Friday, April 15, 2011

On EMDR (Part 3/4)

Kolk states that If you are stuck in old memories you can't have new behavior. True, but new behavior is not something one superimposes onto a patient. New behavior emerges dialectically out of the reliving of the past, for one simple reason: the agony portion of the past imprint has not yet been lived. It has led an underground life manufacturing ulcers, migraines and high blood pressure. When I say agony, I believe that until one sees it or feels it there is no concept of the depth of that pain; something that can elevate brainwave amplitude by hundreds of percent. (Hoffman, Eric. Long-term Effects of Psychotherapy on the EEG of Neurotic Patients. Res. Comm. Psychol. Psychiat. Behavior. Vol. 8, 1983 pages 171-185. See also, “Hoffman, E., Goldstein, L. “Hemispheric Quatitative EEG Changes Following Emotional Reactions in Neurotic Patients. Acta Psych. Scand. Vol 63. 1981 pages 153-164)

Reliving anoxia or hypoxia at birth, the patient turns red and struggles for breath as if it were a life-and-death matter, which it was and is. An imaginary ending would be to feed the patient oxygen at a critical moment, which would inter alia, abort the memory and stop the healing process. The patient is beginning a dying sequence, as dramatic as that may sound, and needs to complete it; she did not die originally, and she will not die in the reliving. But with a thermister, an electronic thermometer, attached rectally we see the temperature drop by many degrees as the patient approaches “ground zero”. Why is this necessary? Because the trauma and the ensemble of physiologic reactions form a template for survival—a prototype which guides future behavior. To change the prototype one must descend to its origins. Out of the original trauma evolve numerous ramifications, directing diverse behavior and diverse symptoms, from colitis to heart problems such as frequent palpitations. Until the prototype is relived the best we can do is treat deep problems symptomatically. Generally, the deeper in the body the symptom the earlier the trauma, not always, but often.

Feeling the terror in the birth canal reduces and eventually eliminates phobias of elevators, for example. No one has to take the hand of the patient and help her enter an elevator. That is Behavior Therapy and makes the mistake of taking the ostensible problem as the real one; taking the symptom and making “it” well instead of the person. The deeper one feels and integrates the terror the less there is to deal with.

Retrieval of early memory activates the right hemisphere more than the left. When our patients are deep into reliving early trauma the limbic system is fully activated, and we believe the information is then transferred to the left hemisphere for final integration. In our brain research there is a shift of power from right to left hemisphere. Kolk: “Traumatic memories are often stored in the limbic system, which is responsible for attention, arousal, and attachment, but are usually stored as somatic (body sensations) memories. Traditional therapy does not even begin to approach the limbic system to resolve the trauma, so a therapy that accesses body memories (like attachment therapy does) is much more effective. EMDR is useful for resolving many traumatic memories, although it is not at all clear why it works.” Dr. Van der Kolk suspects that it works because doing the eye movements distracts the person from the traumatic memories and allows the brain to be changed.

There is a basic contradiction here. If eye movement therapy distracts the person from memory it defeats the ability to fully access that memory; it then cannot be integrated. He is right. Eye movement is a distraction that aids in the process of repression, which is exactly why the person feels better. Prayer can do it, “om” can do, thinking other thoughts can do it, directive daydreaming can do it by offering other images instead of the real one, etc. The fastest way is a good dose of Paxil.

Let us discuss what integration means. First let us see what disintegration means. Feelings stored on lower brain level, and this is where pre-birth,` birth and post-birth traumas reside, due to their valence of pain cannot rise to the prefrontal cortex for connection and integration. They are inhibited by various neurotransmitters and kept below the level of conscious-awareness. This is disintegration; the higher levels do not know what is going on in the various lower levels even while they are being driven by it. Paranoid ideation can help be quelled by tranquilizers that work on deeper brain levels, indicating the provenance of the higher level ideas. The person is not aware of the deep-level imprint but is driven to develop strange ideas by it. He does not need to feel a little bit of it, say being abandoned in infancy, or living in an institution for the first year of life, and then told to change his ideas or his behavior. He needs to relive the early traumas bit by bit over many, many months or years until the ideas driven by them evaporate. And they do. Solutions provided by a therapist are his solutions, not the patients’; therefore not real. Reality lies in the reality, as banal as that may seem. Reality lies in the truth of the memory and only there; certainly not in someone else’s brain.

