Saturday, December 3, 2011

On Pain by Inadvertence

You know I read a lot of case histories of abuse, sexual and otherwise and other terrible events visited by parents on helpless children.  But I was thinking that in my case and in many others the pain wasn’t overt and obvious.  It was the subtext.  Let me explain:
     As you know we all have needs that change as we grow up and evolve.  And parents, when caring and loving, fulfill those needs.  Natural and normal.   But suppose they don’t.  Then you grow up unfulfilled, but you don’t know it since you never had your needs fulfilled in the past.  You don’t know you should be hugged and adored.  You don’t know that you should be cherished and protected.  You don’t know that you should be talked to kindly with care and asked about your feelings.  So what happens?  Since you don’t know that should be the end of it.  Ahh, not so, because the body knows better than our conscious/awareness; it registers pain and it stays and drives us even though we never know it is there.  Isn’t that amazing?  So you cannot get on with your life.  I never knew there were needs that had to be fulfilled until decades later when I felt them; either that, by some accident, someone fulfills a need or two: a stray hug or pat on the head, and are suddenly aware that something is amiss. 
      I have already accounted how I went to a friend’s house when I was twelve and their mother was in the kitchen, leaning against a butcher block discussing life with them. I ran home and told what I had seen at dinner.  My dad yelled at me and I never knew why; it was a rebuke against them that I wasn’t aware of.   
   Then two years later I was walking out of a café and it was a circular glass affair where a mother and her young daughter were going in.   I
 heard her say, “You know people are not perfect , and you have to learn to accept other humans sometimes with their flaws. “   Five or ten seconds, at the most. That’s it.  But I never forgot those words, nor the faces of  those two people.  Why? Because I never knew parents could talk to their kids. It was an epiphanic moment, not conceptualized as yet but it had a great impact. Later, I realized it was pain by inadvertence.  It was not what my parents did, but what they did not do.   It was missing and that is why I never knew about it; until I saw it and learned something that stayed with me.   And what they did not do left my needs unconscious; in the oubliette.  Yet, I was a mess, could not learn, could not sit still or concentrate.  I was driven by unfulfilled needs; i.e., pain.  This was a pain that no one could see, yet I was sent to doctor after doctor for a constant running nose (my tears found another route).   You cannot deceive those needs nor forget them because the body won’t let you.   The title of my next book ought to be “death by inadvertence.”   This is not a joke because those needs we don’t know about are killing us; they give us heart attacks far too early and also cancer.   You see, it happens because the needs not fulfilled are pain and that calls into being repression.  It is that repression pushing back feelings that will kill us.  And all that goes on without our knowing it. 
Those are the needs we are never aware of.  We have to read books about  “attachment theory” to get a hint about it.  Imagine, we need to read a book and theory about holding your child, looking at her in the eye with love and talking to her a lot.  It is like reading a book about the tribes along the Amazon.  It is so alien. 
  You do not get over those needs and “get on with life.”  They cut short your life so you cannot get on with it; oh yes, for a while you can but you can’t fool mother nature and she will get you while you are not looking. 


  1. Thank-you for this Dr. Janov. I think I first realized that I took all the responsibility for our family problems only when I read it for the first time; Alice Miller, I think. Children always assume that they are responsible for bad things that happen between their parents or within the close family. What you write about inadvertent death seems a natural extension of this reality: When a child is unable to connect with a parental, when love is limited and withheld, the child is unable to say, "I think it is all my fault," then that pain must be stored in the heart and blurred and left to harm all of life. Stand up straight my father used to say... he never knew why my shoulders were hunched and I stared at the ground... In my terror as a young child having nightmares of hellfire, I ran to my mom and begged her to get my Baptist preacher dad to save me from the devil. she could have held me and comforted me instead of telling me I could get saved. This was another in a series of exposures that began before my crib experience, the desertion there, the forced coldness of the bars of my cage.... it is no wonder that we do not know what has hit us when we are older... it lives on in our bodies and makes us sick and we never know why.... you state this reality of inadvertent death so very clearly, it allows me to acknowledge this theme throughout my life and family. As a parent, if we are unable to connect, to love, accept and support our children first, before any Gawd or idol, then we pass on the pain that has maimed us. The Biblical Abraham was all ready to listen to his hallucinations and murder his boy as a sacrifice to God. He had some sick ideas. And that same God of Abrham so many people woo-woo towards, gave his only son to be murdered. And we are told be thankful the idiot did it any wonder we walk around in such pain?

  2. Art: to me, this is one of your better blogs. My reasoning; because of the inadvertent nature of what parents do or don't do to satisfy the needs of their babies and children. I know so many that claim their parents were loving: worse; when they have babies of their own say they now realize what parenting is about and all the difficulties.

    We lost something somewhere in our evolution and finished up with the enormous debilitating disease and still continue to THINK we are greatest creature on earth. I too thought and felt the same until I had a re-living experience and then some years later read the introduction to "The Primal Scream". I threw the book in the air and proclaimed "I've got it". In hindsight I knew my father meant well. It was just that he didn't have a clue about what having a baby meant and what was going on with his baby (me). Yes, yes, yes it was inadvertent; he was so certain that what he was doing was right. My mother who was closer to her feelings ceded to my father's wishes cause for one she loved him and thought she was an inferior intellect to his.

    INADVERTENT is such an appropriate word explaining much of the craziness of civilization and mankind. "If they meant well, then what are we complaining about?" "They did there best"; without understanding that their best was 'NOT GOOD ENOUGH.'

    To this day I continue to feel the sadness of it all ... and suspect I will have to go on feeling it for the rest of my life.


