Friday, April 1, 2011

What a World it Could Be

Today my children I am going to tell you about a world we could have, not for our children or grandchildren, but for us. And we can do it easily. But first in order to explore the subject I want to tell you about an article in the paper today. A man had a quarrel with his girlfriend. He left home and came back with a knife and stabbed her 50 times; this with their children in another room. No thoughts about those kids and certainly no thoughts that he was taking a life, savagely.

I thought to myself could I go out and get a knife and stab anyone 50 times? Of course not. Then I said, “Is he really from a different species than I?” And the answer is “yes!” What? Do I mean that? Absolutely. Now we have to go back to my three levels of brain development and revisit the first line. Remember we start out in the womb with a brainstem and little else. That brain structure is primitive, equal to the whole brain of the crocodile. It allows quick and immediate responses to get out of the way and save our lives. It allows impulsive reactions and is the base for the deepest aspect of feeling—hopelessness and helplessness. It organizes terror and above all, rage! When we need to fight to save our lives. When adverse events occur while we are being carried, it impacts the brainstem and first line.

When something happens as adults it can resonate with those first line reactions, unless of course there is adequate gating to hold down those primitive responses. But when a child is neglected, abandoned and unloved and untouched growing up, the pain grows and is compounded, weakening the gates between levels of consciousness. Gating is defective so that when there is resonance it reaches all the way down to first line. And rage ensues or other great pain hidden in the antipodes of the brain. Normally that reach does not trigger off first line reactions unless our lives are in danger and we have to react to save ourselves. Those with faulty gates are immersed nearly all of the time in first line. And that is what we often call the hysteric, who overreacts to almost anything.

So mister killer got jealous, she looked at another guy and that’s all, and the rage bubbled up and he killed. He for the moment was a complete crocodile with no cortex or limbic system to help out. When he was enveloped in the crocodile brain there was no longer the adult human brain to control and think things out. He was no longer human; no longer part of us. He was a different species. A primitive species with no human thought or compassion. When he was no longer triggered he will be overcome with what he did and want to kill himself but that comes later when he can think and feel without being overwhelmed by first line.

I remember when my father got mad we knew to stay away because his eyes began to water and turn red; we knew something deep and terrible was lurking down below. We did not know what to call it but now we do. His first line, Lizard brain was on the march. Watch out! Because that brain has no control. The reason is that when adverse things happen while we are in the womb it literally diminishes the development of the neocortex, controlling, thinking/reasoning brain. There is damage to these developing cells, particularly during birth where there may be a serious lack of oxygen.

So now we grow up without all our cortical marbles and with serious imprints on the brainstem/limbic/feeling areas. And we begin to eat like there is no tomorrow; and literally for the first liner there is no more tomorrow. Eating becomes life and death; urgent! Because the drive behind it is so urgent. There may have been starvation during womblife. Or some other serious trauma. The same with violent act-outs. Here the idea of anger management is ridiculous, unless we expect the person to grow new cortical cells. What they do offer is a cortical/third line buffer against upcoming pain. It will hold only for a short while; better to let it all out in a safe environment with slow emotional steps in a methodical way.

Any extreme behavior is usually first line derived; suicide, overeating, oversexed, addiction, and so on. Certainly, we can include psychosis in all this. And we know now what it takes to treat all these symptoms and behavior.

Now suppose there comes along a therapy that deals with first line? Modestly, I say it is mine. What will that do? It will make a world without uncontrolled rage. A world without serious alcoholics and drug addicts, a world without suicides. Don’t forget that all of what I am describing is at base emanating from first line. I have seen it and my staff have treated it successfully. It ain’t easy but it can be done; slowly, methodically and carefully. But we can make a decent world we can safely live in. And we can do it now! It is no longer a mystery except to those who have no access, which is most of us. So now children, before you fall off to sleep let me assure you, we have it in our power to make a much better world right away.


  1. Art; Another great blog, but where does it take us? I feel the need to get beyond therapies in order to MEND us damaged souls. I seem to be flogging this theme time and time again, but we need to tackle PREVENTING all this stuff in the first place. I have no doubt what-so-ever that Primal Therapy is the ONLY way for those of us determined to get something out of life, but persisting in reproducing ourselves and going down the same 'rat-hole' is a forlorn quest. The brilliance, shear genius, simplicity and elegance of Primal Theory; if stated briefly and simply could start that quest to see ourselves and how to PREVENT it from happening in our young..

    You said some months ago you would address this, but so far I don't see you starting. Please Art ... all else is puffery. Hope that doesn't hurt your feelings Art.


