Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rewiring the Brain

Integration means that the reliving of a key memory will affect nearly every system in our lives. So we measure natural killer cells, serotonin and brainwave function to test whether there has been integration; and we have found profound changes (normalization) in all of those over time in our therapy. So we might ask, “Does it matter if we don’t relive events during womb life? Yes, because that reliving can produce a change in many physiologic parameters and in behavior? So the answer is clear. Yes, it matters because we have seen engraved patterns (migraine, high blood pressure, impulsive acting-out) from early childhood and fetal life get resolved and integrated decades later in therapy. If patients needed to do more than relive, then they would feel worse, not better, months and years after therapy. And their physiologic changes would not hold up. (The stress hormone, cortisol, would again diminish to pre-therapy times). As I have reiterated, the only time we can rewire deviated set-points is when the brain retreats to an earlier prenatal time and deals directly with the original causes of deviation. This means getting below repression and into history with every fiber of our being, and that history contains life before birth.

Late research seems to confirm this assumption. Scientists from Mass. Inst. Technology have found that the brain becomes much easier to rewire the younger we are. In the journal Current Biology (Oct 14, 2010), lead author, Marina Bedny suggests that as we get older it is much more difficult to rewire the brain. Most circuits are pretty well fixed. I wonder if it is not easier to rewire the brain when we go back and relive those very early brain states. It may be why we see such progress in those patients who do successfully relive early imprints. This may defy current research which indicates how difficult it is to rewire circuits later in life.

Let me be clear about all this: any intervention by a therapist after the critical period can only be palliative. The warm, attentive doctor can only provide a cushion against the impact of the internal pain. That warmth cannot penetrate deep enough to attack the original imprint. Of course, the patient will feel better; she has been palliated, and that feels good, as I have reiterated. The analysis of transference, understanding one’s pattern of behavior toward the doctor cannot make fundamental change, nor can any insight therapy; the shuttered sensory window won’t permit it. Repression is locked into place. It stops any deep penetration. It keeps us on a superficial level.


  1. Dr. Janov,
    Is healing, rewiring the brain by PTSD possible?
    Thank you for your answer.

  2. So Art, if it's so important to relive womb stuff, how do you ensure patients get that deep? My understanding is that very, very few ever do.


  3. It would be very fortuitous if our phylogeny gifted us with the capacity - or potential - to dispel CURSES incurred at such a developmental depth. On the other hand it is much less of a pity that so very few people with incurred CURSES will ever get realize this potential (do so to some extent) than there is that we allow so much potentially avoidable "specific/synaptic hibernation imploring threats" to automatically put CURSES within people's actention selection serving system.

    I could say it in a different way: It would be a lot better if more highly energetic primal therapy promoting people would put more of their energy into prophylactic psycho-political manipulation, rather than investing so much of it into the "off-chance" that a few folk might be able to thoroughly discharge some of their within their central nervous/"actention selection serving" system, by "Specific/synaptic Hibernation Imploring Threats" "Conditioned-in, Unconsciously Reverberating States Effecting Symptoms".

  4. Comments on Rewiring the Brain

    I suppose it is impossible or at least very difficult to calculate and define, which is the optimal level in our physiologic parameters (vital signs) and in our behavior. I suppose the level for each and everyone of us is as unique as our fingerprints. A phenomenon I have given a thought now and then is that a lot of knowledge (for example, languages) and development I have acquired as a consequence of a paindriven neurotic lifestyle I still enjoy, while most of my filters of impulsive acting out and thinking is gone like my hallucinations and fits.

    My own answer to these reflections is that I might have acquired another knowledge which I could have enjoyed in a healthier fashion if I had had an “ideal” life from the start. However, the experience of having been through reliving early imprinted memories, even if it has taken many years, I would not have had. It is an added value which gives me both mental satisfaction and physical relaxation.

    How lucky I was that I and my epileptic reactions could not stand the warm attentive palliatives from cognitive therapists. They provoked and confused me for some years. The last 20 years I avoided them in order not to offend them.

