Sunday, September 23, 2012

Can You Get Over the Pain From Early in Your Life

The answer seems to be yes; not total reversal but enough to make a difference.  A new study from Boston Children’s Hospital found that early neglect leaves changes in the brains of the victims, but, they state that positive intervention  can ameliorate some of the damage.  This was a study of institutionalized children from Romania.  It was reported on in The National Academy of Sciences (July 23/12)(Read a news article about this).  They showed significant improvement in these previously damaged children when placed in good foster homes.  So yes, some damage can be undone but, in my experience, not all of it.  In damaged children, there is less gray matter in the cortex  as compared with normal children.  Yet those who  continued in institutions retained  the damage.

  The problem is that when there are spurts of growth of this gray matter during the critical period, it can be suppressed by neglect.  And this is related to cognitive and learning abilities.  They found that the younger the child is when placed in foster care, the better.  No surprise.  I can just imagine if I were taken out of the zoo I  grew up and put into a decent home, what a difference it would have made.  Because no matter how your later  life goes,  you never fully reverse the early damage.  There was simply too much neurotic life before leaving the zoo.

  Of those who were institutionalized, there is a greater prevalence of ADD and above all, premature cellular again — how long we will live.  Early neglect means higher cortisol levels and that can mean more damage to memory and hippocampal functioning.  Of course if we get out of the home during our late teens we have a better chance than if we stay into  our twenties when behavioral patterns become set.  Don’t forget the prefrontal cortex is not totally mature until our late twenties.  We still have flexibility to change until then.  After that we definitely need primal therapy.  It was true of me and all of the patients I have seen.  We  have to undo embedded and imprinted experience kept in deep storage.  Not easily done.


  1. Hello Art - nice to see the mood struck.

    I think we need to make the differentiation between neurosis as a system, relating to repression and compulsion etc, and the developmental impact of neurosis.

    As I see it you can never replace a childhood on the basic developmental level, though logically later development can lead to compensation, to some degree at least. However you can break down the neurotic system. But if you do break down the neurotic system you will still be left with an under-developed brain. Clearly you can't cure a childhood that never was on the developmental level. If you could then we wouldn't need a childhood in the first place.

    1. Could not agree more about the goodness of your (Andrew's) comment!

    2. Yes Art ,it is by far better to leave before the twenties...
      start-I had (? yes!) till 30 then my mother died in an hospital
      in Berlin -and then "it" was too late and me too sick -and
      then till my father died ... and then could leave ..
      Oh Lord it sounds so crazy from my now consciousness...
      I hope the rest of the game will be worth living!!
      One advantage :like frozen corpses which stay "young " my body face and mind are not at all like those of "normal2 ones !
      Yours emanuel

    3. Andrew!

      These are questions that I also made myself ... "Who would I really be if everything been after the evolutionary scheme best suited for its purpose"? There are many issues that appear... would we even have a thinking brain if the evolution been suited for its best purpose? Or my all is of evolutions process to get where we suppose to be as human been in the end… I do not think so but who knows?

      The amount of memories we are going through in our therapy “heals” also for the needs we had. Love is love in all its sense whatever in time has been or not. If it turns back to what our brains should have been or not… we will never know… even if we learn about the physiological process… all is part of our own personal evolutionary process… in its entirety we can learn a bit.

      The physiological process in our mother's womb will speak a clear language to ourselves... no one will be able to tell about the experience of it more than ourselves. What in the physiological sense will change? We've got the tools through primal therapy for what evolution (my) has missed… tools to read the electro chemical process… meaning of the psychological symptomatic reactions and that means a lot to each of us.

      Who can feel who have thought as a defense against it... who can then place a question right?


    4. Hi Andrew,

      -"I think we need to make the differentiation between neurosis as a system, relating to repression and compulsion etc, and the developmental impact of neurosis"-.

      I've often thought that and: -"Clearly you can't cure a childhood that never was on the developmental level. If you could then we wouldn't need a childhood in the first place"-.

      Well this is the con that so many modern therapies offer, that you can 'act out' developmental stages later in life and be cured of the loss. . . (Or alternatively that you should dismiss childhood as an invention of culture and just get on with life as it is).

      What I have found is that my act outs (whether deliberate or otherwise) have sometimes lead to my true feelings but I suspect that the "ACCESS" that Art and the clinic so pointedly refer to is not correct for the full resolution of the trauma itself. A sort of ab-reaction. . . access through the wrong door maybe.

      This would be why the three week isolation period is so important. An interruption to the usual 'pathways'.

      Paul G.

    5. Paul,

      I think a lot of therapies sell the "advance yourself" development line because that is much of the neurotic demand. People want to become special because their parents made them feel worthless.

