Friday, May 18, 2012

The Cost of Neurosis

Let me explain the cost of neurosis. A man in my neighborhood drinks a lot. Last week he rolled his car and he got hurt and he hurt the people he hit. All because he was constantly trying to kill his pain; a pain he never recognized. Then the circus begins. The adjuster comes out and spends hours figuring out the damage to both cars. He files a report that he then sends to the head office, which goes over it and relays it to the car repair shop and then gets in touch with the car rental company to get him a car while he waits.

Then he is in the hospital to fix a broken arm and the others are in hospital for whiplash. Doctors and nurses and medicine after medicine. He can’t work so he needs a replacement at his job; a call for someone else. Then comes the lawsuit with experts for both sides, and finally the court date with doctors and lawyers testifying. The judge has to deliberate and file a conclusion, which is then sent to both parties. There is another bill for repair for the other car, which he refuses to pay; so another small claims court meeting to again assess the damage. More trips to court and more lawyers. And then months later the cars are repaired and he has gone back to drinking. Think of the personnel and time wasted in all that; all because he needed to kill his pain and got drunk. All the time devoted to this nonsense. And worse, there is often death involved as the drunk has so little control. He goes to court over and over and gets off, gets no treatment, and is ready for the next death. The jails are so full of others killing their pain; the majority in prison are in for drug offenses. How about we take out the pain and stop the drug abuse and the years in prisons for so many people; men and women who have to leave their families to be locked up. And for what? Still in pain and still in need of painkillers, alcohol, heroin, tranqs and all the rest.

Wouldn’t it be a great saver of life, limb, and money to get the kind of therapy that removes the pain from the system so that he does not have to take painkillers to make it through the day? It is a lot less hassle and a lot cheaper. Now multiply this by millions or thousands every day with the same complications. Society is wasting half its time dealing with the effects of killing pain. There has to be a better way. We have the answer; now the right people have to ask the right question.


  1. The Cost vs. Income of Neuroses

    Your economic scenario regarding the drunken driver in your neighbourhood sounds, at first sight, very specious. However, it is based upon a logic with so many contradictory consequences, that my human sympathy, will turn out to be the widow’s mite, left for you.

    I’m sorry, Art, but the income made by neurotics are tremendously much bigger than the cost of them. The old, neurotic, American “dream” to make a fortune / become a millionaire and then become independent and (due to the unending nature of neuroses, even "richer", etc.) has for generations had the cost of “your drunken driver” as a non official, slightly annoying surcharge in its general spreadsheet. I could go on writing so much about the importance of alcohol and neuroses as a source of "income", that your famous fish would drown many times in its deluge of “wealth” creation.

    The enclosed statistics, over the proportion, of the US population, by education, who used alcohol in the previous month, speaks for itself. Looking at the statistics there seems to be evidence that the more stuffed into our left brains, the the more painkilling alcohol we need!

    Proportion of US population by education who used alcohol in previous month:

    Collage graduate 67%
    Some collage 60%
    High school graduate 55%

    Less than high school 37%

    An interesting fact is that, in spite of the high American alcohol consumption, the US has dropped 23% since 1990 and that abstention is much more common in the US than in any other Western Country. 35% of all Americans are abstainers. A large number of states continued their own state prohibition after 1933. There are also millions of Americans who currently support the concept of prohibition.

    However, I think that PT, in spite of its curing potential, will have a hard time to compete with religious revival movements and Alcoholics Anonimu’s bodies. Their method, like cognitive therapists, to repress the alcoholic’s pain, “forgive” him and to reestablish him within their own often strong an well established organizations, creates a subjective well being supported by the majority. Some even become presidents...

    Jan Johnsson

    1. Jan!

      “I’m sorry, Art, but the income made by neurotics are tremendously much bigger than the cost of them”.

      We have a very large bill to pay for people's so-called welfare... we can't even imagine. Welfare is just another side of being an alcoholic... we can't even imagine the consequences of it.

