Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Do Psychedelics Do Actually?

    What  they do is explain to us how psychosis happens.  New research informs us about the brain structures involved, but what it does is simply pin down in the brain something we have  seen for years clinically; both help to clarify psychedelic effects.  It is not that brain research is more scientific; rather, it offers the cerebral corollary for what happens clinically.

  The research is by Drs. Carhart-Harris and David  Nutt, using MRI’s to pinpoint what  goes on after a subject is  given a small dose of psilocybin. (See or/and There was  reduction in those areas of  the brain that, inter  alia,  control feelings and their rise into the top level cognitive  cortex.  It also seems to unhinge parts of the limbic system,  including the anterior cingulate cortex.  Basically it allows lower level imprints to rise unabated into the thinking area;  and from there, because as someone said, it  is like trying to drink from a fire hose, there is an inundation and flooding.  The brain regions dealing with constricting conscious/awareness give way and we get  exactly, not approximately, what happens in psychosis.  The  difference is that in psychosis there is a slow accretion of imprinted pain that finally damages the gating system and feelings rise and  flood the thinking cortex;  exactly what happens much quicker with psychedelics.  The gates are open in either  case; the pain is the  same.  Nothing changes except the time to takes to damage  the  gates and allowing flooding.

  And what happens when there is flooding?  The cortex is exigently  pressed into service to cover over the rising feelings with whatever ideas and imagination the person/brain can concoct.  They have a bizarre quality to them because they arise not out of specific feelings but from an amalgam of them.  The “fire hose” is spritzing everywhere.  And the brain is forced to use its latest developing structure, the neo-cortex, to join the fray.  I repeat: this is no different from lifelong lack of love and trauma that puts cracks in the defense system (including lowering serotonin  supplies), which  then ultimately gives way.  When it (defense) does not give way but only weakens we get ADD attention deficits where the gates are leaky and cannot properly contain the upsurge.  The feelings rise  and are scattered but do not produce full-blown psychosis.  But they prevent careful and sedulous attention to each task; there are  too many tasks,  too much input that breaks  up focus and concentration.  The brain is forced to pay attention to multiple  inputs (leaky gates), and cannot do it.  In this way we could say that ADD is the forerunner, the harbinger, of a psychosis to come.  This only means that the gates are leaky and  will not withstand further trauma input.  The beginning signs of a collapsing defense system can be delusions; this happens often with lifelong use of  marijuana which gnaws away at defenses.  All this  means according the study cited above is  that the areas of the brain that control  memory retrieval are faulty and do not function well.  What some drugs including psychedelics do is facilitate the retrieval of memory; the problem is with these drugs, there is too much retrieval all at  once and the  top level cannot integrate it.  And when there are leaky gates brought on by drugs you get  continued and long  lasting sleep problems as rising feelings agitate without cease.  The feelings rise to just-below-cortical levels so that the top level is constantly stimulated, and falling into sleep becomes impossible.  Sometimes a lone feeling may come up such as feeling unsafe throughout childhood. Occasionally the person can focus on one thing to  alleviate the agitation……"if I try the door knob  twenty times a day I will feel safe".  Often there  is no  awareness of the role of the obsession; the person simply feels better  if she can try the door knobs.  The ritual alleviates latent anxiety.

  This is the difference between what seems like pure statistical  science and clinical science.  Clinically, we see the relationship among disparate phenomena; we understand why this happens and that does not.  We are not bound exclusively by the "facts".  That is, we have a frame of reference in which to place the facts.  This frame of reference is truth beyond facts; it gives meaning to the facts and broadens our understand of what it all means.  This does not mean that we do not use brain science to further our understanding, but that seeing all this in action explains so much and takes us beyond  pure  statistics.  As I said many times; we are after biologic truths, not simply statistical data.  It is data with imagination that we need.


  1. I suppose my gates have always been a bit leaky. Oddly I never liked smoking Cannabis. I did'nt like the effect. Perhaps there was too much pain waiting to burst forth. Thus when I came off Zeroxat a fire hydrant errupted. I am sleeping slightly better now.
    I think I was flooded with memories, small snippets of memories in a non linear, broken time line though now i think I am stuck up against a particular event that I can't get past. It's too scary, too traumatic but it is significant.

