Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Feeling Is the Connexion

I often state what connection is, and one of my staff offered a slight modification and I think he may be right.  I say that connection is the sine qua non of primal therapy. Without connection there is neither healing nor cure.  So, clearly it is crucial.   If there is no connection to solidify the feeling there is no progress.

So what is connection, after all?  It means that while the patient is feeling and reliving she is connecting to the pain/fear/terror. Bit by bit as she relives and feels she is making a connection to something buried away for perhaps years.  As we feel we connect but not a random scream or cry, feeling something context; where it all began.  That is eventually where patients need to go.   Crying and screaming is relieving but not healing.  It is just a release of the energy of feeling without meaning.  There is a great gap between reliving and relieving, and this is the mistake so-called mock therapists make all of the time.  Abreaction looks like feeling but it is not; and abreaction requires that the person perform the mock feeling over and over again—relieving not reliving.

It is the difference between history where the generating sources of pain lie, and the present; going through the motions of feeling without its depth and history.  Remember,  we are connecting deep down physiologically,  feeling the  part of our history that has been sequestered.  And feeling the physical aspects of the pain, as well.

The goal of our therapy is to retrieve memory, not only of the scene or the place but of the feelings belonging to them; that is what has been repressed and held in storage, the pain and terror. When patients experience those feelings they become integrated. They are aware of the feelings even though they may not know exactly when it happened originally. It is the feeling that counts. Actually, I mean “the sensation.” Sensations pre-date feelings by millions of years. Previously their valence caused them to be repressed (otherwise there is overload), and thereby made them an alien force, unable to integrate with the rest of our system. When they are fully felt they are now part of us. It is how the first line connects. We connect, in short, on the level of the trauma and in that context only. And as the reliving goes on, there is a continuous drop in vital signs, arriving below baseline.

         We cannot make progress on the third-line cognitive level alone. We can become aware of why we act the way we do but nothing changes biologically; thus getting well only in our head. Our biology has been left out of the therapeutic equation. It is like being aware of a virus, which usually does not kill it. So again, connection means liberation of feelings in context. That last caveat, in context, is important. There are those who scream and writhe and cry out of context, as in an exercise. They make no profound change, but when the patient slowly descends to deep levels over time and reacts to the stimuli and events on that level with the neurological capabilities of that era, there is progress.

         One way we control our hypotheses is to measure vital signs, which we do with every session. Feeling the terror physiologically can bring down the vital signs on its own. Over time there is also a significant drop in cortisol levels and enhanced natural killer cells. (see my book Primal Healing for discussion). The key metabolic changes also include a permanent one-degree lowering of body temperature; since body temperature is factor in our longevity and the work of our bodies it is an important index. It all means that we are getting to the pain and undoing repression.


  1. Hi Art,

    -"Abreaction looks like feeling but it is not; and abreaction requires that the person perform the mock feeling over and over again, —relieving not reliving"-.

    Yet many small titrated doses may also be necessary over a long period to resolve the problem.

    Does this mean that there is an element of volition in abreaction ? Are you saying therefore that true connection is involuntary, in so far as the search for the real pains may start in the 3rd line (voluntarily) but what rises to meet that search (for connection) comes up involuntarily?

    You have implied that through resonance we may construct a 'trauma tree', a history which connects back down 3-2-1. It seems there is a risk of getting into something that scribes a groove which only allows for abreaction (in this case 1st driving 2nd driving 3rd line symptoms / expressions).

    For example, one of your patients describes when entering Primal that he was a 'melange'. . . A mixture of 3rd, 2nd and 1st.

    So, 1st line sensations may be driving 2nd line feelings. Terror may be driving Grief or Loss but those 2nd line feelings may never resolve unless connection is made to specific historic events (in this case in the 2nd line) separately from the 1st line driving forces, that sounds very tricky.
    It gets so complicated (to discuss) when you say that an exact (visual) memory of the event may not be possible / necessary yet the connection to the event through the feeling is what is important.

    So, if abreaction feels like the real deal and visual memory of the event / events is not always possible / necessary then is the Primal Centre sometimes dependent on vital signs (and discussion with the patient)for confirmation of true connection?

