Monday, December 31, 2012

Psychotherapy as a Cult

Maybe you think this is just a ploy to get your attention, or an exaggeration to ridiculous lengths but let us examine what a cult is and see if psychotherapy fits.  (Some of these ideas were inspired by a new book by Kramer and Alstad: The Guru Papers, and from my own forthcoming book: Beyond Belief).

  So what are the markings of a cult and a guru who runs it?  Absolute authority and someone without faults.   The leader is a know it all,  who runs your life and tells  you how to live.  Who demands obedience.  Someone who does not trust you thinking for yourself.  Someone who knows what is in your unconscious and interprets it for you; this teaches you to mistrust yourself and doubt your previous thoughts;  submission to the leader’s thoughts.  Never to question him or his beliefs even though it can lead to your deterioration…. A military mindset.   Accepting a new moral orientation.  An absolute belief in the leader’s theory. Believing he has a special wisdom and knows the secrets of the universe.   Best if you know nothing of the leader’s life so that he remains a mystery (nearly always a “he”).  Even if the theory makes no sense (as in Freudian theory) there is a need to believe and submit.

  Does this sound familiar?  Yes there are the cults and then there are therapies that fulfill nearly all of the requirements of  a cult. No matter what therapeutic approach it is nearly always the same.. A knowing doctor who knows what is best for you and will either tell you how to live, to find “wholesome thoughts”, or will do something to you to change your life. And what they do is based on a theory with little science behind it but lots of  free-form speculation masquerading as theory.  By and large, as with cults, we are renting a daddy or mommy who will tell us how to live because we feel so lost. They will protect and guide us, love us, be concerned about us and our future, and all they require is obedience; never said as such but implied.  But you do have to pay because the doctor says it gives value to the therapy and helps you treat it seriously.  This is what I was told when I came back from the war a complete wreck and needed help.   I was of course broke and could not pay.  The doctors who stayed home during the war wanted me to value their therapy when I felt I was dying.   And by the way most of them were Freudian psychoanalysts.   And when they gave speeches it was always, “A Psychoanalyst looks at blah blah”. They were Gods, cult leaders in every sense of the term; and my professors expected obedience at every turn and never to question their theories.

  The unspoken contract between patient and doctor is that they know what is best for you. No matter what kind of therapy it is always "I know what is best";   but they don’t.  That is the tragedy, and the patient stays for years thinking the therapist knows best. Since he makes his money keeping you in therapy he has an interest in the therapeutic longevity of the patient.  It is never expressed or even acknowledged but it is there.  Again, guru or therapist, the dynamics are largely the same.  Except in the cult it becomes dangerous to quit and the group can be threatening. That is not the case in therapy except the doctor warns about leaving therapy too early.  It seems to always be too early.

  We have had the experience of patients telling their doctor about Primal Therapy only to be pooh-poohed as a cult and worthless.   This often happens when the doctor knows nothing of what we do.  And what we do is the opposite of a cult.  We teach the patient what we do and want him or her out of there as soon as possible.   The only authority is the patient who knows best what is wrong and what is in their unconscious.    There is no great leader who demands obedience and insists on not being questioned.  Too often in patients, there is this search for certainty and we want a therapist who looks like a doctor and who speaks with an air of authority.  We do not want a hesitant doctor.  We do not want a doctor who is not completely sure of himself.  We want the rock of Gibraltar.  Why?  So we can relax, submit, be guided and taken care of.  Lovely.  And when we get that daddy and mommy that should have been,  we stay in therapy.  It is then a permanent act-out on both their parts.  The doctor gets the glory and adulation, while  the patient gets a kind,concerned doctor/parent.
It is addictive for both and that is why it lasts and lasts.  And never does the doctor call the patient on his act out; he encourages it; you must come three times a week instead of two, blah blah.   It encourages dependence, which is not what we want at all.

   More and more we come to trust the doctor’s advice and he readily supplies it.  We go to find out if we should get married, change jobs, go to school, leave this person, etc.  In our therapy we rarely if ever give advice; we believe in self-determination.  We want the patient to trust himself and not be infantilized.  By the way I finally found an Analyst to treat me for battle fatigue and what did we do? Dream analysis because that was his specialty.

    When your whole world is invested in your doctor you keep on going and do not question.  Your whole world is wrapped around him.  What does he think of my decision?  Would he approve of this or that?

  There are some in cults who change their names and become Swamy da da da.  It is as if  they had no history. But in current cognitive therapy there is also no history;  it is more and more a therapy of the here-and-now.  History doesn’t account for much.  Not a big difference.

  Here is the diabolic part in all this; once we spin a web of belief in our followers all we have to do is manipulate the beliefs. We have control.  Our beliefs/theories are now deeply inside the patient/follower and his life is in our hands.  He believes in the Id or Ego or Shadow Forces and other nonsense.  He has no other frame of reference.   In the cult they keep others away so that you will not have a contrary frame of reference; you are now a true believer.  The cult says the beliefs are our stairway to heaven while the doctor says you are on the way to more healthy beliefs and a stable way of life; ergo a stairway to heaven.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

What About Drugs to Help Us Feel

It used to be LSD that was thought to help us feel, but then we discovered that it flooded the cortex and took away any chance of connection.  Now there is a new one, Oxytocin, which seems to help us share and trust others.  I call it “instant love” because it causes to act for the moment as though we are and were loved.  And friends have wondered if it doesn’t help us open up and feel more?  Indeed it might but like all temporary panaceas its effects are not lasting and it avoids a key point:  what happens to the imprint?  The imprint of unloved which is infused into our entire system?  No drug will take that away and it should not.   Nothing can take away the engraved memory because it is now part of our neurophysiology.  And my point is that we cannot truly feel loved so long as the imprint remains.

    So yes, there are temporary expedients but they remain that.  There is no magic and no real way to deceive our physiology.   If we spent a lifetime with a harridan of a mother and an alcoholic father, that left us totally neglected and unloved, there is no drug that will take that away.   That is like taking away part of our physiology which reflects that lifetime.    If we were abused so that there were changes in our oxytocin, which does happen, as well as permanent changes in our cortisol levels and various hormones, it cannot be undone by a magic infusion of some chemical help, as much as we may find it wonderful.

