Sunday, March 17, 2013

On Need Need Need

I will tell you a personal story; you may have heard it before but I want to make a point.  When I was twelve I was with my pals down the street, just talking and joking.  All of a sudden their mother came into the kitchen leaned against the butcher block and began rapping and joking too.   I was so amazed that I ran home and at dinner I recounted this bewildering event; parents talking to their children.  I never knew parents were supposed to talk to children because mine did not.  Of course I was castigated for mentioning that I wanted a mother like that.  But I reflected on need; you never know that you need or what you need until you see it or experience it.

A young girl asks for something specific time after time only to be told by her parents that they cannot afford it. She gives up asking and buries her need.  Where does it go? It is a biologic need to want a nice dress to look pretty and be attractive to boys.   To feel desired and wanted and admired.  It all stays hidden and gnaws away at the physical system from inside.   Needs never disappear; they remain for the rest of our lives , as they should since they are biologic. Like hunger, when you starve while in the womb you may stay hungry and overeat forever.

A young boy is reared by parents later in life who really did not want him.  Wherever he went later on he felt out of place, unwanted and not worthy of being there.  He felt that way, not knowing that he should feel cherished and desired for just being alive.  And so he goes through life shy, timid, difficult and afraid of being with people.   He always feels uncomfortable.  He does not know that he was unloved; all he knows is how he feels now.  And he accepts it as that is the way life is.

I am reminded of this by watching French television where they showed the life of director Jacques Demy.  He had a loving family who encouraged and praised and never put obstacles in his way.  And it hurts to watch, even now, because of what life could have been.  He wanted to be a film maker from early on and they bought him a camera, attended his beginning projections, praised and encouraged.  This is what so many of us missed and never knew what we missed or that we were even missing something.   We are just tense or anxious and it is a mystery.  Where does it come from? From hundreds of experiences of being denied, discouraged and not cherished.  Not one special thing to point at; just indifferent parents with no feelings, not understanding needs and what they are. And who never realize that a simple word or gesture early in a child’s life can change his direction and begin to give his life meaning.

Our cinema rarely shows this simple side of life, of a loving family.  Too often it is guns and shoot-em-ups; showing the tough guy who is all about denying his need and eschewing gentleness.   It seems like a loving family is uninteresting; yet it is the essential of what we all need and want.  And once we are in touch we need a loving family is of great interest.

So how do we find need in our therapy?  By having the patient talk about his life and directing him to scenes where there should have been fulfillment of need.  Encouraging begging for loving, for holding for listening, for patience.  Then the pain flows even while the anxious patient swears she grew up loved.  I have had atheists pray to God not because of belief but to beg someone for love since the parents often could not do it.   And the crying is the same even among the non-believers.  Need is need and never changes, and unfulfilled need always brings pain. We help with the context then the feeling is up to the patient.  Patients are never pushed into pain, ever.  We accompany them on this incredible trip.


  1. This was a really good article, Art.

    To say, I have always felt like an 'outsider' and I still really don't know why. I am "comfortable" that way but I'm sure, of course, it's just repressed feeling of need.

    1. thank you for this remark. Now you read A Janov's article, are you able to connect better with your deep needs ? did the answer he gave put some light on your path ? did it "change" something ? thank you for your answer

  2. Hi,

    I remember at age 7 or 8 in the back of the car being asked by my Dad if I wanted to go to boarding school. . . Inside I 'knew' what, how and why I was being asked but somehow I was able to express my true feelings on the matter and said No.

    They sent me anyway.

    Paul G.

  3. Hablar con mi madre! Parler à ma mère!

    I love your personal stories, and reading the latest I understand why these stories are so scarce... “Funny” enough I grew up in a family with largely the same habits as yours, and when I feel what I missed, I feel an urge to suppress these old needs by defending evolution. If you had been satisfied as a kid, you would probably never have developed your skills to help others and make us understand the importance of fulfilled needs.

    Until I met you I did not not understand the importance of talking to my first two kids about them and their needs. My third child, my daughter Isabel (who you met), was born 20 years after I started to understand your message and she has been brought up with your, hard earned, wisdom in memory. A different world, giving me, if not compensation for what I missed as a child, so a pleasure of understanding that behavior can be changed over time. So when your pain is still there for what you were missing as a kid, feel it and please turn the coin and enjoy the wisdom you are spreading. Your suffering - our pleasure!

