Thursday, April 19, 2012

On the Real Meaning of LSD and Hallucinogens

There is an article, I believe, from the recent New Yorker about someone who took Acid (LSD) in the seventies and wonders what happened to the youth of today who prefer the shutting down drugs such as Prozac versus the opening up drugs such as Acid. He claims that society no longer wants to take risks, preferring to keep it safe. He believes that our choice of drugs is indicative of the general zeitgeist, reflecting the world we live in. In the early years (the 70’s) we craved freedom; now we crave security. He seems to be nostalgic for those old Acid days. And doesn’t discuss their dangers enough; and I believe it is one of the most dangerous drugs around. What does it do?

Grosso modo, it immediately depletes serotonin and other Gaba chemicals, and diminishes the work of the gates, thus allowing all kinds of pain on all levels from surging ensemble toward the prefrontal cortex. Gamma amino butyric acid is a repressor holding down pain and blocking against feeling hurt. What Acid does is disrupt gating and allow us to feel our pain…..but all at once. Since that constitutes an overload, the exact feelings are blocked or disconnected but their energy level gets through to higher centers. And what do those higher centers do? They absorb all that force and begin the cognitive defense against it. They do what any person does when overloaded with imprinted pain; they manufacture far-out, bizarre ideas to encapsulate the force. This is true with LSD and in everyday life. That is why LSD is sometimes called a psychotomimetic. The ideas are far out because they are forced by a heavy load into concocting something. And the leitmotif of the feeling, the feeling of feeling, gets through so that the content of the hallucination somehow reflects what the person is dealing with. Someone is trying to kill me (death is near). Or they feel a cosmic oneness with the universe, which seems like an hallucination to me. Since what the person is thinking is idiosyncratic solely to her. And what helps eradicate the hallucination it for the moment is a tranquilizer/pain-killer. It is so easy to see the connection between pain and hallucinations since pain-killers stop those beliefs in their tracks.

The frontal cortex is the last refuge of defense; going psychotic to keep from becoming insane. Absorbing heavy energy with beliefs before they can affect the heart to produce a fatal cardiac arrest. It is not the drug that makes hallucinations; it is the pain that has no specific context that drives the higher levels to become exotic. There is a context but it is usually a very early imprint with no specific scene attached. Its force, however, is preverbal with life-threatening consequences. There is no specific scene for the cortex to hang onto.

If at first you had a good trip, it is because you have a good enough defense system to allow only some of the pain through….like smoking pot. But you will have a bad trip when first line terrors and rage surge through to produce the equivalent of a nightmare. And indeed, the trip is a nightmare. Daymares are nightmares with the sunlight. Otherwise, no difference. Terror is terror, day and night. The physiology does not change when the sun goes down. It bursts through unchecked because beliefs which work in see-saw fashion with imprinted feelings, are not strong enough to hold them down. Then you make no sense. These neural gates are not Huxley’s ‘Doors to Perception; on the contrary they block perception in specific ways and allow only global perceptions”; so-called Universal Truths. You are never “one with yourself or with the cosmos.” You mind has flown into pieces and you can only recapture pieces of yourself. You feel liberated because the lid of the repressive load has been temporarily lifted. It is primal therapy on speed. Instead of getting to one feeling at a time and integrating it; you get to all at once and it is really too much. But you do not have enough critical faculties left to understand what is happening. We did LSD research decades ago and found the brain very speeded up but with low amplitude which means to us the breakdown of defenses. We see on patients on the verge of deep non-verbal feeling that defenses mount with the heightening of the amplitude. When they crash, so does the amplitude. And after some ten trips the effects last for years; trouble sleeping, needing tranquilizers, cannot concentrate and unstable behavior, in general. That is the danger of rebirthing and drugs that prematurely unleash early pains out of sequence. You can and do often get hallucinations; “at one with the cosmos,” etc. I have seen it over and over in those who take drugs, smoke pot all of the time, or go to rebirthing centers. They come to us overloaded and seemingly “in space.” They are not all there. When a booga booga therapist thinks this is a good response to his therapy, watch out. When his beliefs merge with the patient all is lost. When the therapist thinks that “at one with the universe” is to be fervently sought they are both hallucinating.

Integration is the sine qua non of progress in psychotherapy. Nothing artificial can make that happen. It is a biologic law; not to be abrogated because someone has invented a quick way to ourselves. To defy biologic laws is to contravene nature and natural law. To bypass nature means not to get well, for it is only through nature that we can be cured. We need to go at nature’s pace, follow the rhythm of the evolution and not hurry the process up. The human brain is a delicate instrument. We need to play it carefully.

LSD has been used for treating depression. What it does is ease the cap of repression and thereby easing depression, which, as I have said over and over, depression is repression elevated to a high level. One no longer feels the specific feelings; they are usually preverbal and heavy valence so that they cannot be accessed easily.

The writer in the article (Marc Lewis) went from LSD to heroin. No surprise since the gates had been flung open by LSD and needed closing. What better way than through a powerful painkiller. If he did our therapy he would not need heroin. He would have felt the pain in all its agony one piece at a time. LSD shows us nothing except how it feels not to repress pain for a brief moment. That is good. Getting there through drugs is definitely not good. Doing the artificial can never produce natural responses. And it is always nature we are after. We are after inner harmony, and only nature can provide it.


  1. Hi,

    Confession time: The above is a description of my misspent youth and the consequences are exactly as described.

    I came into contact with the 'alternative/subversive drug culture' in the late 70s in England. Over here we are about a decade behind US in certain cultural, science/technology respects.

    In the late 70s every-one I knew was reading Timothy Leary, Huxley, Ken Kesey, Tom Wolf etc etc (and dropping acid)and listening to Hawkwind and Hendrix. Yet again American 'culture' was influencing Europe.

