Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hearing Voices

They arrested a killer a while ago. His uncle said he came back from Iraq hearing voices that told him to kill. So let’s look at this. It would help again if we understand the three levels of consciousness. Here was a troubled kid who went to Iraq and got overwhelmed. Without the war he may have made it but the war was the last straw. It was too much. His early pain was rising; a lot of his anger and fury from early on in his life which already made him unstable. That pain and anger began to rise after Iraq which filled him with rage;; but he did not feel the rage instead he heard voices telling him to kill. Those were the upper level translations of his deep-lying rage. And it turns out that when one hears voices there is actually electrical activity in his brain as if he actually were hearing voices. He was listening to his feelings given voice and he obeyed what they told him. He obeyed because his feelings were commanding him as they do most of us. The difference with us is that we don’t hear voices, we just act. In psychotic killers there is an intervening variable.
The voices are subconscious emanating from deep rage that is out of control. In neurosis we feel on the verge of something but we contain it because our defense system is working partially. And we lose our temper but we do not kill. There is enough defense and gating and also there may be less first line rageful imprints at work.
The problem is that this man was required to kill in Iraq. He was given permission and it must have felt a relief. But it provided a channel for murder. The whole experience was too much for an already damaged individual. But now he had a socially institutionalized approval for a monstrous deed, so he needed not see it as monstrous. And indeed most soldiers simply say about killing, “I have a job to do and I do it.” It is not killing in anger, which would be logical; rather,, it is murder as a job. Killing is a job description just like any other job. So today there is an uproar in the media about our solders urinating on killed Taliban troops. It is not the killing that outrages the media but the urination. When put on a moral scale it seems to me that murder might be a tiny bit more monstrous than urinating. But you see society has sanctioned killing not urination. So will these 3 dead bodies make us safer? You decide. Don’t forget that our soldiers were put in harm’s way so that foreigners were trying to kill them. Of course, they are angry and act-out.

When you hear voices it is not you who are killing; you are just following orders, like the Nazis. And you are not guilty. This poor killer had no idea where those voices came from. But he had to obey. Feelings told him what to do just like with us so-called normals.


  1. The problem of the urinating soldiers is they broke the image of the proud, perfect, morally incredible heroic soldier, and showed us fallible and sick human beings who, obviously, are of the type that have absolutely no business going around killing people - in the name of any abstraction.

    We are horrified only by that truth that is there-and always has been there-that we don't want to see.

    1. That is a very good point, Andrew. I sort of feel in between you and Art. Art makes a great point that you can kill someone but not piss on them. Had I the choice, I would take the pissing. But yours is also of good merit. The mind-set behind their actions are of great concern.

      The Bible had an odd command in the laws Moses gave. “you must not boil a kid (goat/lamb) in its own mothers milk.” “Or muzzle a bull while it is threshing.” A riddle, no doubt, as many things are in the Bible.

      But the idea that boiling a kid in its own mother’s milk indicates something God hated. And that was no compassion whatsoever. It is like those who mistreat animals. OK, its not a human, but it is a feeling creature and its one less step removed from the worst.

      If our soldiers are to maintain some sort of compassion or humanity, they will have to make conscious careful efforts to do so. Not showing any respect after death might indicate in what spirit/attitude they killed in. I appreciate both sides’ on this one. In a multitude of counselors there is wisdom.

  2. Loved this article. You know, part of what cause the turmoil that did quietly begin in the 50s, and was far more pronounced in the 60s and 70s, which brought us serial killers, among other things, was psychologically wounded soldiers coming back from WWII and then Korea. They came home broken and broke their kids. The accumulated and passed on traumas just made us more unmanageable and uncontrollable. Ah, ain’t war wonderful, huh? And don’t forget power and control!

    The other interesting thing was the mention of justification. We love to be either justified or relieved of responsibility. We don’t want to grow up and accept responsibility. How nice when we can find a way out. “It was not my fault, I’m just a kid!” or “I was beaten or treated cruel” and implied “therefore, I have a right to do the same.” We love excuses and scape goats. We hate obligations, responsibility, accountability. We want to run from it all. But we who are fans of PT must also watch out for this. For we could say “Its not my fault , it is that pain and suffering I went through. I have a right to be this way (being mean in return)!”