  3. Art,

    Reading your words: “It was not what my parents did, but what they did not do”, I got icy feelings over my entire body; I was taken back in time, and I could feel the memory of the emptiness from my youth when my parents were waiting for me to provide comfort, when it should have been the other way around. After I have felt a lot of pain over the years, the more I have realized that both my parents were unhappy “kids” who never had got the love they needed.

    An interesting proof of the continued existence and strength of the feelings is that sentence; “It was not what my parents did, but what they did not do”, in a written, foreign language stirred up the latent memories of being unloved. It was not my parents intention, but they never had anything else than their own pain, so I always had to fantasize about being held and caressed, followed by other neurotic behaviors, in order to survive.

    Whenever, nowadays, I tend to behave with icy feelings towards my daughter, I can fortunately feel it, and I can often tell her how stupid I act, and we can talk about it and give each other hugs!

    Jan Johnsson

  4. I had a similar kind of event. I remember when I went around our neighborhood with a lost cat trying to find its home. A man was so impressed with me (for caring about the cat) that he insistently invited me into his home and gave me a biscuit and drink. His authentic respect and compassion for me felt strange because my own parents never gave that to me, ever, as I then realised at that time. This was one of those 'things' I never forgot too.

    Oh I also had the constant runny nose. They cut out my adenoids out over that one. Shit! I bet that's a nasty primal for the future.

  5. Jack: Feeling is not such a bad thing. It just becomes a way of life…..and it is liberating; the only kind of liberation there is. art

  6. Jack,
    You bring up a good point about parents meaning well but not knowing. So it is hard to find a large degree of fault and yet, it makes it no easier to bear that they did not know. As well, too many do not give life enough thought.

    Art mentioned how a mother instructing her daughter briefly was fascinating to him. Yes, and haven’t we all had moments like that. Some of us looked further after those moments while others just dismiss them. It is sad that more people do not give life a little more thought. Sometimes a little is all it takes to get the ball rolling.

    That said, telling people about how to treat their kids is important because of the fact that they do not know, otherwise. After hearing, maybe they will look further into it.

    As for feeling the absence of what we did not get, it shows that there is a genetic expectation and that we are not blank slates but come with needs. Those puppet masters of the world think they can just do as they please with us and not do us very much harm. Wish that were true but it is not. They do not care if it does or not.

  7. Art,

    I can relate to this article. Yes, it only becomes clear so much later. My parents argued a lot, my mother henpecking my father. I've had feelings about wanting my mother to love my father. My father also critizised my older brother, I've had feelings of wanting my father to love my brother. I've had feelings of wanting & needing my mother & also wanting to love her( & my father !). I feel we all really needed to & perhaps wanted to love each other, but with all the arguing, moving around etc. it never really worked out that way !
    Also, I sent a comment on Sunday, regarding the article on Creativity & artists - it didn't get through or perhaps wasn't approved - the gist was, I have decided to do a more comprehensive survey on whether artists tend to die more from heart disease rather than cancer - say, 100 international artists of the 20th century.


    I live in Melbourne. Yes - self-primalling, mock therapy & sessions at the Center.


  8. I like this post too, and it would be a great topic for a future book. We in Child Protection take neglect very seriously, as a form of abuse, however you are talking about the deeper, more insidious neglect that happens w/even the 'best' families..
    I too had a constant runny nose. I remember a humiliating time when I was reading my beloved, much worked up project on the moon to the class as a child and my nose wouldn't stop running. The class was laughing and passing me tissues.
    I cannot wait for the being able to feel way of life. And I love your "the only kind of liberation there is" Art, beautiful.

  9. One of things Parents don't do is understand. They don't understand how "Do you want to give your Father a heart attack" to a 6 year of child is taken as the truth by that child. This morning after a few weeks of being a bit cut off from myself and obsessional I got very upset that I was going to leave my wife and then a scene from my childhood emerged. I was 6 and my sister was 4 and we stood while our Mother screamed "I gave up everything for you". Perhaps was now the time to recognise what that did. That scream was a Tsunami and it washed away any sense of being loved by her but my little self could not handle that pain. I felt myself standing there and watching her walk out of the door. Many many Parents don't know how to love. They see cruelty as love and think of it as love.

  10. In terms of subtext a Parent can hurt a child a great deal and the child does not know it. If I was ever 'naughty' my Father would tell one of his "stories" which I now see as dreadfully bruising. One was "There was a terrible flood and a man and his wife and two children were trapped on a roof. The only one who could swim was the Father and as the flood waters were rising quickly he only had one trip and could only take one person". He would then ask me and my sister who he should take. When we did'nt know he would say "The wife because they could always have more children". In other words the subtext was "I hate you and wish you had never been born and I want my pre-physcotic wife back".

  11. An email comment: "Oh my GOOOOOONESSSS! This story is exactly MINE! No wonder I can relate to you so well and love your writings so much. Posts like these give me hope.

    I so dearly wish I could meet you in person one day and sit at a coffee table with you and France and just listen to you in awe!

    Thank you so very kindly Dr. Janov."