      Of course the heart of life is about feeling and experiencing it - not about being able to perform intellectual circus tricks for the sake of it. We only need to clear out the pain to move on with a full life. I say just let the development be what it is, or what it might naturally become. It does not need to be our focus in itself.

    6. that's right andrew. i am sure my brain did not grow enough. my face is big and my cranium appears to be disproportionately small, more like a neanderthal. perhaps, even after years of primal therapy, i will never reach adulthood. i can accept that possibility. i can find a childish primal girl, and together we will be happy and fulfilled. fulfillment is more important than development.

  2. Good to see such a realistic statement (from the 'horse's pen') about the role of primal therapy!

  3. Dear Art

    Very interesting. I left home to go to college at 19 and I have always thought that the influence of some good friends I made then did a great deal to help me grow up. With regard to how your therapy can help I can only say that having experienced it first hand what I experienced has changed me for the good and will continue to do so. It's like something at the very core of my being has changed. Switches has shifted in a positive way. I have some of my Mojo back which is Ace! :-)

    1. Dr Janov,

      So good to read from you about this !

      And Planetspotter:

      Yes ! you wrote it better than I could have !
      I used to think that I have met real people at 20...more warm and friendly than the average I came across till then.
      They all came from the same country...I opened to my own pain little by little and that lead me to read The primal scream.
      Maybe it's this kind of "plasticity" we had in our behaviour that so many of us have lost after all those years (then "the patterns are set")
      In french we talk about "l'âge des possibles".

  4. Hi Art,

    -"Of course if we get out of the home during our late teens we have a better chance than if we stay into our twenties when behavioral patterns become set. Don’t forget the prefrontal cortex is not totally mature until our late twenties. We still have flexibility to change until then. After that we definitely need primal therapy"-.

    That explains why I eventually refused to go back to my "private elite boarding zoo" at age 16. . . instincts still working enough to guide me away from the monsters there.
    But alas ! I ran away to join the circus and found myself in a new age counter culture. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

    Paul G.

    1. Art, I think it's so important what you have just printed on this blog. LIke Paul I had quite a number of friends involved in the 'New Age' movement but actually I found them less oppressive and dictatorial than a lot of the so called 'friends' I had.I actually began this therapy alone in a hired hut on somebody's back garden in my early twenties and I really helped myself and did a lot of work in deep feelings in memories, made true connections and wrote pages afterwards of them. I went into Care which is NEVER care as a young teenager. As I suffered all of my previous life as a family scapegoat, emotional and physical total neglect and violence, Care was no worse to me. I went back home to my father and more violence for my other sisters had all married or left home. I am saying this because I fear that children from an extremely unloving hateful family background may suffer the same deleterious effects on the brain as kids who have spent their baby and childhoods in institutions.The effect of such a start as this is that by the most extraordinary coincidence a lot of the people who come into one's life are very similar in some way to the siblings a person has had. Worrying!

    2. Hi Anonymous,
      -"I fear that children from an extremely unloving hateful family background may suffer the same deleterious effects on the brain as kids who have spent their baby and childhoods in institutions.The effect of such a start as this is that by the most extraordinary coincidence a lot of the people who come into one's life are very similar in some way to the siblings a person has had. Worrying"-!

      I feel we are born with a need for siblings. . . look at the way kittens play with each other. . . Are we so different? And don't we want to play to grow? We do!

      It's unmet need and that is the bulk of unresolved sibling rivalry, is the need to play and to share play with others. So by default the need, the unmet need gets projected onto other similar personalities. Thus is a form of attraction, a mirror through our repression, a worm hole, into what we are not but should have been. Such mad hatters we are, attracting like and repelling dislike.

      I feel this 'move on' that true feelings allows us also allows us to seek new relations in the place of old siblings who could never be.

      Paul G.

    3. Haoo, Paul!

      Regarding your comments, thank you. You know, it's not that easy to surmount the obstacles that siblings create. It's nice the idea of kittens playing but my sisters, three of them, were very sadistic kittens making war against me for the crime of difference from them. Have you read the book, 'Drama of the gifted child' by Alice Miller by the wy? It expostulates this dilemma very concisely. Also,in my case, they were a great deal older than me. Bullies! I think being an only child is worst though. Yes, sometimes they can be fun. Are you aiming for primal therapy still? I hope life goes well with you. I often wonder how.

  5. on the topic of undoing embedded and imprinted experience it must be very hard to 'undo' years of neglect esp. of the barren isolation variety since how do you relive/re-enact/work through something like that? It is not a specific event but rather a continuous state or condition that a person can exist in and as for years. Similarly, it means opportunities have been lost forever, which as Andrew says, is the point of childhood to realize. Perhaps, being able to laugh at the past is the only consolation one can aim for in such a case?

