Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Looking Glass is Inside Out

         I have often wondered why there is so much nonsense out there in the treatment of mental illness.  One psychiatrist says most of it is a brain disease and the answer will be found in analyzing the molecules of the brain. This is also the view of the head of the National  Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow.  She spends her days in the depths of brain neurons trying to find answers to so many problems. Still others come up with nutty ideas about depression and anxiety that I have cited in numerous articles.  Some want to drill in the brain, others shock it, and most others want to medicate it.  Few if any know what it is they are shocking or medicating. The reason: they all need to guess what “it” is.   And “it” is not a neuron or a molecule or a hormone. “It”  is a memory, an imprinted one that sways genes in one direction or another and alters the trajectory of our lives.

         In other words, they all have  to guess because no one has seen “it;” they all have to look at it from outside, imagining what lies inside. Yet it can be seen and it is palpable. But before we get to “it”, we need to get to the human being who carries the “it.”  He is the ultimate arbiter of what is true.  We need to focus on her or him and not just molecules. Only then can one observe the wrenching body arcs from the pain,and hear the gasping for breath, the screams and tears.  One can observe the relief from the reliving, as the body and face relax, not only from observation but in the indices of vital signs that descend radically, and in an ordered fashion, after a primal reliving.

         Why hasn’t anyone thought about it?  Because Behaviorists rule the roost.  Looking at it all from the outside is "de rigueur", while feelings are anathema – a simple negative influence to be eschewed, set aside and abandoned.  Feelings become pests in the overall scheme of science where precise measurement is the apotheosis.  Yet it is feelings that govern and drive us; feelings when repressed make us sick. We will never notice this so long as we remain outside the realm of feeling and choose to observe it from afar.  How can we know that anoxia at birth may play a part in migraines until we see someone relive the beginning of anoxia and develop a headache?  How can we know what is behind depression until we see deep pain at work with repression rushing to save our sanity and create depression as a consequence?  How can we know what is behind anxiety until patients travel down the chain of pain, descending through levels of consciousness to the most primordial reactions of panic?  How can we ever know what trauma at birth does to us until we see the reliving and discover the lifelong allergies and attendant breathing problems?  Or what it does to blood pressure and heart rate as they rise radically during the reliving, then drop to normal levels after the primal experience.

         So of course some can say it is a brain disease since we can always find neurological accompaniments to anorexia, for example.   None of this exists in a vacuum.  Of course there are changes in serotonin levels accompanying the affliction but they are not necessarily causes.  We will never know that so long as we are “objective observers.”  Once we delve into deep memory and feelings we will find a whole new world, the primal world, if you will.  It will open up a plethora of directions that pain has taken us, but it is not in the chemistry of pain where answers will be found, but in the causes of that pain.  Of course when there is a lack of serotonin in certain anxiety states it helps to add serotonin to the mix, in the form of Prozac.  But that is what I call tinkering or tweaking.  It has little to do with ultimate causes.   We can tweak dopamine or serotonin in depression, and currently they do this by adding “chemical uppers,” that have the effect of activating the neurotransmitters. Or they tinker with the glutamate level allowing more activation with less repression.

         And when they tinker it has to be a daily job because the causes are untouched and create the same old mess over and over again. Witness drug addiction.  The addict’s pain is very deep and requires heavy-duty drugs to calm it—over and over again.  How do we know?  We have treated addicts and see the pain underlying the addiction. We know it is refractory because the level of pain, down deep in the brain is never touched in all those rehab centers.  Worse, they do not know it exists. So what do they do? They calm it chemically and are satisfied with that. Why satisfied?  Because they have never seen the Pain!  Never seen the agony, which allows them to think that it is just a bad habit.   Or to believe that a few words of praise can help it.  Or to think that a good diet will change it.  Or to think that a few lectures or group therapy sessions will change it.  And the pain, hidden and recalcitrant, shouts back at the curers: “Try to find me! I am far below where you are looking, encrusted into the deepest chemistry of the brain,  conjoined with repression so no one can see  how I operate.”

