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.


  1. Art: Isn't even Primal Therapy (figuratively speaking) attempting to 'close the barn door after the horse has bolted?' You may say "not quite; we're going out to find the horse and putting it back in the barn" What I would hope the emphasis be is; to educate all potential parents into knowing that first and foremost; if the potential child is not fully wanted (for the RIGHT reason) then going ahead with the pregnancy and birth is creating the diseases and crimes of tomorrow. It's a simple message ... even if it is hard to get across; BUT, as I see it, that is where the emphasis should lie: and it transcends ALL cultures.

    All the science and their respective studies, are what I consider, you have talked about:- 'booga booga'. The attack should be directed at all those so called ethicist and religious idiocy IMO that prevent unwanted pregnancies to occur AND the anti contraceptive plans now running rampant in the national discourse. It is all so crazy and very scary for the future of mankind (and yeah! life on the planet).

    You defined neurosis very brilliantly in the your first book.

    It is a debilitating disease that we humans suffer and UNLESS AND UNTIL, we start to look to the ROOT CAUSE; 'child rearing practices amongst us humans' ... we are going NO WHERE I repeat N O - W H E R E.


    1. Jack,
      I really like and support your idea of education and prevention to try to minimize the damage. But I am going to go even one step further back than yourself.

      We need to recognize the world has gone wrong and that people in power do not want us to get better. They like us confused, dazed, ineffective, and very easy to manipulate and control. They will not let us implement education and prevention. At best, we might choose to live in isolated groups much like the Amish do. But even then, we would get attention from the social rulers and controllers.

      I’d love to tell you there was a way out by doing something but I think something is beyond our reach. To suggest a “messiah” of some sort would likely be seen as delusional or a fairy tale, but if this is so, then the only real possibility is that we are truly doomed.

      The bad elements of human nature have won out over the good and it can not be reversed.

    2. The trouble is, is that what is really wanted? So many children are brought into the world to love the Parents and that is considered normal by many people. The people in power are also most often dazed and confused. They take power over the rest of us so they can feel powerful.

      However I am hopeful due to a number of things including the internet. It saved my life and sanity. The Arab spring is the most amazing uprising and it is about the people rising up against control and with that uprising comes an incremental gain in terms of respect for children.

      It is slow but it is happening. A slow move to full conciousness.

  2. Art,

    We do not need to explain something to you... what you know is so much more than what we know... far from what we know. For us to be able to get to "know" what you know… we needed our system of thought... as well as the emotional system in our own process to recover from not knowing and thinking in a process... a process for an integrated experience of one and the same thing... feel what we say and say what we feel.

    Our thinking for what our words may explain is might in harmony with science… but they can also be against what science indicates. Feelings to what we know give a total different picture to what we experience.” Moral” values do not give us the opportunities to a healthy reaction. Moral… we are told for what we know… morality the overall complexity for what morality requires… we become stupid crazy and mad.


    1. Frank, I agree,
      Thanks for bringing up this vital point. “For us to be able to get to "know" what you know”…
      We (at least I) were thought to demonize and manipulate our feelings. Now I don’t know the right words to express what we feel. Psychology textbook analogy is not very helpful when unknown feelings from the lower brain (first line) come up. How can I be sure I interpret feelings and symptoms the right way.

  3. I can really relate to this piece. I probably got great deep feelings welling up seven years ago and I am sure it is partly due to coming off Zeroxat. It was like a great big wooden bar holding the huge gates to my subconcious and all it's pain and when it went what could hold the pain back.

    Once in my life I took some magic mushrooms and obviously not a huge amount. (Never been a great one for drugs) I remember as I was going to sleep seeing these huge doors openning up. They stretched up and down as far as I could see and behind them was this gigantic moving wooden toy figure of a soldier. It filled the universe. My universe I suppose. Perhaps this was my subconcious telling me to look at my childhood and the military man who wrecked my life.