  You know,  many addicts have found the magic pill; it is called heroin.  Here is how it happens:  some child is in constant pain and because it is an every day of constant neglect and indifference he is not aware of it.  But someone turns him onto heroin and he suddenly feels normal.  He is relaxed and can work and concentrate.  What happened?  He found something that did indeed normalize him. Am I kidding?  I don’t think so since with constant early pain there are basic changes in stress hormone levels and most of all in serotonin, which helps us repress and keep pain down. But with chronic pain the serotonin levels are reduced and we are in a constant malaise, a discomfort, and we have no idea of its origins.  We don’t even know it is called pain.  But then we take a drug, a painkiller that helps us repress and we feel “normal”.   And for that moment we are “normal”.  Just like with oxytocin; we do feel loved and love for the moment. But it quickly passes, and we must not imagine that any drug will take away our history and renew us forever.  That’s called magical thinking, and we have enough of that extent, as it is.  There are those who got into ecstasy which also produced that wonderful feeling of access to feelings and those who took it swear it helped so much, but trust me, it didn’t.  It couldn’t, because until something wipes away our history there is no profound change.  Should I repeat?  Until something eliminates our history, no drug can make a profound change, no matter what you think.  Oh yes, there are changes in thinking and attitudes but no neurophysiologic change.

  But there is a way to feel that we can love again, and that way is the dialectic: to feel totally unloved again; because it is that feeling that constantly drives us and makes us act the way we do.   We are unendingly sweet in order to get some kind of love. But once we feel what happened to us and our feelings we are ready to get on with life and love again.   So what is addiction all about? Trying to achieve the feeling we would have had if we had been loved at the start.  We take drugs every today that enhances that feeling and allows to relax for the moment.  It is not a bad thing; it is necessary.   It is our past that pains us and also liberates us; our history that is freeing because it first has to be acknowledged and felt.  Once done we are finally free.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

On Nowhere to Go

There is a piece in the magazine The Week about Patrick Stewart, the actor.  He always knew when his father was about to erupt into violence when he came home from the pub.  If he was singing Irish folk songs they and their mother were safe. But if he sang army songs, trouble was ahead.   In a bad mood his father would find fault with something and the trouble would escalate.  His mother was often lying on the floor bleeding and the police were called. They somehow managed to blame the mother for provocation and nothing happened.

    The point is what do  you do when the person who is supposed to protect you becomes the danger? The mother is too weak to help out, so where do you go? Mainly inside.  And then drugs ease the inner torment that never leaves.

    Or in the case of incest, and I have seen it dozens of times; the child is traumatized and she runs to her mother.  The mother blames the child for provoking daddy. Now where does she go?   Inside.  Her protector became her danger,  while her mother became complicit in the crime.   The child not only suffered horrible abuse but then is blamed for it.  An incredible double crime that is not soon gotten over.  And indeed in both these cases it takes a long time to even begin to approach the damage.

   The  mother in incest cases is only too happy for the child to take over her sexual duties.  And she eases her own blame by blaming the child.  It  takes months and even years to feel all that and integrate it.    We can tell how horrendous it is by how long to it takes to get over it.  Counseling and discussion won’t do it.   It is far too deep; there was no help, no one to talk to or lean on.   The child is totally on his or her own.  No relief.  And the imprint lingers and there is never any relief; yes the child can grow up and discuss it all in counseling groups that offers insight but never the kind of help needed.  The damage is to feelings and is to feelings that we must go.  It is not just intellectual damage although there is that too.  But to go back into the damaging situation and experiencing  again seems like it is asking too much; I agree but it is the only way to eliminate the damage.  It has to be felt little by little and integrated a bit at a time.

   The feeling system holds those memories in storage permanently and will never let go until they are acknowledged and experienced with all its agony. Many of us never want to go there but there is no choice if we understand how the system works.   And if we want to stop our suffering, and therefore our addiction we must return to the scene of the crime.  Can we imagine trying to solve a c rime by never visiting it; only trying to look at the evidence from a distance?  Good luck.  The crime remains pristine pure locked away in our limbic system ready to be looked at and felt when we are ready.  And for that we need help; no one can do that on his own.  No one will go there  voluntarily.   But if our therapist doesn’t believe in that damage then all hope is lost. The loser?  The person who must go on suffering.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What Causes Alzeihmers?

   Well there are many contributing factors but let me add one.   A report in the recent meeting of the Society for Neuroscience found that patients with Alzheimers mention changes in sleep patterns for months before it is diagnosed.  They nap longer and more fitful. They were high on the sleep disturbance index.  This offers us a correlation index but does not help us make a diagnosis of generating causes.

   Another piece: sleep apnea is also associated with this disease.  Those with chronic apnea are twice as likely to develop Alzheimers later on.  They have high levels of beta amyloid which clump around nerve cells and affect proper nerve transmission.
So we have hyperactive brains, combined with long daily naps and sleep apnea to produce Alzheimers Disease.

  Now my contribution:  I have seen apnea in my patients when they relive birth, consistently.  They lose their breath and seem “dead” for a minute or so.  No attempt at breathing.   Put a mirror to their mouths and there is nothing there.  It happens right after reliving a drugged birth.  It seems to have been part of the birth process where due to a massive input of anesthesia during the birth process their breathing was shut off for a minute or two.  They seem to relive it again and then with a sudden jerk they come out of it an begin what I term “locomotive” breathing.”  Is raspy and hoarse and lasts many minutes as the system tries to recuperate from its oxygen deprived trauma. But that apnea seems to become chronic, an imprint, that the follows the person throughout life.  It seems to stop when patients relive the birth process over and over again with all of its anoxia.   In short, they no longer are driven by the imprinted memory of oxygen deprivation to re-create the early trauma.

   There is something else these early traumas produce, and that is a hyperactive brain as it tries to overcome the imprint of death threatening events.   It is an imprint that must be combatted over and over again as the system is under attack by oxygen deprivation—by a memory of deprivation in the same way that the brain remembers deprivation of love.  And of course as the brain is driven  constantly there is bound to be dementia eventually as it has been working overtime for a very long time.   The top level brain cells have been recruited into battle too many times all due to the imprint, which is why a feeling therapy, a reliving, is essential to stopping the onset of the disease.   We need to slow it down.

   Sleep disturbance is a marker for Alzheimers because it signifies an overactive brain, a brain that is driven by lower-level imprints that keep the top level busy.  It won’t allow a drop into deep sleep levels because of the imprinted pain there.  That is why there is the use of sleep aids that suppress some of the pain and allow a descent into the unconscious.