    Many of us were getting old buses and hitting the road. . . Jack, (and don't you come back no more no more). . . Off to Stonehenge Festival and the eventual forced march of Hippies across Salisbury Plain under armed guard. There's a famous photograph of this that appeared front page in the Guardian. The caption read something like: "Ethnic Cleansing in the Heart of England". It really did look like something from the Bible or from Bosnia 20yrs later.

    The Battle of the Bean Field.

    Several friends I had at the time were dragged off their buses with their children screaming by armed anonymous riot police who had smashed all the bus windows with truncheons. They were also beating the hippies with these truncheons in-front of their children who were all screaming. The English Home Secretary was present wearing a 'Flak Jacket' and helmet. He was 'co-ordinating. . . After this he became known affectionately as "Flak".

    Many of these young dread-locked & idealistic hippies were using acid and I ask myself "what is it about some types who must become violent when given the opportunity to 'teach kids a lesson'?

    Fortunately for me I was 4 miles down the road hitch hiking my way, blissfully unaware of what was going on till two rednecks in a Landrover tried to run me over and then reversed back for another go. . . then I heard what had happened and we all ended up in Savernake Forest under the protection of the Duke of Marlborough (no less).

    I was there when the smashed up buses and traumatised families that managed to escape the forced march part of 'Police Intervention' and compound arrived at the Forest. . .

    Somebody also turned up with a lot of opium which, despite all protestations from anybody vociferously against drugs was probably a very good thing.

    Acid culture was a strange thing back then, it not only weakened the gates of us 'poor hippies' but it exposed the extreme dark malevolence of the Tory Government at that time.
    It was in my opinion the Battle of the Bean Field that eventually brought down that government. It also exposed once and for all the very 'un-English' reality of the so called English tendency to acceptance and moderation.

    That is just such utter bullshit. . . under the surface of 'English Moderation' lies a cauldron of vicious trauma.

    I remember the year before at Ingleston Common just before the greatest hippy convoy of the English counter revolution started across the West Country, seeing a beautiful young girl strip searched by Police in a public phone box. . . Rubber Gloves and all. She was completely high at the time and the view of other hippies watching this spectacle will remain engraved on my memory because the police were arresting us for watching and protesting against it.

    I regret my acid days (and psylicybin) because of what Arts post says, it's all true.

    Nevertheless, as I have said, such national events have permanently altered our history and stand as a marker for the way forward.

    No violence against the youngsters OK ? !

    Paul G.

    1. Paul: We studied theLSD culture way back and the worse thing was the lasting effects on sleep. The gates being blown these people were flooded with internal input when they tried to sleep so they need more drugs to fall asleep. And then because of blown gates they couldn't concentrate and focus, dropped out of school and in general failed. They followed the dictates of Tim Leary who after he escaped from prison, and to get easy treatment ratted out his own lawyer. art It was the most dangerous drug I know.

  2. (Sorry to start with a nitpick, but here goes:

    "it [LSD] immediately depletes serotonin and other Gaba chemicals". Serotonin is not a "Gaba chemical". They are two different neurotransmitters, as I'm sure you know. I'd have a lot more to nitpick about many of your blog bosts, as well your books, but I won't go there now; suffice it to say I just think you need an editor. And a better editor for your books, no offense. :)

    Now that that's out of the way... my gating system was shot to hell by cannabis. I think I can thank cannabis, for the most part, for my panic disorder. And I only experimented with it, I was never a regular user. Mind you, panic disorder and schizophrenia are heavily present in my family, so I was already genetically (or perhaps more to the point, epigenetically)
    predisposed to panic.

    It's weird that many people use cannabis for anxiety. Or in some cases perhaps not. As they say, it's the dosage that makes the poison. Small doses can be tranquilizing (I experienced that; it was like "everything's ok. I'm fine. Everything's fine. Mmm. Feels good. Nice".) But with bigger doses, you run the risk of paranoia, or a panic attack. I also had depressed/suicidal thoughts, and feelings of utter loneliness and hopelessness, in combination with the panic, a couple of times after smoking too much hash. Not a pleasant state to be in! And one of those times "too much" meant only two puffs from a pipe. (I guess there was a lot of strong hash in there - or that was the point when my tolerance had decreased to a ridiculously low level.)

    Defenders of acid would also say that it's the dose that makes the poison - although first they would go on about "the set and the setting". But I will say that I know a guy who's now 42, and has been taking acid since he was 15. Not often, it's been more of a once or twice a year type of thing for him. Anyway, he has noticed that very small amounts of acid have the same effect on him as modafinil
    (Provigil in the States): it helps with his ADD. He was probably ADD before he started taking acid, I don't know. I do know he had depression even as a child. If he takes larger doses of acid, he will of course have crazy, paranoid thoughts, but he says he's "comfortable" with them. In other words, he recognizes them as crazy thoughts and lets them come and go.

    He's very down to earth, no hippy-dippy "one with the universe" type of stuff, nor has he develepod paranoias about "big pharma" or "the government" or UFOs or any of the stuff acid-heads and/or frequent pot smokers tend to develop. He's pretty successful in his life, as an audio engineer and an IT-help guy, takes good care of himself (likes running and biking). Has a girlfriend, plays in a band etc.

    I mention him as an exception to the rule, perhaps. He has pretty good defenses overall. But I remind that even he has to take modafinil to function normally. And he has his act-outs as well, but enough about him.

    Finally about cannabis and GABA: apparently the way it works is that THC activates the CB1 and CB2 reactors, and CB1 activation in turn prevents GABA neurons from inhibiting normally in the "reward circuit" of the brain. So dopamine is released - and too much dopamine and too little GABA can be a recipe for panic, or paranoia or delusions.

