Saturday, March 24, 2012

On the Difference Between Help and Cure

Most of my readers know about my notion of the three levels of consciousness. That what happens to us in the womb, at birth and infancy is registered low down in the neuraxis and constitutes what I call the”first line.” As we grow up we may suffer neglect, trauma and/or lack of love; that will take place on what I call the “second line.” And what happens to us in adulthood and in the present is called the “third line.” It is possible to relive events that happened on any of those lines, but they have to be in order; feeling the third line first, second on the second and first line last. What is clear is that so long as we leave one level untouched we can get relief from reliving on the various levels but not cure; because the traumas on the first line have not been addressed. Final resolution means reliving on ALL levels, otherwise we have only skimmed the upper levels, leaving the powerhouse first line untouched. That is, to be clear, we can feel real feelings with their real force from the second line, in the first months of therapy but if there has been first line trauma it must be experienced. If it has only been minimal it may not ever have to be addressed. That is rare, indeed. All in all, it is the difference between relief and cure. Lots of relief from second line primals but not cure.

After 45 years of primal therapy we know that what is often behind later strokes, schizophrenia, epilepsy, severe addiction and heart attacks are first line traumas. They are nearly always packed with force and are also most often life-endangering. So one can spend months in therapy and still be prone to a stroke or heart attack because the basic primal imprint, the generating source upon which later traumas are added or compounded is first line. Yes, we can get increasing relief as we go on in our therapy but if we are to discuss cure there must be obligatorily reliving of first line. That has the strongest valence and remains the most dangerous imprint lodged in our system.

The first line left unfelt will always be a danger in later life. We may have take out fifty percent of the emotional force in primals about childhood but gestation trauma can still kill us. That is why it is not a good idea to do this therapy half way. You can say, “I got what I wanted out of the therapy.” But the system is insisting, “Not enough! You’re life is still in danger.” None of us want to say to patients, “You know you must go on with the therapy.” It makes us look avaricious, wanting to keep the patient with us. That is not the case. We want to save lives through the integration of feelings, and that cannot happen in a few weeks or several months of therapy. It is indeed dangerous to allow patients to go to first line when starting therapy. That can upset everything and only insure major symptoms from migraines to epilepsy. That means first line events are pressing at the repressive gates; if allowed to erupt too soon, the system cannot integrate it all and the result are symptoms. When a medical patient is given medication that is much too strong the system cannot integrate it and its excess force is flushed out through, perhaps, diarrhea. Nearly all key symptoms are the result of overload. We take pains to make sure it does not happen. The aim is integration and resolution, not feeling as a thing in itself such as crying or screaming out or pounding the walls. That feeling has to become part of us. Until it does it remains alien, an external force treated is an enemy of the system; and when those feelings are strong the person can run a high fever; the system feels it is under attack—danger is imminent. The feeling is pushed away; not accepted as part of us, and of course, not integrated. The feeling must become part of the “family.” Not an outsider that has to be shunted aside. Once it is part of us we can grow; we no longer have massive blockages impending our progress. Expressing our feelings can only have meaning after we have been in the feeling; otherwise neurology and evolution is backwards; using the third line intellect to get us to feelings, when it is the third line that must recede in order to permit access to full feelings. If the notion and the decision about where we need to go comes before feeling, the evolution is reversed and we will fail in therapy. Even while we think we are doing marvelously in a so-called feeling therapy. We cannot abrogate evolution and do well in therapy because evolution is how nature acts. It is an iron law of human behavior.


  1. Art, what % of patients who need to get to 1st line stuff actually do? This seems to be the major stumbling block of Primal, that so many seem cut off from the very early access they need in order for full cure to occur?

