Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How I Know About Psychosis

I never smoked dope, did cocaine or drank alcohol. But what happened one day was that someone put hash in my cake, unbeknownst to me.  Nothing happened right away so they put a lot more.  One hour later I awoke with a start saying that Bob Dylan was playing inside my body, which of course he was.  When we listen to music it is also a physiologic process going on inside of us.  The hash wiped away all filters so I experienced something with no defenses left.  But that was not the end of the story at all.

I went insane for 20 hours.  I could not stand any input and guided those around me not to input anything; no conversation whatsoever.  Too many trees became overwhelming.  I showed friends how to keep me grounded; still I was nuts. It came out in poetry. I spoke only in poetry for hours.  And I had strange ideas.  The hash might have been innocuous to anyone else but with me and my lack of defenses everything below came to the top; and I sprouted poems that I wrote in my head which was  bubbling with feelings.  It was a benign psychosis but psychosis it was.

Aside from the drug helping me discover and write about the three levels of consciousness, it also gave me insight into psychosis. And we go crazy in line with what lies below.  You know the old saying about mean drunks and nice drunks?  Well, we go crazy in the same way.  Someone filled with rage is going to be a mean nutcase.  In other words when defenses crumble either due to life’s misfortunes or from the use of drugs like hash, the unconscious surges forward.  And it often takes over.  It continuously nudges the top level neo-cortex into action.  The result is often paranoid ideation, someone is trying to hurt me, or they are talking behind my back.  Once it fully takes charge there is very little awareness of what we are thinking or doing.

In my case, I absolutely had no room from any input at all.  Nothing could penetrate, which is why we can never talk someone out of his  psychosis.  We are not talking to the rational mind; we are addressing a brain that is flooded with symbols of his life.  It is not a matter of what ideas the psychotic is using; they are in the service of defenses.  They are an attempt to rationalize the potpourri of feelings rising to the top.  These ideas are essential and are not to be tampered with; surely not to be talked out of.  We need to see strange ideas in the context of the gestalt, of the overall function of the brain.

  We see all this when someone takes an hallucinogen which does pretty much the same thing, unleashing feelings.  Once out of the flooding state we are rational again and can become aware of how we reacted.  It is also true when someone has a transitory psychosis due to drugs; they suddenly get rational when the drug wears off.  But in true psychosis there is nothing to wear off.  The gates have been shattered and cannot close up easily.  That is the danger of most drugs including marijuana.  The chronic use of marijuana produces a paranoid personality.  Not only have I seen it over and over but there are many studies out there that come to the same conclusion.  Marijuana over time becomes dangerous.  It makes sense since any continuous alteration in the brain’s chemistry and routing will eventually produce damage and/or impairment.

   The brain is a most delicate structure, never to be fooled with.  We often don’t see psychosis here because this kind of psychosis is not so blatant.  Let me give an example.  We have friends in Europe who insist that someone (a movie star) was murdered.  Every bit of information pointed to a suicide.  But they would not accept it. They smoked pot every day of their lives.  The result was manufacturing notions that had no basis in reality……a benign psychosis.  In real psychosis the paranoid ideation is much more bizarre because it is driven by imprints very deep down in the neuraxis.  When an imprint evolves from deep in the brain it is heavy; because of its whopping valence the ideas it drives must perforce be far out and strange.  So we can be strange and slightly nuts or be a florid type of psychosis.  Choose your poison but be careful of marijuana; it is not innocuous in any way at all. Believe me I am not a moralist.    But I want to save mental health.  Marijuana is not the way.  I know that it temporarily eases repression in those who are intellectual and deeply repressed.  It makes you feel at ease … normal … for a time.  Much better to get to your feelings in a systematic way and not need drugs at all.


  1. Hi,

    La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
    ya no puede caminar
    porque le falta, porque no tiene
    marihuana pa fumar

    Ya murio la cucaracha
    ya la llevan a enterrar
    entre cualto zopilotes
    y un raton de sacristan

    and to help us bear the reality of life:

    Cuando uno quiere auna
    y esta una no lo quiere,
    es lo mismo que si un calvo
    en la calle encuento un piene.

