coaching with leaders of organizations in retreat formats) "we can't think our way out of what we were wounded into" and this has made total sense to every last one of them. Seems so simple, doesn't it? But as you say in many different ways, denial is insidious and pervasive. Once again, I'm so grateful for the work you have done on this earth and that I had a chance to benefit first-hand from it...and still am. "

  31. And my response to it:
    I do know Siegel's work and I invited him to come see what we do. No thanks. He has a hint of what to do but cannot do it all the way. How sad for him and for his patients. art

  32. In evolutionary terms "thinking" is a recent development and ... IMO was developed to repress feelings. We are basically a feeling creature and our ability to think is NOT an advanced state of being, but rather implies we are an inferior creature, hence, we play killing one another on a thinking pretext to avoid our own pain. Pain, from the child-rearing practices since we learned to 'think'. QED Jack

  33. Art, the NIMH says you must submit an application for funding, and the peer reviewers will decide whether you should get funding or not.
    If your scientific observations cannot be accurately or fully presented because of the restrictions in their application requirements, I wish you would tell me this.....or give me a reason why you no longer bother with these types of applications, if that is the case.
    If it's a long story and you don't want to go through the tedium of explaining it to me, then let me know and I will get off your back. ok?
    I need a better understanding of the Primal Center's relationship with the NIMH and other authorities so I can see how to form the right argument when writing to them. Then, if I still can't get through to them, I will give up and try something different.
    You say they will never listen, and I guess you are probably right, but I would like to find out for myself.

  34. Richard, let me tell you a story. I went through the whole process, went to Washington D.C. to explain my work and then the NIMH came out to see me. One man said to me about a woman writhing on the floor, crying her eyes out, "Why is she showing her ass like that?" Then I knew all was lost. I was trying to explain the moon to someone who never knew about planets. I tried a couple more times but to no avail. art janov. We should try again but It cannot be me. We need younger ones with much energy and less deception.

  35. Jack,

    The thinking mind is a multi-purpose tool. It helps us to solve problems and it helps us to moderate, control and repress feelings. Its evolution would have been driven by all its advantages - the need to repress being only one of them.

  36. A comment from Marco I deleted by mistake:
    Dr Janov: You say you threw out 50 cartons of your writings? Considering how important your writings are I beleive, is that wise? Surely there must be storage space somewhere!

    And with respect to Mr Holden, why do you think he became such a fanatical born-again Christian? I read a speech he gave in his Christian period, and, well, it was just plain weird. I must say that I do appreciate what he contributed to your Primal Man book, even if I did not understand everything he wrote due to a lack of knowledge in neurology.You two outdid yourselves in that book: it is just so solid scientifically. If people don't get it after reading that great book, there is no hope they will ever get it, in my opinion. "

  37. Marco,

    I am under the impression from what Art has written that Michael Holden understood primal theory/therapy, but not himself.

    As to you question: "why do you think he became such a fanatical born-again Christian?"...

    I, personally, would guess the answer is here:


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.