  Since sleep apnea is highly correlated with later Alzheimers we need to ask the question about why, and for that we need to know where apnea comes from and what to do about it.   My guess is traumatic birth is a major factor; this is not a simple speculation.  I have seen it in the relivings of patients with heavily drugged birth.  It becomes a key marker for the appearance of the disease.  Let us not neglect it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Teach Me to Fish

  There is an old saying:  give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats forever.  That is what we do in our therapy.  We try to take all of the mystery out of our therapy; we explain all our techniques and theories to patients so that they can learn how to do it. Therefore they can leave therapy with sufficient tools to carry on helping themselves.  Our goal is to make the patient independent as soon as possible, rather than enhancing his dependence by keeping the techniques of therapy hidden.  It is, after all, the patient’s brain and body; we don’t want his feelings to go unnoticed, and we don’t want them to go on un-experienced.  But once he gains access to feelings he has the first technique for making himself well.  There is always a real need for dependence in therapy for a time, but that is  to be discouraged as the patient can stop  acting out being the child who needs a daddy or mommy.  Once this need for protection and guidance is felt we want her to stand on her own feet.  She should look to herself for answers and not us. She is the master of her unconscious and knows it better than we do.

  Let me give an example.  Nearly all new research finds that the earliest months and years of our lives leave a lasting impression—in my language it is called the imprint.  If we don’t know about that we cannot successfully help anyone.  For example, a new study finds that infant stress affects the teenage brain.  If we ignore infant stress we will never  understand brain problems as we grow up.  (See: Nature, Nov. 11, 2012. Also found in Nature Neuroscience, check  This study examined several hundred  children from  birth to early adulthood.  They found that four-year-olds exposed to chronic stress (arguing parents, divorce, death of a loved one), have high levels of the stress hormones (cortisol) in their systems.  We found that, as well, in our beginning patients.  These high levels correlated strongly with aggression, impulsivity and other related behavioral  problems.

  These researcher also scanned the brains of 57 eighteen year-olds who were part of the original study.  They had weaker connections to  feeling centers such as the amygdala.  There is much more to the study but what is clear is how early stress affects our feeling capacity and in our  navigating the world.  And we see how all this plays into such problems as attention deficit.  So with patients we want them to understand their feelings and how it affects their  learning ability; and  with their knowledge to  understand and control their inability to concentrate.  They learn to cure themselves and they learn to make themselves better.  They no longer rush to the doctor for answers; they have the answers they need.  Besides no one else knows more about you than you. Nothing is more informative than your own feelings; they teach us what feelings drove what act-out or act-in.  What  makes our migraines come on or what raises blood pressure.  Feelings inform us about why the heart races and breathing gets shallow.  They explain why the tantrums and crying jags.  Why the sudden terror or panic attacks  . No more mysteries.  No more feeling helpless before the onslaught of anxiety.  Ain’t that great?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"On Why They Kill Themselves at the End" and "On Murder Again" Republished

I wrote the first article  a year ago and the second one ten months ago.  art

On Why They Kill Themselves at the End

Almost every week now, there is a story of a mass killer that fires on many people, kills a few, then turns the gun on himself and commits suicide.  Why do they do that? Why not just kill?  Because then, the neurologic sequence would not be run off.  Let me explain:

I use the sequence of my patients in their reliving as an example.  First they feel amorphous pain and suffering,  then they attach a scene to it such as “they don’t love  me. “  “You bastards, why don’t you  love me (fury) ?!”  Then the patient begs, “Please love me.” And finally, “It is all hopeless.”  If we think of the gunman who seems to follow the same sequence.  Often the wife has left and taken the kids who give him love.  He is furious and wants to kill (in Primal) but actually does kill in real life.  Then there is the ultimate hopelessness and giving up (in therapy the truth is finally felt and sets the patient free) but in life the gunman stops at hopelessness and kills himself.  He has gotten rid of his anger but there is nothing left,  nowhere to go with his feelings and no resolution.  Life has lost its meaning.

  Patients feel that way along the route to full  feeling  but they do not stop there, and if they do leave  therapy too soon they will be stuck with those feelings forever.  What gives the kick to those feelings is  very early trauma that digs up rage plus a lifetime of  no love  from the parents and then finally, the loss of love in the present.  The stalker cannot stand the feeling and checks up all of  the  time on his wife.  The killer is  more emerged in the feeling  and kills.  Both  cannot  stand the loss of  love; the difference is, I assume, that the pre-birth and birth traumas add a layer of extreme feelings to the mix, which cracks the defense system and places the person  out of control.  And  it is those early traumas that compromise the  part of the cortex that controls feelings and create the out-of-control sequence.  This  happens very early on when the  cortical cells are just being evolved and proliferating.

  This analogy isn’t theoretical; I have seen this run off in patients, and the more unloved and deprived they were earlier on, the more violent the tendencies.  Happily in therapy it all remains internal and benign.  Outside  of therapy  it is a catastrophe.

On Murder Again

I am going to explain what happens when someone “snaps” and kills. Specifically, regarding Scott Dekraai who killed eight people recently in Seal Beach California. He says now, some three weeks later, that “I know what I did.” So how is that possible to know what you are doing and still do it? The catch is he didnt’ know what he was doing when he did it, only later.

Is that possible to know one minute and not know the other minute? Absolutely.

Let’s talk about the crackup. But before I do that let me offer a little reminder; There are three levels of brain function. The top level is the thinking, comprehending one; externally oriented. Lower down is the feeling brain that adds emotion to the mix, and still deeper there is the instinctive reptile brain that processes the same instincts as the reptile. It adds urgency and power to emotions and to beliefs. All three have separate functions and yet are interrelated. And they communicated with each other by chemical means and also by electrical frequencies. And when something happens in the present it resonates with similar feelings from the past and they join forces. When defenses are weak, something in the present can trigger off allied sensations and feelings and then we get a powerhouse response. All three levels are involved in a conjoined reaction. Normally, there is a good defense apparatus so that the resonance does not reach too far deep down, thus limited the force of the reaction.

Here is how resonance works in the domain of anger. Something in the present makes me very angry; my wife is divorcing me and trying to keep the kids. My money is running out and she still wants more. She refuses to see or talk to me. She turns the family against me. I have been let go at my job due to injuries and I have no prospects for a new job. All looks bleak and I have no alternative. All these are assaults on my defenses. And they weaken so much that it all crumbles and there is no barrier holding back deeper pain. The problem is on the feeling level there are powerful emotions, but as it resonates still deeper anger turns to rage and fury. Human emotion because murderous feelings as the deepest animal level has access to the higher level. That is, in my lingo, the third line gives way to the first line reptilian brain where killer feelings reside. And for that moment the third line inhibitory brain is ousted by the first line instinctive brain and there is murder. The deepest brain level becomes the highest one temporarily. There is nothing left of the top level of the brain whose main function it is to inhibit. But that can only last minutes. Once the rage is expressed the pain level diminishes and some of the third line thinking, reflective brain returns to function. And Scott can now say, “I know what I did.” And he knows now but at the moment of crisis he did not know what he was doing; his rage machine took over and he became the reptile spewing out fury indiscriminately. After all, it is the top level that discriminates. It was usurped for that moment, the critical moment when he murdered eight people.

