Saturday, January 12, 2013

How to Deny Your Feelings and Die Early?

I swear I try to avoid nonsense, but when it stares me in the face, and when it appears in a scientific journal, I feel I must reply.  Scientific American published a piece on anger and anxiety by cognitive people where there is not one word about what anxiety is or how to treat it except … except through changing your mind and thinking your way to health.  (Sci. American 1-4-13).

   What the article states is that we cannot always avoid what upsets us, so we need to reframe the experience; that is, look at it differently and deny our feelings.  In short, use our prefrontal cortex to suppress our feelings.  But of course suppression does nothing to eliminate the causes of anxiety.  And therein lies the rub; the imprint lying below still continues to do its damage to our organs and behavior. No denial can change that.

  It all depends here on their experiment;  (by Dominik Mischkowski and others), where they had a group of volunteers (students), led them to believe they were waiting to start, kept them waiting, were curt with them, and later asking them to reimagine the situation.  There is more but that is essentially it.  What that has to do with real anxiety, I do not know.  It seems more like annoyance.  Their conclusion:  the next time a car zips in front of you don’t focus on the anger.  Imagine yourself looking at if from a distance, and “KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS AT ARMS LENGTH.”  Some advice.   Keep feelings at a distance…..and become robots?  Or what?  Is this science?

   What they say is that it is not hard to dwell on the bad but focusing on the good could be the difference between health and sickness.  It is quite the opposite; denying feelings makes you sick and hurries along a premature death.  I have quoted study after study to this effect in my books.  But look at the logic of it: keeping down and suppressing feelings is healthy?  I suppose you could come to that conclusion if you deny history, deny imprints and neurological science and focus only on the present, which the cognitive people do ad nauseam.  Feelings are the essence of life; why would we want to deny them?  But scientists who live in their heads can do this because they do.  So when a loved one dies we are supposed to think, how can I think about this differently?   Crying is so essential that those who cannot cry fully need to go to grieving therapy to learn to cry so as to get some relief.
Can we really think our way to health?  When over-thinking is the way to sickness.   Those who come to us who live in their head have to learn to recapture their feelings again and become human.

  And if all else fails in their approach, they say it helps to write a journal about it; another way of keeping it intellectual.  Why not feel those feelings; they are a natural response, not an aberration to be hidden and forgotten.   There is a reason that feelings exist,  otherwise, evolution would have denied and eliminated them.  They are a survival mechanism and as important as hunger and thirst.   Feelings inform us who is good for us and who isn’t.  Especially who is not is good for us and wo will not be dangerous.   Feelings predate thoughts and long before we think they inform us about life.   They are life, in essence….ecstasy, beauty and love.  When  you lose your feelings, you are dying.

  What I think happens is that advanced university graduates apotheosize the intellect and denial is their way of life which they then elevate to the level of a theory.  And then they find a therapy that accommodates this concoction (sorry, but it is a concoction out of their life style).   They  help patients get sicker in the name of psychological health.  After all, they made it through life with their intellect, why not the rest of us?

  They use phrases such as “moving past unwanted, negative feelings.”  And they dress it up with a “scientific” phrase called self’-distancing.  All that means is how to run away from feelings.  Do I sound angry?  I am, because people read science to find out how they can feel better not die earlier.    They note that denying feeling is healthy coping while suffering and feelings is unhealthy coping.

  So it is a turn on the old idea of thinking your way to health.  Why are our feelings unwanted?  They are natural reactions, not aliens.   The researchers recommend being distant from feelings.  Is that mental health or is that denial in the name of mental health?  And denial is not just an idea; it means repressing feelings and most often that is not healthy, unless you want cancer and heart disease.


  1. Hi Art,

    Brilliant! So well written; you are thankfully so passionate about the truth. I say 'thankfully' because 'dispassion' would appear to be the goal of the hierarchy. A Neo-Cortical Coup d'etat.

    It's great that we can become 'dispassionate' heroes when faced with extreme adversity, to keep our cool when precise action is needed; but that (Military) Modus has become hijacked by a certain minority who have achieved this 'make believe' success as a way of life.

    Doctors, Lawyers, Architects, Accountants, Administrators, Politicians, Priests. . . The what we call "White Collar Workers". . . those who have climbed the greasy pole and earn good money by enmeshing themselves in activities that the vast majority don't need to practice directly themselves but are nevertheless needing occasionally.

    This is the 'Intellectuals Advantage' used to exploit others needs and concentrate wealth in their private clubs.

    In other words those 'Intellectuals' have hijacked the best jobs and made them into an exclusive club and now we are all 'subject' to their dispassionate wisdom.

    It's not just Cognitive scientists but also town planners and all that 'club' who basically f***k it up for the rest of us and accumulate wealth and prestige by so doing.