    It's a hopeless situation. . . pass me the roach. . . just a little toke of hope in a time of hopelessness. It is a revolutionaries drug.

    You don't have to be an intellectual to be a pot head. In UK it is (under) estimated that 5 million adults regularly smoke weed, that is out of a total population of 70million. It is also estimated that for every car crash and violent act involving pot there are 1000 more involving alcohol.
    Currently the UK government is putting so many 'responsible people' into criminal situations through being busted for pot it is reckoned that the criminal justice system will be completely overwhelmed within the next decade if it is not decriminalised.
    Meanwhile people on alcohol beat, maim, murder, die of heart failure, cancer, cirrhosis etc, smash ups in cars etc and the supermarkets make a fortune selling it to us all at knock down prices. . .

    I only have Primal Therapy left to hope for.

    Paul G.

  2. I, too, am not a moralist to others. I don't think many people know what primal students of PT know about pot. And what is more, they love pot so much that they do not want to believe what you offer them. Its tough even letting them know there might be danger. I favor the legalization of all drugs and let the buyer beware. I believe prostitution ought to be legal as well. But that does not mean it would be advantageous to exercise those rights. I have a right to be stupid and live in denial, but God knows, I hope never to exercise those rights, though some might suggest I may have already exercised one of those. I hope they are wrong ;-)

    The Primal Scream was a real eye opener for me in 87. I had 4 very amazing trips on pot about 8 years prior. I would not want to do it again.
    It is too bad that people run from understanding what is going on in themselves and everyone else, too. It really makes no sense to want to run and hide, but it is a very common tendency of human beings.

    1. Hi Apollo

      So much pain though, that people have to use pot or hurt abused women go into prostitution so they can continually act out and deal with hurt abused men who visit and use them. Legalising prostitution legalises abuse and legitimises early abuse which of course society accepts.

      Christ it makes me want to scream.

  3. Art!

    If I as a child would been loved... which no orchestra later... through the most stunning melody can reproduce. But... the melody may well open the door to memories of missing love and through a singers well executed singing with the audience's cheers... get me to feel my memories of the need... need for what I then wish I could have done to get it (anything)... as I now wish without to get there... just to feel my need of a loving mom.

    If I had been loved... then I would never had the need to escape myself... nothing that could have affected me... I would not have the river of need from a crazy world... then would not even hash affect me of crazy thoughts or actions.


  4. I am always somewhat perplexed by how some people can smoke pot all day every day for years and never get a panic attack... does their brain somehow bypass the panic reaction, and go straight to bizarre ideation, paranoia or psychosis? They don't seem to be scared of losing their mind. The fear of losing your mind/going crazy is a quintessential aspect of panic disorder, and the reason I stopped experimenting with cannabis. It's like these people don't have an internal "alarm bell" that goes off when thoughts and things get weird. Something to do with GABA levels perhaps? I dunno, it's puzzling.

    By the way, I've heard the suggestion from a few people that if you get anxiety from cannabis, a good solution is to smoke more till you're too stoned to have anxiety. Umm... no thanks, don't think that will work! I definitely would not recommend it to anyone.

    Also, what is the saying about mean drunks and nice drunks? I have heard the saying that alcohol can bring out the "real" you, or repressed aspects of oneself. Both my older brothers (alcoholics, now living a sober life with the rare fall off the wagon) are mean if they drink. I on the other hand am a "nice" drunk, as is my dad. What I should make of that, I don't know.

  5. mon-stop self-observation/absent mind/anxiety
    eyelids are like a movie screen.
    orgasm is dangerous.
    surprise can turn to panic attack.
    and action movie feels like a terror movie.
    one glass of wine is enough.
    one smoke.

    never again.

    i'm ok now.