    1. Will!

      Aida is a very telling example of how suffering is exemplified when she is in feeling... it cannot be understood other than she is going through the waiting room of death. When you get a view like that… I am also convinced that a physiological change will be the result... what else than a physiological change can be the result from linking herself in a physiological process that is about to kill her?

      Aida tells of his experience with words I can not misunderstand and she shows an incredible relief



    2. hi will.

      when a baby is isolated immediately after birth, that traumatic feeling remains for decades but it is never felt properly, but alarm signals coming from that unconscious feeling will taint other experiences in life, and exaggerates those experiences, sometimes to the point where they become unnecessarily traumatic. so we have more trauma that stems from the original trauma. and those additional traumas are brief moments in time, as opposed to a trauma that lasts for decades.

      also, i think there are traumas that could be described as the 'breaking point' - the point at which a person snaps when they have finally had enough of a long-lasting situation. the feeling is not traumatic until it feels unbearable and inescapable.

      in short, i don't think you can relive a generally non-traumatic feeling such as "decades of isolation". you can relive the worst parts; the traumatic parts -- the parts that were so overwhelming that they had to be blocked from consciousness.

      i think a lot of people underestimate the word "trauma". some people think a primal is the equivalent to a bad day at work, when you come home sobbing and punch the pillow. and for that reason they see no point in paying a psychotherapist to help them punch a pillow. a genuinely traumatic feeling ALWAYS takes your body and mind to the very limit -- it WAS too much to feel. "too much" means "not survivable". we can tolerate a LOT of pain before it reaches the point where it must be recorded unconsciously and stored for later retrieval. REPRESSED PAIN IS SERIOUS -- you can't feel it but it sends signals which ruin your ability to feel and think properly.

      it is never ok to laugh at a traumatic past. we have to resolve it, piece by piece. there is no other way to have a fulfilling life. our lives are tedious, numb, busy but boring.....we try to celebrate every little exciting morsel that comes our way before it dissolves away into the vast ocean of empty work that we call LIFE.

      and you know what Art, i am not pontificating as usual. i have a neurotic need to force reality down people's throats, even though i can't feel it. i want to force people to understand. i don't know why i am so compelled, but i don't think it's all pontification. i cannot accept other people's misunderstandings.

      now go back to the beach and relax. go swimming and lose some weight. we need you to live another decade.

    3. Richard: thanks for the advice but I don't need to lose weight. I am at a good weight now. you can relive the same feeling over and over again but go deeper each time. art

    4. "you can relive the same feeling over and over again but go deeper each time" thanks for the reminder Art. Cannot wait to be learning. Jacquie

  6. "Don’t forget the prefrontal cortex is not totally mature until our late twenties. We still have flexibility to change until then. After that we definitely need primal therapy"

    Let's be clear, most of us need primal therapy no matter what stage of development we are at, but it's fair to say that young teenagers are more capable of making good, realistic decisions (most scientists believe the opposite is true).

    Yes, we oldies are set in our ways, but we have an advantage: we DON'T NEED our parents anymore. When an outdated feeling is relived and resolved, it really is resolved; there is NO lingering NEED in the present. We can move on and begin to grow up.

  7. Just had a thought about early pain. I gather that a baby needs a high fat diet because of the amount needed for building the body and the Brain which is built from complex fats. Therefore someone who continues to eat a high fat diet into later life could well be still trying to build up a damaged Brain. The fact that many men tend to have a poorer connection between left and right hemispheres may also suggest why some men tend to towards a more meaty fat orientated diet than some women. I am a case in point. I need to lower my blood pressure and reduce the fat intake I have. My wife on the other hand has good blood pressure and eats far more salads etc. I just don't find them satisfying and maybe this is to do with my own Brain damage from my childhood.

  8. Art,

    all I can say is you've earned whatever rest you now take. Enjoy, my distant but somehow intimate friend :-)


  9. Planespotter: When my depression was really bad I had a period when I would eat a bag of potato chips every day. And as for other food? Pasta. Also beer, of course. Luckiy I'm past that phase, but I was a skinny dude who almost doubled in weight... Food that's high in fat and/or sugar can really be considered a drug in my opinion. Comfort food is what they call it. Salad not so much, although salad is actually pretty good. Also to Richard, Art doesn't look overweight to me.

    1. Hi AnttiJ & planespotter,

      I just moved out of town nearer to my workplace, very stressful and more than twice the price. But I do have somewhere for my children to stay; for the first time in nearly three years. I've moved six times.

      Every time butter, ice cream, full fat local cows milk, take out chicken & chips and supermarket pizza seem to have come back on the menu. I was reflecting on how stubborn I felt when faced with the next strange kitchen and all the nice veg I bought. No! as an anxious toddler I have repeatedly gone for the sweet, the starchy and the fatty (western spaghetti). That pattern has repeated each time I moved.