    They are all consuming the same cortical medicine.

    Sorry, turning a bit political there.

    Paul G.

  2. Dr. Janov,

    Science is analyzing symptoms while avoiding/ignoring why we have these symptoms.

    The question WHY we have these symptoms should be the goal of every study but it is not.

    My suggestion for scientists is to start, before the study, with Cortisol - Serotonin – Dopamine – Oxytocin level tests with every participant and again after, to prove if the participant really can “KEEP THE EMOTIONS AT ARMS LENGTH.” Mere visual observation is wishy-washy (suggestive) and has nothing to do with credible science – science delivers proof.


    1. Sieglinde: You are so right. All we need to do is see where those feelings after cognitive intervention. art

    2. Please Siglinde!

      Do what is in your "power" of the issue.

      Yours Frank

  3. Yes. I can't cry and I know it's killing me - faster. (though I can certainly get angry).

    ...when I think of people disassociating from reality, like you describe, I get this picture in my mind of people with with vacant looks in their eyes living in a world where everything can only be just wonderful.
    This ideal of the cognitive therapists, if actually actualised, will give us a society of mindless drones that can be shipped-off to the next concentration camp because they can only think good thoughts about their train ride.

    Yes it is absurd. We are a reality-based animal - not a reinterpret reality-based animal. But when you live in a cryptic intellectual prism everything in your life is going to be "only an interpretation". Like I've said before, psychologists tend to sell their own defense systems, I think.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      well said. Your words help me as I de-integrate myself from my ("so called") therapists belief system, basically he hadn't himself told me about his own traumas at all, he relied on me telling him about mine and maintaining the "information flow" his way; ie: I told him about me but he didn't tell me much about himself. Nor my neurology.

      Paul G.

    2. Paul: Part of our sharing our lives is to make the relationship equal and not THE DOCTOR and the patient. art

    3. Hi Art,

      just knowing that your therapists all go through the therapy themselves and participate in teams on the patient's behalf is 3/4 the way there for me. . .

      Paul G.

  4. “Side Effects”

    In principle Art is right, of course! To move past unwanted, negative feelings, - “self-distancing yourself” - is a sure way to shorten your lifetime potential. To keep your emotions at arms length and denying feelings makes you sick and you are bound to overtaxing your immune system and your vital body organs like brain, heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas.

    So why does it, in practice, not work as Art says and WHY are we continuously fed with all these repressive techniques to deny our feelings? Which are the values behind all that? How has it been possible to accept all the “Side Effects” (Referring to the new Steven Soderbergh-film to be released Feb. 8th, 2013.) caused by drugs and cognitive talk developed to dissimulate and take its toll by “keeping emotions at arms length”? According to an article in NYT, Jan. 9th, 2013, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing of America remains strongly committed to the development of new drugs, including 187 medicines now being developed to aid about 60 million(!!!) patients who have some form of mental illness in the US.

    The current treatment paradigm (intellectual talk therapies and painkillers) is based on evolution’s own principle to repress the pain, physically and mentally, at the cost of a shortened life potential. It is a method / “bubble” which is interwoven with the economic / political system we all depend on, and, which gives priority to short-term solutions, which are reasonably possible to manage and control, at least in the short perspective.

    During decades, I kept my pain / anxiety / epilepsy at arms length by the help of the Pharmaceutical Industry. I was a prisoner of my own pain and Carbamazepine/ Tegretol. It was the prize I had to pay to act normal and to be able to support myself and those who depended on me. Tegretol rescued short term my life at the cost of Side Effects, which were devastating, and debilitating. My longterm battle to break out of both Tegretol and my nasty birth trauma / anxiety / epilepsy was made possible by Art’s unique guidance over 40 years through the principles of Primal Therapy. Eventually I understood and learned - fortunately not too late - to feel my repressed feelings.

    Having a new life style I especially like Art’s word: “Feelings predate thoughts and long before we think they inform us about life”. My new life has plenty of experiences which confirm my feelings and his statement! Having been a longterm prisoner of pain (still having some painful scars) is now a rich experience when I know the value of feelings as the essence of life.
    Jan Johnsson

  5. I think I have mentioned this before but it's the whole Kirk and Spock thing. I suppose Star Trek reflected the 1960's in part. The fight between the logic of science and the passion of feeling and how in the end it is the effort of both that wins through. Kirk and Spock were two halves of one person. Though it's always interesting that the Vulcans are portrayed as this advanced society where the inconvenience of feelings have been controlled.

