Saturday, December 27, 2014

More on ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

Imagine trying to concentrate while trucks and trains and cars are whizzing by, make noise and creating tumult.  Well that is going on in the brain of those who belong to that not so exclusive class of ADDers.   Where do all those trucks and cars come from?  Those are the imprints/traumatic memories are shooting up noisy information from below.  And they never stop, trying to tell the higher brain about so many dangers that the person no longer knows where to turn.  He cannot select out  a single task to focus on because of all those inputs (trains, trucks and cars) whizzing around creating tumult. The brain has to focus on so many inputs, so much incoming information that it cannot concentrate on one thing alone.  Focus means to eliminate extraneous input from outside and inside and select one single topic.  How can anyone do that when the input is so strong and intruding?    It has to be intruding because it includes life-saving information.  Something we must pay attention to.  It tells us there are things inside—memories—that need to be addressed and resolved.  And the ADD person must give priority to memory, for that is lifesaving.  That imprint is saying, pay attention to me.  And because of that, what do we get?    ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER.   It is signaling to every part of the higher brain;   I am important and can help you live.  It is not attention deficit; it is hyper-attention disorder; having to pay attention to many other things.  Remember it is a lifesaving fact.  The brain is performing correctly with ADD, not something to be overcome and done away with.  It is warning us; hence the need to be hyperactive.  The imprints over-activate and keep the person going and going, running from the terror, while the information is pushing, seeking higher neuronal ground.  It is carrying out its function of trying to inform us of the imprint.  So activation blocks and suppresses through hyperactivity; keeps us from focusing completely on what lies inside.  The imprint is so strong and life-endangering that we have to keep running away; our minds go everywhere at once.

What the “going and doing” all of the time does is help drain some of the activation, lower the level of input, and help us function a bit better.  Isn’t that what pills like Prozac do? To lower the reactions, slow the hyperactivity and help us slow down and relax.  One of the reasons that pills are weak in the face of all this is that there is sometimes impairment of the neo-cortex which should work well to repress, but doesn’t.   The reason there is a failure to repress is that the Primal Terror chews up so much of the painkilling supplies and never allows it to achieve normal levels.  What Primal Therapy does is lower reactivity so that the cortex is not overwhelmed by input and can begin to do its job of integration and resolution; the job it was made for.

This is the particularly true of those whose imprint involves massive terror/anxiety and therefore exceptionally strong input.  That input scatters the organic sense of the brain and it seems like it is in pieces, having lost its cohesion (and it’s cohesion that keeps the train on the right track) in terms of how it functions.  And with the ADD individuals there is often a lack of cohesive, overall, gestalt thinking.  So easily distracted, so easily disconcerted, so often losing the train of thought.  As I said before, when you get on the wrong train every stop you make will be the wrong one.  It is not a matter of correcting the destination, it involves redoing the beginning of the trip; getting on the right train.   And that right train is always the right one, the normal one, the one that instinctively knows the right track.  It is the track of feeling.

I have treated many ADDers. One is now in a doctor’s program who was unable to finish high school.   This is multiplied by many patients.
When we remove the terror and pain over months and years we also extirpate the neurotic drive they suffer from. End of distraction and lack of focus. End of ADD.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why is Early Love So Important?

The first easy answer is that you can never get it back; it is gone forever. And one day when you feel empty and lonely, and “down”, and missing something, you may know where it came from.

Remember there is critical period for all of our key functions; once gone it is history, and then we play make-up, trying to compensate for it.  Starving in the womb?  A big eater later on. Not eating for today but for when you were starving because that starving is now an imprint, deeply embedded in the brain.

Not touched as an infant becomes insatiable sex later on; again, trying to make up for the past deprivation.  It becomes insatiable and uncontrollable because being held at the start of life, right after birth is life-giving, survival and the key to normalcy.  We need to make up for that lack so that saturyisis is an attempt at being normal.  
We are trying to get our past back, a past that should have been normal—fulfilling children’s needs.  Alas, it was not.  So we act out symbolically; we need to be touched now!  And often: we cannot get enough. Remember, we are trying to fill up deprivation.  Get our childhood back.

And if we all look at our neurotic behavior, our obsessive act-outs, we will find what was missing in history.  Do we eat too much?  Take painkillers?  Hey that means you have pain.  I have an idea: let’s try to find out where it comes from instead of just trying to get rid of it by pushing it down.  “Out of sight very much in the mind."

You get mad when your husband won’t help you? Your parents also did not.    You are frustrated because the wife does not listen?  Guess what was missing.

Worse, once married the husband’s wife becomes his mother; his property.  He can become dangerous and stalk her.  She must now obey and do all of his bidding.  He is living in his past; in his deprivation, and cannot get out of it.  And she is obliged to live out his past with him.  Otherwise, his fury knows little bounds.

That is the essence of neurosis; living in the present as if it were the past.  No longer able to distinguish the past from the present.  This is what I see all of the time; and this is the primordial cause of divorce.  Unfulfilled need acted out on a partner.  They can’t get along?  Look for the need instead counseling each of them to try harder.

It is that past that drives obsession and compulsion because the combination of past and present is often overwhelming.

Just an aside about not making up for the past:  many studies show the long-lasting effects of early deprivation.  Michael Meaney’s work in Canada, in particular.  One study by Eric Nestler, Friedman from the Brain Institute in New York, reported that when rat pups were deprived of licking early in their lives, they were later vulnerable to stress and were easily damaged.  They had less curiosity and were less adventurous.  Those rat pups who were given lots of love were quite different when they grew up.  They were much more nurturing, whereas those who were deprived were much less loving.  And that lasted.

We see confirmation of this need for love everywhere we look.  It gives us a foundation, and without it we are weaker, sicker, lead shorter lives.  We are more apt to become both depressed and/or anxious as adults.  Shouldn’t all this “proof” say something to therapists?  We need to examine that foundation and see how strong or weak it was. We need to ask the right questions and look in the right places and at the right time in history.  I should not have to bang on about it.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Leap Into Cancer

I am going to take several leaps: the first is to equate the imprint with methylation of the gene cell.  That is, as very early trauma (gestation and its surroundings)enhance methylation, adding part of the methyl group to the cell.  This is  a sort of trace or memory marker that alters the gene and imprints the memory; for life.  Well, “for life” is a big statement since if someone finds a way to rid us of those traces it will not be for life.  Which I believe we have; we are now on our way to confirm this hypothesis.

