Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's a Matter of Life and Death

Remember how I always say that getting rid of childhood pain is often a matter of life and death, well there is now some evidence about this. (s. Entringer et al. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences2011’ 108 (33)”Stress Exposure in Intrauterine Life is Associated with Shorter Telomere Length in Young Adulthood.”

My position for years is that if we reverse childhood and intrauterine trauma we can lengthen telomeres. Why is that important? Because it seems that the length of telomeres can determine how long we live. I have defined telomeres previously but the importance of this article is that childhood abuse and trauma even while we are being carried will shorten our lives. What the research does not say is how to find a way to reverse the damage so we can extend life a long time. I believe that there are many ways to reverse the damage in neurologic damage but only one way to do it properly. For example, when there is trauma while we are in the womb there is a process called methylation that takes note of the trauma and marks some of the cells; stamped “trauma” here. And that will change us forever, including how long we live.

One way to reverse this damage is to demethylate. Change the methylation so that the damage is reversed. Another way is to relive the damage and be done with it. This is preferable because it is not one chemical that we are dealing with; it is systemic and covers and covers all the accouterments that went with the imprint. The imprint, remember, is that mark, that memory that stays with us for a lifetime. It is not just a wee mark; it has the capacity to change our brain cells, our hormones and the set-points and our neurotransmitters our neurotransmitters for life.

How on earth can we do that? We know that there are three key levels of brain function and we know that imprints of our life in the womb can be installed deep into the brain stem, limbic system and associated nerve cells. These imprints are engraved onto a naïve, innocent and very primitive nervous system. As our ontogeny progresses, our personal evolution, information through nerve tracks reaches up and forward to inform high brain levels; higher levels of consciousness. Fortunately, there are descending tracks descending tracks as well that reach down and affect the primitive imprints. Thus when a patient is reliving something from childhood or infancy that information can descend down deep and reawaken the first-line brain stem imprint which joins the fray; well, not a fray, but it dredges up a force where serious physiologic reactions physiologic reactions join the second-line childhood reliving memory, the feeling, and takes part in the overall primal or reliving event. That is the heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, neurotransmitters, and on and on, join the feeling and give it great force. It is now part of the reliving; part of undoing the damage. We see this in so many ways: during the reliving the first line which is activated, makes the brainwave amplitude skyrocket, we well as blood pressure and heart rate. And afterward. After the total reliving experience, there is a drop in all key indices below baseline. The body is normalizing and relaxing and healing. My guess is that it is also changing telomere length over time.

What we note here is how resonance works; higher levels of brain function trigger off associated lower levels through either chemical affinities or brain circuits (or both)that may have similar or identical frequencies. (much more of this found in Life Before Birth). Each level adds its specialty. The second line adds feelings, the third line cortex adds comprehension and the first line adds basic physiologic force. Think of it as rods that evolve carrying information upwards as we grow up and later when we vibrate those vibrate those rods they resonate lower down and set off deep biologic reactions. We do not see them as such because they are not a separate force; they become part of the overall reaction. As the rods vibrate they turn anger into fury, disappointment into hopelessness, fear into terror; and then as the reactions in the reliving go on there is a final normalization. So we relive the deep early imprints without being aware of it.

Is this clear? That when there is resonance, fear on the top level gathers the lower levels into its maw and uses the new input, (like a rolling stone), terror, as part of its reaction. That is, the very depths of resonance hit the brainstem where fury and terror exist and then they join the feeling being relived. There is no resolution or undoing the damage without reliving all levels. The good part is that we are not usually aware that we reliving a speech-less level; it just signs up and joins the army; an army of feelings arrayed against the suppressing forces of the intellect the intellect. The first line is giving a big physiologic boost to this army.

The feeling brain here joins the reptile brain for a wee party; and that party is a celebration of the joy of life because that is what is happening. We are coming alive again, lifting the yoke of repression and bidding bon jour to joy at being alive. We can’t come alive in psychoanalysis where only the intellect is engaged (ah yes, a few tears but never the first line, which after all, is our life blood).