    While writing this it comes to my mind that my parents were inhibited, unable to see our needs. However, my mother loved when I came home (or by phone) and told her stories/news from my varied life. I could tell her almost everything. She was as a sponge, with ever unfulfilled needs to be satisfied. And she repaid one day (when I came back from L.A. January 1980) when she, for once, opened up and told me, crying, about my traumatic birth. During this conversation, she fulfilled more needs than I could have dreamt of. She then gave me the information to understand my epilepsy, the principles of Primal Therapy, and it eventually opened the gates to my pain and the neuroses propelled by the pain.

    No pain - no gain...

    Jan Johnsson

    1. Jan; If my life and knowledge helps others it is all I ask. Money cannot touch that. art

    2. Art,

      Touchy feelings about money!

      My broken English seems to have made you think that I insinuated you were turning your childhood suffering into money/coins. NOT SO! My intention was to make you enjoy your childhood suffering by looking upon it as a symbolic "coin", and when you flip this over you should, on the other side of the symbolic coin, enjoy our pleasure when we assimilate the wisdom you are spreading!


    3. Jan: Where on earth did you get that? I never for a moment thought you insulted me. art

    4. Art,

      Because of your comment "money cannot touch that" as an "anti-measure" for what your life and knowledge mean to us... Thanks for your comment!


  4. Art,

    I recognize myself in what you talk about... except that I never dared to come home and talk about what I experienced... it remained my secret... and has so been for my whole life.

    Love for me has existed in a well-sealed room... a room beyond my ability to achieve... a room more of pain than what it was suppose to be... a room of love to my mom and dad... wich I never will experience! To admit this room be of pain is probably the most difficult task in the primal therapeutic process.


  5. This is a very interesting blog, Dr Janov! I wonder if when you see someone or some situation you haven't had with your parents, such as someone being very sincere, warm or kind or understanding that it brings up the pain of not having had it- which possibly hurts more than meeting cold, indifferent. even cruel people in one's life. Obviously, your friend's mother showed you something you had never had at the time and it is this which can serve as a reminder of this lack and it brings up the pain of it. I do understand the part about how we all need encouragement from our parents. When I had written my first book as a teenager I wrote and told my father. His cursory response was very hurtful. He wrote,'You- a writer! What do YOU know? You haven't travelled the world and you're much too young to call yourself a writer!' Of course he liked charles dickens and I dont write like him. (I actually find his books rather gloomy) Still, I could have done with just SOME... even one small piece of encouragement for my lifelong writing talent. I didn't get it.
    How lucky that chap you mention was to have had it for his particular propensities. The thing you mention about being cherished- or not being- is so true! This is the core of it all- the agony, isn't it? Not being seen or heard with all our worth as children... and then growing up, as adults when we STILL don't get it!

  6. What about feeling rejected by just one parent?

    I've always figured I felt that way when it came to by dad, though recently I've been thinking about my mom. She always said that she had to play both roles, but I wonder if that was the correct choice. To this day, I can catch myself trying to slip men into the role of father figure, though I think I may also do the same with women and trying to find a mother figure.

    1. Here is the question for all of you. Is love from one parent enough? art

    2. Love from one parent could be enough if the circumstances was the right ones!

      Being satisfied by just one parent would probably ease the missing of the other... it is compared to live with two cold and hard not the same disaster.

      In rjkingmans case it seems to be alot of confusing circumstances and what he does to ease the pain... he is the one to answer.


    3. Ultimately, a child needs to develop an adult mind that is compatible with adult females and adult males. To this end, what could be better than allowing a child to socialise with a mother AND a father?

      If a newborn is forced to live with only one of two loving parents, I think the baby should be with the mother, for breastfeeding, and to continue the bond that probably began in the womb.

      If the biological mother is feminine and married to a 'lipstick lesbian', the outcome should be similar to a solo mother, all else being equal.

      Solo straight father? Not ideal but better than a couple of effeminate gay males who are likely to be hormonally imbalanced and can provide neither feminine nor masculine guidance.

    4. Hi Richard,

      -"If a newborn is forced to live with only one of two loving parents, I think the baby should be with the mother, for breastfeeding, and to continue the bond that probably began in the womb"-.

