Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Do 200,000 Shrinks Miss the Point About Primal Pain?

(from: The Rise of the Caring Industry.   R.W. Dworkin.  Hoover Institution, June 2011)
Today in the U.S. there are 77,000 clinical psychologists, 192,000 clinical social workers, 105,000 mental health counselors, 50,000 marriage and family therapists, 17,000 nurse psychotherapists, and 30,000 life coaches. Most of these professionals spend their days helping people cope with everyday life problems, not true mental illness. More than half the patients in therapy don’t even qualify for a psychiatric diagnosis. In addition, there are 400,000 nonclinical social workers and 220,000 substance abuse counselors working outside the official mental health system yet offering clients informal psychological advice nonetheless.  This is to say nothing about the number of psychiatrists.

How do these hundreds of thousands of mental health professionals miss the point about primal pain?  I mean pain is central to mental illness.  How can it be ignored by the very people commissioned to solve neurosis and psychosis?  It is like studying physics and nuclear energy but never mentioning atoms.   Implicitly, it means that they do not consider emotional pain to be at the root of emotional/mental illness.   So what do they think?  I have to go back to my psychoanalytic days to see how I was thinking.  And all we all thought about was the symptom and how to cure it.  Not curing the human being who carried the symptom and the individual who was responsible for the symptom.

   I am not decrying the fact that professionals do not embrace Primal Therapy, but simply trying to understand why they cannot see the pain.  It is there in every patient I have ever seen.  Why is that? Because I have found a way to dig deep in the human unconscious, otherwise you simply cannot see it, even though it is right there before your eyes.   And there is the pain bright and cheery (or not so cheery).   I had a patient (a mother) today who felt deeply.  Afterwards, she had all kinds of insights about how she treated and ignored her daughter.   And the question is, how did she see something so clearly after feeling her pain, that she could never see before she felt her feelings and needs.

    Currently, in the name of progress, psychotherapy has become a here-and-now affair.  As if to say the patient has no history. We are now in the same boat as creative intelligence, psychoevangelicals who say there was no history beyond that of a handful of years.   We can find no real justification for this approach.  Yet, shrinks are implicitly stating this in every therapy session.     They ignore causes and origins.   All that is left is the present.  It certainly simplifies matters.  The problem is that it becomes simplistic and bypasses historical truths.  It eliminates  complexities, of which we are prime examples.  It forces us to ride along on the surface; and we couch our results on surface phenomena.   And then we tailor our therapy to fit into the simplistic scheme.  And we are the last to know about feelings and needs.

    One of the problems here is that therapists are the tool bearers; they take what they have learned and apply it to the patient, thereby learning nothing new; and certainly nothing about the patient.   All they are really doing is refining their tool, whether it be EMDR with its wand to wave in front of the patient or a biofeedback machine  to hook -up the patient, or the ideology of Freud about sexuality, and so on.   It is the apotheosis of the tool and tool-bearer.  And all this prevents the therapist from really inquiring into the patient and her history.  In this case the therapist is seeing herself or himself; how good she is doing or not doing.  The patient is something of an afterthought.   This seems an exaggeration but it is basically the implication of today’s psychotherapy.  Bringing the tool into the session means the therapist has already made up her mind.  She has already decided how the session will go; and it is she who decides the goal of the session, not relying on the systematic unraveling of the unconscious.  The session will go at the therapist’s pace and not that of the patient.  So now we begin to understand why the doctors do not see the pain.  They leave no room for it, no room for any surprises in the therapy.   They leave no room for a change in philosophy or in technique.  They don’t have to change at all.  That is not science; where each new bit of information can change how we go about doing therapy.  They are sure that it all is fine, and that all that has to happen is the patient fit himself into the theoretical scheme.  The doctor needs to analyze your dreams or have you do certain exercises and rituals;  the currency the patient must pay is with insights.  The greater the number of insights the better the patient is, they say.

 The article about the number of shrinks goes on to discuss the following:  “People want to be able to go about their daily lives with the knowledge that someone is there for them.”  So that is the role of the shrink? If you had someone there for you in the beginning of your life you would not need it from a shrink. When you get it from a shrink it is known as symbolic acting-out; the all-wise therapist will watch out for you, protect you, read your mind and keep you safe.  And the problem is, and what makes therapy so addicting, is that the patient is getting what he can from the shrink to make up for what he did not get from his parents. But as we know, once the critical period of need is gone it can never be retrieved.  After the period is over all fulfillment has to be symbolic; and that is why therapy is often interminable; because it is never truly fulfilling.  It is a palliative that we require over and over again.

