Thursday, September 1, 2011

Origins of ADD and Leaky Gates (Part 2/4)


 Dr. AJ asks David to talk about himself. David states that he is an ADHD, and Dr. AJ answers: the “H” is redundant. If you are ADD, you are hyperactive, your brain is going a mile a minute. David relates that he is 60 and when he was 7 he was taken to have EEGs and taken to a shrink to find out what was wrong with him. The reasons for this were that he couldn’t sit still in class and was all over the place. They came up with the term, “Your son is hyperactive.”

David: This is 1957 before it became a trend before all this stuff, and one of the first things they recommended (my father was a doctor) was that they give me Ritalin, and he said absolutely not. So back to school I went and… I’d come home and I’d have homework. So on top of all this stuff that’s going on, because you have to know that with my birth, I couldn’t get out. I tried and I tried and it didn’t work, and not trying didn’t work either, right? Nothing worked, and I kept banging my head against the cervix. And one of the earliest Primals I had… and I remember talking to you about it years ago because I didn’t think it was real, I thought I was just doing therapy wrong… It just didn’t go anywhere, and little did I know that was just part of the feeling. And I told her that at a certain point in my sessions I have this impulse, this urge, cause I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere in the sessions either… and I start banging my head against the wall over and over and over again, getting nowhere and yet the impulse to do it. Then later on I found out a bit of information from a relative of mine, because my parents are completely unforthcoming with it, that when getting born, I kept banging up against the cervix, banging my head trying to get out, but she wouldn’t open, and that was part of what my birth was. Then finally they pulled me out. They had to use forceps, and I guess I also didn’t turn around. They crushed my skull, bloodied it. And there was terror there for me. I’ve talked with many Primal patients and I’ve only found one who had this experience I go through in a Birth Primal. I never like going there. I wouldn’t mind if it never happened to me again. It is pure terror and it’s where I can’t breathe. Now I’m not talking about a voluntary thing where I can’t breathe and I let myself stay there and if at some moment it gets too much, I can grasp air. I’m talking about the kind of terror where it grabs me. The muscles in my throat involuntarily lock, and I can’t breathe in or out. At that point in time, subjectively… I know it’s the memory, but if you ask me if I’m in first line… it’s… I’m right there in the room, and I’m dying, and I’m not sure I’m going to make it. That’s not intellectual thing. That’s what’s happening.”

Dr. AJ: “and you’re terrified.”

David: “I’m in complete terror. Yes I’m terrified. My name is terror.”

Dr. AJ: “And that terror agitates you all the time.”

David: “And it’s there all the time. Somewhere, through every cell. And, of course, when I’m in the experience it is every cell. I know the therapist doesn’t know what to do, and I know nobody knows what to do. And I’m all alone… and woops, it’s over… You know, that kind of thing. And I never think I’m going to make it. And then some way, somehow… I can’t even tell you how long it lasts. I’m sure it only lasts for a brief period of time, yet subjectively it lasts for a long, long time and it isn’t going to stop. But then finally my throat gives and I can breathe again. And the only thing I can tell you if you ask me what feeling is it? There’s no feeling or insight it’s just I’m terrified and thankfully I can breathe again.

Dr. AJ: What does it do to you?

David: So, it’s sitting there inside of me and it’s been there since birth. And then my parents and the school want me to concentrate and do my homework. So How to do spell that word, I get 9 out of 10 right but then the last word [bicycle] and she says, “You’re wrong.” I say ok and I try it every way I know and she says you’re wrong and then the water in the glass comes in my face….

Dr. AJ: And this is your mother?

David: And I’m in terror…again, right? And now I’m supposed to concentrate. And now I’m supposed to go out and have goals in life. Goals in life? I’m trying to survive. I’m just trying to hang on for dear life. That’s what’s going on.

Dr. AJ: So how does it get up in your brain to keep you from concentrating? What happens?

David: Well, if you ask me from the education I have, I can tell you. If you want me to say it to you from the subjective experience: I’m trying the best I can. Something isn’t clicking, and that’s all there is, I’m just sitting there in the moment trying to get through that moment.

Dr. AJ: But why ADD? Where does it come from?

David: (reflecting) Why am I ADD? Where does it come from? Well, I think I’ve described where it comes from. From way down below, an imprint of terror that is constantly disrupting the system, that is fragmenting and convoluting all of the other areas of the brain as it comes up. But I can’t feel any of it, and I get no amelioration from it, from parents, anybody. It is further exacerbated…

Dr. AJ: But why can’t you concentrate?