      Why would a newborn be 'forced to live' with only one of two loving parents? Unless one died of course; does that mean men should always be the ones who die for the family?

      Your remark lets men off the hook perfectly. You are one man amongst hundreds I have heard repeat this same unexamined catch phrase, almost exactly word for word. This explains why the law in most developed countries takes this position. The law is mostly made by men of course.

      Consequently women gain an unexamined status quo in the social and family sphere through having the decision making process hijacked by men who don't really want to change nappies or give up their career. This is not necessarily against women's wishes either.

      Even when the woman is dysfunctional and abusive most child protection agencies carry on with this unexamined assumption pouring massive resources in the direction of the mother.

      This lets men off the hook perfectly, which in turn gives the women all the social/sexual political reasons they need to form separatist matriarchal groups and sneer at men. The men slope off to work, war and the pub moaning about women etc etc. Fait acomplice.

      Is there any free will in this?

      What's required is a shared parenting bill to make both parents sit up and address their unexamined assumptions and to do this BEFORE they have children together. Read Linda Nielsen and get up to date on what well informed and empathic women know having studied the research evidence and assembled family therapies to help.

      Read Linda Nielsen.

      Paul G.

    5. Hi,
      sorry about my harsh response but both my son and I have been in the actual situation of having to take on a larger part of child rearing since birth; I of him and he of my grandson.

      My perceptions come out of extremely fixated (unconscious) prejudices I noticed the first time around with him and then the second time around when he took on his baby son. Neither of us have done a particularly good job of parenting, perhaps just about 'good enough'. What's significant to my son and me is that the 'repetition' of the actual circumstances have been blamed on us together as an 'obviously dysfunctional family'. What our accusers totally fail to see is the 'valence' of their own prejudice, their own presumptions.
      What is particularly worrying is the self fulfilling nature of their denial. Through a complete freezing out by them of us in our plight they drive home fully the aforesaid assumption (about breastfeeding mothers) and so Mothers and Fathers continue to be pitted against each other in eternal loggerheads and the divorce rate rises and rises and the children suffer more and more.

      Individual psychology is complex; put two parents of the opposite sex together for procreation and the issues become highly complex; there can be no 'One Liner Recommendations', life is so much more complex than that.

      Paul G.

    6. I think it is traumatising for a child to be missing one parent no matter how loving the other is. If it has to be just one parent it should be the mother for the initial, critical period so as to avoid the added trauma of denying the infant’s need to breastfeed/suckle on demand. But I think that the child needs the love of both parents and will suffer if denied either one. Julie

    7. Hi Julie,

      -"If it has to be just one parent". . .

      Why might that be? Which one 'has to be' and which one has not to be? Forgive me for appearing pedantic but such a speculative and generic remark needs clarifying: So, why and which one might be the other one that is forced to be absent. . . by what circumstances?

      OK, let's cut to the chase; let us say for the sake of analysing actual rather than theoretical circumstances that in a certain situation the father is the one who cannot be there to parent the child (as is so often the case). Fine and Dandy; the generic remark holds true.

      But what happens when the mother is the one who cannot be there?
      Are there any answers to that one? Please, I'd like to know.

      Oh yes, oops, do all mothers let their children breast feed? In UK mothers have the right to bottle feed from the start. . . what about mothers who get severe mastitis, Post natal depression, psychosis or worse die in childbirth? Or those who are so busy at work they would rather dump them in nurseries and carry on with their career (all the rage here in UK now).

      Of course in the old days there were wet nurses. Fecund women who took the babies specifically to put them on their own breasts. . . and then there were even mothers feeding circles. . .

      Those good old days. . . eh?

      Paul G.

    8. Hi Paul

      Just to clarify, I wasn’t making a speculative and generic remark; I was giving my opinion on Dr. Janov’s question ‘Is love from one parent enough?’. The words ‘If it has to be just one parent…’ was my attempt to refer back to the question. In answering I wasn’t giving any thought to the circumstances or reasons for there being ‘love from one parent’, I was purely trying to look at the question from the child’s perspective.


    9. Hi Julie, sorry, long reply.

      I disagree. To clarify my criticism, you have been specific about the mother/child bond with which any loving person would. Nevertheless you have been pitifully generic about the father/child bond. But hey ! You're not much different from any one else, so don't take it personally, please, I'm just here to 'clarify'.