    1. thank you Art! sooo much information nicely written.
      this is my interpretation of your letter:

      whenever i "woke up" it wasn't fun at all!
      never poetry, enhanced musical or visual experience..!

      maybe bacause my major deffence is my self-observating
      neo-cortex? it became over time a violent and nervous control freak
      that somehow always jumps in to make the ugliest mess - panic.

      Art, throughout your 20 crazy hours you were focused inwards and got resonated by the outside only with second and maybe first line (a frendly sorrounding probably was a good circumstance).
      you were not so much in conflict. you followed the music but couldn't talk reason because the neo-cortex was MOSTLY shut off.
      and the "waking up" wasn't violent because you probably were not a self-observing analysing etc. third line overactive guy.

      you buffered the pain within the first and second line.

      in my months of anxiety my only great relief were a few days
      in fever. for a long time i asked myself why??
      just now i think that the mellow feeling during the fever comes from necessary physiological relief from outside: body hurts, eyes are tired and i must lay to bed, for healing to happen. sick but relaxed finally! except if i suddenly wake up in the middle of the night... hapened once - again a disaster!

      i think panic starts when outside comes in abruptly while the
      system is strongly inward oriented. BOOM!

      it's like some systems (like mine) developed the "habbit" that
      the third line will save the situation whatever the problem and
      build a "highway" from brain stem to neocortex.
      maybe anxiety has the same cause.

      does this make sense to anyone?

  6. Art, what effect do you think hash/cannabis would have on a theorerical person who had absolutely no history of trauma or repression?

    1. Anonymous: I know there is more to this question. It requires a long piece some of which I already have written on. Let me think art

    2. "Art, what effect do you think hash/cannabis would have on a theorerical person who had absolutely no history of trauma or repression?"

      The intellectual, emotional and physical numbness would feel pointless and creepy. Food would not taste even more delicious. Music would not sound even better. Ideas would not seem more amazing. The "high" would be a lesser experience; less than normal.

      Hard to imagine huh?

    3. A simple thought's construction of a complex physiological process!

      Hashish does not affect us if we have an integrated brain... free from suffering. There is simply nothing there to affect our awareness... as repressed needs causes. We may get tired.

      If so... hashish opens the doors to what is under blockade from awareness with disastrous consequences.

      Again... if there is nothing that is under blockade... if there is a free flowing stream of feelings and thoughts... then there are no "download" from there. We are allreddy aware ot the "worst".


    4. Richard: That's what drugs are like for me - never liked their effect. But I'm still repressed.

  7. “Crazy-Know-How” has to be experienced

    I had an ambivalent relationship with alcohol right from my home. My religious parents never allowed intoxicating liquors whatsoever, which, during my adolescence, gave me a desire out of curiosity / opposition to test it. These tests showed, early on that my usually happy and open personality was depressed by alcohol. When many friends loosened their inhibitions with alcohol, it had the reverse effects on me. Decades later I understood that alcohol provoked memories in my traumatized / epileptic prone brain and body and triggered anxiety. To the extent that I could ignore the external pressure, to drink at social gatherings, it quickly became easy for me to give up drugs. It happened more than once that I watered a hostess’ plant with a drink, which I knew would bring my demons.

    It is a remarkable insight into neurosis and madness to remember the unhappiness I once felt not to be able to tolerate alcohol. That way, I could not live up to the neurotic ideals that often prevail/d in many businesses; to be capable of withstanding large amounts of alcohol. This inability added a sense of humiliation and increased my stress due to my epileptic stigma. The consolation and “dividends” that I got in exchange for my sensitivity, and my escape from alcohol was that I did not have hangovers, and was always in great physical shape. Thanks to “Evolution in Reverse” they turned out to be my secret retirement savings.

    I never tried marijuana except for when I passively inhaled and became high from marijuana smoke during a Count Basie concert 1979 in a packed Hollywood Bowl, when I was still on Carbamazepine / Tegretol. My respect for all kinds of drugs was too big to follow up on this euphoric experience, and / or my chemical antiepileptic “lobotomy” was too effective.

