Sunday, January 30, 2011

What Happens When We Do Not Feel

When we do not feel, we have no choice, either we act in or we act out; either the force remains inside and gnaws away at our system, or the force is acted out in the form of neurotic behavior. In the latter, we are driven by the feeling to act-out and in the former we keep that force well-hidden and repressed.

If we want to know what are our hidden feelings look for the act-out. One actress I treated was constantly acting out on the set, “I will be anything you want. Just love me.” She would play any role the director wanted and played it well because love was at stake. She tried in every way to be loved by her mother, also an actress, but alas, it was not to be because her mother was also acting-out, running from audition to audition looking for approval/love. She had no time or interest in being a mother.

Or if we look at the act-in we note how deep is the symptom, how mid-line it is in order to see if it is first-line, very deeply driven, trauma. Colitis and ulcers generally inform us of remote pain. Is it migraine? Generally a matter of oxygen deprivation during gestation or birth where the blood system was the first line of defense against the trauma. Lack of oxygen meant conserving energy and oxygen supplies, constricting oxygen circulation until the constriction gave way to massive dilation and the propensity for a headache later on.

In events of stress, the prototypic reaction sets in immediately. It can be any stress where we feel under threat. This is due to resonance; the original prototype was coded and registered on higher levels as they came on line. When there is a current threat, the system retreats to origins which informs us how to react. It relies on the prototype to guide us and it relies on the original defense to protect itself. Even when that defense is no longer appropriate. It was appropriate back then. That is in essence, neurosis, acting in the present for something that was appropriate in the past. The aforementioned actress was trying to feel loved by her mother decades earlier, and did everything she could, with no reward. She still acts in the present that way; only now it is symbolic.

That is the key to understanding proper therapy now; we do not try to rid the symbolic from the system but rather use the symbolic behavior to see what feelings are being acted-out. And it is those feelings we must deal with.

To remain focused on the symbolic and trying to change it is a useless exercise because the person will only change symbolically, not organically. So we take the obsessive and try to treat her symptoms; helping her over her need to clean everything including the cans holding food in an obsessive manner. We no doubt could get her to stop by slapping her head over and over but is that therapy? But she is feeling, something is wrong and “I do not know what it is,” and so I will focus on making things right in the present. “That is why I have to hang all my shirts carefully in a row. I want things to be right; for there to be order.” This person may have lived in chaos in her early household. Something was terribly wrong but she never knew what it was. She will understand what is driving her if she can feel what she is really saying through her act-out.

Or we treat the phobia in elevators by walking hand in hand with the patient, step by step into an elevator. We are treating symbolism with symbolism and the patient will never get well. Yes, you might say the patient feels better, and you might be right, but he did not get rid of the terror inside that drove the phobia. Unless you think it is rational to fall into panic at the sight of an elevator. The elevator may well be the channel or focus for a panic during birth when being trapped and enclosed might have been fatal. Again, it is acting the present as was necessary in the past.

Let me state again that treating a symptom after the critical period is over, achieves nothing. The only help is actually to return to that critical period with the brain most developed at the time and enter into the critical period again where change can happen. After the critical period where love and nurturing was primary the only therapy is, as I have said, symbolic.

If we understand that there is a timetable of needs and a timetable for their fulfillment. Right after birth touch and caress are essential. No fulfillment right away and the person may be left with a lifetime fear of being alone (only one of many examples). The amount of pain felt now is commensurate with the need during the critical period. That is what makes terrible pain; need. After the critical period need is not nearly as important. Yes fulfillment is necessary but deprivation may not leave a residue of hurt for a lifetime; or it may not change organ or brain development.

When the critical period is ignored, many current symptoms are symbolic of that period. The treatment is, in short, neither organic nor systemic; and that is why there are no profound changes occurring. And that is why the therapy has to go on and on as in psychoanalysis. It only skims the surface. The patient thinks she is getting well because she has rented a caring parent. She becomes addicted to him or her. She is being “fed” symbolically; the doctor comes to need the patient as much as she needs him; a mutual symbiosis. They both feel better because they are symbolically filling their needs; he for approval, idolatry, and she for a caring not indifferent father. The therapy goes on, ad nauseum.

The truth is many patients want it this way; it is more human than Prozac and more in the flesh. They do not want to change; they want their neurosis to work. And now it does. The same may be said for the doctor. He is being adored, something his parents never managed to do with him. I treated one psychiatrist he cried, “My parents never cherished me. Never thought I was important.” His patients do. He too is being fulfilled symbolically.