    1. Raindog: Most of our patients need to get there. Many do and some don't. Some are happy to get what they got and don't want any more pain. Others see it as more liberation and go on. Many of our patients, however, get there too soon and we need to block it for a time so that they can resolve childhood pain. Many people come to us with first line pushing. art

    2. my first line is getting impatient. yesterday when i was going to work (at night) i had walked half way across a large open field, with no people or cars in sight, when a feeling of terror started rising up inside me, and i had to focus really hard to make sure it wouldn't spread out through my whole body, and way beyond, and totally engulf me. it is a very vulnerable sensation....the more i doubt my ability to hold the terror back, the more i lose control over the feeling.....and occasionally it would surge up until it bounced against my 'gates' which point it would back off automatically but leave me feeling shocked and shaky. so far, the gates have always saved me when my will was not enough, but the 'gates' offer no guarantee - no comfort. i never feel like i can trust my gates to save my life. when the feeling happens i feel utterly vulnerable....kind of weightless with nothing to hold on to. it is all up to me...i must save my gates will fail...there is nothing between me and oblivion.
      i know what it will feel like if the terror engulfs me....i will be weightless and out of control.....flying through the most GIGANTIC, endless open void of nothingness....oblivion...that is my hell. i know that sounds corny to some....but that's what it is. i KNOW the feeling even though i have never allowed myself to feel it properly. i know what it will feel like.
      i have to walk across that field every time i go to my job. can't even catch a bus from where i live. i can't wait to get this feeling out of me as soon as possible, but i know i am not ready to feel it. it is way way too big. i have no doubt it would kill me if i felt it all in one go.
      when i stare at the ground, trying to hold the feeling back, i feel like i am struggling to avoid being sucked up into the huge, endless sky....i really feel like i am struggling to avoid being killed up there. i just keep walking forward while my body is feeling light, with nothing to hold onto. keep walking walking....terror rising and falling, sudden huge surge...then down again etc, until finally i reach the end of the field where i can see people and body starts to feel heavy again....and then the feeling is gone, and i am fine for the rest of the night. if it gets any worse i will have to take medication. i might be risking a full blown panic attack, or maybe a primal, but i can't stand the idea of pumping chemicals deep into my brain....not until i have to.
      in therapy it would be amazing if i could discover exactly what it is. if it's prenatal i will never know....but i will feel it, and that's ok.
      a girl in a chat room told me her aunty has massive panic attacks about once a week and she is not allowed any more medication. she helps her aunty by getting whatever she can from drug dealers. still it's not enough. in some ways the american government is incredibly inhumane.

  2. Part 1.

    My Way of Primal Therapy.

    Last night, during a couple of hours, I had a conversation with two Swedish friends. This led to a long dream during the latter part of the night. The dream did not give me, during its initial part, the same freedom and pleasure that my calls via Skype had made me feel, which was a sensation of relaxation. My relaxation was apparently greater than I was aware of when I went to bed.

    The dreams basic theme was that I had gotten a new job which meant access to a yellow company bicycle. At a very early stage, I was stopped and arrested by the police, and I was told that I was not at liberty until I had paid a compulsory license plus a fine. My irritation and excitement were immediate and increased progressively, and I spoke ironically and freely from the heart to all those police officers and officials who were in excessive numbers at the large police station. I refused to pay and also pointed out that I had no money. The latter was a lie and I either swallowed, during feelings of being choked, my money or put them in my shoes. The currency (euro) was not in harmony with the time of my dream; they should have been Swedish crowns since I was young, maybe 20 years old in the dream. I had vague memories of feelings that were related to the job and the boss I had between 17 and 21 years of age.

    After being circulated among officials in the overcrowded police house, I decided after a while to change my aggressive resistance to the unreasonable demands for payment of a license fee and fine. I calmed down and decided that, under the protection of the vast human throng at the station, sneak out and escape the field. Nobody had seen my identity documents and could not find me again if I came out of my locked position.

    To my amazement, with simple maneuvers and tricks, I could just slip out and I immediately felt a great relief. Just as I experience the feeling of relief I woke up and found hat my head felt like it had been stuck and had been squeezed from all sides, exactly like during my birth process. Shortly after I woke up the memory of three events gradually came up in my mind. They were all about fines, forced payments, and that I seemed to experience authoritarian behavior by police officers. These events took place between 1956 and 1995.

