Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Skipping Steps The Untoward Consequences of Cross-Dominance (Part 2/4)

(This is Part 2 of Frank's story)

How I Got This Way In The First Place

Where I come from, birth is hell – especially mine. My birth was a bummer. Although I must confess that I have only my memory to attest to this because there is no record of my birth in the state of Utah, where the tragedy occurred. The hospital in Ogden, where I have always been told I was born, burned down during WWII along with all the records contained therein. And my mother, dead now, wasn’t talking. She insisted that she couldn’t remember a thing about my birth except that the doctor said I had big hands. The rest of me was tiny. That said, the circumstances of my birth are covered pretty well on pages 209-10-11 of Art’s latest book, life before birth THE HIDDEN SCRIPT THAT RULES OUR LIVES.
My mother told me that her milk went sour but I didn’t really know what this meant or what it meant to me until Primal Therapy. It doesn’t sound so bad. All she had to do was switch me to a bottle. But the insights and connections about how my life was affected by that little bump along my road of life were cataclysmic. This led me to act out a dynamic of self denial. My belief was that what I need most in life; what I am most desperate for; what I can’t live without is poison and might kill me. Wanting, for me, was something to fear – and I spent my life keeping my wants suppressed, repressed, and depressed – anything but expressed. Wanting is dangerous. This belief was continually reinforced by my parents. My parents reminded me daily that I did not deserve what little I got. At the table I was a dirty little pig. A common saying in my whole family was “You ain’t the only turd in the corral.” So I lived in my head. I soothed myself every night with repetitive omnipotence fantasies. That’s how I put myself to sleep. They pushed all the ugly realities of my life temporarily out of my head.
But quite possibly my worst trauma was severe eczema. Or, more likely, the eczema was the reaction to my worst trauma of not being touched, held, or caressed = unloved. Hence, if any single trauma after birth set my path to ADD and Cross-Dominance, it was The Itch, that bloody itch. And I mean that literally. I would scratch myself so bloody my parents would cover me with a stinging pink salve. (I still have a strong memory of the smell of it, and it is gut-wrenching.) They would then cover my hands with socks and tie them to the sides of my crib. There they would leave me to cry myself to sleep. Or not. My crying at night drove dear old Dad to rage. “Go in there and shut that goddamn kid up! You shut up and go to sleep or I’m coming in there to shut you up!”
Perhaps if I had been blessed with loving parents, much of this could have been avoided. But I wasn’t. I am convinced that my eczema was exacerbated and entrenched by the renewed commitment of my parents to avoid touching me as much as possible. My mother was tense and rigid and wasn’t particularly affectionate anyway. And once the eczema took over, I’m sure they were told by the doctor to avoid touching me, as my wounds could get infected. And there was no place on my body that wasn’t affected. The eczema was with me in the severe form until I was about 5. After that it was mostly on my lower legs. It eventually left me but I’m still plagued with a lot more itches than most people. It also left me still squirming about, unable to sit still, and chewing my tongue. That was incused to imprint because I was constantly scolded for “tying myself in knots” fidgeting, grinding my teeth, and being completely unable to sit still or, “Sit on that God Damned couch the way you’re supposed to. You act like you’ve got St. Vitus Dance.” (Sydenham's chorea or chorea minor (historically referred to as Saint Vitus Dance)[1] is a disease characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements affecting primarily the face, feet and hands. Sydenham's chorea (SC) results from childhood infection with Group A beta-hemolytic Streptococci[2] and is reported to occur in 20-30% of patients with acute rheumatic fever.) My brother spent his sixth year on bed rest because of rheumatic fever, and I suffered a bout of it every spring for several years of my childhood. As a toddler, I also had pertussis, which like rheumatic fever and St. Vitus Dance, is caused by a coccus bacterium. Later my rheumatic fever turned into severe allergies each spring until I left home. So this might mean that my parents’ diagnosis was correct. And the allergies, being auto-immune could logically follow the rheumatic fever.
From my earliest memories I was uncoordinated and clumsy. And by the fourth grade the teacher started actively attempting to do something about my atrocious handwriting. Practice, practice, practice, but all efforts failed. To this day my handwriting is really bad. I suspect, even at this early age, I was cross-dominant. But the event that cinched the deal was another trauma that occurred about 10 years later.
I was reared under the watchful eyes of God, Jesus, the angel Moroni, Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young in Brigham City Utah, making God very real and omnipresent in my life. My parents had 2 boys, my older brother and me. I was a big disappointment to my mother because she wanted a little girl. Then one day in 1950 they come upon an opportunity to adopt a super cute little girl just 5 years old. Her mother openly hated her and didn’t want her. My parents brought her home to live with us. She was effusively charming. My mother almost forgot that I existed. New clothes and toys and presents for Penny. “What about me?” Penny could swear and they thought it was cute. If I did that, I caught the back of a hand along with additional punishments. I wanted her to leave - secretly. She would sing Candy Kisses and giggle to the delight of all who beheld her – at first. Then the reality of her life of abuse began to insinuate. Little things at first: She wet the bed, tried to hide it, and lied about it. She lied a lot. Dad carved a hardwood paddle and hung it up in the kitchen as a reminder. All 3 of us kids felt the sting of the reminder on a daily basis. Now I hated Penny, and desperately wanted her out of my life. Soon Penny was out of control. She’d pick her fingernails until they bled. She would tell any visitor we had that she loved them and wanted to go home with them. My parents couldn’t take it. They decided to take her back to her birth mother. I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait for Dad to take her away – secretly. Then one Sunday, he did. I got exactly what I wanted more than anything. She was gone! That night my brother shot me with a bow and arrow and put out my eye. God had punished me for wanting Penny out of my life.
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray dear Lord my soul you’ll keep
Please let me die before I wake
And I pray dear Lord my soul you’ll take