My goodness. I got off the track. The researchers found that prenatal exposure to stress affected the development of the chromosome regions that control cell aging. It is as usual said in dry, unenthusiastic language instead of screaming out a discovery that will help us live longer. We can be emotional and scientific at the same time. Mothers need to have a calm, content life while carrying; that is for sure. But if they don’t there is a solution. After all, they can’t help it if there was a war going on or terrible famine. They are fearful and rightly so. This study did the obvious; relating stress we can all agree on: the death of a loved on, for example, but not the deception of a wayward husband.

What I have seen is that repressed individuals do get sick with all kinds of diseases too soon in life. They have no idea they are carrying around a message from the womb; letters from the underground (apologies to Dostoyevski), a message that foretells of an impending death.

Telomere length not only foretells of early death but also of serious disease on the way there:diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and I would add, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s .

Here is how they conclude: “A rapidly emerging body of human and animal research indicates that intrauterine conditions play an important role not only in all aspects of fetal development and health across gestation and birth, but also in a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes over an individual’s entire lifespan.” How can anyone make it clearer than that?


  1. Dear Art,

    Thank you very very much, for finding out Primal Pain, Primal theory, and Therapy. What you did and doing is OUTSTANDING. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

    Let's say PRIMAL for all who suffer.


  2. "So we relive the deep early imprints without being aware of it.

    Is this clear?"

    no it isn't. if you're talking about a childhood trauma, for example, getting really angry at an oppressive father, and a deeper feeling of fetal rage is felt while the patient is still focused on daddy....then that would be a little clearer. and you could make it even clearer by saying the first line component is only resolved to the extent that it was compounded with daddy (if that's what you mean) and that the rage would have to be relived in it's original form (eg. a baby struggling to get out of the womb) if it is to be resolved completely.

    art, i think you are brilliant but perhaps a little impatient when you get into concise explanations. i think france should have a go at explaining some of this stuff. if she is not too busy.

    i don't want to think anymore. just give me a bed to lie on. no teddy bear thanks

  3. I want to tell this… because no sooner... sooner than I in primal therapy experienced a hell... I realized that it actually happened... I ”died”… become emotionally death for my need of dad… not to mention the infinite loneliness as results.

    As a five year old ... I was very scared for my dad ... I did not dare approach him when he was awake.

    Sometimes... when he was sleeping during the day ... we were alone at home... I tried to get close to him by crawling across the floor and lie down on the carpet beneath his bed. Of fear for loneliness I dared my life.

    I always crept close to the wall to get to his bed. One day… outside of the therapeutic process... I was wondering... why I was crawling close to the wall. That was a question I received an answer on much later in the primal process.

    At one time when I crawled across the floor ... the nearest way to my dad’s bed... it flicked high in the floorboards... my father wakened up ... he become hysterical mad and chased me out ... that was the time when I learned to crawl close to the wall... so I could avoid the snapping in floorboards.

    I had to “learn"... learn by being scared at five years old… learn how to get closer to my dad... dad who hated me. An experience that forever limited my ability… ability to get close to other people in life… a part that killed all my prerequisites for life. A fate I think many of us carry in life.

    Our thoughts about the intensity do not need to be as strong I was exposed to... resulting in being consigned to a hell for the rest of our lives... shades for this is more nuanced… just an angry face is in off… if it goes on for long… and are well as scary... a feeling to block our consciousness for the rest of our life.


  4. Richard: France is too busy at the Center explaining all this. art

  5. slightly off track

    Dr. Janov,

    Your last few postings hit the core, the pain and revealed new imprints.

    After reading the blog, it takes me hours, or even a day to get out of the right hemisphere. Day before yesterday, my day was filled with inner screams “don’t you see the damage you are causing”, meaning everyone who hurts children.

    The last time I had this feeling was a day before my Chiari surgery, when the neurologist asked me: “what would you like to have done first, your brain or your heart”? The extensive pre-op revealed a congenital heart problem, of which I was aware in childhood but what was dismissed by my parents and doctors as “hypochondriac, just trying to get attention”.