I have seen this rage over and over again when very disturbed patients begin to relive on the emotional, feeling level and suddenly are impacted by the lower levels. They begin to pound the mattress and the padded walls with an enormous fury that can go on for thirty minutes to one hour. In therapy they can direct the rage, connect with it and not be overwhelmed by it. Not so, on the street. I have filmed this rage, and those interested will see it when we release the film. The patient seems to be out of control because he is in the grip of powerful deep forces. But it is a controlled situation and is not acted out. It is becomes acted-out when the person has no idea that there are feelings deep in the unconscious, is helpless before them and has no idea about how to control them. His unconscious has taken over. And he kills.

And we can say of these people who are sometimes out of control that they may be pre-psychotic. All that really means is that their defenses against the deepest level of the brain are very weak due to the constant onslaught of pain early on in their life. And what do so-called anti-psychotic pills do? They dampen the lowest brain levels from responding. They help hold back the first line. They do this by souping up the top level so that it is more active and effective; and at the same time there are inhibitory medications in it that block the lower level pain; thus, we get a more active cortex and a less active brainstem and limbic/feeling brain. And in this medication there are chemicals that we should produce ourselves, such as serotonin. But we don’t because very early trauma has exhausted supplies, and we cannot make enough to blanket the pain. So when our inner pharmacy cannot do the job we need help from the external one. We can call it anti-psychotic medicine but all it is doing is making up for what we can no longer manufacture ourselves. Poor Scott had so many current assaults coupled with a lifetime of them that he could no longer inhibit nor defend. His defense system was not up to the job. Now when it is far too late he probably has a somewhat weak defense system that can inhibit. That won’t do his victims any good.

The lesson we can take from this is that when deprivation and severe trauma exists while we are being carried, the first-line defenses are already in a weakened state. As a kid he may have had uncontrolled temper tantrums which evolved into murder. Was he responsible? Yes and no. But we can go a long way to avoid murderous rage by making sure there is as little trauma as possible when we live in the womb. No drinking and drug-taking by the mother. No fights with her husband. No crazy diets while carrying. It is easy for me to say. I am only the messenger. It is up to all of you to listen to the message.

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Reliving Again

There seems to be a dispute about whether we can relive events in the womb while we were being carried.  So let me clarify.  When a patient with leaky gates starts to relive something in infancy, there is sometimes a breakthrough of birth events; the trauma, say, of diminished oxygen where the mother was given heavy anesthetics. So in the midst of an infancy primal, there is suddenly a suffocation, sometimes the person turns red and seems to be suffocating.  When this ends the patient begins rapid breathing,  I call it locomotive breathing, raspy and hoarse, rapid as though the patient is making up  for the event by gasping for air.  Heavy breathing can go on for minutes, and then relaxation as the event becomes integrated.   The vital signs fall below starting values as a sign that this integration is happening.  Here we establish with little doubt that earlier pain can break through higher level trauma, as though the beginning feeling has dredged up deeper pain.  This happens when that earlier first-line pain is massive and will not stay in its cave.   The gates are already damaged from all the early trauma and they become “leaky.”

   Through the process of resonance the early pain is dredged up because it is in some way related to the current feeling; either anxiety or panic.  It can also take the form of hopelessness  or helplessness when the current situation leaves the person feeling helpless.  When the clerk at the DMV keeps blocking your attempt to explain something and she says, “sorry, there is nothing I can do.” Sometimes rage sets in at the DMV. In a Primal,  it may be that helplessness sets in and this evokes the very early helplessness felt when trying to get born, being suffocated with drugs.   Of course it is not articulated as helplessness; it is a sensation and very uncomfortable.  It may not even be a feeling; only a non-differentiated sensation that has no words nor feelings, as yet.  But we can act on that later on even when we don’t know what it is.

   In short, leaky gates allows that early sensation to rise, triggered off by something in the present that produces the same sensation/feeling.   So if we understand that while we relive something in the present an old feeling from childhood can break through, it is also possible that while we relive early infancy and childhood it is possible that womb-life trauma can break through.  It can be denied only if we deny the possibility of womb-life trauma.  This is no longer a hypothesis since hundreds of studies over the last few years have pointed to womb-life trauma and its later effects on our health and personality.   The earlier that trauma the more widespread and deleterious the effects.

  But the way we relive womb-life can only be within the possibilities of what the first line can do; that is, relive the physiologic effects with no feelings possible, as yet.   So when we have inordinate anxiety while we relive something much later in our childhood, that signifies first line breaking through.   The first line, in brief, can only provide simply biologic reactions of heart, blood pressure, body temperature, as well as changes in hormone output.  We cannot pinpoint these reactions because they are incorporated in the primal of childhood that someone is reliving.   But it makes the Primal much more forceful, more than we can expect when the patient relives something when she was eight years old.   Terrible suffering and panic may be there that does not seem to related to the event itself.  We see this a lot in pre-psychotics where there is nearly always a first-line breakthrough during a primal.  And for this they often need painkillers or tranquilizers to push back the first line for a time. Otherwise we get disintegration, which is not what we want.  So is the patient after this Primal aware of the first line and that she was reliving life in the womb?  Not often, except that she knows that feeling of panic; and we know where it comes from.  So in this sense she is aware of first line but not the circumstances, any more than during womb-life she is aware that she is in the womb when mother takes a couple of cocktails.      But she can experience the sensation of dizziness and vertigo.  And that may last years, or she can hold her breath when later on there is trauma and fear; a holdover from womb-life and suffocation where she is again conserving oxygen when stressed.   It is again the primal/primordial reaction to suffocation.

A propos of this, there is an article in Scientific American Mind. I must repeat this to be believable—SCIENTIFC AMERICAN MIND, with the headline, “A daily glass of wine is OK during pregnancy.”   (Nov/Dec 2012).  Can you imagine? I can, when it comes from those who have no idea what womb-life does to us.  The story goes on to say that moderate drinking  shows no effects on childhood learning. And of course they studied hundreds of subjects and found they were just as smart as other children.  So it must be true?  Oh no it’s not.  That is because in the cognitive arena they are exclusively focused on learning and not on emotional effects.  So they find what they are looking for.  Maybe they are looking at the wrong thing.  These results also appeared in the journal of obstetrics.   And they reassure:  expectant moms can now relax.  Ayayay.