Better had it been my brother they took away. For me he was a monster. He beat me up almost every day. After he put my eye out, the doctor said I shouldn’t have any jars to my head because the retina was detached and it could do more damage. My kind parents told my brother he could slug me only on my arms, and could no longer hit me in the face. That held him back a little, but the retina continued to detach and so they made me lie flat on my back with my head between 2 big sandbags with a towel over my eyes so I couldn’t move my head. That went on long enough for me to forget how to walk. God don’t mess around. But he was merciful. It was about 2 years before my brother resumed punching my lights as my daily bread.
Throughout my entire childhood our house was filled with screaming, yelling, and fighting. I don’t remember ever doing anything right for my father. I was often told that if I didn’t straighten up I would be going to reform school or prison “just like Uncle Lootie.” (I have lots of horror stories about Uncle Lootie) I was told that I was “just not normal” that “There’s something drastically wrong with your head” and my favorite, “We’re gonna have to take you down to Provo and have your head examined.” I already knew that. I was constantly scared in a life that made no sense to me.
That all occurred before puberty DIDN’T dawn. At that time of my glad season my whole life turned into a giant sized humiliation as the assumption of my toga virilus faded far into my future. I was just barely starting to grow hair under my arms at the time I joined the Navy. Not reaching puberty along with my classmates robbed me of what little was left of the real me. Every day I had to pretend that I was NOT devastated. Everyone thought I was always happy, always a big grin, and so easy to get along with. I became extremely careful not to piss off any of my classmates, lest they stomp my little ass. Or worse, they might throw my worst nightmare back in my face. I was pretty lucky in that I did not suffer open ridicule, but the reality of my life was right there for all to see. I wore short sleeved shirts most of the time and had to be careful not to raise my arms and show the world that I had no hair up there. When I was a senior in high school a little patch of hair started to grow, and my father tried to make me shave it off so I wouldn’t stink so much.
Now you have to remember that in my mind all of these things I suffered were God’s punishment. Add to that: One of the tenets of the Mormon Church is that of a pre-life. And our behavior in the pre-life determines what place we occupy in this life. So being tiny and poor and abused reflected what God thought of me in the first place. And good old God just couldn’t resist an easy target. You might guess that I didn’t do very well in high school because I couldn’t find enough focus, or sit still long enough to do any studying, even though my aspirations and the expectations of my family were for me to become a paleontologist (I loved dinosaurs), or an entomologist (I collected bugs all through high school), or a veterinarian (As a child, all my love came from dogs. So much so that I thought I really was a dog, and God had made a mistake putting me in this awful, hairless human body), or a doctor (Then everybody would love me).
These aspirations or expectations bring up one of the most traumatic processes that occurred throughout my childhood: Whenever I reached a certain age, I was supposed to be able to do those things kids my age should be able to do. It was all just supposed to happen at appropriate times in my life. It didn’t. One of my early on Primals began with the memory of an incident that occurred not long after I got married. My Gramma called me up and told me Uncle Rex was moving back to Utah and he said it was all right for Eileen and me to buy his house. I was ecstatic. She told me that she would take us down to the bank and get all the paperwork taken care of the next day. There we were in an office in the bank and they told us that the bank manager would be right in to take care of us. Just before the banker came in Gramma said to me, “Now I’m not going to say a word. This is your business and you must take care of it.” I didn’t even know what an escrow was. I’d never even had a bank account. Needless to say we did not get the loan, even though I was qualified under the GI Bill. This feeling dropped me right down to being a little boy sitting on the toilet calling, “Mama, I’m done. Come and wipe me.” Followed by my mother’s voice, “No, you’re old enough to wipe your own butt. I’m not going to wipe you anymore.” Nobody ever taught me to wipe my butt. But I was supposed to know how because I was old enough. And Mama, just like Gramma, left me helpless, hopeless, and hanging.
My whole childhood was terrifying to me, and I had to pretend it wasn’t out of the fear that if I let it be known, those around me would make it even worse. I was so uncoordinated, along with not having any depth perception because I had only one eye, that I had no skill in sports. That humiliation made life a lot more unbearable. Without really being aware of it would isolate myself and sink deeper into my private world of fantasy. When I was by myself, I could play “big” (with toy swords and toy guns and stuff) or I could play “little” (with modeling clay, mostly) or I could lie down and play completely inside my head (I had a whole world in there, and I could have everything I wanted).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

More Nonsense in "Science"

I promise never to write about nonsense again but this piece is on the current cover of The Science Section of the N.Y. Times. And I cannot believe what I am reading; as if all late science in our field has been ignored and some video game has replaced it. And this is literal; they are discussing a video app that was promoted by a shrink from Columbia University, given an approval by a shrink from Harvard, and of course, finds its way into Science because serious honchos approve of it. It makes me sick.

OK so what is “it?” “It “ is a new app that proposes to take away anxiety and eliminates therapy with a human, altogether; rationalized that most people cannot afford it. “It” is something developed by C. Macleod of the University of W. Australia who believes that those who are anxious are exhibiting an extreme form of shyness. These people, he claims, fixate on hostile faces in the environment. And then in some kind of rationale which I truly cannot understand they do away with anxiety by focusing on neutral faces shown on the screen. Basically you are conditioning the brain to avoid the “bad apples.” To try to get rid of the bad choices the brain is making. That naughty brain. I hesitate to ask where the science is in all this? You need to keep on doing it and then they get good results.