We can only heal where we are wounded. The seeds of cure lie in the problem. We do not teach people how to live or how to manage in the future. Once free of their past they can figure it out themselves.


  1. off topic:

    when a woman gives birth, a large object pushes against her pelvic walls. her brain stem doesn't know much difference between a baby and a very large dildo. the rest of her brain does, but the feeling coming from her brain stem is prevailing over her thoughts and emotions. the woman can easily ignore the insignificant physical difference between a baby and a huge painful dildo. as she focuses on her 'full vagina' she can indulge in a fantasy; "I am getting the biggest fucking of all time." and then she will reach orgasm (as documented on tv)

    the brain stores data which, in a healthy person, would give each experience it's own unique 'smell'. but that unique smell will be married with non-unique sensations coming from the crude brain stem; sensations that can apply to many different experiences. when a neurotic has poor access to those subtle, unique 'smells', a false belief can feel right because it seems to match perfectly with a deep force from within. but it's a lie. that generic brain stem force has latched onto the wrong outlet. this is why it takes very little conscious force to maintain a false belief that fits nicely with the force coming from below. that's why it was easy for the mother to reach orgasm while she delivered her baby. she wasn't fighting the force, she was using it.

    if the force of truth was strong, everybody would be primalling because the force of the neocortex is not that strong. i think this is the point that bothers apollo. well, in some ways, i think apollo could be right. i'd say we are full of strong forces, and those forces must be channeled correctly, otherwise they will lie. as i said, brain stem forces are crude and generic, and like many other functions of the human body, can be twisted to suit a new role. this is why ALL of the brain and body must be functioning in normal harmony when we want those forces to be channeled correctly. without total harmony, the more subtle and sophisticated parts of the brain will have no orientation -- no reference points to help unfold the memory. instead, those subtle smells will be sprayed into chaos by the huge forces coming from the crudest parts of the brain stem. if we randomly mess around with a patient's breathing, for example, we might be activating a generic force. the patient could interpret the sensation in many different ways. who knows, she might have an orgasm, or she might become psychotic. it's not likely that a delivering mother will have an orgasm or become psychotic every time a midwife tries to control her breathing, but i think that type of interference is dangerous, especially for the baby. let the mother have her whole body to herself, even if it is neurotic.

    Art doesn't know how to help a psychopath. he thinks they might have untreatable brain damage. i think psychopaths might be very good at harnessing their brain stem forces to create amazingly strong beliefs. those brain stem forces neurotically connect to the neocortex, devoid of all the subtle information. the psychopath believes it is ok to kill because killing feels right. if the psychopath is not too repressed, he will enjoy all of his lizard sensations while effortlessly keeping them in line with his thoughts.

  2. One thing I found about feelings is that even if you think you are prepared so that you will not be excessively harmed, you maybe still be in for a surprise. You just can’t predict feelings or how you will react. I think even if you are fully prepared, some things are just going to have a massive impact anyway. But I know you know that.

    nymphomania is some kind of sick symptom? Perish the thought! Ah, Just kidding.

    Art, are you familiar with German New Medicine? It deals with healing traumas in order to heal health maladies. It recognizes traumas as the cause of most if not all health problems.

    It came to me a few days ago or so that psychology came before PT, perhaps in an attempt to understand the mystifying behavior of people. But as we well know, we are shooting in the dark, or even if right in the cause, it does not resolve the imprint and what goes with that. But I think it was a necessary step for PT to follow behind. An evolution or progression.

    Now we have good answers but treatment is limited in availability. It remains for those most suffering to seek out. If it was more widespread, it could be, in theory, easier to obtain, like a McDonalds in every significant town.

    Another thought I had been rolling around. I know it is frustrating when a patient seems to go awry in their PT and progress. But I am inclined to think it is not the fault of the therapist or therapy, perhaps. If some part of a person and their will does not want the therapy to proceed, it will find a way to justify stopping, no doubt making use of the intellect to help derail the therapy.

