Monday, July 15, 2013

How and Why Primal Therapy Works, by Frank Robinette (from our Staff)

A thing I find most odd in all psychology, and particularly psychotherapy, is how little attention is paid to the process of crying. Despite the fact that Homo-sapiens is the only animal that possesses this function, it is for the most part treated as though it is not all that important. I disagree. Furthermore I believe it is the crucial function that sets us apart from other animals, and is essential for truly complex rational thinking; and perhaps speech. It opens us up to resonation, affectively connecting similar feelings and is certainly responsible for our capacity for metaphor. And to speak metaphorically, crying is what keeps your computer brain from crashing, and when it does, it’s the only thing that can effectively reboot the damn thing. It is also probably responsible for our capacity to lie at will about anything.

But what does it do? What is the function of this odd, semi-convulsive behavior accompanied with runny nose and profuse tearing? It makes no sense to me that something that elaborate, complex, and temporarily disabling of normal function could not be extremely important. I know of no ongoing neurological studies of crying. Little is known (so far as I know) about what is going on in the brain when we cry. There was one little book (174 pp.) I know of that made a modest effort in that direction: Crying, The Mystery of Tears by William H Frey. But that book was written in 1985, several years before the affective neuroscience revolution, and was limited to the chemistry of tears. I’ve seen no fMRI studies of crying. When there is a tiny spark of interest, it is always focused on babies crying, not adults. Our warmonger society is militated against crying, and sees it as weakness. Today I received a notice from Amazon for a book by the preeminent neuroscientist, V. S. Ramachandran titled The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human. I did a search in the book and found not one single reference to crying. I did the same for Antonio Damasio’s book Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain. He used the word only twice, and that was in passing. This is the epitome of repression at work.

After years of Primal Therapy along with perusal of the recent work of Dr. Arthur Janov on the relationship of methylation and the imprint (permanent reaction to trauma, stored in the brain by the process of methylation that controls aspects of a person’s behavior and even physiology. In Art’s recent paper on depression he points to a gaggle of studies that confirm this. All of the Canadian studies of Meaney and Szyf offer a plethora of info. One study not included in Art’s references that I recently read focusing on oxytocin receptors and brain derived neurotrophic factor is: Dynamic changes in DNA methylation of stress-associated genes (OXTR, BDNF) after acute psychosocial stress E Unternaehrer, et al., Transl Psychiatry. 2012 Aug 14;2:e150. doi: 10.1038/tp.2012.77.) I’ve concluded that crying is the mechanism for demethylation. But even in the face of this the CBT headfreaks are still trying to hijack the science with books like, The Genie in Your Genes by Dawson Church. He implies that you can change your beliefs and change your epigenome with a little practice, and you are on your way to mental health. I think what they leave out is what I also think is the great discovery of Arthur Janov: How to cry. And subsequently, how to love. This is the foundation of Primal Therapy. As Janov has demonstrated over the past half century, it is not just any old crying that works in Primal Therapy. Insane asylums are full of people that cry constantly and never get better. Crying occurs haphazardly in many psychotherapies, and as the results come in, they don’t show any consistent, replicable effectiveness.

That’s not the case with Primal Therapy. Deep behavioral, mental, affective, and physiological changes are regularly observed. And interestingly enough the first question our clinical director asks us therapists about our sessions is: Did the patient feel? And with the exception of some expressions of anger (which is usually a defense against crying), that question is easily translatable: Did the patient cry? Once the patient starts to cry, the session is on its way. Of course, that’s just the beginning: 

From there, the therapist is concerned with helping the patient maintain his/her focus on and deepening the level of feeling. And the way we tell if the feeling is deepening is to listen to and feel the quality of the crying the patient is experiencing. Ideally the patient starts out in what we call the 3rd line crying about the present and what is going on in adult life. This feeling will resonate with childhood trauma and the patient will drop into 2nd line. This for many patients is difficult and frequently they claim to have no memories of childhood accessible to them. But soon, if they persist, the resonation will eventually rule the day and those memories will bubble forth. These memories can be excruciating as they become fully manifest. As they deepen and roll back in time, the character of the crying changes to somehow match the age the patient was at the time of the trauma. Then the crying ceases and the feelings become physical. The patient’s body takes over and starts to writhe in waves of dolphin- like patterns. The feelings are usually a crushing, suffocating, grinding terror. At their apex, they can be felt only for a few seconds at a time. Only the patient’s body knows how long they will last before they have run their course for the day. At this juncture, the patient will relax and slowly come back to the present, right back up the chain of pain – into 2nd line and up to 3rd. Along this trail a flood of insights and connections will occur, and as the patient discusses them with his therapist, more will occur. The patient will usually feel as though his/her whole life is connected. And from this, the patient will be in the world in a whole new way. Attitudes, likes, dislikes, and goals will begin to change. The patient will start becoming who she/he really is without the destructive defensive (or methylation) patterns learned for survival. They, quite simply, will not be needed anymore. Of course, that is ideal, and this does not happen in all patients. But that is a subject for another occasion. Having said that, I can say, persistence, eventually, will win over the defense system with systematic, consistent therapy.

But, again, what is the mechanism that causes this change in patients? It is not will power or awareness. It is biological. The patient’s whole physiology is affected and that is what drives the changes experienced. And when I say that crying is the demethylation process that begs some questions:

1. Why don’t all who cry in any therapy get well?
2. Why do so many babies that cry a lot end up even more neurotic?
3. What about that part of the Primal session (the 1st line) where no crying occurs?
4. Why don’t those people in asylums continually crying get well?

It is partly these questions and my attempts at answering them that led me to my hypothesis of how crying works as the body’s natural demethylation process.

First, I think all crying is demethylating. But if that’s all that occurs, it is not permanent. As we come into the world, if our gestation and birth were not damaging, crying is a natural process that can keep permanent imprinting from occurring and usually undo any pathological methylation imprints that have occurred. If the child is raised in a loving minimally traumatizing environment, and his/her cry function is not interfered with, the child’s natural demethylation process (crying) will undo the effects of most trauma, preventing imprinting and subsequently neurosis.

But, unfortunately, in virtually all societies now extant, the cry function is drastically interfered with to the point that many totally lose their capacity to cry, and, those that don’t, live with a perverted cry function inappropriate to the actual needs of the person. In other words, repression rules the day, preventing trauma from being properly integrated, in a large part because the cry function has been repressed or damaged. For men, in many societies, crying is anathema and every effort is used to prevent or stop crying. I still shudder when I remember John F. Kennedy’s funeral where all there were so impressed at how his widow remained so strong, and didn’t shed a tear as the funeral procession went by.

