Monday, June 6, 2011

A New Therapy in China

Listen, I have a new therapy for smokers. Every time you pick up a cigarette I smack you in the head. After a while you will find a lessened desire for cigarettes. And I can produce the research that shows that after six treatments there is a lesser desire to smoke. Is this a joke? An exaggeration? No, simply a parallel for what passes for therapy these days.

I am reminded of this by an article in the L.A.Times. (“Chinese cures for being gay”. May 22/11 LA Times article) Here is the therapy, and I quote,” They get some beautiful men to walk around naked beside you, or make you watch gay porn.” This from the leading Chinese expert on homosexuality. You know what an expert is? Someone from out of town. This one is from out in space. The article goes on, “The man will naturally get an erection. When his erection reaches a certain level, the instrument emits an electrical discharge, which upsets him. They repeat the process until the man doesn’t get excited anymore.” They claim progress in China since the authorities have removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. Another Chinese expert states that gays need to learn to accept themselves. He goes on with more nonsense: “Homosexuality is innate, not something that can be cured.” Why do they come to this conclusion? Because they have no way to delve into the deep unconscious and see what generating sources of deviation lie there. Since they have no way to treat it, it must be untreatable. One of those syllogisms that I love.

So let’s see what this is all about. I have treated many homosexuals over the years. They almost never come to get over their homosexuality. They feel bad and want therapy for their misery, like anyone else. And sometimes they wake up one day and have no desire for sex with the same gender. It was cured by inadvertence. No one tried to do it but after feeling basic need for many months things change. It happens sometimes, not always, and it happens when there is what I call “second-line” homosexuality; that is, severe deprivation of love during childhood. There is a deeper origin, trauma during gestation and birth that also plays into homosexuality: first-line origin. This is very tough to treat because the origin is so remote and early, and because the imprint is so engraved into the entire system. Oh yes, that brings me to another facet; homosexuality isn’t simply a matter of the behavior of sex organs. It is a state being found in the altered immune system, brain circuits and physiologic processes. It does no good to extract the sex organs for study and therapy as if that is the be-all and end-all of the matter; like headaches is only a matter of the head. Yes, it is manifested there, but it is a reflection of the person and her history. If we ignore history we are forced to take the presenting manifestation as THE problem and treat it apart from the whole system. It is a fragmented approach where we treat fragments of the person instead of the person herself. So there is an imprinted memory of trauma, which is ultimately manifested in high blood pressure. We treat the blood pressure but not the origins. It is always palliation.

Why would we focus on homosexual behavior if the behavior is driven by basic unfulfilled need? If, for example, there was a cold, punishing father in the boy’s life or a tyrannical mother he may search out warmth from a man. Is that wrong? Does it need to be treated? Or is that natural, something that all of us need — love? Many of my patients became fixated on animal love because that was all there was in the household. Should we punish it? Drive it away? Smack the person when he sees a dog? Why would we smack someone who gets an erection when he sees a naked man? He is excited by the possibility of male love (mixed with sex).

I offer an example. I treated a gay man who loved sucking penis; and now I shall simplify. His feeling when his partner came was “mother’s milk.” His basic need was for a warm father and for sucking and having the breast, both of which went missing. Now would we want to smash his head when he gets an erection? His need became sexualized but it is still basic need. Do we want to double his neurosis by increasing his load of repression? His sexual response is keeping the need alive. It is a point of access, not for punishment but for accessing the need and his pain. He may be acting-out the need for a loving father or out of fear of angry women (his mother). Do we want to castigate that and make him deny that need? So what are the Chinese doing? Extracting the penis and treating it as the problem. Smacking the erection and warning it not to get hard again when it sees naked men. Like the absence of an erection constitutes treatment of homosexuality.

Here again they focus on the presenting problem because they remain on the surface and are content to stay there. There is no unconscious in their scheme, so they harken back to pre-Freud days; talk about retro. It is much better to feel what you were and are missing than to drive it underground; because that deprived need is what drives all of us all of the time.


  1. Art: Your genius has shown us the problem:- love; the lack of it. Even being aware of your message of the problem has not delineated any solution.

    Repairing the already damaged (all of us) is, to me, a forlorn task ... all we can do/be is compassionate towards others equally damaged, but differently. That, to me, ought to be the message.

    Is there a solution? Yes, BUT not for us. Only for the children of the tomorrow, by changing the child-rearing practices we (neurotic) humans have devised. That, to me is where our energy should be focused ... following the premise of Primal Theory.