Freud thought, as do many analysts, that one could analyze the transference and counter-transference(by the doctor)and get rid of those pesky needs. But it was just more cognitive nonsense, keeping it intellectual so no one has to really change. If we do not focus on need there will be no change; just as in any society that neglects need there will be no democracy. We are creatures of need. When society neglects need it must build compensations—hospitals and prisons; for bad things happen when we are deprived; and more medication for everyone. When a society or a parent fulfills need there is no longer a requirement for compensations such as pain-killing drugs. What dictatorships do is suppress need and then punish those who ask for fulfillment. The victims can never win.

So now we see that with pain we must act-in or act-out. There is never a choice; we may think we are free but we are aren’t. We are prisoners of history, chained to our past and can never undo the bonds until we visit that past again.


  1. A point:

    You say: "So now we see that with pain we must act-in or act-out. There is never a choice; we may think we are free but we are aren’t. We are prisoners of history, chained to our past and can never undo the bonds until we visit that past again."

    ...and that feeling of imprisonment can make us political preachers for freedom. Right feeling projected onto the (possibly) wrong context.

  2. Fantastic post Art. Right now I am taking a clinical psychology course at school and one comment really astounded me: 'It is not uncommon for psychologists to derive their social life/ their circle of friends from their patients. It is okay for therapists to satisfy their needs from their patients as long as they are aware of it.' Talk about symbiosis and dependency! You talk as someone who practised psychoanalytical therapy for a number of years and I trust you when you say that it is largely ineffective and an attempt to make one's neurosis work. Can I ask if you think cog. beh. therapy is something you think is appropriate and recommendable in certain situations?
    One thing I like to tell myself is that each of us is our own question and our own answer. It is only by allowing ourselves to feel that we can find emergent truths - no expert's interpretation is necessary. Indeed, by not feeling (reducing our oxygen intake, muscular rigidity)we were trying to block information that was threatening to us. In my case, I grew up within a conflictive marriage even though my parents presented a facade of harmony - but the latent hostile feelings were there and disruptive to me and I sought to desensitize myself to the disquiet i felt inside. All my life i have carried their conflict inside me, a vague and unsettling sense that something is not right and the need to focus on academic work to distract myself from my feelings. Once all the technical psychological words and theories have been written and discussed there is nothing left except simply to feel.

  3. Andrew Atkin,

    That is scary and probably the fate humans are facing unless we get something done about it.


  4. Art said: " Lack of oxygen meant conserving energy and oxygen supplies, constricting oxygen circulation until the constriction gave way to massive dilation and the propensity for a headache later on."
    If oxygen constriction is a prototypic defence mechanism that the body resorts to throughout life when threatened then surely this offers great insight into psychosis. For example, there is a lot of data that links high rates of delivery complications in patients with schizophrenia with poor O2 supply during gestation or child birth (alongside with genetic predisposition too). Obviously, schizophrenia is a very broad diagnostic term and includes many symptoms and possible causes. But I would say O2 supply is as good a place to examine as anywhere and Art's theory fits really well.

  5. Interesting comment by Andrew...considering the recent "street" uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. America, like a controlling parent, gives lip-service to “freedom,” then punishes the choices populations make when they don’t jibe with OUR needs (like when Palestinians elected Hamas).

    It's like the parent who says she wants her kids to be independent, then quashes any choice her children make that counters her own needs (morphed into always having to be in control). America's leaders can't let others be truly free because then they (the leaders) might start asking awkward, self-reflective questions (Like how free and fun-loving THEY really are).

    I get emotionally worked-up over such political uprisings. They are proxies for my own unmet needs. I coped as a child by first meeting the needs of my bipolar mother. If she was "happy" I might get table-scraps of concern in return. I'm also like a zillion other guys who project their fates onto countries, politics, sports teams, etc. When you don't get primary needs met, secondary ones not only "will do," they become obsessions.

    Now, has anyone else watched this video about a chimpanzee mother mourning her dead child?

    It made me very sad. I wish my mother had shown me that kind of care. She didn't. So one way I cope is to downplay my needs. Sometimes I don’t feel entitled to any…or know what they are. I rationalize, often to my detriment. I stay too long at unfulfilling jobs overseen by imperious bosses. Why? It "feels" familiar. I learned early on that it did no good to protest. Leaving was impossible at age 3. So I stayed, "excusing" my mothers neglect as her being "sick." I also learned to “understand” that my father couldn't change, his being the aloof son of two “repressed” British parents.

    Only my REAL SELF didn’t care. I needed to be loved in ways that FELT right and natural. When I didn’t experience that, my Lizard (what a friend calls the reptilian survival-uber-alles brain) stepped in. It “explained” why I wasn’t getting what I needed and kept me alive…at a steep price.