      The alcoholics is the warning light over time... warning light for what it is going on in the society.

      If we could imagine how many real alcoholics there are behind the facades of welfare state... to not mention murderess... we would be scared.

      We are killing our children every day… if not physically well mentally… we should think about that and we will understand the reason of the alcoholics… the reason is very reasonable… we are in trouble.

      Welfare is a cost we pay to exterminate ourselves.


  2. And now my good friend... my pal... my friend of all time Arthur Janov. You or someone else from the center have to ask these questions in a lawsuit... or why not turn to all those insurance companies that must pay these sums. If you can prove your theory are they prepared to invest in your business?

    Yors Frank

    1. Frank: No lawsuits. No one wins but the lawyers. It is years and years of energy and thousands in dollars all in vain. Art

  3. Art: Nice idea ... BUT where do we get enough therapists to kill that pain??? Not sure how many alcoholics there are out there, but I suspect millions.

    There is another way that is not quite so attractive, but is also cheap and avoids the side effects of alcohol (drunkeness). How about making all drugs legal and letting those in deep pain find the drug best suited to them that does not have the side effects of alcohol?

    I feel most would gravitate towards heroine or some form of opiate that was relatively easy to ingest.

    The only other way, whilst we were to allow that pain killing, would be to prevent the pain in the first place.


  4. Dr. Janov,
    you write about the cost of ONE neurotic.

    Allow me to extend the picture- how another single neurotic destroyed a whole nation and created a nearly irreparable aftermath.
    Germany was in need of healing after WWI. Years of hunger and illness made people desperate, grabbing any idea as the solution. Like all people in need, lacking basics such as food and housing, they select without objectivity, a salvation-bringer as the only way out of their pain. He came, promised to love and protect them, give them food and prosperity – he gave the hopeless hope and the needy thankfully cheered “Heil Hitler”.
    Deprived and unconscious of what was really needed (like the alcoholic in your story) they couldn’t understand how this neurotic psychopath con-man manipulated their minds. As a neurotic, never now in his own needs and pain, Hitler even delivered a common enemy, the Jews as a catharsis, an outlet for their deeply rooted pain, someone they could hate and blame. History has written the outcome of this era, but not what came later.
    Another generation born in the time of his power, also deprived of humanity and suffering altered genes, continued the imprint, knowingly and unknowingly. A new cycle of neurotics were born after 1945, who again invalidated, misused and abused their children. Explained by the war's devastation and the need for rebuilding a country, children were regarded as a burden, declared as useless consumers and consequently used as slaves. Children were born as post-war casualties, as bastards, produced by the allies of all occupying forces (68 000 sired by US soldiers alone). Not only the 38 000 women in Norwegian and Sweden, raped by Nazis in the 40s, to create a blond and blue eye perfect Arian race, mothers in Germany spread their legs for food, cigarettes and nylons and dumped their 400 000 “love results” into orphanages. Deprived of motherly love, a new generation of neurotics with identity-problems were created.
    Just a few years before the leftover neurotics from the Nazi era, imprinted with hate and disrespect for humanity created a democracy with a good-sounding law. While Germany formally adopted the newly formed democracy in 1949, and signed in 1948, the human rights act, the old Nazi Zeitgeist (or Nazi imprint) continued everywhere. Postwar Germany needed cheap laborers, so they used the rest of the unwanted children (400 000), put by law in religious institutions, (camouflaged as godly kindness for the needy), to help rebuilding the then economic boom in Germany.
    to be continued