    I have had distinct sensations and feelings which connect to certain events. For example, I made a connection to a scar from a hernia operation on my tummy at age 5yrs. This 'welled up' in me involuntarily though the feeling of pain and the need for my Mum to comfort me. From what I already knew about Primal I knew what it was when it started and was able to allow a connection. It was all in the context of a general neglect and abandonment by my Mum.

    I was acutely aware of what started because of a remark Andrew made about reliving a tonsillectomy. . . When Andrew made that remark I realised how cut off I was from my childhood, and yes, It hurts!

    Paul G.

    1. Paul, Yes, true connection is not voluntary because if you willfully, third line try to connect you would destroy the feeling, turning it into a cognitive affair only. There are feelings that have no words. It is not that we go looking for the pain; it comes to us automatically, once we have access. It is as if you try hard to fall asleep, to get down on sleep levels, it is the trying hard that automatically stops it. You are using the brain that counteracts sleep to get to sleep. art

    2. is there a possibility to measure a body corruption
      or maybe call it a primal pain index that describes body corruption
      and consequently a society corruption?
      to measure the amount of stress below our moods, our deseases,
      stres that is totally ignorant to air humidity, temperature, people we meet
      magnetic field or belief system .... that responds only to connection with the
      cause of it. to isolate it by some parameters that bind to it?
      So that a person can have a control check to see if he/she was feeling
      while being home for few months or years and to monitor
      if he/she is going anywhere while in therapy.
      this could be the next big leap in primal theory!
      keeping it from misuse could be the challenge too?

  2. A connection between the limbic system and neo cortex is necessary… which has to be done true neo cortex because the limbic system is so full of confusing pain that there is no way that become possible in the sense of communication to heal itself… if the limbic system been fully of love then would no connection been necessary and we would not have any neo cortex... so now... the importance of neo cortex is no other then to add life to its nature... neo cortex will likely grow away when we are done with our pain!


    1. Frank, humans experience feelings in more detail than other animals. A human feeling is more than a monkey feeling; a human feeling provides an instant human understanding - it is a non-intellectual understanding - but it gives the monkey feeling greater meaning. It is a thoughtless 'knowing' made possible by higher parts of the brain including the left frontal lobe.

      During a birth primal, the right brain will connect to the left to create that 'knowing'...that waking awareness of the present and how it relates to the feeling coming from the past.....but no thinking is required. In fact, thinking would disrupt the reliving, as there was no thinking involved during the original birth trauma. But the higher brain is always needed to turn the monkey experience into a human experience. When the birth feeling is over, and it's connection (the 'knowing') has formed between all parts of the brain....a complex intellectual understanding can develop. These are new thoughts that identify the cause of your neurotic lifestyle....the unexplained details are finally explained.

      In time, as more and more feelings are resolved, your 'knowing' will expand, and your freedom to feel old and new feelings will increase too. And your ability to think freely will increase. The neo cortex will not likely grow away -- it will grow BIGGER along with the rest of your brain.

    2. Richard Atkin we do not need neo cortex!

      The "feelings"... we as thinkers are experiencing is not feelings in their proper sense as feelings of love and lust are. What we understand of "feelings" is not for the benefit of mankind today. What sentence... for what you and I are discussing is already at the border of nowhere as could lead to insight... more likely it will not. The sentence... with what we say will mean more than the content... and we are lost for what evolution "intended" by developing neo cortex. But let us go on and se!

      Yes there are new thoughts that identifies the cause of my neurosis... but thoughts that arise through pure hell.

      Thinking is... are anxiety and depression for good and bad of what we experience... neo cortex has not brought any good for more than survival... a survival as we could be without... if we look at how few there are that come to life during a lifetime. Why should we go through the neocortex to feel?

      That neo cortex "understand about things"... neo cortex that evolved over thousands of years... is a consequence for survival more than being for human wellbeing. It will take a very long time for the neo cortex to grow away in the evolutionary rate as it developed... so we will have to carry on with it for a very long time.

      What is interesting... is if evolution can do somthing and take advantage of it. The sad thing... you and I will not be there then.


    3. Hi Richard,

      -" it will grow BIGGER along with the rest of your brain"-.

      Making us more 'knowledgeable' and more understanding, more compassionate and empathic of others too.

      Paul G.