The point being that the trace of methylation is an analog to my notion of the imprint; an embedded memory that endures and affects so much of us, our minds and body organs.  That is the second leap.  Of course it is complicated matter and I do not touch on that, but by and large, it is a good index of what methylation means.

Why do I make that leap?  Because we are dealing with early trauma and it may well have to with the later development of cancer.  Let me put it differently.  We see very few cancers over the years of our therapy.  I believe in part it may be due to addressing directly the memory trace; over months of Primal Therapy, wending the way down to lower brain levels, finally arriving at the deepest and most remote memories and reliving them bit by bit.  What seems to happen to my patients is that full reliving without words and often without tears,  the mark of primeval imprints, undoes the agony of the memory without disturbing the memory itself.  The memory no longer drives us and impels neurosis.  That means no longer a deregulation of so many organ systems and thought processes.  There is then a systemic normalization of so much of brain and physical processes.

It is my assumption, then, that this normalization reverses methylation, at least in part.  We note in late research on depression and suicide (measured by autopsy), that the heavier methylation is associated with greater tendencies toward suicide.   That so-called “psychologic behavior” is ultimately a matter of neurophysiologic processes.   Not the reverse, mind you, where everything is a brain dysfunction with no reference to or understanding of key early experience.   The brain gets impaired through early experience.  It is not a matter of investigating or changing thoughts and behavior in therapy that matters.  It means looking into the deep neurologic imprints altering the behavior of the genes.  In that way, we will stop imagining that it is all a matter of genetics, rather than epigenetics.  Yes, of course, there are genetic effects, but in my experience they are not so effective and dominating  as epigenetics.  This is being supported by late work in addiction.  (see, E. Heller, et al, “Locus-specific epigenetic remodeling controls addiction-and depression-related behaviors.”  Nature Neuroscience, 27 October, 2014)(see the abstract:  One thing they found was that histone methylation …….the locus in the nucleus accumbens (the reward area) was enough to control drug behavior.   Again, it is no brain impairment; but brain reaction to trauma that may cause all this. What researchers are doing is finding the neurologic concomitants of it all.  Still with no mention of what goes on early in our lives that may produce these changes.

The research I am citing is from “Disorder in gene-control system is a defining characteristic of cancer.”  Dana Farber Cancer Institute,  Science Daily, 8 December, 2014) (see

So what are they saying?  Basically, that derangement of the methylation process "has a direct bearing on the effectiveness of cancer therapy". And what does that mean?  That changes and trauma very early in life impact the methylation process and deregulate it.  This makes cancer therapy more opaque.   There are times when this disorganization may help tumors adapt to its altered nature because of trauma.  In short, disordered methylation may lead to cancer progression. This is far too complicated, but there is a strong relationship between imprints and the development of serious disease.  And one way to measure this is through methylation which gives us a quantitative index of how much damage there is and where it occurs.   In brief, when we think of the Primal imprint we need to think methylation.

Let’s stop calling all the disorders of the brain and behavior a “brain disease”.  We have had some success in treating epilepsy.   Is it a brain disease or one of bad early experience?  Or is addiction a brain disease?   We have treated many addicts and have found that when we take away the embedded pain we stop the need for pain-killers.  If we neglect experience, specifically very early experience, we can never know how experience alters the brain.  We cannot understand how methylation becomes “disordered” with adverse experience and what role that plays in the development of cancer and other serious diseases.

What I have done is point the way to the imprint and shown how to get there to change the whole system.  Now science is helping to pinpoint so much that is helpful.  But let us not deify pure science is the sine qua non.  Clinical work here preceded pure neurologic science by years.  Our nerve cells store knowledge and store memory, and in those memories lies trauma and its enduring effects on all of us.   We must address those traumas, not with words but with experience.   Psychotherapy must ultimately involve experience.


Monday, December 15, 2014

There Are Memories That Cannot Be "Remembered"

I have  often remarked that the most important memories that drive neurosis, our behavior and our symptoms are those that cannot be remembered; at least not in the way we think of memory. Therein lies the rub.  Because what can you say when the body "remembers" something that affects our eating habits for a lifetime?  And yet we do not "remember" it?  That is because we are too used to thinking of memory as recall; something we can figure out, that has content and words.  So we therapists ask the patient, "Do you remember your childhood?"  Or, "What can you tell me about your childhood?".  The truth is, "Practically nothing".  Because the important stuff, the experiences that change us radically have no words; they long predate the use of words.  Why? because we have found that gestational life and birth traumas change us significantly, and until we can wend our way down the chain of pain we are never aware of these experiences and how they motivate and steer us.  It is when the neuronal circuits of the brain are getting organized which will direct our lives thereafter.

So what does a "body memory" mean?  When a carrying mother is under-nourished, her baby will have a much greater chance of obesity later in life. He (his body) remembers it all.  We can only put a name on it after months of our therapy where the baby is again a baby crying out for food. And he feels the deprivation and pain of it all.  Or, in a study of mice, they found that the "memory" of nutritional deprivation can be passed onto the sperm of the offspring. ("Inherited memory of poor nutrition during pregnancy passed through the sperm of male offspring."  Science Daily, July 10, 2014)(see:

We might say that neurosis means we are walking around in the constant grip of unremembered memories that the body remembers. We can be "aware" of its harmful effects but unconscious of it. We never experienced the pain of it. Awareness lives on high in the brain, devoid of the direct feeling of agony. It can explain, rationalize or deny but never experience it. How about the feeling of helplessness when unable to move out of the womb into life on the planet?  I have seen how some male patients who have relived that hopeless, helpless feeling see why they could not be aggressive in sex; why they give up so easily and feel defeated so quickly, losing their erection.  They cannot "go all the way".  I know this sounds so psychoanalytic but it is observational science at work.