    A mother who has a drink every day of her pregnancy is doing immeasurable damage to the offspring.  And it is not temporary.  If she also smokes there is the groundwork for later psychosis.   How do we know?  During Primal relivings we see inordinate reactions to the childhood reliving she is undergoing.   Thus, it indicates massive deep pain underneath the surface.   When there is now pain of neglect, of being ignored, neglected and punished during childhood all of the time we have the soil for later serious mental illness; and we know that the illness is not just mental but totally physiologic.  No, mothers who drink cannot relax; they are harming the baby and later adult.  If they smoke and drink during the first days and weeks of womb-life where the nervous system is just getting organized the damage begins.    Can we relive?  Only the sensations and even that it is very difficult but in theory it can be done.  Let us not confuse awareness and consciousness.   We can be aware of malaise but not be conscious of the early circumstances; but we can relive the malaise.

   So what does a recent study, also in Scientific American Mind,  mean when they say that PTSD (stress disorder)  happens with more severity when there is a traumatic childhood in the past of the individual?  Here again we see that there is an acknowledgement of the critical window even when they are not aware of it.  That is, it is not only the war experience that damages but the harmful childhood behind it.  That is, trauma during the critical period,  early on in our infancy and before, occurs during the epoch of the critical window when lack of love can leave a disastrous imprint that lingers.  A mother who drinks and smokes during pregnancy is indifferent to her child, with the same indifference she may treat him later on.  That is how the fetus experiences lack of love and trauma before he has words for it.

    The critical window has a short shelf-life,  and when there is trauma during that time the damage is engraved and stays.   The most critical shelf-life is during the time we are being carried. That imprint harms the most and lingers much longer, perhaps for a lifetime.  It is also the most recondite and difficult to retrieve and relive but it can be done.  We have to trust the theory and our clinical experience, which by now has lasted 45 years

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Different Kinds of Memory

Too often we think of memory as something we can remember….verbally, that is.  But there are several  kinds of memory and each level of consciousness remembers in its own way.  The emotional system remembers when something moves us to tears; something we may not be “aware” of.  Thus we remember on non-verbal  levels  in non-verbal  ways.  And there is another form of memory that is most primitive, and is purely instinctual and below even the emotional level.  Seizures can be that form of memory; so that in group therapy, as one of my epileptics was about to have a seizure, I told him that it was from birth and let himself go there.  He did, and transformed an inchoate seizure into a  reliving of a traumatic/oxygen deprived birth.  I  knew where it was coming from, otherwise I would never dare suggest what I did.    And those kinds of suggestions are rare, indeed.

  There are forms of what I call first line memory; avoiding enclosed places as a  "doppelganger" of an oxygen deprived gestational life.  Enclosed spaces, for those who have that imprint, are avoided in order not to trigger off a panic attack.  It is not the enclosed space that is the danger; it is the memory of what it provokes.  A Primal can make it conscious but even when unconscious, it is still a memory.  And in Primal Therapy we make all  of those levels, over time, into consciously/aware experiences; not verbal experiences—conscious ones.  We would never try to transmute a non-verbal memory into something verbal  and/or intellectual.  We don’t encourage a patient to remember something verbally that was never verbal, in the first place.  That is  when we get abreaction and no help  in therapy.  That involves deceiving the patient and trying to change his memory system;  intellectual therapists too often try to do that…..make every experience verbal and forcing the memory into the verbal  mode.

  Our first job in therapy is to recognize what form of memory we are dealing with.  Birth traumas are never relived verbally or even with tears; there are never any words involved.  Trying to get a patient to scream when there was never any scream or need to scream involved in the memory is yet another road to abreaction—the discharge of the energy of a feeling onto the wrong  level of consciousness—onto a different memory system and a different level of consciousness.

  That is often what a seizure is; yes of course there may be brain lesions, but the tipping point could be latent anxiety.  And we bring down the level to below overt symptoms, so that there may be latent anxiety but not overt seizures.  All this so we can be clear what kind of memory system we are dealing with.  What we get too often in insight/cognitive therapy is verbal expression to the exclusion of the other levels and so we get only partial wellness because we have dealt partially with memory.  To be clear, there may be several factors  involved in a seizure; anxiety may be one.  When we reduce that factor we may help the patient to be below symptomatic levels.  It is not an ultimate cure  but it helps.  Ultimate cure is when we deal  with  the  neurology, physiology and key primal memory.  We cannot neglect  any aspect of ourselves and expect  cure.  We can use pills to block anxiety but that is not going to be cure.  Let us be sure about what kind of memory system we are dealing with; knowing that there are different kinds and “never the twain shall meet.”  If we confound memory systems the patient will not get well.  This is not just a theoretical point, but a profoundly neurophysiologic one.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More on My Primal World

  Now that we have emptied out the hospitals what can we do about the cops?  I have an idea: reduce them because there will be so little need for them.  Yes there will be violent crime committed by those who had bad gestational life and birth trauma; far less by those who had a decent, warm and tender childhood.  There will be far less  losing control because most of us will have a full set of marbles; that is, a more integrated, competent neocortex that can inhibit dangerous impulses and steer us into healthy lives.  With a proper connection from feelings to top level control most of us will be able to control our feelings, our angry and terror.  Actually, there will be far, far less terror and rage as the very early traumas that engender them are gone.  And by the way, there will rarely be a migraine or high blood pressure because those early generating sources are no longer there.

    Why do we need police?  Traffic?  With far less drinking and drug taking we won’t have them investigate all those accidents, taking reports and draining insurance company coffers and our wallets.   What can police do?   Investigate fraud by psychopaths; some will exist, and look into faulty manufacturing of cars and other things because there might still be residual psychopaths running companies.  After all, companies are not known for their great conscience.   They will rarely need to look into rape and sexual offenses because we will all have better control of our feelings. With all of the savings from police salaries we can spend far more on education and schooling.   We will soon have a highly educated populace.  And the lawyers?  So little need for them…..yes for business documents but even there someone’s word will be her bond.  To make sure about ownership of property, yes, we might need a lawyer. But all that litigation will be a thing of the past; less of us trying to screw someone in a business deal; truth will be the final arbiter.