David: Because my gating is being disrupted all the time. And I’m having to deal with that terror and try to keep it in place somehow. All the function of my body is to keep that experience away from consciousness, at the same time it is vying for consciousness. But as an adult, if I can only handle 2 seconds of that, what it must have been for the baby… that’s what I’m dealing with… back in that brain. So that’s disrupting all function. Now you talk about dislocation of function – all the function must be going to keep that pain at bay.

Dr. AJ: And yet all the time it’s coming up because of leaky gates. Why leaky gates?

David: Well, I think the terror and the way I was born completely disrupted and normal development of my gating system. There was so much pressure… And I’m going to say something about the ADD program at this juncture. (referring to a PBS Documentary on ADD) I liked it in some ways 00:20:00 because it takes some of the burden and stigma off of you. I’m never calm, ever… except after I’ve had a completed… even a partial Primal. Even a little bit of crying brings a calm and relief I’d never experienced before, because it releases some of that pressure that is constant. Otherwise there is no calmness in me. I don’t sleep well; I toss and I turn, restlessness.

Dr. AJ: You ruminate a lot… think?

David: I can, yes.

Dr. AJ: That’s how you know. The feelings are coming up when you are falling asleep. Have you got that, Ken?

Ken: Yeah, I’ve got a lot of it.

David: And I might not even ruminate. There may be so much in there that I don’t even have the awareness of rumination. In other words, there may not be thoughts going dadut dadut dadut. I can be without thoughts and my body is just going tchoot tchoot tchoot. Restlessness. So I’ll wake up in the morning, and I’ve got to get going, but my body is going Oh to hell with you.

Dr. AJ: But what’s the restlessness from?

David: The restlessness, I think, is from all that terror down below, and on the second line too that has just compounded it, and third line which gets compounded – and no gating to stop it, nothing to hold it in place, because the original terror is going up. Now you add to that, later on in life, the drugs, which further widened the gating.

Dr. AJ: What drugs?

David: I did acid.

Dr. AJ: How many acids?

David: Oh, lots.

Dr. AJ: Acid is the one thing you should never do when you’ve got this thing because it blows the gates even more. And after 10 acid trips (Michael Holden and I did some research on this) Your gates are pretty well shattered. We can see on your brainwaves what’s happened to you. We can examine those waves and say “ you had more than 10 trips.”

Frank: And the constant smoking of grass….

Dr. AJ: Oh, yes, the same thing. But wait, the point I was going to make on this about the leaky gates. It blew his gates. But suppose it didn’t. Suppose it pushed against the gates but the gates hold. What happens? Cancer. Years and decades later, but when you have massive stuff coming up and massive repression, which is effective, you’re putting tremendous pressure on the cells and eventually they crumble. They get out of control. So I think you have a choice, either you get ADD or you get cancer. You guys won’t get cancer, right? You’ll have a heart attack or a stroke, but you won’t get cancer. So leaky gates give you a heart attack, non leaky gates give you cancer. No way out. So let’s go on a little bit more now, because it applies to everything we do. This all may seem simplistic but it is solely to make a point.

PRIMAL PRINCIPLE: Overload of pain in the womb triggers massive repression. If the repression is efficient it could lead to cancer. If it is not, it could mean ADD, and possible stroke or heart attack later in life.

David: My last point I want to make: They tell you in this program, have a calm environment, have a calm job, and that sounds nice, but it does nothing for the uncalmness in here (pointing to his guts). Now, yes, I can be alone. I can remove myself from outside stimuli… and it does bring me down a little bit, but this stuff is still there. And it’s just waiting, saying come on, just let something trigger me. It’s going nowhere. I can abate it a little, but nothing is going to touch that. Nothing I have ever found touched it except a Primal.

Dr. AJ: Don’t you find it astounding, they had 4 major international experts on this program, and not one of them said where it all comes from, or even was interested. What’s going in here with them.
David: (tapping his guts) They are all battling this. An interesting side note: The guy that delivered me killed himself. I never found out exactly, whether he was messing up with other kids….
And, you talk about cocaine here. I found out when I took an upper and a downer, I felt balanced. I got a taste of calmness. But I paid an awful price.

Dr. AJ: Most of the people I knew who were cocaine takers have all died… from heart attacks.
David tells about his mother’s smoking during pregnancy and mentions that he has mild dyslexia. He also states that he was an extreme case, getting into trouble and getting kicked out of school.