    Jan Johnsson

  5. PART II

    So is the idea of the "Inner Child" real? Could an abstract psychological idea be factually true? Can we truly go inward-backward-downward into our younger selves and heal? Is what Dr. Jesus prescribed accurate: only kids can enter heaven? That is, only adults who are as emotionally free as children can savor the fullness of life on earth?

    On another note, Art: How do you think feminists will react when they read your new book (or hear about it)? Abortion is considered a near-sacrament to many. A key tenet seems to be that a fetus is not "really" human. You seem to say womb-life is "real," too. If correct, that brings to mind the iconic scene from Kubrick's 2010: A Space Odyssey.” As "fetal" planets align in the uterus of OUTERspace, a human fetus floats into view in the INNERspace of a mortal womb. Does that mean life pre-birth is as complex as that following?

    You don't seem to take political sides, at least not publicly. Still, I can't see how feminists could remain silent if your book gets coverage and they learn fetuses are as real as babies (and maybe MORE important in terms of future personal and societal developments).

    I can also see conservatives using your words to make THEIR political hay.

    Now, all that may not be bad. Heated debates can deepen understanding of controversial subjects, provided basic comity is observed. A gender-politics brawl might also provide great advertising for your tome. And the dustup could also raise interesting questions like, "If a fetus isn't real because it is tiny and not fully developed, should women not worry about itty-bitty cancer cells that aren't quite 'real' yet, too?"

    Your research and theories could raise a ruckus in other ways, too. Fetal-Alcohol Syndrome led to warnings on wine bottles. Could pregnant women now be warned not to WORRY too much while carrying? Would new "fetal harassment" laws pass, mirroring ones punishing sexual harassment? Will it become illegal not to offer a mother-to-be a seat on the bus instead of a polite option?

    Today a female’s “right to her body “ is constrained by things like not being able to put illegal drugs in it…or move it at 150 MPH on highways. Will it soon be constrained by the public’s right to healthy fetuses and birthed babies?

    What impact will your book have on Philosophy? After all, how free are we, really, if so much that shapes us (and does so powerfully) happens before we are born?

    Politically, will governments use your theories to become more compassionate, taking preventative actions to ensure healthier babies? Or will they become more punitive and controlling?

    Will the voting public be more inclined to elect presidents like Ed Muskie who lost his bid due to alleged tears?

    Business-wise, will CEOs who act like Citizen Kane be worshipped or pitied? That is, will ordinary folks consider a person who can't slow down (due to the pressure of his imprint) someone to emulate or be counseled in PT?

  6. Hi Art,

    i d like you to tell me what you think of thomas slater's theory;

  7. Erron: The patient has to stay long enough to allow it to happen. It cannot be rushed, it is dangerous to do it out of sync but it is not us who decide. The patient's system makes that decision when it is time. AJ

  8. Sieglinde:
    I don't know what you mean. AJ.

  9. Trevor: Well it would take another book just to answer your questions. I will try a little. My work is not political altho I have my definite political ideas. I go where science takes me whatever the outcome. Then the politicos can enter and debate but there is no debate that womblife counts enormously for our lives. I don't write for feminists or antifeminists; I write for humanity. For the interests of human development and health. I do not have an idee fixe; that would be, to say the least, anti scientific. AJ

  10. Pbef: It is why I write; to inform and prevent. AJ

  11. Gabriel: looks interesting I will study it. art janov

  12. Dr. Janov,
    I was not clear enough. Sorry.
    Can PT help healing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
    Or is there the same fundamental understanding as with psychopath – no healing possible?

  13. Trevor and others: The idea that a fetus is a whole human is just that:- an idea. The religious bodies are operating from 'principle' and not from the experience of their own history of fetusdom. All the arguments, and I mean all of them, that tell it from an objective perspective, whether that be philosophic, spiritual, scientific et al are merely ARGUMENTS. As I understand Art (Dr Arthur Janov) he's operating from a subjective perspective but giving it a scientific backing.

