Friday, November 16, 2012

Why We Need a Frame of Reference

I am not against statistical research.  It is essential.  But too often research studies are a stand-alone  phenomenon;  true unto themselves but  unrelated to a larger  picture and other key phenomena.  They are not plugged into a bigger frame of reference.  And that is my quarrel with constant statistical studies, especially in Psychology.  Let me give you an example.  There is a new study that states: serotonin promotes patience.  The idea is that animals can wait longer for reward once given serotonin. And, not surprisingly, the animals failed  the test after being given something to stop serotonin production.  Ok .  We have the results, but the “WHY” we don’t have.  Their conclusion:  these findings suggest that activation of serotonin neurons is required for waiting  for delayed reward.  OK fine.  Our clinical experience shows that the more activated  the top level neo-cortex, the less impulses break through to force impulsive behavior.  It is one way we know that serotonin is an inhibitory chemical.  We know that very early neglect and  trauma require  the production  of more serotonin. We now know that a dog can be more patient with injected serotonin.  A frame of reference  would  inform us that high level cortical functioning can be recruited to shut down feelings and make us feel better and be patient; that general inhibition can lead to patience.
And that serotonin can shut down feelings and impulses. And when we do that we increase the ability to wait.  My birth trauma patients are often impulse-ridden.

  I  don’t want to drown the fish but here is one more example: almost 20% of patients with coronary heart disease suffer from major depression.  Another 20% have some symptoms of depression.  Again,  Why?    The problem with statistical  studies is that  we get statistical  truths;  and  in the usual  research we get correlations; this correlates with that, etc.  What  we don’t get are causes of disease.  Correlations never do that, and indeed  in our field of Psychiatry and  Psychology we are looked at negatively because we offer causes or at least generating sources.  Scientists are  too often content to do stand-alone research.  And too often  it is the left brain  that is content with statistical  studies because it requires little further imagination.  We don’t have to engage in pesky thoughts beyond  what we see and  measure.  We don’t have to posit implications.  It is one reason we do not get beyond  Freud and/or cognitive therapy.  Is is why we have rigid, inflexible, dry results.  And scientists seem to prefer it that way; equating  dryness with science.

  These are interesting studies(above) but they lack a frame of reference, which is what I require, “a  truth beyond  the facts”.  A frame of reference is essential in order to make sense of our results.  For that we need experience with patients; to see how theory and research studies merge  with clinical observations—the  proof in the eating.  It is the frame of reference that can tie two disparate studies together and provide broader implications.  It is indeed a truth beyond the facts; that truth requires a frame of reference.    It seems that it  is right brain  that supplies the frame of reference, the meaning and implications of  our studies, while  the left brain deals  with point by point statistics.  We need both in our therapy and our theory.  It is why statistical results are rarely enough, yet psychologic science is stuck there and why so little has changed in therapy over the decades.

Take  migraine. We have had success in treating it.  One  research study found that oxygen therapy helped alleviate its suffering.  It was stand/alone research.  Our own frame of reference  after seeing dozens  of migraine patients over the years, indicates  serious oxygen  lack during  the birth  process, usually due to massive anesthesia given  the  birthing  mother.  It causes a serious oxygen decrease in the baby who struggles for air.  One result of  this  oxygen loss is the precursor for migraine—constriction  of blood vessels to struggle with the loss of oxygen.  And what is one treatment for  it?  Oxygen.  And treating dozens of those migraine people  led us to a breadth of data to provide a frame of reference.  I didn’t  have to concoct a theory; I had to observe closely and note what I saw.  I rather doubt that anyone could come up with  our hypothesis with  statistics alone.  At least now after almost  one hundred years of headache research  I still have not seen possible causes mentioned.

  What  is lacking?  A frame  of reference.  We really can’t come up with a frame of reference with  a one-off study.  We need a good deal of information.  With each patient we gather more evidence, and we modify our theory  accordingly.  Our  patients are our research subjects.  We are now correlating  our vital sign  results.  We will  soon know how and when blood pressure and body temperature change with feelings.  Our results are found in our patients; they have  the answers.