    The most-recent event, I remembered first. My daughter, my wife and I were driving in a French-registered company car, from Metz in France to Spain, when the French gendarmerie stopped me for speeding (150 km/h) and required reasonable fines (500 FFR), which would be paid in cash on the spot. My reaction, however, was not reasonable. On the contrary, it was explosive and it’s a miracle that I was not arrested for the contempt I showed the officers and I lied when I said that I had no money to pay with. I was emotionally, at the sight of police officers, who stopped me and by their demands for immediate payment, retarded to my life-threatening birth. However, with police familiar with French temperament and a smooth conduct of my wife we could pay with credit card, and I came out of my dramatic 1st line feeling and could continue the journey.

    to be continued...

    Jan Johnsson

  3. part 2.

    The other police-related memory that ran up occurred when I and GL, my wife, in 1979 was en route from Fort Collins to Boulder, Colorado. We drove our little European Ford Fiesta, which our American friends thought looked and sounded like a sewing machine.Two big police cars with sirens and lights turned approached from behind and my wife, who fortunately was driving, slowed down the speed to let the police cars pass. Only one of the police cars passed by and drove narrowly, and recklessly in front of us while the other lay close behind us. It was apparently us that they were after. They claimed that we had run too fast, and we were force out of the car with our legs spread apart, hands on the car roof and our backs against the police while they searched us. With the sheriffs’ drawn guns, there was no room for unpleasant reactions on my part. Then we had to run after a police car to the nearest post office and pay the modest fine of 25. $. The economical impact was easily digestible. But I have never really been able to get over the mental rape that my first and only meeting with the American justice system meant.

    The first trauma of police officers in a traffic context occurred when I was 16 years. I biked recklessly on the wrong side of the road and distracted an elderly lady who rode over and hit herself so seriously that she must be transported to a hospital. The accident happened just opposite Åkarps police station and within a few minutes, the police officer came on the street. I was questioned and registered, which force me to, a few weeks later, meeting up in the district court in Dalby, where I could present myself as a summer practicing metalworker, to receive my judgment of 15-day fines of SEK 5, which I saw as reasonable. My anxiety that the elderly lady would be seriously damage, and demand compensation, had been great. Fortunately, the woman recovered, and I was left off with a relatively mild shock and with an unprocessed memory of the event.

    After the previous night’s dreams, and after the three police confrontations had spilled out of my memory, I went and worked out, and I felt strong and in good balance, almost euphoric. Then something happened in my brain and body. A deep sense of hallucinatory relief followed by a baby crying that pushed up from the depths where it had been trapped for more than seven decades.

    Jan Johnsson

  4. An email comment: "Third, first, second, second and first, last! His laws are "iron laws." It makes a kind of sense, yet how in the world can this be done? According to him, his laws of treatment are the only ones. That bothers me. That is probably what bothers the rest of the medical community, too. AND a lot of other people."

    1. and my answer: These are not my iron laws. I discovered some laws of nature that are unyielding. And what bothers you exactly? That there may be an answer to neurosis? It should be a cause for cheering. So what exactly bothers the medics? That there is an answer and a therapy that is effective? art

    2. I think what the commenter was suggesting was that you only recommend your practice for PT, when he says “Your laws.” But I agree that there are laws of nature you have discovered and point out. But I, too, am just a little bit concerned with claims that no one else can do any good for anyone. You have found many solutions to many problems previously perplexing and troublesome. So pass the discoveries along as any other profession does.

      As for your promoting PT, that is great. But you have been rewarded for that, too. But I notice more and more of the “other” professed practitioners of PT are starting to put forth their ideas as well. But they are apparently more involved in the practice than in the evangelization of the therapy. That may not be so bad.