  2. Quote: "Here the idea of anger management is ridiculous, unless we expect the person to grow new cortical cells. What they do offer is a cortical/third line buffer against upcoming pain. It will hold only for a short while; better to let it all out in a safe environment with slow emotional steps in a methodical way."

    So very true. When a dangerous personality is triggered so they have that uncontrolled wide-eyed look, you know damn well that those anger management classes are GONE. At that point in time they are in another world. They functionally ARE the lizard (as you say).

    We can sense people like that and we instinctively know to be careful around them - and nervous around them.

    Anyway, theoretically you can create a better world via PT but needless to say that social and political forces will take plenty of time to overcome. But once you create nirvana land, to maintain it you need population control otherwise you'll only end up creating the very conditions that led to human desperation in the first place.

    And you also need a touch of negative eugenics. If we're not going to let nature do the "weeding" then we have to take a deep breath and do it ourselves. And no I am not Hitler - just realistic.

    Andrew Atkin (speaking from the foetal position...yeah I know, probably literally).

  3. As always, I have read your article a number of times to be sure that I have understood it all. "Mas o menos".

    The traumatic pain, which bubbled up, in ”mister jealous”, is an element of the brain's construction, and, of course, because nobody has been able to help him release or to live it (to use your own, even better, expression).

    Why is that? As You say there are therapies around, which deals with the first line. I’m a living example what it means to have lived a horror filled trauma, as close to death, that anyting/anybody can get you. When I had lived that pain a few times, I became a ”different specie”. I "understand" the killer in your article, when pain of that magnitude leaks out, you are a threat to others and to yourself.

    How do we find and identify these potential killers? It sounds so easy when You describe it; ”a few of your books, to study the construction of the brain and the interaction between the right and left side and the vital signs and with the help of a talented catalyst you will change into a new specie....”

    Most of us love what You are telling us about Primal Therapy in theory. How come that it in practice does not spread rapidly around a world which needs it? When I read EMDR (whether it is Francine Shapiro, Laurell Parnell or Bessel van der Kolk) I see a number of similarities with P.T. They also reject cognitive talk therapies as a way to eliminate traumas. These traumas have to be experienced.

    On behalf of P.T. I feel jealous when I read ”A Therapist Guide to EMRD” by Laurel Parnell. No surprise that they are conquering the world in a short time and that governments, authorities and science support them and appreciate them for their efforts. They do not talk a lot about birth traumas: however, they are not surprised if they appear during treatments. In contrast to the talk therapies, they do not seem to be particularly dependent on the pharmaceutical industry.

    I admire your courage to post a couple of the critical comments, like, for example, the email which talked about mental masturbation. That remembers me of when I was working in a Biotec company during a few years. The business idea of the company was to develop and market instruments to measure protein in the Food and Feed segment. In the research and development department, we had two constellations of stars/brains; 1. Those, whith left brain dominance, who understood and lectured about the theoretical parameters 2. Those, with right brain dominace, who turned their conceptual understanding into instruments (using either chemical or infrared techniques), which we could sell and conquer the world market and make a living. The people in 2. were often considered being ”difficult”. They knew and ”saw” connections they were not so talented at explaining. We needed both kinds of R&D-people to survive and put it all together, however, the intellectual stars seldom made things happen.

    I am pleased that I of individual, psychological reasons, embossed my therapist confidence in Your person. This fact took me trough my all to long, wobbly, unorthodox treatment. (Mrs. Parmell, in her book, considers the importance of a total thrust in the therapist, to be crucial for a positive result in any trauma treatment.) Often in my life, I have understood a concept better than I have been able to explain it. The Primal Therapy is one of these experiences.
    Jan Johnsson

  4. Hi,

    Once in 1976, (at the age of 16) my Dad came after me with a kitchen knife (my snake like Mum had yet again called the dragon out for revenge on me, the now not so little piggy); I was upstairs, in my room swatting diligently for my O'levels.
    I heard the dragon puffing it's way upstairs whilst the snake shrieked repeatedly: "NO, NOT THE KNIFE"!

    Quick as a flash, adrenalin pumping, I lifted my Hawiian Ceremonial Sword from its hook on the wall, calmly walked to the door, switched the light off and stood waiting behind it (in the dark)with the sword raised high. . . . . . .
    The puffing dragon stopped on the other side of my bedroom door breathing heavily, it paused, then I heard it turn and walk off downstairs.

    This did not have a particularly traumatic effect even though my adrenalin was pumping a bit.

    My dear father had already cooked his goose with me and because this was an event I had been trained to handle in the Army Cadets I didn't have an after shock either (shakes, fatigue, flashbacks etc), neither was I dissociated. I'm not saying training makes one entirely invulnerable to trauma, but it sure helped in that situation!
    I must say that being trained to use my consciousness and feelings prior to the event was key to remaining un-traumatised.