 It is not a concocted hypothesis drawn out of my derriere.  These are epigenetics in process creating havoc in our system, and we never know why because we cannot "remember" it. When we get down to preverbal experience we can finally "remember" it all.  Now we know why Cialis is such a big seller.  Until we remember we have no control of the memory. We only see its later effects, and because it is still a mystery, we find a doctor who will help us suppress those effects until we no longer experience even the results of the memory.  Enter the erection booster, a doctor who has the secret answer to our sex problem. And since nothing but the real memory is liberating these "experts" can devise all sorts of treatments suppressing the symptom, and any of them might be "effective" for a short time.  It has to be short time because the driving source/force is still alive in the subterranean caves of the unconscious.  Can't concentrate?  Might be imprint of chaos lying deep in the brain.  These memories are so powerful because they are often catastrophic in content, and also life-threatening. Lack of nutritional when we are ten is not nearly as life-threatening as lack of it at six months in the womb.  This includes a mother's chronic depression who has a "down" effect on the fetus. Most of it, including biologic processes are "down regulated". There is poor appetite later on, lack of energy, and so on.  He is no longer a self-started; he needs to be encouraged or led as he cannot get himself to anything spontaneously.  Suffocating from the mother's constant smoking or taking "downers" he learns a passive style of life from the very start. He will need the same uppers his mother needed in order to get going. All because he cannot remember.  And worse, he cannot try to remember as it will produce the opposite effect.  He will use the top of the brain to try to get to what is deep down.  It is like trying to sleep when there is constant noise from outside.  It keeps the neo-cortex active when it should lie quiet.  The same brain at different stages of maturity.  When there are many deleterious imprints,  the top level is constantly activated and cannot relax or shut down.  And if we have to get up out of bed, and shout out of the window at the bikers making a racket, all is lost, and that includes sleep.  Suppose now we never knew about the bikers: it is the brain making all the noise that keeps us from sleeping. We are complete victims.  Of whom?  Ourselves.

I emphasize the early months here seeming to neglect the later years. Those later years are critical in shaping our lives out of the crucible of the gene/epigene foundation. But the early months are also heaviest in methylation, indicating to me that this is where the central damage gets done; where the imprints that sculpt our later lives are laid down.  It is where the needs that make us human are predominant. Neglect here has terrible consequences.

Which selves? The methylated ones, of course.  Why are they methylated?  Because they are signs of our wounds from very early on; the stripes/traces foretell of  disasters yet to be experienced. Those they foretell, as well, of the wounds/imprints we cannot remember in any cerebral way; the ones doing so much damage.  So you think we can do Gestalt exercises and feel free?  Think again; in order to feel free we must free ourselves from an overload of methylation, and in no other way.  We need to experience what has never been fully experienced before.  How come?  Because the pain content was so great that it provoked the gates into action so that we would not experience it.  Back then, we travelled a few millimeters into our private pharmacy and grabbed up as much serotonin as we could to stop the suffering. The problem now is we need to find a way to plunge into the suffering and finally be free of it forever.  Too often we do the opposite. We take serotonin again to bolster the gates against memory (Zoloft, etc.). We deliberately make ourselves unconscious.  And this is the way we try to get well?!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Can We Learn to Love?

Is that possible?  To learn to love?   Is it ever possible? Nope.   Just a wee bit?  Nope.   How about liking someone more?   Yep.  Then learning to love should be possible?  Nope.  What can we learn as adults?  How to build a computer, fix a propeller, mow the lawn, blah blah.  But love?  Here we are confusing two parts of us that are often antithetical.  Learning is top level; cerebral, a brain devoid of feeling.   Don’t forget; it cannot feel and is not supposed to.  It can interpret feelings, explain them and write about them ad nauseum.  But when feelings surge forth,  the top level recedes.  Love is deeper in the brain, does not need language or learning.   In fact, it is impervious to learning.    The more lessons we have on how to love, the less loving we become.  Saying “I love you,” all day long is not a substitute for hugging and kissing and showing joy at seeing each other.

The military learns to take orders, and  obey without thinking.  Feeling would screw it all up and we wouldn’t be able to kill any more.  And why is obeying so important?  Because it blocks feeling.  You would not hear a woman who is hugged and kissed often complain, “You never say you love me.”  It was just said in the language of love.  It exudes out of every pore. But what you can actually learn is motivation, a willingness to work and study.  That comes within a loving environment.  The teachers that I had who patted me or put their arms around me are the ones I learned from.  So I perfected Spanish and typing; and after about 12 years of four universities I learned very little else.  I learned a lot from those who called my name and asked me how I felt and how I was doing. So, Mr Reagan, it is not the three R’s, readin, writin and rithmatic.  It is kindness, generosity and interest from those who teach; who show approval and encouragement.   Who love teaching and the students who learn.  School is not the military and “military intelligence” is a contradiction in terms. ….,an oxymoron.

What was so important that I learned about child rearing was from my dog.  She taught me about loving and how important it was. I gave her every freedom yet she always stayed by my side.  That is why I always took my dog to therapy sessions.  She heard cries and licked my patients who then cried and screamed—they never cared and never showed empathy like my dog.   When we are loved the right feeling brain grows and develops and we learn nuance and music and art and kindness and empathy and love; that is a lot of learning.   And that is the springboard for real learning.  That is why most of my Ph.D’s cannot learn to do the therapy, even though they know every theoretical answer.  They cannot sense what the patient is feeling; cannot  know when they make a right or wrong move in a session.   Cannot know when to stop pushing a patient (in order to feel that they got the patient to a feeling, even though they overloaded her.).

How do we learn to love?   How do we learn to be a good therapist?  We don’t.  My kids, when they were young, did my therapy and they were right on most of the time.   If they got a doctor’s degree I am afraid that all feelings would have been squeezed out of them. Primal Therapy is an art within a science.  We need to understand nuance coupled with scientific understanding.  Not one or the other, but both at once, conjoined into one outlook; one therapeutic perspective.
So we know what is going on inside patient, both in her feeling brain and in her intellectual one.   But alas, we have very smart therapists talking endlessly to patients while crushing their feelings and taking them out of any chance to get well.   Because, they cannot get well in their head alone , but everywhere in their system.   But intellectual therapists are satisfied to get patients well in their thinking, intellectual brain.   The feeling part, the sexual one, the artistic one is neglected and overlooked.   And what do we get?  a smart dummy, who knows history and literature but not their own history and not what they could write if they were in touch with their personal literature.