  2. Art,

    What else can you do as an intellectual than to perform... whatever the result will be... only it fits into the context of what performance purposes? I mean... if you as an intellectual is in a position where expected results means it all… and when the results is presented it goes against their own values with serious consequences. It becomes like a child who must find other ways to be loved as love never was. For an intellectual to feel what he is up to… he has to go throe what made him unloved. To see the consequences will be impossible as missing love is life threatening. To do that he will need primal therapy!


  3. Cannabis kinda blew away most of my OCD symptoms... they just disappeared and left me with a more severe disorder: panic disorder. It's funny, the good highs were relaxing, the most relaxing experiences I have ever felt. On the other hand, cannabis has triggered the worst experiences I have ever had. Including suicidal feelings/thoughts/impulses. My two older brothers react very strongly to cannabis too. They've been sober, luckily enough, for the last couple of years. Schizophrenia is heavily present in my family (mother's side), so that is a factor as well, I guess.

    1. AnttiJ:
      Genetics are not as big a factor as you might think. Epigenetics is. You made my point; obsessions bind the anxiety. When they go up comes the panic and anxiety. art

    2. Art… very interesting in further scientific process for what primal therapy can and will accomplish! As intellectuals… we are lost in obsessions all of the time no matter what we try to convince ourselves. We need feelings as the other part to do the right analysis... otherwise we are lost in just mathematics... and mathematics without feelings we all know what will happen. Einstein showed us that.


  4. My personal imagination and biologic experiments.

    Sometimes I read Art’s Reflections as hell read the Bible in order to get the opportunity to express my alternative views which the article has evoked. So when I read about how psychedelics allow lower level imprints to rise unabated into the thinking area and cause an inundation and flooding I am able to see similarities with what happens to my imprints when I go through a few days of fasting. With fastening and retrieval of accumulated toxic poison, there is a retrieval of memory, which normally happens stepwise so that the top level can integrate it, and I can feel the deepest parts of my repressed pain.

    I have during a 40-year contact with Art and PT conducted my own “clinical” experiments on myself. I learned early (without understanding the casual links between the brain regions) that drugs of all kinds opened the gates to my repressed birth trauma and epilepsy of various types were the result. Carbamazepine (Tegretol) created a very effective chemical lobotomy, which held off grand mal seizures. My freedom of attacks I had to pay with anxiety, suicide attacks alternated with unrestrained work efforts /workaholism.

    For many years, I have tested and worked with therapies in physical therapy (structural integration) and nutrition (among other things fastening). In the mid 90’s I was treated by a homeopath with alternative medicine based on the doctrine that “like cures like”, according to which “a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure that disease in sick people!” Even if homeopathy within the medical community is generally considered quackery, I have had sensational experiences, which gave me the courage to go for full-on Primal Therapy. By pure coincidence, I discovered that Rolfing served as a gate opener and supported my efforts together with Primal Therapy to get in behind my Carbamazepine defense. That was how my demystification om my epilepsy started.

    My experience of combining Rolfing and fasting with Primal Therapy has for 30 years led to stimulating success. This has partly been a journey into the unknown which I had to implement alone. The support has been limited to the respective therapy specialities without a guided coordination. It was not without risks to eliminate the organism’s own defenses against the pain that my birth trauma developed. By constantly vary my experiments, I learned to manage the dosage of my efforts so that I gradually became more confident about the outcome. The result being 72-years young and feel better than ever, both physically (excellent vital signs) as mentally speak for itself.

    Jan Johnsson

    1. Jan: It's great that you are feeling so good. That is all I ask. art

    2. Art, if you believe Rolfing is dangerous and counterproductive you shouldn't allow it to be advertised in this website. Jan could be a dangerous inspiration to many skim-readers.