     And here is more of the Dworkin piece.   “Traditional long-term psychoanalysis, where a therapist spends years poring over the most insignificant details of patient’s life, has given way to what is called “short-term therapy” — therapy conducted over a period of 20 sessions and typically lasting no more than six sessions. Traditional psychotherapy seeks to explain a person’s problem in depth; short-term therapy seeks only to solve that problem, whether or not an explanation for the problem can be found, and so requires less time. Most psychologists, social workers, counselors, and life coaches operate these days within the short-term therapy framework. By focusing on a person’s problem, short-term therapy mimics the experience of real friendship. People don’t expect a real friend to psychoanalyze them when they have a life problem; they expect a friend to suggest a course of action, or to at least raise their spirits. They expect a friend to advise them or help them feel better.

In fact, this new therapeutic style is key to understanding the growth in the number of caring professionals and, indeed, the rise of an entire “caring industry.” Today’s caring professionals offer the same service to lonely, unhappy people that friends and relatives once did. They do so because so many Americans are lonely and unhappy.”

   We do need someone to talk to in life, and for that a shrink can be helpful; and my guess is that if they just talk about life and not spread around insights the session would go just as well if not better.  There is a lot of loneliness out there.  One reason that it becomes embedded and shrouds us is because it is something that may have set in very early in life when the baby was not held and caressed after being born; nor was she held and kissed enough in her infancy.  Here an aloneness sets in; a profound alone/loneliness is engraved.   It can be a feeling brought forth through the process of resonance where being alone for a few hours can elicit that deep aloneness where early human contact was essential for survival.

   In the article they say that half of all Americans feel lonely and, also a bit unhappy.  Where as twenty percent are either depressed or anxious.  These are like unforced errors in tennis; nothing seems to provoke it but there it is.  But we have a good idea of what is causing it.   And look at this.  “An estimated 95 percent of Americans have low self-esteem. Consistent with these trends, at least 15 percent of Americans are now on a psychoactive drug at any given moment.”  Why is it that we all have low self-esteem?  I just wrote on this; a few of the reasons have to do with being ignored as a child, not listened to or respected when we spoke.   It can begin when we are crying out in the crib and no one comes.  Some of us learned to let the child cry. The result is low-self-esteem; I am not worthy of people coming to help and soothe me.    And it is magnified many times over when you say “mommy, mommy,” or “daddy, daddy” and no one is listening.  No one understands your moods, your feelings or energy levels.  Or the parents live on another planet of rules and regulations, of traditions and moral codes but never feelings.  They live within their own history and pain, and cannot pay full attention in the present.   Emotionally, they are somewhere else.  It is compounded when you eat what your are given and do not have the right to dictate what you will have for dinner.  Low self-esteem.   You are not very important.  You obey or else.

  The article goes on “Under our very noses a revolution has occurred in the personal dimension of life such that millions of Americans must now pay professionals to listen to their everyday life problems.”  And why is that? Because so many parents are so preoccupied with making a living, paying bills that they not only don’t have time but don’t have the mental freedom to focus for very long on anything outside of themselves.  They are prisoners of pain and the children are the one’s in prison, an emotional prison where there is no one to talk to, no one who understands (that is the ultimate loneliness).   There is no one to go to who can help.  The child is surrounded by unfeeling robots who go through the motions of parenting, who need to read books and how to act with children, as if they never had  a childhood themselves.     Unfortunately, they are so alienated from their past that they forgot what it’s like to be a child.  The point is that very early gestational trauma, the mother anxious or depressed is sufficient to cause it, gets compounded as the child grows up and experiences neglect and lack of touch and love.  All this needs to be taken into account.


  1. 1. Art: This is the sort of article you should send off to a generalised magazine or newspaper as a guest editorial. Maybe you could condition your writing style more for that context? No doubt you've tried?