    1. AnttiJ: GAba was supposed to be taken out of the piece before publication. All the rest is good and right. Eventually, over many years of pot, there will be constant anxiety, sleeplessness and paranoia. art

  3. Art: In general terms, I agree that with a trained Primal therapist there needs to be a slow deliberate decent from 3rd, 2nd then 1st line feelings ... but there are literally millions out there not able to get over to Los Angeles, let alone afford therapy at either your Center or the Institute, OR even some of those others that were trained by you or Vivian and left to do their own practice. So how and in what way might these 'millions' be helped (if at all)? Other than a "do-it-yourself" book on self Primaling I am not sure there is any other way.

    However in this blog on LSD and maybe Marijuana you do state that for some that are very defended they were able to retain their sanity even if they did get into some fantasies about a 'nether nether' realm. Since I did try LSD about 5 times and many times marijuana I do feel that the use of these drugs that there could be a loosening of some feelings and if those persons were already armed with an element of Primal Theory; they might just get loosened up to some acceptance of seeing beyond Freudian Cognitive Psychotherapy and might (just might) catch onto Primal Theory.

    There are many dangerous Pharmaceuticals out there that I personally feel are not serving us very well, particularly since most have side effects that might just be making matters worse. I have suggested in my second book that two pharmaceuticals that are relatively cheap and could, for one of them, effectively block pain and prevent those diseases that then have to do that job. This first one is Heroine (developed by the medical profession from Opium) to alleviate catastrophic pain. The other would be Marijuana (cannabis) that might allow many to rise to a level of accepting feelings ... providing that it was clearly stated beforehand what this drug actually does in the brain, and warm those that are close to their pain against their use.

    For those that are so, so defended a supervised dose of LSD might just raise those people to a level of feelings that they might then either through Marijuana or even without; to knowing that there is a level of consciousness beyond that they had previously known.

    It is for this reason (and I am fully aware that it needs a great deal of genuine thought) that the dismissal of LSD on your part might be restricting us from some potential progress in consciousness in the future. However, l don't doubt your sincerity in bringing up the subject on your blog, and of course, those with leaky gates would need to stay clear of this one drug and be fore-armed.

    Jack Waddington

    1. Jack: There is so much to discuss in your piece that I will devote a blog to it. I do not agree with much of what you say; far too dangerous and above all, unpredictable. I think the best efforts for all of y ou is to get it OK'd by the government and allow for funding the therapy for those who cannot afford it.
      We did many patients free therapy thru our foundation but we are now out of money; our clinic is non-profit, it was not meant to be but it is and has been for years. art

    2. Art: How much money *could* a primal therapist make if they were dedicated to the dollars primarily? If it's a lot then maybe you should market this fact to get initial interest for prospective therapists.

    3. Andrew: No one ever would become a primal therapist for money. It is always for humanity and making it a better world. You cannot get rich doing this but the satisfaction of saving lives every day you come to the clinic to work is wonderful. art

    4. Thank you, Art. I think having a meaningful life is fundamental. It's what brings out the "color" in all the small things in life.

  4. Your comments about LSD are absolutely brilliantly true. Thank you for them!The 1970's were a wonderful era when young people, we were all looking for love, truth and freedom but the swine about that era was the drug you mention.I had a terrible childhood, suffering hate and violence from every member of my family until I was sent to childrens homes where I got more hate and, my first sexual experience, was raped. The late 1960's offered hope and liberation from all that in a sense. It was a time when young people had a huge impact. The music and everything was wonderful. I went to college and while sharing a house with a college pal drug dealers moved into the basement and wstayed. My pal would sit all the time smoking reefer after reefer often ignoring her little girl. I was furious and hated the whole drug thing. Then she kept pushing acid on me and finally I stupidly succumbed.10-15 trips were all bad ones. I had no defences against all the horror of my past in that time. I fell apart. I had no money so couldnt afford your therapy and later I was turned down. I primalled once making real connections about my mother. Then I lost the place where I could express my tears and rage etc so had to push everything back in. Now I still suffer from insomnia, thanks to LSD tho I take no other drugs, dont drink or smoke either.I think kids now take Ecstasy which may have the same affect as LSD. Do you know anything about that? People bizarrely rationalise taking drugs and really think they are in control while they take it. What a lie! But I wonder if the gates re establish themselves in time. Might you know this? I am not open to my feelings now.For one reason it isnt conveneient if you have no safe place to express them I think the drug almost put me off wanting to feel anything ever again because it is literally like swallowing an exploding bomb which blows the brain to fragments.Thank you for your article. I read recently that shrinks in- was it Switzerland- want to start using LSD to 'help patients' with mental problems. I couldn't believe what I was reading. They called it a 'new approach.' Sounded crazy to me!

    1. I think that the gates never again become as strong as they should have been. Don't forget that LSD was like an explosive blast against against the gates, and believe me I know what I am talking about. art

  5. I have read quite a bit on LSD and some forty-odd years ago, did some LSD (the 70's). Your explanation of what happened to me in terms of gating deep pain and also, the pleasant alterations of consciousness in some cases, is wonderfully expressed. You were once filmed regarding John Lennon's ability to take ideas he was exposed to and express them in a pithy fashion. I believe it may have been in your ongoing discussions with Lennon that his comment about God occurred, not sure about that: God is a concept by which we measure our pain.
    For me, in reading your expression here, I feel that you have that ability too, Art, to take complex matters and render them very accessible to the reader. I now understand that one of my 'trips' in the early days, one that left me in hospital, was the result of uncontrolled gating, and that during the course of several hours I was psychotic, and being born, a breech birth. It is very clear to me now exactly what happened. I was fortunate to survive that experience and can fully support your statements made more than a few times on this blog that LSD can be extremely traumatizing, dangerous. I had no idea what actual psychosis was until it took into another reality. I simply left the room, so to speak and was living in another universe in my head. During that time, I could have walked in front of a train while believing I was going for a glass of warm milk and a nap. Thank-you for this piece on hallucinogens and for giving your time to this blog as much as you are able, Art.