I would like to redesign a doctoral program that includes empathy, touch, hugs and kindness.  I would remove all statistics and graphs and concentrate on the doctor herself; help her understand her life, her beginnings and how it shaped and sculpted her.  I would offer her Primal Therapy so she could learn everything she needs to know about treating another person.   And guess what? No charge.  I do not think medicine and therapy should be paid for.  We do that with our taxes.  It is not a profit making venture.   I tried for years to offer my therapy to several governments. I took my son to see the English Minister of health and offered him my therapy.  He smoked a pipe, took a deep breath and said, “Let me see if I got this right.  You have a psychotherapy that cures, are willing to have it examined by our specialists and there will be no costs?   Whereupon my 12 year old son said, “Dad let’s get the hell out of here before it is too late.”  And we did.    

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Let's Look Again at Evolution and Psychotherapy

Our lower brain and brainstem were designed originally for immediate, rapid reaction.  It is survival and supreme defense.  As the brain developed and added on higher levels of function, all the way to the top neo-cortex, we got help in sussing out danger and responding to it. Our mechanisms became more elaborate and arcane.  On the way, what happened down deep in the brain became more indecipherable so we no longer knew what was bothering us.  Thus, deep imprinted terror on the level of the brainstem sent its message up high and suddenly it became transformed into anxiety. Then we began treating anxiety as some mysterious affliction, never understanding what it is and where it came from.  We did not know because we had never taken patients down to the brainstem level, and therefore had no idea what lies down there.  So we guessed and developed fancy theories about it, which had to be wrong because it remained a mystery.  But there were and are clues. So let’s see, what is one clue?

First line dangers which awaken primitive terror mean that menace is close, danger is approaching and we must react.  The closer that danger the more our primitive terror reactions. But, but… our brain evolved we became alienated from the real danger, our deep imprints, and sent the message on high to the neocortex.  And what does the cortex do?  It gets all wound  up ready for action.  But what kind of action?  No one knows.  But it remains on the qui vive; the cortex churns away in a constant frenzy.  And how do we treat it? We give medication that works where?  On those lower levels where terror is organized; and what does that do? It stops the frenzy.  And we just thought it was a cerebral frantic state that we had to deal with.  We offer, " Don’t pay attention.  Put your mind elsewhere.  Try Mediation, etc. etc", ad nauseam.  What do we do?  We follow orders.  We “learn” how to relax, as if that were possible when the lower brain is in a flurry of activity.  We do anything to deny and divert attention from the real problem….traumatic memory that required frenzy and being battle-ready.  The system helps out because our biochemistry works on the gating system and tries to keep it closed so that we never find out what the source is.  And the devilish part is that now we must wend our way down to that source through the various levels of the brain, slowly, methodically so as not to overwhelm things.  There is no way to get down there immediately. Those who did so, using LSD paid the price too often of psychosis, as the brainstem threw up its hidden cave of primal demons and overwhelmed the neo-cortex, preventing it from functioning properly.  It manufactures bizarre ideas, delusions, to cope with the upsurge of imprints.  We treated the delusions, some therapists, tried to meet those delusions and tried to change the patient’s ideas by that method.  Always ignoring origins, the key to cure.  And those origins were and are behind so much of sleep problems and nightmares.  We cannot fall asleep cause our brains are ruminating on this or that, and we cannot get off it; we cannot stop the input from below from our primevil beginnings.  And we have nightmares because in our brains the danger is immediate and life threatening, which it is, and we need be alert to protect ourselves.  We need to be aware to watch out for the danger. We become hyper aware in order to block unconscious imprints.  Aware to defeat the unconscious. That is why those who become intellectuals have fled to their heads and never feel the danger that activates them.

Can we treat psychosis? Sometimes, but the damage is done and the patient too often needs to remain in a controlled environment.  We don’t have that.  The same is true of marijuana, although I am told the new marijuana is safe. I do not know enough about it to agree or disagree, but the long time pot-smokers  I have seen over the years behave like those who took LSD. Both drugs chip away at the gating system,  weaken it and thus prematurely allow deep imprints to mount and disrupt everything.  And what is the last line of defense against the mounting danger?  Delusions; we call upon the last developing part of the brain to whip into action to manufacture a defense.  Let’s be clear:  as the terror from down deep nudges the higher levels into action the whole system responds to danger; and what is the danger?  Feelings.  You mean feelings, our own feelings are a danger?  Let me explain.  The imprints from the first weeks of gestation are monumental. They are psychosis-producing.  Now as they mount to the thinking, ideational cortex, but back then when they militated into childhood psychosis (a mother taking drugs, smoking and drinking from the start).  The more of these gating-weakening drugs we take the more the deep levels bump into the higher ones.  The danger becomes immediate; hence an “anxiety attack.” We cannot relax in the face of danger, and we should not, as then we will be in terrible danger.  The weaker the gates the closer the danger and the higher the terror/anxiety level.  So we have two choices.  We can strengthen the gates by offering SSRI’s (Prozac), the same brain chemical that was depleted in the original combat during gestation and birth.  In short, boosting the gates again to block feelings and pain.  Or we can do what makes more sense—help open the gates in a safe way so that the primal forces finally have egress, and finally we can heal and relax.

Let me be clear.  There is new research that indicates that the key repressive painkilling chemical mechanism in most SSRI’s is serotonin.  This was recruited to help in the battle early on in the womb and now when we run out we get more from outside; those precious pills.  The research states the defective serotonin interacts with stress during the fetal stages which increases basic long term risk.(see  They reported that a certain receptor for serotonin was examined to see what it did in the formation of brain circuits, and in particular, those cells that regulate excitement.  It helps dampen too much input and neuronal action.  In other words, it helps reduce potential cerebral hyperactivity.  This keeps serotonin on track, helping to find its place in the developing cortex where it can function best.  It seems to have a role in the correct assembly of neuron tracks. When serotonin receptors are impaired the whole gating system is affected.  Trauma certainly damages the serotonin system. Pregnant women who take drugs can damage or modify serotonin neurons.  All to say that very early on we begin to weaken that most crucial gating system.  And there is no going back.  The damage remains and later on we find those with ADD and severe anxiety states.  We never know why.

Wait a  minute!:  Yes we do.