    2. No doubt we live in the age of low self esteem. Making an insight: I know of one individual who has low self esteem and is very "arrogant". I believe the core of their defence is a subjectively derived 'evaluation criteria' that they have created for themselves, whereas the criteria is (unconsciously) rigged so that they themselves will test-out well with it. The problem is they have become locked into this "perception filter" and in turn they look down on those who don't measure up to their [ultimately irrational] standards, like they would look down on themselves for it.

    It's a destructive defence because it pushes people away on false grounds. When entire societies suffer from this defence I believe it can lead to massive hierarchies and social classing. As we know, often the more "little" a person feels the more "big" they have to be.

  2. From what I understand this is how psychologists work:

    They learn: that symptom A + G = condition xpz. When a person suffers from symptom xpz you apply technique w2h. When technique w2h fails (it almost certainly will) give them an anti-depressant drug.

    If that's crudely right, then shrinks are programmed diagnostic tools and most of their profession can be reduced to a computer programme (other than prostituting 'friendship').

    Without relevant understanding what else could they be? Sadly, as it seems, they don't even want that understanding. And like you kind of said in your post, Art, no understanding opens the door to booga-booga.

  3. Art; you ask a million questions that you have already answered. The main question you ask is:- "How do these hundreds of thousands of mental health professionals miss the point". Simple; they aint got a clue about Primal Theory "The Primal Scream" was a best seller because it touched on ordinary peoples sensibility. That sensibility was, there was something amiss about this life and you were offering a 'cure'. There was a rush from those able to afford it and come and spend time in Los Angeles at your Institute. You trained quite a few therapist but then these very same therapist wanted to make a very good living from that training, but you were reluctant to give certification to many of them and considered they needed more supervision. In essence I agreed with that, with the caveat that UNLESS YOU HAVE HAD A FULL RE-LIVING EXPERIENCE OF YOUR OWN INFANT-HOOD, CHILD-HOOD THEY HAD NOT FULLY GRASPED THE MEANING OF 'Primal' therapy.

    For your own very good reasons you demanded this 'grasp' of what it felt like being that infant, child ... which brought about insights to oneself and where we had since gone adrift in our lives there after. The health care professionals were only interested in taking a quick refresher course then going on and making a great living for themselves from this new approach. Alas, you were not giving them that facility ... so they left the fold; put down Primal Therapy as a fad and ignored Primal Theory and with the advent of MRI set out to explain psychology, psychiatry and neurophysiology the way they'd done previously with anatomy and physiology of the brain (as if it was a piece of meat in a petri dish). As I see it, it was Primal Theory that got lost and/or ignored.

    I, to some extent Art blame you for making the 'Therapy' the prime factor. I contend, from my very lowly position, that left you open to ridicule with the professionals.

    Let any and all practice their own idea of what Primal Therapy is and fall into all the pitfalls and struggle amongst themselves, then get out of it. My contention, is that you should have simplified and refined Primal Theory for the world at large to see where we humans lost our way by offering it to mankind at large and forget the scientists, researchers, the psychologic and psychiatric professions and let them wallow in their Freudian notions of ego, super ego and id.

    Unless and until one has had a RE-LIVING experience of their own womb-life, infant-hood or early child-hood we are believing in 'fairy-tales' in the words of Stephen Hawking. Extensive training of therapist will go no-where. One trip into re-reliving womb-life, infant-hood or early childhood will give instant realization that all any therapist can do is be a catalyst for their patients to let themselves go into this seeming death-like experience. For all it prior horror you won't die The experience will tell you/them, the patient, all they need to know. It's such a simple concept;- FEELINGS; as opposed to thinking, rationalizing and logic.



    To make a shrink you will need the following ingredients:

    2 neurotic parents
    1 unloved child with
    1 hell of a defence system


    Mix ingredients together to create a consistent scenario. It should look like this:

    Neurotic Parent: Look - I believe in this and that. If you want to feel better, you should do this and that.

    Miserable Child: But I don't want to do this and that.


    Miserable Child: NO!!!

    Neurotic Parent: I WILL PUNISH YOU UNTIL YOU DO THIS AND THAT! I DON'T WANT TO PUNISH YOU....BUT I HAVE NO CHOICE! I AM PUNISHING YOU BECAUSE I LOVE YOU! Now go to your room and stay there. When I let you out, you WILL do this and that.

    Miserable Child: Here I am all alone in my room. If I don't do this and that, Mommy and Daddy will never love me. I am not myself when I do this and that - but what else can I do? I must try to make Mommy and Daddy love me. I will do this and that. I will try to be somebody else.