    1. Brian: You are welcome. LSD was supposed to be the great liberator; many shrinks still think so. But all I ever saw, and I treated guys who came down from Haight-Ashbury in san francisco, was damage beyond imagination. art janov

  6. Dear Dr. Janov,
    I don't have a comment on this particular subject, but I must share with you something that I recently learned about myself. Note: I have commented on your blog in the past and have read most of your books. I have gone to the Heimler Method (very similar to primal therapy; developed by a holocaust survivor in the '50's) for 25 years. I sincerly thought I would be going to therapy forever, since I would feel the same pains time and time again, then, a few days later I would feel depressed. Then I became obsessed with selling my profitable and fun business. I was tormented at night to sell it in nightmares, the onslaught has a theme: that I need to focus on therapy,soley. Then I was mastubating on night and this voice in me said, "Satan". I repeated "Satan" and I had an orgasm that was to the moon. I didn't think it was an actual entity at that time, so I would say this name. Then it was as if something was living in my vagina; a sort of "resident evil". Still, I was so upset, I did not want to face it and said to myself that I was just really horney. I was watching tv program about a haunted house in Conneticut. I copied down the name of the exorcist mentioned. I emailed them and still, being in denial, I thought they would say I was fine. Instead they said I had a demonic attachment. I still thought it was bogus and wondered if they wanted to rob me of all my money, but when I called them, they said they only take donations. They emailed me Exocism Water and an exorcism prayer and it worked for a while, and I went back to my faith. I noticed I no longer need to go to therapy. I also reconciled with my family whom I was estranged from for 25 years. Altho, I have no need for therapy, unfortunately, this thing, was still lurking inside of me and now I have to have them come out here (california) and do a full-fledged exorcism with an Arch Bishop. Still, with all of this torment, psycologically I am not depressed. The therapy really worked, but it didn't need to go on and on.
    I know you are an atheist. I myself, prior to this, would not attend church. I was a "spiritual" person. The reason I am writing you this is because in some cases, the years,the many years of psychotherapy can be cut short if one can find out if they have an entity oppressing them. After going back to my faith in August, I have no need for therapy. Yes, I have to go thru an exorcism, but this is a spiritual problem. In other words, Dr. Janov, all of those many years I was primaling and feeling things over and over again, it was not necessary. My therapy probably should have only lasted 10 years tops. If I had reconciled with my family sooner this would have helped. In the beginning, things were so bad with them this wouldn't have been possible, but as soon as it could have been, I should have been encouraged to do so. I was not even at my mother's side when she died and called for me. My therapist "said goodbye" to his family and encouraged me to do the same. I was nineteen when I began therapy. I remember having a nervous breakdown a few years after I began therapy, (I have not experienced a nervous breakdown since 1995) and this voice was cutting me down, saying words I didn't know--I had to look them up. They were horrible cut-downs. This was in 1993. I would have a good session and feel great in the late 1990's go home to bed and this prescence took over my mind and it felt like it hit me over the head. I woke with a bloody nose.

    1. You began what kind of therapy and when and where? art janov

    2. The Heimler Method, developed by Eugene Heimler, author of The Night of the Mist & Survival in Society. He developed in after spontaneously reliving an trauma from childhood in a concentration camp. After reliving this pain, he noticed a freedom he felt that he had never experienced before. He also noticed that the people who survived, at least emotionally, where the ones who truly felt the deep pain of what was happening to them; the ones who did not, or only felt pain in a "self-pity" mode, walked into electric fences. I contacted the Heimler Assoc in Britain about 6 mos ago and inquired if it is a regular practice to recommend that clients permanently separate from their families, they said "no." Apparently, it was what my therapist did in his own life and only now after a stroke at 80 yrs. is he reaching out to his siblings. His parents died decades ago. My former therapist is a good man who truly cares about people, but he lost his way in this regard. I began in 1985 in San Mateo, Ca.

  7. CONTINUED... I'm not saying any of this to try to "convert" people. I just don't want anyone to go thru what I went thru. If primal therapy is combined with at least the Ten Commandments (the basis for modern law) this would be helpful. I don't mean to be religious, I just don't want people to suffer like I did. You have helped so many people and truly care about the mentally ill. I hope you can at least reflect on some of what I wrote here. I was "easy pickens" for the devil: I was isolated, had few friends, was in pain most of the time. It always takes the easy route. I am confident I will be okay.
    Please at least consider what I have written here.



  8. That really is fascinating. I have not taken many drugs in my life in terms of LSD or Cannabis. Never LSD and occassionally Cannabis. I did spend 10 years on Zeroxat and when I came off it in 2005 I hit a wall. It was almost as though my body had got used to the extra Seratonin and so when the drug was removed the Dam burst. The sudden depletion allowed real pain to break through. The trouble was that it burst through in a jumbled mess and it's taken nearly 7 years to start to make sense of it mainly due to eventually finding a therapist who has believed me. One of my Parents friends has a son in his 50's now who has been a life long Heroin addict. He has stolen off his Mother and she has had to support him a great deal. It seems to me that the two aspects are linked. She did not love him as a child (even in the womb) and so he has been killing that pain while also subconciuosly expecting her to keep looking after him.