  5. part II
    For the outside world, and all the traumatized who never ask or looked deeper, Germany was a prosperous country. What about the psychological gangrene eating away people's brains? Nobody wanted to know about it. There was no time, no healing-tools, no money for the unseen wounds of two generations. Instead, new labels were distributed for the ones who showed the effects of their trauma - they were called the non-functional, a burden for society, the lazy who refuse to work for the good of the country, and pay no taxes.
    Today, these 800 000 children demand their human rights and asked the government of today to be validated and destigmatized - to no prevail. Why? The answer is simple. The government is occupied by post war first and second generation, with neurotic imprints and changed genes, who never had a chance to heal their trauma and cannot give what they don’t have - empathy. What can a few conscious people achieve or expect from an overwhelmingly neurotic and psychopathic imprinted nation … Nothing.
    Germany is just one of many examples. What have other countries done to heal their atrocities against their citizens… what has the United States done to heal the wounds of the natives and black people, for their psychologically wounded genetically altered children, who will became psychologically wounded neurotic adults?
    Because Justice was never fully served regarding the Nazis, imprints never healed, human rights violations can continue and will be again swept under the carpet.
    If we, the individual, and the nation as a whole, is not healing the imprint of indivituals, the pain that makes us non-functional on a human level, we will suffer forward to all future generations, create a costly aftermath for all countries.

    1. Hi Sieglinde

      Fascinating insights. I think it was Alice Miller in "For your own good" who stated that there were many dreadfully damamaging child rearing books published in Germany at the end of the 19 Century which advocated beating and abusing children in the name of good Parenting. I gather that beating a child causes scaring of the Brain which would go a long way to creating those damaged children.

      The UK is going through some difficult times at the moment. The poor are as always the scapegoats. The Tory government have capped the amount of money a family can claim for housing benefit so now some of the Tory councils are telling people that they may have to move 200 miles or so for accomodation away from friends and family. It is being called social cleansing. The rich are claiming the banks of the Thames as luxury flats are built all along it now that it is clean and smells sweet. Most of the flats are being bought by rich foreigners. The mixed community that London was is being removed and the poor shipped back to the midlands and the north where they can become the unprotected workers. It will begin to look more like Paris with the poor rioting in the ghetto's outside the big ring roads that act as walls. The sacrifices of people like Art who fought tyrany in the last world war are being forgotten in the name of total free market anarchy.

      I am always amused by people like Sarah Palin who profess to fight against the state interfering in thier lives while completely ignoring the huge amount of subsidy that places like Alaska gain from the government.

      Scapegoating is common practice and giving the masses an enemy is simply bread and circuses.

    2. Hi Sieglinde,

      I just watched a program on BBC I player about the descendants of the Nazi regime. The Grandson of the Auschwitz Commandant made his journey at the age of 42 and met some of the survivors. Others tell their tale and the interviewer asks pithy questions about how to live with personal history. . . some just completely deny it.

      The grandsons' moving account also includes how his father (the son of the commandant) beat him mercilessly for crying. . .

      Art I think you maybe you could watch this documentary and have something to say about how epigenetics effects or is affected by the sins we feel guilty for that our forebears committed on others.

      It is not in the same order but I still to this day feel guilty for the 'privilege' of the elitist system bestowed apon me in private boarding schools and the way that impacts through our societies and through the world, the unfairness, the injustices. . . false privilege is a burden of an inheritance.

      Paul G.

    3. Hi planespotter

      Alice Miller described in "For your own good" a very old childrearing practice.
      Actually Miller used the context from many different childrearing books, some published in the late 1700's.
      Many of these oppressive often brutal childrearing practices are listed in Katharina Rutschky’s Book “Schwarze Paedagogik” (black pedagogy) that describes Germans (also Austria and Swiss) ways how you punish, restrict a child’s will, force it into obedience and not to stray away from cultural submissiveness.
      These instructions were, of course only for the peasants, meaning the majority of all citizens.
      Royalty and rich people had no rules and enslaved the poor. My father once said: if you want to get the max out of children, you must first implant fear. This is also the main subject in Miller,s book. Like the social cleansing you describe, it has being going on for many hundreds of years. Nothing really has changed. It's all about oppression.

      You find Sarah Palin amusing;, I think she is an airhead and needs PT.