  12. Dear all, (Brian, with another thought) I would like to suggest that this approach of Dr. Janov's to look at what was lacked in childhood as an 'inadvertent' harm, is quite a clever way of perhaps allowing the reader to have feelings that she might otherwise bury as shameful and too painful: Specifically, that her parents harmed her on purpose, knowingly, and not through oversight or mistaken concepts of love. This was an important step for me in my own work to realize the harm my Christian parents did to me... now, in fairness, it was done to them too in some ways, my mom the daughter of a Baptist preacher and my dad himself 'saved by Jesus' at a young age. They did their best to give-it-to-us too, all the children. And I insist that this be understood as conscious harm done to me. They erred with their 'everything for Jesus' shit and made their children second to it... It was wrong and if it was inadvertent, too bad. It was a form of neglect, a harsh neglect and it marked me for life. Dr. Janov's invitation to awareness and consciousness must lead further, to a new layer of being too, one of feeling it all as it was for me, and the 'me' was not loved first as I now love my own kids first... I was a distant second to the big fat shit in the sky... This has been a liberation for me, to ascribe my parents' actions to them in all this as exactly what they meant to do, conscious harm they called the love of God.... best wishes to you all in your 'liberations' through feeling it all... If you are repelled by the idea of a parent doing conscious harm, you might consider looking at some of the history of childhood in cultures a la Lloyd DeMause. The routine abuse of children has deep historical roots/routes.

  13. I was hitchhiking home when I was 20, through the outer suburbs of the Big Smoke, and a young girl and her even younger brother passed me. He asked her "what's for dinner?" She answered "Lamb." I can't convey the expression she managed in that one word. He was a skipping happy 5-7 years old, she was a couple years older and - at that moment anyway - crushed.

    She was English - she pronounced Lamb, "Lum", a migrant kid (I'm Australian) and in the instant it took to pass her I had a inkling of what her life must be like.

    Somehow her resignation tied in with the suburban desolation. I'm a country boy, hated the city always, and yet lived here most of my life.

    Sometimes I think this earth is a penal colony for us to work out our salvation. Sometimes I just think we are all sacrificial lambs.

    I'll never forget that girl in that moment...

  14. here is a childish way of explaining the existence of religion and child abuse:

    when parents are fully conscious of their kids' feelings, they can't harm their kids. it's impossible. that's why full consciousness / full feeling is so important. feelings are nature's version of God. they are their to guide us; to force us to make the best decisions. God was invented as an intellectual substitute for feelings. and as we all know, an intellect disconnected from feelings is very fickle. that's why religion is unguided. it mutates in many directions. religion can encourage people to feed the homeless, and it can encourage people to go to war.

    let's say a child's cry annoys the parent (aggravates the parent's unconscious memories). despite the aggravation, the parent tries to appease the child. it doesn't work (because the parent can't feel the real problem). the child keeps crying. now the parent BELIEVES the child's behaviour is unfair and unreasonable (it's a false belief). the parent BELIEVES the child is being naughty (yep, a false belief). the parent BELIEVES brutal disciplinary action is warranted (false belief! false belief!). the parent attacks or rejects the child. the child doesn't know why. the child doesn't understand the parent's false beliefs. the child needs to keep crying. the parent is a child. there is no parent. just two desperate children, unable to help each other. the smaller child has no neurotic beliefs. the bigger child has plenty, and one of them is: "CHILDREN CAN BE NAUGHTY FOR NO REASON"

  15. Off topic:

    I found it interesting in your 'Life Before Birth' book how you said that premature babies who underwent a series of painful operations had reduced pain sensitivity as adults. This could be closely related to psychopathy I believe. If the womb pain is severe enough, then maybe a neurotic-split (reduced inter-brain sensitivity) occurs so early that the brains can never really join, and they then go on deeply 'eccentric' developmental pathways. If so, then a pscyhopath might effectively be described as someone who has undergone a "major primal scene" in the womb, leading later to the most profound levels of emotional isolation (away from others).

    I think I can make an example of what I mean. Music can be a lot more enjoyable as a shared experience - it's more intense and 'alive' like that. My best guess is that emotional isolation from any given neurotic-split means that the individuals 'music' is always a private and non socially-related experience, and always a much weaker experience because of it.
    This could be the ultimate effect of the split beween the inner emotional and outer world. The 'split' persons emotional life is inherently disconnected, and in the psychopath that split is only most profound.

    And maybe the dangerously sadistic psychopath is ultimately just expressing their desperate attempt to connect with the outer world? Where dramatic extremes are required to create any kind of connection at all, due to the extremity of their split?

    Just speculations I know. But I think it's a curious thought.

    For the reader: Art's psychopath post:

  16. raindog,

    your comment was interesting. I think it was a Pink Floyd song that sang about “quiet desperation is the English way.” When a child hungers for a life filled with something, even if they are not quite sure what that is, and they get no love, well, it can be nearly as bad as getting beaten. And life in general is bitter for many people.

    I would say that earth and life are a chance for us to prove what we are made or show that we are going to rise to the challenge presented to us. Its no fun, of course. Then there is the big question of whether life has meaning and purpose or not. Which is almost the same as asking if we were created by a superior being or just evolved from absolutely nothing at all. Nothing at all suggests no point or meaning to life. If there is a God, then there is a plan and purpose and we have something to live for and rise to.

    But I’ll say this! If we have hope, it would be sensible to establish whether that hope is irrational or with some substance, cause I say that having hope when we evolved and will just die and be forgotten does not leave hope looking very rational. Evolution has no purpose or plan. It is not an intelligent or deliberate intentional force like a god might be or even a human. It is just an accident. And I am a realist.

    You can’t get blood from a rock and you can’t get something from shear nothing. An intelligent purposeful intentional force had to be responsible. From that point of view, your statement makes some sense. Life is short so we need to understand it quickly or we will be trampled under by malevolent forces around us.

  17. raindog,

    We all are sacrificed lamb to the day we are lucky enough to find the Primal Center.