         And on the psychological side, how could any of us know that not being held and caressed right after birth can lead to life-long terror of being alone.  Or that this memory can play an important part in depression when there is no one around us to soothe and calm.  So when we are not busy working and surrounded by people we get depressed.  More important, how can we know that love is primordial in the earliest months and years of our existence until we see what its absence does to us?  Lack of touch and hugs causes pain, more pain than we realize. Or that an anxious carrying mother is speeding up the metabolism of her baby, perhaps for a lifetime.  We cannot know about the imprint that lies engraved into the brain until we observe its reliving.  And reliving over and over with the same vital signs each time.  No one who has not seen primal pain in its full blown agony can know what it does to us and how it drives our behavior and intractable addictions. The imprint is the archive of our remote past that we carry around all the time but never know it because in its repressed state it is unrecognizable. 

         So does nothing help?  Lots of things help – help to tweak and tinker.  But only one thing works to reverse the imprint, resolve the engraved feelings, restore health and relieve suffering – Reliving. Aah!


  1. Art,

    What more can be said?

    God proves the search for life but buried in sentences away from it!

    Can not we get "God" in its meaning to present what you have presented here... what a revolution!? What can describe life's mazes better than what you just did?

    Unless the symptoms are enough to explain itself what can we then expect?

    The academic "ability" in attempts to explain himself is the most severe... if on the wrong side of the brain. It saved life when it was necessary... but lost in attempt to live... who later became the human scourge!


    1. Frank: Some brilliant stuff mixed with the not comprehensible. Can you get help with your english? good line "buried in sentences away from it. art

    2. Dear Art,

      I was one of the first patients to receive Primal Therapy at your New York center back in the late 70's. The therapy helped to transform my life by helping me integrate painful early experiences in my life. Essentially I learned what real feeling was, something I cannot actually describe to anyone. It's a life a process like digestion and like digestion it too can go wrong.

      Since that time I've continued to integrate my feelings on many different levels. You wonder why there is so much nonsense concerning the understanding and the treatment of mental illness. This is a very important point that you bring up here and elsewhere. I respectively submit and do so humbly as well, that "knowing" and "understanding" are symbolic activities tied intimately to language and more broadly with culture. As you well know, genuine feeling states cannot be directly described or approached with language and yet as you've learned and taught feeling grounds our lives for health( wholeness) or otherwise. When feeling flows it integrates and when it is blocked it can cause disease. There is another point, though, that I like to add here that might help us to understand the "nonsense". The lives of human beings, I have learned, while grounded in feeling, actually live their lives through narratives. We are "speaking" beings. The primal paradigm, so to speak, has yet to be integrated in a broad cultural sense. This paradigm is a new and different language and that is another reason why many so-called serious investigators seem bent on pursuing "nonsensical" research and treatments, for not to do so, may a require and broad cultural shift as well. All the scientific facts in the universe will never help us make the shift, I'm afraid.

      And, finally, the other side of feeling the pain is the gaining of a renewed faith in others so that we can have healthy and good human lives. In the end, our fundamental need, as you helped me to learn was our need to be loved and may I add our need to love. It is not "therapy" alone, important as that may be; it is the loving support that heals and lays the foundation for a real human world, in my opinion.

      We really do need one another to be who we are and be the beings we are.

      Thank you,

    3. If "prayer" for suffering was dedicated mom and dad instead of God... so would the primal therapeutic revolution be here now!

      So how do we sense God to be mom and dad... it is easy... by turning to mom and dad in our "prayers" for help!

      But we attribute also god being mean to us in our twisted attempt to get love... as our hatred not managed to set necessary limits ... a scourge when we are trying to turn inside out on what God really means to us!

      We're guessing about life because our pain is/was unbearable and we began to suffer. The ones who could help us was not there and thereby was god created... created for need of love... needs which went into a search.... a cognitive illusion for what love should have meant close to mom and dad... with now the "right" for God to punish us when we do something wrong... wrong in our search for love... search for mom and dad... this is the twisted reality!

      This is why we believe in cognitive methods... we have nothing else to rely on. We are cognitive beings without our feelings and our feelings we know where they are?


    4. Sorry I never finished my sentence before it got sent off. I started to say that the key is that we have so much to give love as well. l I gave it to dogs, others gave it to same sex; the point is that we all also need to live just as much as getting love. art

  2. Art,

    your frustration with these "scientists" is also reflected in many other walks of life.

    The word "it" is used by most unconscious people to 'externalise' their experience and 'dis-own it'. Therefore, "IT" is all "OUT THERE". Isn't it ?

    This is (IMHO) a recurring theme of repression and the denial that absolutely must follow.