      Yes, there have been those who were not as skilled as they could be. You were once there, too. But lets be fair and clear. No side to this issue has been without many failures. The problem is that no one discusses or admits failures or short falls. Often, it is not the therapy or therapist that is to blame. Many are not sincere in coming to therapy. You charge like $6,000 or whatever to make sure people are committed to the therapy.

      It makes sense in some ways. But is it your responsibility to make sure they are sincere? I know it must be frustrating to work hard and have someone cop out on you. Frustrating as hell, no doubt. 1st line feelings coming up too soon is a problem, too. Leaky gates and extreme damage make it hard. You do not automatically deserve the blame for that. But neither do other “unapproved” PT therapists.

      What would be best as I see it, is for all to discuss why therapy often fails. It fails for the same reason most do not develop a good sound sharp powerful intellect. But to worry that someone is stealing your “converts” or “disciples” is not necessary. I beg you, Art, to consider the example, whether just a myth or not that when challenged by one of His Creations, God did not censor the challenger, but let his try to prove his point, with in limits and parameters.

      That is, let free open candid discussion take place. It can only be helpful. You can weather it and come out better for it. To run or hide or slight others who disagree is not becoming or inspiring. And if you need a good man of rhetoric and adroit skill with words and reason, I am your man. Far from humble, but on an open uncensored forum, I can not be beat. I’ll leave the humility for others ;-)

    3. To the e-mailer:

      It seems to me that there are many vested interests in keeping the status quo, the most important being so called experts who are in denial of their own past.

      I grew up with Parents who were both in denial of their own past and this had a profound effect on me and my life. My Mothers own denied sexual abuse by her Father meaning that she has had to castrate all the other men in her life so she can feel safe and in control.

      It is interesting that the two people who have helped me the most in terms of my recovery are Arthur Janov and Alice Miller both of whom could be considered outsiders and rebels. It is often the outsider and the rebel who smashes the accepted view of things whether that is Einstein breaking 300 years of Newtonian law, Darwin breaking with Creationism, Galileo threatening the Church with his views on the Earth being round etc or Van Gogh seeing the world in a different way. All these people are now accepted into the mainstream. They dealt with huge issues. So to, do Alice and Art.

      My own view is that Miller and Janov were preceded by others who all heard and saw great hurt in patients and yet did not have the courage to see this through to the obvious conclusion. Freud chickened out because he wanted to be accepted by society. How we are raised creates the adult, whether sane or neurotic or insane.

      We are a group animal and groups have many rules that have to be followed if we are to be accepted into the group. The biggest group is society and to be allowed into that group we have to deny our own past.

      Perhaps the only iron law is the law of the individuals past. If Dr Janov and his therapists are true to his view that the patient rules then many people have the chance to unlock that hidden past and go some way to being happier in the rest of their life.

      Thus for any therapist to actually face that truth and be able to help others they have to break the rules.

      I am going to the Primal Center in September and frankly I am rather anxious about it. I have been through the mill and been treated appallingly by the UK medical establishment and by a GP who is so in thrall to her own perceived goodness and kindness and reputation in the local community for her "expertise" in mental health issues that she has probably traumatised me more than anyone else because of the trust I placed in her. I have been lucky enough to find a therapist in the UK who is sympathetic to Primal Therapy and who is limited to the 50 minute session by her Association.

      I hope that my trip to LA will be one where my view of the past will be respected. It is a dim and fleeting one that is difficult to grasp sometimes. I am in the last chance Saloon going over there.

      So I say to this person. If babies were treated with respect and welcomed into the world and every need fulfilled, then you would probably be out of a job. What would you do then and how much of your statement is about unconcious self interest?

