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.


  1. My dearest… dearest friend Art!

    It is amazing to read what you write and no “buga buga” are going up against it and can therefore never be proved in any form to be scientific.

    What else could be the reason for a legal process? May the form for argument to reach neo cortex limited capacity? If necessary… a clinical trials proving facts… so let's do them!

    Yours pal Frank,

  2. Quote: "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?"


    And I think our psychiatric diagnosis is based primarily on the individuals ability to function (or not). It's based on their ability to pretend to be normal - not their normality.

    We live in a world where people don't give a shit how you feel. They care about your ability to meet THEIR needs - governments included. I.e they care about your ability to FUNCTION.

  3. Neurotics don't want to think properly. They want to get better....NOW!!!! Even the sluggish parasympath will vote for a quick fix. Make the pain go away...NOW!!!!

    NOW!!!!! That is why we are attracted to the idea of 'SELF-EMPOWERMENT'

    YOU can do it!! NOW!! YOU can believe in YOURSELF!! Don't let anyone tell you anything.....just BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!!

    Dictionary.com's definition for SELF-EMPOWERED:

    deriving the strength to do something through one's own thoughts and based on the belief that one knows what is best for oneself

    Sounds great doesn't it? Now....if you are an unloved scientist who has never been able to rely on mum and dad, you will probably fall in love with SELF-EMPOWERMENT. You will practice it on yourself and others. THINK POSITIVE.

    Deep down you feel as if you are all alone; you have only yourself -- only yourself to blame, and only YOU can make things better. There is no one else who will help you. No one ever did -- why would they help you now? Why? because you have changed? NO!! Deep down you know you haven't changed....
    So what are you waiting for? IT'S TIME TO CHANGE! YEAH BABY!!

    SELF-EMPOWERMENT. It is the obvious choice for the unloved scientist. Trust your own two eyes. Believe in only the things that you can see for yourself. Listen to your own thoughts. Don't listen to Dr. Janov.....he talks about mysterious UNSEEN forces...... Can YOU see those forces?....what do YOU think?......Dr. Janov is wasting your time.....look, you know you are feeling uncomfortable......this is urgent.......you MUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF......there is no other way.

    No other way.

    Art, I think it's time to start loving those unloved scientists. Give them another way.

    Give them some emotional candy - tempt them to let down their guard. Make them feel warm and squishy inside. Little by little they might open up to the possibility....the possibility that there is someone out there.....someone who can help.......someone who can be trusted. Someone who can feel and understand the pain that is rising in their stomachs as they give in to that childish urge to cry.

    Art, remember that guy who came in to fix your dishwasher? You listened to his life story, and he let down his guard a little bit. He trusted you. He cried in front of you. Why won't you do that to the mental health professionals? Why won't you give them some love and understanding? Is it because they annoy you? You don't want to socialise with them? Well then ask one of your therapists to do it. Or maybe one of your patients will socialise with them. They are not vampires. How bad could it be?

    1. Richard: The guy who fixed my machine did not live in his head, and that is the big difference. art

  4. The little boy in me screams out all his despair... despair of life and death through my limbic system... it's just a matter of if I can hear it or not... as it hurt so much. "Hear" it by the electrochemical process which is supplied through hippocampus to neo cortex… I… the neo cortex who don’t "want" to listen!

    What's wrong for me to ask mom for help if that is what I must do… what is leaking out from an otherwise isolated limbic system? For me now... it's liberating... liberating at the moments I am listening and responds to what it is I "hear”… hear throe my symptoms of fear.

    How in the world can we allow this information to be lost... lost for those who call out their despair and are meat by impossible argument for what is the cause... that is lost science when we do not let it be proved in a lawsuit?

    Art… our neo cortex here and now is all we have… it is what we also must let be... be to a possible process for primal therapy. We by our self are the only ones to hear! We have allotted of professors who are in a mind of a child trying to explain then self’s… self’s as professors. If they were smart in off they could hear but most of them have to lose their status in order to be able to listening. You may explain this more clearly? To hear about themselves as children in the name of science may makes a different!

    You need to send a bunch of therapists to those who educate teachers… where it would make much more use than anywhere else. What if students would get the opportunity to do their therapy? A rapid change would take place! Way not start a university of science as they don’t exist?

    "A world of life in the brain steam and the limbic system" before we start thinking! There is a life in ruins and therefore so difficult to listen to… but we have no choice… we must begin to listening to the “Chinese language”… and to listen we must also speak the language as where spoken in China… “China” as our home land in our childhood and in the womb where we started to grow!

    I am “feeling” dumb and stupid speaking the language… language exactly as then when I were trying to explain myself for the need I had… that’s who I am!


  5. I think… when we are grow up… we “learn” to suppress symptoms… and that in our schools... symptoms for its cause that otherwise would be useful in a therapeutic process.

    To be forced in to an intellectual existence must be off the biggest mistake ever done by human them self’s. To search for something that never will be there… is in process in neo cortex blocking memories of need that causes cancer etc… what a terrible “mistake”.

    Giving children the opportunity to their own lives by teaching teachers at our schools about the knowledge of what the limbic system contains... must be of the question elementary... for what first must be done.

    The question of how to educate and what it really means should be the issue!
    It is with grave consequences for the child to be force it into a dead end. Neo cortex is confused by what the limbic system leaking... neo cortex that otherwise should be in team with the limbic system.

    Neo cortex is blocking what otherwise becomes symptoms of mental illness… but if neo cortex should get the chance to interpret the signals right from the limbic system... it would make a difference… difference in the question of life and death... life and death in the sentence of being consciously aware... a sentence far from being consciously in just neo cortex!

    A teacher organization with "life before birth" as dictionary of what children need most... would be of the revolutionary process without comparison.

    Art... why not starts a school similar to the one AS Neil did… I would love to be there!


    1. Frank: You know Frank. If we were much younger I would no doubt do a school as A S Neill did. But alas, I am not young so it is out of the question but some of you could certainly do it. A good idea......a Primal school. art

    2. Hi,

      Montisori, Rudolph Steiner, The Middle school, and several more besides. Many attempts at taking Kids seriously and not cramming them with 'information'; some successful, some a bit cranky but some still flourishing.

      Paul G.

  6. Hi Art,
    -"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"?

    I was trying to explain (again) about the 1st line to my ex in regard to our daughter's birth trauma and she said: "oh don't go giving me all that 1st line stuff, what's it all about anyway"? (Or similar words). She has been in 'psychosynthesis' therapy for 4 years. . .

    Others I talk to agree and refer to re-birthers. . .

    It's a waking nightmare trying to 'share' one's true experiences with those who have not relived any of theirs.

    Paul G.


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.