    I suspect many primal patients might come in looking for that escape hatch, just in case. I saw this in the religious world all the time. But odds are, if we are looking for escape, sooner or later we will find it. Not because it is there, necessarily, but because we make it if we can’t find it. To thine own self be true, the bard did once say.

    But I say, be gone excuses and take a stand against being mean or whatever.
    I know, I know, its impossible without PT. But I say not 100% but maybe about 99.5-99.9%. What that means is that 1 out of 200-1,000 will rise to the challenge and not return evil for evil but return evil with good. They will not make excuses but make changes instead. That it can be done at all indicates it could be done more but my, oh me, how we love excuses, no? The buck stops here! . . . Or not!

    1. Apollo, you are missing the whole point of Primal Theory/Therapy. You are still rationaizing all this from your 'thinking/rationizing zone. In the FEELING zone nothing needs to be rationized or even thought about. You just KNOW from your very inner being (that you were born with) what life is about and how others affect you ... then the rest is so, so, so simple.

      You can only kill another human when you've lost your own 'feeling soul'. I even feel that killing another living creature rquires the same loss of ones own 'feeling soul', except in defending your own life.


    2. I am not missing the point of PT&T. PT is missing the point. We still have minds and can and should use them rather than make excuses for carrying on as if we did not have one. Hey, look, I do not care whether a mother drowns her 5 kids in a bathtub because she is
      a. Primally wounded
      b. Drugged out of her mind
      c. Threatened if she did not kill them
      She should burn, suffocate, lethally inject, or whatever other methods a state might favor to get rid of a bridge too far. No excuses. Oh, she did know what she was doing. Sure, and I am the fairy godmother, too.

      We have a responsibility to use our thinking minds. PT makes too damn many excuses and acts as if we could not get out of our own way. But consider that society has been telling kids for some time now that they do not know what they are doing. They accept this with joy cause now they can do whatever and not be accountable and they can make stupid silly excuses.

      This is one of the things that holds PT&T form becoming accepted by good sensible people in greater numbers. I think, therefore, I am! And I will never stop thinking. But I can feel as well. The mind was designed to do both, Jack. It’s a fact.

    3. I have spent much of my life going on Gut instinct. Recent research suggests that those people who go with a gut instinct are more likely to be right than those who think something through in great detail. I would contest that "Gut Instinct" is a connection with the cut off part of us. The unconcious part of us that Dr Janov talks about. It is a connection with the body and after all we are not a mind and body but one organism. If PT can unlock that unconcious part so that it fuses with the part of us that is already concious then we are more liekly to be able to understand our feelings. I know many people who think they are in touch with their feelings when in fact they feel without understanding. My understanding of really successful PT is to fuse the unthinking feeling part and the thinking unfeeling part into one balanced entity.

      Thus a Mother who drowns her kids probably needs her early imprint to be understood. The State needs to understand why she did it in a true sense so that it does not happen again. To simply state that she should be burned, suffocated, lethally injected is the approach which probably got her there in the first place.

      To say that we have a responsibility to use our thinking minds is suggesting that someone is aware of thier thinking mind. I have experienced first hand the completely irrational approach taken by a young Mother when stressed to the max and all reactions are total right Brain mis-understood feelings thought of as normal.

      You are right Apollo that the Mind is designed to do both. It's just that many minds don't work like that.

      Far better for the State to correctly understand than to use brutal and abusive death penalties in such cases.

      The young kids saying "It's my Genes" just as previous generations said "It's instinct or drive" are using excuses provided by the State and the State gains great power by perpetuating those lies.

      The Fact is that most people are fucked up but it's whether they know they are that matters.

      Society is fucked up.

    4. Planespotter

      I agree gut instinct is very important many times. A big help. But we also have to recognize that very same gut instinct can also lead us into psychosis and all sorts of difficulties. How do we tell when it is good or bad? Art says get PT and then you will be fine. I say we can determine without PT, if we have to and many of us do.