      I feel a responsibility to advise people against random experimentation unless the only alternative is death. My cousin Marion believes in her own subjective interpretation of reality. She still believes the drugs and alcohol are working despite her destroyed social life, constant shaking and complaints of feeling depressed and wanting to die. Her interpretation of reality has become unreliable; she cannot rely on herself, and she won't accept real help. She didn't suffer from panic attacks before she started taking recreational drugs on a regular basis. One could blame her pain instead of the drugs, but the fact remains; she WAS "coping" before she met her drug-addicted boyfriend. She used to smile and laugh and had lots of motivation to do fun things without drugs. She can't remember her old self. She was always attracted to drugs but she didn't NEED them all the time. I accept Art's theory that serotonin levels can deplete over time. That might have increased her dependency on drugs. But let's not advertise the virtues of random experimentation.

      By the way, I haven't had any signs of Restless Legs Syndrome for several weeks since I stopped working night shifts and started giving compliments to girls, like, "You have a beautiful body" and "I like your voice" and stuff like that (a couple of girls were terrified but most of them feel very flattered). I have discovered a fun neurotic act-out that may have increased my dopamine levels enough to cure my RLS. That is my way of randomly experimenting.

      Marion's friend became very interested in 'Rebirthing' after the two of them talked about Primal Therapy. All her friend had to do was click on a New Zealand website to read some nice reassuring, authoritative words on the efficacy of Rebirthing. Once again I had to be the boring cop, and put great effort into educating her and challenging her to find the scientific reasoning behind the website's glorious claims. Unlike Marion, she actually did some research and decided against rebirthing. She did the research because she didn't believe she had enough knowledge. Her belief was right. She didn't use drugs to ease and aggravate her pain. She was like me; too intellectual and boring and unfeeling, but she had enough sense to make a wise decision in this instance -- she came to a good compromise. VERY IMPORTANT.

    3. Joy turned into disappointment. A memory with several bottoms.

      I went shopping yesterday and had many reasons to feel good; my fastening going well, an old relationship developing very well and enjoying reading “The Hare With Amber Eyes” etc.. The female clerk at the bread department of my food store offered willingly to bake the bread (missing in the shelves) that my daughter asked me to buy. I felt overwhelmed by the service and friendliness; however, I was not able to show my appreciation but answered in (what I felt) a somewhat harsh manner. For a short moment immediately afterwards I felt an almost manic joy which within a minute turned into a hallucinatory feeling that I was not allowed to feel that joy, and I was confused. I then had a flashback of a memory, when I was 8 years old.

      It was a Sunday just before lunch during the summer of 1949, and I walked through the park where I grew up. I was about to meet my aunt and uncle who would come to visit. Since my uncle was my favorite and a man who always spread joy around him, I was in a good mood. When I went halfway across the park, I see a couple coming towards me, and I start jubilant running towards them to great them. When I am a few yards from them I discover that it is not my uncle and aunt, but a completely foreign couple. I am extremely / painfully disappointed and sad, which I apparently show in the most striking way to the stranger who noticed my sudden change of heart, takes out his purse and gives me some money. This experience of disappointment has been repressed a whole life and has caused that I have never dared to show spontaneous joy, but has always been on my guard against any disappointments... Which goes all the way back to my traumatic birth when I was not allowed to get out in a proper manner.

      Jan Johnsson

    4. Universe has its limits, human stupidity not...

      When I in a previous comment said that I read Arts Reflections as hell reads the Bible (in order to express my experience with alternative, natural treatments) I could never have dreamt of it being interpreted as I was swearing in the Church and being a potential danger to the orthodox part of the congregation.

      My respect for the Primal Therapy and my belief in the principles of the Biology of Love has over 40 years eventually turned my epileptic suffering into a personal success story. I honestly cannot see my experiments with natural methods, as more remarkable than the experiments and changes that the Primal Therapy treatments have undergone in 40 years to become more predictable and safe.

      To supplement natural / evolutionary principles (= PT) with other natural principles like healthy living (diets) and physical integration (Rolfing) has in all respects been natural for me and the result has always talked to my benefit. I am also convinced that Art is in favor of Ida Rolf’s principles which, like PT are based on our basic need for love, to be touched, to be seen, to be acknowledged and to be allowed to realize ourselves. However, Art is aware of the dangers of the dynamic effects of uncoordinated deep tissue massage to achieve structural integration. Lack of access to coordinated application discourages him. He advises against Rolfing in general because it might activate repressed, hard to control, repressed pain in various brain regions, which I can understand. He has though never tried to stop me from being Rolfed or from telling my story.