    4. Richard: Read my piece again on connectiion. First line may be connected on the first line and later it becomes cortical. Let's think together. art

    5. Art, we connect from bottom to top WHILE we are experiencing a birth primal....yes? and the intellectual insights come LATER. read my piece again and i'll read yours. we don't become a baby during a birth primal....not completely. we have an intelligent awareness....we are aware that the feeling is from the past....and that awareness exists because the top is connecting to the bottom.

      If you want to define "connect" in less specific terms....and you just want to say "connect to conscious awareness" and you would rather avoid explaining where the exact start and end points of the connection are located, because we don't really know enough about consciousness to know exactly where the connections start and end.....then you shouldn't say things like "feelings are trying to get through to the left brain" without explaining what you mean exactly. i don't ask for exactness because i am a tormented intellectual. i don't feel any urge to understand any of this. i just think your explanations could be improved....by France perhaps.

    6. there is a thought on this blog that the neo-cortex is a
      result of evolution and more specifically result of the
      need to repress and it's function is associated with those "bad" things...

      i would like to argue that every other part of our brain
      or body has the same ability and probably grown out of
      same evolutive process BUT somehow is not
      given a bad name as the poor neocortex.

      I believe that every part of us has the potential to support life!
      And primal therapy could be the one that unites all part of us
      in that direction. Maybe the neo-cortex won't get
      any bigger or smaller BUT BUT BUT will finaly know
      what is dealing with, will be there to add its peace of
      reality processing. It will be changed becouse will not be that much confused!
      It can't do it alone and will be asked
      the last to do it but it won't disappoint if of course is
      properly stimulated in critical period or more likely only later after therapy.

    7. it is unjust to judge neo-cortex without knowlege of the burden there is on it.

      if there is no secret repression agenda it can do a more or less a good job in understanding
      universal principles of reality... but also it (however brilliant) can be dead.
      right... but dead (disconnected).
      but this also applies to second line phenomena - dreams that are useless unless connection with the context... or first line rage without the critical life saving context.....
      why the neo-cortex is the easiest to blame, to waive ?

      maybe becouse it is so misused in our culture?
      because it is arrogant?
      because it is the last to heal?

      is this justifying the stigmatisation that i seem to notice here?

      everything that is happening is happening with a reason
      and the first step in finding the reason is to stop making assumptions
      and judgements in advance because all is perfect as it is.... with a REASON!
      reason is in connection. and the neo-cortex will be happy to add it's own
      peace of that reason when supplied with true information from below
      (in therapy). clean the ways from below and it must do it.

      one more thing:
      we will be more open to other neo-cortexes and their opinions
      when we have not a stake in our opinions..
      and the reality is no more a
      confrontation. it is a suvival.

    8. Vuko: This could be important but get someone to help with the english and submit again. art

    9. Richard: Wonderful. I stand corrected and I shall study you more. art

    10. ok but don't study the diagram i sent you a long time ago (i think i labelled it "the primal process") ...that diagram is completely wrong. i didn't understand it back then. however i still believe a 'comic strip' can be very effective. perhaps people are less likely to misinterpret or defend against a sequence of pictures.

    11. Hi Vuko, Art and Richard,

      All these comments are related; are any of you guys out there working in the trades? We have evolved a tool making capability which is essential to our survival. We cannot deduce (no matter how reductionistic you are about the theory of evolution) that the neo-cortex is itself an accidental adaptive organ to support the entrapment of neurosis forming trauma. It is that as well, but I for one do not believe the neo cortex is the bad guy, it is a very useful tool and 'problem solving' is an understatement to say the least.

      I make nice things which are essential to survival, well being and happiness. This is what humans do best.

      I have noticed that those with a predisposition to 'making things' sometimes also have a corresponding logical form of communication which results in the sort of clarity Richard seems to be after. Though Richard I don't believe you have no specific urge to understand and I'm afraid you ARE a bit of an information addict, me too; yes I will hazard that presumptuous guess, and yes I bet you make music like I make carpentry. Sort of.

      Finally, because of the above comments by Vuko and Richard and me I say that I really would like a shot at re-writing a lot of what Art writes because a lot of how he says it is indeed confusing to me. I'll wait till after the three week intensive. Nevertheless how Art says things is probably more confusing to those of us who find themselves more dependent on more exact communication. Other types no doubt just 'get the gist' of what Art says and that's enough for them. In the end and in the beginning it is a feeling therapy ! No amount of explaining the process will really help us feel. Feeling heard and understood is more important. Though on the subject of that recalcitrant organ the neo cortex we are all forced to a greater extent to listen through that organ and to use the way it mediates and channels information and sensation to give us things like empathy, understanding and accuracy.