    I've posted this before but here it is again:

    There was once a great Sufi teacher called Mulla Naser Edin; he was scrabbling in the dust one day out in the hot mid day sun. His mates came by and asked what on earth he was doing. . . "I'm looking for my house keys", he replied.

    So they all got down in the hot sand and scrabbled around searching. . . after a while one said: "honestly Mulla, they're not here, are you sure you lost them here"?

    "Oh no", said the Mulla, "I lost them inside the house". . .

    "Well why are we looking for them out here"? replied his friend.

    "There's more light out here" came the final reply.

    Paul G.

  3. It seems nowadays, feelings are suppressed a great deal, almost to the point where the parents are making their kids ill by having them grow up not to have emotions and not to have the ability to express emotions. Children should grow up having the ability to be sensitive and to feel. Now the parents want their child to be so "strong, cocky, and street-wise", it is almost ruining their generation. No progress can be made without having feelings; which many times the feelings should be analyzed. Now it just seems like in this day, that the parents are working against progress.....having their children stifle their feelings; why? So that they will be able to handle anything that this world dishes out to them, or is it for selfish reasons and the parent just finds the child "screwed up". Years ago, people were allowed to feel, to be emotional. Now teenagers (male and female) insist upon going out of their homes where they live with their parents, dressed in short-sleeved t-shirts in 10 degree weather. It starts at the home, and don't the parents realize their kids cannot be helped if they aren't allowed to even feel? The parents,in today's world, many of them, don't even know what progress is; they don't even know what science can do for their child who may need some type of help at times.

  4. Hi Art ,
    there are "curers" who do not even try to cure... as the shrinks with their un bio -logical procedures
    You mentioned .
    I had several years ago one who admitted "he did not know how ...? to sleep... but one(?) can live and work and...? without improving that symptom (with the agonizing effects)

    All that nonsense derives from NOT applying OUR inbuilt Bios Logos to all of lifes resp.our
    And for the causes of symptoms like pain; some nights ago my niece Sarah had to be hospitaliized
    because of excrutiating pains in the abdomen and being treated by a surgeon who removed
    a tumor and a cyst in the ovaries? "they" in earnest believe.... that the cure has ensued!?

    And in "my case"(the season of frostbite has just started over) this stupid charlatan of a
    surgeon never! asked for cause of my sometimes sweating palms.
    And as for the addicts; yesterday evening I saw the LONGING! of an institutionalized... alcoholic
    looking at two (empty...) bottles of harmless? beer ,when he went to buy his icecream
    in an italian cafe.
    Yours emanuel

  5. The need in a cognitive equation that allows the ticket into the limbic system!

    Are there any risks with primal therapy? Yes big risks if you can not perceive what the limbic system contains!

    The risk with the limbic system is to not admit the need before we get there... that no positive emotional memories exist there... which must be activated... that by the need!

    The need exists in all its meaning here and now for what neocortex is activated... the emotional hunter in the world of thought!

    Needs contain what love would have meant... needs accompanies us to the integration with the limbic system if we "want". Needs the suffering for what pain is... pain in real time of what then happened!

    The need in a cognitive sense... the only thing we have as escorts for the trip into the limbic system... where the need for mom and dad waiting... who is the hell on earth... but as baby then... the need... and we are safe for what and where we are!


  6. An email comment: "Art: Brilliant ... your best ever and you've had some brilliant articles and book.

    Why does only those that have relived their childhood, wombhood know this. I have my theory ... for what it's it's worth, BUT the astrophysicists are locked into their pseudo studies.

    My hope ... one day ... hopefully soon ... someone of influence will catch on ... otherwise the human race is doomed. Que lastima

    I've l;ong suggested that your discovery of Primal Pain was the greatest discovery mankind ever made ... or will ever make ... because we now know about ourselves ... some of us ... but then I'm considered a mad man. WTF"

    1. And my answer: thanks for the compliment art

    2. Hi Art,
      -"your discovery of Primal Pain was the greatest discovery mankind ever made"-.

      I agree, That's also possibly the greatest understatement too.

      In order to 'clarify' Primal further I think it may be worth your while writing a piece that explains the difference between Sensations and Feelings. In language we all tend to mix the two together; for example if I bash my knee I say "It feels sore", I don't say "It senses sore" even though the second is more accurate. I think there are many word bastardisations in the English language which tend to railroad us into explanations which start out on the wrong verbal track in just this way.