I don’t know where to begin; such faulty logic. Anxiety is just a bad habit that needs to be changed. No idea what it is or where it comes from. And then to take one narrow behavior and change it in order to rid the person of anxiety is small minded in the extreme. What they do is condition the brain to avoid reality and look somewhere else. First of all, the brain is not naughty; it is trying to survive and develops strategies to do just that. The brain should look like that; it is flush with pain and terror. This is not different from what my mother did when I was a kid and started to cry. She started distracting me: “look at this. See how the doll cries,” blah blah. And I did stop crying. Is that cure? Have these people despaired of getting to causes? To generating sources?.... and so devise ephemeral devices?

I could go on, but Benedict Carey, whom I have sent articles, never acknowledged, manages to give this a big space. Why with this nonsense? But it doesn’t change anything; doesn’t require any radical adjustment, and does not require any science, except pseudo-science where they show that after many trials of looking away there is less anxiety. This is ”confirmed” in their studies; so much for statistical truths. Beware! It is as if anxiety is just a psychologic ploy with no physiologic concomitants. No body and no inner suffering. Obviously, these people in their head have never suffered prolonged anxiety; otherwise they could never come to these conclusions. Oh but wait! I forgot! They are marketing the apps.

They have a name for it; and anytime that this happens I get suspicious, as though that will make it scientific; give it a certain cachet or patina that makes shrinks everywhere acclaim it is wonderful. But of course we are asking the choir, those intellectual/s who left their feelings behind in graduate school. Intellectual ploys are all the rage for them because feelings can be avoided altogether. Oh yes, it is called Cognitive Bias Modification; or changing how you see things. If you say it in fancy patois it seems so serious and scientific. If you say it in everyday language it loses something in the translation. Whatever. It all makes me sick because it makes our field a laughing stock, bereft of any science except what they concoct that looks like science but is just the manipulation of statistics. Here the “right” people are promoting it so it becomes unassailable. How do you get to be the “right” people? Flee to your head.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Skipping Steps The Untoward Consequences of Cross-Dominance (Part 1/4)

Below you will find a 4-piece story of Frank. He has had a horrific history, which he explains very well and it shows the primal process clearly. My discovery of what was wrong in his brain goes again to reinforce the necessity for a rounded education for all psychologists. We need to understand so much of the human system, its biology and neurology apart from how to do the therapy. It took 72 years of his life for this diagnosis, which has radically changed his life in every respect. You will now read how that happened. 
 Dr. Janov

This might be the most difficult essay I have ever done. What I’m attempting to present here is all but ineffable for me. I suffer from cross-dominance, and I’m in the process of trying to ameliorate its effects on my life. I find it difficult to describe a dialectic process when I’m in the middle of it. So far this has fallen out to be a very difficult blessing. I am going through so many, and such rapid changes that at times I feel like I’m living in a cement mixer. Fortunately, the changes are for the good, even though being in a face-off with myself is somewhat excruciating. My life is currently the best it has ever been. Throughout, however, it has been the curse of Sisyphus, rolling that big rock up the hill only to have it come crashing down again, leaving me broken. And, I still must say, at this young and tender age of 72, should I croak tomorrow, my epitaph would read: It Wasn’t Worth It!
But since I’m here, the rest of my life is worth it. I continue to relive the pain of my life in order to reap the resulting benefits, relief, and relaxation. I’ve been at the Primal Center for over 6 years, and in countless ways it has changed my life. I came to the Center expecting to die soon. Primal Therapy was the last thing on my bucket list. But after a year or so, I realized that my life had just begun. And it’s a new life, a good life full of zest. I decided to apply to graduate school and on my 69th birthday I began. Now graduated, I’m an intern at the Center.
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Primal training opens up a whole new realm with demands that require a new depth of integration. And I soon found out something was really wrong with me. It is very clear to see from the outside, but I am on the inside. It interferes with my capacity to do good therapy. Watching me in the videos of our trainings is a shock. Art said, “You know, this guy’s brilliant but you’d never know it to talk with him.” Then one day at staff meeting, Art said to me, “Aim at me as though you have a rifle in your hands. I did, and Art responded, “I knew it. You are cross-dominant!
What the hell is that? I’d never heard of it (and I have an MS in clinical psych). Simply put it means, that I’m right handed and left eyed. I’m also left eared and right legged. Art told me to start researching it. It turns out that there are a lot of people quite concerned with this seemingly minor anomaly. So I read on.
Curiouser and curiouser. They were describing me. One researcher wrote this:
“When my inattentive son had his vision therapy evaluation the optometrist found that he was left eyed and left eared but right footed and right handed. The optometrist reported that this explained the following symptoms:
* A tendency to misplace objects in his personal space
* A tendency to rotate his papers strangely when writing
* A tendency to tip his head 40 degrees when writing
* Difficulty with left and right side of letters ("Mommy is this the way the letter 'P' goes??")
* Difficulty making decisions
* Poor handwriting
* Difficulty with Organization
* Difficulty with gross and fine motor movements
* Learning difficulties
* Difficulties performing task that cross the body midline”