      Art actually asked: "Is love from one parent enough"? He has left the question unclarified. . . Perhaps it takes a Man to do this?

      Your answer doesn't clarify the situation, it merely reveals your prejudice. By default it reinforces the assumption shared by men and women that mother IS best. . . It's a default mode isn't it?

      Why do we assume Mother is Best?

      Let me put a shine on the father / grandfather / child relationship (it sorely needs 'buffing up' and supporting lest we all become estranged from our own Masculine Nature, women have testosterone too, yes?). . . First, let's get clear, Art said 'love' so we can assume that we are talking about love coming from men now aren't we?

      What is male love? What is fatherly love? What is Grandfatherly love? As well as with Sons (very well documented) what are the relations between Male family members and Female family members? What is the father / daughter relationship for example?

      If we all knew and felt the answers to this then perhaps we would not have such a divided society and the divorce / separation rate would not leave so many infants and children bereft; neglected and abused.

      Like stepping on a 'sink hole', my experience of stepping into the motherly role is that I am thoroughly frozen out by the 'Matriarchy' who do not like the idea of men being loving and able to care. . . This is what my son discovered as a single parent father. Exactly the same thing 20 years later. The same 'reactions', the same one liner recommendations and the same completely unaddressed assumptions. By Men and Women.

      part 2 follows.

    10. part 2.

      Nancy Friday wrote a book called "My Mother My Self" in which she, like Linda Neilsen attempted to challenge these PILLARS of assumption. Friday even pointed out in the second revised version of her book that she had experienced extreme prejudice on the subject from women who totally refused to read her book. Also I bought this book for several female 'colleagues' and like veritable clones they all threw their arms up in despair and said "No"!

      God forbid that Men offer Women an insight into themselves. . . How dare they? Worse ! An insight researched and written by women. Jesus Christ, whatever next? !

      If it's true that stem cells from the foetus get into the carrying mother and have some 'healing effect' on her then it is paramount that women and mothers and men and fathers address their assumptions about the role of men. Men are no less culpable. Most of the men I know are almost hopelessly stupid and prejudiced and emotionally stunted. I was too, but I've changed. For example, we men 'choose' workaholism rather than empathy in the family; coming home shattered, late, grumpy and uncommunicative etc etc.

      Most women prefer this as it gives them the emotional status we all carry on assuming is correct for the 'fairer sex'. Where's the free will in this?

      Julie, I dare you to read Nancy Fridays' book and to read up Linda Neilsen's work on family dynamics.

      So I will conclude that one (amongst many) 'loving roles' of Fathers is to persistently and firmly demand clarity and to identify shadowy areas. From conception, talk to the babber in the womb. To include all parties and to develop this in his relations with every one (in the family and outside the family) until every one feels included and able to speak and contribute. Men who do not do this are not fulfilling their family/social destiny.

      Men who just go along with the Zeitgeist that 'mother knows / is best', duck their heads down and say: "Well, you know what women are like". . . and then slope off to work, to war, to the pub. . . Well these men collude with the worst type of family dynamics and so the neurotic ball rolls on and on.

      Paul G.

    11. Paul

      I’m really gutted that I’ve come across as ‘pitifully generic’ about the father/child bond. A father’s love is essential and that is what I meant to say by: ‘I think that the child needs the love of both parents and will suffer if denied either one.’ I don’t think ‘mother is best’. Please don’t make assumptions about me and call me prejudiced. I was referring to the need of an infant to breastfeed in the critical period. The need for a father is great too. I didn’t mean to suggest it’s not because that is NOT what I believe. All unmet needs are registered, imprinted and take their toll.

      Dr. Janov, in this blog speaks about older parents who don’t want their child. That really struck a chord with me personally because it’s my experience. I had an older father who didn’t want or love me (although he was there) and it’s resulted in a great deal of pain. I needed his love and suffer a lot from not getting it. I would never diminish the importance of a father’s love. It’s enormous.

      I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t ‘like the idea of men being loving and able to care’ as you and your son have experienced. How horrifying!! I have nothing but admiration and respect for men who love their children. Seeing little girls being loved by their dads for me is a particular ‘trigger’. It’s such a beautiful thing. It is how it should be.