  6. The person who cannot cry or show feelings, seems, at times, to get great enjoyment out of hurting other people, so much to the point where that person becomes immune to hurt, crying and showing feelings. It is too bad. Seems like the world has become too "hard-core". Is it that the parents want to protect their children by teaching them not to cry and not to feel any emotions. Do they think their child or an adult is better off. How ignorant we have become. Thanks Art.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments Art. We wee the suppression of feelings and intellectualisation all the time of course, as in the current financial crisis where we are told to believe in the experts (intellects) even though our good sense (feelings) tell us they are cheating us (which they are) because they are the same people who caused the problems. In contrast, psychologists may be well meaning people but if their solution is to negate feelings then that, as you say, is no solution at all. As someone who has tried hard to find a receptive audience in the psychology community for my own research proposal I am always astonished at how difficult it is to find people out there who are not approaching disorders from a purely cognitive/ behavioural perspective. One of the reasons for this is that by limiting the human subject to exclude or negate his feelings it is much easier to design experiments that give positive results (regardless of whether those results really mean anything) which in turn attracts funding. Whereas experiments which are more bold in their theorising and may seek to challenge the existing paradigm are deemed 'unfeasible'. The reason for this is circular: the more papers a psychologists publishes, the more people find him/her credible and the easier it is for him/her to get funding. There are some people who find a way to break through and investigate things from different perspectives but they are rather few and far between in my view. So the old paradigm remains it goes until enough people lose faith in the old or until it proves itself to be of little further utility. So I share Art's exasperation. Fortunately, he has found his own way of investigating human psychology but unfortunately his is very much a minority voice .

    1. Hi Will,

      -"psychologists may be well meaning people but if their solution is to negate feelings then that, as you say, is no solution at all"-.

      How we try to make excuses for certain "colleagues, friends and associates". . . . I mean if you structure the sentence the other way around and change the profession to let's say 'structural engineer' and dress it up a little more you can get the words:

      -"structural engineers who offer no solution at all to the occupant of a collapsed house may be well meaning". . .

      Only if they charge nothing, offer no advice and recommend some-one else who can actually survey the damage correctly and design the repairs for that building.

      But if you are a psychologist you may be 'well meaning'??????? It's interesting that in all professions apart from the medical ones it is never assumed you are well meaning. So; I train as a doctor/ psychologist/ carer etc and I must therefore be well meaning.

      I tell you, if as a carpenter I were given the 'benefit of the doubt' as often as those in the 'caring professions' I wonder what the quality of my workmanship would actually be like?
      Perhaps I make an unfair comparison. No, I'm not a rabid socialist nor 'union man' but some how people put a white collar on and then they get the benefit of the doubt. . . At up to 300 dollars an hour they must know what they are doing mustn't they?

      Paul G.

  8. Hi Art,
    some 8 years ago just after I had seen my father dead in his bed ,I called my aunt shouting through the telephone receiver
    (perhaps too(?) loud and her first comment was :Do not shout that way "..

    And several hours later my brother recommenended -in earnest!-to set myself
    under custody -for some time at least...
    because I showed too much of my grieve..
    (Between You and me ) I only cied1)

    My point :it seems not to be allowed to show
    some feeling.
    When we are at that ;I am not at all sure
    "when and if am "feelingin the correct ...
    kind lege artis as it were...
    perhaps iI will learn how to ..
    Yours emanuel

  9. Mr Yanov, criticizing in whole alienation you are forgetting the real human world we live in, as well as the author of the article of Scientific American forgot the consequences of denied emotions.
    What I mean is that there are only a few situations in which we can really express feelings as they are, especially when we’re dealing with other people.
    The first consideration is that most times those who have emotional\mental problems have relatives with emotional\mental problems, or anyway live surrounded by unbalanced people. Then we should also consider that ordinary people, those you find very often in public offices, in traffic jams, on the bus, at the post office and so on, those who hadn’t enough lovely parents, who hadn’t a long lasting, high quality instruction, who can’t afford a therapy, and who spend a lot of time in front of television or stuff like that, usually are not quiet, healthy people. Sometimes, when you are experiencing contacts with others, avoiding the expression of what you really feel is the only way to avoid worsening situations.
    Expressing yourself with people who cannot “listen”, because they interpose their own protective filters on reality and are likely to have bad reactions which would generate deleterious conflicts, could harm you even more than non-expressing yourself.
    I know it sounds as a paradox. I’m not a psychotherapist, and I don’t have the knowledge you might have, I’m talking about personal experience: for my whole childhood and adolescence, because of a very frustrating family situation, alienation ability is probably the main reason why I passed over all that years, being still able to have an objective reality analysis. Alienation is also the most convenient way to avoid useless conflicts with aggressive people, I can fell and express myself, and I do, but in the “right environment”. I don’t express what I fell and I focus myself trying not to feel bad emotions when I have to deal with “dangerous” people or situations. It’s only a temporary block. But it’s a survival mechanism, often useful, and should not be demonized.
    Mr Yanov what sense does it have to fell fully your anger when you are in the middle of a traffic jam, surrounded by nervous people and you have to reach someplace to do something you think important? What sense does it have to express your frustration in front of a sick mother, who cannot really listen and understand what you say, who can’t think serenely and clearly and is used to answer you misunderstanding what you said and being aggressive? What sense does it have saying what you fell to a drunk loved one, or to someone who harms you mostly because he\she can’t deal with his\her own problems and mirrors his frustrations on other people?
    I think we should focus on the discrimination process, on understanding when can we do something and when not, always remembering how deleterious is denying emotions, but also being able to exit difficult\dangerous situation as safe as possible, and considering that unbalanced people exist, repressing feelings, in front of those who cannot listen at all sounds to me as the better solution. In my opinion what makes the difference between “healthy” or “sick” is not feeling or non-feeling,but is discriminating: when and where to feel, when and where not to feel, if in one of the two situations there’s an answer which sounds like: “always”, well, there’s of course a problem.