I have the same dominance problem as the boy and all those things apply to me along with a host of others that I’ll address along the way. I found out they have treatments for it – exercises to reverse the dominance of the eyes. Boom! That sinking feeling in my stomach grabbed me. I’m left eye dominant because it’s the only one I have. My right eye is plastic. Just before my 11th birthday, my brother shot me in the eye with a bow and arrow. So I must remain left eye dominant, and I certainly don’t have any interest in switching the dominance of my hands.
Unfortunately, cross-dominance is not quite as simple as my description. It is really a case of neurological disorganization that causes both input and output to come and go through a maze of pathways that can get mixed up. It probably goes all the way back to the womb. Testing for it best begins with the infant and the way he crawls (cross-crawl or homolateral crawl). If the crawl is homolateral, it indicates disorganization in the Pons. ( The Pons primary function seems to be one of integrating signals from the cerebrum to the cerebellum and sending them to the proper parts of the body. It is the first level at which cross or mixed dominance occurs. The Pons are also involved in breathing and sleep regulation. ) Then when the child is creeping on his hands and knees, the same test can be used to test for disorganization in the Limbic System. Of course none of that is of use to me here. No test back then and I had parents that made it very clear to me that all my weirdness was of my own making and completely my fault. Another important factor is that it can go unnoticed until the person is under stress.
The first indication of my neurological disorganization is that I can never tell my left from my right without stopping to think. Usually, if I’m given information that something is on one side or the other, I write my name in the air. (I write with my right hand.) And speaking of writing: Most people’s handwriting slants forward, or backward, or straight up and down. My handwriting, which seems to abide many contrarian masters, does all of the above within the compass of any single word. The order of letters in each word is also constantly mixed up. I am likely to put the last syllable of a word in the middle. I also mix up the order of words in a sentence. As I write this, my backspace key is the most active key on my keyboard. Moving the mouse with any precision is also very difficult for me. I have little power over my finger’s clicking or double clicking. This same disorganization also affects my capacity to read. I made it through graduate school using audiobooks. And if Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic didn’t have the book, I would scan it into my computer with my OCR, then convert it into audio, and then listen to the computer voice read my books as I read along visually.
Worse for me than all of this, is my speech – worse because I don’t have a backspace key for my mouth. I can’t unsay what I’ve said. I can only look more foolish trying to recover and get it right. I have long referred to myself as being fumble-mouthed. I lose words in the middle of a sentence. I hesitate and search and use the wrong words, lose my place in the sentence, forget what I’m saying, and when people answer, I often realize that what I thought I said is not what they heard. Hence, I am constantly qualifying and requalifying and re-requalifying what I say. Frequently, my mind goes blank, when asked a question. I’m often so busy inside my head, trying to straighten things out, or scanning for the lost word, or distracted by something said that takes me down a whole different road, that I miss what is going on around me. When in college I would record my lectures so I could get what I missed when I got home. I should add that my cross-dominance problems arise or are exacerbated when I am even mildly stressed (which, of late, with training, is most of the time).
My dictionary defines the word bizarre as markedly unusual in appearance, style, or general character and often involving incongruous or unexpected elements; outrageously or whimsically strange or odd. That is a description of me. That’s how I write, think, and talk. It makes for a great sense of humor as well as creativity, but can be severely detrimental to the conduct of my daily life. The humor is my best defense and it has helped me out of many a fix, but then people have a hard time taking me seriously, when that is what I need.
Two books that I wrote paint a lucid picture (from different angles) of my hemispheric tragedy. You don’t have to read beyond the titles in order to see this. The first book is a group of satirical essays titled Swift Solutions! A Genteel and Ingenious Guide to Social Engineering Accrued from a Compilement of Newly Founded FRAGMENTS on Matters of Considerable Import, Written for the Universal Improvement of Mankind by Carkan Moil, A Man of Moderate Spleen And a Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandvotery of Jonathan Swift. This book clearly exposes my cross-dominant pathology. Since humor, satire, and irony seem to be right brain progeny, you might call it my right brain reaction to my left brain world that makes no sense to me. However, I like to think of it as calling the bluff of the left brainers. A second book, a novel, titled Tales of Tainted Mother’s Milk, Volume I: BOILS should give you a cryptic glimpse into both hemispheres of my blighted brain.
Added to this is a constant first line intrusion that makes my life a perpetual string of crises. Those about me are continually telling me to slow down, take it easy, pay close attention to what you are doing. It’s like I’m falling off a skyscraper with people at the window on each floor, yelling at me, “Slow down and it won’t hurt so much when you hit the street below.” This brings with it the problem of impulse control. When you are fighting for your life, it is difficult to wait your turn. And my process is struggle and fail. I’ve learned from reliving my birth that I struggle until I can’t do it anymore, and then give in to sweet death. In the meantime I live in chaos. I’m always trying to catch up as my environment becomes more and more disorganized. I’ve constantly got a hundred projects going that I’ve got to finish right now.
Directly connected to this is akenisia. It is a rolling, wrenching, jerking, weakening, anxious, helpless feeling in my guts and down my arms and legs, forcing me to move. I used to call them my gwizhy-gwizhy feelings. These feelings keep me from being able to sit still. It has me chewing my tongue constantly. So my current diagnosis is ADD, stealth Dyslexia continually reinforced and held in place by Cross-Dominance. This after 6 years of the best therapy in the world – UNFAIR! Worse for me, I have been living my life oblivious to most of it until recently. If you have no memory of being any other way, it seems normal. It reminds me of a passage from Robert Klane’s book, Where’s Poppa? There Louise tells Hocheiser why she broke up with her last boyfriend: They had beautiful sex and afterward she looks over and sees a big pile of feces in the bed. She says to her boyfriend, “You took a dump in my bed!?” and her boyfriend answers, “Doesn’t everybody?”
Art writes about the intellectual therapist who does therapy like a one trick pony. Well, unfortunately, I am a too tricked pony with all the mechanics of my internal motions gone awry. Most people lost in their left brains have no idea what it’s like to have access to feelings. But I have access on all three levels. I have great Primals with solid connections on all levels. I’m flooded with insights that continue to change my life moving it forward. Over these past few years I’d come to assume that I know myself and my defense system. And now this! I found out that there is a whole world of pain that I’ve yet to feel to get to the bottom of this, without a clue about how to deal with it, how to get to it, how to free myself from the devastation it brings to my life.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

On Surgery for High Blood Pressure

The well known surgeon dr. Mehmet Oz, writes in Time magazine (jan. 9/12) of a new therapy for high blood pressure. He believes it is a major departure from serious surgery, only it is also an invasive treatment. It is a catheter inserted into the femoral artery which the doctors help wend its way to the precise spot where key and relevant nerves are lying. Then a jolt of electricity and basta, it is all over.