  Our clinical work has found depression  to be  a forerunner for later heart disease because of deep repression involved in  both.  And from our clinical knowledge of how early repression sets in.  When in our work we extirpate pain out of the system we alleviate  depression and possibly prevent  heart attacks.

    It's not that we are depressed  and also then we have heart disease; it is that deep suppression  of early pain, often begun in our womb-life, activates heart cells and affects later heart function.  That is, constant repression is involved in depression and heart disease.  Seeing the whole person allows us to develop a frame of reference that statistics usually cannot do.  Both heart disease and depression emanate from the person and begins most often during life in the womb.  No theory of womb-life--  no understanding of its role in heart disease.  So if we treat heart disease  by stand-alone methods,  leaving the  imprints out of the matter, we are possibly ensuring another attack. This is one reason that in therapy with serious disease if we do not address the generating sources, the imprint, there is a constant danger of recidivism.  And yet if we add imagination/frame of reference to our results we are often looked at as unscientific because we have gone beyond the facts. This is a dilemma because too often getting ahead of the facts can indeed be dangerous  and unscientific.  Look at our pal Freud, he posited childhood sexuality out of his own unconscious, nary a fact in sight.

  The danger is that a largely left brain scientist (a right brain scientist is too often an  oxymoron) cannot objectively supply an untrammeled frame of reference.  Our brain research indicated a more equalized brain in patients after one  year of our therapy.  What this means to me is a more objective one; a brain that will follow facts and produce a relevant meaning, not fabricating theories out of the unconscious.


  1. Art, your curiosity about vital sign meanings in the context of feelings is remarkable (unique to my knowledge) in modern medicine.

    I've been doing your and France's therapy for a year now, and watching vital signs as a group closely. It's amazing how they change round sessions (both in LA and over skype). I'm still your typical repressed English, but any couple of months averages show a clear trend to normalising. When I don't get very far in a session (my impression or preconception since the therapists tell me I'm feeling a lot), then signs go extreme - I came out of a session this week with a heart rate of 41, and I have ended sessions with BP of 205/100. Or with 2 deg F temp changes. It seems to me this happens when feelings are getting prodded into rising but not getting connected. Once after a connected primal my body temp dropped over 1 deg C. My doctor has been medicating my mild hypertension for years. But she only ever checks BP. Never body temp or pulse. I show her my extreme temp and pulse changes round sessions, and she shows no interest. To look at vital signs as a group, or in the context of feelings, is outside her professional 'box'.

    So I'm really pleased to see you writing about this. I think it has massive potential as an area of medical research. But as you rightly point out, it needs that frame of reference. Also wonderful that with these simple readings and that frame, the patient can monitor their own therapy in a scientific rather than subjective way.

    1. Tony: thanks. We do try to follow up on vital signs and I am hiring someone now to do further research. art

  2. False conclusion:
    The findings suggest that activation of serotonin neurons is required for waiting for delayed reward.

    Correct conclusion:
    The findings suggest that activation of serotonin neurons prolongs waiting for delayed reward.

    If you stimulate a rat's penis while it is waiting for a piece of cheese, it might wait a little longer.
    You could conclude:
    The findings suggest that penis stimulation is required for waiting for delayed reward.

    In ten years time, highly qualified Penile Stimulation Therapists could practice on men waiting at bus stops. The therapists could take notes as the men describe their feelings:

    "I hated waiting at bus stops until I started receiving PST..."

  3. Art,

    I do not think below can be emphasized enough many times!
    You write of science about primal therapy in all its meaning. But if science for the professionals is akin to before we discovered the gravity... it can be likened to conscious awareness as now is all Greek for established in the psychological and psychiatric field... they are unaware of this phenomenon.

    Conscious awareness can only be at its true meaning when we detect symptoms... because feelings are subordinate to the mentally cognitive function in defense against feeling.

    This science is impossible to account for intellectuals... because the intellectual task serves to deny the emotional reason... cause of all the symptoms for psychological and psychiatric diagnoses.