    My pain lays deep in those who as adults, in their ignorance and emotionally repressed stage, ignore the pain children try to reveal. Instead of acknowledging their hurt, and reaching out to the child, they ignore and disparage their identity.

    The night before, I died in my dream and was still alive at the same time. I noticed that I had no more pain. My brain felt uncluttered, free of trauma-pain and I thought, I wish I could have felt all this while alive. I was dead and it did not frighten me, because I felt good. I still interacted with living people who understood me when I talk to them. I even arranged my funeral because I saw how my body was decomposing.

    When I woke up, I try to write down my dream, but I couldn’t for the first hour. I did not know how to type. Then I could write only words, no sentence, in both languages, mainly in German, a few in English.

    Even now, a day later, I still feel how wonderful it felt being without physical and mental pain. It felt like everything in my brain finally functions as it should. The lifelong haze has finally lifted.


  6. Richard: It's clear to me. The point is that when the third line is engaged it begins resonating lower down, sometimes all the way to the bare physiologic responses which occur with intrauterine trauma. Those heightened reactions which join with current focus make the current response inordinate. When that combined force is integrated that early force is eliminated, as well, just as if you felt only about your father. Isn't this clear? There is no special scene to that early rage, just biologic reactions. art

  7. An email message: "
    I saw this and though of you

    *Rainer Maria Rilke*
    "There is only one journey. Going inside yourself."'

    Best Wishes,"

  8. ok so you're talking about a super-charged "2nd line primal". it is called "2nd line" because the SCENE is in the 2nd line, but it is bigger than a pure 2nd line primal.

    a pure 2nd line feeling still begins in the 1st line (pounding heart etc.) and floods out into the limbic (emotions towards dad) but in this type of primal the 1st line would belong to the anger at dad - not the fetal rage.

    but sometimes the sceneless rage can be felt all on it's own?

    when you say a birth-primaller must be in the 1st line and no other, i should not take your words too literally. in actuality the patient will always have some 'peripheral' consciousness in the 3rd line. right? i guess you are talking about the 'focal point' in consciousness; the patient's main focus. if the patient starts to scream like a toddler while he is thrashing, he is not "in" the 1st line, but he may in fact be resolving some fetal rage. but in any case, a proper primal will always allow for an awareness of one's real-world surroundings, and an awareness that the experience is just a memory.

    when you talk about the process of going from 3rd to 2nd to 1st, again you are talking about a transition in one's main focus. right? you are not talking about leaving the 3rd line behind altogether.

    when you say the intellect goes completely dark while the right brain lights up like a christmas tree, i'm not sure how this description ties in with the following statement: "feelings are waiting to get through to the intellect."
    i can only assume that the intellect goes offline at the beginning of the process, but the patient still remains aware of his real-world surroundings, thanks to the upper right brain. right? if the entire 3rd line was to go offline, the patient would not be fully conscious - he would be asleep.

    if i am wrong with any of this, then i suspect you have not made yourself clear to the majority of readers. most people seem to be content with the gist, as i am (believe it or not). i give you feedback because you put a lot of effort into explaining the details, and i hate to see your efforts being wasted.

  9. So...How much longer would men live if they could cry?

    Seems simple enough, but try telling a 40-year-old man, who has spent 35 year "manning-Up" by not crying, that his salvation is dependent on his ignoring his socialization!

    He equates emoting with going crazy...instead of becoming sane. And living longer, fuller life.

    Women are given all sorts of "state" support to overcome THEIR socialization to be passive and unassertive.

    Tragically, all too many of those same women (encouraged by feminism!), want to keep men boxed-up, tellling guys to stay emotionally constricted...even if it kills the men.

    How can Primal Therapy ignore the trap that has been sprung on males?
    How can it ignore the reality of our current real politik?

  10. It's a Matter of Life and Death and life long suffering

    Dr. Janov,
    Would you like to comment on this subject?
    Having psoriasis may increase the risk of getting certain cancers. But researchers aren't sure why.
    “Psoriasis patients, particularly those dealing with chronically severe forms of the skin disease, are at a higher risk of also having certain types of cancer, according to recent findings. Both the skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma and lymphoma, a cancer that affects the immune system, are health risks some psoriasis patients face, according to a study published last year in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD)”.