    4. Allopathy, as I understand it (I'm a writer and not a physician) has been the idol God of medicine. If God was dead, what would the medical community do? Perhaps the resistance to Janov's primal therapy is simply the albatross of our belief in Allopathy. This wild-haired Janov suggests that we let the symptoms be, that we encourage and allow them to run their course in scientifically controlled sessions, not defeat the symptoms with drugs. When Janov allows the use to drugs it is to control a breaking dam, to stem a potentially overwhelming flood of feelings and keep the situation in-hand, allowing feelings a natural outlet without allowing extremes to take over... Again, this is my layman's take on it. I suspect that when a medical doc reads that Janov uses meds to control excess overflowing, then the doc, says, Ha! You are no different than me... you use drugs too...
      The God of drugs in allopathic medicine still fills its churches/pharmacies... Janov does not have a church. The iron laws might more accurately be called, the natural laws.... Allopathy is man-made, more an iron perhaps, not exactly natural. It's use in the essay was to show immutability, a certain unchanging state of things as they are in our bodies, the life-long effects of our early experience in the womb, during birth and as a baby... what happens early on, builds our brains into certain patterns that might make us ill, physically and mentally. That this could actually be repaired instead of patched up with meds forever is indeed cause for cheering... When Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, finally returns to the Wizard having faced all her fears and gone through them, it is only then that she can stand up to the man behind the curtain and be fully herself. With regard to the resistance to Janov's Primal Therapy in the medical community, it is the medical community that remains the man behind the curtain... It kind of delights me because that sort of makes Janov Dorothy, doesn't it, challenging the miserable old Wizard... the metaphor might not work perfectly and it is possible sacrilege to compare Judy Garland's singing to Janov's....
      I don't hear Janov saying his way is the only answer per-se.... scientists never say, "this is the final answer". I believe Einstein would have been utterly fascinated to see his theorem challenged or extended... and I believe the wild-haired man of primal therapy would cheer and applaud if somebody came along and peeled Janov's onion yet another layer deeper.

    5. Brian: Hey! my hair is not wild. Years ago I made a deal with it: I won't mess with you if you don't mess with me. So I stopped combing and fixing my hairdo. Leave it alone but I promise to help it grow like a good child. Therefore I massage it briskly 100 times every morning, and now it grows like mad and I need constant haircuts. I do have a congregation: all of my blog pals. I preach to it and they preach back. They listen and I listen and we both learn And yes I would be delighted to hear of anyone advancing our science. I am in the same position of stem cell therapy which I am undergoing and which I have investigated heavily...over 12 different stem cell clinics in the world. I am going to the only one that I think is legitimate. All the rest are not serious scientists; they are just going into business to make money. That is how I feel about our Center. We do serious work and write in science. All the rest go into business, trading on the name primal to make money. Not a single center in forty years has done one piece of research or serious writing to advance the science. They are basically businessmen to take advantage. And who suffers? patients who go to them thinking they are having real primal therapy. Those clinics give us a bad name. Often they put pictures of me or my books on their catalogues to fool prospective patients. There are many unscrupulous people among shrinks as among Hollywood agents. art

    6. Planespotter: Don't be anxious about coming. It is just you that you will discover. It can't be that bad. It is the first hurt that feels good. You hurt and simultaneously you get relief. Wow! You view will always be respected because that is what we are after.....your feelings and your view after. very simple. Trust me. art

    7. I know I should'nt be anxious. I am just expressing my feeling about it. Looking forward to seeing Venice Beach, Hollywood etc etc. Taking some pictures etc once I'm let out of isolation!

      I'm a bit trusted out, but if I did'nt trust you I would'nt be coming over there.

    8. Planespotter: You need to trust me, I guess, but the person you need to trust the most is you. you will be the expert when you get in therapy. art

    9. I do trust myself. I think that is why I have been able to get some way to understanding what happened to me. I am looking forward to coming over to LA. I suppose it's bit like jumping off the top board of a swimming pool. There is some trepidation but the actual dive etc is exilerating.