  18. Frank, good comment. I saw one of my old patients lying on the road today, he is in & out of Psych constantly. There is just no hope for him; pathetic, draconian, when he accesses what should be the best.
    Raindog, another Australian! Where are you?
    Len, if you'd like to communicate ask the Primal Center for my email. I have some practical questions on how you've managed LA.
    Many thanks, Jacquie

  19. I have been musing about why people need to invent a God. If much of our subconcious is simply unaknowledged trauma then many people are not in touch with the child they were when traumatised and therefore cannot remember the angry punishing Parent they faced on a Day to day basis. For many our first carer is our Mother and our Father is often out at work whether in the fields (in the past) or the office. Thus if we are punished by our Mother and we are terrifed of her we look to the absent Father who maybe does not punish us in the same way (though we will feel confused by his reactions). However he will often back up the Mother. As children we must take much punishment without question. In other words "Have faith even when times are tough".Many people suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder without knowing it and also relate to (unaknowledged) abusive Parents along the lines of the Stockholm Syndrome. We love the people we really ought to be hating (and project that hate onto others. Therefore if someone turns to religion they are in effect avoiding confronting the pain of recognising the punishing terrifying Parents of their early childhood. The more frightening and punishing the Parent the more loving the related God is perhaps (because we have the Devil for the bad stuff). Thus I would argue the Madonna in the Catholic Church is beyond reproach sitting with her hand raised. I have often seen a Parent simply raise a hand to a small child as a threat to what they can expect if they are bad. Therefore people have to have faith in a God who is not always there to keep them safe from the slings and arrows of life just as the father was not always there to protect them as a child from the swipes and hits. I would argue that Gods are a strange mix of the small childs desperate need to be loved by it's Parents and it's fear of them projected onto a convenient invention by the traumatised adult who is told by his fellows church goers that he is fine and sane and good so long as he or she follows these strange arcane rules. The fact that western society is based upon the concept of God only goes to show how traumatised Society is. Theologians debate in the media how powerful and useful the idea of original sin is as a means of keeping Evil at bay while not recognising how debased it is as a theory. It creates Evil by legitimising the punishment of the child (Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child who is seen as bad by much of society). The legitimised projection of a Parent's own neuroses and trauma onto the next generation. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder passed onto the next generation in the name of God. I was recently in Naples (the most superticous place on Earth some say) and home to dreadful organised crime. I saw Parents holding tiny babies and patting them on their bottoms to sooth them. These pats where not what I would describe as gentle and seemed more like a metaphor for spanking (and what the Parent had received at that age) and where were the strokes that were actually needed. I then went to the Pompeii Museum and stood next the these huge statues of Gods that seemed to me to put me at the scale of a 2 year old child compared to their height.

  20. Richard,

    My observation is that you blame religion instead of people who deliberately misuse it. I wonder what is up with that?

    Rich: “God was invented”

    You were there, were you? Saw it happen? Well, I guess I don’t have to think now, cause Richard has just delivered the undoubtable truth. Thank god.

    I’m religious, Richard, but I detest war. What is your brilliant analysis of that. It must be pain in my brain, huh? Are you aware that Primal doctrines says those who have not gone thru primal therapy can not think. Have you gone through PT lately? If not, you are not allowed to claim any knowledge. You sound an awful lot like a heretic. Uncle Arty might get mad. I do not fully subscribe to primal theory so I am free to think what I want.

    You are right that parents are just big kids. But a small child not only has no neurotic beliefs, he has hardly none at all. ?But we need to form some understanding of the world, what you might call “beliefs.” But older “kids” who have kids do have one difference. They have an understanding of the world, even if flawed, so that they have a better chance to make some sense of it all. Children do not have that chance before they are inflicted. But Parents prefer to avoid giving life deep thought and you discourage that in favor of feeling.

    Feeling is fine and good, but no to the neglect of thinking.


    do you see the kind of students you are producing? I know, its not your fault. That damn Casper. Wait till I get my hands on him!

    Frank says:
    “We all are sacrificed lamb to the day we are lucky enough to find the Primal Center.”

    Hmmm, sounds like a neurotic hope for a cure all. Heaven would fit in, in place of Primal Center and look just as silly. After the pain is all gone, if it ever gets all gone, you will still find much to cope with. Sorry to break that news to you.

    I am shocked that you brother has not disciplined you for thinking too much. Wow, that is quite an interesting round of speculation, I must say. But thinking is better than not thinking.

  21. apollo, you are lost in a sleep. if you could feel just a little bit of love, you would sense not only the size of the void you have been living in, but also the enormous fulfillment you would experience if that enormous void was filled. you would automatically feel the real meaning of life. FEELINGS are the meaning of life. when you can fully experience the smell of wet leaves and a light breeze on your face and the subtle facial expression your knowing friend is giving YOU....when you and your friend have woken up into the wide freshness of reality....when both of you can feel the palm trees waving in front of the sunset.....when both of you can fully feel the fresh presence of your surroundings............reality becomes the reward...the will feel obvious. then you will feel the obvious importance of going down into those repressed memories and resolving them, to rid yourself of the darkness they project onto your reality.

    you are asleep my friend. me too but not as much. i can sense the size of my void. i can always sense the void, and that is why i can always sense the real meaning of life. it ain't some distant little god in the back of your mind. real love is huge. it aches in your guts and it feels absolutely right and everything becomes obvious. mix this big big feeling of indestructible friendship with all the scenes and flavours that life offers every day, and you will know. you will look back at your puny idea of god, and you will know that you were asleep.

    right now you are asleep. this is serious. generate some motivation. do something. try to wake up a little bit.