    1. ddd
      This is so true, what you say! I was thinking also about Dr Janov's wonderful blog that it's good to fully feel when you are surrounded/ living with people or even one other person, who also feels and understands primalling but in ordinary life, say if you live in a block of flats as I have to do, with conventional or 'repressed' strangers, who wouldn't have a clue about the healthy ability to feel and express feelings, it is sometimes safer to NOT express them. I feel very intensely but HAVE NO OUTLET for my past OR present feelings.If I started expressing any real feelings, such as crying freely (noisily perhaps) my neighbours would probably not only think I have gone 'mad' but I would receive some unwanted and extraordinary reactions from people I wouldn't choose to become involved with, so what do we do in a situation hostile to the reality of feelings? I have thought this myself and thank you so much for bringing it up, ddd!

  10. Art: You are so, so, so, right ... sadly. Even PBS for their fund raising drives, indulges these same kind of Doctors and the crowds give them standing ovations.

    It sickens me to my very core. We never see anyone that has donated and then gotten their so-called gifts of enlightenment.


  11. Hi Art,

    Sounds like an article written by neurotics for neurotics. All of them running away from the pain, all denying the pain is inside them. When trapped in such a labirinth it's difficult to find your way out.

    Is there a way to resume Primal Therapy in 1-2 pages, by means of detailed drawings, a poster type? Like the tree of feelings but much more developped (explaining the brain evolution, neurosis formation and how to reverse it all the way down)? So that someone who has never heard of Primal Therapy could understand the principle in a glance, without other further explanations? Having all the key elements under the eyes at once? A way to beat the others so called therapies with their own cognitive weapons.

    I have tried a few times to explain how primal works to people around and systematically I have failed as I am missing the structure.


    1. Anna: Here is my "walking Man" story, which is my own best attempt to do what you suggest. (And feel free to criticize this, Art, if there's anything critical you don't agree with).

      Once upon a time there was a walking man. The walking man loved to walk. One day, as the walking man was walking, he came up to a bridge. The walking man casually walked across the bridge until he got to about half way. It was then that he looked down and made a horrible discovery.

      What he discovered was that the bridge was only one foot wide, and that he could slip and fall to his death at any time. This terrified the walking man to the point where his fear threatened to overwhelm him (too much to consciously deal with). Of course, the walking man could not afford to feel the fear if he was to cope with the situation and survive. His consciousness needed to be devoted towards survival. So what happened?

      What happened was the walking man became unconscious, that is, unconscious to the sensation of fear as induced by the dangerous bridge. This cut-off process is called repression. It is a natural survival mechanism. It’s not that the feeling of fear just "disappeared", it’s that it became unconscious (our conscious brain blocked it off, it did not "destroy it").

      As the walking man’s fear became detached from his consciousness, his defense (which was to walk in a straight-as-possible line) was still operating, as it obviously must. However, as the defense was isolated from its feeling, it had effectively become a compulsion*.

      *I should clarify that our need to act-out is experienced as an "urge" - a trauma-induced drive, a compulsion. Mostly, we only feel the urge, not the repression that’s creating it.

      So the walking man walked "fearlessly" to the end of the bridge in his compulsive manner.

      Whoops! When the walking man got to the end of the bridge we made a very interesting discovery. Although the walking man reached the end of the bridge and was on safe open land, he was still walking in a straight-as-possible line!…WHY?

      When the walking man got to the end of the bridge he entered open land with a repressed feeling. That repressed feeling was constantly pushing to get into his consciousness. The repression made him feel as though he was still walking on dangerous ground. In response to this, he started head-tripping over the possibility of earthquakes - his brain rationalized the fear in the 'open land' context. To keep the fear out of his consciousness he continued to act-out, he continued to walk in a highly cautious straight-as-possible line.