  2. very well put. it seems strange to me that the first-line type of homosexuality (permanently altered hormones) could twist the natural sexual orientation so far that it becomes homosexual. i'm inclined to think there may be other factors at work. and not just second-line needs. more than that.

    i know a gay guy who was forced to have gay sex when he was a child. he has never had sex with a female. he says gay sex is normal to him because that's what he did as a child, and it's all he has ever known.
    has he formed a habit? i think it's more than that. he had many years to fine-tune his defences within a gay context. now gay sex has become a safe and familiar zone; a zone that doesn't trigger his real needs too much, but it triggers his childhood memories just enough to make the sex feel real and alive (this is just a hypothesis).
    gay or straight, many people find it easier to orgasm when they get into one of their old, familiar 'well-defended' positions. i knew a girl who couldn't reach orgasm with her partner. when he went to sleep, she would masturbate as she had done for many years as a single teenager - very much a routine. she knew her safe zone.

    the gay guy was well-defended inside gay sex. the girl was well-defended inside masturbation (just a hypothesis, ok Art?)

    there are some patients (and therapists) who remain gay after many years of therapy. maybe they are hormonally hardwired. but as i said, it seems strange. a gay male lives inside a male body. that means his hormones must be predominantly masculinized, if not entirely. why does he lose almost all interest in women? this seems too extreme.

    perhaps he is living in his safe neurotic zone. what would happen if a woman tried to be his lover, and he tried to accept some of that love in the here-and-now. just normal love between a man and woman - without focusing on mommy or daddy. if his hormones are more hetero than homo, as i propose, then his unfulfilled need for hetero love (not necessarily sexual) may at last be triggered. this might open up a whole new can of worms. we might discover the real reason for the homosexuality - it might not be hormonal.

    i've seen plenty of muscular guys with huge moustaches walking in pvc pants with a large hole cut out of the buttock region. they look gay, for sure, but they don't look hormonally feminized.

    now Art, before you say "Richard, your intellect is horrible again" i suggest you have a chat to the gay therapists and ask them what they think about my hypothesis.

  3. It's interesting, but that Pavlovian "shock treatment" does "work" on some level - at least in terms of denial. How many of us are too afraid to be honest with ourselves, with respect to who we are and what we really want, because it triggers a 'shock' feeling of rejection imprinted primarily from our parents? I think it might be the norm.

    Go for a walk down the street and look at all those vacant smiles; "perfectly conditioned to want what they have, and have what they want" [Brave New World quote]. But I think really that conditioning is (or can be) just profound denial.

    -Being too afraid to feel your homosexuality doesn't make you straight.

  4. Jack we should focus on lots of things. We need better child-rearing practices AND more primal therapists who will be able to train more primal therapists in the future.

  5. When I “know” what life are hiding I understand the tale… I would prefer to live for a day than the rest of my life. What I mean is ... to be as lifeless that nothing comes to sense for what life in itself are about… but repress painful complications… complications to the point that it is comparable to death… Primal therapy is a "God-given” opportunity… so totally without God anything can be and the only opportunity to come a life. Living death was what my father left behind in my prayers to God... which was my plea for dad to live.
    Why is not more done? It is extremely difficult to reconcile that no more is done to establish Primal Therapy… but I understand the paralyzed attitude when death is entirely comparable with what “understanding” keeps at place… to not "know" what primal therapy contains.

  6. Frank: I agree to set the path but it takes many to get together and do something. AJ

  7. Richard: Hey I don't need gay therapists. My patients will do nicely. And I watch and listen and have no preconceived ideas. I write only what I observe. AJ

  8. Hi,

    In UK (and other European Societies) we have developed an entire branch of law called "The Rights of the Child". In health care we reflect this in "The Needs of the Child".

    There is a great deal of focus on gestation, birth and child psychology and holistic values are becoming widely understood. However this is ignored (or taken for granted) by the psychotherapy industry which itself is dominated by the cerebral and/or symbolic view. It is also largely bypassed by the mainstream Health Service which still slaps newborns. . . (more or less).

    To my mind (in UK) the word "Primal" has become hijacked by a small sector of licensed psychotherapists with the tacit approval of the more "Cerebral" sector. Perhaps they are happy to see feelings going on elsewhere but not here or now (thank you very much).

    Meanwhile the "alternative & holistic" subculture remain largely uninformed by or updated with the available information.


    Because they are misinformed by proxy that Primal is incorporated into psychotherapy generally.