      Richard compares my tests (with healthy principles!!!) with experiences of his family members using drugs and alcohol and he asks Art to forbid my “advertisement of virtues of random experimentation”. Not even as a joke, I had thought that my articles about my positive tests with Primal Therapy (having given me, a healthier, longer and different life) would lead to written warnings being issued that I am a danger to skim-readers. The practice of making accusations of “disloyalty, subversions, or treason without proper regard for evidence” has occurred before (like, for example, McCarthyism and the Dreyfuss affair). They often start out as a feather that becomes hens...

      Albert Einstein was right when he said he had doubted whether the human stupidity had limits. He felt safer regarding the limitation of the universe.

      Jan Johnsson

  5. And when scientists think from dodgy, poorly tested theories, and false assumptions, they can too easily form totally incorrect deductions from their data.

    Theoretical thinking and data accumulation must evolve together. Without grounded understanding data is usually worth nothing. Understanding should be the primary end-goal of science.

    1. Andrew: I agree. Watch for next piece on the need for a Frame of Reference. art

  6. Hallo Art from England!
    This is very new research on the effects of drugs like lsd and very crucial reading, I think, to any young person being tempted to try the mind blowing drugs for kicks. Clearly in some people the effects are long lasting. About the constant rising of feelings preventing sleep I am sure you are right but I have heard of a couple of peole who took the drug when they were young not suffering from insomnia. Still, perhaps this is why I stick to my 15 mgs of temazepam a night to sleep. I am no longer aware of being agitated by an overload of feelings but I sleep all right with the pills. Maybe it's habit as I once slept 2 hours without them. Ignoramuses say it's all in the mind and you can conquer insomnia having the 'right attitude.' Frankly, I think they are stupid. I am always grateful to keep on friendly terms with my feelings but I do believe that even a low dose of sleeping pills perhaps buries them a bit. Do you make patients come off sleeping pills before primal therapy?

    1. Anonymous: We don't make patients come off anything until it is discussed with him or her. We rarely force anything. art

    2. Richard: It is a dilemma. I hesitate cause I don't like censorship and lots of people write nonsense but I don't want to discourage anyone. Most ot you know what I think. art

  7. Art,

    This is what a drug addict standing up against... something impossible when consciousness is not present at the influence of drugs.

    My nightmares are really on par with what you describe. In my dream I come into the kitchen and see a figure standing leaning forward with a tray in his hands. Before I can perceive it as something scary... I am about to make contact.

    The figure begins slowly turning against me... I then experience a rush of horror... I wake up just as scared as in the dream.

    I "know" that the feeling… the intensity I experience in my dream is of a motion I have from earlier in my life.

    I lie down and searching for the dream I had ... from a “conscious” condition.

    The intensity from my dream becomes stronger and stronger… and then suddenly I se my dad standing there… a horror without comparison. DADDY PLEACE DONT!

    That there is my dad that I experience brings me into reality of my dreams... in the sense of something that was and also will be into that I have linked all that was... which stands as a barrier against being myself... be a part of what was for me as a child an what there is to come.


  8. Hi,

    As Frank said, for me also, your blog is the best school of self development I could hope to be involved in.

    For me as a design carpenter I have increasingly become 'shaped' by the 'shaping' I do to the trees, I wish I had got started on that 20yrs earlier. . . I'm not a neurologist (put me right please) but I am told that our hands occupy a significant proportion of the outer layer of our brain. is that true?

    Anyway, if you take the evolutionary development of our brain and allow that to unfold from an early age with the conditioning that comes with constructive play and then active design and manufacture (making stuff), it seems to me that you end up with a psyche that is to some extent integrated with the environment through experience of tackling it head on.

    I like to believe that children who are given these activities from an early age are also given a link to what we call science because of the way we are geared up to meet our needs through the development of technology.

    So I feel you can't really separate science from technology (if you do, I posit you end up with mechanical monsters). I mean each are almost a function of the other. Even in the research department 'technology' is required to measure and analyse and the outcome of any given research will often be a new 'technique' or 'technology'.