    As long as quackery is of priority order we preserve the explanatory causes as symptoms instead of causes explain symptoms.

    Approaching the primal therapeutic process… means for intellectuals to redirect their knowledge to responsiveness to own symptoms... whisch cannot be done by itself to crack the intellectuals defenses I do think "life before birth" can do that... but the book must also be put under their noses.



  4. To miss a Frame of Reference can that cause a Global Bubble?

    After more than FIVE decades I have reestablished contact with a woman I liked as a young man. She also liked me, but nevertheless, we went through life, during these decades with our respective memories of each other repressed. Eva went straight from where we grew up (an agricultural university) into a university career as researcher, doctor and department head of chemistry focusing on drug research. She made a successful career and followed in the footsteps of her father and grandfather who both were heads of departments and professors. Eva formed her own family, had two children and lived throughout her career less than 20 miles from the place where she / we grew up.

    For several reasons, mainly ADHD-like symptoms, I chose another path through life. An exiting journey that was full of problem-solving and applying new methods and new knowledge in different departments in different companies in different countries, so for me, it became more applied than theoretical chemistry and far from our childhood environment. Looking superficially at or CVs, our personalities seem to be diametrically different. Looking at it a little deeper; however, you discover that I, for 50 years, in parallel with my daily struggle as a change consultant, worked with an uninterrupted “research” to find out WHY I had epilepsy.

    Since we resumed contact a year ago has Eva read my book and been fascinated by Primal Therapy principles and of course of its curly Arthur and his Reflections. She is fascinated and sees both in herself, in her surroundings and in her previous professional environment (university/research) how far they often are from asking for / looking for the WHY?, behind all the symptoms, that we suffer from. Instead, the research creates the means to repress the reasons behind the symptoms. Eva often talks about all the academic careerists who collect papers /qualifications to take the next step in their career. This group is to a great extent “unrelated to / out of touch with a larger picture” and is trapped in the academic career game and / or their clients (which contribute research funding; for example, the pharmaceutical industry) interests and preferences.

    Having experienced the truth that pain caused by lack of love, attention, need satisfaction and other similar or worse traumas (both before and after birth) which lead to repressed pain causing an endless number of symptoms is like having received entry into a new and different life. To be allowed to share my experiences with a qualified friend gives further satisfaction, however, it has also a tendency to become worrying being able to interpret the general neurotic behavior and predict how it results in bubbles that eventually will burst. In the following article: “The University Has No Clothes” ( they have identified a third global bubble in Higher Education after the Dot-Com-Bubble Burst and the Housing-Market-Market Crash of 2007.

    All these neurotic bubbles have been about missing a “Frame of Reference”. We, on all levels, live in a world full of people that resist repressed pain created by lack of love and recognition. We kill our pain with drugs and neurosis asking for “higher returns” than we are meant for. Like a Ponzi Scheme, we are destined to collapse because our overtaxation of the organism are taller than evolution took height for. Global super bubbles crash now and then, and we can dayly witness how individual bubbles burst when overtaxed organisms have crossed the line for a healthy life. That will, of course, unfortunately lead to that a Health Care Bubble, which we globally are building up to, will burst.

    We certainly need more imagination and a Frame of Reference!

