Friday, May 25, 2012

The Aim of Cognitive Therapy

What does a cognitive therapist do essentially? Bolster left hemisphere control in the patient by immersing him in ideas. In Primal Therapy, we work on the bottom end of the brain’s evolution, reducing the power of deep imprinted forces so that they no longer challenge the pre-frontal cortex to drive ideas. A number of studies have demonstrated the role of the pre-frontal cortex in repression (Anderson, et al., 2009; Depue, et al., 2007; Kikuchi, et al., 2009). One study (Anderson, et al., 2004) tested subjects who were asked to suppress unwanted memories and then had their brains scanned. The pre-frontal cortex dampened activity in the hippocampus of these subjects, thus interfering with memory retrieval. In brief, repression—gating—lessens access to oneself and one’s history.

Tranquilizers are indeed painkillers, and some tranquilizers can be given in higher doses to produce a surgical anesthesia. Here again we see an interchange between emotional and physical pain. For instance, when someone has a severely bad back and takes strong painkillers for months, and then continues to take them even after his back is healed, he’s considered addicted. But the same pill that calms his back pain also calms his history—his imprint—hence the continued need for the drug. The original "anti-psychotic" drug, Thorazine, was first used by a French surgeon who noticed that it made surgical patients indifferent or apathetic toward the pain they were undergoing. One author noted that scientific evidence supports a theory that most psychiatric drugs "work" by producing a kind of anesthesia of the mind, spirit, or feelings.

Work by R. Gaunt put rats under stress (tied to board), then gave them tranquilizers. They seemed indifferent to their problem. But their bodies weren’t. There were high readings in stress hormones. We need to keep this in mind when we take tranquilizers; for the wear and tear on the body goes on even if we are unaware of it.

Nearly all of us are prisoners of our prototype—our dominant mode of functioning. Cognitive therapy assumes we have an ample amount of free will. I am not so sure. We can make choices within the prototype, but it tends to offer a narrow range. What we are free to do is go back and find out how all that got started. That is what ultimately will widen our range of choices in life. It will free the parasympath to widen her vision and take more chances. It will allow the sympath to ease off the incessant struggle that never lets him relax. Finally, it puts our system back in balance so that our system can find an equilibrium so that we are no longer prisoners of medication after medication, drug after drug. A balanced system means the parasympathetic male’s chronically low level of testosterone is normalized—something we have found after one year of therapy. It means he is now more assertive and less depressed. A balanced system means not having to drink five cups of coffee a day or being hooked on Coke. It means not having to smoke, which ultimately will shorten our lives. It is the true meaning of being free.

Anderson, M.C., Ochsner, K.N., Kuhl, B., Cooper, J., Robertson, E., Gabrieli, S.W., Glover, G.H. and Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2004) Neural Systems Underlying the Suppression of Unwanted Memories. Science 303(5655):232-235.

Anderson, M.C. and Weaver, C. (2009) Inhibitory Control over Action and Memory. Encyclopedia of Neuroscience 5:153-163.

Depue, B.E., Curran, T. and Banich, M.T. (2007) Prefrontal Regions Orchestrate Suppression of Emotional Memories via a Two-Phase Process. Science 317(5835):215-219.

Kikuchi, H., Fujii, T., Abe, N., Suzuki, M., Takagi, M., Mugikura, S., Takahashi, S. and Mori, E. (2009) Memory Repression: Brain Mechanisms underlying Dissociative Amnesia. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 22(3):602–613.


  1. Quote: "We need to keep this in mind when we take tranquilizers; for the wear and tear on the body goes on even if we are unaware of it."

    Absolutely! I think this is part of the reason why neurotics don't age well (an assertion you made a long time ago, and also consistent with my own causal observation).

    Sympaths grind up their body'ss because the nervous system is giving them 'rouge' compulsive signals that are ultimately inconsistent with what their body needs*. And of course, as you have said, repression itself makes us "railroad" our body's because we can't feel our body's needs.

    I once did a job in a place that I totally hated. I was so tense there. I noticed I developed a strain on my body (like RSI) yet at the time I did not even know I was hurting myself. I was too tense (aka, feeling blocking) to feel what my body was telling me. I think this is the same dynamic, only neurosis is a permanent affect because it is primarily non-situational.