    It would be easy for a therapist to take it personally but they should not. No matter how eager a patient might seem, and even committed, one can never be fully sure. Looks can be deceiving. But I think the primal self and its needs are far more powerful and can resist the best of treatment, even after having already made great progress. I know I am not suggesting anything new.

    Just concerned that it might eat at someone when things go wrong. But this primal stuff is so powerful, one can never underestimate it. There is often as much to learn from failed attempts as in the successes. So many obstacles from within the patient and so many more in our society at large. It is a constant struggle against overwhelming forces. Orwell truly was a brilliant man, despite being filled with primal pain, no doubt. He got it. We can all get it, whether we get PT or not.

  3. adding spaces between the paragraphs won't make part 2 become part 3, but i guess this is just another one of Art's experiments. i think Art should do experiments on psychopaths to get a better understanding of their condition.

  4. Art,

    I think... that understanding of primal therapy will be much greater when we "understand" that the idea itself is inelastic... it is a system that interprets information... emotions intensity. Our thoughts react to content and "help" us to carry out what is “offered”! The idea affects nothing in itself it is just a key to information
    It my can hold a lot of memory but not affect the contents.
    Feelings caused… unfortunately a result of disaster… disaster thoughts also conveys... we were emotionally damaged long before thoughts "possibly" could have been helpful… reflect to a healthy brain. Our thoughts would then need the right…“wealthy” experience... conscious awareness of the human nature's need… need of love to tell otherwise.

    Art ... it is not long before the intellect among the intellectuals will be "forced" to understand what it is you're writing about… it can’t be better explained. The time for the primal revolution.


  5. I am sorry about the confusion... Here is part 3.

  6. Hi,

    It's taken me months to realise that some of us are still contributing to past posts whilst newer ones are continuing. Dow!

  7. Hi Apollo,

    "One thing I found about feelings is that even if you think you are prepared so that you will not be excessively harmed, you maybe still be in for a surprise. You just can’t predict feelings or how you will react. I think even if you are fully prepared, some things are just going to have a massive impact anyway".

    Ah, so true; I often get a delayed reaction after a shock. Also, I have noticed whilst I am in my neo-cortex I can think about my problems and feel neutral. For years I laboured under the illusion that my problems "went away" and then "came back again". . .
    Actually, now I understand the problems were always there, it's just that living in my neo-cortex makes such a good temporary defence against FEELING those problems.
    Now that I'm into feeling them I often have real trouble re-assembling my neo-cortex to defend myself from all those absurd double binds some rather arrogant intellectuals can fire at one in order to maintain their dubious "intellectuals' advantage" (looking down the nose etc).
    Does re-assembling ones' consciousness have to include a whole library on dialectic technique in order to beat back these automatons?

    I think so; I was a sucker for arguing with those types. Nevertheless, now my feelings are lees repressed I have acquired a new technique for reasoning with people obviously stuck in their heads: Don't bother! It works a treat!

    Paul G.

  8. Dr Janov: I thought you might be interested in the following news about a new computerized atlas of the brain:

    The Brain Is Not The Mind: What Can And Cannot Be Expected From The New Brain Atlas
    Charles Konia, M.D. | April 17, 2011 at 2:24 am | Categories: Biological Sciences, Medical Sciences, Orgonometry | URL:

    Mechanistic scientists believe that the brain and the mind are one and the same. A 55 million $ computerized atlas of the human brain has recently been built for purposes of studying not only organic diseases involving the brain such as Alzheimer's disease and autism but also psychiatric illnesses such as depression that are supposedly believed to originate in the brain ("Atlas Gives Scientists New View of the Brain," Wall Street Journal April 13, 2011.)

    The atlas may have value in pinpointing organic brain diseases; however, equating the mind (psyche) exclusively with the brain and not with the whole body which includes the brain has been downright destructive because it has set the stage for mechanizing the practice of psychiatry. Through a better understanding of brain physiology, psychiatrists hope that they somehow will have a pharmacological cure for mental illnesses by altering brain physiology.