    12. Hi Julie,

      Thanks for your reply and for your courage to say what you really mean, how you really feel and why.
      Perhaps I was digging to find that. . . You are a lot more honest than many women (or men) who would not be able to admit that their relationship with their father was. . . insufficient/ distant/ unfulfilled.

      Both men and women experience alienation from the other sex if they're feeling and the others freezing them out are not. Sadly there are many people of both sexes who still expect the other sex to be emotionless; bland. It's safer that way.

      Pseudo community. It's pretty much the expectation in middle class England, not so bad amongst working class people but it depends which region. Many Welsh people for example are emotional and empathetic, from my experience, I used to live in Wales.

      One thing women suffer daily is prejudice against them in the workplace, particularly if it's a male dominated one. It is male fear in that case; fear of many things including the genuine power of a woman who can do stuff. Women who can do male things are shocking to some men. A sight to behold to others.

      In contradistinction to that, unfortunately, prejudice so easily works the other way around. For example when my son takes his 2yr old son to a play group the other women ignore him (chatting only to each other and dismissing his conversation) and eventually they 'move' their children away form him and his son until the two of them are isolated, playing alone down one end of the room. . . . The mothers are frightened by the unusual, they are driven by their fear and their assumptions and their prejudice, their defences. The same thing happened to me too, so I know this is real and not me or my son's paranoia.

      So, basically whether you're a man or a woman if you find yourself in the reverse role you'll be stigmatised. Unless you have luckily integrated into a support network of friends and family who are not driven entirely by their repression, their beliefs and their assumptions. A rare thing indeed.

      I am sorry I stuck my teeth so deeply into your words, I was wrong, you are not prejudiced. But I think it's also good you revealed how things were for you with your Dad. You particularly may really like the books and material I mentioned; you might be one of the few to 'see' how important such things really are. Maybe glean some relief that Father / Daughter relationships are being properly valued and documented at last.

      It is ironic that the bereft are often the only ones to really value what was missing; but then to be reft is to feel isn't it?

      Paul G.

  7. Heraclitus said that the only thing that is constant is change.
    This thought is too old... it is time to change it.

  8. of topic:

    Dr. Janov,

    Have you contacted the DNA-Lab “23andme”?
    I do believe they are open for new discoveries.

    One subject, regarding PT and Telomere is especially interesting, since Telomere length is maintained by a balance between processes that lengthen telomeres [telomerase] and processes that shorten telomeres [the end-replication problem]. Telomerase (TEE-L²M-ER-ACE) is a ribonucleoprotein enzyme complex (a cellular reverse transcriptase) that has been referred to as a cellular immortalizing enzyme.

    If PT can stop the reduction of ribonucleoprotein we would have a breakthrough.

    Ribonucleoprotein stabilizes telomere length by adding hexameric (TTAGGG) repeats onto the telomeric ends of the chromosomes, thus compensating for the erosion of telomeres that occurs in its absence.

    The clinical significance of ribonucleoprotein are the antibodies that cause inflammation and cause autoimmune disease, which is in general terms the overreaction of adrenalin/high-cortisol.

    1. Sieglinde, This is exactly what we plan to study. Do you want to take part? art

    2. Sieglinde,

      Do it, do it !

      Paul G.

  9. Dr. Janov,

    My answer is YES.

  10. Richard Atkin: A home with parents - whether homo or heterosexual - is always better than an institution, don't you think?

    1. Hi,

      Some parents make the home into an abusive institution. . . Many children in UK admit themselves into care. When I eventually refused to board at the schools my parents incarcerated me in (I rebelled), I became a day boy and soon discovered why they sent me away in the first place. . . whether or not I was better off at home or in the 'institution' will remain an impossible question to answer, they were one and the same regime. I left home and school as a consequence of what I realised at age 16. . .

      Paul G.

  11. Sieglinde
    I really admire you for taking courage in both hands in a life - changing venture. I often think after what happened to you in Care (and me!)you have displayed such exceptional wisdom and abilities here on these blogs. Best regards to you!

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thank you for your kind words. May I say that I don’t think I’m brave. I feel more like an animal cornered by carelessness and/or ignorance. I have only one chance: surrender or bite back.

      By defending myself against ignorance I make more enemies than friends. Doctors feel they have to keep me at arm’s length, because I know too much and cannot show an MD or PHD to my name.