We need to get it right about evolution because visceral reactions, come from the viscera which are organized at the beginnings of our lives, down deep in the brain.  So clearly, we are anxious long before we are aware of it or can give it a name; and when we do we give it the wrong name—anxiety—instead of deeply embedded terror.  Worse, then we try to treat this anxiety without knowing where it comes from or what it really is.  Still worse,  the ideas about it, our name for it, came along millions of years after it started its life.

To reiterate:  The same traumas that severely damage the fetus and his brain are the very same that mount with the use of pot and LSD to again produce severe reactions; most often psychosis and delusions.  They are not different causes just because they are produced at different times; they are the same with disastrous reactions at different stages of our evolution.  They are crazy making.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stress Is Not a Short Term Event

I think we are outfitted with inbuilt mechanisms to handle adverse events—stress.  But let’s be clear what stress is. It is not falling off your bicycle.  Or even breaking your leg.   Stress occurs when the event exceeds our coping mechanisms; when we no longer are able to integrate it and go on with life.  It usually happens in two ways; either the trauma happens so early and so life endangering, as very early traumas can be, overwhelming our defenses; or, it becomes a permanent event that wears down the various systems of the body over time.  It is usually the permanence of stress that is the culprit.

This has some scientific backing:  a new study in Germany (Dr. Georg Juckel) documented how long-lasting stress produced mental illness (see or The measured prolonged stress as it effects the immune system.  They concentrated on certain phagocytes (microglia). They help repair nerve cells; except, except, when they are overtaxed. Then they become  destructive.   That is when stress, having gone on too long, becomes its antagonist.  In other words, our initial repair mechanisms  turn into their opposite when stress goes on too long.  As we know, there is just so much we can take.  So those microglia cells now produce inflammation instead of reducing it.   Our good protective friend becomes our enemy. It says, “You asked too much of me and I can’t do it any more.”

When the triggering even goes on and on the destructive forces remain and do their damage.  They found that it wasn’t the trauma along that was the guilty party but how that trauma was embedded on deeper trauma:   those who were under trauma were many times more likely to develop mental illness later on if there was a history of severe infections during early gestation; especially true during the embryonic period.   We need to investigate the gestalt of entire panoply of illness; not just a single factor.  When trauma is compounded, the mother has a series of ailments or drinks alcohol or smokes from the start of pregnancy,  there can be serious effects later on, not the least of which are severe allergies.    I have reported on a patient with such heavy afflictions. She explained to me that her parents fought all the time during the pregnancy, finally ending in divorce in her seventh month.  My patient felt it all and seemed sure that all of the chronic battles affected her immune system.  She made constant runs to the emergency services in her community.

What is crucial here is that the embryonic state helps shape the newly developing immune system.  When there is severe influenza during this period the baby may well suffer later from all sorts of immune diseases, not the least of which may be the catastrophic diseases much later in life; and who could dream that those illnesses got their start during the embryonic period?    Above all, it is the chronicity of the trauma, the unrelenting terrible input, that does us in.   One sure thing, is the mother’s constant smoking; another is her chronic depression or anxiety.  They exist during the embryonic period and have very long-lasting effects.

I had chronic allergies as a kid, went to doctor after doctor to try to figure it all out.  But they were looking in the wrong place; they should have looked into my brain and the brain of my childhood.  There was the answer. And when I got out of the house all allergies stopped.  Today I have no allergies at all.    I do believe that allergy specialists need to reduce their immune studies and talk to their patients about their early life.  How was gestation?  And birth? Many drugs given?  I believe they will find many more answers there than in the allergy tests they study.

But isn’t all this self evident?  Pipe smokers who pass hot smoke over their lips and jaws often suffer cancer of those areas.  Remember Freud with his jaw cancer?  It is the constant friction, the assault and insult that does it all.   We are built to withstand just so much and then the body gives up.  It did what it could and it was not enough.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Pain Inside Need

Why does need hurt?  Well, it does not until we feel it. Then it hurts a lot, which is why most of us act it out.  We show our needs every day and every minute, which is how we know they’re there.   When we engage our therapist and show him how smart we are, how terribly insightful, we get a nodding approval.  Our act-out works and we don’t have to feel our need, even though that need is liberating when felt.   When the narcissist cannot be the center of attention he starts to hurt until he can gain that center again.  Indeed, all of us hurt when our needs are not fulfilled even though we have no awareness of that need.   And in fact, neurosis is designed to keep us unaware.  So we act out being helpless so we can get someone else to do it for us or to help us.  When there is no help we hurt.

But why the act-out?  Because it is a straight line from the need, except that the gates which diminish feeling access blunt the hurt and keep us unaware.  When we are unaware we do not hurt as much.  Unconsciousness is our savior.   That straight line from need also works in reverse; when we go back to it over time in therapy we start to hurt—hold me, touch me, say I’m good, hear me, talk to me—all of the needs essential for normal survival; to survive as a normal human being become alive again.   We hurt because those needs represent survival; we need to be normal and need to grow normally.  When we can’t the system says something is missing and provides pain to signal it.  Pain keeps the need alive.  Pain is essential to our survival and our normality.

I have treated film directors whose pathology rivals that of actors. When they are not on scene they hurt.  Yes they can even produce feeling scenes but it remains an act-out not a felt feeling.    They don’t really hurt enough to feel their need, but they hurt enough to feel depressed, alone and neglected.  Even when those needs are not articulated.  In other words, needs become shrouded by the gating system whose function is to keep us unaware and unconscious.  All this is particularly true of the earliest imprints where pain is at the maximum.   It is the most powerful, the most driving, and the least accessible.   Because it is least accessible, we usually ascribe our act-outs to arcane reasons or we most often deny them.

We see it in the deep trenches of the psyche; in sex which emanates from deep in the brain.  We go to therapy to solve our “sex” problem and we use the top level that has no access to deep levels where the imprints lie. Because the therapist nor the patient knows about those deep levels that are obliged to roam in a  different terrain from where the problem lies.  So if the patient needs to be spanked to have orgasm, words won’t touch.   I already wrote about a girl whose only touch from her father was when he lifted her skirt and spanked her bare bottom.  That touch fulfilled an unacknowledged need; it felt good and become a sexual need.  Or the need to see a partner’s face when she orgasmed.  My patient never saw his mother smile or seem happy.  Here he could see unalloyed joy.   It fulfilled a basic need for a normal, happy mother.   That is why I state that the act-out is often a straight line from the need.  That need never dies. We have two choices; either we feel it or we act it out into infinity.