    He may have a good reason for it, but for him to relate to his own womb-life maybe more than he is willing to talk about as a personal experiences, though I personally wish he would. It would make it all the more authentic, but such personal revelations can be used against one in the world out there, specially in the current political climate where scoring rhetorical points can make or break one. Ronald Reagan comes to my mind with "There you go again" which perhaps tipped the balance to his gaining the presidency. So I see the pitfall..

    For a couple; wanting a child for it own sake and no other sake should be the standard, and knowing all that is involved before hand, the pre-requisite, judging from one's own childhoods. All else is academic wrangling (arguments) which at best are only a matter of opinion. Accidental pregnancies are just that:- accidents. All the arguments about taking a life while we permit the use and ownership of guns and create military armaments and executions in the criminal justice system negate by fiat (thou shalt not kill) the abortion debate, specially in the early stages of a few million unformed cells in the uterus. I hope the revolutionalary notion of life in the womb and it's lasting effects upon us should be that revolution, and hopefully a skilled representative of that notion will be able to way-lay all the other rhetoric; political, religious or otherwise.

    Gabriel Roi:- I find it hard to accept Thomas Slater's initial assumption that we are some higher evolved creature, hence, to me, the rest does not add up. A creature that goes against nature and finishes up with a debilitating disease 'neurosis' is not, by my way of thinking, a higher evolved creature, but one that has twisted and contorted itself to feel a superiority without the ability to fully-feel. What a conceited bunch we are, and destroying the planet fast in our quest to be ... greater than. Jack

  14. You know, I wonder when MIT says the young brains are easier to rewire, and we could probably add, program or condition, I wonder how much those in power have done so already. Some call it social engineering. Then there is that way out stuff they allege, called mind control or even “em-kay” Ultra.

    But the less damage done to people, the easier it is to mold them or reason with them. I have seen some really broken people as well. They are no good to themselves or anyone else. They have such chips on their shoulders that they cannot act in their own interests without sabotaging themselves. Some may even be broken and not fixable.

    But the Jesuits and many others have known for centuries that it is important to "get them" young and keep them for life. When Hitler and the Nazis sought to reorder Germany, they stole the kids away from the parents and encouraged the teens to hook up and breed more soldiers for Germany. Some wrote to parents bragging. One couple came running to the camp but their daughter told them they best go home or they might get a visit from the Gestapo. Today, schools seek to win the kids over to their way of thinking. In fact, parents hardly get any time with the kids anymore, which means they get little chance to influence, either.

    This is why I believe that PT will struggle to gain any real acceptance for there are plenty of others who want to shape the kids in any number of ways to benefit who knows who. Part of waking up and becoming free is to realize that someone has their hands on the wheel and is taking us somewhere. I’ll leave it to you all to try and figure out where that may be. But you are not just drifting along. You are being guided. But if we wake up, we can guide ourselves, with some help . . . maybe.

    Perhaps I will leave you with this paragraph I read 2 days ago in a book about non-profit foundations and what they do with their funds and efforts.

    Won't “the best people in the field” be adherents to one of the reigning orthodoxies? “Sure,” Robinson admitted, and repeated my original question once again: how does an original thinker breakthrough? Stating his faith and the “pluralistic” nature of our society, Robinson thought that these people had many different places to go. From his personal experience, he said they could go to universities if they were rejected by the government, say, a branch of the services. If not accepted in academia, they could go to any one of the many foundations. Becoming impatient, I asked again if the people handing out grants in all these institutions would not be likely, as he said he was, to consult with those same “best people in the field?”

    Reigning Orthodoxies, or powers, are the problem. Call them the establishment, status quo or whatever you like. They seek the young and try to mold them as they choose. PT is important but before many will accept it, they must wake up to the fact that someone has their hands on the wheel. So one might want to ask where they are heading.

    I would love to say, just feel it. But how many people can just drop all things and run to Cali? I still say the intellect needs to become active enough to help people see a deep need to reach for PT.