      All other previously vanquished addictions are back in fashion again and my dreams are saying the same old anxious things with the same old repeating metaphors. It's all about being banished,lost and abandoned, playing like an old record, feeling bereft most of the time, trying to make up for it by eating and drinking and ruminating about the bad old past.
      My moods are all over the place, I'm making mistakes at work and talking nonsense more often than usual. (Yes that is possible).

      For Tony and various other English on the blog:

      Having moved 'up' from my former single garret in town to a house in the country, finances have dictated that I rent out a room or two in this new house (putting the boot onto the other foot so to speak). A Greek American, about my age, passing through for a few months is now installed. . . anyway he described us English as a "Deranged Tribe". But at least we know it's diagnosable. . .

      Paul G.

  10. We act based on what Neocortex makes possible! For what via Hippocampus lets through... through from what belonging to the Limbic system and Brain stem.

    The psychological question must be extremely interesting out of that physiological equation... equation for how communication in the brain is possible or not.

    The hippocampus has in its function for further research to be very interesting... for the incoming signals… how they are reduced to be possible for further physiological information to Neocortex.

    If so then the clinical trial must be of utmost importance in order to prove how primal therapy in its process detects physiological equations that still are not an established order. And there is a lot more to come… not least the experience of going through primal therapy.


  11. Hi Art and planespotter,
    appropos blood pressure :I recently had a very strange experience with my
    After a message concerning a kind of love affair my conscious mind faked a
    rational(emotive?..) response ("it does`nt hurt etc..pp.)
    In the night thereafter I felt extreme heart pain)and the reading of my
    bloodpressure was 90/60 and arythmia (which I never had before).

    The other it was 160/95 and finally the third day 135/90 still with arythmia signs .
    The advice of the pharmacist :consult a M.D.,
    my question whether ii... could be caused by psychic events was answered affirmatively and "if can can get over it "....
    MINUTES later I felt loving feelings towards that love affair person ...
    and immediatlely -as if a stone was removed from my heart - the arythmia
    vanished !!
    Whether my poor heart had suffered under my reluctance to feel the pain of
    the loss ,I am not quite sure...
    Yours emanuel

  12. Hi AnttlJ

    I agree comfort food. I just put up a thought that popped into my the other day. The Brain is I gather, made of complex fats and consumes complex sugar's. Therefore if someone is anxious or depressed etc then that anxiety or depression is the direct result of early trauma pre and post birth compounded by later trauma and their Brain is going to be damaged to a certain extent and in the same way that the Right Brain keeps trying to tell the left Brain what happened I am sure that the body is trying to gather up the right nutrients that it needed when we were young just as a dysfunctional parent expects his or her child to love them unconditionally. The body is acting out just like the Brain though then ofcourse it is one and the same. Always trying to mend itself and get back to an optimal setting but using the wrong stuff.

    I gather that the human mouth to mouth kiss is a derivation of a Mother feeding her baby probably having chewed food up so the baby can swallow it. Birds do the same thing by tapping the sides of thier beaks together when courting. It is saying "I will look after you and feed you" and in many ways love you and support you. We need the nutriants from good food to build up the loved Brain. Food is often a metaphor for love because it is linked to a loved Brain. If we don't get love we hide from the pain of that while looking for the building blocks we need found in food. My family is obsessed by food. It is central to who the family see's itself to be. Food becomes the obsession and also the foil to feeling the real need that food is so intrinsically linked to. Is'nt that why some bilumic's eat and eat and then throw up. They can never eat enough to feel loved and so the body rejects the false imposition in the same way that it can reject a false feeling with coughing and choking as the real feeling emerges. I may be talking total hooey but it's interesting.

    What I have found since my month at the centre is my sudden distaste for alcohol. I've had a couple of drinks and hated how it stopped me being me. That is really quite something and wonderful. I also don't seem quite so obsessed by food but that's going to take longer to conquer I think! :-) The bacon sandwich beckons!

    1. Planespotter: I don't eat bacon because I used to work in the packinghouse where they slaughtered pigs. If you heard them scream it would stay with you for a lifetime. art

    2. Art
      I understand how you feel there. On a bus journey near Ubud in 1990 I heard a baby screaming loudly in great distress. Such terrible cries! The sound came through the bus windows! As we drew nearer the source of the sound I saw four Balinese men with axes lifted high in the air and a poor live pig tied legs apart on its back, wriggling desperately trying in vain to get free, crying in agony and terror at what was coming. He knew!! I was gravely upset while my other passengers were laughing and joking about eating bacon and eggs, etc. Such callousness upset me more. I have NEVER forgotten that sad sad piercing sound.