    Jan Johnsson

    1. Jan: I agree, of course. Good points about the bubble. art

  5. I am currently designing a research proposal to investigate hair pulling disorder, or trichotillomania. Most research into this does not consider the behaviour in its entirety but focuses mainly on the social problem of hair loss. Research projects usually use fMRI scanners to see which brain areas are involved or test drugs that it is hoped will reduce the behaviour. In other words the frame of reference is very narrow. The fact that the behaviour features hair root visualization and hair root eating is totally ignored. This is most short sighted because visualization of appetitive objects can lead to visceral changes including serotonin production. Another aspect not focused on is how the pain of pulling hairs can lead to endorphin release. But to get a proposal funded that considers these aspects is very difficult but because the money goes to those people whose reputation is built upon the conventional approaches. It preserves a tunnel vision approach to the whole problem.
    One fascinating thing about Art's post for me is learning that serotonin is the neurochemical basis of patience. I consider hair pulling a displacement activity which is triggered when another normally adaptive action has proved unsuccessful or fitness reducing. Serotonin being released via hair pulling may be one means by the displaced action is able to deactivate the behaviour it supplants.
    Finally Art, as part of my studies I have reading through some old theses to get a better sense of how they are written. I picked up one called Catharsis in Psychotherapy in which the author (Hawkins, 1986) sees to place abreactive therapies in historical context, including Primal Therapy. It was fascinating to learn more about the roots of such therapies from Reich to Fritz Perls to you to William Swartley and beyond.
    I dont know what happened to the author of the thesis but he was certainly into the right guys!

  6. The course of theoretical science is: Observe and collect facts. Then form a hypothesis (intelligent guess) based on those facts. Test your hypothesis to see if your assumed causes are correct. Yes? No? Develop your hypothesis further and test it.

    Has the modern psychologist made a religion against even guessing as a first step? Are we no longer in the business of exploring beyond what we can immediately see?

  7. Hi,

    It seems to me that the frame of reference that Art offers us all is the 1st line; the imprints, the critical window.

    The idea that we are composed of three brains is not new. Many old traditions of self realisation and development exhort us to become aware of our three brains; of sensation, of feeling and of thought. At the boarding schools I was brainwashed at we all knew that the well rounded person would be developed in these three departments. The mission to get them somehow to function together 'in harmony' has been underpinned by the assumption that each of these three brains (though very different) exists somehow as equal components that merely need apportioning their correct function; that somehow we can by special efforts, by 'hard work' and ruthless self inquiry bring about full conscious awareness.

    It is as if the philosophers have been looking at the blueprints and written an instruction manual on how to 'build one yourself'. . . without ever having operated their own tri-partied full conscious awareness.

    What is completely unique about Primal theory amongst the plethora of tri-brain theories is that in Primal the 2nd has grown out of the 1st and the 3rd out of the second as a process: evolution, both in the history of mammals and the history of individuals. Thus the 2nd is coloured by the 1st and the 3rd coloured by that amalgam.

    This can't be overstated really. I mean it seems to me now that 'access' to the first line would never be possible as a 'repeatable' therapeutic technique without the theory actually being a facsimile of the truth of our evolutionary nature.

    I feel this is what Art finds so frustrating because the Clinic is the living framework isn't it? It is both 'the field' and 'the laboratory'. The theory of Primal is proven every day in the Clinic and people like Jan, when you read their testimonies, it is like listening to the truth isn't it? I mean I read what people write and then some people write the truth and when you read that it is no longer words being processed into meaning but a direct transmission of the truth isn't it?

    This is why some people who come into contact with the 'idea' of the 1st line can dismiss it's significance because for them they are totally shut out of their own sensations of their own bodies. Ok, they can sense a pin prick or an itch or indigestion etc but they have no connection to any of their pain registered internally and therefore no need to engage more deeply in any self inquiry about their defences. That's the terror for me.

    The only solace for me in my disillusionment about this terrific 'oversight' of the majority (of repressed people about their repression) for me that is, is that I no longer feel the urge to evangelise or 'prosecute' the ignorant.

    As an obsessive compulsive perfectionist this comes as a great relief actually.

    Paul G.

  8. Arthur,

    I really appreciate you brought this up. I have long been supremely interested in your work- It has personally touched me through your influence on the late Dr's of Grahame Farrant and John Spensley who practiced Primal similar approaches here in Melbourne Australia, the latter of whom I received care under. In the coming years I (hopefully) will complete my current undertaking of undergraduate degree in psychology and psychophysiology with the standing required for a post graduate degree in research and practice.