    This view of mental illness has brought about the current deplorable state of psychiatric practice where the diagnosis and treatment of every patient is exclusively determined by the symptom that is exhibited. From the symptom, a drug has to be manufactured that is hoped to be "tailor made" to treat in cook book fashion the "brain disorder" that is responsible for it.

    Since, however, psychic illness is the result of a disorder of the whole body and not just the brain, this pharmacological goal can never be reached no matter how well brain physiology is understood. Sooner or later the psychiatric profession will have to realize the futility of this mechanistic-mystical approach. They will have to come to grips with the enormous destructive consequences of their erroneous ways of thinking and start thinking functionally. What they must attain in order to effectively treat psychiatric disorders is not a better psychiatric drug but a functional understanding of the simultaneous identity and antitheses of psyche (mind) and soma (body) that underlies health and disease.

    Add a comment to this post

  9. A Facebook comment:
    "More over, again in my own life's experiences...When a certified Primal Therapist works one on one with a patient of whatever age group....those particular therapists have the skills and know how to genuinely Help the Patient Re-live the Trama and finally begin to clean themselves of the deep deep seated Pains which later in life as has been pointed out here, led to Acting Out r.e. Nymphomania. And If I may here, it has been my understanding that when a Patient's Ego becomes strong enough to delve into these feelings...and finally deal with them much more directly, a very real healing begins to take place."

  10. Facebook comment continued:
    "After reading more about this topic...I find that there is still a remaining underlying aspect of this "Reliving" a trama especially by a child. In my experiences in life for one...Most psychologists would only "Talk" about the Feelings caused by the trama itself. Pshychiatrists would insist on Medicating the Child until he or she sleeps most of their life away all doped up. But at least not feeling any of the pains of what had occured in the sense of being tramatised."

  11. Another Facebook comment:
    "Wow, profound analysis dr.Art :)

    Nymphomania as a survival mechanism; trying to be touched to make up for a terrible early lack. ~ I under-stand certain females from my childhood that used to have sex with anything ...

    I fully agree with you that 'if the therapist didn't see the amount of pain he/she would have not believe it'. Cerebral therapists believe in cerebral therapy, waving a magic stick or finger or whatever floats their boat, magical thinking just 'better defenses' for pained individual."

  12. Paul,

    If you're having a jolly old chat with an intellectual about primal therapy, then first ask them one question: "Are you open to the possibility that this might be real?" If the answer is 'no' then change the subject politely. The left brain on its own believes nothing that it doesn't want to believe.

    The first prerequisite must always be interest: where the intellect might be used to explore, not just validate prejudice (aka rationalise).

  13. Paul G

    you say: “Actually, now I understand the problems were always there, it's just that living in my neo-cortex makes such a good temporary defence against FEELING those problems.”

    Maybe you are sort of kidding or being playful but . . .I ask this! Who got the cortex to block the feeling? Where did the feelings come from? The base and mid brain, right? Who might be afraid of finally feeling those monstrous feelings? Would it not be the primal reptile, the base of the brain and mid brain? The brain obeys whoever controls it. It is the same in our world. Rulers control the academics. The Academics go along with whatever gets them acceptance. Surely you can appreciate this, no?

    The cortex will do whatever the “boss” wants. And if the boss does not want to feel and experience that which it ran from to begin with, then there will be no feeling, guaranteed! You are saying that the intellect, the cortex, is your decision maker and I beg to differ. The cortex will justify anything if the boss says to do that. The cortex, ever the fickle employee of the “government,” will follow whatever wind blows its way.

    The real battle is among the forces all located in the stem and mid brain. There are 2 sides to both of those. You were aware of that, right? Which side overcomes the other has a lot of impact on what the cortex finally does. You have to elected a “leader” before you can set the agenda for the “state.”

    All primal believers are quite persuaded that the intellect runs the whole damn ship. Really? I thought it was needs that did all this. Silly me! I have been so confused for so long. Art, why didn’t you tell me that needs were not that important or relevant and that I could solve all my problems with the intellect. Man, have I been wasting time! Been blaming the reptile when it was the intellect all along. So then the reptile was eager to come out of hiding? Is that your suggestion? So if it is that eager, why do I seem to need help to feel? I should be able to do this all myself. Its so easy. Just cut the reptile loose, right? Let him feel!