So when we believe we are normal and are bereft of any deep need, look at the act-outs.  They are often subtle.  And they are also compulsive; we do it over and over again.  Leaving dirty dishes in the sink? The need, “Don’t make me do all the chores all of the time.”  Forced not to ask for help?  “I want to be good and not be a bother."
This to parents who really don’t want to be bothered.  The child fulfilled their needs in order to be loved, which never happened.   Or the compulsive gambler who cannot stop … he wants “lady luck” to help him and make him rich without him having to struggle for it.

Basic need, then, becomes symbolic need. That is the essence of neurosis.  We act on symbols. The “love” of an audience instead of the need for it from parents: “I will be anything you want me to be if you can love me.”

So here is the dilemma:  we need to feel need to overcome neurosis, and we need to act it out because we cannot feel it.  Solution?  A slow trip to the depths, to the antipodes of the brain where all those needs await us.  Take one more step and you are there; but alas, the last step is filled with primal demons which keeps diverting us.  That is why we need help in therapy; to help us bypass the demons for the moment and to step gingerly into the primal pool of pain.    Aah, the pool is a lot warmer than I expected and not nearly so dangerous.  After all, it is only me who I will find.  How dangerous could that be?

Monday, November 17, 2014

How Do You Know If You're Neurotic?

One way is to see if your brain gates are in good working order.  Is your unconscious too close to top level neocortex? Are the gates too strong and unyielding so no feeling gets through?    Is repression too strong or not strong enough?  And what does that mean?  Part of what it means is that, is the brainstem imprints impinging on the top level neocortex?  Or is the ideational brain so powerful as to gate and suppress most feelings?

For example, someone who is severely claustrophobic means that deep terror imprints are trespassing onto the neo-cortex. The result is the exact terror/anxiety that is imprinted down deep in the brain is close to full experience again.  So how is it usually treated?  With pills that help the gates along; i.e., SSRI’s, the same chemicals that were used up when the early trauma occurred in an attempt to push it all back down.  So all that is happening is that we are trying to load up on the same chemicals emptied out in the first battle against trauma.  In short, gates can only hold so much pain; then they give way and we receive the full brunt of the terror/pain below.  So instead of letting the pain up bit by bit, we suppress it and that keeps us from experiencing it. That means no chance of getting well.   And why is that? Because we really don’t know what is down there, how it happened, how strong it is and what happens if it is unleashed.   With the claustrophobic, his brainstem memories are close to the surface.  Wonderful!   Oh wait a minute.  Very few shrinks know that and therefore, would not take a chance on meeting the wild beast.  Freud warned against 100 years ago.   His legacy is to help us be terrified of terror.  What chance has the poor patient? So much of psychotherapy today is bottling it all up.  Or when they try to release it, they have the patient do nutty stuff like screaming, pounding, running around, etc.  Mostly because they do not know what is really down deep.  Release in their therapies means expressing feelings randomly. That is not feeling; it is catharsis, and that gets no one well.

Yes catharsis feels good for the moment, but it has to be repeated ad nauseum because it is not resolving.   Resolution means returning to the scene of the crime, recognizing that there was a crime…….against our humanity….and plunging down deep to feel it over time.
So what is another clue to neurosis?  Aah, I forgot, we usually don’t know it because it is all repressed and place out of sight.   So if I told you that you were neurotic, filled with unconscious pain that has deviated the system, you would not accept it.  Your behavior since birth seems normal; and it was and is adaptive to the harm we received.

If I said that you were compulsively sexual you might answer, “So what, it feels good.”    But the drive inside can wear down your system prematurely because there is a new need, tons of sex to release what?  Pain.  Or take having to keep busy, going and going all of the time.  You are very productive. So what is wrong with that?  Anything that is far out of the normal often means an unconscious drive.  The system is under constant pressure, in the same way that one cannot stop working all of the time.  We think it is only a choice; but a choice we are forced to make.  Like drinking. “I love a cocktail or two,” one might say, but he drifts into several a night, then alcoholism.  To kill a pain one almost never feels. “Alcohol calms me,” it is claimed, with no understanding about why you need calming, and from what?

We talk about addiction like it is only a bad habit and bad for your health. Never that is has deep roots that must be eradicated.  So we find ways to control it, manage it and divert it. Those therapists who cannot go deep into their own pain are certainly not about to embrace a therapy that dips down deep in the brain.  But imagine, if they could experience what is inside of them how it would change their approach to therapy.  They would know what is inside the patient because it is also inside of them.  It is no longer alien, or a stranger.  If the therapist doesn't have an access to a feeling experience,  he is forced to take control, push down, and manage the pain.  He will be forced to treat his patient as he treats himself…..with unfeeling ploys.

No one suffers chronic nightmares without up-surging pain that forces entry into the thinking cortex. It makes the cortex work overtime in an effort to control imprinted pain.  It produces encasing rumination in ways that cannot be controlled or stopped.  Yes there may be other reasons; but I have treated many, many cases of nightmares and I nearly always find the terror inside them.  We have found a way to get inside of them and have them experienced slowly over time.  It is not an aberration; it is adaptation, a way to manage the imprint of terror, the very same terror found in the nightmare.  It is a base, an origin and an imprint.  It is not a mystery.  Take away the imprint and the nightmare goes away too.  Otherwise, we are constantly dealing with a memory and a feeling that will not go away.

The average claustrophobic sees it as a bother so they avoid closed rooms, tightly shut doors, etc. Unhappily, some therapists see it in the same way and teach them how to avoid the very thing that could free them…terror.  Once felt, it is gone not to intrude again into life and their nightmares.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Saga of my Life

I will recount another one of my Primals which occurred last night. You mean you are still Primaling?  At ninety? A bit unseemly?   Ah no.   Primals, i.e., feelings are a way of life, not just a therapy. Do you stop feeling? No.  So you don’t stop Primals.   They occur far less as the years go on but we should welcome them because they are liberating and insightful.  They help us lead the examined life;  not just examined, but experienced with all of our being. Oh pardon, but that is exactly what is wrong with behavior therapy.  It is a life examined but never experienced.  It is wonderful for a purely cerebral life but not for a feeling one.   So intellectuals are drawn to an intellectual therapy where they can purify their neuroses.