    *And maybe parasympaths tend to get fat because they don't "hear" their body's need for exercise, due to their own internal contradictions.

  2. Dr Janov, CBT sounds to me like being treated like a machine, by a machine.

    We covered CBT on a course module I’m studying and it struck me how it really is the antithesis of a feeling therapy especially as the ‘person’ in the cognitive-behavioural approach is considered to be computer-like and if malfunctioning, requires reprogramming or fixing. I mean, you can’t get further away from feeling than a computer/machine, can you?

    And looking at its history it’s got ‘science’ behind it, emerging as it did from the forging of behaviourism, influenced by a desire to establish psychology as an evidence-based science, with the cognitive approach to therapy created by Beck in the 1970s.

    People eventually become very disillusioned with stuff that doesn’t work. Just as an example of seeking alternatives to CBT, I read an article in The Sunday Times (UK&Ireland) magazine recently about the apparent ‘new affliction of high-flyers’….anxiety. It focused on two women who ‘outed’ themselves as sufferers, the chief exec of an international magazine and her journalist colleague who said she had to stop working, she was unable to look after her children, cook, drive etc. ….. She was not impressed by CBT’s ‘manage your thoughts’ approach. In desperation she contacted Charles Linden (described on Twitter as an ‘Anxiety Elimination Expert’), the founder of the Linden Method, which she swears by. Here is a direct quote “He says to ‘do’ yourself out of it, not ‘think’ yourself out of it. The minute you feel anxious get busy. Do more. Keep a scrap book. Sew. Get a dog and walk it. Turn on the radio and sing along. All the domestic chores that are thought to be beneath us, I actually now think are the soul of life.” Dear oh dear it makes me tired just reading it. And where’s the ‘meaning’ and the ‘feeling’, what are you meant to be busying yourself away from: where is the 'why' ? They say that if the shoe fits wear it, but personally I hope to get a bit more out of life. The article also states that both of the women carry Xanax in their handbags, one referring to it as her ‘lucky charm’.

    I think that for many ordinary punters, Joe Soaps (like me!), credibility doesn’t come from science alone. There’s a wealth of information around now and many people are, I believe, becoming more discerning. There’s probably loads of empirical evidence, stats etc. behind CBT but people will search for what works at the end of the day if they’re not getting well. Failing to ‘think’ (a la CBT) or ‘do’ (a la Mr Lynden) themselves out of anxiety, maybe they’ll discover they can ‘feel’ their way out Janovian style, and be free. Hopefully.

    1. JL: Very well written and put so well. art

    2. JL:

      You know, the thinking that we are a machine that needs reprogramming is not ultimately unreasonable. It is true. The real problem is the level that this principle is appreciated - and, in turn, absurdly misapplied.

      The feelings do indeed need to be "reprogrammed" which in the primal sense means digging up and bring forth old emotional 'files', where they can be naturally processed via the conscious mind and, likewise, put in their proper context within the brain.
      This is not a forced process - it's a natural process. If you're trying to force it your doing it wrong. The human system knows how to do its own programming (the primal process was primary discovered - not created!).

      The REAL "programming" happens naturally when the pain is released and we cry it out. The old feelings, once properly and naturally integrated, finally become only a memory - not an active force that restructures how we experience and interpret out present, with all the toxic over-reactions, etc (aka, neurosis). And so the memory is finally put where it belongs and we can move on.

    3. Andrew Atkin,
      It is satisfying to see your smart and down-to-earth (or realistic) comments about primal theory/therapy and other closely related aspects of What Is going on.
      There are not many people of 'your kind' around. But this would of course be one of the very best places to spot some of them! :)

    4. Andrew: ‘You know, the thinking that we are a machine that needs reprogramming is not ultimately unreasonable. It is true‘

      I think, Andrew, that the analogy can only go so far and strips the ‘person’ of their humanness/feelings.

      A‘The real problem is the level that this principle is appreciated - and, in turn, absurdly misapplied.’

      I think it’s more than a problem with misapplication. I don’t see why the analogy of a computer is needed at all (unless an individual with knowledge of computers finds it helpful to view themselves in terms of files, bytes, packets, interfaces…). The dynamic created, however, by a person being viewed by their therapist as a computer needing ‘reprogramming’ I think is dehumanising and I don’t see how it can be helpful.