  15. To answer Trevor's question: I remenber that Dr Janov wrote a few words about abortion. The idea was that abortion is better than bringing to life an unwanted, unloved child growing into a neurotic and miserable adult.I believe that mothers who want to get aborted make that choice for good and serious reasons. It's not an "easy and comfortable" one. I'm sorry but once again it's men talking about women's choices...Maybe one among the women following this blog could write a word about it?

  16. Many unfeeling parents send their 'naughty' children to 'boot camps' and boarding schools.

    There could be a market for a 'Primal Boot Camp' for children around the age of five. Instead of trying to educate the parents, just offer them a guarantee that their 'naughty' children will be 'corrected'.

    Would those parents be upset when viewing video footage of their children primalling? I'm talking about parents who hate and beat their children within legal limits.

  17. I have always thought that abortion was a reasonable and often quite merciful choice. I have argued this from a Bible point of view, moral ethical view and just plain logic, too. Religious people are usually quite narrow in their views and perspective. They like quick easy simple pat answers that do not require serious careful thought. Actually, most people have this. It is not limited to religion.

    It is nice to think and give serious thought. Yes, PP makes it quite the challenge, but I still say it can be done. the trick is wanting it and pursuing it passionately. what ever we are passionate about, is likely to produce results. So says I.

  18. A comment in an email:
    "I believe Janovian Primal Therapy is the best chance we have of turning what is at best now the state sponsored Church in industrialized nations into a respectable science of mental health.

    This is my blog post defending JPT and myself."

  19. Hi Art. After reading this arduous article...
    The Success and Failure of Primal Therapy:
    A Critical Review By Stephen Khamsi, Ph.D.

    I was astounded by their attempts to measure improvement in patients. Flashing images in front of patients to determine the results of Primal Therapy? And they talk about a mix-up of "codes" which hindered the study. Codes?

    Why can't we just combine some evidence of normalised hormones and vital signs with patient testimonials? Information could be collected over a period of one year.

    Why can't it be that simple? What am I missing?

    If a patient says "I feel like shit" while his vital signs and hormones are saying "we are normalising" then that would be an excellent reason for further investigation. Surely the peer reviewers would see that?

    If they can see an easy way to measure a proposed CURE for mental illness....why wouldn't the NIMH include you in the top 10% of applicants?

    I must be missing something. Are hormones and vital signs extremely complicated things to measure?


    by the way, my father is now mildly interested in PT after I told him about it's affects on blood pressure (he has high blood pressure). He wants to know why the Primal Center has high insurance costs.

  20. I relived recently being treated like a second-class citizen by my mother who favored the boys in the family. It was triggered by this awful woman who I have to deal with professionally from time to time. I honestly don't know what I would do without the opportunity to feel these pains.

    I have never felt anything before birth, but I love MRI's, so maybe it wasn't so bad, or on second thought, compared to after being born, it wasn't so bad! ;)
    Dr. Janov--I was wondering in an earlier post you wrote about psychopaths and partial psychopaths. Could you tell me what is the difference between a partial psychopath and a sociopath? I seem to encounter many of these types and your post really helped me to realize what I was dealing with, since at times they can be quite charming and sometimes even charitable.

  21. Sieglinde,
    Here is my position and opinion on what you asked about:
    PTSD implies - by way of this utter euphemism - the very same {broadly categorized) conditioned-in states that Art has suggested we refer to as "primal pain" or (but apparently no longer) "Pain" (with a capital P).

    Since I personally have little qualms calling any such state "a CURSES" I can tell you that there is no reason why a (one or more) CURSES that endogenously cause the symptoms described as PTSD would be harder to dispel than the CURSES that fuel more easily-put-up-with (more normal/acceptable) symptoms of neurosis (or of acquired "AEVASIVEness" or "AEVASIVE personality characteristics").

    On the contrary, I tend to think that since officially diagnosed cases of PTSD are usually so clearly recognized I bet that they in most cases would have a better chance of becoming dealt with in a 'Primal Therapy type' way.