So many people lead the unexamined life, going on and on without changing or knowing they are acting out or even why.  They never ask themselves what is it all for?  Am I leading the life I want?  If not, what is the life I want to lead?  What does it all mean, anyway?  At least having a bit of reflection; of questioning.  Why?  So we don’t turn into robots. So we don’t treat people inhumanely; so we can lead a consciously/aware life.

My primal last night was about being sent away when my mother went psychotic.  She was sent to an asylum and my dad went to live with her.  They split up my sister and I, and without a word sent us to strange houses to be cared for, for several years.  My first “love” was from a dog; my first bonding was with him.  And today most of my money goes to animal shelters.   Whenever an animal is sent even into the wild I have feelings.  I wrote about this recently when a family raised a rhino in their home.  He was part of the family but when got too big he had to be sent to a shelter.  Where he soon died of a broken heart.   He was sent away from his family and it was too much.  I know exactly how he felt and I hurt for him, knowing his suffering.   Why does it matter to understand that animals feel deeply?  It matters because we will begin to treat them differently and not as unfeeling robots.  Oh yes, it is to avoid parents treating children as unfeeling beings, as well.

So why can’t I get over it?  Because there Is no biologic way to leave our past behind until we feel it; otherwise the traces of trauma are deeply embedded in our systems.  They just don’t walk away when they have had enough;  they linger and compound, deepening the imprint. The earlier it all happens the more embedded and obdurate it is.    That is why I cannot “get over it.”   It has got me in its physiologic grasp.  How early?  My mother had me and then  facing the prospect of taking care of a child, she just collapsed into psychosis.  I was given to a grandmother who had no idea how to take care of children; whereupon when I was five or six she gassed herself because she had a lesbian affair with a niece.  The point being that there was no parent after that. Since my mother was then interned in a hospital.  It began so early that the imprint was compounded.  I have taken off layers and layers of it but the residue remains.  And it drives me even today, not in a bad way but it is a motivating factor.

So when someone tells you, “Just get over it,” explain that it is a matter of the brain cells changing first.   And they and we cannot change without going back directly to the trauma and reliving how and where it happened.  The chain of pain will do it for us; it is not  a deliberate thought out affair; resonance will lead us back there unerringly.  It is one reason that the trace is there.  It is  a reminder of unfinished business.  No therapist has to tell us all that.  Our biology is the best reminder.   It says, “Go here but not too deep.”  “Feel a little bit now and more later.  Go Slow.” All we have to do is listen … to ourselves.  We are the world’s best therapist.  No one is smarter than that. We are the repository of all the knowledge we will need to make it through life.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Compulsion: Another Brilliant Piece from the N.Y. Times

There is a piece in the NY Times of Oct 14, 2014 (see
about the devilish OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) where people are so driven that they cannot stop washing their hands or stepping over cracks.  It gets much worse than that.  Not touching any object if anyone else has touched it.    Not turning doorknobs or any handles once they have been touched.  And the sufferer cannot stop and never knows what to do about it.  Nor does the therapist who goes on year after year treating the symptoms and never asking herself if there are causes?  It is like treat cancer year after year and never seeking out causes. 

Come to think about it, it is pretty close to any compulsion, smoking, drinking, painkillers, etc.  They are compelled to do it and can’t stop.  An excessive fear of germs, is another example. So let me see: if you have to smoke you are not obsessive, but if you have to step over cracks, you are.  What if they are the same?  What if they are both ways of dealing with pain and fear?  Would the treatment differ?  Not according to the NY Times……proper medication seems to be the answer and then a bit of Behavioral Therapy.  The article states that people do know they are obsessive but cannot stop themselves.  What does that mean?  I know.  They ask, “Do you have thoughts that make you anxious?” 
They claim that painkillers and tranquilizers work but most sufferers do not receive evidence- based medication.  And then they need Behavioral Therapy.  They claim that their psychotherapy can work even when done over the telephone. 

And “The techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy has proved most effective”.  The patient, they claim cannot change his behavior based on new information.  Isn’t that the problem with nearly every neurosis?  Sex addicts cannot change, nor can gamblers, nor can angry, violent people.  Do they need to learn new behaviors?  Yes, but only if we neglect causes; only if we mess around the edges and try to change the result of an imprint.    What imprint?  Why the one that is discussed in most scientific inquiries today.  The one indicating that there are enduring imprints that dog us for a  lifetime and change our symptoms and our behaviors, to say nothing of our personalities.  

This newspaper article only deals with management of symptoms, and does not attack causes; so of course the therapy is necessarily limited.  And can someone tell me what “evidenced-based therapy” is?  The method is usually based on exposure therapy.  Where you expose someone to a germ, putting a finger along a dirty wood plank,  and help her not feel so anxious.  “You see, there is nothing to be afraid of.”  Oh, yes, I see, and yes there is---an experience when I born that was horrendous.  It was imprinted.  How about not stepping on cracks: does Behavioral therapy help?  Well I don’t step on cracks anymore but I smoke more cigarettes per day. 

    It is not thoughts that create anxiety;  it is the contrary, anxiety provokes thoughts.  

So if they have it backwards can it work?  
Can exposing someone to anxiety situations help them lose their fixation?  Or if I talk to you and help you identify “unhealthy” thoughts can you get over them?  Are the causes thoughts?  Or are they way, way back in time to where anxiety is the primordial response to life endangering events?  And that anxiety is not and never was an aberration but, rather, a normal response to danger.  The person responded to this threat with deep brain processes.  Namely terror, now called anxiety.  It is called anxiety because the connection between the early event and its effects have disappeared.  So we cannot see what causes primordial terror; therefore we name it anxiety.  We name it for its concomitants; its basic reactions, shakiness, bubbling in the stomach, not its causes. 

We are treating the wrong thing with the wrong brain, and we expect help?  Yes we get help with the reactions where we either change them or detour them or deny them through  “healthy” thoughts.  
So the cure for them is to change how you see things.  And basically, don’t look.