    This is a particularly easy idea to believe; and then mature practitioners of holistic therapy can begin to get their clients to Primal on their massage tables because of it. After all, if mainstream psychotherapy has incorporated Primal Theory then Holistic Healing can too (and it has).

    It seems to me there is a series of disconnects in ordinary society and also in our counter cultures and even in our inherited ancestral knowledge of holistic health (palliative though most of them may be).

    All of the really good holistic health practitioners I have met (and had therapy from) are poorly informed about Primal Theory and would probably appreciate being updated.

    I feel Primal could spread better through the connections with holistic medicine because (so far) I have seen no big contradictions in principle. In these circles everyone has heard of Frederick Leboyer and understands the need for a pure and relaxed pregnancy. There you have your common ground.

    Given that Primal is not a quick fix and holistic medicine does not deny the 1st line traumas it seems there could be an avenue of collaboration.

    It's not surprising the top scientists arn't listening to Primal Theory but has the clinic attempted to inform the holistic sector? So many midwives and other supportive practitioners are probably under the delusion that Primal Theory has been incorporated into the mainstream. That's what I was told 20yrs ago and "EVERYONE'S READ THE PRIMAL SCREAM" havn't they?

    Paul G.

  9. Richard: The time it takes to train a Primal Therapist and the number of therapist able to train more therapist is so infinitely small, it would take thousands of years.

    The ONLY solution IMO is 'prevention', vis a vis child-rearing. All else is more neurotic hockus pockus.


  10. Hi,

    Ok, this is in response to the idea that punishment (pressure) will correct (so called) unacceptable behaviours:

    "For every action there will be an equal and opposite re-action".

    I had a lovely half Jamaican friend years ago, we used to hang out and listen to regae music. It turned out the authorities had tried to cure her of her lesbianism by showing her pictures of women naked intermixed with various other "Negative" images.

    Thankfully for her at the time she could see what they were trying to achieve and how. . . Even better (much later on) we could laugh about it together. There are those on whom these "experiments" are tried who become hardened in their own neurosis as a consequence. This generates Gay Rights Activists and some of these occupy important government posts negotiating policy that takes us even further away from Primal Theory.

    How ridiculous but also tragic to humiliate people in this way and for society to base its' cultural values on the inevitable re-action.

    God, we're still in the dark ages!

    Paul G.

  11. Re: this Chinese thing: The stupidity in this world never ceases to amaze me.If that stupidity were not usually accompanied by cruelty, I think I could laugh about it more. Oh yes, punishment has its place as a temporary symptomatic expedient: for instance, I was arrested for drunk driving last July, and the State now comes down on you for such behavior; and I can tell you that their punishment was such that I will not repeat this irresponsible behavior (apart from the fact that I would not repeat it anyways). But what would happen if I had a really bad drinking problem, and the drinking compulsion were such that it over-rode the fear of future punishment and any personal ethical considerations.Luckily I personally don`t have a bad problem, but what about the heavy alcoholics? Here is where a sensible therapy like Primal could be particularly useful, but the poor heavy drinker has little choice around him but AA ,or bourgeois psychology . What a dilemma!


  12. I see your point, Art. It's an important one, and an ethical one.
    Thinking without assuming. Not easy.

  13. Paul G.:I have published in refereed journals as have my colleagues, have written 14 books, and published in magazines. you tell me what to do. AJ

  14. Hi Art,

    I have discovered it's possible to read a book many times and deduce from it the complete opposite of what the author intended, I was once that reader. Also by buying the words I can deceive myself that I have the reality the words describe.

    Nevertheless, when something as important as PT emerges words must be written down; not least of all for the sanity of the writer.

    But most of these fine words fall on deaf ears or into bookcases of the collector who needs no more persuasion than "a copy". . . Would he ever make it to California though?

    Also documents published in journals do not get digested by the ordinary man nor by the counter-culture. The counter culture is not all counter-dependent.

    What you have discovered is too potent for the average "consumer" when presented in scientific form. Also (for the more 'spiritually minded') how much more "Inner" can the type of work you do become? It can't can it? How much more inside can one get than in a Primal?

    Anyway, I have also studied and received holistic medicine of various kinds and can vouch for it's worth.

    Shiatsu is good and has sent me into my feelings very effectively, not just because it was touch. What you perhaps refer to as booga booga is not all useless nor merely palliative; it seem to me from my first hand experience that some of these "complementary" methods lead one to feelings. It depends on the quality of the practitioner and more importantly what they "know" as well as what they have learned...