Later on in some people’s lives, they may enter a psychotherapy (or somehow else – even a personal tragedy) and regain their capacity to cry. But again, unfortunately, these patients have no idea how to use the function. Over the years they have accumulated so much trauma, and their systems are so overloaded that crying is haphazard and without focus. The pain is of such intensity, going all the way back to the womb in more directions than any person can easily count, that the defense system goes all out to interrupt the natural function of tears with renewed repression – the only way the body knows to protect itself from such assault – reacting as if it is undergoing a new or perhaps the original trauma. So, obviously, any demethylation that might occur during the crying episode is counteracted and/or aborted. I might add that this is also a natural process. When in crises, our defenses kick in and suspend feeling. (For example: have you ever been in a near car crash and notice how you react as though on automatic. Then when the crisis has passed you might pull over to the side of the road and shudder, cry, or laugh until you settle down? The pathology occurs when you don’t pull off to the side of the road, and just stay defended.)

So, how does Primal Therapy address this problem? Of course, our first job is to help our patients gain access to their feelings. We let them select a particular feeling or thing they are having a lot of feeling (both repressed and expressed) about, and help them focus on specifically that. It is usually the first thing that comes up in a session, and almost always has shown itself within the first 10 minutes. This becomes the leitmotif of the session. In other words, we are initiating an organized, process so that demethylation can occur in an orderly way along the same natural route that the methylation occurred. This is because certain types of trauma likely initiate a specific pattern of methylation. The body aids us in this through resonation. This takes us down what Art calls the chain of pain. With precise therapy, the current trauma will be traced back to its prototypic origin. And, as we have found, it has usually occurred before the being’s capacity to cry. I think that when it hits that point another process occurs. I don’t know exactly because I don’t possess even meager training in biochemistry or affective neuroscience. But I do have a pretty good idea that it has something to do with methlytransferase, which is involved in maintenance methylation. That’s what allows the DNA to replicate without losing its methylation pattern. In other words, I think it is the birth primal that fixes or holds in place the demethylation that has occurred. And this can only occur if that chain of pain has been followed precisely so that a particular pattern can be eliminated.

This, I think, is a natural process that people are always moved toward, but in our present psychologically chaotic society, we can only move towards it symbolically. You see it on the news all the time with reference to our system of justice. It is usually called closure, and is usually a euphemism for revenge. But the need is real. We have a need to resolve the trauma we suffer so we can get on with our lives out from under its destructive effects.

Now, thanks to Janov, we are learning what separates us from other animals. He has taught us how to cry. However, I also think that is where the focus of research should be. I would like to see some truly profound investigation of crying to determine exactly what is going on in our brains and the rest of our bodies during this process. I think the focus there offers the most comprehensive approach to the investigation of Primal Therapy because it naturally extends into and affects any study connected to it. As I mentioned above, most of the research done now is vulnerable to misinterpretation and hijack by headfreaks. Even the cortisol studies that Art did in England are routinely attacked and dismissed by the headfreaks. I also think the biggest defense against real psychotherapy is our ingrained fear and prejudice about crying. So long as that is in place psychotherapists will continually turn to therapies that they can do without it.


  1. I think children tend to stop crying when they realise they have no-one to cry to. Or more specifically, when they realise they don't have real parents.

  2. I remember my father once saying to my mother, when she asked him if he was crying "Don't be stupid. Men don't cry". I remember making the decision from observing that to try to stop I could become a man. So pathetic.

  3. Fascinating piece Frank. So crying is part of what being human is. Crying is intrinsically linked to our conciousness?

    Not crying is a defence. I have found that perhaps the closer I get to events in my past the harder I find it to cry which is very frustrating. The tears are almost squeezed out.

    I feel that one of the other major parts of the jigsaw is being believed. A total and unequivocal belief by the therapist in what the patient is saying. Any kind of self importance on the therapists part is going to limit the ability of the patient to be able to cry because to get to the crying the patient needs one other person to start believing that the patients childhood was traumatic. It's almost as though the traumatised child never had anyone who would listen and accept the childs hurt so repression was started. To be believed is to help start the tears flowing.

  4. Thanks for the great thoughts. Many interesting points about crying. For something so important there should be a ton of research. Great description of the process of a primal, thank you.

    But the question of why crying is often not healing is one that Janov answered so brilliantly, and is for me, one of the key points of his writings. In Primal Therapy, it is " connected" crying that is healing. He goes into great detail about the difference between " abreacting" and primal.
    Crying, in itself, as you point out, can be very curative, or, it can be damaging.
    Methylation is adding a methyl group. I really cannot understand how the healing of the complex damage of the body and mind can be reduced to " demethylation".

    Demethylation is the chemical process resulting in the removal of a methyl group (CH3) from a molecule.[1][2] A common way of demethylation is the replacement of a methyl group by a hydrogen atom, resulting in a net loss of one carbon and two hydrogen atoms." (Wikepedia)

  5. Hi Andrew,

    do they (we) realize it or does our chemistry 'align' with expectations we are powerless to resist?

    I sense it was not a realization then, but it is a realization now, about 'then'.

    THEN, our chemistry adapted to the conditions thrust on us. We didn't really know, we didn't really have the capacity to make any judgment. We could not 'resist'.

    Paul G.

    1. Hi,

      I also had 'realisations' at an early age. I realised I had 'to leave home'; so I wrote a romantic goodbye letter at age 7 or 8 ish. . . maybe earlier, I left it on my Mums bedside table, with a string of pearls and a picture of me. Then I forgot about it. My Mum tried to be nice to me when she discovered it, she tried to re-assure me. But I could tell she didn't understand, I felt embarrassed. She was unable to prevent my Dad sending me away to boarding school any way. What a disconnect there is there, in my history. . .

      Now was it before or after I was actually sent away to boarding school in September 1969?

      It doesn't really matter because that feeling came from much earlier in my life. My parents had me earmarked for abandonment before I was born anyway. My 'fees' for elite incarceration were already paid before I was conceived.

      One of the biggest problems of elite leadership groups in society is the way they set a precedent for alienation as a quality in our personality. I mean, to be able to exist on the 3rd line through maintaining a reserved 'authority' and transferring that to your belief system as a parent is pretty damning. And for all the rest of the society you are 'working in the interests of'.

      This makes me an ‘expert’ (sadist?) in a way I definitely would not wish on my worst enemy. That would be like offering my feelings on a plate to a psychopath. After all, as a feeling person in this society I would prefer to survive, to feel another day and to help my children and their friends recover too. Subsequently I am an easy target for the privileged view feeling is for suckers. Revealing to others that I had a 'privileged upbringing' still further compounded my wounds because that only made me a target for those with a grudge as well. This is one explanation why people through a quasi class system won't cry; THEY AREN'T WILLING TO EXPOSE THEIR VULNERABILITIES FOR FEAR OF BEING EXPLOITED.