    It seems that without a culture of 'making' humans become impoverished and dependent on other 'superior' manufacturers and this is actually what capitalism is based on.

    If only we could re-instate a sustainable manufacturing base that allows for all people to be involved (employed) instead of the increasingly diminishing population of people who now only manage the computers that manage the production lines that make the machine tools that are controlled by the CCT to make more stuff we don't really need and gradually impoverishes us to boot.

    You might say this is nothing to do with the imprints but I put forward the hypothesis that some of us are likely to have better access to traumatic early imprints because we were encouraged to be creative and constructive in science and technology from an early age, that helps shape the brain in a positive way I feel.

    If only I was one of them. . . but no! Though I could be found in the school carpentry shop the careers officer wanted me to do advanced maths and physics. . . If I had been allowed to pursue a carpentry career from age 14, I am sure I would by now have already attended the clinic and accessed my 1st line stuff.

    Paul G.

    1. Hi, afterthought,
      From an early age I was drawing and making things, Lego, then Airfix, then balsa-wood and celulose gliders, mini petrol engines engines etc. Then I started "modifying" fireworks and hankering after motorbikes and at school this was all taken as "hobbies" whilst I skulked in the joinery shop making complex stuff out of wood and no body noticed, not even me: I was out of my own context.

      The serious work of 'qualifying' at my school was all "ACADEMIC". I could paint too and won prizes, but what got you the qualifications was the accumulation of "ACADEMIC" information and the passing of exams. Thus what really mattered was that I could put on a power point lecture of a text book History of Art about Giotto and the development of 3D drawing techniques in Early Mediaeval Italian Art.

      After that education I was like a ball bearing in a pin ball machine until I got my first joinery workshop a decade later.
      In my humble opinion, it is the same as cooking. A carpentry/joinery workshop is like a kitchen.

      I'm convinced that anything we make from it's conception through to it's use and 'decommissioning' (!) has a special therapeutic content, particularly in a social context. Though palliative only for our imprints it is not merely a 'diversion' or 'distraction' from them. Being involved in a whole process like making your family a meal: Inviting them around, writing the menu, buying the food, preparing it, sitting them down, serving it up, feeding them.

      That has a therapeutic value beyond palliative.

      A whole generation of us have grown up with a tray of food served up in front of the telly instead of a ritual that reflects really ancient encoded behaviours that we need to integrate our food / . . . . selves.

      Paul G.

    2. Hallo Paul!

      I visited Summerhill (Alexander Neil) school based on complete freedom for every child last February and I noticed that the pupils there were allowed to choose to go to lessons or not. No pressure! It would have been better for you if you had gone to THAT school. Me too. No punishment. The kids practically run the school and definitely make the rules or no rules on everything. Interestingly, the people in the local town impressed me with their reports about how different the school pupils were from other school children. Very polite, nice, very mature for their age, etc. However, my B and B owner moaned about the school. I defer. It's a pity you were pushed into studying subjects you didn't want to do. All the best to you. To me school was like a continuation of my family home... of ounishment and prohibition on every level that could possibly be. The world in the 1950's simply hated children. At least in the u.k.

    3. Hi,
      I just heard of a new research paper out by Sarah Lewis of Bristol University UK that concludes even the smallest amount of alcohol consumed by pregnant mothers can affect the IQ of children by age 8yrs.

      This has been endorsed by David Nutt of Imperial College in London.

      There has been a spate of research like this coming into the public domain and we can only hope that more of it will continue to point inexorably in the direction of the Primal truth. Of course making the connection between the imprints (critical window) and potential for cure in 're-living' is a hurdle that will remain jumped only by those who actually make the 'connection'. Nevertheless, I feel we can live in hope that one day some influential scientist will eventually have a major breakdown and relive some of their own past traumas and consequently write a seminal paper on the subject.

      People (particularly so called scientists) will only come to the truth by discovering it for themselves.

      Paul G.

    4. Anonymous: I wrote about A.S. Neil years ago. I went to see him in England and we visited for an afternoon. He was most unhappy that he was getting no recognition and no financial help. A kind man. art

  9. Hi Jan ,
    my experiences with fasting vary between states of extreme lucidity concerning my life ,euphoric feelings and deep life loathing and depression.
    Some years ago I had my first "sleeping through" the night.. event after 14 days without "pabulum"...