    The way I see it is that there are disconnects between various "branches" of understanding and the opportunity to explore the boundaries between these differing "methodologies" is grossly under-exploited.

    I expect few of you at the Primal Clinic have time to really consider this because of the pressure to attend to patients, isn't it? That's the work you do.

    The same would be true of organisations practising and training people in macrobiotics, cranio sacral and any number of holistic specialities which also recognise the origins of our problems in gestation. These different streams of understanding do not have time to collaborate.

    The idea that gestation is where it all starts (to go wrong) is not new. Many people are talking about it now.

    There is common ground but presenting documents, books and proclamations does not get like minded people into collaborative situations.

    I don't feel this is really the subject for this blog either but it's important that the subject be raised here because spreading Primal understanding keeps on coming up in this blog anyway.

    I have a suggestion to make; I hear that the Primal Clinic is a not for profit organistation? Anyway, perhaps the Clinic could develop a membership with a subscription fee and newsletter. . .

    Some of the material this blog is generating has nowhere else to go (and therefore goes to waste); I feel there could be an avenue with this. Not least of all an alternative fund-raising mechanism.

    Paul G.

  15. We all know there are homosexual men who act out the female role within a gay couple. This guy commonly unfolds a hipersensitive nature, a writer or a painter, or even a musician. They all hace fine artistic/creative qualities, those highly Yan souls belonging to the left handed/eastern hemisphere. Let's take for granted they are unconsciously escaping the tyrannical mother and longing for the tender attitude their father never showed. Now, what triggers the overacted husband role male looking gay partner. He usually plays the pragmatical role, commonly a 9 to 5 hard working guy. What makes him find the sensitive gay so attractive? What is he fleeing from and being attracted to?
    I've shared some opinions with Dr. Gabor Maté, who told me you would meet him in march. Is he taking your baton? I'd like to bring some light to the world. I've gone through some three yrs Primal here in Spain.

  16. Paul G: Our clinic was originally a for-profit one but it turned into a non-profit, which is OK because we are not in business to make a profit; we make money in order to stay in business. art janov

  17. Dr. Janov,

    Your comments about what possibly motivated congressman Weiner to do what he did make a lot of sense to this layman. Obviously, no rational, intelligent motive could have caused him to do what he did.

    P.S. Thank you for making your thoughts on this and other relevant issues available on your website. I always find them well worth reading.

  18. Expressing an off-topic thought:

    If you stuck someone's brain under a real-time EEG scan while being tortured, then I'm suspicious that you would see a reduction in neural activity once you pass the line of true trauma. So, as you turn up the voltage you get more and more neural response until you finally get to that (literal) cut-off point and then you get little or no neural response. Even though you're drilling the body with ever more severe electric shocks.

    If I'm right, then this would mean that the trauma is not actually being processed in the brain as a real memory at all (I think?). It's simply being stored as 'outside' information, and in turn, as we know, creating an indirect pressure on the brain driving the neurosis.

    So, as I guess, in a primal you're going from repressed Information to a real Memory. In a primal the brain fires-up in response to the [then] overwhelming stimulus for the very first time, and likewise assimilating into the brain just like every other memory.*

    I reckon this might be right because neural activity does correlate to conscious experience. Is the correlation absolute? I'm not sure. But if so then I have to be right.

    I wonder if there is any research going on, on how the brain responds to true trauma, using real time experiments? I bet there is. Maybe you should get into the military's X-files, Art?

    *It would also mean that the trauma, in a baby primal, is never actually experienced within an immature brain. The experience ultimately begins and ends in an adult brain, firing up the adult faculties of which are involved with the integration.

    So, all primals are ultimately "An adult experiencing a baby's pain"; never "A baby experiencing a baby's pain".