      Here is a short example. When my husband’s symptoms became crystal clear to me, doctors rejected for 4 years my preliminary diagnosis. They finally diagnosed my husband with Parkinson’s, just to get paid by the insurance companies. I did not agree with the diagnosis because he had so many unrelated symptoms and offered two other diagnoses instead, Shy-Drager (MSA) and/or Lou Gehrig Disease. Puzzled by my suggestion, they rejected them, although all symptoms are very obvious.

      I became very frustrated because the Neurologist kept on pumping medication into my husband but the side effects made his life even worse and the symptoms remained or became more intense. I finally had enough of their guesswork and ordered a DNA health analogy. The results will be known in 14 days.

      I have been fighting for nearly 55 years to get a diagnosis about my head/brain. Finally, after years of suffering, I asked in 2009 for an MRI with contrast and I found out that I had a Chiari Malformation.

      Just this week the ortho-surgeon was (AGAIN) surprised that my bones healed so fast. According to my age the injury from the accident in Sept. 12 should take at least one year to heal. I smiled at him, saying “it looks like my Telomeres still have long tails”. He, looked at me with a question mark on his face - he did not understand what I was referring to.

      I have other health issues and for this reason I’ll order a health DNA for myself, after I finish taking care of my husband’s most urgent needs.

      I think that if we like to live fairly well, we need to listen to our own body; and if the body tells us the diagnosis presented is wrong, we NEED to take matters in our own hands - take care of ourselves.


  12. Hi Sieglinde,

    -"I feel more like an animal cornered by carelessness and/or ignorance. I have only one chance: surrender or bite back. By defending myself against ignorance I make more enemies than friends"-.

    Such is the price we pay for honesty and the pursuit of truth. Keep searching and biting, that's what I say.

    Paul G.

    1. Hi Paul G.

      "Keep searching and biting..."
      I will; because I need to perverse my integrity - the truth.


  13. Hallo Julie
    Your comments were completely reasonable, clear and unbiased. The reason Mother Nature gave women t..s was to feed and look after her baby so it makes great sense that the mother's role is vital. Of course this comment, too, may be misinterpreted but I will not apologise for it as we all have a right to our opinions and thoughts.

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      The reason father universe gave males balls was to inseminate females and make enough testosterone to grapple with tricky environmental problems.

      Whichever came first, egg or sperm, tits/balls, each need each other for the survival of all life. There will always be that sexual tension. Seems to me that men and women collude to keep each other apart in neurotic ways which compound the sexual tension.

      Art has talked about the Sexual Hijack on an individual, internal level; I feel there is social version of the same thing going on at the group level. Gender is hijacked by collective neurosis and sexual prejudice is conceived. One may only discover this when thrust into a reverse gender role.

      Paul G.

    2. How kind Anonymous. Thank you. Julie

    3. That's ok, Julie. Thank you for thanking me! It was obvious that the bias was not in your views but in the one which rather attacked you. The person has now apologised which is refreshing frankly because he has never said sorry for the undeserved anger which I also received without deserving it. All I read was anger anger anger and much woman blaming.If someone takes their personal history of a bad mother or ex partner or wife and sees woman kind in the same light it is not very pleasant for the recipients or the person who has the generalised anger, I think.It's a no win situation really. 'father universe', that's a good description, Paul!!. It was the native american who originated the term 'mother nature' by the way, not I!

    4. Hi,
      When I was thrust into the reverse gender role I began to feel really envious of women mothers. . . when I tried to explain 'why' to some of my female colleagues they first gave each other and then me a knowing look, pitying me. They mistook my words to be an admission of something else, assuming I was admitting jealousy of my own children methinks.

      Several more simply said I was reading things into situations that weren't there. . .

      I tried to explain that there was such a strong bond between groups of mothers because of the primary bond they all have with their babies, that it seemed to me (as a man) like an extremely exclusive club. They didn't get it, they just assumed I was whining and went back to their conversations with each other.
      My son (aged 20) said to me in tears after that 'play group' episode, he said: "I can't find a girlfriend who's interested in me because I'm such a young single Dad. All the young single parent mothers my age just dump their babies with granny and go shopping, or clubbing and date boys who aren't fathers". I mean this is so true in the city I live in; I mean I'm glad for them that there are the grannies to do it.