    Well before I discovered Primal Therapy I used to use the metaphor of the Ark in the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The scene on the island where the Nazi's incant various Hebrew words to open up the Ark was one where the lid of the Ark is a little like the door to the subconcious. I kept wanting to look inside and discover what was causing me all this pain but all the therapists and doctors would use the wrong words and apporaches and cause the lid to snap shut again. Perhaps this scene reflects societies fear of internal pain. Best not to look as Harrison Ford's character decides and so is saved from the death dealt by the emerging wraiths. You have to look a bit at a time or one's pyschy is eviscerated.

    1. Planespotter: Absolutely which is why we go slowly. Patients sometimes get in a hurry but it is a natural process, so we let nature take its course. art

  9. Off topic I have just finished reading Sex and the Subconcious. I felt quite shaken by the end of it which suggests I still have things to remember and deal with. I found it very helpful. It is a pity that so many of the examples of the impact of incest were female. I was talking to my therapist the other day about the general theory that more women are sexually abused that men. She (and many of her colleagues) are of the opinion that the proportions are pretty equal and thus this accepted view that more women are abused than men is damaging to us blokes. Perhaps many men who were abused are ignored because of this prejudice. Who is to say that far more gay men are actually men who were abused by their Mothers for example and have simply repressed this. I have a Lesbian friend who has told me she had thought about going out with a man but then decided not to. I told her that I had been abused by my Father and I have not seen her since. Says a lot about her I think and why she is the way she is. After all if one is abused by one's Mother this could start at a very early age as she is most often the first carer. The fact that much of the early development of the pyschy involves interaction with the Mother would mean far deeper repression way before words. I have a sense that a finger was inserted into me when I was having my nappy changed.

    A great book. It's a pity it's not printed as I would like to buy my Therapist one.

    1. Planespotter: In my 60 years of practice I have rarely seen sexual abuse on boys. art

    2. this is a comment i wrote in andrew atkin's blog (Building Utopia) but i do not underestimate the effects of sexual abuse on boys.

      "Too many people with personal demons to hide. What child-abuser wants their children to be tested for signs of abuse? This is probably why the topic is often taboo."

      andrew, you are right. according to the u.s. justice department, official records show that 16.5% of american females are sexually molested before the age of 12 but accurate estimates show that 65% of child molestation goes unreported because the child is too frightened or embarrassed to say anything.

      that means 47% of american girls are sexually molested before they reach 12 years of age.

      psychologists say child molestation is one of the most serious types of trauma. the victim will experience post traumatic symptoms for the rest of his/her life. the damage is not easily recognized by the molester because the child's mind will undergo the 'neurotic split' while the abuse is happening, especially around the ages of 4 to 8.

      i haven't mentioned other types of child abuse such as extreme punching and kicking, which also rates very high in america.

      if you go to any internet chat room and try to discuss child molestation, you are likely to receive a negative response. you will be talking to child molesters, and the victims, neither of whom will be comfortable with an open discussion.

      do you think people will vote for reproduction licences?

    3. Hi Richard

      You don't mention male victims. The American Association of paediatrics state that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused by the time they are 18 and that does not count the ones who don't come forward or the one's who have repressed the abuse.

      In the UK the association of GP's says 3% which is ridiculously low compared to the NSPCC saying 11%. Lloyd de Mause suggests nearer 50%.

      This is a major problem and Dr Janov's statement suggests a lower acceptance of abuse of boys than any other agency I have come across which I find very surprising.

    4. planespotter, you are right. a foggy memory will never be as believable as a primal.

    5. One more set of links with regard to the abuse of boys which obviously is slightly off topic.

      Mike Lew is a famous therapist who wrote "Victims no longer" about the trauma of incest for Boys.

      Here is a link to the book on Amazon.

      Also here is a link to him speaking on You Tube

      As he says if the animal does not get support it goes back into the burrow perhaps for decades. JUST LIKE I DID!!!!! It would seem to me that it is perhaps easier now for women to speak about the trauma of being abused by a Father or Grandfather or Uncle than it was. It is far harder as I have found to be accepted having admitted to abuse by one's Father. It is still a profound taboo to even suggest that a Mother has abused her daughter or Son. If a Son it will be seen as less severe. Why for God's sake why? No wonder men deny it happens and perhaps no wonder that maybe it is far deeper down in the subconcious due to the pressures of society.

      One can be surrounded by people who still see any admission of being abused as a Freudian Fantasy and a homosexual fantasy and a fear of coming out of the closet. The fact that the victim will probably be more suggestable due to a damaged physche means that if enough people start suggesting the person is actually a closet homosexual that person may even start to believe them because after all everyone wants to be loved and accepted even if this means being pushed into an ill fitting box. If the person has some homosexual fears because of the abuse it can cause huge damage and loss of confidence. This happened to me. I have faced cruel and heartless treatment because people don't want to face the truth. Even now.

  10. Jack,

    I did years of primal therapy at the Primal Institute, and after that, years of buddying and self-primaling, and now I have re-entered therapy as a patient at the Primal Center. There is a world of difference between primal therapy in the early days and therapy as it is now practiced at the Center, and a world of difference between therapy at the Institute today and the Center. I don't even consider what's done at the Institute primal therapy anymore. And that's based entirely on my experience--no one at the Center has ever said anything to me about the Institute. So I'm surprised that you don't seem to draw any distinction between the two.


  11. Erika

    Your blog is very sad--you are hurting so much, a lot of pain. Whatever therapy that you are receiving is not primal therapy. I wish the very best for you.