  19. Lars: THERE IS PRIMAL IN SPAIN? ayayayay art

  20. Anonymous: You are always welcome. art

  21. PART 1.
    Hi, I thought hard before committing this to the blog because there’s a lot of words and I’m not keen to advise folks much older and wiser than me, but here I go!
    I also ran a "Not for Profit" Co. in UK. Set up in 2000 to do traditional wood craft training for the disadvantaged (we were encouraged by the authorities to do so, mislead is the word I would use now with hind-site but that's another story). . . To get more turnover from products (in the absence of training fees) we mutated into specialist oak framed construction carpentry. Later, the bottom dropped out of the construction industry (thanks to unscrupulous international bankers) and we had to shut our workshop & yard.
    In UK 'Not for Profit' doesn't mean a profit is not charged. . . It means the profits are re-invested back into the core business and aims. Not for Profit doesn't mean people don't get paid either. Anyway, the main purpose legally (in UK) of such an entity is to provide communities with a way to sustain products or services essential to its' members. So, in UK not for profit also means "Membership Organisation". These types of organisation are eligible for funding from other charitable organistaions.
    I am suggesting through setting up a membership with newsletter you may be able to extend an outreach to people who as yet have not either fully or properly digested Primal Theory but nevertheless could really benefit from so doing. One of the main problems seems to be that many people believe Primal is more or less incorporated into mainstream (and they are quite wrong of-course). People then sequester Primal into a file marked "Ah yes, I know all about that" or more to the point "Ah yes, I know some-one else who knows all about that", ie: they know a psychotherapist; but that psychotherapist prefers not to tell any-one about the truth because they themselves cannot easily change their operations. Actually I believe many of them do know the truth (they are not merely ignorant) but don’t know what to do about it; possibly for some of the following reasons:
    If existing patients and patients to be could actually join the Primal Clinic as members then as members we could also invite others, including therapists and practitioners from other fields by (gently) introducing them to the newsletter.
    Waving stuffy science papers or giant provocative tomes under peoples’ noses is, in my opinion, as alienating as it is informing; Primal is a pithy subject. Through a newsletter patients and patients to be (and trainee therapists) could become legitimate spokespersons and ambassadors for the cause. . .
    Art, your name and books are almost household and thus becoming mythologized. I mean nearly every-one in the field of psychotherapy, counselling, facilitation, arts etc has heard of Arthur Janov and the Primal Scream. . . . Art, you are a giant in your industry (obviously a gentle giant at heart) but in your science papers and books you speak with a loud and commanding voice about the truth. That I would guess is partly jamming the airwaves of change. The truth can hurt when spoken with authority by some-one who knows.

  22. PART 2.
    Many of your contemporaries, who aught be your colleagues, are very likely scared of you and cowering in the shadadow of your burning light. In my humble opinion you could consider letting your patients (and patients to be) do the talking and doing that through membership and a newsletter. This way Primal could fall on fertile soil as yet undeveloped.
    I don’t know, you would have to ask your potential members, count me in anyway! If not already perceived as "Elitist” there is a risk Primal could become unsustainably marginalised. This is obviously not your intention at all but if you study the words you use through this blog you’ll see that you have occupied the higher ground in your industry for a very long time. Even those other professional psychotherapists (and scientists) who are positively influenced by your work have no easy way to relate directly to you because of your considerable bow wave and wake.
    Your own radical change of operations all those years ago may have been the only way you could live with yourself and carry on but the people you perhaps need on board (other therapists and neurologists) need some other way in; some other path, some other guide than you directly or the path you then had to chose; they are not you but you do need some of them on board. I’m not suggesting a fudge nor fraternising with the enemy but a collaboration of like minded people.
    Most of the mechanism for membership would appear to already exist. This Blog represents the body of it; it is already half way to an electronic newsletter. Given that there are probably dozens if not hundreds of people enrolled and waiting to get Primal (and I’m one of them) and then there must be as many or more who are in 'post clinic' mode and still hundreds or thousands more from the last 40 years then it follows there is a sizeable potential membership who may be willing to pay a small annual subscription fee for membership with a newsletter.
    This Blog proves you are an approachable person as is the Clinic an approachable organisation but so far (if I read between the lines) your operations have remained clandestine on a shoestring budget. I feel the clinic needs a “Visible Document”, a newsletter. It's important to understand that this aught not be at all similar to nor serve the same purpose as your books, science papers, articles, this blog or any other 'published' material so far.
    There is the potential for the emergence of a ‘structure for integration’ through a newsletter for a membership: “ways in”. This structure could evolve out of consulting your potential members and through their individual contributions. I imagine the group aim the newsletter for members might broadly reflect, could be called: “a community of interest”. I feel it would be important for this not to involve Art (directly) himself much for some obvious reasons. Subscriptions could pay for a part time editor, perhaps sub elected/ sub-contracted from the clinics’ senior trainees. . Control of the newsletter content aught to lie with the clinic; but the impetus come from the membership.
    Paul G.

  23. Paul G.: Good idea, but how do you implement it? AJ

  24. Um,

    Art, it's the clinic and its' board of directors who need to meet to discuss the worth of this idea and issues arising from it, prior to the organisation deciding such a thing is legally possible.