      From the walking man's viewpoint he is not responding to an internally generated fear, but only what he interprets as external reality - but he is "wrong". He cannot deduct that his feeling is a subjective reaction and that his brain is merely looking for an external rationalisation for his feeling state to project onto. The great confusion for the walking man is the belief that the external situation came first, as opposed to the feeling. He can't be blamed for this, as his subjective experience qualifies the perceived situation as being the cause of his feeling because that is exactly how he experiences it. He cannot usually see that his 'today' is really just a symbolic derivative of his yesterday.

      Authors comment:

      The vast majority of us are stuck in our childhoods in the same way that the Walking Man is stuck on the bridge. Early childhood trauma, in particular traumatic deprivations associated with a lack of genuine parental love and very serious infantile trauma, forces us into a psychological 'prison' that ultimately overwhelms adult life. We basically remain children (emotionally) acting out our past in an adult context.

    2. Andrew, thank you! It's great story to illustrate how we get sick! I like it a lot, will tell it in my circle.

      Regarding primal therapy, what I meant was that not many people know what the principle is. There is information in the main languages and biggest countries, but as soon as you leave this "elite" you hear about screaming therapy and other booga-booga.

      Once you take Art's books in hands, it's earned. But it would be nice to have a drawing that call to mind, that anyone can quickly understand and know it is there. Afterwards, you can look for more.

      When I've got deeply depressed and totally desperate about 2 years ago, I've started to look for solutions to neurosis, something to read and to understand what was wrong with me. I was so lucky to find the "Primal scream" at the public library in my French town. I had never heard of primal before, neither did people around me. If I could have found something on the internet (something that was "speaking to me"), it would have been statistically easier to bump on it.

    3. Anna: I wrote a book on depression called THE JANOV SOLUTION. try to find it. art

  12. Many times, it seems as though people don't allow one to express their emotions. Emotions are stifled, especially when one is working an 8-hour day and is on the job. We are given feelings and emotions; when people are not "on the job" or "in front of children" perhaps they will feel free enough to show emotions. It's not easy at times, and being "bottled up" habitually certainly can't be good for one's health, as Art pointed out.

    1. coastbeach7
      This is exactly the point I have just brought up on the blog. Thank you for mentioning this! How CAN we be healthy in a sick world... also when we live in poverty?

  13. I also get crazy Art!

    I cannot possibly escape the idea of a legal process. Art… you tell us what is needed in the clearest terminology. There is no other way that is good enough than to pursue a legal action against those criminals... criminals asserting their "caring" activities… a legal process against dead and holocaust!

    To begin this process we need your elegant way to explain yourself... something I think they will have extremely difficult to defend themselves against.

    What... when we repeatedly see how executions are carried out in madness which leads to a legal process with life sentences as a result. What is the difference... when it is happening in a sophisticated crazy process as claims to be right? That... from "professionals" in the field of psychology and psychiatry... that... against all what "human common sense tells us about... what all is about"... professionals for their case as long as science cannot be proven.

    We have to prove what primal therapy scientific tell us about... IT WILL NOT ALLOW ITSELF TO BE PROVEN WITHOUT PROOF IN A LEGAL PROCESS.


    1. Frank: Do you have $100,000 just to start a law suit? I am not going to sue anyone and waste my time, even if I had the money, art


    2. I'm the one who understands... by what there is that limits me… but I am a listeninger.

      My source of understanding is also my only source of what is possible for me to understand. If we have different opinions and different experiences of what has come to be a question... then let it be the question.
      We need all of what there is that can prove primal therapy's scientific content.

      If it is done through a legal process… by lecture or by primal therapy’s process… we need to be a team-knit of what science tells us. You may not see it as an opportunity because you know what... but...

      If that is what you wish for... it seems as if all that primal therapy offers is ok... from wherever it comes?

      Art... if you knew how many innocent suffering it is out there... unaware that there is something that could help them... millions and millions!?

      It would be a "divinely gifted" gift. Whatever the tool to spread the primal therapy will be... so it will be worth far more than what you can imagine... and help so many more than you possible can imagine.

      There are so many pals out there staring in to the painful”emptiness" of life... it also includes myself. We need... safe and secure places and these will not occur by itself.

      If the slightest thought about... it is up to ourselves occurs... it means that we are far from feeling what the process of primal therapy really is about.

      Art… you are talking to the possible humans… not the ones that stops you… and the impossible... possible humans has a unique ability to turn the world inside out!