      You say ‘The feelings do indeed need to be "reprogrammed"…’

      I don’t see it in mechanistic terms. Central to the reprogramming process you need a programmer to input in order to get the desired output. CBT considers that the thoughts drive the feelings. Apparently Beck had become somewhat disillusioned with practicing psychoanalysis and believed that a person’s thoughts greatly influenced how they felt and behaved. So even if reprogramming is appropriate, CBT tries to reprogramme at a thinking, rather than a feeling, level. However, even with the emphasis on feeling, I don’t think the reprogramming analogy is helpful as it necessitates a programmer administering the ‘input’ (commands) to the machine with a specific desired ‘output’ (result), inconsistent with human individuality. Again, I find that dynamic to be dehumanising and also too hierarchial and infers a set of behaviours and rules applicable across the board. The changes that occur as a result of Primal Therapy I believe arise out of more of a facilitation dynamic, the therapist helping guide and allow a natural process to occur, which doesn’t, I think, equates to reprogramming.

      As we know computers don’t have feelings. Computers don’t have thoughts. Computers don’t need love or to be touched etc. etc. They don’t get to be neurotics – they’ve never had their capacity to feel stolen away from them. They break down and their fixer comes along and reprogrammes them, making them work to the required standard. Healthy humans are too dissimilar to computers to make a helpful comparison that can help our species I think.

    5. Pbef:

      Why thank you. And yes I'm not a "stock model" type. But hopefully not 'eccentric' though.


      Quote:"The changes that occur as a result of Primal Therapy I believe arise out of more of a facilitation dynamic".

      Absolutely. But what are we facilitating? Ultimately the human brain is an information processing machine. I know that's not very romantic but it's true. When feelings are 'resolved' they have been processed in the right way and at the right level. "Crying our your pain" is subjective experience of the brain "doing its programming".

      I do not mean to roboticise the human mind. I see the brain like a book. A book is dead text in itself - yet it 'comes to life' with the imagination of our mind. Somehow neurobiology, as "dead information", gives birth to the human experience and this is indeed an extraordinary miracle that we cannot (yet) understand. The consciousness itself is a mystery...BUT as long as the consciousness is seated in the brain, and reads the ebook of the brain, we need to get that "text" of the brain cleaned up so we can experience the right story.

  3. Dr. Janov,

    AMEN !!!!
    The max you can get out of Cognitive Therapy is a diagnosis.
    And the results are: many diagnosis and no cure!

  4. Art,

    You write "I'm not so sure we have a free will”. Art I am 100% sure… there is no free will and it's not that hard to spot when I see what it is we use to prove it. We use alcohol and drugs in such large quantities around the world ... we eat so much that in itself is something that kills us… or we starve without to do anything ... etc. Art I am sure!

    We run as fast as we can… and faster if we earn money from it… a reason proving how little we know about gravity… how much it affects us somewhat Newton proved centuries ago. It may be time that we begin to see emotional problems as a parable to the drawing power's influence. Art I am sure!

    These more serious reasons to discover we see when we begin to feel what is happening... when we are approaching our own suffering… suffering that created all these needs that still pain. Art I am sure!

    If we were to show up all the agony old people undergo when told that they will die ... oh ... oh ... oh… oh…oh. Art I am sure!

    Art I am 100% sure... THERE IS NOT ANY FREE WILL"… our “free” will would scream out WE NEED PRIMAL THERAPY.


    1. Hi Frank,
      -"Art I am 100% sure... THERE IS NOT ANY FREE WILL"… our “free” will would scream out WE NEED PRIMAL THERAPY"-.

      Oxymoron of the 20th & 21st century exposed by Frank. I completely agree. Art has explained elsewhere how 'inside of the cognitivist view' there is the appearance of freedom, of autonomy, of will. Nevertheless, only inside of their own repression do the cognitivists find freedom and then only for their personal preferences & inclinations. The cognitivists view themselves as beyond unconscious projections. Whilst projecting like mad, though I hasten to add that they project in a 'default mode' by adhering to the morality of common sense which is always never applicable when prescribed by some-one else, least of all by the cognitivists.

      As Art says, it is quite simple, not rocket science: full consciousness is only possible with full access to feelings; as long as feelings remain repressed this will bias, skew and distort perception and behaviour. That is not freedom or free will is it?

      Paul G.