    I sense that martial arts and "contact sports" can be of real use to neurotics because those activities (properly taught) can give one a physical sense of the valence needed to 'harden or loosen' the awareness vis a vis ones' own consciousness.
    This I believe to be true for the physical trades where the physical body and mind together has to reach a stage of hightened performance in order to achieve the task. This is still all "palliative" but useful for me.

    Soon these activities will be relegated to a theme park or museum whilst the powers that be make a brave new world.

    Paul G.

  5. Art

    What if everyone could "understand"... experience the role of your comment. "Today my children" Then the therapeutic activity would explode worldwide. Such a simple comment but so loaded that it appears impossible... what a tragedy.


  6. -But we can make a decent world we can safely live in. And we can do it now!

    dear Arthur
    wow!!! what kind of dreams did you have lately? i wonder! somebody must have put something super special in your coffee/drink.
    or is it just you? a lonely super-optimistic man. the last of the mohicans, a species that does not exist anymore. a unique one, left behind, fighting alone with the shit of a suffering humanity?
    i have no intention to argue or be ironic with what you say here, but hey, i want a piece of the same "drug" you accidentally had! "laughing".
    actually i enjoyed this post. it reminded me that i felt about the same when i first read your book "the primal scream". back then(1997) it suddenly changed the way i see things. as i read more books of yours i was also becoming optimistic about the chance of living in a real world(as you believe).
    though, let me be pessimistic on this "hope". just a simple question: in these 40? years of the existence of pr therapy, how many patients have you treated? 5000? i wonder what kind of miracle is going to bring a few millions to your door? or do you know another plan besides pr therapy that can help faster?
    -a much better world right away?
    if it was a real chance, it would have been on it's way years ago. the one and only real therapy has been rejected by the "system". the reason is clear. they don't want a world cured from the shit. they want us slaves, neurotics full of fear and depended on their wish. unfortunately it is easily rejected by the humans too. even those who "seek" for help. for the reasons you have described and most of us understand.
    by the way,
    if you find out you where given a "drug" that makes you so optimistic, please let me know. i want tons.. :-)

  7. Jack: You wanted simply stated. OK. It is thus in my new book. That is my job to put it all out there in readable style. Now it is up to others to do something about it. After all, I have spent over 40 years perfecting this therapy, studying and writing on a full time basis. My book is all about a warning for mothers shrinks and medical doctors about exactly what to do to prevent all this damge. What more can anyone do?! AJ

  8. Off-tpic: Some interesting comments about modern psychiatry by a Reichian therapist:

    The Demise Of Modern Psychiatry
    Charles Konia, M.D. | April 2, 2011

    More than any other discipline, psychiatry has lost its autonomy as an independent branch of the medical sciences and, as a result, it is now more or less under the complete influence of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. No longer is the psychiatrist the one who is in complete charge of the patient. Today, the psychiatrist treats the psychiatric symptom such as anxiety, depression etc with medication. while the psychologist or social worker treats the "whole patient."

    How did this tragic degradation in this once highly respected profession come about? The decline in the quality of psychiatric care is directly related to the psychiatrist's failure to understand the origin and functions of emotions that underlie psychiatric illness. This necessarily led to a mechanistic, brain-centered distortion of psychiatric illness and a symptom based system of diagnosis and the treatment. The elimination of the troublesome symptom, not the establishment of emotional health, became the goal of psychiatric treatment. The mechanistically oriented psycho-pharmacologist gradually replaced the function of the psychotherapist as the primary caretaker. With the use of medication, the energy behind the patient's psychiatric problematic symptom is blocked from being experienced but this occurs at the expense of his emotional well-being.

    The mechanistic distortions of human emotional life that we see today in the practice of psychiatry did not occur because of a lack of knowledge. They could have been prevented if the medical discoveries of Wilhelm Reich such as the existence of biological energy, the function of armor and the orgasm function were understood and incorporated into the existing body of psychiatric knowledge. Tragically, the overwhelming majority of psychiatrists were and still are unable to think functionally and grasp the crucial importance of these discoveries. They are left with a sterile approach to human illness, one that cannot be sustained for long before the public at large and the psychiatric profession itself become disillusioned with the current state of affairs and look for a better alternative to what they have.

    Add a comment to this post

  9. Halleluiah, count me in, brother! 
    But I do offer a little bit of pessimism in a good vision. PT can eliminate so much. And Orthodoxy knows that, too well. It knows that people will be far harder to fool, con, mislead, bully, etc. In the world of subversive politics, chaos and havoc are excellent ways to modify and change the world in whatever way those in power might choose. People are easy to confuse in war, crisis, and chaos. They keep us doped up in entertainment, sex, drugs, sports, etc.