    3. Frank: As I said before, I am not going to sue anyone. art

  14. I think there is something missing here. My Father was 89 when he died. The arrogant so and so thought he was dying early and expected to live to 98 like his Father. I think my Father spent much of his adult life dumping his unwanted feelings onto me. His power over me allowed him to live longer. I cut short his life with my assertion. When we fell out 7 years ago I think he suddenly found himself exposed to the neurotic life he was trapped in. Some Parents live a long time and it is their children who pay the price of early death or societies other punishment, a diagnosis of madness.

  15. OFF TOPIC: Dr Janov: What do you think, if anything, about the work of Stanislav Grof? I was just flipping through a couple of his books in my library that I bought once very cheaply.It amazed me how spaced-out, "spiritual", and mystical he and his co-authors are!I would not ordinarily have asked this question of you, but Grof claims that he and others have explored birth trauma, and perinatal traumas, etc.. like you have (and most other therapists have not). Can someone who also used LSD with his patients "therapeutically" possibly have discovered anything important?

    1. Anonymous: The answer is definitely no! I consider it part of dilletantish booga booga, a try anything; meanwhile the patient is not getting well while the doctor fools around with this and that. Art

    2. Dr Janov : Thanks for your reply. It amazes me, after exploring many contemporary "spiritual" and psychological means of therapy over the last 40 years, to see the split between those like you who claim to a scientific orientation, and those like Grof, the rebirthers, and most New age types and AA, who claim to some kind of vague "spiritual" orientation. These seem to be fundamentally incompatible views of the universe. I for one am resolutely on the side of the scientists like you , Lowen , and Reich (even if some supposedly scientific psychology like behaviorism or Freudian psychoanalysis is limited, even nonsense). I do have to admit to having dabbled with some of the mystical stuff when I was young, I was even in a cult; but my scientific and rebellious anti-authoritarian orientation saved me from all that, I beleive.As Grof and most New Agers point out , many of his discoveries seem to be compatible with age old religions. As a consequence, whereas he beleives there is some age old wisdom we have thus supposedly lost, I say that most of the religious stuff is a reflection of mankind`s age old sickness.And thankfully we are moving out of that.

      I am now re-reading many of your books, and , as always, I am very impressed with what I read.I was thinking that perhaps you could do a critique of Grof for your Grand Delusions e-book or whatever, since he is a major force on the Esalen-New Age scene.


  16. An email comment: "Remember. At the current state of civilization, we are swimming against the grain.

    That doesn't mean we can't weep as openly as possible wherever we might feel safe, for example, in our cars. I read the book "Therapy Gone Wild" about the Center for Feeling Therapy. I drove out to the area where the young people of the 1970s lived and attended "sessions" at that center.

    This was June 2001, before 9-11. On the car stereo, I was playing Elton John's ode to John Lennon, "Empty Garden". Being very moved by the book, I drove out to the area, not 3 miles from residence, I had a primal. I cried for all those souls who sought healing there. I turned left at the Ralphs grocery store on Sunset Blvd. From the book, I knew just where to go. I came upon a school, mentioned in the book. I pulled over and I wept. Man, did I weep!

    "Unabashed" is a word that comes to me. "Free-flowing".

  17. Art... I know you do all you can... BUT...

    If you knew how I feel when I try!
    It gives me a distance to total failure... when I "feel" what I do... is part of me... part of me when I feel and acknowledge the pain of someone that hurting me. I am the little boy Frank. I'm from that... someone that shall interpret what you write... from being little Frank. Do not ask what we can do for ourselves ask what you can do for us.
    I am one of those out here... without any help... EXCEPT that I learned what primal therapy contains... much from what I understand... but not yet feel.
    There are those who have it much worse... and could be helped if the opportunity existed.

    This is the big issue... what can be done in the name of primal therapy to help us out here?
    You can't tell the world to come to the center... you has to establish the primal center out here... where we are.

    What can be more worth... talk to us... be with us for what ever that will means.
    Your words do not reach those in need... but your words with your actions can do "wonders".


    1. Frank: Please rejoice that there is a place in the world for help. We will stay here in Santa Monica and no other place. art

  18. Art on a totally separate issue, are you aware your name/photo/blog material is being used on a commercial site? If so, then fine. BUt just wanted to check if you knew this in case they are ripping you off. The site is:

    1. Will: No I did not know. I don't know any of those people or what I am doing on that site. art

    2. Art - that's what happens when you tell everyone that you won't sue.

  19. My pal Art,

    I know you did hiroiska try and it seems enough... but Art... there are other eyes ... other ways and possibilities... BUT... there must also be some form of back-up?

    We are by symtoms egocentric... which blinds us with the consequence that we as a race has no future!?

