Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Treating Depression

There is a term that we will need to consider in the therapy of depression—resonance.  It would seem that when trauma (lack of love) is set down early on, there is a specific frequency to the neuronal circuit.  It may be that feelings that are laid down on top of that imprint will resonate with the same frequency. Thus, something that happens in the present can set off an early memory by its corresponding frequency.  It all forms an interlocking neural network.  A minor (or major) current situation, losing a boyfriend, can trigger off the original gloom and doom when the defense system is weak.  Doom and gloom is the byword in depression. I will explain it, not from statistical studies, but in the flesh and blood accounts by my patients.  Thus, a relatively innocuous event can plunge us into gloom and doom because the feelings are related within a single network.

If we do not understand and acknowledge the originating imprint we can neither understand nor rid ourselves of depression. All we have left is to advise, cajole and manipulate the patient, dealing in the here-and-now.  We know that there is a close correlation between high blood pressure and depression, as there is between migraine headaches and depression.  Our body is screaming through its high blood pressure but all we can do is sit helplessly by infusing drug after drug into the patient to control her symptoms.  We have extracted the symptom out of the person for treatment, instead of seeing how the symptom emanates out of a biologic history.  When we don’t understand that history we are confined to an ahistoric therapy.  We then make the symptom “well” rather than the person.



    Pain and neuroses are the consequences when love and other needs are unfulfilled.

    According to Dr. Janov most shrinks (The American Psychological Association has 137.00 members) in the US lack the skill to cure imprinted mental pain. Often propelled by their own hidden pain they are fooled to study head-shrinking techniques they believe will help others. They, simply, work as jailors in our “prison of pain”. Like “screws” in the penitentiary system, they exploit their “jailbirds” and become part of an eternally repeated pattern of quick fixes, dominated by painkilling in stead of curative treatments. They do not need to be involved in drug trafficking because they are licensed to provide legal painkillers.

    According to DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and The American Heritage Medical dictonary, the category of neurosis has been eliminated. In a neurotic world where the medical and psychological profession fail to cure their patients with mental illness this controversial and “magical” elimination of a well descriptive word caused me to reflect on my experiences and feelings during and after the process when I demystified my epilepsy. How long can a neurotic society be willing to, at the price of a shortened life potential, over-tax its human and material resources?

    Neuroses can either be a stimulation / strength (short term) or a depression / disability (short and long term). They develop as a consequence of that our basic needs, of love, touch, care and attention, are neglected before and after birth. They are evolution’s life saving reactions in order to alleviate the pain it means not to get our needs satisfied in a natural, unconditional way. These painkilling habits, in the baby / toddler, grow later into neurotic patterns, which if not eternally maintained lead to memories/feelings/anxieties/mental illnesses rooted in the original pain, which became imprinted and repressed because we had been to vulnerable to survive if we had felt it as babies.

    After having read the “Primal Scream”, I thought the original imprinted pain, the root of my epilepsy was my only problem. However, my personal journey over decades has been more disturbed and affected by neurosis. I discovered slowly, while I tried to change that the supposed allies, in my surrounding, were my secret neurotic “enemies”. But if the neuroses of the surrounding were difficult to overcome, that was nothing compared to the difficulty of overcoming my own. My pain was a sine qua non to my neuroses, and they were impossible to detect and dissolve until the imprinted pain was re-lived. It was only then I discovered that they had been there and been the driving force in my neurotic life pattern.

    Only when I understood the functions of my neuroses and their importance for my survival, I realized that they represented the personality / identity I showed outwardly. My original potential never could develop because of my unbearable pain which automatically propelled my neurotic compensatory acting.

    to be continued...
    Jan Johnsson

    1. Hi Jan

      I find it very interesting that you say that Neurosis has been eliminated. I did'nt quite understand what you meant until this morning. I was listening to the radio and heard a "Voice hearer" being interviewed. There is a huge movement to make mental illness less of a stigma which is brilliant. However as it becomes less of a stigma it becomes more accepted and "Normal". Neurosis is normal now. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. People learn to live with a condition as you were suppossed to do with epilepsy.

      The whole anti Psychiatry movement fought against people being condemned for being crazy. It campaigned for acceptance of the "normal spectrum" of people. "We are all a bit crazy". Yes we are all in pain to some degree. Society is becoming more caring of people with mental illness when in fact it is becoming far less caring. George Orwell would be turning in his grave at this wonderful piece of New Speak.

  2. continued...