  22. Dr. Janov,

    May I sum up in a few words how I understand what you are describing in this blog.

    Parents who had a neglected childhood, become repeaters of their own pain, unless they hear/read about there being another way, or feel what love for a child is really supposed to mean. Only the ones who have this inside are able to feel a child’s need. The ones who don’t have inside, no primal moments, will repeat the pattern of neglect, harm and mental destruction. And, the next generation will give what they received.

    Where the responsibility lay for creating this chain of neglect? Where will it stop? Who can stop it?
    Only the adults!

  23. Hi,

    As my parents approach their death, (my mother well into crazy dementia) I am grieving two sets of things about them:

    1. No longer will I get what they could and did give (even still do in small ways) and 2. I will certainly never get from them what I really needed but didn't ever get and was always waiting for.

    Alice Miller talked about that, always waiting, waiting for, waiting for. . .?

    Sometimes you can't get to your true feelings until your parents get very old. only then do you realise you've been bereft since you were a child for the things you needed and are still unconsciously waiting for; all along, maybe taking substitutes without knowing why, how or when. In this way your parents existence becomes a substitute for your own, until they die.

    I know when my Dad dies I will cry hard for the loss of all hope of ever getting what he might have been able to give if only he understood my needs but could not and did not give.

    Paul G.

  24. Hi,

    -and I'm just a wee Kid Goat cast out by my tribe, bleating in the wilderness so that they can feel cleansed of their need to look more deeply within.

    Their God tells the men to make guns and the women to put on lipstick.

    But I have also e-scaped into another dimension. All is not lost for in the wilderness I have found strange flowers that bear real fruit: my true feelings. . . and I will find another family to live in. Where people own their feelings and love each other because of that.

    Perhaps my children will make the trek, following in their fathers' footsteps and find me with arms open and a welcoming smile.

    I have started planning my personal 'exodus' and every time I recover from the previous bout of self doubt (and worthlessness) and fear of my intent, my resolve is strengthened.

    Paul G.

  25. Apollo: I think part of the reason why kids don't believe much is because they don't need to. They have the most incredible ability to just see things the way that they are.

    I have a niece who is losing that ability, fast, and now she believes all this shit her mother's feeding her that PT is a cult. Pity. Once your education becomes disconnected from your own openness and sensitivity you will then be any authority figures puppet - whether you know it or not.

    I think when kids see things that hurt them they sometimes wrap themselves up in beliefs to avoid the 'punch' of the truth.

  26. Sorry Apollo,

    We all are "sacrificed" lamb to the day we are lucky enough to find the Primal Center.


  27. Apollo:

    I may not be in the majority in the notion that human kind (Homo Sapiens) in it's relative present form, has only been around for at least 100,000 years. I contend we've only been 'thinking' (borne out of the need for language) for about the last 20,000 - 30,000 years. Implying that thinking is mankind's first and greatest act-out. (you would need to read my book as to how and why I feel this way). If this is so, then the implications are enormous and way-lay your claim the "thinking is better than not thinking." Thinking is a substitute for feeling. So if you were to stop thinking you'd have no other recourse but to to fully feel. Initially that would devastate you ... and potentially throw you into the most profound re-living experience ... which would radically re-organize your brain. God, I contend; would them become irrelevant as it is with all other creatures ... except neurotic human kind.

    Oh I forgot; you don't fully agree with Primal Theory ... therefore you will remain in your current state of being.


    P.S Pain is never fully gone. All creatures feel it ... and it has a purpose.


  28. Planespotter,

    I did not invent God or god. I simply followed the evidence to where it led. Try addressing the reasoning rather than suggesting I am delusional. I dare you. You offer what I call an elitists primal cop out. Avoid reason at all cost. I am making careful documentation. Maybe you, too, can be a start ;-)

    You said: Therefore if someone turns to religion they are in effect avoiding confronting the pain of recognizing the punishing terrifying Parents of their early childhood.

    Could you show me the logic in your conclusion? I am assuming that turning to religion is evidence, to you, that we are avoiding pain of parental punishment. I fail to be able to follow the logic, however. Are you also suggesting that religion is always punishing? Which religion to you refer to. It is not my religion. You have every appearance to me of someone who makes accusations without the ability to back it up. You and Richard might get along real well.

    Nor do I believe in a loving God to overcome punishment of childhood. So Dr. Freud, what is you analysis now? Do you always go around shoving words into people’s throats or ideas into their heads? Is that the primal way, by the way? Sounds more like many of those religious ways you refer to. Interesting.

    You have a lot of interesting theories on religion. But they sound pretty far fetched and outside the boundaries of proof, which are also outside the boundaries of science, which demand proof, not speculation.

  29. To SWA

    SWA said : Only the adults!

    Well said, Sieglinde! We are too knowledgeable to say we do not know. We are too wise to say we do not know better. We make excuses instead of changes. Regardless of primal pain, an easy excuse and scape goat, we still have some control over our faculties and to write that all off and just say, “Its not my fault, I can’t help it.” That is total BS!

    This is what bothers me about Janovian theory. It makes too many excuses for people. It is like were were just vegetable or robots. I am not buying it for 2 seconds. SorryArt.

    Primal pain is an obstacle and a nuisance at the least. But that it creates impossibility? What nonsense!

    We all get moody and most like to take it out on who or what ever is near to them. That is often mates or kids. My father always blames his family for all his problems. It was really work and pressure but it was easy to dump it on s cause we could not fight back like work could. And I know he knows better. I do, too. Only Art has bought into “they were unconscious and did not know.” BS! BS! BS!