    2. Paul: Soon I will write a piece analyzing the new Diagnostic Manual in psychiatry. I take this from Time Magazine from last March; I refuse to read the DSM as I consider it absolute and utter nonsense, which I shall explain in my piece. art

  5. "And maybe parasympaths tend to get fat because they don't "hear" their body's need for exercise, due to their own internal contradictions"

    That picture of me you see in my avatar is me from 2003. Back then I weighed about 58 kilos, or 128 lbs. I've gained a lot of weight since then: beer, terrible diet, lack of excercise, Seroquel - by 2011 I weighed around 242 lbs., or 110 kilos. Since then I've cut down on the beer drinking (to some extent), and just generally eaten less. Now I weigh around 97-98 kilos, or 214-216 lbs.

    I'm definitely a parasympath. The thing is, I hear my body's need for exercise loud and clear. But depression/repression... well, I guess you know about that, and how it makes you a lazy-ass, even if you haven't experienced that yourself.

    1. AnttiJ: I think in my book Imprints there is a discussion of why parasympaths don't like to exercise: brings up feelings. The conservat ion mode dominates to keep from using too much oxygen. Exercise is the opposite. art

    2. Dr. Janov,
      " keep from using too much oxygen". I always feel I can get enough air into my lungs. I also breath wrong. I hold my breath when I have to work hard or walk fast.

    3. Art: do you really think it's that-- that para's don't like to exercise as it brings up feelings?? I experience the conservation mode, lazy-ass, cannot get myself off the couch, but when I make myself I absolutely love everything about exercise. (I had a sports injury late '10, was on crutches, and put on weight for the first time in my life to my dismay. Now I'm having to address weight which I've never needed to before. Not easy.)

  6. The Land of The Free?!!?

    Over the last many weeks I have, stimulated by own experiences and writing and by Reflections of Art, used the words FREE / FREEDOM to express the new liberating feeling which emerges as a consequence of being able to feel / reexperience pain and to enjoy a reduced dependence of neurotic filters to cope with reality.

    As a Swede and foreigner, though a friend, to the US, I have always been impressed by the so-called American Freedom. However, I did that without asking what the concept of Freedom meant. In my metaphors, I never saw any link between the American Constitution (and its Bill of Rights) and my “enemies” for those being responsible, for my “prison of pain” / repressed state. In my world cognitive therapists, drugs, painkillers, maltreatment during my life-before-birth and no-curing treatments, were but a few of the reasons that my anxiety and not-feeling-free had such an impact on me.

    My thoughts often go to why so extremely few are looking, searching for help to find their inner freedom in themselves in order to fulfill their real needs. I have the impression that emotional repression, like technological development, is determined by evolution, which is turning us into unfree creatures. Technological Development = Emotional Repression.

    The Constitution is being changed accordingly! The new law signed by the President on New Years Eve of 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) robs all Americans of many principles and rights afforded all Americans in their Constitution And Bill of Rights, which were given by their founding fathers. Many Americans have given their lives to protect these basic and fundamental rights. This new law explicitly creates a police state in America. It strips away any rights the American people thought they had including but not limitied to free speech, free press, free access to information and the right to protest, assemble and bear arms.

    Every cloud has a silver lining, and with that I refer to the new limitation to assemble and bear arms... However, the real price is and will remain: Not being FREE!

    Jan Johnsson

  7. "AnttiJ: I think in my book Imprints there is a discussion of why parasympaths don't like to exercise: brings up feelings. The conservat ion mode dominates to keep from using too much oxygen. Exercise is the opposite. art"

    I wish I was able to get a copy of Imprints. A lot of things bring up feelings for me; I guess I'm what you would call easily triggered. Masturbation is one: sometimes it's just a relief, but sometimes it triggers feelings... and it doesn't feel good. Another weird thing is that taking a shower can trigger a panic attack!

    Jan Johnsson, let me elaborate:
    "What? The land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy!"

    That's Rage Against the Machine for ya, the song is called Know Your Enemy.

    1. AnttiJ: you should be able to get it on Amazon or the like. If you can't find it I'd be happy to send you my copy. Jacquie

  8. A slight aside but reflecting on people taking painkillers for bad backs which then repress deep pain. I discovered a serious trauma to my back when I went to a chiropractor about a year ago. He asked when I got it. I don't remember as it was such a long time ago. What was interesting about how agitated, anxious and frankly messed up physiologically as my back was cracked and manipulated over the weeks. I found it emotionally and physiologically exhausting. I gather that people who go to chiropractors have a higher chance of having a stroke during the therapy.