    Having divorced myself from what I truly needed, Catholicism became attractive. It explained my agony, ennobling it. Self-denial, self-sacrifice, pain, suffering, etc. suddenly became "good" things. In fact, if I cheerfully put up with them I'd be rewarded, but only after I died.

    Mortifying (literally, deadening) the flesh was easier than admitting a lot of the adults “guiding” me were messed up. What child can fight an army of adults alone? I had no allies, save my sister. So I complied with the commandment (!) to “honor thy neglectful/abusive father and mother” even as they urged us kids to treat pederastic priests as saints (while the latter shamed young boys per the perils of masturbation!).

    Denying real needs works no better than fulfilling false ones. Nothing sates honest unmet needs. Art is right: If you don't get the real need met when it's time you suffer. And suffer. "Intellectualizing" the need away doesn't work. All the king's horses and all the king's shrinks won't put you back together again. If you “man up” and acting externally like you don’t hurt internally, well, you end up like Marilyn Monroe-- easing pain with sex and drugs and booze.

    I suspect Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan (and even Paris Hilton) suffer from that syndrome. No amount of fame can fill the holes in their celebrity souls (holes created by earlier unmet needs). Their pains are just compounded by "rehab" doctors who don’t see (and so don’t get to the core of) actual problems. At best, they teach Band-Aid coping techniques.

  6. And speaking of Charlie Sheen and other celebrity train-wrecks: How odd, ironic, and tragic that Art’s center is centrally located to offer TRUE relief to suffering Hollywood stars, yet he’s ignored while Bette Ford’s center gets all the attention.

    As for psychological Band-Aids: It sounds like Primal's approach emulates sound surgery by insisting that patients be healthy enough to undergo deeper cutting. That is, PT avoids going too deep too fast, lest new traumas get inflicted.

    I like that idea, having suffered from "quick fix" faux PT in the mid-1970s. Then it was all about sinking-or-swimming. Wounded souls seek love were seared in macho bootcamps under demonically driven therapist drill-instructors. Abreaction became a sacrament. The louder you screamed, the angrier you got, the more thrashing and sounds you made… the better off you were deemed to be. Quiet sobbing was for wimps. Sadness was verboten. Anything other than anger was considered a sign of weakness and meekness.

    Unfortunately, those who did the “best” then fared worst later on (killing themselves, ruining relationships, getting repeatedly fired from jobs, etc.)

    Today myriad therapies are either talk or behavior based. I experienced the former a while back. As Art said, I basically "rented" the caring aunt (courtesy of my generous health plan) I never had. The trouble was, I rarely "felt" changed. That is, I didn’t feel the e-MOTIONS that would have moved me to do what was best for me. Instead, I was encouraged to jabber...and jabber…and jabber. In a way I emulated my mother who, no matter how long and hard she talked (which was considerable during her manic episodes), she never seemed relieved. There was no unburdening of her historical baggage. Like me, her Church and therapist encouraged her to "understand" and "forgive" her parents lest “anger” turn corrosive and create cancer.

    The trouble was, the wounded Inner Child doesn’t buy it. He knows that unmet needs hurt...and no amount of words alters that. It’s like someone ran me over. I lay in the road with a broken leg. Who cares if the driver didn’t MEAN harm? I was in pain. I didn't need, in my agony, to focus on others’ "needs." Focusing on others put their needs ahead of mine.

    Art, what do you think of "Rational-Emotive Therapy"? I had a roommate once who studied under Albert Ellis. That roommie was a control freak, never letting his emotional guard down. In many ways he was successful, though: He made good money and attracted lots of women by saying he was a "doctor" (an EdD, actually; not a PhD or medical physician). Yet even he said that while Ellis was a good teacher, he’d make a lousy friend.

    Having experienced "in-their-heads" therapists, I wish Alice Miller had been my helper. Or mother. Patton was admired for his "courage" under fire, yet cowardly slapped a shell-shocked soldier for not being a "real man." So much for hard-ass redeemers!

    Ah, the pain inflicted on the world by leaders seared in the cauldron of their own early neglect! Unable to mourn legitimate early losses, they steel themselves to climbing political/corporate mountains in order to lord it over others. The heart yearning for love hardens into a bloodletting machine. The tyrant makes his "people" pay and pay and pay for the sins of his parents. Like Mubarak, such dictators loot their lands while claiming to "care deeply" for their countrymen. I suspect they demonstrate the lack of love dictated to them as children. If your parents don't caress, hold, and love you during formative years, even stealing $25 billion from fellow citizens won't be enough. Mubarak, like Stalin, "lives long and prospers" while his subjects suffer in pain and penury. Hosni inflicts the same unfairness and cruelty he, himself, mostly likely endured as child.