Remember my warning about any therapy without a “why” in it. It can never be curative because it neglects generating causes; origins and memories. It treats the current symptom as THE problem, hence manipulating the patient away from sources. It bothers me that this is found in august journals with high level scientists behind it. Where is their curiosity? Do they ever wonder why it is there? Or is the symptom just taken as a “given” and the doctors go on from there.

If we could all finally agree that memory is imprinted; that it is done so, partially, through the process of methylation and acetylation and that it can endure for a lifetime, and begins not long after conception, that is drives later act-outs and symptoms without cease and is the energy source behind the continuation of the problem , then we would not make the mistake ad nauseam of forgetting about “why” in illness and personality problems. And all of us doctors and scientists would no ignore and neglect originating causes. Isn’t that simply and logical? Why is it ignored? Because doctors ignore their own deep-lying feelings and cannot imagine what is down there. It is simply not put into question.

We have treated blood pressure for 45 years with great success. We have achieved a lowering of 24 points in the hypertensive (high blood pressure) group. We watch causes as we observe patients reliving their historic memories and see how when they get to childhood pains there is an elevation of blood pressure, but when the patient gets down to first line, gestation and birth trauma there is an even greater rise. We don’t have to theorize; we see it, and moreover, at the end of the session there is a drop of pressure to below baseline or beginning session values. And over one year there is a continuous and permanent drop in blood pressure. Because we also create one degree less in body temperature after one year of therapy we have good reason to think we are prolonging life. There is slower metabolism, the body is working less hard and less internal pressure as measure by our blood pressure cuff. We have seen confirmation of all this when we put a permanent cuff on a patient during a session and see the volatility of blood pressure. In those who are parasympaths their tendency is for a drop in pressure, but for the great majority of patients the blood pressure goes up. And then goes down and normalizes.

We see the difference between abreaction, crying and screaming without context and a real Primal because with a connected feeling, going back to the generating sources, there is nearly always a drop in blood pressure below baseline which is not the case in abreaction. And might I add that nearly every clinic and professional out there proclaiming to do our therapy what they get is pure abreaction. They too, do not ask why and take the symptom for the disease.

We have seen some remarkable cases with extremely high blood pressure drop into the normal range after several months of therapy; here it is life-saving.

Now here is the problem with all this: you are zapping an outlet, a place for release of the pressure; then the system has to find another outlet, and it will. It can then become fatal because there is no longer a “biologic” outlet. The pressure builds until we crumble or cave in. We must always ask “WHY?” It is not different from the symptom of smoking. If I smack you in the head every time you pick up a cigarette, sooner or later you will stop and the symptom is “cured.” Well it is the same if we get inside and mess around with the mechanics of the outlet. In this way we don’t let the nerve circuits react as they should in their defensive maneuvers. We block the ability to react properly (maybe “normally?) and reroute the system including the brain system. We must know that a symptom often means that the system is reacting properly to a damaging input, an input that begins with our life in the womb. And this input causes dislocation of function; our brain circuits get rerouted. We want to be careful to take that away. Just like a presidential candidate wants to stop homosexuality by all kinds of tortuous methods. She doesn’t ask how the behavior comes about; through her prejudices and strong bias against it she wants to stamp it out completely. The idea is that it will no longer show; therefore it must have been “cured.”

Even a smart doctor as Dr.Oz has overlooked the “why”, and because of that we will never be able to say, “because.”

Friday, February 17, 2012

Statement by Harvard Professor Richard J.McNally Concerning Repressed Memories


The journal Child Maltreatment is published by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC). They published an often-cited article by Dr. David Corwin, co-founder of APSAC, which supports memory repression. Using documents in the public record, Dr Elizabeth Loftus and Dr. Mel Guyer independently studied the material on which Corwin's article was based. They published their conclusions in Skeptical Inquirer (SI) magazine. 1,2 Dr. Carol Tavris also published an article in SI which discussed research difficulties that Loftus and Guyer experienced in their study. 3
Although they carefully preserved the anonymity of the subject of the case study as "Jane Doe," the actual client initiated a lawsuit against Loftus, Guyer, Skeptical Inquirer and Tavris arguing invasion of privacy and defamation of character.
The following Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief was submitted by Richard J. McNally in support of the defendants, Elizabeth Loftus et al. on 2005-JUN-03. 4 It gives an excellent overview of the current status of recovered memory.


Honorable Ronald M. George, Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the California Supreme Court
350 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102-4797

RE: Nicole Taus vs. Elizabeth Loftus et al.
(1st D.C.A. Civ No. A104689, Solano County Superior Court
No. FCS02A557)

Dear Chief Justice George and Associate Justices:

I am Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. I have 250 publications, many in the field of traumatic stress and memory, including the book Remembering Trauma (2003, Harvard University Press). My research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, includes laboratory studies on cognitive functioning in adults who report having been sexually abused as children. I served on the American Psychiatric Association’s committee for revising the diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I am among the approximately 260 psychologists and psychiatrists identified by the Institute for Scientific Information as “highly cited” (i.e., top one half of one percent of all published psychologists and psychiatrists worldwide in terms of citation impact). Accordingly, I am deeply familiar with the scientific issues involved in the Taus vs. Loftus et al. case. I respectfully request that you accept the Petition for Review in the above-cited case.