    I can imagine that this reflects the one or many trauma's which caused the person to stoop in the first place. Like waking ghosts.

    1. Hi planespotter,

      I eventually went to see a highly recommended chiropractor at the age of 45 after many years of back pain. In particular my back would seize up in an 'S' shape with an 'old man' stoop and I'd have to walk with a stick. I thought it had come on due to incorrect posture whilst chopping firewood all day. That is true but was only the trigger.

      When this chiropractor heard my history of back seizure since 15yrs of age (after rugby). . . He said to me: "Look Paul, I think we should X Ray your back". To my astonishment he took me down to the basement where he had an old Cadmium X Ray machine all properly set up. . . Turns out he is also a qualified Radiologist. . . Fifteen minutes later he has the X Ray print up on the light box and he's pointing to my lower vertebrae saying "Paul, can you see that"?

      Even more to my astonishment I could see that my lowest vertebrae is fused to my pelvis. "You've got a minor spinabifida malformation" he said. I have had X Rays for this condition many times but never has any specialist ever noticed or pointed this out to me. So, he proceeded to explain what I should and shouldn't do which of course is all merely common sense linked to my activities. Now I get no serious back pain.
      Nevertheless I wonder what caused this common malformation in me?
      Primal Theory has some answers I assume?

      Paul G.

    2. Hi Paul

      I gather that Spinabifida is caused by a lack of folic acid. My older brother who lived for 2 days had incredibly bad Spinabifida. He also had this condition where his bowels were in a kind of bag. It must have been very traumatic for my Parents. It has been suggested that I have scoliosis but that does not explain a misaligned vertebra. My chiropractor is adamant that this is an early trauma. I have sense it was caused by being beaten with a sawn off broom handle when I was three by a crazy great uncle when my sister and I were left with my Great Grandmother for a week. Suppossedly my sister aged 1 year old screamed for months afterwards.

      I am hoping that my visit to LA in September helps shine some light on it.

    3. Hi planespotter,

      My mother told me she had to give me to a family friend or neighbour at age two or three (maybe younger, my guess) for a week when she went into hospital. She said: "When you came back you were not the same child, never the same again".

      I have utter lost and alone feelings and when they form expression sometimes I cry alone in the dark (with Ted). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . there are few words apart from Mamma, Mum-um-um-um-um-um. . . words I was not allowed to utter then, no doubt. I get a later 2nd/3rd line boarding school version, adult words, different voice. . . . This is not something I am trying to do, it came out of my bodywork psychotherapy and the collapse of my business and relationship with the mother of my 9yr old daughter.

      On a positive note I have still got work, still paying off debts, still planning to move out of the big bad city, still earning yet more good credit rating at the bank, still reducing my drinking and other addictions, still experiencing much less weird obsessions and still experiencing absolutely no belief in anything, particularly anything any-one says. My beard's growing thicker and the suitcases under my eyes are visibly unpacked. (I have sort of developed the notion that bags under the eyes are swollen tear ducts, what do you think)?

      Absolutely everything Art says about the difference between the 1st, 2nd & 3rd line is presenting itself ever more clearly in me. It is beyond belief.
      It is as if I am a badly plaited tripartite rope and gradually, some-how my organism is combing out the knots and re-plaiting myself.

      I have never in my whole life had such an excruciatingly positive experience part of which are such easily comprehend-able explanations. I never ever in my life expected this to happen to me and I never, ever expected to be so glad to feel so completely f*****g shit. I reckon I need just 1 more year to straighten out my housing, my finances and to prepare for therapy, then I'm also on my way.

      Last but no least for me is the almost complete disappearance of my self doubt, fear and self loathing as an obstacle to therapy, I used to believe I was too neurotic ans unworthy. I get bouts of suicidal / death sensation / thoughts which come and go but in no way does this interfere with my plans for therapy, it is as if a line has been drawn under my 2nd line traumas reducing the 1st line intrusion and that seems to be what was really confusing me for decades; just as Art might predict and a thousand other therapies totally fail to comprehend at all. On the contrary I am inexorably propelled in a Westerly direction, I am essentially on my way though it looks like I'm stuck in a tight spot; appearances, just appearances.