    (Some time later)

    Neurotic Parent: That's wonderful sweetie! You are doing this and that! Well done! I love you honey.

    Child's Limbic System: No you don't! You are loving somebody else! I need you to love ME!

    (Some time later)


    (Child becomes well-defended)

    Neurotic Child: I think I know what to do. I think I must work hard to show people my strengths. Then they will love me. I will keep trying.

    (Child grows up and becomes a shrink)

    Neurotic Shrink: I think I know what to do. I think I must work hard to show people my strengths. Then they will love me. I will keep trying.


    To add more flavor to your shrink, you can add a pinch of humanity. You don't want your shrink to be too dry. He should feel a little compassion towards his patients; just enough to make him believe in himself, and to make his patients believe in him.





    (by the way, Art, i suggest you become a vegan for moral reasons. humans should not control the lives of other animals any more than necessary for human survival)

  5.'s incredible... without feeling like a blasphemer sentences can fall into place... sentences that may well be perceived as such.

    What affects human development... the "potential" is unlimited... that proves the belief in god. I mean... if madness can design a god who “cures” a loveless childhood… there are possibilities for infinite madness... that can Primal Therapy find cures for.


  6. dear Art "no one who understands..that`s the ultimate lonelyness" -that hit me right between
    the eyes (is there this expression in english?..)
    If only o n e of tose shrinks I had to endure (and "lay" persons by the way..) had show me
    they understood my k e y problem !
    The fact as such (my problem) would have not
    vanished but....!
    Yours emanuel

  7. Frank: I just love that phrase: madness designs a God who cures a loveless childhood. very well put. art

  8. But to say, why do psycho T’s not see? Well, because the “system” does not see “seeing” as being to their advantage and medicine and psychiatry and psychology have always been tools of the “state.” But many are reluctant or unwilling to accept this or admit it. A little too scary, perhaps, just as Primal Pain is very scary for many. Some people would rather face a den of lions than the truth and would far prefer to face primal pain then reality pain. Just sayin!

    Stop wondering why they ignore. They ignore because if they did not, and accepts PT, they might get hurt by having their careers threatened or licenses suspended, even as many who found cures for cancer also found that medicine did not want cures for cancer. They like cancer and its effects.

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls nor for why some ignore PT. They know the potential danger and stay away. You yourself do not seem to like or respect accusations of “systemic” problems or conspiracies, or malevolent motivations of the many. Why do you not see? Afraid of a little bit of persecution, my friend? Well, then, you have a lot in common with those in psycho T. If not, its time to step up to the plate and try to hit one out of the park.

    I also respected Jack’s post in this thread. What other people do with knowledge is not your responsibility. You provide as much info and teaching as they are willing to accept and then let them go to do as they please. I have always leaned toward this way.

    There was a saying in the bible, that he who for me is not my enemy. And anyone saying (preaching) as I say, I can not quickly refute (or deny). But like an intolerant religion or leader of one, you can not abide by the slightest variance of doctrine. So you employ the old iron fist or give that appearance by saying all other “denominations” must go to hell.

    You could release all info and pass it on to anyone willing to take it. It is up to them to drink or not at the water’s edge. I will resort to yet another illustration. A man sowed some seeds. Some fell on rocky soil, some fell on sand, some or dried up soil and some actually landed on good soil and sprouted and multiplied. Throw the seeds out and see what takes route.

    IF PT is so dangerous and precarious to perform, then we might well wonder if it should even be attempted, and hard to believe that only one man and his wife could ever manage to do it right. It smacks of elitist types of religion. “Only I can lead you all to God,” says the madman.

    For the sake of appearances alone, I would suggest a more open honest hand and a little less fence straddling. You have promised an answer on many things including some me and Jack would look forward to seeing. So we look forward to those. But just as psycho T asks us to look at ourselves and ponder, and I say that this, in and of itself, is a good thing.

    You have brought this PT field a long way and I am very grateful for your good service over these years. But that is not to say that there is no room at all for improvement or changes. Psycho T has closed its ears and eyes. Don’t let that happen to you, too. Keep up the good work.

  9. >> Madness designs a God who . . . .