Statement of Interest:

How victims remember trauma is the most controversial issue confronting psychology and psychiatry today. Clinical researchers capable of understanding the relevant science realize that traumatic events -- those experienced as overwhelmingly terrifying and life-threatening -- are remembered all too well. Informed clinicians and scientists realize that emotional arousal enhances memory for trauma; it does not result in blocked memory for trauma. Indeed, people who develop PTSD are haunted by intrusive memories of horrors that they cannot forget.

Yet some clinicians claim that the mind protects itself by banishing memories of trauma, making it difficult for victims to recall their most terrifying experiences until safe to do so years later. These clinicians believe that a significant minority of victims, perhaps as many as 30%, are incapable of remembering their most terrifying experiences. They believe that victims repress, dissociate, or block out these memories precisely because the memories are so upsetting.

As I and others have shown, there is no convincing evidence for the claim that victims repress and recover memories of traumatic events. To be sure, some victims may not think about disturbing events for many years, if the events were not experienced as traumatic -- terrifying and life-threatening -- at the time of their occurrence. But not thinking about something for a long time is not the same thing as being unable to remember it, and it is inability to remember that lies at the heart of repression theory.

For example, a child exposed to an episode of nonviolent sexual abuse (e.g., being inappropriately touched by a stepfather) and who fails to understand the experience as abuse, may experience confusion, anxiety, and disgust, but not traumatizing terror. Such a child may not think about the event, only to be reminded of it years later. But this would not constitute repression, nor would it constitute a recovered traumatic memory because the event was neither understood as abuse nor experienced as terrifying at the time of its occurrence.

The notion that traumatic events can be repressed and later recovered is the most pernicious bit of folklore ever to infect psychology and psychiatry. It has provided the theoretical basis for “recovered memory therapy” -- the worst catastrophe to befall the mental health field since the lobotomy era.

The case of Jane Doe has assumed extraordinary significance in the fierce debate over the reality of repressed and recovered memories of trauma. Videotapes of Dr. Corwin’s interviews have been shown at professional conferences, and the case has routinely been cited as proof that horrific memories can be blocked and then recovered. Accordingly, the investigation done by Loftus and Guyer has profound scientific, clinical, legal, and public significance because it reveals that this case is far more complicated than repression theorists have led us to believe. More specifically, it is not at all clear that Jane Doe was ever actually abused, and the second videotape may depict her recollection of the accusation of abuse, not of any abuse itself. Needless to say, repression advocates have vigorously attempted to frighten clinical scientists from discovering the truth about cases regarding alleged repressed and recovered memories of trauma. Legal action against Loftus et al. appears to be little more than an attempt to squelch inquiry into matters of profound social significance. Accordingly, I urge the Court to grant the defendants’ Petition for Review and to reverse the Appellate Court’s decision.


Richard J. McNally, Ph.D.
Director of Clinical Training

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On Murder Again

I am going to explain what happens when someone “snaps” and kills. Specifically, regarding Scott Dekraai who killed eight people recently in Seal Beach California. He says now, some three weeks later, that “I know what I did.” So how is that possible to know what you are doing and still do it? The catch is he didnt’ know what he was doing when he did it, only later.

Is that possible to know one minute and not know the other minute? Absolutely.

Let’s talk about the crackup. But before I do that let me offer a little reminder; There are three levels of brain function. The top level is the thinking, comprehending one; externally oriented. Lower down is the feeling brain that adds emotion to the mix, and still deeper there is the instinctive reptile brain that processes the same instincts as the reptile. It adds urgency and power to emotions and to beliefs. All three have separate functions and yet are interrelated. And they communicated with each other by chemical means and also by electrical frequencies. And when something happens in the present it resonates with similar feelings from the past and they join forces. When defenses are weak, something in the present can trigger off allied sensations and feelings and then we get a powerhouse response. All three levels are involved in a conjoined reaction. Normally, there is a good defense apparatus so that the resonance does not reach too far deep down, thus limited the force of the reaction.

Here is how resonance works in the domain of anger. Something in the present makes me very angry; my wife is divorcing me and trying to keep the kids. My money is running out and she still wants more. She refuses to see or talk to me. She turns the family against me. I have been let go at my job due to injuries and I have no prospects for a new job. All looks bleak and I have no alternative. All these are assaults on my defenses. And they weaken so much that it all crumbles and there is no barrier holding back deeper pain. The problem is on the feeling level there are powerful emotions, but as it resonates still deeper anger turns to rage and fury. Human emotion because murderous feelings as the deepest animal level has access to the higher level. That is, in my lingo, the third line gives way to the first line reptilian brain where killer feelings reside. And for that moment the third line inhibitory brain is ousted by the first line instinctive brain and there is murder. The deepest brain level becomes the highest one temporarily. There is nothing left of the top level of the brain whose main function it is to inhibit. But that can only last minutes. Once the rage is expressed the pain level diminishes and some of the third line thinking, reflective brain returns to function. And Scott can now say, “I know what I did.” And he knows now but at the moment of crisis he did not know what he was doing; his rage machine took over and he became the reptile spewing out fury indiscriminately. After all, it is the top level that discriminates. It was usurped for that moment, the critical moment when he murdered eight people.

I have seen this rage over and over again when very disturbed patients begin to relive on the emotional, feeling level and suddenly are impacted by the lower levels. They begin to pound the mattress and the padded walls with an enormous fury that can go on for thirty minutes to one hour. In therapy they can direct the rage, connect with it and not be overwhelmed by it. Not so, on the street. I have filmed this rage, and those interested will see it when we release the film. The patient seems to be out of control because he is in the grip of powerful deep forces. But it is a controlled situation and is not acted out. It is becomes acted-out when the person has no idea that there are feelings deep in the unconscious, is helpless before them and has no idea about how to control them. His unconscious has taken over. And he kills.