      With unresolved trauma the neo cortex is the engine for a vicious circle of recurrence (fuelled by traumatic imprints) but with therapy it is a creative accelerator in the circle of life. In re-living it 'withdraws'. . . it doesn't completely disappear, it 'steps aside', it gets out the way, it's logical domination recedes.
      Parts of it later become adept at owning the new connections made and we call that insight. Insight is part of repossessing split off parts, ownership of previously lost contents. Aha!

      Paul G.

    12. Well said Paul but I don't think of the neurotic intellect as the engine; it's the messy result of overwhelming pain. The therapist begins with the intellect and traces it back to it's origin, going down through the neurotic layers (yes, even feelings can be neurotic) until the patient experiences the pure origin. An example of a neurotic feeling is a sexual reaction to mommy's boobs.

      I agree with you that the neocortex is critical for human survival. Tardigrades can survive in outer space and in boiling water without becoming neurotic. They evolved into chimpanzees, and enjoyed all the wonderful experiences that only a chimp can enjoy, but suffered the painful imperfections that arose from a more complicated anatomy. And now we are human. Our intellects are not crude add-ons.....they are the result of millions of years of CONNECTED tissue growth. Trauma can force the brain to mix up some of it's wiring, but it doesn't literally tear the neocortex from it's roots. Yes, human adults do function quite well after they have had both frontal lobes removed, but they can't learn anything new and they can't process their feelings properly.

      btw, Art's goal is to write to everyone....my goal is to write to the authorities, hence my desire for exactness.

    13. To Paul


      The intellectual's left brain is "disconnected" from the right.

      Not exactly. I mean it's a nice explanation but I suspect it encourages people to think that the intellectual's left brain CAN function entirely separately from the right, and CAN be switched off and on as if it were some kind of auxiliary computer. But that is impossible. And as soon as the 'authorities' detect any hint of impossibility in Janov's explanations, they lash back with tedious arguments such as this one:

      "If the intellectual's left brain is disconnected from traumatic signals, why does the intellectual conjure up defensive thoughts, and how do those thoughts hold back feelings? There must be connections. The traumatic signals ARE interacting with the left brain and they ARE being rationalised. This proves that the intellect is NOT disconnected. Therefore realistic thoughts CAN suppress unrealistic feelings. That is healthy. Therefore there is no problem. Now go away Janov and let us continue with Cognitive Therapy."

      When Janov uses the word "disconnected" he means the connections are preventing feeling. Perhaps the 'authorities' will swallow that one.

      Intellectuals tend to nitpick through all the details. They cannot think in broader terms, but I suspect they can be guided carefully through a very exact set of definitions so as to avoid falling off the rails. Perhaps we CAN join them at their own game.

      Paul, I have failed to get through to my internet friends. Their pain is crushing them...they can't make room for primal theory, but exact explanations might work on those who have enough room to listen. I know that many people who work their way up into powerful positions do so because they are driven by pain, but they tend to be better at all-round functioning, which suggests to me that they are not so 'crushed'. Maybe they do have the capacity to listen if we guide them carefully. We could transform a Janov-style book into a compressed document devoid of feeling and full of comic strips. Maybe you can help me to write a small book in the future when we both have the capacity to do it, do it, do it!

    14. I agree completely with you that we could write something, that we could aim it at a certain audience, that these efforts can be worthwhile and achieve an effect that leads to more acceptance of the primal/evolutionary truth. I am also willing to commit the time.

      Unfortunately for me (as I said before) I even have grounds to present myself as a living, breathing example of a trauma victim looking for some compensation due to the way the 'crimes' against my family have disabled us.

      But, BUT it all hinges on getting through the three week intensive first. Without that any 'appeal' or 'petition' or 'publication' is dead in the water. WHY?

      Because the main foundation of the theory is played out in the practice of the therapy and the main qualification for the therapists is to have themselves been through therapy. There could be no other way.