Frank: So much of what he said sounds like he’s talking about me. When I first came in and was trying to tell him about my gwizshy-gwizshy feelings that have plagued me my entire life, I had to pace all the time. (Pointing at David) You were talking about that very same feeling I thought he didn’t understand what I meant.

David: I know.

Dr. AJ: (turning to Ken) what about yours?
Ken: Mine is different, but it’s very similar, the anxiety, terror and all that stuff. I rocked myself to sleep until I was 17. In fact, I still do it now. Just constant rocking. The restlessness, I’m always moving (jiggles legs) I’m not ADD that I know of but I’ve always been anxious all my life. And the only time I get relief is after I’ve cried deeply. Then I can breathe.

David: I remember, Ken, in one of our groups in particular when you were rocking back and forth and Dr. AJ was doing your therapy.

Dr. AJ: But why didn’t it become ADD?

Ken: I don’t know. But my one release was sports. So like recess when I was a kid, I was out there and I played, and I’d come back and I was all red and everything. I was a good student, but I was just anxious all the time. I could hardly talk. I was so shy and everything.

Dr. AJ: Your gating system was working better than David’s obviously.

David: Your gating system was working better and you bring up a very important point, thank you. He had an outlet. He could do sports and go out and burn it off. I couldn’t. My mother would say, “You sit! And don’t you move! Any time I wanted to move, that’s what I got. And I wanted to play ball and, “You’re not playing ball!”

Dr. AJ: (Motioning to Ken) But he’s Gentile and you’re Jewish.

Ken: No, no, I’m half Jewish. My Dad’s a Jew and Mom’s a Mormon.

Dr. AJ: Most of the time the Gentiles go into sports and the Jews go into their heads.

Ken: They didn’t stop me. In fact my mom tells a story of me as soon as I could get on my knees in my crib. I’d be rocking back and forth banging, and they’d be playing bridge, and the neighbors would say, “What’s that banging?” and my mother would say, “Oh, that’s just Ken in his crib, rocking.” 

Dr. AJ: And how did it affect you otherwise?

Ken: It was the sleep thing. I would go rocking side to side for an hour maybe. I couldn’t just lay there. I’d be daydreaming, fantasizing until I finally lost consciousness. When I was 17, I went away to college and I had to stop but then I started doing it again.

Dr. AJ: Well, you’ve got a mild form of ADD. So it all comes from the same thing. It depends on your gating. It all starts in the womb, and if you have a half way decent womb life, you’ve got some gating. (to David) But yours never worked, not only because your mother was smoking like a fiend…

David: And she was anxious and depressive, and a little bit nutty.

Ken: Maybe my gating was better, but I always think my gating sucks. Because I was always just anxious. I could never handle talk. I could never be with people. I was always anxious, uncomfortable, so….

Dr. AJ: Did you do drugs?

Ken: I did marijuana when I was 21, 22, and then I did the crack for like a year. And that was the only time I felt good, that and sex.

(To be continued next Thursday)


  1. Reading this.
    Feel this.
    Think of this.
    Conclusion is emerged.
    I suffer add or adhd, too.
    I am very similar to David.
    All this is instuctive.

    Thanks Art.

  2. "At that point in time, subjectively… I know it’s the memory, but if you ask me if I’m in first line… it’s… I’m right there in the room, and I’m dying, and I’m not sure I’m going to make it. That’s not intellectual thing. That’s what’s happening."

    David is AWARE THAT THE PAIN IS JUST A MEMORY, but it feels life-threatening nonetheless. He is CONSCIOUS OF HIS REAL SURROUNDINGS but he is also CONSCIOUS OF THE PAIN.

    According to you, Art, his left brain has gone dark and his right brain has lit up like a Christmas tree. But the feeling still has to get through to the left brain.

    So I suppose David's right frontal lobe made him aware that the feeling was not real while he was fully conscious of the feeling. The full consciousness was the result of the higher and lower brains working together, excluding the intellect.

    So here's the hundred-million dollar unanswered question:
    Was David in the first line, and only the first line, at the point that he described?

    Going by your mind-boggling descriptions, Art, I think David's description was missing a previous stage. I don't think he was describing the stage of pure first line.

    I think you got him down into the pure first line, so that he was conscious of the pain, but not aware of it in a human way; not aware that it was just a memory. You got him down until he was nothing more than a lizard (a fetus).

    Then you woke the human (the right frontal lobe) so that he could become aware of the difference between real and unreal.....but he was still fully feeling the pain.

    David's left frontal lobe didn't switch on until the feeling was over.