      Logic, analyzing, and reason can identify whether a hunch is good or possible, or if it is suspect or should be questioned more carefully.

      You said >>Far better for the State to correctly understand than to use brutal and abusive death penalties in such cases.<<

      It is the responsibility of individuals to correctly understand themselves and get some control of themselves or they could end up facing a harsh judicial prospect. This is known as deterrence and an “encouragement” do get “better” before they do something very stupid.

      The state could institute better education and seek to heal people’s minds and bodies, but the state finds far greater use in using people since the state is actually the property of big business and finance. The State is not a good mommy or daddy. The state is the wicked step mother of Cinderella.

      The whole point of the intellect is to analytically deduce and define the what, where, why , and how of things. PT is based on science, not whim. But feeling alone will never fully help us. Long term thinking and behavior do not connect with feelings, which are almost always short term and in a context. To think beyond immediate feelings to long term things takes a mind intellect, not feelings.

      Of course, I never expect Primal fans to grasp this sine one would have to have both abilities to grasp this. There is a great divide between short term and long term vision and behavior. This is the discovery PT waits for but will not likely find. We are too busy doing other things and letting feelings take us far off track.

  3. "And indeed most soldiers simply say about killing, “I have a job to do and I do it.” It is not killing in anger, which would be logical; rather,, it is murder as a job. Killing is a job description just like any other job." (from Janov, above...)
    Most soldiers are not aware of their deep feelings and have been abused/trained to cover them up... the inner self is deeply harmed and repelled by having to face what they face in war, ignorant murder of those in the way, even bystanders and women and children... deep shame must be added to their psyche.... so they say, it is a job, and I do my job, but at home the feelings overwhelm and the process of denial offers only voices saying, kill kill kill... they have been dehumanized and their systems desperately try to comply... they are full of a shame that cannot be faced in a blind, patriotically poisoned country. They would need somebody to actually care about a human being who has been harmed and the VA falls so far short of that, it is pathetically laughable.... JPT might be possible for some of these harmed souls but the VA will never see it.... so America marches on...

  4. Hi Apollo,

    I reckon you and I should be on a Monologue TV debate show; like the way top politicians are put 'head to head'.

    You say you wanted to become a comedian, well, I think you have. Maybe your irony is so subtle not even you get it! Which of us could deliver the longest monologue covering the most obscure topics? I bet I'd win on the groanometer.

    Obviously Art could not host such a debacle.

    Though at times I do 'wake up' finding myself having done just exactly that. . . Mr Scrutinizer, what are you playing at?


  5. "So today there is an uproar in the media about our solders urinating on killed Taliban troops. It is not the killing that outrages the media but the urination."

    Jack said in a previous post, “What a mad, mad world.” Indeed. Reminds me of the Tears for Fears song by Roland Orzabal: Mad World

    All around me are familiar faces,
    worn out places, worn out faces,

    Bright and early for their daily races,
    going nowhere, going nowhere,
    And their tears are filling up their glasses,
    no expression, no expression,
    Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow,
    no tomorrow, no tomorrow,

    And I find it kind of funny,
    I find it kind of sad,
    The dreams in which I'm dying
    are the best I've ever had.
    I find it hard to tell you,
    cause I find it hard to take,
    when people run in circles,
    it's a very, very
    Mad World mad world mad world mad world

    Children waiting for the day they feel good,
    Happy birthday, happy birthday,
    Made to feel the way that every child should
    sit and listen, sit and listen.
    Went to school and I was very nervous,
    No one knew me, no one knew me,
    Hello teacher, tell me what's my lesson,
    look right through me, look right through me

    And I've added

    Soldier, soldier go and kill your quota
    Show no mercy, show no mercy
    You'll be honoured while you make them suffer
    Kill and bludgeon, kill and bludgeon
    Use your weapons, leave them dead and lifeless
    you'll be heroes, you'll be heroes
    Let their anguish and their pain be hidden
    Take no notice, take no notice