  12. my sexual fantasies are often taboo in one way or another. when i follow a taboo path, i feel a sense of freedom. i lose all sense of 'should and shouldn't'

    and that's ok. it's not reality

  13. Regarding the above comment,I do not understand how anybody can actually take the human idea that there is a God and a devil seriously. The people who have given me the most terrible problems and pain in my young life, child and early teens, were invariably religious church goers. (I have made a comment earlier on this post.)Childrens homes were run by cruel, christian women... usually. My father was very religious and very authoritarian and violent. I almost think that religion is as dangerous as LSD... almost. In that it is a mind-drug. Anyhow, from the comments here it is obvious that LSD is utterly life destroying and dangerous and, good for you, Art, in speaking up about it.There was a time when psychiatrists used it to open patients up to 'help' them. Hopefully that time is over! How sad it is that your therapy isn't accessible to everyone who needs it, which is a hell of a lot of people. I wish I could afford it!! You're such a good man and quite unique to discover it as you did in the 1960's. Someone like you should live for ever, I reckon. We need your presence. There is certainly no one like you in the U.K.!

  14. It's a bit off-topic, but I thought you might like to read this article by the environmental campaigner George Monbiot, published in his column in the Guardian last week. He always has important things to say, and what he has written here shows that he has also thought about how important it is to fulfill children's basic needs.

  15. LSD was around in the 40s and 50s, making the rounds in Hollywood and academic circles, but then along came the 60s, and the youth culture got ahold of it and it's use became glorified and widespread, so much so that if you were a young person at the time the peer pressure to drop acid was considerable; fortunately i didn't succumb, although i had a bad trip once on some really potent marijuana, which was enough for me; luckily by then i'd read Art's first two or three books, which convinced me that using acid was unwise and probably dangerous.

  16. Hi Dr Janov

    Well according to many books I have read it is far more previlant than everyone thinks. If the zeitgeist is against such abuse being accepted perhaps it is not seen. When Freud wrote his aeitology of hysteria and his trauma theory he even found it hard to confront what he found. As Alice Miller wrote "What must not be, cannot be". Look around the internet and it is there.

    It's a huge taboo. It goes against the very basic view of women as nurturing creatures. It therefore perhaps causes the most deep seated repression.

    As you say in the Primal Scream us men have to be tough. My Doctor completely dismissed my protestations as did the shrinks who talked to me in 1990 and did not even mention it in the letter you may have now read. A men's magazine in the UK recently ran a piece about the huge number of Mother's who would check out the size of thier Son's penis's to make sure their future daughter's in laws would not be dissapointed. If that is not wide spread emotional incest I don't know what is. And what about the large number of Japanese Mothers who give thier Son's blow jobs so they will stay at home and work hard and not be lead astray by girl friends.

    It's there but are people willing to aknowledge it. There are few books about it. This one is one I read and it still holds men responsible for the woman abusing children. They are lead on and that is not the case.

    My Mother abused me because her Father abused her etc etc.

  17. Aida just called me... she said... "Frank anxiety is not something you get as an adult it is something you get when you are very young" which in the meaning is a connection an insight for her. That will connect her to her suffering a lot easier next time... it's her own discovery of how emotion is where it is... and always have been… exept she has not knowing it… a crucial discovery for her.


  18. Confusion in balance is what a person is who has taken LSD and still are capable of a “social” life. An overstretched thinking brain which could collapse at any time! He is social… yet paranoid and could fall out the window at any time.

    It's not for nothing sentences like "burn in hell" occur... and not just from religious... religious who through their own chemistry opens up a sea of suffering impossible to manage without a strong commitment intellectually.

    God is like an LSD trip… but of a social schizophrenic acceptance... but should as well be met with love as the missing link that caused it.


  19. Two different psychedelics, LSD and psilocybin, led me to Primal Therapy. While experiencing the effects of these substances, first at 19 and then sporadically during my 20's, I did not experience anything like an uncontrolled flood of repressed feelings from the past or what is known as a bad trip. Nor did I feel any sense of universal oneness with the cosmos. Rather, I was jolted out of what I can only call a concocted reality, or, a false sense of myself that I had unconsciously created to ward off my authentic experience, past and present, as a human being in this world. It was as if what was true about how I was living and thinking was suddenly being revealed and I had no choice but to accept it and make a change if I wanted to live as an honest, real and compassionate person. In short, I was confronted with the harsh truth of how full of nonsense I was, how I was hiding inside my intellect using ideas and beliefs to defend me against a deeper, perhaps more painful but, in essence, a more honest kind of living. Concurrent with this revelation was the realization that I was out of touch with my true feelings. In fact, I had to admit that I was not feeling much of anything in my sober life and that this was something that I needed to address. I subsequently made a conscious decision to pay attention to and accept my feelings as something vitally necessary to become more who I truly am. This was a long, bumpy road and along the way I found myself in a rather horrifying place as I realized how much fear, self-doubt, sadness and self-loathing I was experiencing within myself. Although able to function and live relatively trouble-free, I was nowhere near enjoying my life as I felt I should. Deeply unsatisfied with this muddling along, I began to devour self-help books which seemed to point me toward some kind of cathartic and re-experiential acceptance of my past hurts and traumas which would finally heal me. Enter Primal Therapy, and wow, what a relief! I got what I was after and then some. It was immediately apparent that I had never experienced the depth and beauty of who I really was until PT. It was like being de-programmed after being brainwashed by the cult of our modern world, a near-total recovery of my lost self that I had become almost totally alienated from due to the environment hostile to feeling that I had grown up in.

    In short, without the help of psychedelics, I very well may have continued on those rails laid down for me by the de-humanized and unfeeling mentality of our modern world. While I would never suggest that psychedelics have any kind of real, lasting therapeutic value, they were very useful to me as a kind of cosmic slap of reality from deep down within myself that resulted in my finding, or rather, being able to be my true self.