    4. SWA: Palin won't get it from me. art

    5. Hi Paul,
      Would you please give me the title of the program on BBC?

      It is quite often that children feel guilty for the crime committed by their father (parents). I call it – inherited guilt.
      This imprint (inherit) can be observed in people who experienced neglect, violence and abuse in early childhood. They generate sympathy for others who endured similar.
      The flipside is – denial; the results of fear for violence, punishment and not being loved.
      Evidence for these two extremes can be found in the WWII first generation Germans.
      The same denial made the dehumanizing of children, after WWII, possible. The best public known example is Angelika Merkel. She MUST control others (lack of control over her own childhood) - even other countries. (see Greeks)
      At the same time, Merkel did absolutely nothing to de-stigmatize or compensate the 800,000 children abused in institutions after WWII and society still seems to believe these children were “little criminals” or “little whores”. Merkel is in denial, she can’t face her own childhood imprinted pain and avoids confrontation, related to her own experience and cultural upbringing like all Postwar Germans (Stockholm syndrome).
      Hitler is gone, the imprint remains.

    6. Hi Sieglinde,

      The program was called "Hitlers' Children".

      Unfortunately I have only just trawled through the last blog entries and I have not replied before the program has expired. Sorry.

      Nevertheless I think you may be able to download it. BBC often repeat these documentaries later on, so keep an eye out for it.

      BBC I player is good for things like that by the way.

      Paul G.

    7. Thanks Paul G.
      Now I remember seeing the documentary a few years ago on PBS.
      Do you remember the part where every one of the children talks about a childhood without love and affection... how they got beaten by their father because they were crying?
      This was my father - beating us kids because we showed emotions.

    8. Hi Sieglinde

      I understand about those books.

      John Cleese is quoted on a you tube video that Micheal Palin is no longer the funniest Palin now that Sarah Palin is around. I also fear Sarah Palin because she is dangerous in her unconscious state. I said I found her amusing because to laugh at a Dictator helps to reduce their power. Just look at Charlie Chaplin and his film "The Great Dictator" roughly based on Hitler and ridiculing him.

  6. The right people!

    We need a "charismatic" person who presents Primal Therapy... charismatic figure as "spellbinding" people at what PT contains. To me yoy are Art but clearly not for the vast majority of needy.

    People must be given the opportunity to get knowledge about PT… which is not the case today.

    The “professional” elite are tied to the bud of intellectuals’ explanations... to ask them for help is the same as “going over the river for water. But we try as long as there is none with the charismatic nature available… we never know… but clearly is the “professionals knowledge” against recovery!

    Those who suffer… do that… and can’t read the signals… the symptoms... they need what PT contains and not continue to get the wrong information about their suffering.


    1. Frank: "People must be given the opportunity to get knowledge about PT… which is not the case today." I agree with you. We here all want the same thing; how are we going to achieve it?? Jacquie

  7. How do you make the parched horse drink the water when it doesn't know if it's safe?

    The man you mention is in pain. Are you going to suggest he come to your Center and feel MORE pain, maybe writhe like a salamander for hours on end? Easier to grab a Bud Light.

    If he was ready to hear you, does he have the time and money to receive your care?

    It's a real problem...which, as portray in a succinct, graphic, powerful way. What to do with that knowledge, though? If the court orders him into therapy, what are the chances it will be for Primal ("Your Honor, my client needs to return to the time he spent in the womb. This Janov fellow can help him in the padded rooms he runs where they tame the beasties lurking in the Lizard Brain.")?

    Tough sell.

    I believe you offer relief, perhaps even a cure. But how to help folks who are well-defended? The man needs to either bottom-out or feel hope (for relief). Logic and reason probably won't convince him. He needs words that are more poetry than prose...yet there are none so deaf who will not hear.

    As you say, who will ask the right questions...and to whom? At one time inoculations seemed insane...preventing disease by injecting it. Now you suggest feeling pain will relieve it. Not likely to make your digs a mental health mecca. Not unless you offer them hope. Not hope for getting what they missed, but by feeling the loss "back then" they will feel better today.