    I will never be able to evaluate the differences between the outcome of my neurotic life with a potential non-neurotic behavior. I can only limit myself by saying that they had been different and that a non-neurotic life-pattern had been the natural way, free from anxiety and humiliation which a need for painkilling neuroses created. The suffering was partly compensated by a false value system beyond our true needs. This value system with its tempting economical and social compensations, mainly for the successful, is very hard to change. This social, economical and political paradigm makes the world spin around. Even if, I managed to resign, I am still part of it. That is maybe why a theoretical, non-neurotic Primal Paradigm is struggling in the background in spite of its obvious advantages.

    I have been fortunate to experience and overcome traumatic, repressed pain and lifesaving neuroses. The repressed pain propelled my unusual journey in my search for a normal life and eventually I could share love, care and sanity with other human beings. With a lot of luck in a very competitive world I was given the chance to learn, the hard way, to fight myself to both mental and physical health. The result was “not perfect, but with excellent constituents”. When my neuroses did not dissociate me from my real needs, my life became, eventually, easy to understand and to live.

    Is the official elimination of the word neurotic a sign of how deep the general pain/neurosis is? It seems to be an evolutionary part of the Birth of Our Culture. Properly used and interpreted, the word neurotic is an excellent description of much of the behavior we, daily, “see” around us.

    Jan Johnsson

    1. Art,

      Like Sartre I don’t like official honors. However, since your personal comment not will be considered an official honor, I feel proud to accept it. My own Simone de Beauvoir, Eva, (who helps me keep my primal life experiences straight and simple, making them possible to understand for non-insiders of “Evolution in Reverse”), gave me the following comments:

      “I like your description of how you, eventually, managed to understand your neuroses. You discovered them and understood them after you had experienced and made contact with your pain. You only knew that you had been neurotic, when you no longer needed to filter out your pain with the help of neuroses.
      All around us, we have built up a value system that makes it easy or at least possible, to live with our neuroses, which probably very few see through. After you have seen through this value system, after a lot of pain, you find it easier to be part of it.
      Yor comments, I think, show that you changed during the year I have followed what you think and write. The comments may be a sign of resignation, but the conclusion is very positive. You know what you do! Eva”

      I’m trying to become a writer who does therapies, not a therapist who writes!



      What did you mean with your question “Jan: Do you still want to dance?”


    2. Jan: She seems so insightful. Keep her close. art

  3. Hi Mister Janov,
    I think that you are a good person because you write so lot of love which I would call the "bred"
    of psichis. You are very logical and intelligent you understand so lot of reality.

  4. I've struggled with depression since my mid-teens. One thing I've resented more and more as time goes on is growing up with a mom who sort of forced laughter and being happy. I've never even really talked to her about feeling depressed, even after a suicide attempt landed me in the hospital. Now, I can easily be accused of concealing my true feelings under a disguise of niceness and affability.

    I would love to one day get to the root of feeling depressed, anxious, and irritable. Often the depression comes from receiving or achieving something and realizing that it didn't really do what I thought it would do for me.

    1. Rjkingman: Let us know if we can help. art

    2. In teenage years the expectations in school, social and family life, physiological changes, third line brain development...
      all this i think is causing the depression.
      Combination of first and third line through resonance turns THE FEELING into a heavy decision: "i want to dieeeee".
      With third line we have a tool for suicide. To close ourselves in a way that wasn't possible before. To add a New and heavy "give up" blanket to support the history of saving life through supression. To "choke" the feeling of choking, to "immobilise" the feeling of being stuck, to "kill" the feeling of near death.
      Depression is not following the evolution of the feeling and it is not a feeling. It saves life but out and far from original context.
      And it's authority can really kill.
      If anybody could really see the depressed person she could open a bit and cry the desperation and eventually feel the near death situation in context. To give a true meaning to parasympathic reaction. True meaning of saving life, the importance of life.

    3. That is a bright idea, Vuko. That depression is not following evolution. That is feelings are not allowed to evolve as they should. They are shut down. art

  5. Hallo

    One thing i have recently experienced in England is that doctors may treat something like this as a 'crime.' I recently visited a hospital about a stomach malady and the gastro enterologist whom I have NEVER met before waved a sheet of paper in my face and rudely interrogated me about a one off incident in 1970, when I took an overdose and had to go to the same hospital for a stomach pump. It was soon after a forced abortion and yes, I was very sad, but to tell me, you were anxious and depressed. Why? in a tone which sounded like a recrimination. I told him, 'it happened 43 years ago. I gave up tobacco and havent had alcohol since July 1981. It's irrelevant now.' After all he wasnt a psychiatrist, but the stupid doctor wouldnt LET me forget. He took that one discriminatory page in forty years of visiting ENT departments or rheumatology and waved it in my face. I was astounded! And, who haven't done something they regret as a teenager? Then to top it all he faxed the information on to my that the information now is clear on the front page of my medical records. I'd like to grill the b.....d!I am sure it wouldnt happen in America or many place else. I dont even suffer from depression and havent spent the rest of my life at all visiting shrinks and counsellors. I'm very private. No way! The medical profession CAUSES depression but not you, Dr Janov. Thank goodness you are different.