      Also, feelings. . . well, sometimes when I reflect on my feelings I wonder if most aren't actually a complex 'constellation' of sensations. . . Look, I know this sounds like sophistry but to get down to the 1st line is very different from getting to the 2nd and as you say each has it's own "language". To write to clarify this matter may help others grasp better what you are driving at.

      Paul G.

    3. Paul you are right. And I will. Art

  7. The world is infested with socially-reinforced assumptions. This is only problem though, is when people fail to see their assumptions for what they are, and in turn do not respond with rational open-mindedness for when a new insight is given.

    Remember when you had to reconsider the assumption that a baby couldn't feel its birth, Art? The idea that babies can't feel pain was really just an assumption - we never really knew. But it blocked part of you theoretical development for time (right?). This is the same problem, albeit on a grand scale, we seem to be having with the scientific community today. They're stuck in assumptions that are turning their heads away from the primal thesis - and irrationally.

    1. assumption makes sense inside repressive system. but then it doesn't make sense
      when a different assumption collides with it. and again makes all different sense when we feel what is behind every strongly defended assumption. what is behind every repressive and symbolic system. and then there is much less possibility for collision,
      for conflict, force, violence, damage... when we realize that is not only about them...

      but for that we have to reach the first line so we don't let it destroy everything around... like a mine expert that slowly (3.. 2 ...) disengage the present detonator and in safe environment activates the explosive charge peace by peace. in context. to transform a damaging explosion into a healing burning.
      maybe i got too much carried away

  8. in neurosis
    the outside always asks "what can i do (to make things better)''?
    inside just wants to express itself. to be.
    so they both can really make everything better.

  9. what i wanted to say is that open-mindedness is also and above all (below all) a physiological state.

    though i am not sure if my comparison with the mine expert is appropriate...
    it is very interesting that feeling not only removes the symptom but also explains the reason
    why the symptom is (was) there. gives understanding of it. it is all part of integration. is that what makes us different from other mammals/primates?

  10. assumptions, expectations, hopes...should come from personal access.
    access makes them more and more reliable.
    and at the same time less and less imposing... open for new inputs.
    because life is not about rigidity. consciousness is a fluid system. for a reason.
    the more fluid - the better?

  11. Art, did you notice the vital signs levels difference after a primal without the insight and after a primal with the insight?
    For example patient experience 10 primals without insight and then after the eleventh things opens... or for example first line experiences finally settles so the insight is deeper.
    I ask because i assume that the integration process happens before the insights do...
    Even the insights evolve, right?

    1. Hi,
      A while back Art wrote about the actual 'descent' of patients and pointed out (carefully) that not many people can go down quickly into the 1st line and make rapid changes to their psyches. Though some have. It depends on the amount of 2nd & 3rd line pain above. It follows that you have to deal with those pains first.

      Thus abreaction is inevitable at first and (I guess) takes many forms due to the diversity of individual history and the way 1st line pain can be driving 2nd & 3rd. Leaky gates / wrong work of centers etc etc.

      So it's a minefield really and the word 'insight' is so small and insignificant compared to what Primal is actually allowing to happen. Insight could be about the process or the actual traumas or a parallel 'sense' of what's right and wrong; even about abreaction and actual re-living.

      As Jack Waddington said, it's only when you've had a few genuine re-living experiences do you begin to realise just how much pain and terror is trapped down there. . . inside us. In every f*****g cell. That is insight as well.

      At first I think there is a general re-orientation of personal intent and denial. . . I keep returning to denial but gradually (like the Titanic) with a rudder too small I am managing to turn my boat around to a new course in life (maybe missing the worst icebergs ) ?

      But when you do its all preparation. . . I mean so much is going on at such a microscopic level one cannot actually have "insight" at that cellular level with ones neo-cortex. Although at times my imagination combines with my feelings and sensations to help confirm the new course I seem to be on. This is both the danger and the gift of science and scientific method / understanding.

      Is it a fantasy and abreaction or am I really re-living this ?

      One does have to become a scientist for ones own evolution. . . If not a scientist then at least a crafts person and perhaps also an artist.

      Paul G.

    2. Paul: How about I give you a new rudder? art

    3. Hi,

      Since my last 'intake interview' (I've had 2 now) and various conversations with wonderful and courageous people on your blog (not to mention much conflict of the polemic type "Out There") I began to fall into a serious depression dominated by the realisation of just how entrenched my problems are.