    If we knew the primal therapy's effects then would the situation of its contents also look different... that suggests in itself... more must be done to spread what primal therapy contains... how do we do it?

    If we imagine that a normal Swedish city of about ten thousand inhabitants would suddenly discover their need of primal therapy... then what might happen... what and how would the center react? Art... you my not se what I can se as possible!

    If not Janovs primal therapy is available then... which the case may already is because of the cost to get to the U.S. ... why other forms of primal therapy is a consequence?

    What do we do now... puts on us blinders and pretend as if nothing has happened?

    I think the responsibility is bigger than that and the issue is highly motivated when I only see them around me that without difficulty would embrace primal therapy only someone gave them the information necessary for themselves to see.

    I believe that this... in one form or another... here at Arts blog would be helpful to look in to... what opportunities is there that can develop this?

    What do you say Art... what would you do i the case? The question is by no means hypothetical... I can see through my actions that it is within the context of being possible that thousands suddenly would become interested... what do we do then?

    There are already thousands of victims who are involved in some form of mock primal therapy outside the center... do they know what they got into? No I do not think so.


    1. Frank: If everyone were aware of their pain, they would construct a society that catered to needs plus good birth practices so that there would be no pain in the next generation. Prevention is the key not therapy. Art

    2. I am sorry may pal,

      Preventive measures without having the key to the primal therapeutic process sounds more like trying without access to what is necessary.

      There is no one who can give love without actually being satisfied or have experienced the need and what consequences it brought.

      To hopefully expect... that prevention would be the konseptet sounds more like sitting down and waiting for doomsday.

      That we in some kind of religious spirit would be so good that we give more than what our options shows are nothing more than hypothetical.

      The "good" we have is IF we ourselves discover that we need primal therapy to cope with the task.

      Yours Frank

    3. Art... You will not see me giving up,

      Hopefulness as preventive measures instead of a revolution… that is a resignation that won't help!

      Resignation may have its place but certainly not in the context of what the primal therapeutic process presents... a revolution of humans rights... a human EXPECTATION!

      We can never tell about anxiety and depression to bring about a healing process... we need to show the reason for it... in words around a clinical trial. To do that... we may need a legal process!?


    4. Frank: do you have the thousands of dollars it will take? art

    5. Art,

      If you give your consent... an account where money can be deployed... I will do everything that is in my "power" to ensure "to put the boat in the lake."

      Yours Frank

    6. "Prevention is the key not therapy." So I'm thinking, let's put this Leboyer guy's birth practices into use. Let's inform mothers about how critical the time in the womb is. I don't know how well that would be received but goddamnit. Something must be done. Instead of suing people left and right or whatever - I couldn't care less about lawsuits.

      I guess it's easy for a man to say "You know, the anaesthetic you're taking when giving birth, the baby will be affected by it too." Uh... try saying this and not sound judgemental. So yeah, things are difficult. Oh well.

    7. Frank, I am not sure what you mean exactly. art

    8. AnttiJ: You know. Eventually it will be up to all of you. art

    9. Art,

      If you would give your consent to a legal process!

      I would first ask everyone here on the blog on their opinion for the best results to achieve an economic gathering… so that no opportunity should be lost.

      There are a plethora of funds involved in science to seek funding. There are politicians who would not hesitate to stand up for science if it is presented in a way possible to understand... it just has to be done in a convincing way... that is a question we here on the blog should ventilate for best results.

      We can open websites… present what primal therapy all is about… where anyone who wants to support a legal process will have the opportunity. Also in this case it is important to express ourselves well for the best results… so ideas would be welcome!

      We could also arrange a presentation of primal therapy like the one you did in the seventies… when thousands of people gathered outside the building where you gave your presentation of primal therapy here in Stockholm... without being able to get in... a presentation to achieve economic conditions to a legal process... why a lawsuit is necessary?

      "Why a lawsuit is necessary" a presentation that in itself would bring wonder

      Art… it is criminal what is now practiced for therapeutic purposes... it would also be so for now unknowingly.

      Yours Frank

    10. I just want to tell you that Leboyers method has been in Sweden since the seventies... and those who practice it or practiced it have failed or closed their institutions for the purpose of just being Leboyers method. There is one left and it is in the town of Ystad. Very sad of cause... but the sad truth!

      I do not know what's wrong... but something there is... something that makes us have difficulty putting sentences in their proper context.

      Who would allow a childbirth if you knew an another method much better?
      No... I understand that you would not allow it... it is a question of knowing… feeling the science of it.
      If you do not know... someone else must take over! The scientific content is no science to just think through it proves itself if we have the right cord to its source... that's what we have to consider.