    Then you'll need to review your (American Version of)'objects, aims and memorandum and articles of faith' to see if the legal entity that the clinic actually is can have and support a membership. It's possibly already in that documentation anyway but 'dormant', ie: not used. You may need to apply to the central Authority in USA (in UK it's called "Companies House") to change things for 'membership' I don't know. In UK there are some very useful attributes to "Not for Profit" but I wouldn't know what the American Version can do. Usually directors can re-write the aims and objects when necessary to include other ventures; obviously this has to be done under the guidance of and in accordance with company law.

    This sounds a hassle but it's not rocket science nor need it cost much. In UK changes like this can cost as little as a few hundred quid. Ask the clinics' attorney / lawyer. . .

    I sound like an expert but really I'm just another Co director who's learned a few legal tricks the hard way.

    I'm also re-training as a facilitator (over a long period of time). Primal Theory adds a very important new explanation to things about group dynamics and also to the theory behind personality type / fixation and its' origins; by the way.

    Much of what you are saying in this blog also has correlations in holism and macrobiotics, iridology and so on. Particularly in the process of diagnostics. . . It's not the same but there are resonances.

    Many of these "old ways" survive and show us that our some of our ancient forefathers and mothers' understanding was not far off track. Certainly a lot of it really is booga booga but not all.

    So, at risk of repeating myself (one of my fixations) the purpose of membership is to extend an outreach to a community of interest; a newsletter would be that memberships' "Visible Document" which later could serve as a vehicle for increasing and developing that membership to a wider public. It needs to go in stages of consultation and participation starting with the clinics' own directors.

    Paul G.

  25. Paul G. We do have a non-profit foundation that the rich can give to for supporting those who cannot afford therapy. The Primal Foundation. I am discussing your proposals now. AJ

  26. Hi,

    In England there is a 1,000 yr old tradition of charitable organisation and of 'community'.

    From what I understand there is a significance to the stage at which a charitable organisation begins to find support to establish itself in a wider community. Often this happens after a great deal of petitioning falling on deaf ears and much angst for the organisers on the way.

    More interestingly issues of 'purity of intent' arise. People in the organisation worry that the their content will become diluted or bastardised in the process of 'devolution'.

    Frequently therefore, the extension of the organisations' endeavours into an outreach for more 'members' also results in an uncomfortable and/or rigid hierarchy. The attempt is to protect the purity of the teaching but this just bottles up the chaos.

    Anyway in an attempt to help seriously damaged PTSD soldiers from WW1 Wilfred Bion at the Tavistock institute developed theories of group dynamics from which we now have models for group development which can avoid all the worst chaos associated with devolution. The chaos is important though.

    So the theory goes, the key to handling the chaos in group development is not to try to cover it up but to allow it expression.

    Certainly there is chaos in the psychotherapy industry today.

    Paul G.

  27. A bit more techno-speculation:

    I think if you were to build a model of the mind you could think of 100 billion cameras and microphones linked into a massive network, with each camera having its own hard drive to immediately store its own experiences.
    My guess is that memory is stored "on the spot" in the very neurons that are being activated and affected by a given input. This would explain why a memory is made up of many components and scattered all over the brain i.e. in this model they would have to be. And they are somehow linked maybe by time-codes (as I have experessed earlier on this blog). If this is right, then memory in itself (as a raw recording) should be extremely robust, because you could not undermine its recording except by undermining the brains operation on the cellular level (whilst experiencing an input). And that would surely be difficult.


    Going by this model, how does hypnotism work as it "recovers" old trauma?

    I think with hypnotism certain parts of the brain are being put off-line (partly, or maybe totally?). So, the parts of the brain involved in the agony component of the memory are being kept in repression. However, the other components, linked to other 'modules' of the brain, can locate the old memory. How do they find it though? A hyponists subjects are told to "go back in time". Maybe this is a que telling the mind to directly sort back through files (memories) that are stored in a date-sequence in every cell (or group of cells) until they get to the right point??? This could be a way of accessing a memory without using direct associations - that is, getting to a memory through sequence rather than parallel-association. And when the individual does get to the painful memory, the parts of the brain storing the pain are psychologically numbed so only the more 'abstract' modules are in full operation - hence, no Primal; no resolution because the emotional memory component has gone nowhere. And so, the implicit memory [leading to over-reaction and compulsion] indures.

    But what I say here is just best guesses. Food for thought.

  28. Andrew Starting this monday and for many weeks on mondays and tuesdays there will be an article--a bonus article--on hypnosis, followed by many other subjects over the months. 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.