   And oh yes, we will know who can be  trusted, not acting out our need to trust in following others blindly.    Not trying to win at any cost;  no stake in beating or getting ahead of someone.  No need to cheat in order to win over someone else.   No neurotic needs, in short, that detour us and drive us relentlessly.  No need to keep going and be unable to relax.  With full feeling comes full sexuality and makes marriages and relationships better.  And when personal needs becomes acknowledged we care for those who are needy and try to help.  We vote for those who understand need and want to do something about it.   Society will be geared around need; primary need and not manufactured ones such fame and riches.  We will really be our brother’s keeper.

  We won’t impoverish our country with constant buildup of arms.   We will not feel so unsafe that we need more and more guns in order to feel safe and protected.   Being stable and secure we will not have to manufacture enemies to combat.  We will not have to project our inner demons into outside evil forces who want to hurt us.   We can tell the difference between our inner feelings and outside reality.  And we won’t have to project our feelings onto new relationships so that this woman or man won’t just be wonderful but will be seen realistically.  Remember we project our unfulfilled needs onto others at first because need dominates.   And then with more experience we begin to see reality. That is the start of divorce and the start of lifelong suffering in the children.  All that can be avoided.  Obviously, not everyone’s perceptions will be perfect but they will be much better.   We won’t look for salvation because we no longer look for a savior.    We can save ourselves.   I will leave it to you to see about religion; but John Lennon said it:  the dream is over…..I don’t believe in…...

    All this is not in the realm of improbable or impossible.  We have the means to do it all NOW.   But first, a small detail.  We need to produce feeling human beings who have enough of themselves not to be taken in.  After that, the rest is easy.  When we know our insides as well as the outside we will have a good idea what is wrong with us and why.  A stomach ache will be understood without doctoring.   And what a relief—our vital signs will be normal so that we won’t have to rush to doctors.  Serious afflictions will be rare as will inexplicable behavior such as impulsivity.   We will no longer be a mystery to ourselves because biology and psychology will be taught in schools and help make us more aware.  Bad behavior in school will be examined for causes, rather than simply punished, so that all children will learn about themselves and about feelings.  Feeling people can teach better because they understand the world and themselves better.   They teach about the feeling capacity of animals and how we must take care with them.   They teach kindness so that we make schools and our families pleasant places.   Home will be soothing and calm; not shouting and bickering, nor a place for punishment.    There will be no need to punish; almost none of us learn from it.  And parents who are not harassed welcome their children home from school with a smile and joy.  The child feels wanted and cared for.  So a child, deprived of emotion, will not grow up and become a victim of the first person who says he wants her or that he is interested in her.  She will have enough of herself to see it all objectively.

   Part of feeling is to be considerate of the environment--we live in and from. No using beach or street as an ashtray.  No throwing trash anywhere.
We keep our environment clean; not so difficult.  And we eat well because we understand and cherish our insides; we treat it well, not abusing it with cigarettes and alcohol.   So little addiction that it will not be a great problem; no need to kill imprinted pain because there will be so little.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What a Primal World Looks Like

  You know, we have a lot of the answers and solutions right now to make this world a better,  decent place to live.   So if I ran the world what would happen?  Since I know about the effects of gestational and birth trauma on the rest of our lives, I would begin there.   Change everything.  Make sure that the conceiving parents are getting along because if they are not then the results will likely be allergies, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  Many studies have shown that bickering, unhappy parents produce offspring prone to disease.   Making a baby won’t improve the marriage; it will only make it more risky for the baby.  So put off a baby until you are sure of each other and like each other.  And that goes for childbirth where trauma not only leads to disease later on but also creates angry and sometimes violent offspring.  These traumas impact brain development so that the cortical cells which should evolve normally are impaired and do not evolve as they should. There is less ability to repress and control input from both outside and in; the results will be learning problems and attention deficit disorders.   There will be all sorts of problems in school because the child cannot sit still, is anxious and cannot concentrate.   There is ample research now that gestational trauma can set up the vulnerability to later cancer.

  And how do we improve our perceptions of others?  Once we are in touch with our feelings we can ”denicher” what others are like; we can see below the surface and know what is inside others.   We will no longer be surprised by who they really are one year later when we prepare for a divorce.   And when we are feeling beings, we can feel it when someone loves us.  If we are imprinted from early on with a feeling of being unloved we need constant reassurance from someone else about his or her love, and often it is not enough.  Being imprinted with “unloved” begins just after birth when we are left alone and crying inside a baby bassinette. No one comes to soothe and make us feel protected, wanted and loved.  Then just after birth there are no loving, warm parents around to hug and caress us.  It seals in the unloved feeling that later on no one can fulfill.   It is possible that parents meant well but an illness can leave them at a disadvantage.

  What all this love does is help empty out the hospitals and produce a much healthier population.   Much less absenteeism and much less suffering, and that counts, little agony and suffering.  People will feel better and that means less anger toward the children and spouse.  If you don’t feel good you are not fun to be around.

  Take one case.  A child being carried suffers when the parents bicker, so much so that her chances of asthma and allergies are much greater; several research studies confirm this.  Now she makes frequent trips to the emergency room together with long stays in hospital.  She is unhealthy and cannot do sports; she gains weight and has to take constant medication.  She cannot hike in the wilderness nor have animals.  The pollens make her sick.   She cannot marry because she is a burden.  She suffers nearly all of the time, looking for new medications.   She has to drop out of school because her asthma is critical.   The anxiety or angst she developed in the womb when her parents were fighting stays with her and keeps her from concentrating.  It is not just that the parental relationship produced allergies but it also installed a high level of tension which produced ADD so that her school work suffered.  She had allergies, severe at times, which upset her mental balance as well.  There was so much that she was not allowed to do because of her affliction.  She was, in short, damaged goods.   Worse, she had no idea what that was, or what caused it, where it came from and what to do about it. More and more allergy tests, more and more medication and more trips to the clinic.  Because her mother was allergic they (she and doctors) decided it was heredity.  And no doubt there may have been a bit of that too.  We never think that arguing parents are damaging the fetus, but they are.  Because when they finish with their bickering it still goes on in the child, perhaps for a lifetime.  It is an imprint.  She was unwell and irritable a lot. Short with her children and sarcastic with her husband. Also most impatient and demanding.  It went on because she never felt “right.”  She blamed everything and everyone because she had no grip on what was wrong.

   She and all her cohorts would stop going to clinics and hospitals in my world and the hospitals would be largely empty.  Doctors would no longer be stumped and misdiagnose ailments because they would take into account the generating sources of the problem; knowing where to look for origins. Patients could help out because they would know so much more about themselves and their inner lives.  Their top level brain would no longer be divorced from the lower levels where so much angst gets its start.  What a relief to know who you are marrying and why, and what a relief to have a partner who is fully sexual because all the early repression and blockage is no longer there and may have never been there.