    I have had psoriasis since I was 13 years old. In 2005, I participated in gene research to find a cure for psoriasis. I extensively detailed my observations that could be a clue to finding the source for psoriasis, pointing also to early childhood stress, low cortisol (week immune system) and provided evidence (Prof Kellner, Germany)and others that childhood abuse, especially sexual abuse, is a cause for a weak immune system and many other illnesses. Further, I pointed to your books for explanations.

    I do believe, Dr. Alexa Kimball, one of the study's researchers who serves as vice-chair of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, got the whole research theory backward. She blames cancer and other lymphoma for weakening the immune system. In my opinion it is vice- versa: the weakened immune system is the source of all.

    Thank you,

  11. Richard: To primal, the third line must recede while the lower levels surge forward. When in the first line the other two higher levels recede. art

  12. Art: to follow up on Richard's point, if one is feeling on the first line, with the second and third lines on hold (or receded, as you put it), how then do all three levels subsequently become integrated? does it just happen on its own, or is it a matter of having a really skilled therapist guiding you? if this sounds like i'm trying to pin you down, please forgive me.

  13. Hi,

    My bodywork therapist said women do not find crying men sexy.

    Actually, when the sailors got back from the Falklands war their women were waiting on the quay in Plymouth and 9 months later there was a flush of new births in the navy families!

    Crying men get shoved aside and replaced by 'uniforms'. Warriors who have proven themselves in mortal combat are the alpha males and there's no getting away from that.

    This is why Primaling for men is one of the most courageous things he can try to do because it runs contrary to popular myth and belief. No man is going to be 'popular' for breaking down and crying.

    Life's a beach.

    Paul G.

  14. thanks art. that's a better explanation, but it still isn't good enough. don't worry, i will provide a better one:

    the third line does not recede. it's usual view of the world recedes as it begins to interpret the lower levels. eventually the third line will interpret the original imprint while retaining a non-neurotic sense of the real world. in other words, because the third line does NOT recede, the imprint becomes a fully conscious experience. the experience is a real-world interpretation of an old memory.

    art, you often use the word "unconscious" in two different ways. i think this is why jack asked you to use the word "subconscious".
    1. we are "unconscious" when the third line is dead. hence your statement "you cannot primal unconsciously."
    2. we are "unconscious" when the third line is active but disconnected from feelings. i understand your desire to use the word "unconscious" in this context because you know that feelings are the greatest component of consciousness. without feelings we are effectively dead.

    (just clarifying for anyone who shared my confusion).

  15. Art, I love the way you write! I find it easy to understand. However, if your website was in Spanish I'd be lost, because, for the life of me, I just can't learn the language even though my wife speaks it perfectly (and because I don't speak Spanish, I just have to assume she speaks it perfectly based on how she speaks English)... Let's change the word "perfectly" to "effectively efficient."

    Richard, is it possible that you had parents that proved you wrong (because of technicalities) so you couldn't give them exactly what they were asking for (because you couldn't give them perfection [an impossible task] you missed out on their love)?

    Of course I'm just guessing and projecting some of my history onto you.

    For me, this exactness shows up when I need to leave the house to meet, see, or to interact with people in general. I need to know exactly where I'm going and who I'm going to meet (if possible) because of early childhood trauma (I feel I need exact information so I can protect myself). When my family visited my cousins, the side that I liked, everything was okay. When my father, near the end of our assumed destination, turned onto a different road, I knew we were headed to my evil uncles. I felt I was lied to (I felt betrayed/hurt/confused/frightened). My parents led me to believe we were just going to see my father's side of the family, but then, sometimes we went to see the devil on my mother's side.

    When I go out (because of my known history, which I'm sure is linked to third line trauma) I need to know EVERYTHING because when I didn't, I got destroyed -- and hence, I hate surprises.