      No wonder the right wing still believe it is 'manipulative' to cry. It seems manipulative to the right wing elitists because it is through the denial of pain altogether that power can be perceived as an end in itself. As such power is more effectively hijacked for personal benefit, particularly when at a cost to others. Particularly where attention to the needs of others requires more 'effort', for example:

      Where the group (or individual) is acting as an agent for another group (or individual, a complex and big responsibility); 3rd Party manipulations can and do result. As long as you can deceive yourself that your 'agency' is benefiting others you can permit yourself rewards regardless of the ‘costs’. Such is mainstream morality and mainstream politics, and mainstream economics.

      Paul G.

  6. Hi,

    This is really helpful.

    Also it has the sort of quality to it that might make the perfect standardised Policy Statement issued by the Center for pre-patients seeking funding from elsewhere.

    In such a statement would also be included a short description of why the three week intensive is so useful and why the 50 minute hour is inadequate to achieve the depth of access applicants are asking for.

    The use of language to describe stuff becomes extremely critical in such a "Visible Document" as the one I suggest but what you've got here sounds like the basis of just that. The logic and feeling remain married together in it.

    Paul G.

    1. Hi,

      I feel I must add that Primal has become controversial to an extent because Art has occasionally 'challenged' the validity of other therapeutic systems. So it's all your fault Art.

      My point is that any 'Visible Document' for an organisation must not under any circumstances make comparisons with other organisations. The proof / wording must stand alone without reference to other methodologies and it must certainly not degrade or criticise other methodologies.

      Actually the theory of "Non Violent Communication" is most significant in this respect. Therefore even my suggestion above: -"why the 50 minute hour is inadequate"- is wrong.

      Don't say why something doesn't work, say why something else does work. This form of communication takes the combat out of statements which makes it almost impossible to argue with.

      So, pre Primal patients applying for funding elsewhere need a standardised visible document from the Center which by employing the techniques of non violent communication states clearly why Primal works.
      (I am told a visible document should be only 1 side of A4 at 12 point with 10mm margins; any more and it's too long, also it is essential this document is reviewed / updated / re-edited quarterly).

      Paul G.

    2. Paul: quite right Paul, except.....people are being taken in and taken for a ride by all the nonsense out there and their lives are being damaged or ruined. what do we do? art I get letters every day, what do I think of this therapy or that?

    3. Yes, and I was one of those taken in back in the 80s when your discoveries were being hijacked everywhere.

      I could tell a few fascinating true tales about how I was deceived and how a good friend of mine died of Hodgkins disease whilst in 'so called Primal'; they even put him in a bath of water to mimic the birth canal. . . fucking twats. His mother, (a famous artist in UK and Europe) wondered about the validity of it and then two months later he was dead. But this is beside the point I am trying to make.

      If the Center could produce a "Visible Document" using the principles of non violent communication so that pre-patients could use it to apply for their own funding from elsewhere, then the Center will have come full circle by offering 3rd parties a focus for consensus.

      This is really the main purpose of a "Visible Document" (otherwise known as "Mission Statement").

      To be clear: The purpose of a "Mission Statement / Visible Document" is to provide a focus for Consensus.

      Frequently organisations don't bother with it at all because so many other documents 'fit the bill' for now, usually successfully delivered invoices (IE: as long as the organisation is making money a "Mission Statement" is not required)! Either that Or they wrote one three years ago and left it to rot in a dust covered filing cabinet somewhere until. . . until. . . Until some "Concensus" is required. Usually suddenly required. Usually when a crisis arrives and then everyone in the office is scrabbling for their laptops to update it or start writing one for the first time even.

      With the imminent arrival of the "Legacy Program" grows an imminent but as yet latent need for a regularly updated "Visible Document". This should be written by the therapists, for the purpose of facilitating consensus with third parties to the Center. . .

      Am I being a bit too organisational here?

      Paul G.

    4. Hi,

      the logic and feeling remain married precisely because the author writes in the shadow of his opponent, and that is where repression has no hold.

      So say: " the hubris of our own particular denial reflects in the absence of the logic (3rd line) we actually hide behind". Frank says the same thing a different way. Isn't it?

      Paul G.

  7. Primal therapy is for all of us!

    Very well written... but how I am out here in no man's land for what psychological knowledge is all about... I who going through hell... how shall be able to hear you? You have to open up a tightly closed organization and make your voice heard... where one can hear what you're saying... the sufferer can! You could be certified for the task by Art... to protect the brand!

    How will I know that I'm on my way to feel when I visit a psychologist for symptoms of anxiety? That I learn to know that there is anxiety I suffer from... cementing my ability at an even more severe disease as my helper is a "professional"... someone to believe in. Can it be worse than having to be cared by someone who is so sick that he cannot discover his own illness? A catch 22 and I become one in the statistics for anxiety.

    What the hell is it that is so hard for us? THEY KNOW NOTHING... THEY ARE NOTHING BUT QUACK! Every word that comes out of their mouths is wrong for the task... wrong... wrong... wrong!


  8. Hi, I remember resp. being told by my aunt (and she seemed tobe proud of..!) that her father i.e. my grandfather when I was "in the offing " to cry:
    Manu(me) " Do cry! " and immediately I stopped...)

    And v e r y seldom .resumed this way of expressing my feelings (until this very day.
    By the way ,my mother hatesd to see men cry... because her own dad cried to? much after the demise of her mom (when she was 4 years old .and my grandfather was walking endless hours in the street of Düsseldorf.
    yours emanuel

  9. The Science of this is fascinating.

    Before I started Primal Therapy I used to cry a lot since I started to my journey to healing 7 years ago. Deep deep sobbing crying. That does not happen so often now. Maybe I did a lot of my crying or I am much closer to deep and dark terrors so my defence is not to cry because to cry is to remember and to remember is face fear, hurt and abuse.

    I have thought about this a lot over the last few days. I was in a group session last night and Boy do I hate those. I have now been in 5 I think and in every one of them I have hunkered down, shut down and become as rigid as a stone. Obviously this is very important for me. I fell asleep last night. Then about an hour in I had a chat with one of the therapists and said how much I hated the groups and how they were the most unpleasant things I have ever experienced just like torture. He asked me why and then I realised and said "because I can't handle men crying". My bloody father crying, being a hypocryte and crying while punishing me for doing the same thing. I think the large room reminds me of a large room I was in as an 11 year old, a basement where horrible things happened, ie torture of sorts. I want to cry, I need to cry (I cry a bit but not for long) but it's almost behind a glass screen at the moment. I know when I have made connections because I stop breathing in shallow bursts and breath long deep lung filling breaths for ages and ages without hyperventilating. My Body telling me I am on the right path.