    Indeed, the automobile has many designers. and the same with God. There are many "designers" of which madness has certainly been one of. That does not mean there are not other designers and paths that lead to the same but with far better results. We'll see who is mad and who is not in not a whole lot more time.

    Primal Pain is reaping a very high toll on humanity. Can we dig ourselves out of our own hole? I wonder.

  10. Very good article,that is that it is my opinion too.
    To Jack: I understand your focus on the feelings but I think the other part (rational,scientific) is very necessary to avoid mistakes.(speaking from experience).
    When mistakes occur in therapy it is very difficult to correct them is my opinion.Therefor avoiding mistakes is very important.
    I remember dr. Janov mentioning camera-reviewing to see that there are no things missed.

  11. An email comment:

    I love your straightforward approach.

    What I am doing is trying to get these pros to look at what they do taking feelings into account and put together their attempts to be at play with feeling, be mindful of feeling, and express feeling. My reasoning is that if they tiptoe around feeling with different approaches they are like people playing at the edge of a swimming pool getting closer, getting farther, hovering around the edge. Sooner or later they and their "clients" will start to "fall in" to this pool of feeling and they will find pain. I tell them that together they can have a more effective therapy. I also tell them, as many of the young ones seem to not be fully aware of your work and so aren't so prejudiced, that when they meet anything "unusual" that your approach might be worth consulting.

    I guess it's neurotic to try to be so "tricky" but I've seen it work before with other things, and at least I am taking people with educational "telescopes" and getting them to start aiming at the sky.

    Your slightly crazy friend,

  12. Paul NL: Understanding my focus on FEELINGS, but then you THINK ....... That's what the world at large is doing, THINKING so you are playing their game and they are better at that game than you are. Then they are hoping that through the THINKING methodology they can can come up with solutions.

    You are so invested in THINKING that you are reluctant to let it go. By Art's definition it's a neurotic pursuit and you seem "all hell bent" on keeping it. There is a whole other way of BEING that Art conceived. If you THINK you can realize it all though your neurosis be-that-as-it-may, but that is precisely why the world at large does not "get it." Paul, it's a whole other dimension.


  13. A common problem I find among decent people with good intentions is that they find it difficult or impossible to imagine that anyone else could be otherwise. But our prisons are full of those who show us they can be otherwise. But big business leaders and political leaders dress so nice, and speak so calm, clean, and sound so much like they care. Could they really be so diabolical as I suggest?

    But honestly, if you were a con man selling snake oil, wouldn't you dress nice and look professional and maybe even pretend to be an authority on medicine or something. Or if you wanted to convince people that you were a man of God who could lead them to God and great things, you might want to dress up like a holy man, speak in "religious" vernacular, and tell them all wonderful things about themselves and that they can have anything they want cause God loves them. And further, that they can trust you cause with God's power, you are no longer just an ordinary man. You have been directly appointed by God to show people the way. Praise the Lord!

    You got to look the part and talk the talk. So what if you wanted to get people to elect you and go along with your plan, which of course, is in their best interests and you should not even doubt that because you, the candidate, are on TV and a celebrity and celebrities are special and have halos over their heads. Can't you see it? Its there, I swear.

    But if you look at voting records and the continual descent of our economy, peace, environment and any other indicator you like, you will see a great contrast between what they say and what they do and where we have been travelling. Machiavelli pointed this out about 600 years ago so he knew such people existed. Average regular Romans watching Vespasian battle it out with 2 other generals, all 3 having legions in their commands, saw one general as the worst. But when he lost to the other, they than changed their minds, thinking he must be the worst since he won. their ideas was the evil always beat good in the ground. Imagine that! So where did we get the idea that good rises to the top? Could it be because someone assured us that is the way it is. Maybe we saw in on TV, huh. They wouldn't say it if it wasn't true, right? Vespasian ended up winning and becoming Emperor of Rome after Nero was killed.

    But if we follow the true details such as our steady progress toward becoming a total police state with total surveillance, then maybe it might not be such a far stretch to imagine maybe some might be of bad motives from the start and are progressing with great success.

  14. Part 2 of 2

    Now if I could deliver a cure for cancer that only cost pennies per treatment and could be self administered, wouldn't you think they would jump for joy and dance in the streets. Holy smoke, I would think so. Yet, rather than dance, they formed a war posse and made their way all the way down to Argentina to stop a doctor who left the USA and went down there to practice. And he was stopped. But how can medical authorities in the USA just go to a country in the other hemisphere and act with effectiveness and no protest from Argentina, and in fact, Argentina, once home to many Nazi refugees, was happy to help out. What? How far does this power extend and does it even have any limits?