      Paul G.

    4. Hi Planespotter
      I'm hoping to be in LA September too; I find out my therapy start date next week, after my intake interview this Sunday.
      You can get my email from the Center, be great to see you there.

    5. Hi Jacquie

      I wondered whether you would be going at the same time. See you there. :-)

    6. Hi Paul

      Hope you get everything sorted out for the LA trip.

      It's interesting that you seem to be having some primals. i don't know whether I have or not. I just get bodily pain that seems to go very deep indeed almost down a big black hole. Maybe that is 1st line. I think my experience was influenced by having been on an SSRI for nearly ten years. I came off it and boom my world exploded all thanks to my wonderful, kind and thoughtful family NOT!

      I think the one thing that does not get mentioned on this blog is violence and it's contribution to our problems. I know I was beaten incredibly badly by my Mother, so much so that I suspect I have a fracture to my nose and to my skull. Why do I think that? Because of strange obsessions. I think any such obsessions include the germ of their creation. I dreamt the other night I was standing with a bunch of kids and there hiding in amongst them all was this small frightened Boy whose head had been caved in. What was his skull had been shattered that the pieces layered over each other. He was a dark colour which was actually dried blood and I think he was little me. Not that that actually happened to me but I did think I would die at the hands of my Mother at the time I think. The feeling I had during the dream was total confusion and the poor little lad was terrified, cowering and broken. I continually think about violence using knives and also breaking peoples noses during violent incidents though this may be to do with something else. I can hardly breath out of one nostril and so this perhaps make sense. I'm off to get it checked out.

      I just wish to see if I can get something more concrete out of PT.

    7. Planespotter: are you going for the 3wk intensive?? Jacquie

    8. Hi planespotter,

      I'm beginning to become sure I was severely beaten and abused but of-course I can't remember the actual events. Family members have said certain things. . . The 'tone' of what you write is very similar to my experiences and also the actual content. Your contributions resonate in me and of-course we are both 'English'.

      So, there is stuff I cannot remember and the clinic is the only place where I will be able to 'remember', That I am now completely certain. I could write at length why I know primal therapists are the only ones who could assist me, enough to say I have been rigorously programmed not to cry infront of other people. The mere fact that primal therapists position themselves behind patients in low lit padded rooms and so on. . . Not this ridiculous 'therapeutic alliance' sat up in a bright lit drawing room. . .

      I am having 2nd & 3rd line primals with 1st line intrusion, some is abreaction. A few 'ingrained' fixations, compulsions and obsessions have completely disappeared, leaving a trace but not acted out any more, a delicate situation.

      I assume there was always the possibility that Arts' blog could become more than merely a 'chat room' for the subject of Primal. I feel it is time to state clearly that I am 'managing' my problems with the help of this blog. It isn't a substitute for therapy but it sure helps. I can't be the only one benefiting in this way, please don't let me be the only one. . .

      Paul G.

  9. If we do not understand these fundamental causes in action. "Work by R. Gaunt put rats under stress (tied to board), then gave them tranquilizers. They seemed indifferent to their problem. But their bodies weren’t. There were high readings in stress hormones. We need to keep this in mind when we take tranquilizers; for the wear and tear on the body goes on even if we are unaware of it".
    This may well be compared with the denial of the drawing power... you do not need to recognize... understand something that is not visible to the naked eye.


    1. Hi Frank,

      -"This may well be compared with the denial of the drawing power... you do not need to recognize... understand something that is not visible to the naked eye".

      Ah yes, those old 'double negatives'; often all we have to describe, to 'cognise' the denial of others, for example:
      -" It is not that I am saying you need to deny your point of view, it is that I don't want to negate mine. . . etc etc etc.

      I digress but I think I agree with your remark. Though I'm not sure if you mean the same as I take it, let me try with a very recent experience of mine:

      My agent has had 84 emails from a client who works as a drawings technician for an engineering company. half of these emails have new updated drawings with as many as fifty new measurements.

      All this for the new roof of the clients' tiny thatched cottage extension in the country. Something my agent and I could have designed and built using 2 or 3 sets of updates with only a dozen or so measurements. It has taken me three full days or more to extrapolate the few necessary from the many unnecessary measurements in his survey drawings to make my workshop drawings. I did this whilst building the roof as a kit and then delivering and erecting it. . . or trying to. The job has taken yet another week longer and I'm on a price. . .