    Perhaps crying is part of the process. Art mentions somewhere about some tears containing stress hormones and releasing growth hormones and perhaps this is part of the process. The tears flush the system of toxins, allowing growth hormones to repair damage to cells and perhaps this is where the demythalisation takes place?

    I sometimes find that huge levels of tension are followed by a great burst of crying as though a Dam has burst. Is this abriaction or the real thing?

    1. planespotter,
      did you thought about one or two... individual sessions in near future.
      i just get an impression that you need some grounding, some
      focus that your dedicated therapist can help you with.

      i hope i'm not intruding.

    2. Hi Vuko

      You are not intruding. I have been on another intensive 2 week course and the group was part of that. I did discover what group was about this Tuesday though, only while walking back to my hotel. A number of other patients brought up some vital insights for me.

      This does not get over the fact that crying is central to healing. What I am finding is that I must be heading for a massive release because mine has pretty well dried up at the moment. It's like my defences are all working on overload to hold trauma down.

      I thought I would have progressed in a different way this time but one can't predict how one will progress. I did make one very important breakthrough in discovering the source for one very long term obsession that had refused to be worked out. In doing so I dropped a level and perhaps gained access to earlier times. However by removing the obesession I have left my mind no alternative but to shut down in some ways to cope. Sleep seems to be one way.

      To feel the need to cry and yet not be able to because of fears of what it might reveal is very very frustrating.

    3. Hi planespotter,

      I'm glad you were able to return for another intensive. I'm sure you would not have had you not been convinced it would help.

      The reason I say this is because recently my life has become so complicated that I had lost hope of ever making it into proper therapy. Particularly after hearing I must go for 12 months or more.

      Your words help me regain my aim.

      Paul G.

    4. planespotter,
      thank you for your reply. i am more assured that you are fine.
      you have some support...
      to learn your own pace it is also a process, i guess.

    5. Hi Paul

      I am sorry to hear that you must wait for 12 months or more. Life is so tough sometimes. I have finished the 2 weeks. I will see how it has helped over the next few months. I feel very different to the last time perhaps because this time any effects may be more subtle. I knew I felt very different last time.

      Good luck and don't give up.

    6. planespotter, hallo
      I think Paul meant that he would have to stay in the therapy for 12 months, not wait for it for 12 months.

  10. Our home can be a safe place if we "know" what all is about... and don't seek help at the wrong place. I the little boy Frank am a safe place!

    We are alone... but BELIEVE us to trust others and so do we! Without reflection... we seek cognitively for relief... relief from something we now should be able to manage... it with the help from the primal center... then we are where we need to be... both to body and "soul"... a properly selected place to heal... where we have a chance to be in our world of emotional memory... the place of our emotional memory... a world where everything happened... what not was suppose to happen and we choked in escape from ourselves... why we now carry a disease... a disease that cannot be disclosed in a world of cognitive activity... away from feelings.
    Not even with an education of academic "dignity" is it possible... it itself depends on the cognitive state of defense... a state where we have to choose what is right or wrong and it cannot be done due to the symptoms of defense is per se. Unless hell of symptoms is present and we lose focus on what defends us from emotional consciousness... but then we are in the wrong place.
    Who can understand something when something is what he does to not understand. Who can feel something when something is what he do to not feel... and there is no one there to tell. There is no one there as feel or understand what primal therapy is all about!


    1. Frank, I find myself avoiding your words. I'm not sure if it's because the truth of what you say is too painful for me to hear or because I find it hard to understand your writing. I get confused and irked and wonder what you're getting at.


      I suspect English is not your first language. Like when you say "something is what he do" or "there is no one there as feel." It sounds like Tonto speaking Ebonics. I try to read all comments, but tend to skip yours. I'm not happy doing that. So...have you tried using the grammar/spell-check functions of your word-processor?

    2. Trevor!

      I think it can be both... I try to express myself as good as I can in English... and I also use Google translation to assist!

      With regard to apprehend the content of what I write so it can probably be attributed to be part. When I first read The Primal Scream I become very scared and my interpretation of what Janov was talking about was lost in my anxiety.

      Aida my girlfriend told me some time ago about how she perceived what I said when we first met. She developed an anxiety attack and I became a suspicious person for her... an extremely delicate situation to proceed with primal therapy! There was only one way for us... to get back to what was normal in the "usual" case for her and start from what was possible for her... possible to perceive as possible to open up. What I said at this time was for her all "Greek"... but it has changed considerably over time.

      So what's what for how you perceive what I write is hard to say but you're right when you question if English is my native language... it is not.

      I hope to improve my expression in English... but it's not easy because I do not live around the English-speaking.

      What I write about is what I feel is important in the question of how we are going ahead with Janovs primal therapy... the attention it deserves.

      I hope you will be around for as much or little you can give... all is of value for spreading Janovs Primal Therapy!

      Do not let fear cause you to seek help in the wrong place. Choke not what anxiety and depression really talk about!

      Yours Frank

    3. Hey Trevor,

      I like Tonto speaking Ebonics. I like equivocal and obscure language. I like playing with words and struggling with other languages. Words are rarely the right ones for the feeling any way, Isn't It? For that to be possible you would need training as a Primal Therapist. . . Innit?

      Nah, not really!

      So by playing with words (rather than trying to choose the right ones and the right grammar) I feel we are making waves for feeling. As soon as we try to make words for 'exact' comprehension you get the sort of "Clip Board Man" instructions I like to get every one to 'agree with' in my carpentry workshop.

      I find myself avoiding several posts until much later including Frank's. The insights come later. This blog is so dense with meaning it's not possible to keep up with all of it now. I find myself trawling back through months of stuff from all of us and having major revelations. . .

      We should all be proud of ourselves for being on this blog because it is unique. There is nothing else remotely like it.

      What a shame we can't get other patients and therapists from other methodologies to join in.

      I wonder why?

      Paul G.

    4. We suffer until we begin to feel... it is the academic equation for what leads to the scientific understanding of therapeutic approaches!

      Can we suffer to not know? That is what we do! When we were little we learned to do it... why the knowledge about it was cemented in the bud!