    Honestly, I think Primal theory needs a little bit of revision and clarification. It followers seem hopelessly lost in confusion. They really don’t know who or what is in charge. Mindless followers instead of independent verification or refining.

  14. Hi Apollo, in good faith, I hope this gets printed:

    Have you noticed how many words you devote to dismissing the words of others?

    If you didn't understand what I said, I do know what I mean when I said that I get stuck in my head/intellect/neo-cortex.

    After screaming for my mother in the mornings and evenings then experiencing the bliss and relaxation that follows from re-living my pent up abandonment trauma from incarceration at boarding school, I am often glad to return to the safe haven of my rational mind.

    I really don't see the either / or dicotomy of intellect versus feelings. Actually I try not to read too many of Arts' books because I don't want to therapise myself. I do have Ted though.

    I'm really not sure any more who I am nor which bit of me is in charge. . . I am glad because I know I must live with a certain amount of uncertainty. . . quite a lot I reckon.

    You say you are a professional person. You surely could find the money to enter therapy soon, can you? Have you applied?

    Actually I don't mean to pry nor do I need the answer to these leading questions, I ask them of you because in the way you use your words, it seems to me sometimes, that you may have forgotten to ask these questions of yourself.

    As a professional person you may have heard of Marshal Rosenburgh and NVC, Non Violent Communication. I have found this very useful for helping me to own my own feelings and opinions (whilst expressing them), this seems to help others do the same thing.

    In good faith,

    Paul G.

  15. Apollo,

    The theory does not need refining - though maybe some communications of it do? It's a tricky thing to explain, as it seems. But to me, if I may be so bold to say so, primal theory is, at base, extremely clear. I really don't feel confused about it.

    Now who is in charge of the brain? The feeling brains tell the cortex what it wants, and the thinking brain works out how to get it. So the thinking brain is first the servant, but then second the advisor. It's that simple. (unless you want to go down the never-ending path of elaboration).

  16. When I remember well it was Apollo who defended the value of thinking some time ago,now it looks the other way round.

    My position is that you can be too much in your head or too much in feelings,either position can be unproductive.

  17. Hi Andrew!

    OK, we seem to be on the same page. At least to the point where the thinking brain is the servant. He is not in control. The primal self is very susceptible to flattery, lies, and many other things. So when it give order to the cortex to lie and make the primal self feel better, the intellect complies. It is still the primal reptile in charge. The cortex simply follows orders. If the cortex is to be objective and it is possible, then the primal self must be willing to allow such an objective search or evaluation by the cortex, since going where the evidence leads could bring disaster to the “ego” or toehr such parts that act to defend and protect against pain.

    Now at times, Art blames the intellect, almost exclusively, it seems and if I can get him to come out from behind that curtain and declare one way of the other, it will help. I do not blame the intellect for any deceit or imaginations. It is doing as told by the inner deeper forces. Art has been mysteriously silent.

  18. Paul NL says:

    “When I remember well it was Apollo who defended the value of thinking some time ago, now it looks the other way round.”

    No Paul, Apollo had not change a bit. But maybe Paul is not trying to accurately reflect what Apollo believes or promotes. The value of thinking is essential. But that thinking can be derailed, corrupted, contaminated. The purpose of the scientific method, or related types of methods is to make sure that impure thoughts are not corruption the objective process and its results.

    And what taints or corrupts? The primal self, the “reptile” so to speak. The intellect is not in charge, though it should be. It is the primal self that directs the intellect. Art seems to describe the intellect as being master over the primal self, which I consider a silly idea full of holes. I say primal pain and needs control everything so that if the intellect is to be useful, the primal self must relent and allow the intellect to perform without interference from what we might call primal prejudice.

    As Art tends to put it, the intellect cons the primal self and ruins the feeling-healing. The intellect is not the source of this con. It is the primal self sabotaging its own welfare. It does that a lot. Nice try but you got me all wrong. Care to add to the discussion?


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.