    I have had dreadful migraines day after day after day along with a physical sense of that pain which caused me almost not to be able to move. Add to that dreams about my birth I think and I can testify to understanding what you are saying here Dr Janov.

    What I did find about my Migraines was that they tended to develop if I forgot about something very important. It was almost as though it was my body pushing the experiences I was denying up again and expressing them in a different way. A different kind of pain. I sometimes think it gets to the stage where one's whole body starts screaming "LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU! I CAN'T REPRESS IT ANY LONGER! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!". The fact that 20 years ago I was starting to remember and told I was crazy meant that the whole thing got pushed deeper down and I am sure the Zeroxat was partially to blame.

    I was sitting on the bus this morning and thinking about just how unloved I was (and feeling it too). I was unwanted probably partially down to my parents having lost a child before me and neither of them knew how to deal with the feelings of loss that left them with. They just blamed me for my Brothers loss in a way.

    In essense if we are learning to be anxious and vigilant in the womb due to a Mother's anxiety this is us actually adapting to the world we will enter. Thus if we are loved as soon as we are born our self can say "Oh right, got that wrong then, they are quite nice after all so I can relax! Phew!"

  4. Dr. Janov and all:

    How much can we really love away?

    My mother decided that business is more important than her newborn. One week after birth she handed me over to her mother. My grandmother loved me and “spoiled” me (so I was told) but she could not, with all her love for me, erase anxiety and all other pre and neonatal damage.
    What I don’t know is what else she prevented. Maybe her love for the first 6 years of my life prevented schizophrenia. I wish I could ask her; but I can’t even remember my Grandmothers face while all other faces from my early childhood are living pictures.

  5. Hi Seiglinde,

    -"What I don’t know is what else she prevented"-.

    I feel you have something there that keeps you alive and inquiring. She might have been your witness. Just because you can't remember her face you may well be part of her conscience. there are good things about our ancestors and they often show in veiled ways.

    Paul G.

  6. Hi planespotter,

    -"What I did find about my Migraines was that they tended to develop if I forgot about something very important"-.

    Yes, but I don't get headaches as a reminder of this in me to start, I get a repeating pattern or anxiety / expectation / rejection / humiliation / denial and giving up. . . then I get virus flu, cold etc. . . and headaches. But it's always forgetting, forgetting, try not to, but still forgetting. Forgetting is such a reaction to trauma, then the symptom of the 'successful' forgetting and the consequential repetition follows.

    Remember thyself said the sage. . . .

    Paul G.

  7. That is it Seiglinde ... the pictures that meant something of catastrophic experiences... images in etched... frozen in order not to come a life and tell a horrific story... they have frozen to ice and will be until the day when the thaw... hopefully thaws in a primal therapeutic process... so they do not thaw involuntarily under any kind of attempt to get a better life.

    When I was five years old and saw my dad sleeping across the room... a treat of life and death… a memory… an experience of life and death... in etched... froze not to come a life because of the anxiety it brought up… anxiety of not daring to call on dad. What’s the physiological reaction in chemical is about… is for the primal science to tell about. "Dad I am here… please... I am so scared"… that is my way to knowledge of the happening... the words that belongs to the happening.

    In one way it has given me "strength"… I want to introduce Primal Therapy to Sweden… no one shall be able to stop such a “blessing” for the humans. One time and only the word "blessing" has its right to exist... just to let people know that primal therapy is something of the dignity... dignity we would love to learn about.


    1. Frank, I’m afraid many people don’t like to know about JPT. But, like you, I continue introducing JPT. I have sent out 4 “life before birth” to professionals and received no response. Only one response from a friend.
      Frank, thank you, you gave me one key to the looked door: “my dad sleeping across the room... a treat of life and death… a memory… an experience of life and death.”
      I would need more keys; this door is bolded with many locks. I know JPT will open this door, I’m impatient to know, but I’m also afraid it will confirm what I know from people have told me and I nebulously remember. The past, the trauma is our history, if we like it or not.
      I was with my grandma the moment she died; she held my hand while we were on the way out of the front door when she had a stroke and fell backward.
      Next picture; I slipped into the bedroom after the doctor left and laid beside grandma, whispering to her, holding her cold hand, not understanding that she was dead.
      Next scene; when the black box with Grandma was let down in to the whole, my mother grabbed me as I try to jump screaming, as the black box going down into the grave. I remember these scenes but without any feelings – as you said they are frozen in time.
      Our neighbor told me in 2002, I was screaming, disturbing the funeral, my mother had to take me away from funeral crowed and beat my behind to stop me from screaming. I think she also told me, my mother drugged me for a week or so, to calm me down.