    Either we grow up and stop blaming others as our reason for not caring, or accept that certain doom is soon to over take us. No doubt about that one!

    History does repeat itself and what has history shown us? That we keep making excuses and passing on the blame to others and accepting self responsibility. Primal Pain made me do it! The devil made me do it! Those are both stupid ideas. Do we have a brain or not?

  30. Andrew,

    What I meant about believe was that we have beliefs about what our world is. We believe we understand it to some degree, which may or may not be true. When young, we do not understand much and therefore, do not believe what is or is not true about it.

    I think what you see with your niece is that we have all seen. Children are open as you say, and that is why parents and governments often discourage adults from talking to kids about things. Because kids will often consider things objectively, which adults have long since stopped doing.

    But as well, kids are not real insightful and perhaps a bit too trusting, but overall, if a kid brings up ideas, parents or governments should be able to easily refute them, if the ideas were truly trash as suggested. But neither parents or governments want to risk this. They know they are BS and that the kid might easily recognize it. So what do they do? Convince us that child molesters are every where and don’t trust any adult. This is the equivalent of the Boogie man or some damn thing like that.

    As well, parents exert that authority and elitism air about them to intimidate the kid into not going any further or questioning it. Kids do not have enough experience and ability in reason to take them on. So they back down and accept their inferior status. After being beat down enough, they know better than to ever open their hearts and mouths again.

    But as well, I might wonder about how good a representative Richard is to your cause. If he performs with them as he does here, maybe that might explain some things. You fill in the blanks.

  31. Jacquie, I'm in Melbourne, where are you?

  32. Hi Apollo

    It's some thoughts that I have been having walking to work for the last few years. I don't mean to shove anything down anyone's throat.Is having the confidence to feel confident in my view wrong? I don't believe in God and never have done. That is my right. I come from a family of many staunch Catholics and respect their right to believe. It's caused some right royal arguments over the years. I happen to believe that Original Sin is incredibly damaging to the development of a child because the child has to continually prove itself good in the face an imposition of presumed badness and how can that be fair on an innocent being just starting out in life. I had to fight that presumed badness right through my life and it caused me great pain and lack of confidence without knowing where it came from. I hope that in the end I can believe in and respect myself rather than a deity which imposes who I should be on me. I watched a film recently where one of the characters said that Insanity was the war between who we are told who we should be and who we know ourselves to be. I am enjoying trying to be who I was meant to be rather than the blank canvas my Parents thought they could paint their own ideas onto. That includes rejecting religion. I don't deny that much good comes out of it but I feel that that good comes out due to the fear of being bad and that seems a convoluted path to being good compared to simply being loved and respected from the start which I feel would naturally cause a person to respect others and thus be a generally good person.

  33. Hi, Dear Art and everyone. I am a newcomer in the blog and it is my first time to write comment.
    I did find several my unpleasant scenes in my childhood while reading the article. I also thought a lot how did I treat my daughter, I love her and treated her as treasure but I realized there were some mistakes. Thanks Art to let me explore more.
    I have many connections with parenting education workshop in community in different way, I want to say: they are good, but if those workshops adopted concepts of Primal theory. They will move up one new level.
    Julian from Toronto

  34. Apollo: In my day, the Catholic church made a lot of my patients feel they were bad; and wouldn't you know it, they could buy indulgences from the church which got them off the hook. This is in my day. art
    Quite a gig; make you feel bad and then sell you a way to feel good.

  35. Apollo:

    “My father always blames his family for all his problems.” My father did the same.
    Now we should ask, why? Knowing his violent upbringing, his later life as a Nazi soldier, he could not dare look inside. His favored expression for emotional people was: brainless imbecile. He called us the same if we cried or showed care and love for animals. Now, how could he ever find insight if his left hemisphere is dictating his life? Naturally, these horribly damaged people need to blame others for their unfulfilled needs.

    “Either we grow up and stop blaming others as our reason for not caring”.
    People like our fathers are unable to grow up emotionally, because pain and unfulfilled needs hold them hostage in their child stage.
    This is exactly the damage that neglect, lack of love and violence creates.
    The world is full of people going in this kind of circle. They display regressive needs but can't get inside by regression – because they don’t go back (primal/regression) to the source of their pain.
    The only thing we can do is avoid such people (I know as a child we can’t) until they are completely isolated. (Neurotic people need an audience because they can only rage at somebody; and children and parentified adults are the perfect target). Isolation has a profound effect: the one who act out/blames another, has no one he/she can blame and must ultimately begin to feel their deeply buried pain. I call this – hiding the concrete (bottem). Only then the first step toward seeking help can be done.

  36. Can I say something on caring?

    Neurotic need makes us functionally narcissistic - we are forced to worry about our own needs ahead of others, and to a point where we can't respond to other people's needs, including and most importantly our children's.
    If we make a *decision* to care, but after being made neurotically narcissistic, then we will "care" for narcissistic reasons. We will play games with ourselves as we act-out being a "better person"...but it will still ultimately be for *ourselves* and not the *other* person. Acting-out caring is not the same as real caring. And real caring cannot be willed into existence. Caring is first a feeling - not a 'desire to care'.

    No way out but to first go in. like Art says, we are creatures of need and those needs come first.

    And it's this level of realization that spooks a lot of people. They don't want to have to take a blunt look at human motivation because it's painful for them. They want to believe you can just "act right" and therefore "be right".
    But it's not so! We go from being real people to bulls*** role-play people.

  37. Art,

    Religion is a great way to make money. And the RCC has long been arrogant. My mother was raised Catholic and she hated the missionaries. They like to probe about what she maybe did or did not do. Religion is very abused. But to throw all religion under the bus does not make sense, either. Some here seem to do that.