    One more thing that I must add here is that as I continue this journey of....(self-discovery?, growth, greater awareness?, deeper sense of being human? etc.), I have found that feelings are not for me the primary guiding or controlling aspect of my existence. For me, the painful feelings of my past are not something I have been able to eliminate from my experience through PT. After many, many sessions, it has become clear that there is more pain inside me than I am willing to "titrate out". If this means henceforth I shall bungle my life a bit, lurching and stumbling and botching relationships more or less like I always have, so be it. I don't feel the need to achieve perfection or a blissful, satisfying personal happiness. I only wish to live honestly, compassionately, with my head up and my heart as open as I am able to allow it to be. I may change my mind later but, for now this will do. Thanks to Art and France and all the staff at the Primal Center for being the sanest, realest, people I have ever found. You all brought me gently down out of the substance-less vapor clouds of my head and back into my body where not all may be well, but at least here I have a shot at being truly me.

    1. Anonymous: Well how wonderful for you. It warms my heart. art

    2. Anonymous

      Your story is fascinating and seems to reflect my own 'slap' into reality when I came off an SSRI. What I have found is that I went through a period of years where a certain amount of pain came flooding forth and the number of dead ends and blind alleys I walked into to rid myself of this pain were numerous until I discovered my own perhaps realer feelings. I now seem to have hit a plateau and slight no-mans land where it is harder to squeeze out the pain which I so want to do. I have had experiences of feeling far more relaxed and content in myself and then some other event from the past comes thundering along like an express train and knocks me over. I need to do some "titrating".

      It is interesting that we both experienced a flood following drug use. Mine was a repressive drug and yours the opposite. I hit my wall when I came off the drug and you hit yours when on it?

      Very interesting. LA here I come!

  20. An email comment:
    "My one horrendous experience with LSD changed my life forever. It took a number of years before I even started to feel somewhat "normal" again, free of the fear that I could lose my sense of reality any minute. The one and only good thing that came from the experience was that I knew to my core that I had a lot more pain to feel. One of your bloggers just wrote:

    "Block the feelings of an emerging imprint and disease ensues elsewhere in the body.
    Block the feelings of an emerging imprint with a pharmaceutical and disease still ensues."

    I could not have said it better! It is this knowledge that is forcing me back into feeling my pain."

  21. I read recently on the web news that a psychologist in Norway, not Switzerland, as I erronously stated in a previous post, uses LSD to help patients who are alcoholics to 'appreciate their alcoholism' more. It sounds gobbledy-goo but this is what is printed. Also in Holland, LSD is being considered to be used as a new approach, a form of treatment.With all that has been suggested on your blog this is a highly dangerous method of treatment, don't you think, please? I recall that in one of your early books you wrote that you used to use LSD or worked some place where it was used by other psychiatrists or analysts and observed them using it for a while.I can't recall the exact words and I apologise if I have got it wrong for I read all of your early books 30-40 years ago! This was a a rather more common practice in England at one time although I doubt any sensible practitioner would do anything now but repudiate it in the current light of knowledge of the deleterious effects. A long time ago this was. I cant recall the exact words. But, I am sure you and every other therapist in wisdom learned by accounts of pateints who have taken this drug in the past realise the uselessness of it to get to patient's feelings.

    1. Anonymous: Not only did you read them 40 years ago but I had to write them 40 years ago. over 40 years ago I worked with a group doing LSD research. I was appalled and stopped. art

  22. Interesting discussion.

    I think it needs to be put in context.

    Out of my circle of say 20 friends probably about 10 took LSD and a number of them quite frequently in their teens and early 20s.

    All of them have lived productive lives - holding down a job, raising a family, adn engaging in creative projects. Some have done v. well really in life.

    So the idea that, from a statistical point of view, LSD destroys mental functioning on a long term basis cannot be considered true I think.

    In terms of people in the arts world we know many people who took LSD and went on to produce great works of art - John Lennon included.

    Of course, one can certainly argue that people with severe neuroses or psychoses should not indulge. But then you might say the same about them taking part in a war, or entering a high pressure job in finance or whatever.

    If you run a primal therapy site you are not going to get many non-neurotic people calling in to say that LSD made them better human beings. :)

    This is not to advocate LSD use. I think as we get older and wiser most people realise it is stupid to play Russian roulette with your precious brain cells.

    1. Peter: Do not confound creativity with how people were doing. John wrote great stuff after he did LSD but he was a wreck. Believe me, I know. His gates were wide open. Yes there are those who had LSD who had very good defenses to start with. Most of my patients never had adequate defenses and so were vulnerable. You cannot escape it: when you take a drug that is designed to blast the gates open there has to be consequences. Your friends were lucky, but of the many many I have seen who took LSD and later did years of pot, they are in bad shape, often paranoid and non functional. art

  23. Thanks for your reply Art.

    I am not really disputing your theories about LSD blasting the gates open. Something like that must be true. I don't deny many people have been seriously damaged, especially if they retreat into cannabis use (not a drug I was ever keen on - it's a real conversation killer).

    However, in terms of friends who have become non-functional, I recall one, a published novelist on a contract with a major publisher, who succumbed to alcohol abuse.

    Lennon said, if I recall correctly, he was seeking to destroying his ego through LSD. It was a very dangerous mission, but it brought into the world some magical music as a result.

    For Lennon there may have been a personal cost, but I wouldn't want to live in a world without works like Strawberry Fields, I Am a Walrus and Day in a Life.

    A therapists' role may be to address the anxieties and traumas that tear people apart and make them unable to function effectively, but thank goodness therapists can't eliminate trauma or indeed the religious impulse from the world , or we might have no art at all. (No pun intended.)