    Maybe you need to create a catchy videotube that goes viral. Not you sitting in a chair talking/lecturing, but something more punchy...with graphics and maybe even cartoon images to explain the whole process. Bell Labs did it per blood: "Hemo the Magnificent"

    and Disney regarding math: "Donald in Mathmagic Land"

  8. Could I ask what you consider is the reason why one person will prefer to stick to his drinking (whatever the consequences) for example and another will come to therapy? Too much very early pain perhaps?

    1. David: That is a very big question and it needs a long answer which I shall try to do in the future. I will put this on the blog and see what answers I get. art

    2. > "the reason why one person will prefer to stick to his drinking....and another will come to therapy?"

      Multitudinous: having an "enlightened witness;" knowing someone in a similar situation who got help; knowing solutions exist; having time and money for therapy; getting encouragement; feeling improvement as one continues; etc.

      Many folks like myself learned about Primal during its early days. We did NOT know it could be abused...or that we "seekers" could be re-traumatized. Just like we thought LSD could only open doors too happy places.

      What makes one person neurotic and another not? A zillion "reasons" probably, not the least of which is sheer luck. This person's mom smoked and drank while carrying, this one's didn't.

      A dating guru once said the same thing per social confidence. He said one guy was unlucky in that the first girl he approached rejected him. Undaunted, he tried a second girl. Alas, she said No, too. So he was skittish about the third..who sensed his dis-ease and rejected him, too. So he became chronically unconfident and doubt-filled.

      Meanwhile, his identical twin was luckier. HIS first attempt succeeded: the girl said Yes. So when the second girl said No he didn't take it seriously. The 3rd girl saying Yes cemented his confidence.

      Shakespeare said it best: "Readiness is all." Yet who knows what combinations of factors point one person to further pain-killing and another to feel short-term pain in order to relieve longer-term ones?

      I think Art's main difficulty now (beyond being just one mortal being!) is marketing. And marketing is involved no matter how noble a cause. In my humble opinion you don't tell people in pain to feel more pain. They will rightly think you're nuts and/or a PR person for an S&M club. You need to offer RELIEF first and foremost. THEN, after you get their attention, you use metaphors to show the paradoxes involved.

      For example, suppose someone calls you and says the forest in their area is on fire. You tell them to start another one. They will think you are insane...unless you first introduce them to the concept of "back-fires." That is, starting a second fire ahead of the first that burns BACKWARD... thus eliminating fuel for the oncoming flames.

      Or explaining how vaccines prevent full-blown disease by injecting small, weaker doses into the bloodstream.

      Similarly, you can say: "If your dog dies, will it comfort you to hear it was only so many chemicals? Or that its 'time had come'? Will THINKING salve your sorrow-filled heart? Or would being held and allowed to cry?"

      Art keeps saying he has only pain to offer. That is not true. He offers relief from suffering, and not just temporarily.

      He needs to say THAT. Pain is caused when males feel they have to "fight back tears." Relief comes from actually crying. Still, socialized males with feel they are going crazy if the first time they cry is at age 45.

      Pain is not caused by NOT feeling. Hell, who prefers dentistry without Novocain? Pain is caused when we are not ALLOWED relief through natural processes. An injured child, held and allowed to weep, will heal rather quickly. A child slapped for crying will be in pain a long, long time.

      Faux Primal therapists used to bring patients to third-line feelings before those of the first two lines were integrated. It drove some to their deaths. Similarly, you can't reach a guarded public by appealing to scary third-line things. The marketing has to be as gentle, supportive, and understanding as the therapy it represents.

      [to be continued]

    3. [continued from prior post]

      What killed Primal's appeal was its 1970's "screaming" aspect. Screaming and yelling is what out-of-control parents do...and Bedlam patients. That scares people. Few with run for help to a person howling at the moon.

      Yet even though Primal techniques and understandings have changed, its marketing hasn't. It's like trying to sell a new, improved, eco-sensitive Edsel. Folks can't get past the name.

