Sunday, November 13, 2011

Everybody Hurts

When I watch TV it seems like every commercial is about some kind of pain killer: Tylenol, ibuprofen, pills for stomach distress, headaches, high blood pressure and on and on. The best kept secret is that we are nearly all in pain but nobody says it; the emperor is really naked but we all are looking the other way; we are looking outward instead of inward. The distress is caused by this or that in the environment, we think, but never what is inside. That is obvious since few of us can look inside.

We are all hurting but in different ways; the hurt goes to where we are most vulnerable. That is the health crisis that no one speaks its name. So why is that? Because no one can see it! It was installed so early and so subtly, long before we had conscious-awareness, that it doesn’t even have a name. So I give it a name: Primal Pain. And a location: the imprint: and the chemical means: methylation. But what we may not be aware of is that its one of the leading causes of death among us, more so than deaths in traffic accidents, according to a recent study. Some of us are in so much agony that we take far too much medication and threaten our lives. We use Xanax, Vicodin, Fentanyl, Demerol, Oxycontin and Soma; we are treating the wrong thing, and that is why we do not get relief. We treat the symptom and not the person; we treat appearances and not generating sources. That gap I call the Janovian Gap. It is between origins and our conscious awareness of them. So long as Primal Pain exists it will militate toward wherever it can. Worse, sometimes we have both headaches and back aches so we take pain killers for both and again risk an overdose. The medication normally will not kill us but when we take more and more it will.

And what are we really killing? As trite as it seems, it is lack of love. Not just hugs and kisses but any lack of fulfillment of need very early on is also a lack of love. You know, the child is hungry and we say sorry it is not time to eat; or I just don’t have enough today. It is the equivalent of saying, “I know you need love. I do love you but I cannot show it; but you know I do.” The body knows no such thing. It marks the event with a marker that says, “Pain.” And we carry that pain for a lifetime. When the carrying mother wants to keep her figure and diets while pregnant the baby hurts. It is all so subtle and that is why we do not recognize it later on except what is obvious: a migraine, stomach ache or back aches.

And then there are more needs as we grow up that need fulfillment. When there is more deprivation there is more imprinted, enduring hurt. And it goes on and on. The migraines keep on coming back because the generating sources have not been touched; the same with high blood pressure or allergies. There is plenty of evidence now that a mother’s unhappiness while carrying can end up as serious allergies in the offspring. So let’s all understand what those TV ads really mean; and let’s all agree what is really wrong. OK?


  1. Art: "Everybody Hurts" Wow! finally someone is saying it simply and directly, it doesn't really need more words than that. Some hurts, some of us are aware of, but there are those other hurts that until 1967 we were not aware of. Would it help humanity if we could just acknowledge this reality that Art has been telling us about all these years? I say it would, because then we would have one of two alternatives (as opposed to what is happening now: sweeping it all under the rug then pretending it's not there)

    The alternatives is either to feel it, (yeah we none of us like pain), or we use an effective painkiller and KNOW we are killing it. My recommendation would be the king of all pain killers; heroine, but that would require a great deal of 'DENIAL UNDOING' by all; politicians, religious leaders and scientist. Alas, I fear that "denial" takes precedent. The only other alternative to sit down and feel the hurt (if possible) with the aid of a feeling enhancing drug which, alas, is not even researched.

    I beg of someone to say it simply and directly for long enough for the rest of to eventually catch on. I did my bit but I don't have ANY credibility. Art has been banging the drum for over 34 years. It need some others with that credibility I lack. I am left with just hoping and wishing.

    Jack Waddington

  2. No it is not OK that Everybody Hurts!

    The interesting thing, with Steve Jobs, was not his Primal Pain, which he probably was aware of, but his exceptional visionary view of how to create closed, user friendly, integrated, tools to be used by everyone of us. They were elegant, irresistible products to improve our daily lives. They were made to communicate, to create texts, pictures, movies, to write, to listen to music, to buy music and to by/read books etc. They have taken us a long way!

    He was a tyrant but he probably created more democratic tools than any other human being during the last hundred years. He turned many of the scientific digital innovations into useful tools. The strength of his vision, and sometimes cocky conviction, was that he knew what we needed, and he put it together for us to fill, what I call, with the best of intentions, the Steve Jobs Gap. He didn’t intellectualize or write about it but with his exceptional talent, he made his friends and co-workers, on all levels, overachieve to make his dreams come true. When, as consumers, we see something, that we desire, that can fulfil our needs, there are resources available. That is and has always been an economic law.

    What has this to do with PT?
    Well, I have, with pleasure, read your books and Reflections for years and repeatedly been informed (and know from deep and personal experience) that the same humanity which Steve Jobs turned to, has a tremendous problem. Most of them hurts and are swallowing for billions of worth of painkillers, in a noncurative escape from their rerouted pain. From this scam = or treatment of the wrong thing the Pharmaceutical Industry is profiting heavily.

    So I agree, lets find out what is really wrong, with how the pain, the PT and the present treatments are being carried out. Let us stop being so nice and confused about how to introduce this fantastic Therapy. Let us put on a more cocky approach and find out how PT can be given to all those who we know need it. I think in this process that both You, Art, and some of your closest pals need an injection of what entrepreneurial innovation and marketing are all about.

    The market = the ones who are hurting, you know are there. They are already being deceived by the marketing of the Pharmaceutical Industry without lasting result. We are talking about values that will make PT appear as a comparatively inexpensive treatment. This will, in the future, allow big money now being used for painkillers, to flow into more sound investments.



  3. To me Art… its ok... it’s ok for Frank who tell me the truth about my life… who else are there to listening to? That’s me until the day I get to feel what it was costing me my life… the pain I am trying to avoid… the pain which will “tell” me what’s been up until today.