  11. Hi everybody !

    several questions occurs when reading this text from Franck Robinette :

    -is it so sure that we are the only mammals to cry (I think it's specific to mammals for sure)
    -how is it connected to the capacity to lie at will : this capacity to lie is different when talking about adults or children and lying all the time is rather a psychopathic tendancy (people who never cry) in adults.
    -We can lie at will but what matter is the purpose of it : ex : an actor is lying at will and we know that the more he/she is open to his/her feelings the better he/she is (good actors are known to be able to cry at will).
    - crying helps for Demethylation which means get rid of stress by crying : has anyone heard or read about dying animals crying or mourning? Has anyone heard about those mammal mothers (monkey or deer) who starve to death after losing their breed?
    -Crying is not enough : a lot of people still cries but are still disconnected from their feelings.
    - I remenber Dr Janov wrote about the difference between tears shedd when watching a movie or listening to some music and the tears of pure grief (did they do some chemical analyse?).
    I like the rest of this text because it's very "lifewise" and intuitive.

    1. Perhaps the psychopathic liars do so because they are so good at lying to themselves. They tell themselves what a wonderful childhood they had.

      I used to lie to myself about that. My fantastic childhood. I find it far harder to lie now, that I know it was'nt that great all.

    2. Hi planespotter,

      I used to be a 'Billy Liar'. . . I used to make up false realities to bolster my self image. . . I knew I was lying at the time but it was the 'need' for something more tangible in my life that was generating the force. Also the 'need' to cover up my 'privilege' and try to be normal.

      I have found (this may be a little unsettling) that I have become much better at lying intentionally (for a good aim) since I got in touch with some real grief about my boarding school days.

      I said it before and again now: "often one has to lie to get the truth".

      Ironically what often appears as a distortion of the truth (lie) is actually a 're-framing' of it to adapt to other people's expectations. Or in other words I have noticed that we all lie to appease other people (their repressions and illusions) and instead of it being an 'unconscious adaption' (which is what it was in the past) for me now I am more able to resist other people's expectations and 'make a statement' that suits my needs. Whether those statements are 'true' is besides the point.

      It's an old cliche but: "There's nothing Good or Bad save what Thinking Makes it So". . . We all live in such a flux of subjective need and perception that it is hard to be clear about what is really "THE TRUTH".

      There are needs. That is central, every thing else is a radius 'circumstantial' to those needs. Language (particularly all my flowery words) are also such a distraction from need, but, because none of us are telepathic and we all like a bit of 'relating' I can't help myself !

      Paul G.

  12. Hmmm. Maybe it should be called "Primal Cry Therapy," then. The "scream" aspect not only scares off many would-be patients, it can attract faux therapists, too.

    For men in particular, crying can be difficult. It's seen as "unmanly." I suspect many guys, having been socialized to cry only at funerals (or when THEIR TEAM loses an important match!), think they're going crazy when they start to cry. They've been forced to forget that tears water our souls.

    Anyway, I recently read this...for what it's worth:

    1. Dogs seem to cry when they make that whistling sound. If crying exists in the second line, then perhaps it exists in all mammals. Humans are very receptive to visual cues -- perhaps the tears are just a dramatic visual display to show the intensity of the feeling. I don't know. Perhaps other animals can demethylate by crying without tears.
      Why do we cry? Is it only for the purpose of demethylation?
      I had another thought:
      The body, with it's huge mass of muscles and nerves, can generate a lot of electrochemical energy. Such a huge variety of powerful signals need not be limited to rudimentary sensations such as those of walking and eating etc. I think the brain takes advantage of all those nerves in the body to create one huge electrochemical program (emotion) that extends from head to toe -- an electrochemical orchestra so big and powerful that it cannot be altered by unimportant signals coming from the external environment. Every finger and toe is moved into a position that contributes towards the mental process....the stomach, throat....every part of the body tells it's part of the story. This is how the mind grows big enough to stay focused. Crying keeps the mind focused in the right direction (and when there are tears, other people will focus in the right direction....even a very unfeeling person will react to the sight of tears).
      And likewise, muscle tension and posture can be used to repress feelings too, by shifting the focus in a neurotic direction....creating a huge wall of energy that makes the truth seem so insignificant. Do we remain hunched because we are unconsciously angry? Or do we stay hunched in order to contain the primal urge to writhe like a wounded snake?
      In short, I think the body is part of the mental process. A cat's mind does not end at it's brain extends right down to the tip of it's wagging tail. When cats get angry they can growl deep in their stomach -- I see no reason why they cannot cry too. Can they primal? Probably not. They don't have the benefit of a therapist nor the human capacity for self-understanding.

    2. crying - feeling is inside-outside communication tool. every part of us is receiving the new information as a reaction to reality and our surrounding is informed about our temporary vulnerability-disconnection from outside (in safe place only). i can't imagine the less dangerous behavior than crying - feeling. there is something in the just the appearance of very young mammals that just ask for gentleness, touch... again a communication tool. the baby in us probably invented the word "adorable".
      did anybody here thought about about how mammals heal from traumatic events? are humans given a special treatment from nature with the ability to primal? any thoughts?

    3. Hi,

      has anyone actually done spectral analysis of tears?

      Also, after crying I often get a strange taste in my mouth, not always the same taste and not the same taste as one gets after aerobic exercise . . . I wonder if the methyl can come out in exhaled breath?

      Paul G.

    4. Paul: Yes we did with Dr. Frey about fifty years ago. It might be published somewhere, probably in the journal of primal therapy. Art

  13. I should have add that from my experience crying doesn't help our "computer brain" to avoid a crash down...(exept in a primal therapeutic context I guess) I cried a lot the week before my "pre psychotic episod" at age 38 and it doesn't help much. I never took any drugs at all or followed any kind of therapy. I just had so much stress in my emotional life that I had to say "f...o..." to everything and everyone...

  14. primal people could be the rare ones who have the balance between the knowledge about everything and about the details in a way that there is no confrontation but constant expansion of both.

  15. Art, last two or three questions in my last comment about other mammals are maybe not so constructive for the blog i guess.. so maybe you should remove them.
    or the entire comment if you like.

    how is your throat? whenever i think about how much you would like to lecture but can't, my throat start to ache.

    1. Vuko: Thanks for asking; the throat is worse and worse. art

    2. Hey Art,

      maybe if some of the people with influence in high places would actually listen to what you've been repeating in diverse ways for 50yrs, strangling the fish etc etc, then perhaps by some 'positive morphic resonance' your throat would no longer behave as the strangled voice of real (as well as common) sense.

      I hope you (and others on this blog) do not have to suffer in silence; I hope this blog acts as a voice piece for us all, strangled, restrained, repressed and hurting. . .

      Paul G.