      Hmmmm. Mayhap Art is neurotic about his therapy's name? Could it be changing its name would be...painful?

      Still, maybe it's TIME it changed. Not to con people, but to more honestly convey its intent and usefulness. And more importantly, have its discoveries accepted and used. Right now it's as if he discovered penicillin, but keep saying, "Let me cure you by smearing mold on you!"

      Sounds nutty, no?

      So maybe Mr. Janov could/should solicit new names on this blog, have a contest of sorts. You know:

      "To my faithful bloggers: knowing me and my therapy, what new name do you think would best capture its mission/essence?"

      Too bad "Art Therapy" is already taken. :>)

    4. Very wise and knowing posts, Trevor (beginning with the first from May 19, 2012 2:06 AM). You touch some issues I am concerned with on a daily basis. I am a student of psychotherapeutic sciences and face the difficulty to "sell" primal therapy and theory within the obscure jungle of a dozen of more-mainstream but useless therapy-methods.

      I am honestly looking forward to read the first entries on your yet to be filled blogs.

      Regards, Bernhard

      ps. excuse my english for I am germanspeaking.

  9. Hi David,

    -"Could I ask what you consider is the reason why one person will prefer to stick to his drinking (whatever the consequences) for example and another will come to therapy? Too much very early pain perhaps"?

    Some will always live life as if it went on for ever but you don't necessarily need alcohol or drugs to be like that, beliefs work fine, Hitler was tea-total, vegetarian and ‘anti-vivisection’. Meanwhile others struggle with pain and return to painkillers of one form or another, usually in crisis.

    I notice you don't use the word 'choose', you use the word 'prefer'. . . . . We don't have much choice; 'preference' in this case suggests self deceit, who can say they prefer alcohol as if it were a choice? We fail and start again. Such is the compulsion to kill pain. Every attempt to feel what previously we colluded in suppressing and repressing, which ever 'agent' we used to do that with, results in an increment more of choice, if you can be true to yourself. So when we fail and start again we learn a bit more about our true feelings and as we learn perhaps we learn to choose things that support life and evolution without suppressing, repressing and harming our true nature. Failing and starting over is an inevitable part of that.

    Paul G.

  10. Hmmm...all well and good if we have empirical proof that people who have been on primal therapy courses e.g. John Lennon, stop drinking afterwards. Do we have that proof?

    Personally I think this is a rather simplistic analysis, perhaps wrapped up in an American perspective that has Puritan and Judaic roots. In Europe, where we are closer to the Pagan-Classical traditions, the tradition of Bacchus is strong.

    If we look at a culture and society (Islam) that does NOT sanction alcohol, what do we find? Equable temperament? Peaceful societies? Tolerance?

    You tell me.

    I hope this gets posted but I don't have a great deal of hope, sadly.

    1. Peter,

      I have noticed I crave a drink when a crisis occurs. Obviously there's a direct link in me between stress, adrenalin and pain and alcohol. I notice also that if I find a way to deal with the crisis that begins in me from the one starting outside then I might get a hot bath, a decent meal and an early night before hitting the bottle.

      Obviously this is a cognitive approach but combined with trying (and succeeding some of the time) to be true to my feelings is resulting in a long term subtle change in my addiction cycle. Feeling pain certainly reduces craving (afterwards) though sometimes for reasons Art has explained about intrusion of 1st line into 2nd line feelings a painkiller may be more than merely a charitable palliative. It may also allow for a clearer sense of which feelings can be integrated. I use the word sense, not thought or perception.

      Paul G.

  11. An email comment: "Dear Art,
    I recall what Pres.Calvin Coolidge said, when asked about the the business of the nation. He said, "The business of the nation is business". What would all these people do, if most would live sane lives and tended to their own gardens? It seems to me, that anything that turns the wheels of industry, irregardless of the cost to society, is permitted, often encouraged! I totally agree with you."


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.