    There's always a reason(s) why we do what we do. I believed because my parents seemed to question me on everything I did, I'm able to question myself about why I do what I do (out of self preservation I turned a negative into a partial positive -- I also continue my parents abusive questioning techniques by being way to hard on myself). Whereas my sisters (who were also heavily questioned) don't seem to question themselves because they associate the questioning with abuse. I do the same, but somehow (probably) out of a feeling that I don't matter (because of how my parents treated me and what they aloud to have happened to me) I also question myself (as if I deserve to be hard on myself). I'm just fortunate I'm able to question myself and to have resources where I can work towards positive change. This is where I got lucky (with some of the self questioning).

    Help! Did I mention I (desperately) needed to do Primal Therapy? That's where significant change will happen and boy do I need significant things to happen.

    I'm willing to relive my hell just so I can finally leave my hell.

    No matter what we do, every part of our body comes along for the ride? When I throw a ball, certain parts are more involved than others, but everything plays a roll; arm(s), shoulder(s), hips, legs all play a part. My brain is doing what it needs to do (relaxing/contracting, suppressing, medicating because of stress/adrenaline if I want to throw hard, shifting/lunging/balancing) so I can throw the ball. Internal organs/brain do their job too. When a part of the body/system is playing a lead roll, it does just that. When it's main roll is done, it still plays a supporting roll as a part of the whole system.

    This example doesn't explain everything in detail, but in general it feels right (but then again, how the hell do I know?). Chop it to pieces if it isn't a good analogy...

    I guest it's also a balancing act. Some of us had to learn how to throw a ball with a monkey/piano (burdens) on our backs.

    Art, I'll be there in about a year (I hope!) so you can help me remove my monkey. He's a fat bastard who plays a terrible piano. If you can help me exorcise my monkey, I'll donate his piano to your lounge.

    (I loved the article!)

  16. Art,

    "To primal" It is a matter of searching "sentences"... sentences of "feelings"... feelings that are stronger compared to what all the defense is... defense who looking in opposite directin.


  17. Larry: Don't be too sure I will still be around. I am not infinite, you know. art

  18. Richard: Boy I wish I thought of that. art

  19. Grumpy: I'll leave it to others to explain. art

  20. Sieglinde: You should know that I can never comment on something I know little about. All I can say about symptoms that appear very early is that they are often first line as are drastic symptoms later on. art

  21. Yesterday I started my comment with this, "Art, I love the way you write! I find it easy to understand."

    Then later I mention the third line when I was thinking the first line (I made a mistake).

    Apparently, if I keep wanting to call the third line the first line, then I really don't understand as well as I think I do.
    I'll use my contradictory/hypocritical (how embarrassing) comment above to Finally learn this (easy as 1-2-3 or 3-2-1... I'll get it).

    Art, you're right; you won't be here forever. All I can do is work on the things I need to do so I can get out there. Of course I would love to meet you. We'll see what happens. Keep the peddle to the medal. I love and appreciate what you've done and everything you keep doing. Even though some of our greatest fictitious men lived well into their 900's (when I say greatest, I mean dysfunctional)...

    Thanks Art! No matter what, I'm coming out there.


  22. no that's not it larry. i want a solid understanding so i can teach others more effectively. i often talk about primal therapy on a match-making site. a lot of the girls in there are desperate to get away from their psychopathic boyfriends, and they listen to me, and they never ask about the finer details. but eventually i would like to be able to speak effectively with scientists and politicians. i criticized New Zealand's Act Party on their solution to violence by encouraging the party to study primal theory. problem is, the absolutest mind of a politician is NEVER attracted to the ambiguity of psychology. so let's make it totally unambiguous.

  23. Dr. Janov,

    You said it: “first line”. I just needed confirmation.
    My intent is, pushing psoriasis researcher toward cortisol testing on individuals.
    Too many immune-system-repressive drugs are handed out without testing cortisol first.
    My supposition is, all people with psoriasis are parasympaths with low cortisol. I have gathered some evidence.


  24. Larry: I welcome you with open arms. art


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.