    Am I wrong?

    Perhaps I should shut up and wait for more of these great transcripts.

  3. This is a trial run to see if I can post a comment, Cheers.

  4. An email comment:

    "Paraphrased from:

    1. Someone, somehow, becomes an "authority" in Psychology. They make a living at it by getting a job at the university.
    2. They make difficult-to-understand statements. They assign difficult-to-understand texts.
    3. Gradually, students assemble to study these authorities.
    4. Those who are smart enough to realize that this is going nowhere drop out and study something else.
    5. Eventually, the students who remain — either because of social conditioning, or because of lack of any other easy way to make a living — find a way to please the authority in some way or another and become "experts." These students become professors of psychology. Go to step 1 and start over."

  5. Richard: Hang on. More to come. You can be aware but no conscious but you can be conscious and therefore always aware. Got it? art

  6. A facebook comment: "In 1974 I did some work with Ann Farnell Blow who I think you knew and I still consider it pivotal in the story of my life. It was not easy but very valuable. Thank you for your work. There is a conference happening in Culver City on October 28-29 that you should be represented at called Alternatives to Biological Psychiatry. As I think of the work you have done the thought comes to me that rather then alternatives this confenence should maybe also look at how our biology may change in ways other then medication. Thanks again."

  7. And my answer: Well as you might imagine I have not been invited. art janov

  8. Dr. Janov,

    I’m reading, in addition older post:
    The Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics: Epigenetics and don’t understand: “The force of the pain has been felt and integrated.”

    I don’t understand the concept: indignation and healing.
    Why does pain have to be integrated?
    Integrated where? (Brain-stem?)
    What for?
    I always thought the pain should leave (not be) in the body.

    Thanks for your answer.

  9. here's the conference website; looks interesting:

  10. Sigelinde once the pain is experienced it becomes feeling; that is the dialectic. It becomes what it was, an imprint of sensation/feeling and is no longer pain. I discuss connection in my Life Before Birth; can be ordered now for delivery first week in October. Basically, it is right to left brain, and deep brain to top brain. Connect therefore is horizontal and vertical. We need both. AJ

  11. Dr. Janov, thanks.

    I think I got it: “the reason one cannot get rid of the Pain is because it is unconscious” (On Hypnosis (Part 22/26).

    It looks like one must experience (feel) the difference between sensation/feeling and pain, to really understand.

    Maybe this is the problem why psychologists and psychiatrists remain stuck in theories (left hemisphere) – they never felt this exact difference.


  12. Dr. Janov,

    Will you speak at the ISEPP conference? - Thanks grumpy.

    You may like Thomas Szasz MD, one of the speaker.
    He said, among other things: “As the whale is not a fish, mental illness is not a disease”.


  13. Grumpy: I don't know what the ISEPP is. And anyway I don't speak. My throat won't permit it. AJ

  14. Sieglinde, i beg to differ with Szasz; mental illness IS a disease; cheers-g.

  15. Grumpy,

    May I challenge your view?

    A disease is an illness caused by a virus or bacteria, resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons etc.; such as TB, malaria, hepatitis and so on.

    A disease can be either prevented by vaccination or “cured” with pharmaceuticals. Such remedies however have no effect on psychiatric disorders.

    If we allow implemented Trauma to be called a disease, we can stop all attempts, also PT and watch how the neurotic society grows and slowly kills it self. We 'treat' depression for instance with drugs to reduce symptoms and ignore the bigger story in a person's history, the actual cause of the problem... in doing so, the pharma industry creates the 'disease' of dependency. One cannot repair a river by building a bridge: one must get wet in the river... one might say that it is necessary to be the river and allow it to flow, not treat it with bridges and walls to force a 'normal' appearance that covers the real problem.


  16. Hi Sieglinde, how very well put.

    Paul G.

  17. Sieglinde: yes, of course, you may challenge me, always; pharmaceuticals may not cure but i believe they help; in any case, they helped me, a lot, when i really needed it; and i know they've done the same for others.

  18. Hi,

    Addiction and particularly Drug Addiction is self help (mostly) and our Northern Hemispherical cultural societies don't like it

    It's both / and, not either / or.

    The problem is that the repressor culture we have been dominated by doesn't like the idea of self help. When we institutionalise repression and make it into the status quo we put heroism on a peda-stool and violent "Authority" emerges triumphant-ly.

    We make pain an adversary to be conquored by the false self.

    -" Are you For or Against US""-

    Paul G.


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.
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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.”
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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.
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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

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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.