    If they can stomp cancer docs and do as they please, they can block PT and if they wanted, wipe it right out of existence, just as they will with supplements and nutrients in time not far from now.

    So it really is not surprise that PT struggles to even be known. That is how "they" want it. We have to stop being blind and in denial and swallow a big dose of bitter truth and face that great big ugly monster that lurks over our shoulders. I have seen the enemy and he is us. Really, who blocks people from progressing in PT? Is it not the patient? Are not most people their own worst enemies anyway?

    Arthur, thank you for posting what appeared to be some criticism. Not my intent to hurt or discredit but suggest an alteration or 2 and you did not fear it or repress it. It was courage and integrity and I did not miss that and do respect that. Truth can always stand up to lies or unfair criticism. Only lies fear inspection or criticism. That is why we have a right to fear authorities that ban and persecute criticism.

    Seeing candor inspires confidence. It “feels” very good.

  15. Hi,

    -"Unless and until one has had a RE-LIVING experience of their own womb-life, infant-hood or early child-hood we are believing in 'fairy-tales'"-

    Although it was not Arts' therapy that brought me to my true feelings to start with (as I have attempted to explain several times now) I have nevertheless been having these regular 'tides' of emotion.

    Futhermore, everything Art says about the difference between ab-reaction and the real thing I can verify for myself. Actually that concept of abreaction seems to be very useful for any of us attempting to be true to ourselves. The clash between feelings and defences.

    I have a living experience of this clash and it produces distortions in my belief systems.

    When I'm all blocked up (by my own internal repressive defences) I am completely convinced that so and so down the road is conspiring to take sides against me because of what her over there said to him and because of the lies and deceit that everyone else is making up (about me or them or 'it')etc, etc.

    Then, after one of my high tides (riding the storm with Ted) usually about 10:30am (after my intellect has properly kicked in) and I have fully relaxed into the post cathartic mode (flooded with natural painkillers) and then come out of it and started to prepare myself for the work I love to do (carpentry). . . When I start to think again about 'those people', gone is my antipathy, gone is my belief in their conspiracy to alienate me, gone is my concern that I have lost them and aught to feel aggrieved.
    I then realise that these other people (formerly my friends) are perhaps repressed like me and maybe even frightened by the prospect of what I am going through (they found out, Ted didn't tell them).

    I am certain my therapist can not take me to where Primal needs to go and that is why I am signed up to come to California.

    I'm not taking sides here but as far as I can see Jack, Jan and one or two others perhaps are the only contibutors to this blog who have actually been through the Janov therapy and I find myself in the un-enviable position I have described above.

    I therefore have to agree whole heartedly with what Jack says because I know my beliefs are distorted when the pressure from my feelings can find no release.
    I can see this in others but I prefer to keep one eye shut and my opinions to myself (and my tail hidden, if I possibly can).

    Therein lies a big dilemma for the spreading of Primal as I anticipate having less to say to others about Psychology or Primal after I've actually had the therapy. Maybe that's why so few post therapy patients are telling us how it is on this blog, I don't know.

    There is something natural about this involutionary process, it is a form of elimination and that is why it is so important.

    As time goes by more and more of my beliefs are crumbling and I know this will reach a turning point where absolutely all my non-essential resources will be converted into cash to pay to get me to California.

    Paul G.

  16. Jack: I think you had better read Primal Healing and the section of consciousness versus awareness to see where I stand on all this. But I think this polemic is important. art janov

  17. Art: I m not totally sure what your suggestion that I "had better read Primal Healing" and the relevant chapter 9. I feel personally that I never mis-understood where you stood between consciousness and awareness, BUT I might have been misreading what you were really saying to me. However I pulled my copy of Primal Healing and re-read chapter 9. It is my feeling I understood it on first reading and was knowledgable of it before that, from most of your other books. I feel there may be a mis-understanding between us: not on principle, but rather on presentation.