    Like it's said: Truly happy people want others to be happy, too.

  7. I am a prisoner of my history.
    I not just know it but believe I understand, see and feel it.
    I wait to start primal therapy.
    With every passing week I am financially edging towards that start.
    That makes waiting as OK as the waiting can possibly be.
    In the meantime on your site I read every word of yours Dr Janov - and please may I call you Art?
    And watch every video.
    And thus understand more, and better, as I wait.

  8. Trevor: right on! I have written about everyone who even thought about psychology including Albert Ellis. His was a terrible therapy where he talked far more than the patient, had a preset bunch of ideas that overshadowed the patient and her pain and generally never helped anyone with anything except himself. Look up on my website the Grand Delusion, I am sure there is a chapter on him. If not let me know and I will do something. AJ

  9. You know Trevor, you write well. Are you doing something about it? AJ

  10. Trevor brings up a good point. Hollywood types are often those driven to seek Hollywood out, to try to compensate for that empty void. The attention and money don't seem to do it, though. So then there is drugs and other crazy act outs.

    but they deserve our understanding. How many here can honestly say that they could withstand all the temptations and traps that are there. And how easy is it to say goodbye to the money? Not to mention, Hollywood moguls are very demanding. They have a lot of influence and control over their "subjects."

    Now some might suggest it is the intellect that leads astray. I just can't see that. It is base human desire, primal forces at their strongest and darkest, that motivate us so often.

    So I ask in earnest, is it not possible that these titanic forces in us that shove us around like big nasty bullies, can be put into their place enough but a well exercised intellect, that we might make some sense of these forces and come to recognize the validity of PP and PT?

  11. I think the intellect was evolved (or God given if you prefer) as a mitigator, mediator, regulator, even dampener and controller, if we develop it as we do muscles. It can help dampen the huge forces from below to a point where we can make some sense of some things.

    Priaml forces are so overwhelming, we needed some kind of help to deal with them.

    Now no doubt about it, the intellect can be a 2 edged sword. It can be a great help, tough most do not resort to it, or it can help get in the way and be a problem. But I also think that the intellect going astray is due more to primal forces than a defective intellect. It is only defective when the primal self hi-jacks it and takes it for a ride.

    Example: the intellect can seek out the laws of science, but it is primal forces that motivate it to develop sinister weapons that kill. The intellect can go wherever your point it. Some don’t point it anywhere. But primal forces are so disruptive that if we are ever to get out of our own way, we are going to have to make use of that cortex sitting at the top, though it often is relegated to the bottom or left out of the picture entirely.

    Seek and you shall find. Run (away) and you will be forever running to nowhere.

  12. Trevor: You can't control what you cannot access. So if you have no access to your feelings there is no control; I should say no top to bottom control, because there is bottom to top access where feelings are pushing against that top level all of the time. AJ

  13. About politics for human existence. The question of what happens in the Arab countries are now not just a question of democracy? Many people want a change but what will come after that? That is a real question. If dictatorship is replaced with fanatics… then what is gained... that will probably be a worse threat to its own people and my against the rest of the world. Anarchy would be good enough... anarchy = “feel an think” by yourself... but who is and can be an anarchist? Everyone has their own idea about what it’s. First of all we need Primal Therapy then there will be no need for any form of roles in that matter.


  14. Hi Karen. I hear you. Don't wait too long. I am not forever. art janov

  15. Will: Hey I have written many times on cognitive therapy. Look it up on my blogs. AJ

  16. An email comment:
    "I thought the world might be largely sane but it seems that social sites reflect what I see day to day. First line pressure is blowing away a whole lot of people. I seem to know when I am being unfeeling and crazy but most people don't. I can talk to them soothe them but I can't say I have found anything to help them or myself to integrate feelings and free the mind. Until feelings are felt for what they are freedom is just a word.

  17. Well I just lost an extensive comment to some tech screw-uo here, so this will be brief: Great article as usual. But I just don't grasp this protypic reaction in times of stress thing. I suppose one can't unless one experiences it.

  18. What I am thinking of is,maybe a lot from my experience,that confronted in therapy with trauma´s you tend to go in the direction of trying to get the fulfillment of the need that was appropriate back then as a child (looking for a girl,physical) instead of feeling the miss of that fulfillment (towards your therapist). Can you call that symbolic or just a trap.

  19. Paul: If you are not confronting your parents BACK THEN! it is symbolic and not curative. art janov you can confront all day today and nothing will happen.

  20. Frank: I need to write on this and I can but I don't want this to be a political site. There are already many of them. art janov


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.