    10. Planespotter: Remember. All you find is you: how scary can that be? art

    11. I think I am finding me. The trouble is hanging onto me. Me was a scared terrifed tramatised child so he runs off and hides in the shadows. I hope to be able to get over some of that terror and fear, so I can engage with the world in a more confident way again. I have lost my confidence in dealing with people and my anxiety holds me back in grabbing the world and enjoying it without forever looking over my shoulder. Looking forward to meeting you, France, Frank and Morey etc.

    12. Planespotter: And what am I, chopped liver? art

    13. To Planespotter's message of March 27: So what do you think 15 books and 250 blogs are? Wake up! It is my way of informing everyone as best I can. I have never seen anyone claiming to do primal therapy do it right. We have been at it for 45 years and still train and watch our tapes every week. But if you want to go to those people please do. Art

  5. Hence, my white blood cells continually attack my insulin producing islet cells of my pancreas as if they were a foreign body because my mind holds the islet cells responsible for accepting a powdered sugared cookie from the man who sexually abused me.

    I was around 2 to 3 years old. I hate myself (so why not attack myself) for accepting that bribe because once I did, my parents, aunt, and uncle the pedophile acted like everything was OK. Right up until that moment, these four people seemed concerned about why I was so hurt/depressed (though I knew my uncle was hiding the truth -- I just sat in the kitchen looking silently at the floor). My feelings still had a chance to be acknowledged, but my parents didn't want to know the truth and my aunt and uncle surely weren't going to tell them the truth (my husband just raped your son). The moment of truth past and I was forced to eat the sugary cookie (it was given to me by my uncle -- the cookie was his GREAT idea).

    They made a big deal about how S-W-E-E-T this cookie was (unfortunately, my mind and body were listening). Such powerful emotions had to be suppressed/stuffed. Hence, the driving force behind my type 1 (juvenile) diabetes.

    My diabetes got set in motion at 9 1/2 when I was heart broken for accidentally killing a lizard that I identified with (I loved those Florida lizards -- we were visiting from NJ). He slowly died. It was like I was dying. I sobbed and sobbed (I didn't understand why at the time), every time trying to hold back my sobs. I felt I had to hold back my pain because I would not be understood, just criticized and/or hit. My mother criticized/shamed me an hour later in church; she made and ugly face and said, "Stop It."

    A lot of me died that day. Over the next six months I lost weight and was finally taken to a doctor where I was diagnosed a juvenile diabetic (I should have been checked out three or four months earlier, but my parents didn't want to recognize my obvious symptoms).

    For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. When I can feel and express my pain from those days, my body will normalize. Of course, there will be a lot of intense feelings to express and scenes to revisit along the way; third line, second line, first line.


    Why the masses remain blind:

    People simply don't want a cure where they have to feel the actual pain that would have killed them. It goes against the system that saved their lives.

    This is society on a whole. Because they were hurt so bad (or bad enough), they can never grow-up. They stay stuck in the mode and mind set of the child; the one that originally saved their lives. To do the opposite, for them, is to die. The real cure is their enemy.

    For me, I'm willing to revisit the moments that destroyed my life because I'm aware of how those moments destroyed my life.

    I lost so much so long ago. I want back what was taken from me and what I had to leave behind.

    Unfortunately, most people can't see the truth because it originally would have killed them.

    1. Larry: I am really sorry. I have seen the results of incest and molestation and the suffering is unbearable. art.

  6. Art, how could you disprove your theory?

    It also seems "unscientific" not to have a control group. And competing therapies. Without that rigor you WILL seem like a kook to "experts."

    Personally I think cognitive and behavioral therapies don't deal enough with emotions. There needs to be more balance in today's therapies. But then anything can be overdone.

    On the other hand, it seems beneficial to exercise, listen to/play music, eat good food, dance, meet with friends, etc. By saying such things are, at best, palliative seems problematic. It starts a self-fulfilling prophesy. You believe you have to keep digging deeper because anything short of feeling the ultimate searing crucifixion-like pain won't least not much. But is there no wisdom to letting certain sleeping dogs/issues lie?