    In Russia schizophrenics (what a misnomer for those people in regard to evryday madness inthis schizo world ) are treated sucessfull -as the M.D. calim...
    Unfortunately it is for me not enough to eradicate poison of the general kind....
    Pain is of of quite another gender!

    Besides the fact that losing weight i.e. muscles means losing my mind !
    Yours emanuel

  10. As neurotics I imagine everything… even what is of science proven... I am at my limits of needs that cannot be disclosed for what the limits keep in place. Can we "understand" that we would solve the primal therapeutic issue?
    The problem is… the understanding... the cognitive process itself cannot handle the content.
    If we think we get further into the primal therapeutic evidence... if we are not in any way capable of clearing established quack through a legal process... regardless of the cost of it… I think we may be in a difficult position.

    If we are to get a toddler to recognize something that holds its need for love... life-threatening needs on the ground away from consciousness… we are probably naive.
    A legal process… with all there is now available to prove the primal therapeutic process is probably our only change. To face the railings in a courthouse about scientifically untenable content will probably be too much for established.
    For a child who has to recognize their need in similar conditions... the child would probably leave the room in a hurry to hide. Sounds cruel… but a child in an adult body who determines that quackery is the only possible way... must be clarified for its content.


  11. Hi Frank,

    -"the child would probably leave the room in a hurry to hide. Sounds cruel… but a child in an adult body who determines that quackery is the only possible way... must be clarified for its content"-.

    I feel you have a very good point. But from my own experience most adults are really just children inside and I'm one of them. What I have noticed about challenging the assumptions of the the 'child' (in the adult body) is that the 'child' (quite naturally) will use the 'adult' body as a defence against the onslaught.
    In this way the 3rd line really is a defensive outgrowth form the 2nd.

    By 'adult body' I also mean the entire mass of accumulated experience and 'skill' developed over many years to defend the (internal) child from external (real or imagined/projected) threats.

    So, science (with a small s) has hijacked the entire field of human perception as a defence against the re-experiencing of Primal pain. Thus, in a court of law unless the jury were composed of people who had actually made the 'connection' I have no doubt that the (so called) adults will twist whatever you say to mean what ever is required for the powers that be to remain defended against their Primal pain.

    The outcome of such a court case would I feel result in yet another long nail driven into the coffin of repression. Stamped on the lid would be yet another scientific seal of approval which reads:


    Paul G.

    1. From my experience, it seems that most pregnant women are not interested in Primal Theory, but MOST of them are VERY interested in Janov's advice on loving the unborn, birthing and newborn baby.

      My brother and I have offered Janov's advice to several young pregnant mothers. They followed much of the advice even when they were giving birth.

      Art, perhaps you could write a simple HOW TO article in this website, or recommend your best book for this topic.

    2. Richard: There is a chapter on advice in "Life Before Birth". I advise you to read it. Meanwhile it is great that you helped some women. Art

    3. Art: Your wife should look at the idea of promoting better birthing practices in the future. Maybe she should form a dedicated website for it? It would be an indirect method of marketing primal therapy, too. You always have to start off where people are at, with respect to their interest, and move on from there. Otherwise they will just be shut off. Good birthing is where the mass-market is at (at first!).

  12. Art
    Thank you for your comment! I felt a deep connection with the writings of A.S. Neill from the first. (And not just because he seemed like the good dad I never had!) When I visited early last year Zoe, his daughter, the headmistress, was very ill with cancer which she had had treatment for but it didn't look as if it was going away. I don't know if she is still around. Sometimes things change when the original initiator is no longer there. Summerhill is unique. Amazing you went there, too, for you are another of my lifelong heroes.I wonder what Mr Neill thought of primal therapy. Did you, by chance, mention it to him. The innovative work you are doing? Lack of recognition seems to be the familiar scenario for the most important ideas/work. I'm still having problems finding a usable skype but hope I get over there one day. England is at its worst with the usual...rain and, ugh, Christmas!!!! All the best.

    1. Anonymous: Sorry, I saw Neill before discovering primal. art


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.