    I think a lot (perhaps prematurely) about what kinds of approaches to research could be taken. I have long considered D.I.D. to be a key standpoint to investigate primal and it's underpinning (causal) reasons for its effectiveness on the malaise we find in dissociated personalities. Though I seem to arrive at similar conclusions to you, in that I keep thinking that frame of reference is going to be an issue in research and I'll end up arguing with my thesis supervisor about what to focus on and how to conduct the research on it! Moreover I may not even be sure how to approach it myself.

    Most prominently though, I am really eager to see a biology of psychology as much as anyone and I accept scope will be for any contribution to the body of research, a limiting factor. Unless we emphasise the frame-of-refrence aspect in research (and practice) I too ponder how can we progress. Perhaps a map containing all the neuro-corellates of consciousness as has been proposed is one (long winded) way. Otherwise it seems we are stuck with this seemingly broad brushed indirect-presumptive approach that isn't moving us forward, rather sidewards, which whilst perhaps helpful is detracting us form the point of life (dare I say)!

    Additionally if you indulge me further for a moment, it seems this is paralleled in a myriad of sub-fields of science where there are stubs in progress- i.e. particle physics. What are we all-together missing? Is there an overarching set of links we are ill informed of? I agree a frame of reference certainly will help to get us progressing again. I also wonder what promoted the seed of thought/ frame of reference, to investigate further once you had begun to observe the howling that the male patient you describe for example in your early work "The Primal Scream" (i think it was?- i know i read it somewhere) was about, all those years ago? In any event, I too have this supremely enquiring mind and so are curious what positives and opportunities for progress (in research particularly) you see going forward Arthur?

    I suppose I'm in a position where I might still be able to redirect my studies toward a path that is even more medically oriented than psychophysiology, however ive only a year left to do in my undergraduate degree so do you think it would make a huge difference if I am still able to contribute to research with my psychophysiology major that influences a biological perspective for all mental health practitioners to practice from? Lastly, other than statistics, what do you see as the most important direct measures for future investigations?

    Thanks again for this blog post. I haven't joined the conversation before but this one got my default-parasympathetic self into action. I think you have a great inspiring mind and laudable intention, which I hold in such high regard so please excuse me for incompleteness or incorrectness in trying to pick your brain. :)

    1. Nick: I do not know either Dr. Farrant or Spensley. I have many ideas for research, some simply done. art

  9. There is a difference between Right Brain Scientist and Military Intelligence!

    I hope that I’m not cutting the oxygen supply to any (fish-) brain (left or right) when I bring up my hang up of Art’s use of the word oxymoron.

    The use of oxymorons is a use of words diverging from its usual meaning. Figures of speech often provide emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity. However, clarity may also suffer from their use as they introduce an ambiguity between literal and figurative interpretation. Our language is full of oxymorons; we have many hundreds of them, and they often make the language colorful but biased. A few examples: Clever fool, common sense, diet ice cream, eternal life, free love, fuzzy logic, military intelligence, healthy competition, just war, mini jumbo, open secret, objective morality, poor intelligence, sure bet, white lie etc., etc..

    A left-brain scientist who cannot objectively supply an untrammeled frame of reference that is to me a contradiction, or if you want an oxymoron. A right- brain scientist must also have a left brain, how could he otherwise have been a scientist? Objectively seen he is no oxymoron. He is a scientist in touch with reality with a frame of reference.

    I always liked the use of oxymorons and for many years I played with them in a neurotic game, in which it was hard to catch me. I could slip around and distort the sentence a bit (or just enough) if I was under pressure. I became shockingly aware of this fact at a Primal Retreat, in the early 80ies, in Chantilly, France. A man from a different culture (Kuwait) suddenly during a meeting yelled at me: “Jan, stop your way of communicating with words of contradictory meaning; I never know if you are happy or sad, or if you mean this or that.” He had disclosed me, and I knew he was right. He put his finger on one of my neurotic defense mechanisms. 30 years later, I’m still good at verbal game playing, but I am at least aware there is uncertainty underneath.