  13. Hi Art,

    I've done a season at a meat works too. Worst job ever (in fact my blood pressure went up a bit). I couldn't escape the inherent morbidity of what we were doing (3,000-5,000 killed sheep a night), and the smell, and the sensory deprivation of the freezer, and the total detachment to the fact of what we were doing with respect to the kind of company I was keeping. The whole scene is just bloody ugly.

  14. Hi Art

    Hope you don't think the mention of a Bacon sandwich was any kind of slur.

    I would keep a pig if I could. It would be fed all the scraps from the house, have a nice little wood to snuffle about in and it would be dispatched quickly and painlessly. I would use every bit of it, Nose to Tail. I think that is different from industrialised killing which you probably saw which is dreadful.

    1. planespotter, your pig will not have the freedom to live the way it wants and needs. it will be your prisoner. it will not know any other life, but that does not make it alright. we don't need to eat animals at all. a vegan diet can supply all of the necessary nutrients without the bowel cancer. we don't need to interfere with animals' lives any more than what is necessary for human survival. i am talking about pets too. we remove their sexual organs and keep them as prisoners. we own them, control them, and expect love in return.

    2. Hi planespotter,

      but would you do the dispatching yourself? And could you afford between £100,000 and £500,000 for a woodland in UK?

      When I was young I went to Wales and discovered a 'community' of determined idealists who had bought smallholdings that were 'un-economic' and consequently so cheap some people bought them whilst penniless and claiming state benefits.

      Self Sufficiency was written by John Seymour in the early seventies and inspired a whole generation of English romantics to buy small holdings but only a few achieved what you propose. Then their 'friends' cottoned on and 'cashed in' on the bargains available.

      Of course what happened is that Welsh people (those farming neighbours still just about in business) got fed up of the English using them as second holiday homes. Left empty for most of the year. This forced the prices up and the Welsh out.

      The guy I lived with achieved the Self Sufficiency ideal for about ten years but the tremendous effort required ruined his marriage and wore him out. Then he started farming hippies in caravans, I was one of them. Then later still (in disgust) he sold up and bought a town house down the road.

      I remember one of his English neighbours across the valley had sold his terraced house in West London for five times the cost of his smallholding (admittedly it was a ruin). He was a hair dresser and also retired at forty on the proceeds. He didn't know how to manage land though. . .

      It is a sad fact of the Human Condition that the best ideals mostly involve down to the rather low common denominator of money.

      On pigs screaming, most of us English (men) have been conditioned to believe detachment from the sound of distress is desirable because we are already repressed from the feeling of our own cries for mummy. That's why we English (men) in particular, are so good at achieving a certain 'psychopathic' ideal. Us (English) men are largely driven by the 'James Bond 007' professional killer' mentality which reveres cognitive dominance and the belief in combative ideals.

      Each Englishman is Lord of his own castle and a 'non - commissioned' officer of his own private micro empire. A sole trading, quasi legitimate pirate.

      The Americans inherited it but the English (women & men) still worship James Bond. Even the Queen has publicly associated with James Bond at the Olympics. The BBC has made the most appalling video spoof featuring herself and the latest 'Blond Bond' incarnation.

      It would be laughable if it weren't so terrifying that the Great English Matriarch still hangs out with a cold blooded, arms dealing, professional hired killer.

      Paul G.

    3. Planespotter

      You sound a bit like a native american. They used every bit of an animal. To me, killing is killing and when I realise the animal wants to live as much as I do, it always seems cruel. I get so upset every time the deer culls are on in the local royal parks here, especially after taming a few out of the eye of the gamekeepr who used to come and feed out of my hand. I'm glad I am a vegetetarian! I hope youre having a good time doing some exploring of that big country if you have any time from the primals. All the best.

    4. Richard: My sentiment exactly re pets, just awful. How could any feeling person do that? Jacquie

  15. Oh planespotter!!!
    Pigs are LIVING BEINGS and are here on this God (or whomever) forlorne earth
    not to be USED!!! Yours emanuel

  16. Art!

    Researchers in Sweden have discovered a cell that acts like a gate which sounds very interesting out of the primal therapeutic perspective… but it was presented as a discovery to help sufferers of Alzheimer’s.

    How it worked or where in the brain it was discovered where no information.

    It may perhaps be the scientific discovery for they who don’t already know... clarifies the circumstances surrounding the primal therapeutic process in further research.


  17. OK to everyone who responded to my comments about keeping a Pig. I appreciate your positions.

    Firstly I used the example of a Bacon sandwich because I understand that when someone becomes a vegetarian the most missed item is a Bacon sandwich.

    Secondly I used to go Rabbit hunting when I was a kid and skinned, butchered and cooked the Rabbit. They were a pest to the local farmers and we were encouraged to shoot them. They were very tasty.

    My wife and I have seriously cut down on the meat we eat. I try and make sure that what we do buy comes from local sources that treat the animals well. Frankly I find much red meat heavy on the stomach.