    As a commentator on a blog, I am, by definition, into the idea of a means to present my feeling/meaning. It is my contention that for all your writing and words your message is not getting any universal approval or acceptance. That, to me, is a great, great pity, BUT then neither am I. How: I wrack my brain, is it possible to get through to at least a critical mass of humanity that your discovery in 1967 was a breakthrough to understanding "The Nature of being human" as opposed to "The Neurotic Behavior of being human".

    To me the concept is simple. In order to rectify just being AWARE we need to accept that we once were a feeling creature and that somewhere down the line we "switched off". How, where and when is at best, conjectural. I feel fully aware that our current way of conducting life for us humans does it utmost to keep us in this AWARE state at the expense of being fully consciousness. Said another way, we created the Unconscious/Subconscious which, sadly, keeps us in this state that you defined so brilliantly when you defined neurosis.

    However Art; you do flog this horse about the tri-parterate brain. I am aware, after reading all your books (I can hardly be otherwise), BUT I personally do not want to be bothered by this awareness. I'd just rather feel as best I can what is going on with me, cry when It seems appropriate and beat the mattress when that one is appropriate. The fear feeling is a little more tricky. One other idea I have and that is to write a book to those not able to get Primal Therapy to get into whatever feeling they can. I fear this book may not meet with your approval. It won't be Primal Therapy but no-one has a monopoly on feelings. Nevertheless I will make a try.


  18. Jack,when it is a difference for you, you can also change the word ´think´ in ´feel´ in my sentence.
    For me it does not change the thing I am trying to say.
    (I also say experience,that contains a lot of feelings and yes I have been quite far in therapy concerning feelings,but watch the word ´mistake´.Or are you someone who is putting feelings in such a high place that a feeling therapist could never make mistakes?)

  19. I can say that my therapy derailed at a certain point due to a mistake.The use of more science could have avoided that looking to it in retrospect.(vital signs) But I am not sure so I say I ´think´.

  20. Jack: This is a sincere question...

    Take a totally non-neurotic human being. How would their frontal cortex operate? What do you believe would be the nature of their non-neurotic thinking?

    I am honestly curious as to what you think.

  21. ...and you know, I think all the brains work together to keep each other in check. For example: Once the left brain makes a deduction from analysis it throws its conclusions over to the right brain, and the right brain then sees if it fits with the 'master' picture. It doesn't? Take another look, Mr left brain.
    And likewise, the left brain helps to tell the right brain when it's dreaming up bullshit by studying the real world data, to see if it matches up with the right brains beliefs. The same be said for cognitive contradictions between deeper raw feelings and abstract ideas.

    My point is this 'brain dominance' thing is a wrong focus. What we're after is integration. We need all the parts working together to keep us in check, and not go off on any silly intellectual or imaginary tangents.

  22. "How do these hundreds of thousands of mental health professionals miss the point about primal pain?"

    It's their own unresolved primal pain that keeps them from being able to see their patient's primal pain. Because there wasn't a caring soul to witness and mirror back that something terrible had happened in their earliest moments and years, they won't be able to see it in themselves or in their patients.

    Subconsciously we're drawn to people with similar pain because their body language mimics ours and our families' body language. Consciously, this pain is too frightening to acknowledge to ourselves. However, if we did, it would take us on the path to our original pain and to our original abusers. Most people avoid this path as if their life depended on it, because, originally, their pain almost kill them.

    Therapists can only take a patient as far as they have gone. If I need the facts and the therapist is pretending that their happy childhood led them into counseling, we're both screwed.

    To be in the helping field one must have unresolved pain. A healthy person doesn't need to go into the helping field to look for a part of themselves that has never been lost. Only people with unresolved pain do that.

    Therapists are always searching for the lost and abandoned parts of themselves in their patients. Unfortunately, they lost the scent of themselves when their loved ones didn't allow them to feel their pain.

    Picasso's work mysteriously stirs people up because his earliest unresolved pain, through a lifetime of work, resembles their unresolved pain. His work is hauntingly familiar because our primal pain is hauntingly familiar.

    I'm writing a book about mental health and the bible (is this guy Nuts?). It will obviously be funny at times because of the subject matter. It needs to generate enough laughter, against a backdrop of mental health, in order to have a chance for success. If it does well I'll return to California to finish Primal Therapy. I'm 46, a diabetic since 1974, and I can't work do to unresolved primal pain (I was sexually abused by my mother's brother from 20 to 22 months old up until I turned 5) I need to save my life now! I'll get there Art. I love your work and your blog!