    So how did I go crazy and open the gates to my horrifying pain? By applying reckless physical structural integration already in the late 70ies and by quitting my chemical lobotomy 20 years later. Both ways brought me to experiences that took me through hell. During hours, I felt crazy, mentally ill, had a sensation of dying, disappearing and being humiliated. It was like a feeling of being burned living. I had a deep sense of “I cannot take this and I won’t make it”.

    The feelings of mental and physical ill-treatment had the rhythm and repetition of my birth primals, which are built up with pain, pressure and anesthesia, but during these occasions instead of hyperventilation, production of mucus, strangulation and being pulled out, followed by a baby cry, I had feelings of being mentally tortured. All feelings became distorted and twisted and turned against me in the most humiliating way. I felt to the marrow the significance of being mentally ill. Religious torture was included, and I was in subtle ways forced to accept what I did not believe in. It is difficult to judge how long the feelings lasted (I estimated two hours) or the equivalent of a birth primal (grand mal seizure).

    I’m still amazed and thankful “someone” could “tango” me through all this!

    Jan Johnsson

    1. Jan: Do you still want to dance? art

    2. Art,
      Feeling well, having met someone and my daughter almost independent; I'm finally feeling like a dancing partner. So the answer is yes! Jan

  8. If only we could understand how anxiety and depression affects the result of how we think... then would the primal therapeutic process be of the science it is… with the result of the long-awaited revolution for it!

    If only we could understand... understand what we cannot understand because we understand to survive more than to perceive life's single sentence... reproduction. To do that love is needed.

    But... we have a hunting "soul" who may find itself through the psychological symptomatic reactions... reactions such as a professor may pose to be... together with an agonized suffering in his role by just listening to this professor.

    So we are at an equation resembled the science of how gravity affects us... affect us in a meaning for how we understand the context more than we benefit from it. The technological benefit accelerates human time on earth!

    Life... lust and love flourishes in its infancy for what we never got... abounded in broken sentences impossible to bring order to... if not a disaster surpasses itself and suffering of how we perceive love to be is pulled up by its roots and planted where they belong.


  9. Hi Art ,
    in the case of my "psychotic " friend -between his decompensations...he was by superior to me in terms of self-reliance ,making friends(female incl.),on the jobs ,sleeping patterns!!!, etc..I often wonder whether he decompensated at all..-there was never ever any drugs which elicited his paranoia "only"
    overwork , leaving of his girl friend, or his first .. final examin in school

    His psychotic episode? in the car driving on to another one before us was quickly brought to the end after he realized that he would be fined because of his "trial whether he was GOD or not...")
    And he asked me not to betray him...

    My point is :in Your case it was a benign psychosis" but in his elapsing
    over decades culminating in suicide (prefering death than risking the 6 or so "treatment" in the hospitals.
    By the way hever talked "in tongues or in poetry" only... he often called himself JESUS (perhaps of the crucifying "treatment" .

    My opinion in my own case :what he had to endure in his psychotic weeks...
    I had to in lesser portions... day in and night!!! year in and decades !
    Yours emanuel P:S: Should I be grateteful that I never decompensated?

  10. A comment from coastbeach7 that got accidentally erased:
    "Interesting....I'm assuming one can learn from these comments; can't be too sure. - Don't know much about psychosis. I do know not having any defenses, could leave one feeling uncomfortable, to say the least.Not being loved as a child or an adult from their parent, also is not good.
    If one feels psychosis (feels no defenses), and also feels unloved by their parents at the same time, one might not feel too mentally well at that time. Too bad, really too bad.
    Thanks Art. "

  11. Hi all,

    Bob Marley is still my favourite pot head. He was a man in a difficult situation.

    I got to read a biography of him (whilst on my 'holiday' in Africa) and realised that there was more to Jamaican politics than meets the eye.