  4. Get the stones rolling!

    Why do millions of people prefer to kill their pain with different pharmaceuticals instead of looking for the real reason and follow the Primal Route?

    One of many reasons is that we have seen our parents and grandparents, during decades, follow the same route, being deceived by the fact that things have improved gradually due to research, innovations and availability of drugs although the painkilling habits very seldom turned into a cure.

    However, this constant struggle to fight off returning, rerouted Primal Pain has become an innate neurotic struggle with so much of shared experiences between us human beings that it has become an unconscious lifestyle. It works as if suffering has become a way to show our human side and to receive affection from others. When suffering and poverty are shared, they are easier to bear.

    How do we break this treacherous evolutionary pattern, which has brought us to this neurotic age in which we now are living and, which make us very easy to manipulate? We gape and wonder when suddenly a sufferer’s accumulated pain turn him into a serial killer and terrorist. We do not realize that often he is/was part of the same neurotic painkilling principal as ourselves just having been hit harder when he was being propelled by unbearable pain.

    A few ideas:

    We need to stop the handy pattern of blaming psychotic politicians. We voted for them, being deceived or not. Get involved and elect better politicians!

    Develop a vision to improve, the realistic, quality of life by eliminating Primal Pain.

    Make people understand the vision. Communicate and use all the tools and channels available. Explain the Whys!

    Show positive examples and get the stones rolling!

    Jan Johnsson

  5. I was just saying to a friend today, the intensity of pain I encounter in my work w/ perpetrators of domestic violence, as well as w/ (mental health) inpatients when I was at the hospital, is probably the closest I will see before Primal (therapist). And it really is as simple as that-- PAIN... But we do not treat it as such.
    Without disclosing too much confidentiality, this guy today, wrapped up in complicated Child Protection issues, refusing to engage supervised visits, after my questioning &questioning and 'lending' him my feelings, finally broke down, rubbing his tattoo of his other child's name on his arm, he has no access to, cried the pain of seeing them walk away would be too much. That is all I needed to know and all I'll report (to the Department).
    When are we going to have the Primal Revolution???

  6. Yes, Dr. Janov,

    Yes, everybody hurts and the pharma-industry knows it.
    They promise to solve all of our problems with a wonder-pill and we need to believe it.

    It so easy, because we like to take shortcuts, we like for someone else to take away our pain - why not a pill...
    Does it really work?
    It doesn’t matter, we like to believe it, like we believe in some kind of god who will, one day, take away our pain – meanwhile we continue to suffer until we die, because we are afraid to look inside, deep down where the truth of pain has its roots.

    And pills are paid for by insurance,but not primal therapy. The reason is simple if we ask: how many people benefit from the production of pharmaceuticals?
    And how many CEO’s are needed for PT ?


  7. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives
    Due to a printing delay, this item will ship November 11, 2011

    "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." - Paul Thompson, professor of neurology, UCLA School of Medicine.

  8. Out of sight = out of mind.

    You had so it right from my own experience even about people who are (or not) close to their pain. The heavily walled off person never really gets it when you try to explain blocked pain...everything they hear is skewed through their ideational prism. Whereas those close to feeling virtually finish your sentences for you!

  9. Jan: Hey, Life Before Birth is out: being delivered to bookshops this week. Art

  10. Art, I know, what the fuck? That was your second book. It won't happen in your life time so please have faith that we will do our best to carry on the legacy and that one day I deeply hope that Primal wins over.. I wish I would be around then. 'God', and it really is so easy.

  11. Hi Art - I guess you probably know about this stem cell windpipe work, but just in case you didn't -

    Good luck, can't wait to get to the Center in a couple of weeks, to get the help I need.

    I was sorry to miss your Halloween group - I would have liked to have come as a tube of UHU glue (feel stuck) :-)

  12. Tony, I love that! So creative! I've often thought about what I would come as, don't know, I haven't had Primal yet, I will be for the first time next year I'm so excited.
    I think there'd be many tubes of glue. I could be the princess &the pea as if I don't oversleep I get out of bed feeling all crushed &unprepared for the day (and my days are on overdrive).
    Best wishes to all

  13. hi jacquie, i like your idea too. i would dress up as a freshly circumcised penis with blood dripping from the wound, and covered by a very transparent condom....a symbol of a hurt child trying to stay protected as he neurotically discharges some of the pain.

  14. Thanks, Jacquie. You could go as a compressor - all pent-up and concentrated, bursting out over your day! Good Luck.

  15. Jacquie ... You and all of us who participate in primal therapy are the revolution ... but we has to do something more ... more then take care about our self’s. We must stand on barricades and speak about what is happening on the bunks in all therapy rooms… (to me that is to take care about myself for what more will come in my life) ... legitimized of the therapists themselves… and talk about what's really happening there. We must be able to stand up and show ourselves for what Primal Therapy really is. I will listen to your ideas.

  16. Was that a conscious link to that song everybody hurts?
    Seems that this band stops now,so it could be.

  17. panl: Well I love that band and that song. art

  18. I may be wrong here, but as I remember it the band for the song "Everybody Hurts" is R.E.M. which is a band that disbanded (pun slightly intended) some years back. I vaguely remember the music video to that song, too, where suddenly some people started stepping out of their cars trapped in a frustrating traffic jam on a freeway to sing the song.

  19. As if my car crash were not enough Pain evoking..
    my "dear"? people in my life seem to have fun
    in aggravating it (perhaps I had the false ---"chosen" -I n e v e r had a chance to choose !
    Sometimes it is very hard to be in such aloneness!
    Thank for Your help emanuel
    P:S.In 1992 there was still a book publishe "Life before Birht" dealing with the (oh Lord!) aspects involved...!


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.