    And just think of the money we save on drug wars because there is far less addiction simply because there is far less pain engraved inside of us.  We don’t need to waste resources tracking down dealers because there is no drug market.  Smart doctors will give painkillers to those in pain.  No more murders to claim ownership of the drug market.  With so little pain there is far less crime to rob pharmacies of their pain killers.   Everything changes.  Far less medical problems due to addiction.   Far less drive to find pills and far less need for pills to fall asleep.  There is no longer inner turmoil to roil our sleep patterns.  No more nightmares because most of them come from very early on and with good gestation and good birth there is no longer nightmare material.    No longer traumas engraved in our systems to dog and drive us for a lifetime.  No more the inability to rest and relax; no more the need to keep moving.  ahhhhh

Friday, December 7, 2012

Repression Kills

  There is a story in the paper about the actress who was a publisher  as well.  She died of Leukemia at age 59.  So the question is,  why did she die so early?  I cannot  tell you about her except that she died young; and so it begs  the question why  some of  us die early.    For most of us  it  is almost impossible to comprehend the power that lies within all of us—the power of the first line.  This is the power of traumas that occurred while we were being carried,  at birth and sooner after.  It is the power and the force for survival, because adversity when it happens very early after conception is  nearly always a matter  of life and death.  At the very least that danger, imprinted, is a harbinger for later mental  illness.  A mother smoking and drinking in the first months of pregnancy puts her offspring in danger of either psychosis or serious drug addiction later on.  It is incomprehensible to an outsider because they have not seen the explosive pain when  it is unleashed.  This reliving is not a one  time affair but occurs many, many times (Primals) over months and years.  It is only then that we can understand what lies within us and the pressure and damage it can produce.  Then cancer is no longer a mystery because we observe this pressure in our therapy; it all becomes clear.  It is a mystery to me to this day that those who carry terrible pain around do not show it!  There is the impassive face engendered by repression that keeps it all deep in storage.

    I have discussed epigenetics in my blog and my books, about how adversity early on changes the switches for key genes which then serve to compound repression or inhibition.  These switches turn on or off the gene and so help set in what seems like genetic changes. Basically it is the mechanism of closing the gates  or opening them.  And there are different chemicals that accompany the epigenetic events (methyl and acetyal groups, for example, producing a process known either as methylation or acetylation).  It seems that for each and every pain we endure during gestaton and at birth there  is a change in the chemicals that enhance the repression of pain.  When the pain or adversity is prolonged the system is overtaxed, and we now have the mechanism of leaky gates; that is,  repression begins to falter due to an overload of chronic pain.  It is the consistency of the pain that causes the overload.  There is a limit that the brain can handle.  The gates become vulnerable and do not do well afterwards.  It takes very little trauma after that to produce a symptom such as ADD.  Once you have seen the force of these traumas that are being relived, psychosis  and addiction are no  longer a mystery.  We see what it takes to push that force back  down.  Heavy doses of heroin are no surprise.  That is why we know that  in most heavy addictions there is great first line trauma imprinted deep down.  We see it in our studies of the brain and vital signs, as the patient approaches first line, there is a radical rise in all of these measurements.  And with integration of these imprinted memories there is a radical drop in these figures that remains over time.  A  carrying mother chronically depressed or anxious is changing the neurophysiology of the offspring.    It is, in short, a constant  trauma that the baby must deal with. It is not just one drink or one cigarette,  but unending stress.  How do we know?  We see it in the stress hormone levels in our beginning patients; always high at the start of therapy.  And  comes down permanently over the months.

  Of course in my psychoanalytic days I never saw any of this and could not even imagine that this pain and its force existed.  You need a theory for that which acknowledges the whole notion of deep pain which includes memories lodged in the brainstem and ancient limbic system.    And lodged with the force of the original trauma.  It is no wonder, then, that theories  and therapies that avoid the notion of imprinted pain are bound to go astray.

Without a theory of pain how could  we ever get to the bottom of  cancer and heart disease?  Or migraine and high blood pressure?  Our theory is not just something “nice or interesting or amusing”, it is life saving;  it means reversing serious mental illness.  We see this all of the time.  Many of us think that good diet will prolong life, and it is true, but not half as true as how soon repression makes us sick  and kills us prematurely.  Repression kills because it distorts basic physiology and detours brain development.  And repression forces the kind of unhealthy eating habit that makes us sick  early on.  Repression kills because, unconsciously, it forces us to deal with imprinted pain every minute of our lives.  It forces us to find ways to act out feelings or suppress them. There is another way—feel and experience them.

  We can never get to the bottom of  Leukemia or cancer without  seriously looking into very early life to see what first line trauma there was.  If we have no theory of brainstem trauma we will never understand it.  And if we have no  such theory that we are not keeping up with psychologic/brain science.  The wonder is how we all manage to keep deep pain stored away, never once acknowledging it. The body does and gets sick.  And it makes us sick on the deep cellular level, the level where the  early imprints lie.  All the pressure to keep pain stored puts the cellular  development at risk; eventually we  find serious illness, which  should not be a mystery but a foregone  conclusion.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On Surviving

The central nervous system receives input from outside but also, importantly from insides, as well.  It processes and stores information.  So why exactly are we neglecting the nervous system that processes and contains inner input in therapy?  Is it because we only can treat what we see, and since we don’t see what’s inside we imagine it doesn’t exist?  Or is it because some  of us live in “our heads” and cannot believe in  a life  deep in the interior; a life in the underground; in the zone of the interior?  This is the system that responds to stress and threat.  The system that cares and feels. It is the system of need and deprivation; why ignore it?  It is the system that remembers early hurt and deprivation; of suffocation  at birth and of not being touched right afterwards.  It is the system that needs.

  It is also the system that begins its connections with other brain circuits to help  us mature and make  us whole.  It is the system that begins the maturation of the blood and circulatory systems.  All detours are registered here, and here is  where  answers  lie to early hurt and lack of emotional care and touch.  How on earth can we ignore the key system that  remembers what  must be remembered; the system  that fully informs us of what we underwent very early in our lives?  It is the system that speaks of epigenetics and how genes and their expression were permanently changed.  It is the system that forms our personality, that shapes  how we respond to others  in life;  whether we battle on  or give up easily, our future passivity or aggressivity.  All this is set down so early but it is there for the looking; all we have to do is ask and seek.  How in therapy can we not believe in all this and go on treating only the here and now?    The early traumas take on and store early indifference and neglect by parents; it is early on that some neurons settle in the brainstem while  others find their home in the neo-cortex to make  us top heavy with intellect and prevent easy access to our feelings.  Don’t we want to know how mother’s taking drugs and alcohol caused the detour of key neurons  and changed our bodily functions?  Doesn’t this count when we are trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it?  Don’t we want to know how experience  in the womb reduced the brain’s dendrites and changed inner communication?  This resulting in learning problems and  ADD?  We want to know how experience changed the brain  to  take in  less input and  therefore to be easily overwhelmed with too much stimuli or input.  We must know that all the key major changes have taken  place before we play in the schoolyard.  Even before we have words to describe our problems.