    Jan Johnsson

  10. Hi Jan,

    Not just oxymoron, or contradiction but also supposition, invention, parabola, hyperbole and a whole host of styles of deception and distraction from the truth. I sometimes feel I have learned my verbal game playing in response to a particularly nasty form of reasoning that can be used to effortlessly throw the responsibility for relating onto 'the other' person in the relationship. My family use it; it sorta goes like this: On return of a now busted tool -"well it's your tool so you shouldn't expect other people to look after it for you"- and, whilst sat in the driver's seat: "you don't expect me to drive do you"? Lastly: "Well it wasn't my idea to join a group so I'm not responsible".

    That is the cognitive behavioural philosophy of 'individual determinism'; to justify adopting what you could call the policeman's view of 'the other'. . . guilty until proven innocent but with the benefit of the doubt acting only as a filter. . . Thus anything you say may be taken down and used in evidence against you anyway, maybe just kept till later. There's a shopkeeper's version: Anything you say/agree to could be used to charge you more money/ make a percentage on etc etc.

    Words are peculiar things. Once we learn to use them to assemble abstractions anything can become possible. At least for the duration of the assembly process. . . Then, with more experience a whole way of life can emerge based on the outcomes of purely assembled word formations.

    By this I mean a pattern of language that 'justifies' behaviour. Like the dog owner who only ever 'commands' his dog to do what the dog wants to do, yet the 'owner' believes his dog is loyal (and/or he himself a righteous owner). . . Say the right words and I'll obey. . . In this situation who's telling who to do what?

    Paul G.

    1. The Connection Between a Verbal Neurosis and a Birth Trauma.

      When I wrote about the definition of oxymoron and exemplified by my own neurotic word-games to keep the outside world confused, I was not consiously aware of, the degree to which I described one of our most deceptive phenomenas. Interpretation and definition of words and expressions is an insidious phenomenon that ranges from to clarify, please and sublimate to trouble, adulterate, confuse and terrorize.

      For those who are unsure of their identity and of their role in a context and who become exposed to deliberate verbal confusion / terror, life becomes a painful trauma and we need all the creative goobledegook and definitions from Psychology and Psychiatry to describe the mental states that arise. For those who feel secure (true or false) on their intellectual ability, verbal acrobatics, poetry, bilblical interpretations, litterary brilliance become a both addictive and pleasurable while effective defense against an undefined anxiety / repressed pain.

      Until I had understood and experienced The Primal Principles and received a Frame of Reference (which meant that my left brain communicadted with my right brain) I controlled through my intellectual / left brain my language so that it would provide maximum pain relief. The opportunities and possibilities were limitless. Interpretations of languages, messages, information and emotions etc., have been my main job for most of my life.

      The more I have relived/experienced the pain that has been below my neuroses, the more I feel the need to let my expressions, of all kinds, which I produce in the left, intellectual brain, be filtered by the emotional Frame of Reference, my real need, in the right hemisphere.

      If I create a too big difference / confusion between a verbal construction (a message) and a feeling (reality) I risk causing miswires in the brain (connected to my traumatic birth process), which then react with (overload / leaky gates) hallucinations and sizures. It might sound complicated but the context is very simple!

      Jan Johnsson


      Looking for an antonym to neurosis I found, among others: Balance, sanity, liking and LOVE!

  11. Art!

    The frames limits consists as long as they are needed for the purposes of defense!

    We are too often facing a task of communicating with someone who neither can or are "willing" (which is the same) to understand what we are saying. Every word that comes across our lips is words of a "meaningless" task. What we are saying is no more than sentences for intellectual gymnastics... and when they are "meaningful"... they have lost their sense of what they can provideand.

    This will so remain until the day established they themselves are experiencing emotional significance for interpretations of the content... or are more or less forced under a legal process to admit their "mistake".

    To do that we need a framework (which we already has) for what primal therapy contains... the frame for content of anxiety and depressen. What we're talking about is to break all the intellectual frames established bricked up as walls against what science contains.

    Those who can wonder about what you are saying is far from being able to influence the establishment of primal therapy.