    3. Paul: I do too. I want this blog to speak for all of us. To give voice for those who never had one. art

  16. Art,
    for some time i want to suggest you to try to overcome the problem with your health (throat) the way animals do it. they supposedly stop eating for some time when they are sick and generally reduce the outside stimuli in order to save the energy for the healing process. to do it totally without any urge from your instincts is probably not right way but i just give you something to consider that maybe doesn't collide with your huge life experience.
    i remember you described your throat as "hot" and you probably used some pills to cool it down... so another suggestion, if the first one is too much, could be in the direction of avoiding the hot food, i.e. strong spices... and btw, does your condition get worse in summer?

    these are simple suggestions and are available for anyone to try. i have not formally studied any kind of nutrition, just want to share some information (from "natural hygiene" and some "ayurveda" more recently) i read while i was intensively and maybe obsessively interested how to help myself... during a specific period in my life.
    i understand that your condition is not from yesterday
    but i know you really want to get better, that you are open to suggestions and you could have the ability to find the right measure.
    it would be great if helps... maybe not right away and precise on your throat but the whole of you.

    one more thing, if you ever feel to try it:
    be patient, trust in nature and your life experience. it could be very
    powerful tool so you could need all this to adjust yourself to the process . sounds familiar?
    good luck whatever you do!

    1. Thanks Vuko. I am going for stem cell therapy in 2 weeks. art

    2. Good luck with that stem cell therapy Dr Janov. I know what it`s like to have a constant source of physical discomfort (besides all the psychological). I have a rare disabling hearing disorder called hyperacusis, which is a hypersensitivity to sounds. On some days birds chirping sound like shrieking. Other days I am better. See (

      We deeply appreciate your work, and we wish you well.


    3. Marco: Thanks for the kind words. art

    4. I didn't read these comments. I'm glad there is at least some hope for improvement, Art. I know you think the chances are slim.
      Marco, maybe primal therapy could help to normalise your brain.

  17. To this day, I still have that thing where if I were to have an accident, usually they are very minor, and someone asks me if I'm alright, I begin to head towards crying. It's really strange, and the last time I remember not being able to stop it was when I was a young boy. Now, if it happens I can just easily repress the tears. I sense that Dr. Janov has already explained this or can easily explain it. Using insight, I feel like I am someone who can simply tap into my emotions, or alleviate neurosis through some sort of outlet. I thought about being an actor but now I'm just an aspiring writer.

    Speaking of writing, Dr. Janov you're earlier writings have heavily influenced by novels and if I ever find success(or even just a small audience) you should expect to be credited as being influential; I guess similar to how Tears for Fears mentioned you as an influence on their first LP. You have encouraged me to finish college, but the neurotic me keeps popping up when it comes to that. I am on course to gain some type of degree, while fervently working on the writing thing.

    1. Rjkingman: Keep it up. Education is crucial. art

  18. Off topic:

    I've been reading some stuff by the social scientist, Charles Murray. I find it of interest that he says that the problem for the new "upper class" is not material prosperity, but finding and developing meaning in their lives. In my view, those who "look for meaning" are like people with no sex drive looking for an aphrodisiac...

    I think 'meaning' is not something you find - it's just something you lost. Meaning is a psychological state - a human function - not a badge of honour or purchasable commodity. If you *are* meaningful, then your nature will dictate the direction of a meaningful life, appropriate for you.

    I think the problem of meaning is really the problem of a certain kind of repression. Maybe the repression that comes from living up to too many abstract social expectations from parents, in childhood. In the fallout of measuring up to someone else's expectations we must "walk away from our own souls", so to speak, and in turn leaving the void.

    Just my speculations...any thoughts?

    1. Andrew: I did write a lot about meaning in one of my books. But which one? Feeling is meaning; no feeling no meaning. we can search and search, go to India, study with a guru and never find it because it is only a few millimeters down in the brain in the limbic system. There is where we need to get. art

    2. Thanks Art. I suppose meaning can only be rooted in a love for life. And a love for life can only exist when you can feel it.

    3. Hi Andrew,

      I was one of the new upper class (enrolled before conception). In England we call us "Nouveau Riche".

      I never found meaning. When I "down classed" and learned carpentry as a profession (that took 20 years) I found a way to be real for me and for my children, I found a way to feelings through my 'profession'; literally "through". I had to go through it, learning it, perfecting it, realising I know nothing, forgetting it again, learning it again, reforming what I learned and then eventually looking at all my tools worn out and putting them all away and forgetting about all that for my emotional life, with my children. . . I try not to give them meaning, I try to just give them myself. It helps if I am not sleep deprived or struggling for money.

      Fortunately I can always 'fall back on my trade' to eke out a living and find the money to survive. As a bonus I am often so uniquely exhausted from the efforts of the day I sleep as a baby and awake ready for action and another day alive filled with feelings and experience (on the good days). On the bad days I am overwhelmed by meaning, meaninglessness and the absence of feelings. Meaning is my suffering, feeling is the solution; after that meaning is replaced by insight.

      Paul G.

      PS: Why did it take 20 years to learn carpentry? Because my leaky gates kept on 'oozing' meaning at me. . . Meaning was and still is an obstruction to feelings. I was distracted from what was really important by exactly that 'search for meaning'.

    4. Hi Andrew,

      I was one of the new upper class (enrolled before conception). In England we call us "Nouveau Riche".

      I never found meaning. When I "down classed" and learned carpentry as a profession (that took 20 years) I found a way to be real for me and for my children, I found a way to feelings through my 'profession'; literally "through". I had to go through it, learning it, perfecting it, realising I know nothing, forgetting it again, learning it again, reforming what I learned and then eventually looking at all my tools worn out and putting them all away and forgetting about all that for my emotional life, with my children. . . I try not to give them meaning, I try to just give them myself. It helps if I am not sleep deprived or struggling for money.

      Fortunately I can always 'fall back on my trade' to eke out a living and find the money to survive. As a bonus I am often so uniquely exhausted from the efforts of the day I sleep as a baby and awake ready for action and another day alive filled with feelings and experience (on the good days). On the bad days I am overwhelmed by meaning, meaninglessness and the absence of feelings. Meaning is my suffering, feeling is the solution; after that meaning is replaced by insight.

      Paul G.

      PS: Why did it take 20 years to learn carpentry? Because my leaky gates kept on 'oozing' meaning at me. . . Meaning was and still is an obstruction to feelings. I was distracted from what was really important by exactly that 'search for meaning'.

    5. Hi Andrew

      Is'nt "meaning" simply the search for real nurturing early unconditional love. "I still have'nt found what I'm looking for" sang U2. Is'nt meaning what causes people to invent religions and Gods? If the new upper class can no longer believe in a God due to their acceptance of Science then they are finding themselves stuck. The 60's generation experimented with drugs such as LSD to see if that would bring "meaning" to their lives and Art has been mopping up the pieces from that age ever since, so the new Upper Class can't do drugs again. Science is now leaving people with few if any "alternative paths" to follow to find meaning.