    When I was much younger I read "Small is beautiful" and was often teased by college friends for my early green beliefs. I am trying not to eat so much meat for health reasons, welfare reasons and global warming reasons seeing that animal methane is a powerful greenhouse gas.

    I am also trying to drink less milk replacing it with a coconut derivative because so many calves are killed so humans can drink cows milk. That also means that any cheese that many vegetarians eat will have been produced via cows who have lost calves. Some eat cheese made without using rennet derived from Calves stomachs while not recognising that the milk is tainted by the trade.

    With regard to pets we had two Cats until recently which we got from the Cat protection league 19 years ago. They would have been put down if we had not taken them. I am not sure who owned who!? Yes they were neutered to stop them contributing to the massive UK Cat population. They were already very inbred and quite small and lovely creatures whose company we enjoyed. As Art suggests to some of his patients a pet can help someone get in touch with feelings. It sure did with me when I held one of their heads as the Vet put him down due to cancer. To suddenly feel his life go was one of the most profound and moving experiences of my life. My eyes are full of tears writing this. I'm no James Bond even though there are few people in my life who I might like to feel a certain freson of fear if I could summon up that cold certainty! :-)

    We could all don orange robes and walk bare foot waving a brush in front of us in case we step on an insect. Is that practical. How many of you would not go to the Primal Centre to save the massive amount of Carbon spewed out by the Jumbo taking you there?

    I'm doing my best and hope that I am a caring man. The scene at the end of Appocolypse Now where the water buffalo is butchered and hacked to death fills me with horror. There are things from my childhood that that scene hits. I remember seeing kids throwing a mouse high up into the air when I was at school. it died due to this and I was powerless to do anything. It was horrific. There is a vegetarian cafe near us that does the most amazing stuff which I wolf down.

    Yes if I kept a Pig, I would kill it myself except I would be prosecuted for doing it and maybe that does seperate people from responsibility. If more people were able to keep a Pig we may find that fewer people would eat so much meat because they would appreciate it more.

    I also like fish and seeing that a recent New Scientist illustrated that our ancestors tended to migrate round the world using the coasts because the food at the shore tends to be reasonably the same right round the world (many of the sites and now under the sea) and that our Brains probably grew to the big size they are partly down to having the rich nutriants found in shellfish and fish I would argue that we are tied to our biology as Art so eloquently points out in his books. I buy local fish and try to eat a lot of shell fish such as mussels. Really tasty and sustainable.

    Life is about compromise and balance and if that means eating a Bacon sandwich occasionally I'm happy with that.

    1. planespotter i like what you wrote. i wish more people would think about the way they obtain their meat. from a moral point of view, there is no difference between keeping and killing a pig for it's flesh, and keeping and killing a human for it's flesh. the difference is only psychological, and i believe psychology provides a very weak argument in the face of needless murder. i try to avoid killing insects too, though i am aware that trillions of insects are killed and eaten as a result of animal and vegetable farming. i see no link between the intelligence of an animal and it's right to have a chance at a normal happy life. perhaps the average blowfly, given half a chance, would enjoy life, and lust for it, more than a human would. that is a very important point. however, to maintain my sanity, i don't try to avoid interfering with the life of the humble bacteria. i must make a reasonable guess, and i guess animals that don't have the slightest trace of a nervous system are, perhaps, less worthy of consideration.

    2. Hi planespotter,

      Yeah, I have a favourite sarny stop at a layby near my workshop and some mornings, well, I just have to have breakfast there.

      I can't reconcile my own contrary nature. I don't like killing things and although I stop for road kill occasionally I'm mostly not the person who guts and cleans it. . . I like to eat it !

      I did used to be able to kill fish I'd caught. . . Since I contacted my feelings all that has become less attractive. . . but I still eat the flesh.

      Paul G.

    3. Paul: Hey, It is exactly what I did in my Life Before Birth. You need to read it. art

  18. Hey Art:

    "I did not enter into silence; silence captured me..."

    - Ezra Pound

    I feel much the same as I age.

    Is there any 'where to?' for Primal from here?

    "In the gloom the Gold gathers the light against it...



    1. Raindog: It is quite literary but I am not sure of the question. art

  19. PLanespotter
    I think everyone appreciates your latest comments, but I think, yes well, poor rabbits, poor fish and all that. They all suffer pain and maybe its because I'm over sensitive or because I'm a woman but I cannot kill or be cruel to an animal or bird or fish something out of the water to kill and eat or not eat.And although there isnt always a choice when you have to earn a living or support a family I know for certain not for a million pounds a week could I ever work in or in a near radius of a slaughterhouse. No way! I think it depends on the individual what they can and can't do and I am a bit unusual here, I s'pose. I tried to save the water buffalo in Australia for all over kakadu and the Bush they were shot and totally exterminated from the air. Such beautiful big brown eyed animals but my efforts got nowhere despite my writing to friends of the earth and greenpeace once I returned to London. They possibly laughed at me for being a silly sentimental british woman but I tried.I am a veggie but I now like the taste of fish so am a total hypocrite but I never preach although my meat eating pals are ALWAYS criticising the fact that I dont eat animals.