  22. hello Art and all,

    An off-topic thought:

    Maybe a foetus develops an "emotional library" in the womb by feeling what the mother feels. So, if the mother is fearful for example, then the baby gets 'emotionally primed' to respond to fear for later on.
    So (hypothetically), once the baby is born it then pays acute attention to whatever the mother is paying attention to for when the mother is fearful - that is, the baby gets the context for the feeling it was primed for (in the womb).

    It could be a part of survival learning? Seems tangible considering it's only associative learning, which is what all learning ultimately is.

    I wonder if a baby is primed to feel/see hate and lovelessness? I wonder how much of an epigenetic correlate this kind of learning might have?

    Just a thought.

  23. I got this in an email:
    This site is not spam it's important and I want especially any of you who don't know much about Primal Therapy to take a look at this.

  24. Richard: Malpractice insurance has always been very high because Americans sue a lot. Were can I find the Khamsi article? art janov

  25. Erika: Same thing. Some use sociopath and I use psycho.....AJ

  26. Andrew: In France it is called a "folie a deux". I like the idea of an emotional library; the system checks out the book it needs in times of stress and the whole body reads it and reacts. AJ

  27. here's the link, Art

    It's a very old article published in 1988. I only mentioned it because I was surprised by the complicated and abstract way they tackled the problem. Using your current methods for measurement, a new study should be a walk in the park by comparison.

    the 1988 article is the first thing to appear if someone does a google search for janovian primal therapy

    I am trying to convince a friend of a friend to avoid doing Rebirthing here in New Zealand. She doesn't seem to be convinced by my argument and was asking for more evidence. I've given her lengthy emails and links to your websites. I hope that's enough

  28. Pbef

    I know PTSD is nothing but Pain, (my inside), I live with the deriving knowledge.

    I was looking for a direct answer.
    The whole world is using ICD: 10 (10 for psychology) for a diagnosis. This fact cannot be overlooked.

    After the diagnosis PTSD, (according to the ICD 10: F43.1) the client is declared psychologically disabled, receives heavy medication in conjunction with cognitive therapy to manage their pain - paid by insurance.
    The social disaster and evidence is much more shocking: 70% of all soldiers with combat experience, have PTSD. 25% of them live now in homeless shelters or under bridges and more soldiers committed suicide in January 09 than killed by Al Qaeda.
    The opinion (worldwide) is: PTSD (their unstoppable flashbacks, seeing in everybody the enemy) is not “curable”.

    Slowly, clinical psychology acknowledges that children who live for years under threat of abuse display the same PTSD symptoms, even in later years.

    If PT cannot help clients with PTSD, (help rewiring the brain) we face in the next generation a high number of neurotics, acting in or acting out.

  29. WEll, Psychology Today giving a nod to PT and Dr. Janov is kind of cool. Bout time. I was wondering about some TV promos. Short 5 or 10 minute pieces that highlight typical problems people encounter in their lives and how PP and PT can explain and help.

    Dare I say, sort of like some of those 30 second Mormon commercials, only far better, of course. True, it is sad that our society has been dumbed down and deprived emotionally and intellectually, but it is a fact of life and to ask them to read an entire book and think is a little too much to ask or hope for.

    It needs to be brought to a level that might reach more. I know there are limits but to not try at all is to doom so many. A chance for may to brainstorm with scripts that could be made into 5 minute videos. You all write here so lets have it, right?

    These could be posted on YouTube and around. I just think it needs more exposure. The "little" people will be far more inclined to listen. The elite will never listen. They are the problem.

    I look at it this way. Imagine a father who constantly made use of his daughter sexually. Now who is going to want to get healed and who is definitely going to try to hinder the discovery and treatment. Yeah, dad has a lot to hide. Likewise, if you like cheap labor that cannot think, you might prefer that a Primal awakening never happen.

    To many "vested interests" would not be pleased with PT. PT needs to be brought to the people and spoken in their language and medium. They have a need, rather than a desire to block and cover over.

    Put another way, stop trying to swim against the current and go with the flow instead. Right?