    And I find it kind of funny
    I find it kind of sad
    That you mustn't take a pee
    On the dead body of the lad
    Who you murdered in cold blood
    Left him die in tainted mud
    Do your job and stick to killing!
    it's a very, very
    Mad World mad world mad world mad world

    1. How can war be condoned unless stopping another Hitler?
      But hating those that have gone? The draft, immaturity, mis-placed nationalistic pride & societal norms perhaps but mainly because if we weren't so absolutely detached from our true feeling selves then this insanity would not exist?
      Vehemently despising soldiers is not acknowledging how horribly devastating it is for all involved. Returning and feeling: "Please don't hate me, I just want to come home." Suicides of those broken by war are epidemic as is living with depression and anxiety for a lifetime. This, if not horribly disfigured with the loss of limbs. So much hate and so little insight. A no win situation.

  6. Hi, oops, monologue warning:

    War, part 1.

    I have been on this blog for about 18 months. I was in therapy in UK on & off for decades before that and had begun a complete breakdown. I feel increasingly more acquainted with Primal Theory. The Theory alone seems a never ending evolving / involving process and goes far beyond mere thinking.

    What has become very clear to me is the utter difference between 3rd line mentation and second line feelings. More succinctly, that what we humans understand as "adaptability" from the zoological and ecological point of view, is what we have in the 3rd line. That makes us different from the other mammals; (the fact that we have 'educated' other mammals which have some 3rd line capacity is both proof of and also besides the point I am making here).
    This is why we humans have over run the planet; because we are so well advantaged from the adaptability point of view. 99% of this adaptability is the 3rd line. Other animals are highly dependent on specific environs; we are not; thanks to the 3rd line.

    Human colonies on planet earth have collectivised and devised technologies and belief systems to maximise survival for many millennia now. The problem of survival has been thoroughly overworked. Primal pain (1st line) is driving a secularisation of human groups through the projected fear of adversity, over population, migration and the consequential philosophy of scarcity. It all equals: "Boundary Infringement" and War.

    War every where. Not just 'foreign policy' but in the street, between communities, in governments, in families and right inside my psyche too. Keeping a repressive lid on Primal pain produces distortions and fantasies in the 3rd line. But the military believe the 3rd line IS the Human Being. This far we have adapted. It's not just the military establishment with this totally involved identification (with the 3rd line), it is also much of the so called scientific establishment whos' 3rd line advantage has been co-opted into yet more expansionism of the War Culture.

    The false self (3rd line personality fixations) in these industries is now a huge self sustaining corporate culture / identity. As long as we individuals are predominantly dependent for our livelihoods on these industries (which are utterly identified with the 3rd line as the main Human content) then we really are limited to a human Zoo. We will be forced to live inside the cages of repression and the bars will beat us into a violent projection, violent thoughts of vengeance against the 'haves' (if you're a 'have not') or against the have nots (if you're a have, 'gotta keep em all out there').

    part 2 follows.

  7. Hi,

    War, part 2.

    I'm with Apollo on a lot of stuff about this, though I do not believe there is a conspiracy. I believe what is happening is an inevitable hazard of the development (wrong development) of the 3rd line. We are "Insane" in our thinking and therefore "Sick" in our feelings; despite it all being driven by the first line traumas to start with. If we were not so insane in our 3rd line then we would not continue compounding 1st & 2nd line trauma in our children.

    What I am describing is a nasty negative feedback loop where we are continually pressurised to "Be Reasonable" (3rd line dominant culture) whilst being pushed by repressed traumatic imprints. No wonder people admit to murderous / suicidal thoughts and fantasies and some carry them out. And yes Jack momentarily whilst the rage pushes up and out the feeling soul has been lost, lost long enough to commit an irreversible crime against some-one else.

    I have come to see organised religion as the single biggest obstacle to change. This obsession with Humans as 3rd line 'Rulers' seems mostly maintained by the unexamined consensus that some higher force or agent exists and that some how we can / must 'Represent' that Agency. . . It all seems to result in people firing guns in the name of God.
    No wonder some people are so vociferously atheist. Even if you could take out God from the justifications of peoples' violent (3rd line) fantasies (How do you do that to 7 billion people)? Then you still have Mom, Pop, Sis & Bro at home to 'protect'.