      If a child is properly loved then why would there be a desperate need to look for meaning because life would just "Be". Is'nt meaning about finding something to make oneself whole. A properly loved child would be whole.

    6. I agree with you planespotter. Life has no meaning. We do not need meaning --- we need to fulfill our needs. Love is meaningless but it feels right.

  19. Andrew: Isn't Charles Murray that right-wing libertarian who was accused of racism in his book "The Bell Curve"? Here's the Wikipedia excerpt on Charles Murray about his book:

    The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (1994) (ISBN 0-02-914673-9) is a controversial, best-selling 1994 book that Charles Murray wrote with the Harvard professor Richard J. Herrnstein. Its central point is that intelligence is a better predictor of many factors including financial income, job performance, unwed pregnancy, and crime than one's parents' socio-economic status or education level. Also, the book argued that those with high intelligence (the "cognitive elite") are becoming separated from the general population of those with average and below-average intelligence, and that this was a dangerous social trend.

    Much of the controversy erupted from Chapters 13 and 14, where the authors write about the enduring differences in race and intelligence and discuss implications of that difference. While the authors were reported throughout the popular press as arguing that these IQ differences are genetic, they write in the introduction to Chapter 13 that "The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved," and "It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences."

    The book's title comes from the bell-shaped normal distribution of IQ scores. The normal distribution is the limiting distribution of a random quantity which is the sum of smaller, independent random phenomena.

    Shortly after publication, large numbers of people rallied both to criticize and defend the book. Some critics denounced the book and its authors as supporting scientific racism. A number of books were written in response, to criticize The Bell Curve. Those books included a revised edition of evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man, The Bell Curve Wars, a collection of essays reacting to Murray and Herrnstein's commentary, as well as The Bell Curve Debate, which contains essays that respond to the issues raised in The Bell Curve. Arthur S. Goldberger and Charles F. Manski critique the empirical methods supporting the book's hypotheses.[20


    1. There are biological differences between races, not just skin colour, for example there are differences in brain colour too, and some of the latest medications are being developed into racially specific variations. So there is no argument -- we are different. Not very different, but enough to create controversy among all the politically correct activists and racists.
      Many scientists believe that yellow people have the highest "intelligence", followed by whites and then blacks. But people of all races who practice by sitting many IQ tests actually increase their IQ score over time. So one must ask, are they increasing their intelligence, or are they simply getting used to the types of questions they can expect to find in an IQ test (efficient thought patterns based on expectation). One must also consider the fact that IQ tests do not measure other types of intelligence that require use of the entire brain (for example; social intelligence) as opposed to the limited scope of thought required in an IQ test. Creative people are often "inefficient thinkers" but their free-flowing thoughts can solve a wide range of problems. IQ tests do not measure the mental effects of boredom. They do not accurately measure the effects of culture -- for example, an Asian American girl raised in a Caucasian American family could be influenced by the attitudes of Asian racists. The list goes on -- but in short, IQ tests are meaningless, and Primal Therapy works on all races, right Art?

    2. Yes, that's the Charlie. Remember that if you do research about a topic like race and intelligence you are asking for trouble - especially if your results are "unpopular".

    3. Anonymous: I have an instinctive respect and interest in all people who can and will see the world through their own eyes. As soon as I get that "correct thinking" as opposed to "direct thinking" flavour, a feeling if acute boredom overwhelms me. Charles Murray, though not always agreeable to me, is interesting!

    4. Hi All,

      there are serious subjective flaws in what we judge as 'intelligence'; how and why we measure what to decide is extremely biased.
      I'm sorry but the racist issue is not an issue at all. What is an issue is how emotionally intelligent we are and there is no test for that. . . Though I hear the Primal Center do a good line in training.

      I feel I have become more emotionally intelligent since I started crying a lot.

      Paul G.

    5. Andrew Atkin: Charles Murray is just a plain old racist , modern style.Funny how all these subtle racists find themselves on the Right, and now use science to justify their hates. Here's another subtle racist: Rush Limbaugh, who called Obama, Barack the Magic Negro.

    6. If Africans spoke English with an American accent, and wore American clothes, the developed countries would quickly take control over Africa and put an end to much of the grievous bodily harm, starvation and mass murder that happens over there. If newborn boys could think and talk like adults, we would feel like monsters every time we circumcise them. If cats could talk like intelligent adult humans but with a cute little voice, we wouldn't stroke their fur. It would seem too real....too intimate.

  20. I don't know wether crying is the key factor that makes us different from animals or not. I've learned that other species do cry. It may be that animals cry when facing a stressful (life threatening) situation whereas Humans can cry while reliving stressful memories of events taken place in the past. Dogs do cry and even sob as enduring neglectful behavior from their owners or even in their absence, but they don not suffer from remembering having gone through those experiences in the past. Of course a neglected dog will change its natural happiness into timidity. Humans, non humans, who cares? Anyway it may be that denying one's feelings is the key to understand what makes us less Natural Beings and more Robotic ones.

    1. Lars: again astute. keep thinking. good for everything. art

    2. Thinking astutely is the consequence of having cried a lot. And that credit must be given to the person who taught me how to deal with the invisible burden. And that person ultimately is you. Thank You for 'Primaling'. I pray for your recovery, but especially for those who are being trained by you and will follow your steps wisely. I pray I become one of them one day and spread your well lit vision.

    3. Lars: Do more than pray. Decide to come. art

    4. Hallo Lars

      Elephants cry when they are upset and are very emotional beings. When a lady one has a baby the other females rush to her in great excitement!

  21. "It is also probably responsible for our capacity to lie at will about anything." What do you mean by that, Frank?

    1. Hi,

      In the elevator back up to my sons flat on the 11th floor a gobby bitch was forcing the tears back down her cute 3yr old daughters throat. . . "Stop Crying, Stop Crying"! etc etc. . . The child choked down her tears catching short breaths whilst the gobby bitch (alias her 'mother') applied totalitarian parental CBT onto the child. . .

      After years of programming like this we become either compulsive liars to get what we want or we succumb to a fixed mental posture; or both. This 'fixation' allows for little if any satisfaction of need. Like goal posts so close together not even the ball can get in. . .

      No room to maneuver and no ability to use language beyond a certain point. Language is a fine tool but to use fine tools you need to develop a range of complex 'muscles'. . . connections. . . Parents who stop the natural cry function in their children are over pruning the ability of their children to form these multifarious connections before the 'tree' they are gardeners of has time to make enough branches. Thus you get stunted expression. End of Creative Life before the poor child has even developed the concept. . .