    Some say he was just a narcissistic greasy pole climber who wanted nothing more than to be a pop star. Some say he was deluded by his half caste middle class upbringing and it is true that by the time he died of a brain tumour he had smoked a lot of pot. But also, like John Lennon, he brought to us a message of love and peace and feelings (and even the need to sometimes fight) and perhaps most pertinent of all: to address the things we are all running away from.

    It's all on the album "Kaya".

  12. Thank You Art,
    You are sooo right -his death and my losing 40 years of my life!
    Yours emanuel

  13. An email comment:
    "Thanks for writing this.

    I agree, completely about Cannabis. (Cannabis, actually has a two pronged effect. In the initial part of the drugs effect, it acts like an Hallucinogen, then later on it has a sedative effect that predominates. Drug users that prefer the sedative effect sometimes begin smoking Heroin instead of Cannabis.) I worked in drug treatment for well over 10 years, and I have talked to many thousands of drugs addicts over that time period. Many drug users don't even consider pot a drug. Still Cannabis can be quite strong now, because like many other plants, its genetically altered to increase THC content. Elevated THC levels make it quite potent, and some varieties can sell for many thousands of dollars an ounce. I have also known quite a few users that stopped voluntarily after long periods of use, because of just the things you described. They begin to feel deeply paranoid, when they smoke, as if there losing their minds. Most users at this point, if they aren't smart enough to quit, will begin to add other drugs when they smoke to combat paranoid thoughts, Benzo's, tend to be very popular with Pot smokers. And also CNS depressants tend to calm the brain down so Alcohol use will increase as well. Pot is not considered to be much of an Hallucinogen, though from what I have seen it appears that its impact on the brain rivals Hallucinogens over time. One thing I have noticed is that there aren't large recovery groups of Hallucinogens Anonymous, like there is for A.A., or N.A. Because most people cannot take Hallucinogens over long periods of time without going crazy. Permanent trips are real. In the past I have seen a number of cases like that. When I worked in drug treatment, there was often a clear association between the type of drugs, that a person uses and their underlying pathology. As a general guide Depressive people were thought to prefer stimulants, while angry people were thought to prefer CNS depressants. Hallucinogen users were thought to be people that were shut down emotionally. Its not always true of everyone. But as an example, the teenage boy, who is always angry, and is never allowed that anger may be self medicating with Pot (sedating his anger), only to find his anger getting worse when he first lights up. Angry Teenagers smoking pot, not earth shattering news anymore. Sorry about you getting dosed. People who do those kinds of things should be put in jail. "

  14. We will all come to the same conclusion as Art do if what he provided is of the science necessary to present life in its true sense.

    There is no silver bullet that can justify the rights for the science of it... it belongs to all of us… and now... not without serious consequences when quackery allows themselves to control what we shall do or not.

    If once we reached there... we have also passed the border of what keeps us away from life.

    We cannot and will never be able to do the analysis of how cannabis affects us if we ourselves have not experienced the process from having an integrated system in our brain.

    Science is based on a physiological process of cause... effect and consequence and can give us an intellectual explanation in terms of being science. But… if so… our own opinion is guided by what we do in response to alleviate suffering in our self... this is what now our governing "professional" percents.

    A legal process is "God pardoned" in this case!


  15. This is a good post, Art! Thankyou. I so agree with what you have said here.I once shared a squat in London with a Dutch college friend which was fun until two drug dealers, a couple with two boys, one a baby. Soon my friend was smoking 'joints' all the time. I don't know what her little daughter thought about it all. In no time she was taking lsd and constantly pushing it onto me!!!!!!!!!!I kept saying no until one day, which I have always regretted. Very dangerous drugs. The dealer who looked like a toothless old man who was in his 30's kept saying, 'One day someone will put acid in the water supply so best to get used to the effects before it happens.' Weird logic!! Or he and his wife, also mad, would say, 'It's a quick way to God and wisdom.' Both mad as hell. Gave trips to the young boy. I reported them to the police station at the end of the road.


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.