    1. Anonymous: It's strange. I still hear the pigs scream 70 years later and yet at the time it did not bother me. art

    2. Art
      You were a teenager then. It might make a difference because I did some things when I was a teenager but not cruel to animals, you know, later I regret, so don't worry too much! Also my sister and myself pulled apart earwigs to 'watch the wee wee come out'.How cruel, I think... now. As little kids we were curious about everything. I can't forgive myself pouring a kettle of boiling water on a slug which had crept under my kitchen door. It bled a yellow pool and died in agony. 20 years ago. I now pick up spiders and gently throw them out of the windows. Also bees and wasps I put out of the window if I can with newspaper. Yesterday I saw a sweet fat healthy fox,lying on his side, looking so beautiful as if he was having an afternoon nap by a hedge on a pavement where I walked until I realised that he was dead and had been put there possibly by a motorist who had hit him.I felt very sad seeing him. I like to watch them on the lawn when I rise at dawn to see them play roly poly with their siblings on the grass. A pity the majority of people in this country hate them with an intensity that makes fox hunting seem good.

  20. Art,

    Sorry for being obtuse, just drunk again. I guess I'd just like to hear more Primal News, rather than the same old theory said in a 100 different ways. What is happening at the center? Where to from here? What happens when you leave, what is the succession plan etc...


    1. Raindog: we used to have a newsletter but we stopped So we still do what we have done for 45 years and it just gets better all of the time. France is still compliing and editing the legacy program, still some months away from completion. I have 2 other books: Searching for our Humanity, and Beyond Belief. art

  21. Dear all,

    a bit off topic but maybe not that much :

    I've seen a movie called "Stranded" in english. It's a story about survivors of an 1972 airplane crash on The Andes Cordillera. Few of them survived (16 out of 49) because they butchered and ate part of the deadbodies of the people they were on the plane with. They survived more than 3 months because after several weeks 3 of them decided to walk to find help out there. I can't help feeling that the"extreme choice " they made was already an option since the beginning. All of this story is very disturbing...if they had walk away after 3 days they would have escaped an avalanche that killed more people and in 5 days they would have find rescue. So why did they decided to wait? Thirty years later they are still haunted by what they've done. Was it worth the price? Most of them were educated in an upperclass and religious Christian background.

  22. Art, You know it's not strange. Your recorded memory of the screaming pigs is replayed in your mind, only later (post primal) your more open brain can emotionally respond to the old raw input. Like you say - connection. Same for a rapist or stone-cold murderer who can destroy someone's life and not be bothered by it - because of the disconnect between the reality and the subjective (non)emotional response to it. I now I'm not saying anything new, but it's the point.

    1. Andrew: Agreed art Their screams still torture me.

  23. New and old painful memories

    If we remember (consciously) a painful event or don't really remember is not so important. A moment seemingly forgotten comes back in time or when something occurred that relates to an earlier event of (good or bad) feelings.
    An unsolved and unaddressed bad feeling or even pain has its way of turning on a 'video' in your head and with it (what a video cannot do) brings forth a long forgotten pain.

    On September 1, on my way back home from Albuquerque at 1 pm, I had a car accident. 4 cars with young people on their way to a wedding paid no attention to a stop-sign. I avoided 3 cars coming from the right but the 4th one hit me on the driver's side at full power. Instinctively, I pushed the brakes hard to avoid being pushed back full power into the cars behind me. Today I’m glad I did.

    I remember the impact and in the next moment pain on my right foot, pain so strong I nearly passed out – but I didn’t: I vomited instead.
    A woman opened the car door telling me "don’t move – it was not your fault – I saw everything and know you could not avoid the last car." She called 911 and gave a detailed description of the situation and assessed the medical condition accurately. In the minutes until ambulance arrived, I saw a hole in my foot, blood dripping out of my foot and knew the blood on the car floor was from an open fracture.

    The last I heard in the ambulance was “morphine”. The next I remember hearing was a doctor saying, “if she would have had this blow on the head she would not survived it”. (BTW, the doctor, the surgeon, confirmed at a later appointment, that these were exactly his words).

    I had surgery because 6 bones were broken and it was an open fracture. The next 4 days on drip-morphine however could not erase the pain coming from the left side of my neck and 30 inch long, 5 inch wide bruises on the right rib cage from the seat-belt and the left side bruises where the steering wheel left its imprint.