    1. Peter: Ah I see what you're getting at. You never want to thank God for the end of trauma. But let me tell you that creativity has nothing to do with pain. We took some pain out of Lennon and we got the Primal album and Imagine. Suffering people produce a certain kind of art. Those who don't produce a different kind. You can be normal, with good access to both hemispheres and produce great art. Or you can be neurotic and use our creativity neurotically. You don't need neurosis to be creative. Look up my chapter on creativity in my blog and/or in my books. The artists I have seen uniformly tell me that what they do after therapy is much better than before, and I am discussing major painters, writers actors and musicians. If you read James Earl Jones you will get an idea. art

    2. there are many many great songs and movies and books produced by boringly normal people. fans will always worship lennon because of his ability to produce so many catchy songs and his popular image that remains even after his death. paul mccartney appears to be boringly normal-ish as he grows old and fades away. but there are boringly normal artists who have produced very stylish, colourful, explorative, bold, and subtly sophisticated music which has never achieved lennon status, but makes lennon's affair with LSD seem like a pointless waste of brain cells.
      for example: Fascination Street by The Cure. don't be fooled by robert smith's appearance. he plays golf in the weekends.

  24. Richard,

    Boring and normal? I think you'll find it difficult to make that stand up.

    Nearly all the jazz greats were heroin addicts.

    Many musicians have been into drugs and booze in a big way e.g. Hart of Rogers and Hart and Cole Porter.

    Most famous literaray giants have been very weird and often alcoholic. Coleridge with opium. Graham Greene played russian roulette with a gun in his youth. Dickens drank copious amounts of alcohol, starting at breakfast with sherry. Hemingway and Fitzgerald were both alcoholics as were Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin. Norman Mailer I think also drank heroically.

    Painters have also been very involved with alcohol: Van Gogh, Pollack, Francis Bacon to name a few.

    Artists are often very odd. Tolstoy had a terrible waking nightmare experience in a hotel once - not unlike a bad trip which seemed to propel him into art. Iris Murdoch was incredibly promiscuous in her youth. HG Wells was a complete sex addict. Swinburne liked to be whipped.

    If you make life bland, you will have bland art: the bland leading the bland.

    Do you care to name some of the "boringly normal artists who have produced very stylish, colourful, explorative, bold, and subtly sophisticated music which has never achieved lennon status, but makes lennon's affair with LSD seem like a pointless waste of brain cells."

    I am not saying there aren't any, but I doubt there are many. Incidentally, McCartney was as keen on LSD as Lennon in the mid sixties and has always had a love affair with cannabis.

    The history of art is interwined with the history of drink and drugs - and goes back all the way to the pre-history of shamanism and the ingestion of hallucinogens around the camp fire.

  25. Hi Peter,

    -"The history of art is interwined with the history of drink and drugs - and goes back all the way to the pre-history of shamanism and the ingestion of hallucinogens around the camp fire".

    After 18months on this blog I seem to have come full circle with your remark above.

    In my youth, having 'believed' that something as dramatic as LSD & Psylisybin was 'necessary' for me to 'rid' myself of the tyranny put into me by my so called mentors and then having gradually come to regret all that and see my delusion for what it was, I still can't help agreeing at least a bit with what you say. It is an inevitability.

    I feel neurosis drives us into a need to discard neurosis. Now I might not have used the right words there but Art has implied something similar somewhere but I can't remember exactly how he said it.

    Neurosis is a bit like a nasty virus or a bug infection. Y'know, at first perhaps you feel a bit speedy, maybe slightly intoxicated? You think "I'm ok. . . I'll get that stuff done". . . three hours or so later you're slouched or slumped somewhere aching and dissociated, exhausted and looking for the painkillers. . . The next day you want to be better but you're not. The day after you're pissed off that your body belongs not to you but to some foreign invaders that have your nasal passages pouring snot, your body in a torture chamber and your brain in a bench vice. . . By the end of the week if you're still infected you're feeling desperate to end the 'foreign occupation'. You want to be rid of that and be normal. Any longer and you forget what normal is. . . depression sets in and your resign yourself to depression and pain.

    Attacking yourself with LSD or Psylicybin is a bit like trying to exorcise yourself of a nasty virus. People always have tried to rid themselves of neurotic fetters by taking (so called) mind expanding drugs though most of us who have tried did not know about Primal Theory of understand the dire consequences. . .

    I for one will no longer 'use' such a sledgehammer because I'm just a little nut and I don't want my soft kernel to be trashed any more than it already is. But people will carry on trying to free themselves with that psychic sledgehammer, sat around the campfire, staring into the flames, wishing for more feeling in life than they already have.

    I am reminded of Paul Kossofs' great song "Wishing Well". . .

    Paul G.

  26. Neurosis is really conflict, lack of harmony. I would say it is part of the human condition and people who are labelled "neurotic" are simply people who experience greater or more intense conflict.

    Certainly work, scientific endeavour, exploration, high art, philosophy and religious practice are all ways of dealing with neuroses - as well as drugs.

    If Art's position is that it is better to deal directly with neuroses, through a kind of controlled interaction, well I guess that may be plausible. But it would rob us of a lot of high achievement in the world and I am not sure it can ever overcome some of the fundamental conflicts within us.

    I like The Wishing Well!

    1. Hey Peter. Try and read some of the articles in this blog, you will understand my position better.
      Where did you get the idea of "controlled interaction? I don't even know what that means. Read what i wrote on creativity. Art

    2. There you have a powerful clue to what he's hiding and trying to reveal. Control needs expression. I bet he's afraid of loosing ability to holding on to what he knows about his known world. The opening effects of acids are definitely more powerful when the intake is done with the PT dispenser. Hope I made myself understood. English is not my mother tongue...

  27. very well said, Art. You are one of a kind. I wish I could in my remaining living years (I am 46) do just half as much good as you have done since you started.


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.