      -"I'm fucked Dad, aren't I"? He said, looking at me straight in the eyes. I knew I had to hold back the tears for him. I said "You're sacrificing your own youth for your son". He's 21 and usually looks 14 but at times like this he looks 50.

      I tell you when this sort of thing happens (and it's nearly every day) it's hard (as a man) to find words kind enough to be admitted to the club.

      It's also hard to make admissions about our own (male) shortcomings and boyish needs. Needs to be understood by women. The reason why? For fear of being ridiculed as 'weak and effeminate' (pathetic little man is what I've heard aimed at my son) or simply frozen out for making testosterone fuelled remarks about 'the club'.
      Single parent men (particularly those who can break down and cry) are not attractive to women (and particularly women mothers) because of the tacit implication that any man who can be sensitive enough to look after very small babies can't actually be a 'MAN'.
      To most 1st world women men are sperm machines. Men are war machines and men are work machines. Is it surprising that most men are so unlikely to dare change a nappy and die well before women? Usually after a protracted relationship with alcohol and drugs to kill the pain of alienation.

      Most men I have spoken to about this said: "Well what do you expect"? They look at their watches and hastily depart, for work, to the pub or back to "her indoors".

      I'm quite sure in a Primal world things would be very different but in the meantime, with tears rolling down my cheeks, with balls and testosterone, I don't mind telling how it is. It's not very 'nice' but this blog is a platform for lives as they are.

      Paul G.

  14. Hallo Sieglinde
    Are you really going for primal therapy at The Centre? I fully agree with you about taking matters in our own hands and not the doctors. Do you know I had an angiogram in London where I live in 2006. I felt it was going to be a mistake but a stupid twit of a doctor told me (mistakenly) I had a blocked artery which could be fatal if i didn't have this procedure. It was supposed to be a routine thing and I went first in the queue. The idiot messed it up! I nearly died!!!!!!!!Unable to close the wound with icing he sent a starclose clip into my femoral artery to close it. I was later discharged with the info the clip would dissolve. It never will! Another lie. I suffered AGONY for a year and more. Then he told me I didnt have a blocked artery but if I tried to have the clip removed I would suffer blood clots and big problems! I tried to complain and sue but got nowhere. They all club together. The medics! I only regret I didn't listen to my inner wisdom... knowledge and told the doctor who had never met me before to go to Hell.Never lose faith in your self, Siegline. You really DO know best. My best regards to you.

    1. Hi Anonymous

      “Are you really going for primal therapy at The Centre?”

      I'd rather be there tomorrow than later, but it is not up to me. My husband needs 24/7 care and I’m the sole caregiver.

      I hear you when you say: “I suffered AGONY for a year and more.”

      It is so sad that we must helplessly suffer from the ignorance and carelessness of others. It feels like we can trust nobody, beginning with our parents.


    2. Hi Sieglinde,

      I sense you must really love your husband. Maybe you understand his traumas and just can't resist tending to the consequences.

      the main reason I didn't get into the Primal centre last year was because my children and all of our family connections were more important. I had most of the cash in the bank and spent it on renting a big house (and riding the doldrums of our construction recession here in UK). So for the first time in three years I could help them all be together and live as a family again.

      It's a thankless task in some respects but when you really love someone you realise things about yourself because of the relationship you have with them. It's part of evolution I am sure.

      People who don't love each other don't bother making these efforts any more.

      Some people try so hard to be 'independent' that they no longer remember what love feels like. The 'price' of love is conscience.

      If you want real love, the whole bursting, unpredictable and overwhelming commitment to life and feeling then actually 'caring' is the interest on the payments. It's tough to be real and tough to love, particularly when the other cannot easily reciprocate.

      Paul G.

    3. Hallo, Sieglinde

      Thanks so much for your support- again on these blogs. Your comments are much appreciated! Best regards

    4. Hi Paul,

      There is more reality to this:
      If I brought my husband to a care-home I would have to survive on $ 417 monthly.

      You see, besides loving someone, we are forced into commitments just to survive financially.


    5. Hi Sieglinde,

      Me too. It's so complicated that most of the time my conscience just gets in the way.

      Paul G.

    6. Hi Anonymous

      I was not aware that my thoughts, my need to express, become support.

      Thank you kindly.


      Hi Paul G.
      I hear you!
      When needs and pain dominate, we have a tunnel vision. Bin there - too many times.


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.