And we can say of these people who are sometimes out of control that they may be pre-psychotic. All that really means is that their defenses against the deepest level of the brain are very weak due to the constant onslaught of pain early on in their life. And what do so-called anti-psychotic pills do? They dampen the lowest brain levels from responding. They help hold back the first line. They do this by souping up the top level so that it is more active and effective; and at the same time there are inhibitory medications in it that block the lower level pain; thus, we get a more active cortex and a less active brainstem and limbic/feeling brain. And in this medication there are chemicals that we should produce ourselves, such as serotonin. But we don’t because very early trauma has exhausted supplies, and we cannot make enough to blanket the pain. So when our inner pharmacy cannot do the job we need help from the external one. We can call it anti-psychotic medicine but all it is doing is making up for what we can no longer manufacture ourselves. Poor Scott had so many current assaults coupled with a lifetime of them that he could no longer inhibit nor defend. His defense system was not up to the job. Now when it is far too late he probably has a somewhat weak defense system that can inhibit. That won’t do his victims any good.

The lesson we can take from this is that when deprivation and severe trauma exists while we are being carried, the first-line defenses are already in a weakened state. As a kid he may have had uncontrolled temper tantrums which evolved into murder. Was he responsible? Yes and no. But we can go a long way to avoid murderous rage by making sure there is as little trauma as possible when we live in the womb. No drinking and drug-taking by the mother. No fights with her husband. No crazy diets while carrying. It is easy for me to say. I am only the messenger. It is up to all of you to listen to the message.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More on Disease and Loving it Away

I want to go on about compounding from last blog. I stated that we can pretty much tell the depth of neurosis and addiction by noting how the basis of addiction can begin in the first months of gestation which then gets compounded by trauma and lack of love as the child develops. Imagine now, that if a therapist does not focus on gestational life how on earth is she going to cure addiction or even know about its depth? She won’t. The same is true for both neurosis and psychosis.

But there are several new studies that state that we can pretty much love away pain; and that is true. Even reverse it, which is also true. But there is more to this story.

One study was of babies who had amniocentesis at age 17 weeks in the womb. And then they were measured with cognitive tests at 17 months after birth. Those babies who were high on stress hormones during gestation did least well later on, not so surprising. “Children showing ‘insecure attachment’ to their mothers had high cortisol/stress levels in the womb. In other words, the babies were already preprogrammed to be afraid, not outgoing and also not social even before they were born. WOW! Oh la la, as they say in France, my adopted country. So you see how early it all starts. What went along with this was ADD a shorter attention span, and in my view, anxiety states, all before life on earth had a chance to intervene.

Now here comes a good mother months and years later to give the child lots of love. And that love can reverse a lot of these deleterious symptoms and behaviors. So you can love neurosis away? Not so fast. What we can do is love the child enough to bring the stress level down below its manifestation level. That is, bring down the inner latent stress below where symptoms begin showing. This can begin to reverse some of the effects of trauma in the womb and afterward. But we cannot erase memory entirely because it has been registered all over the system not just in the brain and not just in the stress hormones. It is an organic, systemic event imprinted in the blood, bones, muscles and nerves. But still it is very important to lower the overall load, but we don’t want to be bereft of our history; to be history-less.

Children with love do improve in their concentration, memory and attention span. But let us not equate that with reversing the imprint. It is still there, a stealthy enemy always waiting to pounce the minute there is more stress that brings one over the symptom level producing overt problems. Certainly, we cannot be memory-less. Otherwise we would be robots living only in the present. But when we are talking about cancer it is very important to get this straight. That is one reason when cancer appears later in life and is well treated, the patient still has to wait five years to see if it returns.

Symptoms in my scheme are the result of overload; too many powerful feelings to integrate, and they slop over into headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes and ultimately, when the imprint is powerful and early enough, into cancer. The deeper the imprints the more devastating the results when they start to come up, which is why we must follow evolution closely and not let the patient drop into heavy feelings too soon. We can avoid it; we have the techniques. But when a childhood trauma comes up there can be a transient headache which soon passes, but if first line, loss of oxygen at birth comes up too soon there can be terrible migraines which do not pass away soon. What has been triggered are powerful imprints way too early. One way to measure all this is what the study cited above did; they measured stress hormone levels. This can be downloaded from the mother’s placenta or can be manufactured by the baby all by himself. The result is high stress levels and a propensity and vulnerability to serious symptoms later on. Medical doctors and shrinks need to pay attention to all this and begin to focus on generating sources of behavior and symptoms. In short, to stop only tinkering with symptoms to the neglect of causes. Yes symptoms must be addressed and treated, but it is a never-ending process. And unfortunately that is the practice of therapy today. We have to know that there deep imprints and that there are ways to access them.

In our therapy we see every day patients who has had bad therapy previous to their coming to us, with a history of overload and symptoms. Feelings need to be titrated; otherwise they can dredge up first line powerhouse feelings that arise prematurely and cannot possibly be integrated. Hence symptoms, transient, but if it goes on month after month and year after year I am not surprised if it results in cancer something we rarely see in our therapy.