  8. Hi Sieglinde,

    This was terrible for you. At least you were able to have really powerful emotions at the time, you did not doubt yourself at that time, at that moment when you were most aggrieved you were able to fully respond.

    It was only the adults around you that were being inhuman, you were and still are Human.

    Take care of yourself.

    Paul G.

  9. Sieglinde

    If you only knew how much there is of the little girl Sieglinde in your professional role... the little... little girl Sieglinde.


    1. Frank,
      its amazing, you can read between my lines.
      I know exactly where the little girl Sieglinde is – she is holding her breath, waiting for moment she can come out (out of her pain) again. And she will – soon!!!!!

  10. Hi Jack & Art,

    -"Art: Isn't even Primal Therapy (figuratively speaking) attempting to 'close the barn door after the horse has bolted?' You may say "not quite; we're going out to find the horse and putting it back in the barn"

    Well exactly; and it "ain't no picnic" either.

    Paul G.

  11. To all – interesting reading,

    “Childhood maltreatment or abuse is a major risk factor for mood, anxiety, substance abuse, psychotic, and personality disorders, and it is associated with reduced adult hippocampal volume.
    Childhood maltreatment is associated with reduced volume in the hippocampal subfields CA3, dentate gyrus, and subiculum
    Childhood maltreatment or abuse is a major risk factor for mood, anxiety, substance abuse, psychotic, and personality disorders, and it is associated with reduced adult hippocampal volume, particularly on the left side.” More at:

    What Professor Teicher has not included or researched is, how “abuse” (mothers stress, chemicals ect) effects the brain before birth.

  12. Part 2:
    His decree was at once obeyed, and she was conveyed to the borders of the kingdom. The princess found herself set loose in a wild land which bore little resemblance to the sheltered surroundings of her upbringing. But she soon learned that a cave would serve for a house, that nuts and fruit came from trees as well as from golden plates, that warmth came from the Sun. This wilderness had a climate and a way of existing of its’ own.
    After some time she had so ordered her life that she had water from s[prings, vegetables from the earth, fire from a smouldering tree.
    “Here”, she said to herself, “is a life whose elements belong together, form a completeness, yet neither individually nor collectively do they obey the commands of my father the king”.
    One day a lost traveller- as it happened a man of great riches and ingenuity- came apon the exiled princess, fell in love with her, and took her back to his own country, where they were married.
    After a space of time, the two decided to return to the wilderness where they built a huge and prosperous city where their wisdom, resources and faith were expressed to their fullest possible extent. The “eccentrics” and other outcasts, many of them thought to be madmen, harmonized completely and usefully with this many – sided life.
    The city and its’ surrounding countryside became renowned throughout the entire world. It was not long before its’ power and beauty far outshone that of the realm of the princess’ father.
    By the unanimous choice of the inhabitants, the princess and her husband were elected to the joint monarchy of this new and ideal kingdom.
    At length the king decided to visit the strange and mysterious place which had sprung up in a wilderness, and which was, he heard, peopled in part by those whom he despised.
    As, with bowed head, he slowly approached the foot of the throne upon which the young couple sat and raised his eyes to meet those whose repute of justice, prosperity and understanding far exceeded his own, he was able to catch the murmured words of his daughter:
    “You see, Father, every man and woman has his own fate and his own choice”.
    (Quoted from Idris Shah, ‘Tales of the Dervishes’).

    Paul G.


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
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.