Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On the Importance of the Primal Frame of Reference

There is a recent survey of coffee consumption (Read Rebecca Coffey—no joke, in Discover Magazine, April 2013 ). There were many conclusions including heavy consumption and smaller breasts in women. But another caught my eye: university students who drank three cups daily were three times more likely to hear voices and have out-of-body experiences. Now why is that? It is pretty much the same with long- term usage of marijuana. Both approaches speed up internal pressure on the neo-cortex. Coffee agitates against the neocortical repressive function, which then has to manufacture booga booga notions to cope with the additional input—out-of-body feelings. This is almost literal in the sense that one has been driven beyond one’s repressive capacity….out of one’s body. “I am no longer the usual me.” It should read, “out of brain” experience because that is in a sense what is happening.

Long term marijuana use works a little differently, like a functional lobotomy over time. Bit by bit the gates are weakened, the lower forces are liberated and again force the neo-cortex to manufacture paranoid ideas. The real feeling—death is approach due to loss of oxygen at birth, “becomes someone wants to kill me”. Bizarre notions are not capricious; they derive from real experience, real imprints that are filtered through the gating system. It is the weakening of the defense/gating system that permits breakthrough of feeling which then impels and compels the cortex to go into action manufacturing booga booga.

It is not the coffee that does it; it is the activating ingredient caffeine that soups up brain activity. As usual, it compels the last evolutionary defense, ideas, into action. So one can activate the brain inordinately or diminish the gating system to achieve the same result. Notice, it is when feeling are artificially thrust into action that the cortex enters the fray and tries to capture and bind those feelings with ideas.

Here we get a picture of psychosis; the same processes are at work but the internal thrust is not artificial. It is internal; something causes hurt and pain, some feeling that is too much to feel to accept and integrate, so the cortex begins its job of protection and survival. It is in charge of repression, of holding back those feelings so that we are not overwhelmed and lose our bearings. It is essential that we don’t lose our cognitive skills so that we no longer can navigate through life to protect ourselves. It has all to do with survival; that was always the function of defenses. They just became more sophisticated as we evolved. And the last defense is cognitive. The cognitive therapists, however, forgot the other two key brain systems and focused only on cognitive functions; in this way they cannot possibly understand what defense systems are about and how they evolved. In short, they cannot see that they are survival functions, not to be analyzed to death but to be liberated so we can live.


  1. Hello Vuko! I am the usable proof... vocabulary seen!

    A vocabulary equation in the name of science containing cognitive methods versus a primal therapeutic for a legal process will highlight a content many possibley can perceive during the legal process!!

    We can not forget ... if "just" several thousand around the world will understand what it is we are presenting it will be a success !

    An invitation to you who distrust a legal process!?

    Write a few sentences about what it is cognitive explanations achieves... then add what primal therapy scientific contain and view the vocabulary equation for its cause! If it is not enough... turn inside out on the sentences for what content presents and you will se other vocabulary equations lighetening up and illustrate the content... don't give up!

    There may not be a result that lasts for the academically trained in the field... but what can a judge say about what scientifically are presented around primal therapy? It will be a very interesting process?

    Highlighting primal therapy in a lawsuit in which media are presented we believe will have an impact like no other... that against what now plodding attempt to spread it achieves!

    If you win your argument to forgo a legal process so we hope you succeed!

    We further believe... there are not any one within the cognitive domain... which can live up to his own explanation to report science.

    It is obvious that a legal process requires well-conceived arguments... where we very carefully covering up what a cognitive regime may have as arguments... for how it should be treated!

    Art I know about your "divine" try!

    Your Frank.

  2. Fascinating piece Art. I must say I can't handle more than one coffee a day. Any more than that and I do feel really jittery and rather out of control frankly. With regard to cannabis I was never a great user. I did'nt like the effect. I always felt very frightened if I ever smoked it. I hated the way it caused me to feel out of control. I suppose my gates were so overwhelmed with trauma they rattled furiously if I ever smoked it which was'nt often. I do have one friend who is rather partial to a spliff or two and 18 months ago at New year I had a few puffs of one and all it did was send me to sleep which rather surprised me and I wonder whether this is because I have felt great terror and pain and understood it for what it was which maybe lessened the pressure on what remains of my gates.