    Some how the 3rd line has got us all to shoot , kill, poison, starve or maim each other in the name of survival. Truly the 3rd line is the tyrant in the Human Race.

    Paul G.

  8. Hi Apollo,

    Of course there are many good things about the 3rd line.

    Amongst many others uses we can also devise ways to adapt, convert and recycle weapons into tools for collective survival and collective re-development.

    Look at the redundant US Army tanks sunk in shallow seas to make coral reefs (which fixes carbon from the atmosphere by the way). A bizarre way to 'beat swords into ploughshares' if there ever was, but on a positive note, also offering "room for improvement".

    Now you may well ask if the special steel in the armour/ gun barrels / engine blocks and gearboxes, all brand new, never used, must have been worth more as high grade engineering scrap than the cost to the military of loading onto US Navy carriers and shipping them for dumping into coral zones?

    Of - course! It was 'the idea' that military hardware could actually grow coral reefs that is so important, The Idea. That is what we are holding out for isn't it? So that eventually the various government procurement departments realise change is required?

    Now you can be cynical and say it was a cover up (carboniferous or otherwise) but, this story aught to be circulated until the politicians realise re-routing the procurement will save billions (and also grow more carbon fixing coral). Just Cut Out the Arms Industry.

    Don't put the valuable steel into Coral Reefs but use purpose built reef colonisation matrix (a fraction of the cost of unused, motorised, armoured guns), much will be saved.

    Of course there are some 'humanitarian' and cost benefits from not deploying the tanks in the first place but we currently don't know how to put a value on that, possibly it offsets the cost of manufacture? Though this beggars the next two glaring questions: 1. Why make 'em in the first place? and 2. "What Direction for Industry Next"?

    Just Imagine, All you People, Living Life as One, Unified (Religious or otherwise), Moral Aspiration; all realised at the same time; ie: Coral reefs without the guns and it costs less and kills fewer people. A multiple profit. It requires only that you re-examine and discover your central beliefs, Don't hurt or kill or harm yourself, others or the environment: Less people die, less money is lost, everybody gets more peace and carbon fixing coral reef, without motorised, armoured guns.

    All the religions agree that war is bad. Nobody denies coral reef is good and cheaper without the armoured, motorised guns and yet in the name of God we keep on affiliating to armies and war machines? How is it that warring parties can continue with such a fiasco?

    Why do we carry on in the spell of this mass hypnosis? For Goodness' Sake, wake up! Wake Up, Every - one, Please!

    Paul G.

  9. I have a cousin who hears voices. He has Hamsters who tell him to do things. If one is so split off from one's early pain one is split off from the young child one was. Thus if say a child loves animals and they are no threat as many adults may be then these trusted creatures end up becoming the voice of the hurt and ignored child inside. The rage and hurt of the child cannot be aknowledged by the adult but it seeps through.
    When one's childhood pain breaks through so does the way a child see's the world and in a childish world animals talk so an adult can be seen as crazy because so many shrinks don't have the empathy with their own little self let alone the patient so rather than understanding the strange communications they call it madness. How many people actually understand how a preverbal child see's the world? Who can remember that world.

    I went to the Picasso exhibition at Tate Britain on Sunday and there was a man who is quoted as wanting to paint like a child because perhaps he wanted to get back in touch with himself as a child, painting through the night when he is perhaps closest to his childish self. A genius struggling to get back in touch with himself which is perhaps why he touches so many others with his work at a deep level. In the exhibition were also a number of artists who were influenced by Picasso including Bacon, Hockney and Moore. Henry Moores Mother always looking away from him summed up in his huge female sculptures staring into the distance and Bacon continually describing an amorphous and fluid self writhing in pain.

    So many people cannot face the pain of no love until they are split from themselves so much so that that early pain comes through in a voice in a disguised and metaphorical manner. Perhaps this Soldier wanted to kill his Parents because his tiny self feared for his physical and emotional life at the hands of those who he hoped would love him.


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.