  20. Art!

    "NOTICE !
    * Readers: Our legacy program "The Art and Science of Primal Therapy" will be available next year. It is a series of videos exploring in detail how Primal Therapy is done and the theory behind it. It is 4 years in the making."

    When will this be?


  21. What we experience feelings to be... is hell on earth... which in turn is the reason why we do all we can to not feel!

    When so... to not feel... we may "understand" that we are in the hell on earth because of a emotional memory. When we feel that... what... we are also coloring what we understand.

    When we "understand" us to be in hell on earth... we need someone that feels what the hell on earth is!

    If we do not feel... symptoms is all around us... whatever it is all about... a professor or a killer!

    We need to get behind "understanding" by understanding that symptoms is about feelings.


  22. Frank: There is hope with prevention. The world is wising up.

    The problem is they can know 'this and that' is important, to prevent damage in their children, but they don't have the perspective. They don't understand the *meaning* of preventing damage, and so they have a relatively trivialized attitude toward avoiding it. This is where primal theory steps in. It shows people that it's not just "good practice" to have a good birth, etc; it shows them how they're framing their child's ENTIRE LIFE with these events!

    1. It is probably most effective prevention to "show people"...
      to educate... to integrate that knowledge (FROM OUTSIDE) into world culture! It can save milions!

      But that can't substitute primal therapy.
      Primal therapy hopefuly helps integration into

      We need both.


  23. We must move out the psychological skills to those who need it... it cannot be privileged those who sit in their offices... who are not even qualified to see what and how the psychological knowledge... science does its best advantage!

    Art... a primal therapeutic revolution without the society commitment are excluded. When working in society auspices about the psychological issues they "feel" more threatened by the primal therapeutic process.

    So it seems almost impossible unless we take more drastic measures!? Running a legal process will attract attention... something that can be decisive in it for a wider distribution... then would a journalistic attention take place... beyond what already established in the psychological and psychiatric field can influence.

    Your books will obvious spread the information but I think for the most part to the one curious... who by own meaning are interested and not seeing their own needs. (I can be wrong... we may are scared) We need to reach unaware needy of primal therapy.

    To educate someone in rapporteur operations about primal therapy at the Center... for further be traveling around the world to give speeches I think would be an option to achieve success.

    The cost would certainly pay off only the content represents what is possible to understand from what needy can perceive.

    Well Art... There are many ways to present something for the same purpose!

    Science in all its glory! In order to make the content accessible... reach the masses... it is may more important to work on a confidential content... confidential that can be more easy to assimilate than simply presenting scientific facts.

    E.g. a painting... a narrative form that projects an image of what is happening in our brain... more than just presenting the science... science that still follows in the wake of a vivid picture.

    Of course... science is the primary but for what ordinary people can perceive as more "lighthearted" information performed in a manner affirming a winning formula would be "god pardoned."

    Maybe a brain of your dignity lost “touch” with how a neurotic brain works (how a brain works…all is possible)... and that it is necessary to return to... to the circumstances... to see the labyrinths various words... sentences is formed out by... to get to know a good presentation helpful for its purpose to be representative about science in its end. I guess you know!

    Yours Frank

  24. Dr. Art,
    If only you know how much this article in specific change in me!

    I was becoming a very left brain user & I fell in depression. While in this mess, I was very harsh on myself. I came to the point of denial of depression & ignoring my emotions, and you bet, it went worse. It made me realise I have been ignoring my "negative" emotions for some good years. I always tried to look at the positives and forget the negative. I felt it was being, well, "emotional" to cry or to show sadness.

    You, Dr. Art, are the person who taught me that we are! emotional human beings, historical, and sensitive. I thank you deeply for that. It pushed me to look more into my past while my ex-therapist was all about "here & now". You have no idea how much I have changed just from reading your many articles.

    I'd like to add a quote from one of the number 1 best selling books: 7 habits of highly effective people, a book I followed well(and now, I regret. If I could, I would throw it in the face of the writer). Sadly, if you look up on the internet, many people follow it to the heart, but I was happy to see some good criticizers: "The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values—carefully thought about, selected and internalized values. "

    Now I see through this corporate wishy washy robotic profit making non sense, thanks to you. Oh boy, what kind of society are we turning into?
    It reminded me at the first month of my depression, after the episode, it was first week of spring semester. The professor saw I wasn't well. When he asked me why & what is depression, all I heard was "I think I could manage that" & you bet, I felt like throwing myself out of the window of this crewel insensitive world. And guess what? He is a fan & a reader of this book.. no wonder.

    I just can't wait to buy your book Primal Scream soon. I love your approach to such subjects.

    Thank you for sharing a lot with us.

    I wish you are doing well (and your throat too!) and I hope one day, your therapy will be available on a wider scale to help more people. It's a tough world.

    a big fan.


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.