      When 'compulsion' like this builds up certain lies become standardised and repeated in any situation that the original trauma (traumas) start to resonate. There is NO WILL in this form of lying, just as most seeking and searching never hits the bullseye of need. . .

      So, to recover your connection with your cingulate cortex (is that the right organ)? is to regain your ability to lie at WILL. Also your ability to UNDERSTAND, which is a 4 dimensional thing. Length, breadth, width, and of course TIME (and therefore sequence: HISTORY).

      Thus crying can and does (when not just ab-reaction) re-form and re-orient your attention to outer matters. . . Applying the 3-2-1 Primal Theory will eventually 'sequence' your connections. Eventually needs become easier to satisfy. Certainly from my limited experience my needs have at least become better clarified, I have a bit more direction and a lot more sensitivity to 'situations', I am a little more open to change. . . and to the potential for greater wealth and health.

      At times of course I accidentally brutalise myself with guilt and persecution for being such a terrible liar and such a needy person. . . That's what my parents put into me, and their 'boarding school staff'. I have to endure this self blame and guilt as the poisonous lies I had to swallow to survive this "Care Regime" are expelled from my system.

      There's an entry in my diary recently, it reads: "This is all self Blame and Guilt"! I rest my case.

      Paul G.

  22. Did that study concern whatever tears? There might be two types of tears. Those manifested unvoluntarily when confronted with a revealing primal event (and that might take place during a primal session or right after a traumatic loss –car accident, relative pass away, divorce, ...) and those that may be deliberately dropped by thwarted individuals who turn out to find tears a "useful" tool in the hope of achieving certain goals that otherwise wouldn't be catched. My mother in law has mastered that since she was around 4. No doubt she's gone through hard times (in fact no one acts out without a deep reason) but she somehow managed to get a high degree as a PLOMPOS (Poor little old me permanently on stage). Those hardly worked tears sure must refer to a different molecule structure than those healing ones mentioned before which truly belong home. Talking about water, shouldn't it be a good idea for you to get in touch with Mr. Masaru Emoto? Who else? His studies on water crystals might be taken in consideration by you. After all we're 70% built on water

    1. Hi Lars, well written,

      It's hardly surprising that tears and crying are such controversial events. And most of us are so repressed without knowing what the word actually means we wouldn't understand the concept you've outlined above. There's abreaction of many kinds, possibly as many as there are people, then there's faux feelings that perhaps can be switched on and off at 'will' (?). . .

      Then there is the genuine crying as a tiny infant, as a child or even as an adult.

      People are scared of other peoples tears because it 'resonates' their own unfelt feelings. IE: people find themselves unconsciously empathising with the distressed subject and that makes them feel manipulated or out of control. Unless of course you have some experience of our actual will less state and the well of pain that state is so busy pushing down hard on to keep the illusion of well being going. . .

      PLOMPOS. . . Yes indeed, I allowed myself to become the scapegoat for several of those. . . A real danger to get into a 'One to One' relationship with one of them because as long as your loyalty to them remains, there will be no room for your own true feelings; infact your true feelings will be judged as manipulative and soon you will become the target for their anger too.

      Paul G.

  23. I had to add something to this entry today. For what seems like months and months I have not been able to cry. My head felt blocked and leaden for months. Until quite recently I had not worked out why this was. However I now find myself crying buckets. Over the past month my feelings seem to have risen back closer to the surface. Perhaps this is partly to do with discovering more about my late womb life and my birth and having had a Primal about which I realised was all about my birth. I think there are other reasons.

    About 4 days ago I was watching a video about saving the Planet and it had all kinds of shots of different things including about factory farming. Suddenly there was a shot of a Racoon in a cage. The next shot was perhaps the most shocking thing I have ever seen. I think the same Racoon had been skinned alive. It's head was simply a bloody skull with these two imploring and questioning blinking eyes looking at the camera. I burst into tears and could not stop. Great sobs. No-one can ever tell me I am unfeeling. I am crying thinking about it now. I am crying about being so lonely and missing my friends. I am crying about losing my family.

    I remember watching two boys at school throwing a mouse up into the air as far as they could using it's tail as a sort of sling. I could do nothing about it as I was only little and they were much older and bigger boys higher up the school. That has always stayed with me.

    Over the past few weeks I have had little sobs that perhaps lasted a minute. I knew something had changed. The periods of crying have intensified. Often I don't know what it is about. I just cry. My wife is being wonderful and just shows me great sympathy. I keep telling her it is part of the therapy and that the more I feel the more I feel.

    There is a sign above the door to the Therapy rooms at the Primal Centre which says "We can cry all the tears we could never cry so we can smile all the smiles we could never smile". It is such a wonderful and simple statement.

    It feels so good to feel again. I was laughing at a TV program last night and realised that I had not laughed like that for months. A spectrum of feelings coming to the surface.

    I am sure the reason for all the crying will rise to the surface. My wife wisely said "Sometimes something sets you off and so many other events and feelings get carried up with the crying about the Racoon". She is so right.

    That poor little Racoon was the victim of repression. It was so so awful.

  24. Hi Dr. Janov and others,

    I just wanted to say that I've been doing kind of like primal therapy for the past 4 years and have gone into very deep feelings. My repression and childhood trauma almost caused me to take my own life on many occasions. I kind of decided or was forced to let go of most of these defenses. I am still in the process of letting the bigger ones go, but I just wanted to say that by letting go of them and feeling my infancy pain, I have felt a lot more meaning in my life and a sense of familiarity with the world, like I belong here. Vs the huge void I felt most of my life. I now know where it comes from and I literally feel myself as that baby except in consious, adult form. It's a work in progress.

    But I just wanted to say it feels weird/creepy almost that now that I am in touch with this "baby self" almost all people seem familiar to me and like "'my friends" it is truly strange.

    I feel like I have to adjust to this "new me" as the other me with the defenses is an extremely unhappy, alone person.

    I just wanted to add to your discussion about meaning, and just share my experience. If any of you can relate to this eerie familiarity with people once you get in touch with your infant self, let me know :)it would be so neat to know I am not alone.


  25. Dear Planespotter,

    I am so so sorry about the Racoon. The way you described the raccoon made me so sad, and your reaction to it. I am sure he knew he was loved though. I think animals are much more smart and resilient than we believe. They are in touch with their higher selves I believe. It's cruel though still what happened to him. I think if I was there I would have tried to stop it, but I feel like cruelty like that will continue until the humans are healed. I don't think the people who skinned him knew what they were doing. They weren't consious of his pain because they are not consious of their own pain. So perhaps the real victims are the humans who did it? Sorry if this is too abstract/theoretical.



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.