    My father was jealous of our cats or dog. He would complain, those animals get more love than I do. We explained that they gave love so as to get some. Most of the time he was just verbally abusive but it was constant.

    With your father, I do not think it was his left hemisphere at all. It was his stem and being stuck in a feeling. The thinking was motivated by the feeling. The cortex was just obeying orders, as I see it. When they are immersed in a feeling, they lash out at whatever they can find near. You understand much of the problem.

    But I do not doubt for even 1 second that my father did not know what he was doing. He simply did not care. He did it because on one could stop him. It is that simple. Many people simply do not want to care or look within to understand their pain or motivation. They could if they wanted but they do not want to. There is no deep mystery to me. The handwriting is on the wall, so to speak. Sometimes PT makes the simple to be too complicated. I do not buy it.

  38. Andrew,

    It kind of seems to me like you are complicating something simple. I may not understand your explanation completely. But to me, many people know full well what they are doing. When they act cruel, they know it hurts. They simply do not care. They like their position of power and enjoy using it. By dumping on you, they get relieved. They feel all better afterward.

    We often make excuses for them, but not me. I won’t do it. I know they know. I’d bet my life on it. You can refuse to hurt, just as you can refuse to go to war. It really is just that simple. Those who complicate things with long drawn out explanations are what I call Tom Sawyers. Tom was great for making simple easy situations incredibly complicated, just to make an adventure or something.

    Einstein said, there is truth in simplicity. Occam’s razor suggests that the simplest solution is usually the correct one. I live by that. I am willing to die by that.

  39. Art:

    Raised a Catholic (a religion created by parents to teach abused children that suffering is good?), I learned about (among a dictionary's worth of various sins) the "sin of omission." Unlike the "sin of commission," the former creates pain in the world from what one does NOT do.

    It's another way of saying what you said. We are as damaged by not being held as we are being slapped. Maybe more. Someone once said, "If you want to raise angry kids beat them. If you want to drive your kids crazy, ignore them."

    I am distant, emotionally, from my family because they won't admit I suffered by not having certain needs met. Among that suffering is a tendency to deny I even have needs. Or to automatically take care others, thinking I have emotional reserves (which I do not!) and so can "afford" to play Jesus.

    It hobbles me.

    My sisters says I "blame." I say I'm just trying to have her affirm that not being told I was loved by my father harmed me. It made me doubt myself.

    Lack of self-love/confidence is terrible. It keeps one from meeting needs. You either feel unworthy of happiness or fear it will taken away or worry rejection will jut confirm you don't deserve love.

    While it pains me, I choose to avoid those who refuse to recognize the reality of my life. It's hard enough for me to admit I need certain things (touch, affection); I don't need to be filled with doubt by people who supposedly care about me.

    Brian wrote: "I was a distant second to the big fat shit in the sky.."
    I laughed so hard reading that that I'm still wiping the juice I was sipping off the monitor.

  40. Paul wrote: "I know when my Dad dies I will cry hard for the loss of all hope of ever getting what he might have been able to give...."


    My father just turned 89 and is living in assisted-living with early Alzheimer's. I can't remember him ever "getting" me. He'd take me fishing, but never talked. He showed me how to cast and bait hooks, but never asked how I felt, what I liked, etc. Never watched me play sports, either. And never came to any of my graduations.

    I taught HIM to hug his own kids when I was in my 20s. Even then, he only responded. Tell him you love him and he'd parrot it back.

    My brother and sister were closer to him so I've let them deal with him in his old age. It breaks my heart, but I'm tired of reaching out and finding no "there" there. And tired of my siblings telling me I should understand what HE went through.

    What I loved about Alice Miller was her always taking the side of children. She didn't focus on the parents.

    She said it didn't matter if the person who ran over you didn't mean it. You still had injuries. Further, worrying about why the driver ran over you will distract you, draining energy needed to heal.

    Caring for yourself is hard when your original caregivers didn't, well, care enough for you. You figure if those once-and-mighty folks fell down on the job maybe there was a you don't DESERVE love.

    Try making your way in a "dog-eat-dog" world when you doubt yourself, when you wonder if you deserve to even enter the fray, much less succeed!

    On another, perhaps related, matter: I don't think "thinking" is wrong. We have a left brain for a reason(!). The problem is when we think when we should feel.

    I know a guy whose best friend recently committed suicide. The guy "cried" for about 30 seconds. Then he "composed" himself...and began to read about death. Now he talks on and on and on about "passing over."

    It all seems desperate. A whistling past the cemetery. If he'd just let himself cry for, say, 15 minutes he'd reset his soul.

    We worry about God and the "meaning of life" when we're feeling unloved. It's why feeling "in love" feels so timeless and oceanic. Who worries about death in the arms of their lover?

    Leo Buscaglia said he never had "existential angst" because he was too busy being picked up, kissed, and love by relatives.

    Maybe when we die we wake up in a Primal Center surrounded by really cool folks. :>)

    I remember reading Camus and finding him much warmer than Sartre. However Albert's writing, while lyrical, could sometimes get quite dense...especially his philosophical works. I wondered if he took all he wrote seriously. Then I read that he loved the sun and sea and women.

    It made me happy to know.

    Perhaps because my own father seemed trapped almost totally in his left, linear, logical, calculating unfeeling brain. With Camus, I wanted a more balanced mentor, someone who both thought and acted, wrote and loved.