  6. A "simple" explanation... that I suffered through hell!

    I was on a path already arranged for how the end would look like for me. It was obvious... with just the realization that I was so shy that I avoided contacts... contact with them I saw as the most beautiful "thing" I ever have seeing.
    What could be the cause of it... what would make me suffer so horribly... horribly here and now that I did not manage to live up to what there is I am looking at?

    Words which I addressed to myself several years ago with the result that I ended up in front of my dad when he chased me out as a five year... just because I felt lonely and wanted to be confirmed. I didn't know about that and would not if there was no primal therapy... "simple" as that.


  7. Last night, in my sleep, I felt the hopeless reality that this entire world is a terribly unloving place. I crying grew stronger and then I became short of breath and woke up breathing rapidly...not a panic....just constant locomotive breathing. Gradually my breathing slowed down and I drifted back to sleep...and then it happened again; feeling of a hopeless unloving world, crying got deeper, then short of breath, woke up with locomotive breathing. This cycle continued over and over.

    It's obvious to me that I needed to be totally awake - even more awake than I am right now - so that I could cry even deeper without doing any neurotic detours. As Art says, you cannot primal unconsciously. You need to be totally awake with all parts of your brain properly involved in the transaction......more awake than you are right now as you sleep-read through this text.

    Just thinking....perhaps all animals have the ability to go unconscious when pain becomes life threatening. Even sharks and crocodiles go into a trance when they are turned upside down. Without unconsciousness the human race might have become extinct. We can't afford to die of a heart attack every time we suffer. But it is a tragedy....the human race has become a tragedy and that is no exaggeration. I began to feel this tragedy last night but I can't feel it right now. Unfortunately I am more interested in googling sharks and crocodiles.

    1. Richard: Do you know that if you approach a shark from behind and hug him and rub his belly he just slips into complete relaxation? What you discuss is the basis of so much depression. art

  8. I hope I am starting to understand and beat my depression. I think that the primal therapy has raised stuff from the depths and so rather than depressed I am more anxious. I am in that halfway house of not really yet being in touch with early trauma in a truely integrating way but getting there. It's an uncomfortable situation to be in because the anxiety can be so intense. However I am hoping that this is a passing phase. It's about facing what is in the anxiety.

    1. Planespotter: What is in anxiety is exactly what was in depression; the same. read my piece on anxiety one week ago. art

    2. Hi Art

      Will do. My understanding of reading your books and blog is that Anxiety is kind of one step up from Depression so to speak. If one is depressed one cannot feel anxious because anxiety is a feeling of deep seated terror/fear/etc.

    3. Planespotter: Depression means effective repression of pain while anxiety means terror bursting through the gates. art

  9. Dr. Janov,

    Depression is widespread and not acknowledged as the source of many illnesses.

    As you said before, and it is my experience as well, different doctors treating different symptoms and non-of-them understand that most of them have a common imprint.

    For instance, Parkinson’s. Many neurologists are puzzled by symptoms seemingly unrelated to Parkinson’s; In many cases it is not Parkinson’s – it is “MSA”, previously known as “Shy-Drager syndrome”.

    Extensive reading reveals that Shy-Drager syndrome is "..associated with deterioration and shrinkage (atrophy) of portions of your brain (cerebellum, basal ganglia and brainstem)".

    Other explanations include depression and hypotension as a common symptom with Shy-Drager syndrome, though do not see that depression as the main reason.
    "MSA (Shy-Drager) is classified by two types: parkinsonian and cerebellar, depending on which types of symptoms predominate at the time of evaluation."
    As we can see depression/repression has severe results.


  10. Dr. Janov,

    Here it is, TMS, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for major depression.

    The sad part is; I sent “Life before Birth” to Dr. Reuben Sutter, the Medical Director and promoter of TMS, formally my psychiatrist.


    1. Hi Sieglinde,

      What is it about crazy male intellectuals and their 'machines'?

      By the way, I have reason to investigate a certain Professor Franz Rupert but can't find much in English. What he talks about is interesting but does he ever get to generating sources, causes?

      Paul G.

    2. Hi Paul G.

      Rupert has a website with engl. text:

      Years ago I wrote to him - no answer.


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.