    On the 5th day, I insisted I go home because my house was not properly locked up and I did not need another burglary. Then for the first, now on heavy medication (oxycodone), I saw how I looked and could 'see' the pain in my right upper chest. My chest was swollen and displayed all colors in the spectrum. That was the moment I knew why the right side of my chest hurt more than my foot. It was days after a beating with the water hose from my father. My father always beat the right side and this time he hit me where ever he could, ribs, chest and all of it on the right side. It was not only the pain I felt from the accident, it was the pain from back then, when my bruises and pain were neglected, unacknowledged – or as my mother said “this beating was your own fault”. Feeling all of the pain at the same time, the adult and the child in me cried at the same time – WHY... why... why...

    I tested, a few weeks later, if what I felt was truly a flashback experience with the original flavor of pain. It was... My foot which needed most medical attention, with doctors afraid it wouldn't properly heal, was never my concern and the pain deriving from it is tolerable – not so the pain in the chest. So much new and old and unfelt pain is still lingering there.

    If we do not feel the old pain we will always suffer, doubly suffer.

    1. Hi Sieglinde,

      No wonder we havn't heard from you for a while, more knocks on knocks. I know exactly what you mean about compounded pain. I'll try to be brief with a version of my own:

      I spent years hand sculpting timber to make musical percussion instruments. Then I became a carpenter; my shoulders are arthritic and occasionally tendonitis wracks my arm muscles. I had a bad bout of really nasty flu this month (the stress of moving again) and the virus has got so badly into the joints there I can hardly move my arms. The symptoms everywhere else in my body (including severe depression in my brain) are not nice but my arms are what I use to earn my living. I can't work for two weeks now. Also I have had bouts of re-living fury and anger in the past and occasionally I need my arms to 'swim through' my pillow. I can't do any of it and I feel so powerless. Bloody repetition of the 'constricting' past.

      I know I'll get better eventually and the pains will subside and I will be able to get back to work but I am totally freaked out with the pains in my arms and the lack of expression that has pushed on me, reduced to tears yet again. The other symptoms are trifling by comparison.

      Sieglinde you are a strong person, take care and get better.

      Paul G.

    2. Hi Paul G.
      Sometimes I wonder if the unloved, unwanted are predestined to suffer throughout life.
      Beginning with conception, we get the wrong genes to act, methylation malfunctions, off-switches in our genes misfire and constant underlying pain (depression) does not allow us to react properly.
      We are fighting a life-long battle and we keep on living.
      C'est la vie, c'est la guerre.

  24. Sieglinde

    I am so sorry you have suffered so much! What rotten luck you have had. I hope you get massive compensation if you decide to sue and have enough money to go to the primal centre. Not only are you very brave you are also very informed about primal pain and its echoes throughout our lives. All the best to you.

  25. Hey Art,

    "we used to have a newsletter but we stopped"

    I have ALL those original journals, plus almost all the newsletters. They are part of me like my blood.

    "we still do what we have done for 45 years and it just gets better all of the time."

    - you know I love you but you make these ridiculous, sweeping statements without backing them up. Where are your facts, your metrics, your blind studies etc?

    If you could give me conclusive proof that this therapy is better than anything else, I would devote the rest of my life to supporting you and it. It's as simple as that. But you fail to do it time and time again, with these blog editions that really prove nothing, they are just what you would LIKE us all to believe about primal therapy.

    I am a Doubting Thomas, Art. But I will support you to the hilt if you give me something to believe in. Rhetoric is cheap and airy.


    1. Raindog: Hey, How can I get all copies? I will pay for them. art

    2. Raindog
      The time when you get your anxiety attacks and depression… when science talking to you in clear text… then is the question if you can listening to the content in clear text... listen to the frequency that leads to the transmitter. What I'm saying is... when science no longer questioning itself in our heads... when we do not have any dead ends... when we face what speaks of anguish... then we can bring ourselves to let go during understanding and good leadership... then will your questions find their answers… answers for what need of love meant to you.


  26. Hi Anonymous,

    Thanks for the kind words.
    Unfortunately I’ll get nothing and may have to pay 20 % of the hospital bills because the guilty driver was under-insured (25000 max).
    What a rotten deal for me – I have the pain, maybe a stiff foot and the med-bills.

    1. and if you try to sue the lawyers will 'need' a lot of your money up front and offer no guarantees of winning anything on your behalf.

      If there's one thing I don't like about some of us humans, it is the mercenary nature of their business dealings.

      Paul G.

  27. Raindog:

    How do you prove it beyond what Art has tried to do? Even the meaning of consistently observed physiological changes can be those changes represent the effect of pain integration?

    Why don't you give the therapy a go yourself, and talk to people who have done it?


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.