    I was happy to learn his writing augmented/reflected his life. It did not stand alone, books penned from a man alone in a distant space capsule. His were no bibles penned by people who abstracted life to the point where they'd kill those who didn't kiss The Book they wrote.

  41. Apollo: Here is what I believe: the simple truth is progressive art

  42. Trevor: I hope you don't have to die to get into the primal center. Camus always had a fear of "dying stupidly," and then he died stupidly, wrapping his car around a tree due to excess speed around a curve. art

  43. "the simplest solution is usually the correct one"

    nope. the simplest solution is usually the easiest. the human brain is not simple.

  44. Apollo: "Einstein said, there is truth in simplicity. Occam’s razor suggests that the simplest solution is usually the correct one. I live by that. I am willing to die by that."

    My philosophy is: "Throw away all the bullshit ("golden rule" and "code" etc), and see what there is to see. The truth is what it is - let it be what it is. Don't create an abstract evaluation criteria to determine its validity. Don't put yourself in a philosophical prism.

    Don't think I'm being argumentive with you because I'm not - It's just my spin!

  45. Richard,

    I tend to agree with you at least partially. But even among solutions to the brain, the simplest, while not overly simplified, is correct. But you do realize you are invalidating France Janov who says it is simple. Just feel it. What would be your reply to that. I already made mine back a while.

  46. Hi to all but particularly Andrew, I sent a rubbish version of this earlier; this version's much better:

    On Care & Love:

    You can buy and sell care but you can not buy or sell love. You can buy and sell love substitutes, such as drugs, fantasies and belief systems.

    Care can be (and often is) utterly useless and by definition is going to have to be complex and specific to the needs of the receiver. EG: If you cut your finger the plaster is useless on your thumb; or "coaching" positive thinking to a chronic depressive will be useless if not harmful; trying to put an athlete into a primal just before the starting pistol would be absurd etc, etc, etc. So care has to be specifically tailored to meet the individuals' needs or it is likely not to meet those needs at all, is it?

    Care by definition is complex. To say that people don't care is glib because most of us most of the time could not possibly comprehend most other peoples' needs to the degree that those needs need to be met. Yes, most of us do 'attend' to others, we try not to offend or obstruct and we want to help the old lady across the road but how often is that possible in more than small & co-incidental ways?

    Love on the other hand is simple & universal and shines on us all.

    My experience is that if I love myself enough then I care about myself appropriately and I have a caring attitude toward others as well, real love for the real me helps me perceive others' needs; if I hate myself I am careless with myself and I can't really help others either.

    If I try to distract myself from my own misery by attending to the misery of others I risk transferring my misery to them and compounding their plight.

    When I love myself (who I really am) then I make some subtle emanations and other people around me relax and feel loving too. When I am in the company of lovers, some of their love for each other spills out onto me and for a while after I also feel better. When there is this loving feeling amongst people (and a little goes a long way) listening & attending & caring appropriately follows naturally.

    I feel it's important not to confuse love with care, many of us do. They are different and in very many diverse ways.

    It's likely that fully trained and experienced Primal Therapists understand this more than any one else on Earth.

    Most of the rest of us muddle along getting very confused.

    Paul G.

  47. Paul: ayayay Think it over. Love yourself? how do you do that? lots of hugs to yourself? art

  48. Okay, Okay, okay,

    Once an ex-lover said to me: "you're one of the lucky ones, you had just about enough love to survive". . .

    I've had time to feel and to think (in that order).

    Actually I am sure there are three forms of love.

    Not just one love.

    All these three forms come from the One Primal Connection but then this splits into the three, by the developmental stages we are all now so familiar with. I experience love in three forms.

    I experience Physical Love and that is sometimes sexual. When it's not sexual it is 'sensual'. Lizard.

    I experience Emotional Love, for my friends & acquaintances (sometimes) and mostly for my children. Words fail, Shakespeare tried, Primal Cuts the Mustard. Limbic.

    I also experience Intellectual Love. Socrates talked about that. Plato too. Neo Cortical.

    Though I don't know all you people out there in Primal Therapy Blog Land, I experience Intellectual Love with you all.

    Though of course sometimes I regret the things I post (thank the powers that be for quality control and not printing it all) and occasionally hate some of the things others post (because of my stuff). So, I reckon, like 'care' intellectual love is the most complex of all, like a multi faceted flower, blooming for a cultural moment. we need to be busy bees to get the nectar from the cultural flower of intellectual love.


    Love gets simpler the further back we go in evolution.

    Paul G.

  49. An email comment: "Thanks for Writing, this. Its a very sad thing, but I think its what being unconscious is all about. It makes people live unconscious lives, in which everything happens, just as you said, inadvertently. As an adult, people make unconscious choices about what they eat, drink, the kind of work they do. Then LIfe becomes a tedious exercise in keeping the pain away. When someone reminds us, that it doesn't have to be that way, we also unconsciously react, either we stifle them or punish them for needs we cannot respond to. Or we can become aware of them through feeling them, it's really the only thing that helps in the end. "

  50. Paul G: Now you know why they call it platonic love. From Plato's idea of non sexual love. Art.

  51. Paul
    There is nothing bad about loving yourself, despite your comment, Art. It is helpful to feel love towards the child in you who was hurt so much and in some of Dr Janov's early books there comes a time in some of the patients accounts when they say, 'I am going to take care of and help the little guy.' (Themselves.) When there is no other love around it is better to love yourself than hate yourself, which is what a lot of what some of us have known from our families.So love on, Paul, and hug yourself! It's quite easy. I do this frequently and it cheers me up!

    1. Anonymous: glad it cheers you up but you do know that there is no way to love yourself. an oxymoron. 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.