  30. apollo: When you have a revolutionary theory and therapy you go to where people need it, and not to the major authorities, which is what I have done. I am trying to overthrow the current psychologic system, not to work within it. AJ

  31. I thought you wanted primaltherapy in the hands of the government some time ago?

  32. There isn't really any practical way to prove primal theory is there? You can measure patients' hormones and vital signs over a one year period, but it's not a proper study if all the patients periodically leave the controlled environment.

    Even if we managed to convince a powerful leader, his/her opinion would be overruled by a review committee.

    I think there are three main things we can do to promote the growth of primal therapy:
    train to become a primal therapist
    raise money for the primal center
    help to educate people who listen

  33. I agree, Arthur. I was not accusing you but suggesting to those who always recommend authority or perhaps trust authority. You are the classic maverick rebel. My hat is off to you.

    You said it as well that you go to where the people are who will need this, use this, accept this. But I have seen some recommend going to authorities.

    Its like some who went to the cops with evidence after the JFK assassination. Their evidence disappeared and sometimes they did, too, or they turned up dead.

    Any real progress in anything must be accomplished by the little people, who have a vested "interest" in truth or in something that actually works.

    I am a fan, Arthur. Sincerely. I simply ponder what direction is needed by fans of this in order to elevate its awareness among the public, the little people, like me. I mean little as in Leona Helmsley "little", the ones who actually pay those taxes so the rich do not have to work ;-)

  34. apollo: I have found that those who are best and most mediatized are the ones who get the patients and clients, and they are the ones we should least frequent. Those who are best known are often the ones with the most hype and the least fine product to sell. Not always but too often. AJ

  35. Paul: No No I wanted to remain in our hands with the backing of the government to make available nationwide. To help train therapists and help fund clinics for the people. AJ

  36. You are no about right, Arthur, about the squeaky wheel getting the grease and attention. And those who can't do, teach, etc. Lots of truth to all that. But I do think that it is hard to expose or promote ideas, knowledge, etc. Some are good at promotion but have nothing to offer as you point out. But PT does have lots to offer. But the "airspace," The publicity airwaves, are controlled so that those who might deserve the exposure do not get it. It would just be my wish that we had more exposure. But then again, I wish we had more peace benevolence, too. Its always nice to dream, isn't it? ;-)

  37. Please find my supportive writings for JPT on all posts formerly on are on the optimistic integration site as they were mirror sites.

    JPT, Janovian Primal Therapy, is not just revolutionary in the field of science but it actualizes the symbolic struggles found in our mythologies and religions.

    JPT doesn't destroy these fields but it erases the hypocrisy inherent in some of their teachings. You can't forgive from your heart what you have never really felt in the first place. Also if you forgive from your heart you see what you did to others and genuinely regret it and change. Yet religion teaches us that repentance is first and then forgiveness. It is out of sync like mock Primal Therapy. Also its insensitive and causes people to have ineffective punitive attitudes. "You there, you'd better repent, or ELSE!" Jesus at times seems to have hinted at something better and more real, but steeped in religion it's more like his message has become "close but no prize".

    Art I love your line where you said, "If it's bigger than life, it isn't real." I think you summed up the hypocrisy of our lives very well with that short statement.

    Hypocritical religion puts a mustache and graffiti on the Mona Lisa of our life experience. When we go over board with gilding the lily of life, we miss the real beauty of living and the beauty that is our nature.

    You can't have virtues which help us to meet our needs if you can't feel what your needs really are, and were, in the first place.

    JPT is the end of a hypocritical and punitive society. Art, I have tried to gear to promoting a less unreal approach to religion and to help people learn to get through life as well as they can without your therapy. Not a pleasant task and not a lucrative one, but as you know I am very political and I want to neutralize the politics of the crazier elements of society as much as I can.

    So for everyone else that still longs for a trip to the holy lands somewhere, in order to find a more virtuous life, let me give you a nudge over to Arthur Janov's clinic. Do you have to get tired out with rituals first? Trust me, they don't work.


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.