      Getting this ship into your dry dock to drop the old and refit a new rudder is becoming another source of grief. I havn't given up but I surely have had to address some very old and stubborn problems. Problems that exceed my own particular responsibility (such as having been born into this unique Victorian work house called England). . . To think I used to be proud to be English. . . ! F**k !

      Since the stipulation of a 12 to 18 month stay in California I have had to completely re-arrange my expectations and start planning for the next three to five years rather than a few months. I sort of don't mind because I'm rather used to a life filled with stressful and strenuous challenges which always take longer than expected.

      But "I GET THERE IN THE END". . .Though I am completely fed up of my act out and I wonder if it will actually end in your dry dock ?

      I sense Emma, Planespotter, Sheri and a few others know exactly what I mean. I am also hitting 1st line stuff now: Insomnia, chronic anxiety, nightmares, paranoia (real & imagined - ha ha) and most of all the fear, loathing and disgust of this terrible denial most humans live in to avoid their history. It's lonely trying to be real; most other people have succeeded in constructing an unreal but effective MASK. . . to hide their grief and pain behind. This increasingly scares the shit out of me and causes me to become more and more reclusive. I see other people in relationships, kissing and cuddling and I just feel so frightened and alone.

      I am depressed about my relationship with my daughter; increasingly she is becoming the 'protege' of her cognitised mother and her feminist / new age cognoscenti peer group. . . and every time I am forced to return her to the house I used to live in my f*****g history gets a thorough stirring up and there I am dysfunctional again for two or three days. Unable to work and pretty much wanting to die but Fighting for my right to stay alive and feel another day. Luckily for my daughter, I am a trained warrior and craftsman who will not stand for all that insincere, shallow, dismissive, cognitive bullshit. It both slays and infuriates me. Consequently my rage at this giant indignity gets me off my sorry arse to live another day. Then I am counting the days to the next "contact visit" which makes me feel like a criminal for being a father.

      And frankly in England there are many fathers who are made to feel this way. By other men as well as 'politicised' mothers. F**ks the lot of them, if only they knew how little they know. . .

      Ok, rant finished.

      Paul G.

    4. Paul,
      when you manipulate large wooden constructions you know how important is to know where the center of gravity is. keep that in mind while your center of gravity is moving up...

    5. Hi Paul

      Doing a 12 to 18 month stint sounds a big thing to take on and good luck in your aim to get there. I know what you mean about insomnia, anxiety etc. I tend to get this prior to any kind of insight. There seems to be longer periods between such insights now. I suppose I had what people call a breakdown brought on by having spent a long time on an SSRI and then my family turning on me due to my anger. Everything kind of dropped out in one big knotty lump which has taken ages to unravel. Rage was a wonderful tool that kept me going. Fire in my belly. I called it Beautiful Fire because it burnt all the lies and deceit and left me far more aware of myself.

      It is a lonely existence.

    6. Vuko,

      that is very good advice. Have you ever used a beam trolley ?


      your contributions trigger the best socio / sexual insights in me partly because you are English but mostly because we both seem to have had domineering 'Anglicized' mothers. by this I mean mothers who have also adopted the (trouser wearing) idea that men are somehow inferior due to being either more / less emotional (or less empathic; wrong either way) than them or less forgiving of them. . . either way some big trip which results in us feeling guilty for being a man and wrong for feeling angry about it.

      As you say, so often there is a weak father looking the other way (or a strong narcissist too busy with his own erections). Whatever, there is a three way game going on as each parent takes the neglectful lead and the child (us) gets trapped in the middle.

      I am getting this insight about being trapped in divided loyalties; 3rd party relations. You mentioned an insight about the private elitist education system we spawned from the early Victorian period. Well I wonder if culture is an evolutionary experiment. Some 'movements' towards resolution / consciousness require any action to precipitate it. I wonder if this new cult of repression over feelings is the experiment that will bring about a better realisation of the imprint and eventually a realisation about abuse.

      It's sick but true that you don't know what a busted finger is until you whack it with a hammer. . . There is no escaping the 'trials' of life. Well, some smart intellectuals have refined an avoidance system and some of them are psychos and some of them run countries and still their people suffer but I believe in the end evolution will succeed in bringing us the evidence . That surely is what this blog is.

      Little seeds - BIG TREES.

      We are planting seeds here.

      Paul G.


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.