  12. An interesting piece. One of the words that seems to pop into my head while reading this and the response is "group" and not Art's therapy group but The Group. Why do scientists avoid seeing what is directly in front of them? Because like the Emporer in the Emporer's new clothes they do not wish to be seen as stupid. They want to feel part of their society or group. Statistics and graphs are the basis of science. Einstein turned maths into an art and moved beyond statistics by using his imagination. I don't think he can be blamed for the Atom bomb. A small physcotic with a small moustache and an expansionist Japan are more to blame in some ways and obviously the grandiose need for power by the US and UK in the face of Stalin. Again if these Dictators had been kissed by their Mothers and hugged by their Fathers who can say what the world would be like.

    I think Freud would not have invented childhood sexuality and as usual blamed the Victim if his early Trauma theory had been accepted by polite middle class society which did not like it's decadent underbelly exposing to the cold light of day. After all he did state in that theory that trauma is repressed and that repression causes mental disturbance. Even with the JS scandal hitting the uk media today stranger danger is seen as more ore eland than the vast majority of abuse which happens within the family as my new enlightened doctor agreed with me the other day.

    Then of course these scientists would have to get past their fear of their own parents before they could get to early womb life so they could see beyond the veil of statistics. Society is Parents pretty much. God is a parent and so is the Madonnas and she is often pictured with a raised hand which many signify as a sign of piety and yet the number of times I see a Mother only having to lift a hand in front of a child for it to cower in obedience for fear of the retribution disobedience would bring and I see that piety as plain and simple bullying. I have found that simply standing up for myself has seen me thrown out of my family. The other men in my family have either died, turned to God or moved abroad leaving a small group of mothers gathered together all telling each other we are bastards while telling each other they are loving Mothers while screaming at their children and coping with the older generation of Mothers all running to their daughters for the love they did'nt get from their own Mothers. It is a tragedy but one which is global in scale and woe betide anyone who says that it is wrong. They are cast out.

    1. Thanks Art

      I forgot to say that obviously Freud developed his later theories because he feared being cast out by society.

      I am sure that you have often found yourself outside the Group because of your theories.

    2. Planespotter: Not often, always. art

    3. People are stupid!

      Slightly off topic I have just read a very interesting article about a guy called Ron Coleman who started hearing voices during a breakdown at 21 and having survived two periods of sectioning for Schizophrenia is now part of the hearing voices network. It also mentions a Professor Marius Romme who is considered the Father of the movement when he realised that voices tend to be the result of early trauma. I don't think they recognise the voices as simply part of the person shut off from the hearer but are pretty close. Also a Professor Richard Bentall who wrote "Doctoring the Mind" (though worryingly with a forward by Arron T Beck) is a strong advocate of early trauma being the major cause of voices. Maybe not so off topic because so many still feel the need to sit astride the "CBT" bandwagon while also moving towards the view that it is our environment which is the problem. The article was in the Nov issue of UK Esquire magazine. I am going to read Bentalls book to see what he says. When Romme proposed his theory his colleagues at the University of Maasstricht thought he was going crazy and accused him of hearing voices and he realised they were trying to get him out. He said he had challenged the medical model and it was not appreciated.

      Someone else threatened with being cast out for shouting that the King is naked!

  13. Continuation from last comment.

    I gather that there is a growing trend for scientists to sue other scientists if their findings are questioned in the media. There is a campaign to keep libel laws out of science.

  14. Dr Janov

    Talking about oxymorons, I have no idea exactly what it means but I would like to ask you why when I used the word self love, you called it an 'oxymoron.I don't think self love is at all crazy or unreal. I do believe it is a survival tool for anyone, as it has been for me, to learn to care about and respect ones self especially in a context of a family who have created tremendous and ongoing harm. For me it has been crucually important to cease self destructiveness and learn to love and feel that I am not the worthless individual my family (almost) convinced me I was.

  15. Anonymous: In that sense, OK. I wrote a piece on the blog called "The Nature of Love". But your letter is worthy of a lengthy piece which I will do in the future. I agree that it is important. 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.