There is just so much the body can do to absorb and integrate feelngs; and after that it gets sick, and then treatment is a bitch and very difficult. It is no longer, preventive, our work, but post symptomatic, others’ work. Bad therapy, therefore is dangerous, and some mock therapists, in the absence of science in their work are warm and kind to their patients, thinking they can love neurosis away, while taking away the curative part, “ I need to have a kind father who can love me.” It is the imprint that saves lives and prevents cancer in therapy, not love, strange as that seems. So let us get this straight. Love can ameliorate the effects of trauma but cannot totally erase memory. Love from parents in childhood is crucial but not the whole story. Love in therapy is too late; we have to feel that it was not thre early in our lives. Pain is imprinted and leaves an enduring memory and its by-products--symptoms. Pain is where hope lies; it lies in the feeling of hopelessness, not in giving false hope to patients. You can get sick from false hope. It is not real and you end up not dealing with your inner reality.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

On Compounding: Cancer and Psychosis

There is a new study out about cancer and psychosis. It pretty much supports what I have been writing about for years. What they found is that a mother who smoked throughout her pregnancy has a greater chance of giving birth to someone who later develop cancer and/or psychosis at a relatively earlier age. If the mother was subject to pollutants or carcinogens while pregnant, she carried toxins in her system, those toxins found their way into the baby; and the amount was about 10% the levels the mother had. I believe that the earlier the mother smoked the greater the later chances of catastrophic disease. It is also a problem if the carrying mother does not get the proper nutrients. Because there are chemicals that help build gating very early on that contributes to the later ability to hold back pain and emotional turmoil. Think about this: the more catastrophic and earlier the imprinted trauma the more catastrophic the effects later on.

What they also found was that it was epigenetics, the effects of the baby’s life in the womb influenced directly by the mother but also later life stress that would produce cancer or psychosis. In other words, it is not only changes during womb-life that is the problem but the compounding of stress and of lack of love in childhood that made the symptoms overt and manifest. In short, if the child were completely loved, despite the changes in the effects on the changes during womb-life, he might not become schizophrenic or develop cancer. This makes total sense, and is what I called compounding. Early trauma plus the add-on of no love, neglect and indifference on the part of the parents. Of course, growing up in foster care or in an orphanage greatly exacerbates the problem. It may not show for years but chances are it will show. You can’t fool mother nature and her offspring mother nurture.

So yes, there is hope to avoid serious disease, even with a bad gestational period, but once it is manifest it is very very difficult to reverse. Once there is organ damage, and that includes the brain, it is a tough job. Once the gating system is affected all sorts of problems later occur; from impulsive acting out, to explosiveness and bad temper; from premature ejaculation to bed wetting. You fill in the blanks; but it usually involves compounding. Even growing up in poverty delivers its adverse affects on the genes—the epigenetics.

One of the clear effects in the epigenetic changes is found in later addiction. Why is there such an Aha! moment when someone takes a drug that soon makes them addicted to it? For this we are indebted to Dr. Eric Nestler whose research into cocaine addiction is crucial. But first let me say that during womb life and infancy there are chemical changes occurring that become imprinted and endure for a lifetime. When a drug comes along that makes up for the deficit it is sought after assiduously. There are changes in the chemical composition surrounding the genes that help either give permission for later expression of feelings (acetyl group) or deny permission (methyl group). In other words, the personality of repression, and laid-back, non-emotionality has its starting blocks during womb life. Then when coupled with repressive, unemotional parents there is a compounding of this kind of personality which endures. She is not being able to express herself which began with methylation during womb-life and exacerbated during childhood. For cocaine addiction it may be that the cellular permission—an opening up of the system, given by ingestion of the drug which helps expression of feelings, taking away the heavy burden of repression (engendered by a childhood of neglect and lack of touch) makes it very attractive biologically. So addiction may well begin in the womb; there is a lack of certain chemicals we needed but did not secrete enough, that made some drugs such as cocaine fill the bill. In depression we need to look seriously at how were over-methylated during womb-life. Again the starting block for later depression lies very early in life and makes for suicidal depression later on
when other adversities impact us—loss of wife or husband, loss of job and above all, loss of hope. Epigenetic mechanisms play into our childhood social life and can reinforce basic personality types. Rat pups raised by loving permissive mothers do better later on than those same pups raised in non-loving domineering mothers. And wouldn’t you know it, one of the great spreads of the methyl group finds its way into the emotional centers such as the amygdala. In any case, heavy addiction is found not only in an unloving childhood environment, but earlier when the epigenes are forming and causing biochemical deficits that have to be made-up for later on.

Here is what late research shows: mothers who smoke cause a radical increase of diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and obesity in the offspring. Then if the mother is anxious or depressed we have compounding and a greater chance for premature disease. This includes psoriasis. The point is that it is not only genes that are heritable but also the epigenes—what happened to the gene development while we lived in the womb. Genes are the notes to the music but the music depends on the epigenes. They conduct the symphony and decide who plays and who remains silent during the development of the piece.

If the mother does pot or takes serious pain-killers then there is a direct effect on the offspring’s gating system, producing serious dents and leaks in it and perhaps affecting later psychosis. What those drugs do is operate on the methylation and acetylation process affecting our ability to repress and inhibit. This results often in an out-of-control impulsive personality—womb-life has opened the gates prematurely…..acetylation. At least, it makes the gating system vulnerable to later trauma—compounding, again. Not all is lost. It has been found that later great parental loving can help reverse some of the damage. Epigenetics can be somewhat reversed, I think with our therapy where we relive and integrate very early damage or maybe later on there will be drugs that contain methionine that help reverse damage, as well.

One of the major effects of womb trauma is later pulmonary dysfunction and breathing problems, not the least of which is asthma. It looks like genetic but that isn’t the whole story. If the carrying mother is fat there is good chance that the offspring will have that tendency. How she eats while pregnant has a lot to do with the nutrients available or not to the baby. And worse, very bad nutrition affects the chemicals that go into producing good gating including methionine that we produce, along with folic acid. It is never one thing, but one childhood.

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.