  Our first major phase of development lies in the brainstem where we organize  terror, rage and impulsivity.  From this later  comes feeling and then thoughts.  There is a whole world of living before the top level even exists.  And a whole world of hurt, too.  It is the lowest  level  that impairs heart function  and is the precursor for later cancer. It is the site for organizing later diabetes and high blood pressure.  So when we wonder about an early heart attack or stroke we need to look for answers in the right places.  How is it possible to understand any of this and at the same time ignore its existence?  It  means not only ignoring  months  and years of personal development  but millions of years in the development of mankind.  We musn’t forget that our brain neurons migrate and how and where they go depends on early experience.  And  it is  early experience that ultimately determines brain growth.

  This reminds me of the giant painting of  a nude  and there  is  a  little old lady looking  only at the flowers around her.  We cannot afford to look away and still help people.  Cannot afford to not examine the critical period and not  to understand the importance of that period  for  our development.  How love at fifteen cannot ever, ever make up for its lack at age minus eight months.    And while  I am at it, there is a significant meeting going on by august mental health professionals who are renewing the diagnostic psychiatric manual.  And guess what? They are completely ignoring those key lower levels of our existence.

  When we examine animal life and see  how important  the critical period is, how  those not licked or  nuzzled suffer forever, we know how critical the  critical period is.    How the  brain shrinks  when love  is missing and reduces in size. How the brain is  denser with  early love.  Untouched newborn animals (and humans too) die much earlier.  There is a premature atrophy  of the brain.  It is becoming clear that early lack of love affects attachment  and impacts the  right brain that deals with attachment.  So  what is  it all about  Alphie?  Love Love Love.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

On Loving Yourself

 The  New Agers, or what I call the booga booga followers make a big deal of self love. So what is wrong with it?  I have said before that it is an oxymoron.   Oxytocin is what I call the hormone of love.  If you rub an animal’s belly, levels rise.  If you lick her, oxytocin also rises, but if you rub yourself it won’t. You cannot love yourself.   There is more.

What does it mean to “love yourself”?  What it doesn’t mean is to be able to feel love in the present, no matter what.  Because once you are unloved throughout your childhood it is imprinted—you are unloved and feel unloved even when you don’t know it.  It drives all later behavior; either to try to get it (depending on the birth, whether parasympathetic/giving up, or sympathetic/keep struggling).   You give up when the birth is basically struggle and fail; and you keep on trying when the birth was struggle and success.  (I have written about this in my books and blog.  It pretty determines personality, but for now, it is another matter).

     While I am discussing oxytocin I should mention  a recent study where they sprayed the chemical into the noses of human subjects. They had a control  group.  They were all alcohol addicted. Those who were sprayed had fewer cravings for alcohol, afterwards.  They had milder withdrawal symptoms.  The control group   got placebos.    The “sprayed” were less addicted later.  So what does this mean?
Since oxytocin is the hormone  of love, inter alia,  it means  that love stops the craving.  Of course.  And when you are loved at the start of life  there will not be any craving  or addiction later on--permenantly.  All else being equal.   (I have written in the blog about the nature of love and how you can love a fetus; you  fulfill its needs  when you understand them).

    OK now you feel deeply unloved because you were.  How do you go from there to loving yourself?   I mean, it is good to take care of yourself, stop  acting out  that you deserve nothing, stop  being  self destructive; all that helps.  But hug and  kiss yourself?  A little pat on the head when  you were five?  But with the imprint the unconscious will still drive  all that bad behavior no matter what.   Of course there  are stop-gaps and we should all do what we do to feel better, but none of that, NONE OF THAT,  will help us feel loved.  Why?  Because we were indeed  unloved and it is registered  and re-registered throughout our childhood.   We feel unloved and nothing will cover that over because it is now engraved into the system.  We are unloved in the brain, the blood and the muscles; we are unloved in the cells.  All of those register trauma  (lack of love is trauma) in their own way.  It helps a lot to know that you are attracted to those cold fish who cannot love so that you can struggle to get love out of them but need wins out.   Yes,  conscious/awareness helps, but it fights a losing battle.

   Cognitive therapy, focused in the present, which is what the left brain  does, can help us  understand the kind of situations  or  people to avoid  but they cannot begin  to touch the drive that makes it happen.   They, and therefore the patient, never understands the unconscious.  And never gets well.   That includes the therapist  who helps the  patient skim along the top, never  asking “why?” A little word with a big meaning  that is avoided  in that  therapy.   They claim that they don’t need to know why.  Yes they  do.

     It is the difference between help and cure.  If you want help you don’t  need to know why.  But the unconscious will never  cease to  drive you even when you are not aware  of being driven.  It is the function  of the  unconscious  that you  remain unconscious.   So you shouldn’t know, otherwise, you would be in  pain all day long and your face would  show it.  We would all walk  down the  street grimacing and frowning and hunched.  What a world.  That is truly the world of our unconscious; thank God (If I may call on it for a moment) for the disconnect.   Repression saves  and  repression kills; it creates and destroys.   It is optimistic because it doesn’t  understand  the true situation; and that optimism kills us because it denies the pain and keeps  it alive and active, gnawing  away within the system.  It is unrelenting which makes our behavior unrelenting and unforgiving.   We become obsessive because of it.   We are forced into wrong choices  by the unconscious and it is unwavering  in its neurosis.   Why?  It seeks out the early situation again for us to try to  master it; so we seek out the critical ones when we had critical mothers, and  we  seek  out cold men  when we had  a cold father.  We need to start again  to try to make them approving and loving.   We need the struggle.  Why can’t we go straight for  love?  Because the imprint is supreme.  And it  stays unconscious.  We go for the unlove first.  It is all we know.  If we feel unloved and that we don’t deserve love, we DO NOT  GO FOR IT.   And believe me. When we were  not  loved we  nearly always feel that it is our fault  and  that we do not deserve  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.