  23. Jack: I am for anything that helps anyone at all times. Art Janov

  24. Larry: We are ready to help when you are. Sounds horrific that early experience. art janov

  25. Re-reading Jack a 2nd time, he has another good point about the “Primal Scream.” It was not written for quack, I mean, professionals, it was written for average people and struck a nerve. But I have no doubt that those social engineers saw that and went to work to mild society’s attitudes so that there would be less interest and talk about the subject. John Lennon was a big boost and do not think that went un-noticed, either.

    Screw academics and professionals. Go for the common man as he has far more common sense.

  26. A facebook comment:"Hello dr.Art :) It seems to be 'scientifically' verified that binaural-beats facilitate entrainment of brain waves and altered states of consciousness which somehow "work on our core" - or on the limbic brain through our right brain -- it's really amazing process. You listen daily, and then your shadow comes up i.e. the disowned material from the body/unconscious. I am always amazed by this process, and others are as well - I love helping people as I know so much about this process.. ;) Cheers dr.Art! You are by far the world's greatest Psychotherapist!! I mean it ~ check the high-end 'binaural-beat' product; Or, my soon in development; Love Always"

  27. Another facebook comment: "Binaural Beats and The Frequency Following Response February 26, 2009 Print Preview By F. Holmes Atwater February 2004 An auditory “frequency-following response” is defined as a brain-wave (EEG) frequency response that corresponds to the frequency of an auditory stimulus (Smith, Marsh, & Brown 1975). There have been several free-running EEG studies1 that suggest that a frequency-following response (FFR) to binaural beats may, somehow encourage alterations in overall brain waves and, therefore, arousal states (see Foster 1990; Sadigh 1990; Hiew 1995; Brady 1997). Even though an FFR to binaural beating has been demonstrated (Oster 1973 & Hink et al. 1980), an FFR to binaural beats in frequency ranges associated with such state changes has not been previously demonstrated using apropos evoked-potential EEG protocols2. The sensation of auditory binaural beats occurs when two coherent sounds of nearly similar frequencies are presented, one to each ear, and the brain detects phase differences between these sounds. Within the olivary nuclei the brain integrates the two signals, producing a sensation of a third sound called the binaural beat. Perceived as a fluctuating rhythm at the frequency of the difference between the two (stereo left and right) auditory inputs, binaural beats originate within the brainstem’s superior olivary nuclei, the sites of contralateral integration of auditory input (Oster 1973). This auditory sensation is neurologically routed to the reticular formation (Swann et al. 1982) and simultaneously volume conducted3 to the cortex where it can be objectively measured as an FFR (Oster 1973; Smith, Marsh, & Brown 1975; Marsh, Brown & Smith 1975; Smith et al. 1978; Hink et al. 1980). Much speculation surrounds the possibility that the very-low amplitude auditory FFR somehow engenders psychophysiological state changes. Well-accepted studies demonstrate the presence of an EEG FFR to auditory stimuli recorded at the vertex of the human scalp (Oster 1973; Smith, Marsh, & Brown 1975; Marsh, Brown & Smith 1975; Smith et al. 1978; Hink et al. 1980). Is it possible that sufficient exposure (amplitude, duration, and frequency) to auditory stimuli may influence ongoing brain-wave activity? The perceptual experience of binaural beats could be seen as a psychologically “disruptive force” or “patterning force” required in the induction of a discrete altered state of consciousness (Tart 1975). Binaural beats also affect management functions of the reticular activating system through traditional neural pathways. The reticular formation alters the electrical potentials of the thalamus and cerebral cortex (measurable by EEG), arousing or quieting this so-called higher center of the brain (Swann et al. 1982). So, the reticular activating system plays an important role in understanding changes in brain waves and states of consciousness (Tice 1989 & Estes 1995), which may somehow be engendered by binaural-beat environments. A critical point, however, is that FFRs to binaural beats (proof that the sensation of binaural beating has a neurological efficacy) in archetypal brain-wave frequency ranges associated with reported altered states of consciousness have not been objectively demonstrated using apropos evoked-potential EEG protocols. This then would appear to be a vital step in understanding the reported effectiveness of rhythmic sound stimuli, including binaural beating, and the possible neural underpinnings."


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.