  3. "cannot possibly understand what defense systems are about and how they evolved. In short, they cannot see that they are survival functions, not to be analyzed to death but to be liberated so we can live."- looking forward to this!

  4. All should know!

    If we could understand... but we do not... it hurts too much and we are misled by our escorts... so where is our chance to think right?

    If a cognitive activity against its duty to defend against life threatening experiences is exposed to incriminate oneself... we can imagine the result!?

    To all of you who doubt the legal process! The executioners during WWII should they been protesting?

    That we must maintain cognitive ability as a defense for the opportunity to make our therapy... is one thing... educated academically who crosses the line and becomes entrenched in quackery is quite another (they should know better by now)! Their defense got a consequence... to sacrificing the one he/she is supposed to help!

    The cognitive system is not just a defense for the sake of it... it is a defense that is about to exterminate all humanity!

    A catch-22 is what we are suffering... it through what the cognitive system is intended versus what it performs!

    Hell can not be more appealing to what cognitive defense causes all the children... the rest of us are already their executioners!

    For how long should we hope for a change... or should we do something about it?


  5. An email comment: "You are very correct according to my own experience with this. Losing sleep and having been taking in a lot of caffeine I not long ago had such an experience as you mentioned. I did not "leave my body" but for the first time ever I heard a clear voice as I was waking up one morning. The voice said my name. I looked it up on the internet and it was a common experience. I feel like laughing realizing how "normal" can be so very crazy.

    Keep telling it like it is Art, I am so very proud of you.

  6. A new Reference-frame of life.

    Art-destruction (and Art Janov) created my new reference-frame of life.

    After a horrific birth trauma which almost cost me my life, I was born with a voluminous, engraved repressed pain. My unconscious pain was, during my youth, predominantly expressed in the form of hyperactivity, physical and mental. Later, when after excessive energy efforts my leaky gates to my pain were left unprotected, I would for a short period of time be depressed, which ended in suicidal thoughts. This short (2-3 days) suicidal state was always followed, by my decision, to give me another chance. I was soon on my way into a new hyperactivity period of 3 - 5 years. (This ongoing life pattern turned later during Primal Therapy into birth primals when I re-lived my fight for life and death to get out and by being strangled by the umbilical cord.)

    During my hyperactivity, I developed a collection of neuroses / unreal needs in order to be accepted, get attention and be loved. Some of these neurotic behaviors showed in the form of crazy ideas. An example is when I, guided by ignorant and insensitive parents, was told that I, being the first born of 4 siblings, always ought to know best and be responsible. I interpreted this message my own way and thought that I was stupid and cheated when I was reading homework during my time in junior-secondary school. These neuroses increased my often humiliating activity to capture knowledge and achieve a lower school certificate without opening the books. This neurotic madness along with social neuroses caused me to avoid secondary studies during adolescence. Only when I, at 19 of age, developed epilepsy and became medically lobotomised I managed, with several years delay, to repair my lack of studies, to graduate and pursue a career, my hyperactivity-neuroses turned to a commercial career.

    In spite of a full time job, advanced evening studies, a relation that led to marriage and two children, I needed a lot of physical exercises and sex to consume all the pain-propelled energy that was pouring out of me. I rarely slept 5 hours a night. My career was dead straight, and I was seen early to have a unique ability to judge external factors, business and staff assessment. However, I had a poor understanding of myself, though, literally,, I could feel my prison of pain. It was my epilepsy, which constantly kept me aware of the existence of my pain. It would take 40 years to bit by bit re-live most of my engraved pain and to dissolve the neurotic, survival-filters between my cortex and the other two brain systems in the triune brain. When the filter dissolved I saw the same world as before, but now motivated by different, more real needs. A new way of living, a new way of valuing events and actions and a new set of attitudes, own and others, which I had to show and to accept.

    Sometimes, when I, nowadays, talk with someone, I can for a fraction of a second feel tempted, by residues of my old habit, to give a neurotic response. However, now my answer instinctively matches my real needs even if it may put me in a less favorable position. It is pleasant to have been freed from the humiliating needs for political, tactical and prestige-related short-term games l often felt pain-propelled into.