      Only two days ago we assembled the new frame on site (whilst the client talked numbers 'at' me all day, incessantly in the boiling sun). We exposed several glaring mistakes the client has made in his own survey drawings. Furthermore he has built walls in the wrong place. He has blamed us, slowed down the project by another week and is still ranting about how we can't read his drawings. This is his way of defending himself from the terrible truth.

      He has shot himself in the foot. Right now I am waiting for my agent to return from a lunchtime site visit to 'educate' the client into the true facts. Somehow I just know the client is so obsessed with his own technical drawing masterpieces on paper that he will not be able to understand "that which is not visible to the naked eye". Namely he has not used trigonometry to work out the hips and valleys and eves, he does not know how to use trig and does not see the need for it either. So his new walls he has not built to fit the kit roof we made from his survey drawings and because he does not see the need to use trig we are wrong and he is right.

      He will continue to argue we are to blame and try to get us to build a new frame because he will not be able to give up his belief in the denial of his (conceptual) drawing power. I am waiting to see where this is all going because I am temporarily laid off and worrying my agent will not get paid. It's worse because I got paid by the agent and I don't want my relationship with him tarnished by this client. That is what is happening.

      Paul G.

    2. Hi,

      My agent just called to say the client cannot accept responsibility for his mistake but is prepared to PAY US TO PUT IT RIGHT anyway. . .

      So, Art has said that he has never seen 'multiple personality disorder' and I have postulated that such a thing is just what 'appearances' look like (presenting symptoms) and now I compelled to work on site with exactly this 'presenting symptom' in the client. The left side does not know what is in the right side does it?

      Art talks about the 'cost of neurosis'. I am about to have to explain that to the client. My agent could only get him to agree to pay us more (not take responsibility) but he will not be on site to help dismantle what we erected only two days ago. I will have to re-cut and modify what is already a "Pigs' Ear" of an Oak Frame.

      This will be a very 'compelling' exercise because I now know stuff about myself and about the client (and the agent) that none of them realise about themselves at all.

      Thank God I haven't got a messiah complex any more or I might be inadvertently constructing my own thatched crucifix as well.

      Paul G.

    3. Hi Frank

      "Work by R. Gaunt put rats under stress (tied to board), then gave them tranquilizers. They seemed indifferent to their problem. But their bodies weren’t.

      I spent 10 years on Zeroxat which was used to damp down my worrying and obsessing and yet I now realise that my body refused to stop giving me signs about the abuse that happened to me. One was an incredibly itchy and rashy back that even now flares up if I deny what happened to me. Interesting that about a year ago I discovered this awful injury to my spine. The two are linked to my mind. When I was younger I used to stand with my back to a big mirror and hold another one so i could look at my back which seemed rather concave. I didn't know why I did that but I can appreciate it is knowing without knowing. I had other bodily expressions of what happened to me that went away when I worked out what happened. If i deny what happened these symptoms return.

    4. Planespotter: Your body should never stop giving you signs of past abuse. It is the only way we can know it is there and must be healed. art

  10. Dr. Janov,

    “Cognitive therapy assumes we have an ample amount of free will.”

    But we don’t.

    Our action and reaction is navigated by the imprint. Unhealed trauma dictates to us and our “Leitmotiv” is stained – driven by un-fulfilled needs – and guided by fear.

    It is the ones who have no access to their own feelings who hammer the slogan “free will” and cheerlead “if I can do it, so can you”.

    If encouraging words and “free will” would be the foundation of healing trauma – the world would be trauma free.

    To tell the “free will philosophers” that their view is wrong, is like explaining the color red to a person born blind.

  11. Good luck with your therapy, Jacquie! (I expect you are there now?) I just want to ask: Have you found a place to stay yet. I mean, is it a motel or an apartment? I have a reason for asking because my funds are terribly limited and I think the rents will be quite high in that part of LA. All the best. Art, Alice Miller talks about having the 3 week intensive in France (the country)several years ago writing it left her feelings all broken up and she never coule sleep during that time and also it nearly drove her 'psychotic'. What is the possibility of this happening, please?

    1. Anonymous: Alice Miller never had primal therapy with anyone qualified to do it. art.


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.