    If a-non-PT person's vital signs are great, but you could say that's only temporary. On the other hand, a Primal Patient might reach the first line only to die of a heart attack soon after.

    Stress has been called the "silent killer." But there are many ways to deal with it that don't involve going to Californian...and then the womb. Like I've said before, there's a bit of perfectionism at work with PT that seems to preclude "good enough" living. I mean, how many people suffer simply because they were not told they WERE "good enough" and shown it?

    I hear an echo of the "One True Way" that was preached at the faux primal place I attended years ago. It smack of Catholicism's "original sin," AA, and other harsh "ways." They all seem too rigid for life and not a little cult-like.

    If you tell someone they will not be "saved" until they're baptized and they believe it WILL be true for them. Skepticism would then seem like a risk to their souls.

    Who really knows what "the answer" is? Many take Bill W's words as gospel, just like they take the Bible literally. But even he was changing as he went along. He came to think that drug addicts could benefit from AA while originally saying No. And those who wrote of the importance of the child-mother bond came to see that other caregivers could be equally important.

    Saying we're only free if we feel first-line stuff is complicated by the fact that you created the schema... offer a cure, but only at your workplace.

    I'm not questioning your motives, Art. Just seeing problems. And sure, maybe it's just me and my neuroses. But the Scientology-like hype makes me pause. Tom Cruise and his ilk say that there's always another level to reach, for a fee. And the money-collectors keep moving the goalposts. So just when you think you're "clear" there's another layer of onion to get through.

    Am I making any sense?

    1. Trevor: Letting "sleeping dogs lie" is the best prescription for an early death that I know of. Listen if you want to get rid of a tumor and you cut only half cause you want to let "sleeping dogs lie" does that make sense? Well to take half the imprint and leave half of the imprint untouched will surely kill you prematurely. Art

    2. Trevor again: Listen, I found a way to take the pain out of the system; if people want to do it fine, and if they don't, fine. I am not a messiah, and my life won't change if anyone does it or does not the therapy. You see? About there being only one way. It is not my way or nothing. It is that I found a law of nature that is predictive and curative. How many ways can you make electricity? There are laws in the universe, and I found one. That's all. Yes there are many ways to deal with stress. All of them palliative and none curative. But it is is palliation you want, then go for it. You have placed me as someone who exhorts and pleads to come to California, it is not the case. It is pain that makes people come, it doesn't change much for me as a person. I read science journals every morning and I love life. What can I tell you? I try to tell my readers not to gamble with the only life they will ever have, and explain my reasons the best I can. Wouldn't you want to go the surgeon for brain surgery who has much experience? Well, primal therapy takes years for our interns to learn. Why go to a phony unless you want to do what is convenient and easy? Well, you say, I never had the money. There isn't much I can do about this, except advise you to try to make it if you think it is worth it! And why blame me? I have printed warnings in every one of my books. This is a dangerous therapy in untrained hands. We pick up the damaged ones after they have gone to the wrong people.

  7. It feel a bit tension about my previous comment,I can not read it back now but I think it is pretty attacking.Some explanation perhaps:after a good start in therapy here things went wrong but that had to with a medical condition and the organisation of the place there.
    Result is that my top brain and perhaps also my feeling brain are very much in favor of primaltherapy but my first line is against primaltherapy.That is how I am in it and might explain my ambivalence.


  8. Hi Trevor,

    My sleeping dog has woken up and gives me no peace.


    I wish I was going with you. When I thought I had enough money (and was booked up almost) I was shitting myself too, filled with self doubt. I will get the money together one day. Not because I believe anything Art tells me, he's not my new guru. What I know is how I feel. What Art and you all on this blog have helped me realise is that my feelings are more important than my fine ideas.

    Thanks all of you, I will get to the clinic one day and that will be because I need help with my 1st line stuff. Not because I've been duped into a new belief.

    Paul G.