    Very often paradigm changes take more than politicians, scientists and psychologists can handle out from their looked in positions. We need sometimes, figuratively, to destroy a lifestyle which has run into a dead end and then we need a Raphael Ortiz and an Oko Ono to show us the way and if we are lucky an Art Janov will appear and create a new frame of reference. Maybe a new paradigm.

    Jan Johnsson

    Raphael Ortiz and Yoko Ono closing, in 2013, the circle from a Destruction Art Symposion1966. (When The Primal Therapy was born...)

  7. Hi,

    I must have tried to give up nicotine at least six times in my life and when eventually I finally discovered that my organism really disliked the smell, the taste, the effect and the long term poisoning I felt I was finally an ex addict. For a long time I noticed that I could get into certain stressful states where the smell, the taste and the effect seemed really desirable but I managed somehow to avoid giving into the desire to get hooked again.

    Then I got into coffee. The real organic, fresh ground Monty. Exactly the same pattern emerged and after a while I became fed up of the effects which would always result in a depressing crash and need for more and more coffee. . . I think last year it got to 6 or 7 cups on some days.

    Now I am very averse. I don't even like the smell, the taste or the thought of it. . .

    I do drink tea instead, but not so many cups and the caffeine in it is different I hear. The 'lift' I get from a cup in the morning does not result in a crash half an hour later.

    Paul G.

  8. Hi Art,
    perhaps my cousin Eva and a friend of mine are the proverbial exception to the rule(?)
    but I never ever saw any sign of Pain breaking through enduced psychosis(?) resmbling hearing
    of anything/or one...) by both of them !!

    Only very " elephantine" thick skin... behaviour and calmness etc. inspite of the fact they really
    they literally are drinking gallons of that (sink water resembling(in my mouth at least..) beverage
    like the other world ruling dark coloured substance ...

    I just drank a cup of "BIO" coffee and only feel my stomach...and no High at all (thanks goodness);if I drink it in the afternoon -well then my good night is a mess.
    Perhaps only neurotics with faltering gates are in danger!?
    Yours emanuel
    P.S. Frank :sometimes I am reminded of Mr.HEGEL(philosopher..) ;very difficult to understand.

    1. Hello emanuel!

      What can we do when we understand not to perceive the content!

      Your Frank

  9. in support of primal frame of reference could also be the age and new and often stressful environment of the students. for example, the hours and days before the exam (it was additional stress for me) .
    i want to mention that coffee is not only about caffeine and tobacco smoke about nicotine.
    so many scientific reasons for and against coffee. the smoke is probably harder to defend...

  10. Here's a nice website presented by The Urban Child Institute. It provides a simple overview of brain anatomy and how it develops in the first three years:

    Quote from the website:


    Synaptic density in the prefrontal cortex probably reaches its peak during the third year, up to 200 percent of its adult level. This region also continues to create and strengthen networks with other areas. As a result, complex cognitive abilities are being improved and consolidated. At this stage, for example, children are better able to use the past to interpret present events. They also have more cognitive flexibility and a better understanding of cause and effect.


    Kagan J, Herschkowitz N, Herschkowitz E. A Young Mind in a Growing Brain. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 2005.

    Bunge SA, Zelazo PD. A brain-based account of the development of rule use in childhood. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2006;15(3):118-121."

    So.... these scientists believe young children are very good at remembering and integrating the past with the present, but they also believe that the synapses are selectively pruned until the adult may have half as many as a three year old. That's a little scary in the primal context -- how do we connect traumatic memories to the frontal area of the brain - the area designed to inhibit emotional impulses?

    Wen-Biao Gan did some studies on some poor little mice. He believes we don't need to build many new synapses in order to form new short term memories; rather, we need only change the strength of existing synapses (connections)..... BUT he believes new synapses must be formed in order to form long term memories.

    So I wonder how I will connect to my traumatic memories. Will I change the voltage in my existing connections or will I do something far more difficult: build new connections? Perhaps right-brainers have an advantage with all of those existing connections ready to be rerouted? I hope my brain is not too left-brained / pruned.


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.