      Why do so few patients go on to write and petition etc? I feel that once one has been through the three week intensive one's own life becomes for too important to be trying to make others a case for the ideas. It sounds selfish but there are these practical considerations. . . I mean how many people could you trust with the truth about your own condition? Once you're primalling you are on the one hand better off for you and your closest but you are more vulnerable to those who don't care and can't care and don't want to care. I can see it all getting very complicated.

      I'm not chickening out of this idea, I'm just pointing out how tricky what you're suggesting could get. . .

      The three week intensive is the narrow bit of an hour glass, we have to squeeze through that first. Trying to find a way to pay for any of us to get this therapy is much more important at the moment.

      The recession is hitting a triple dip here in UK and the value of sterling is now the same as the Euro !

      Paul G.

  3. Thanks Richard,

    -"I don't think of the neurotic intellect as the engine"-.

    I dunno, look at all those politicians, journalists, dictators, socio-scientists, socio-psychologists, artists, merchandisers and authors
    "REVVING UP" their theories and 'belting them around the track'.

    Metaphorical petrol heads the lot of them. They're certainly all trying to 'win'.

    I wish you the best of luck with your efforts to write to the authorities. I haven't given up on petitioning them myself either. I'm not sure whether it's fortunate or unfortunate that I have had many compelling insights over the last year about how plastic and adaptable the neo-cortex actually is. Anything can mean anything. Most therapies and most socio /political philosophies believe in the human rite (pun intended) to 'free will', to autonomy, to invent and re-invent the self according to whatever adaptive pressure may become incumbent apon that individual.

    The idea of 'sustainability' is still rooted in adaptability in "Reform". Yes indeed 'change is all we can be certain of' but that also requires that that particular idea be open to change! Society has not got there yet. Society still clings onto the sorry lie that we are all agents of free will and already have the choice of how we wish to 'enhance' that presumed (only presumed) advantage. Most of us do not have that presumed advantage but few will address it, fewer still admit it.

    Therefore, depressingly, Primal Theory and practice amongst the mainstream is just 'another theory', just 'another way', no more or no less valid than all the other (so called) legitimate ways of being, of self development. No more or less a valid 'choice' for individuals to individually choose to adhere to; or to discard when the feeling takes them. Furthermore if you in any way give the impression that YOU 'know better' than any one else you will be accused of the same narcissism your accusers hide their revving engines behind. Got a problem with blame Richard? Many people mistake an exact critical faculty for a 'problem with blame'. Just like many people mistake irony for sarcasm. It was planespotter who helped me finally stop blaming myself for having a critical faculty! Oh wheels within wheels.

    Paul G.

  4. A facebook comment:
    "Bill wrote: "'Anger' and 'fear' are in fact perfectly natural emotions which can be experienced and expressed every day of the week. If I am brought up in an environment where deliberate repression of emotional expression is taking place then this could only lead to problems in adulthood for me. Deliberate repression of the emotions is in fact quite a complicated, sophisticated socialogical phenomenon and requires a highly developed and persistent 'regime' to bring it about. There has to come a point where the repressive adult has 'convinced' the emotionally-repressed child that 'self emotion-repression' is the thing to do. Its this 'self-repression' that goes on to cause problems in adulthood. It is this 'self-repression' that ultimately can only be resolved by the person concerned. 'Emotional-repression' can of course involve all of the emotions... anger, fear, joy, sorrow, love, hate, yearning, surprise - all of this could only be brought about by a calculated act of an adult upon a child. Emotional repression itself could not be brought about by any other means whether 'natural trauma', physical trauma, neglect, abuse - none of these things would of themselves lead to any trouble during adulthood - unless ofcourse they were accompanied by a deliberate and calculated act by an adult to suppress the childs natural response to these phenomena - that is by emotional expression of some kind... laughing, crying etc."

  5. Hallo, Bill
    Your comments are extremely interesting. Thank you! Un my family I was never allowed a single space for any of my feelings or emotions while I had to endure extreme neglect, violence and verbal abuse from my parents and three sisters. I dont know what happened to all my buried responses but as a little girl I kep dreaming I was carrying- one at a time- every member of my family on my back like a donkey over a fast flowing stream. I suppose this was my role for them. There was no love in the bargain. I think this is the function of the scapegoat, is it not? What do you think, please.


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.