    1. Paul: This therapy must be part of a national health plan. art

    2. Hi Paul G

      It is a big step even if Art says I should'nt worry. I get what you have said about being in an almost continual breakdown. I just want to be able to sleep and not feel like my head is made of lead sometimes and when I do sleep not wake up worried something happened when I was asleep.

      No-one is my Guru except perhaps myself. I'm too sceptical and bruised to have a Guru. The reason I think Primal Therapy will do me some good is because it hits so many buttons. Even before I discovered it I kind of knew deep down that I was ok and not mad. I think it was the day that I aknowledged that I should not feel guilty about feeling great rage. I was not a Monster because of it but simply a hurt soul. I had read "Families and how survive them" by John Cleese and he describes his little self raging inside him and that chimed with my sense of what was going on. I think that book is very flawed but it's not too far from a little self screaming inside to recognising that perhaps that is the true self trapped inside and not some malevolent ID attacking the EGO and SuperEGO Parents. What is the EGO except Neurosis.

      Good luck to you.

  9. Hi Art & all,

    -"This is a dangerous therapy in untrained hands. We pick up the damaged ones after they have gone to the wrong people"-.

    The further my 5 years in 'Bodywork Psychotherapy' recedes into the past, the more I realise how ill equipped both my therapist and I were to embark on the journey we started. We brought me to what felt like a never ending breakdown.

    I really wonder if he has met his own terrors even to the extent I had begun to when I left. I care not to ask him, I'm sure I'll not get the straight answer I really need. Why can't therapists speak more openly like the way Art has explained about himself and his traumas on this blog? Could it be that so many of them simply have not visited their own true feelings for long or deeply enough? It would be like a 'memory' for them, some small opening they had for a while during training; something they can use to deceive themselves into believing that they do know about deep traumatic feelings when actually they don't and are not able to support someone who has collapsed, though they know well enough how to start the process.

    He did have a short information sheet that warns patients we may have to go through deep depression and disorientation but frankly there is a chasm between those printed words and my actual experience.

    He asked me how I was getting along being my own therapist. . . I didn't have the heart to explain to him what I had discovered about Primal, inside myself and directly through this blog. It didn't take long for me to realise that he had no answer to my question: "When will the crying stop"?

    I now have very good answers to that question because I discovered this blog and read Alice Millers' books. Why don't even so many of these 'feeling' and 'sensing' therapists acknowledge and explain to their patients the Primal Truth? They've all read the Primal Scream, they all acknowledge trauma. Are they all "Have a Go Joes"? You can understand why the cognitive types wouldn't understand but so many feeling/body therapists don't either. It is as Art has said: "They just don't acknowledge and/or comprehend the grave significance of 1st line imprints and the resultant devastating compounded affects through the 2nd line ".

    To be perfectly honest without having discovered Primal Theory directly from the 'wild mans' mouth I could have been a lot worse off than I am. Now at last I know what's wrong with me and I have a really intelligible goal to aim for. Before I was either playing along or totally bewildered in therapy.

    Paul G.

    1. Paul: Well said. Isn't it simple? art

    2. Gosh I love reading this blog and the comments that follow. Dr. Janov I wish you sometimes gave talks in a few of the world's major cities so I could meet you.

      PS: Love your hair. :-)

    3. OK Maya. The secret of my hair, and I am not kidding, is 100 very very brisk strokes of the head every morning. My hair grows like wild. I have just finished a series of stem cell therapy in Texas.They are terrific. It will take 4 months to see if I grow new tissue. Then I will speak.
      Today I was invited to speak in Serbia but I do not know if I can. art

  10. To all,
    Last night on PBS Nova “Cracking Your Genetic Code #3909”(*) to most important sentence were spoken.
    As we can have our gene sequence analyzed and review it on our own computer, see all of our physical and mental health issues, Eric Lander said the most important words: “if we just could prevent all the genetic alternating illness”.
    I believe we can “prevent” for our self and for the next generation we produce. First step let’s get rid of our trauma imprint, that can change our genes.


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.