    So they do not want us to feel and heal. That might lead to better thinking and actually loving the little bundles of life we bring into the world. It would ruin the parade of the Orthodoxy. It would be an injustice to ignore that we have an enemy against us and he far outnumbers us.

    Perhaps we could form our own limited colony but I warn that they will try to stop this, too. They do not believe in live and let live.

    We, the few who embrace PT and want to heal, have many obstacles, perhaps the least of which, is ourselves, even though we are our own worst enemies. It is my opinion, and I could be wrong, that we need to be as aware of our “obstacles” as we do our options and PT.

    Prevention is a good idea but it would require, dare I say, an intellect to say to Primal self, “No excuses! You are going to do the right thing, however painful it may be or however much effort it takes.”
    But really, what are the odds of that happening?

    Consider that we have every right to expect the same results we have always gotten. In fact, it would be insanity to expect different results from the same old pattern. We are in a helpless quandary here. We need a power far greater than the Orthodoxy and some perhaps invent a god or God to take this role. I don’t invent Him to justify Him.

    Some will suggest that “aliens in UFOs will rescue us. Trouble is, what if those aliens are really just more of us masquerading as “aliens?” and flying around in crafts that are actually “made in USA?” There is a bigger picture. Myself, I have always been impressed with those cryptic prophecies that seemed to predict and describe a world nearly to the one we have. How did they do this some 2000 years earlier? How did they know? But I digress.

    But I can say this. Andrew brought it up. The anti-primal forces would need to be neutralized. And I, for one, refuse to take part in war. Either there is a God or I am in deep trouble and we all are.

    I agree with Jan Johnsson about allowing critics. I do not fear them and no one should. They give themselves away for what they are. Whether one accepts this next story as myth or fact, it is s story to demonstrate the superiority of truth vs lies. In the Bible, the Devil is allowed to challenge God. God allows the challenge. He does not fear it. He has the power to get rid of the devil but is not unaware that He is also being watched and it He is right, He has nothing to fear from letting the matter be proved over a period of time.

    It is a classic story of a power, a benevolent power, who does not fear being questioned, the way typical corrupt power does. If one is truly in the right, the right will prove itself for what it is. No lie can overcome truth. Let the critics have their say and we can smile.

    I agree with Paul’s observation about training and preparation. The Army does not send untrained men into combat. It trains and even programs them to handle what they will encounter. They often survive because of this training, the damage being more psychological. I have found many events that might have been devastating had I not been prepared for them as a reality. The prepared mind can better handle things that an unprepared mind can not. Small children are vulnerable because they have not formed what they need yet.

    So the mind stores the traumas so that lessons can be later learned after the fact in PT. Prevention is better than correction, if it were possible.

  10. Art

    It doesn’t appear to me that Apollo’s sentences... sentences that flow across all borders in order to prove itself will do... but I could be wrong ...why not let her be... to become a representative of a legal process of PT? She seems to cope with all the comic labyrinth of arguments about serious sentences… scientific evidence my primal therapy would need to prove it self in a world of stand-up comedian? That is my better than not do anything at all… what can’t we do to make a change? Human been are at their end or beginning.

  11. Apollo: You're complicating matters for yourself IMO. It's simple, so simple as to seem incredulous. Feelings and their expression (emotion) are self explanatory. All else, is intellectual mumbo-jumbo which I sense you are so desperate to hang onto. Fine, if you want to do that, but it won't solve anything ... re-living will. Preparing for feelings is an oxymoron (impossible). When a feeling hits you between the eye-balls the intellect is rendered redundant. Feelings are simple ... thinking is complex, convoluted and a neurotic act-out which ever way you want to figure it. IMO Jack

  12. This is a fantastic film you can watch on the world we can live in.
    Hopefully I will see it in my lifetime

  13. dear art,
    would u explain same thing only regards a parent that kills his one kids?
    first line pain and no gates, but why rage go to harmless? they r no threat to life?
    (this is a theoretical issue only for me).

  14. Lidar: In italy, ask in a month. AJ

  15. dear art,

    has been a month, i'm asking again.......
    would u explain same thing only regards a parent that kills his own kids?
    first line pain and no gates, but why rage go to harmless? they r no threat to life?
    (this is a theoretical issue only for me).

    lidar shany, age 43, mother of 4 kids, Israel.

  16. Hello Lidar I would not know how to answer this as there are so many reasons. Clearly it is psychotic in origin. It is blown gates where the person is out of touch with outside reality and totally immersed in her past primal reality, with no critical awareness left. art janov

  17. Lidar you need a specialist in all this which I am not. There are no universal laws about this. We are all so different. 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.