I have to repeat. There is a world of science out there that therapists ignore; and who suffers?  Patients. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Deprived Children, Adult Believers

To be fully loved during childhood gives a person enduring peace. I mean this literally since very early love brings our internal supplies of the gating neurotransmitters up to normal.  A loved child will have no need to believe in ideologies full of hope and magic.  Someone at peace with herself has no reason to go to faith healers or to be "born again"; she does not need to retreat with a group of people to an ashram or a cabin in the woods to meditate, chant, deep breathe in order to find peace.

          Children need to be touched, caressed and soothed.  They need to be heard, protected and made to feel safe.  They need parents who will allow them to express their feelings and who will help them with those feelings.  When these needs go unmet, the foundation of a personality that will grasp at belief later in life is being built. One key biochemical reason is that love enhances the secretion of oxytocin and serotonin. Both are the juices that suppress pain and keep us comfortable.  Lack of love means a lack of those precious biochemicals; hence lack of defense against pain.  Beliefs follow.

          The needy person may well become devoted to a deity who promises to understand everything, to nurture, to protect, and to supply all the unfulfilled needs of a lifetime.  This was the lure of EST some years ago (discussed earlier; a template for all later weekend emotional workshops). The leaders, who with the charismatic Werner Erhard, said they cared, while at the same time castigating and swearing at the members massed in a weekend retreat in some hotel room. They were called losers and useless, but if they tried hard they wouldn’t have to be, and the leader and his adepts would see to it that they got over those feelings that they actually instilled.  Of course, they instilled ideas that matched how the people really felt; and the believers desperately wanted to feel differently. They gave Erhard a fortune, to not end hunger in the world, but to end the idea of hunger in the world. Meanwhile the money went to some Caribbean island in a secret bank account.  And still they believed.

        One of our patients, formerly into belief systems, said that he used to fly into a rage when his wife didn't understand him.  He felt like it was life and death that she understands him.  He had an urgent need — for a mother, a wife, a god who would fully understand, hold and soothe him. He relived the trauma — a deep-seated need to have his needs understood, beginning at birth, a wrenching abandonment when he was too young to comprehend what was happening.  He could feel it, despite no understanding on a cortical level.  A need to be understood back then really was a matter of life and death.  His professional field was communication.

        One way that defensive belief systems come into being, even fairly early in a child's life, is when that child is taught not to express feelings, not to speak thoughts that are unacceptable, not to express resentment, jealousy, or other negative thoughts, not to speak badly of others, and never to say what is in her heart.  Once installed, the censoring process continues automatically.  The child comes later on to substitute ideas for what he or she really feels.  Having unreal ideas as an adult is just a logical extension of what happened in early childhood.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Alzeiheimer of the Heart

You know when in our young life terrible things happen, the pain is repressed and stored in the body.  Eventually, the body gives way and shows its damage; either in heart disease or (inter alia) Alzheimer's disease.  It is logical that the pain and its results end up somewhere.  And when it ends up in Alzheimer's it's not a surprise.  And what is that disease?  It is something the victim carries around and is unaware of.  He is as unconscious of his disease as he is of his pain.  And there must a connection between the unconsciousness that binds the two kinds of lack of awareness together.  Repression is the glue that makes the two adhere to each other. Of course you slip into unconsciousness because you are already unconscious.  The brain now just helps out a bit. It accommodates the whole process.

So what is it? Alzheimer's of the heart; a disease of the soul, which is already in place since childhood.  The person becomes ill without understanding that he is ill, and never can or will comprehend his dilemma.  Isn’t that true of all neuroses?  It is sometimes just happenstance that it becomes a mental disease and not that of the heart.  Those whose repression was mainly of feelings, who replaced those feelings with thoughts and ideas have the result of sweeping it all into the neocortex where Alzheimer's resides; using too much brain power in repression.  So thoughts and concepts take the place of feelings, but the force of those feelings is still there to drive ideas.  And that force eventuates in disease.  What is terribly tragic in all this is the unconscious factor; to drop into a disease without knowing it and losing all contact with humanity; first, your own, and then, with others.  Alzheimer's is a simple continuum of losing awareness, losing contact and eventually losing your life.  You die without once knowing what is happening to you; that is just terrible.

It also depends on many factors but it is often the place of vulnerability of organs and organ systems;  kidneys, liver, stomach, etc.  Repression means holding down pain, a counter pressure against the rising force of feeling.  Of course the body suffers.  Repression is not a benign force. It uses key chemicals in its service such as oxytocin and serotonin.  To say nothing of adrenaline and cortisol.  All those chemical changes wreak havoc with the physical system.  We already have evidence of this is a beginning study of Alzheimer's and very early pain. It is a study we shall begin anew soon.  But, in general,  those who lose touch with their feelings can treat others in horrendous ways because they cannot feel the effects of what they are doing.  So a well-known Republican can leave his wife who just came down with cancer, without a scintilla of remorse or regret.  His wants and needs take precedence over all else.  What matters is what he wants and only that.  Or a husband leaves his wife and refuses to pay alimony.  She has three kids, no skills, no money and is totally lost.  He has no remorse that he leaves his children to starve;  Why?  Repressed and alienated from feelings.  He is basically a robot, like an Alzheimer's patient.  There is no more top level connection to feelings that makes him aware of the effects of what he is doing.  Worse, he can never hold or touch his children because he cannot feel for or with them.  The beginning of many of the ills of society.  And why has conventional psychotherapy not changed in one hundred years, except cosmetically?  Yep.  No touch with their feelings, themselves and in their therapy.  They do not see the effects or results of their therapy because these results are couched in terms of ideas, healthy notions which they think signals change.  It doesn’t.

Friday, October 10, 2014

More on the Levels of Consciousness

 Years ago, when observing Primals, I noticed that there was, first of all, a resonance where one level triggered off similar feelings on lower levels.  This was not random; it was as if the system were reaching back in its memory bank to find help and/or a more efficient defense to combat current trauma. It was reaching into its memory to find the best solution. To combat and adapt.  It reaches to see what we did before when the going got tough.

 So first, it drops to childhood to find answers and ultimately it reaches down to the brainstem to see how we handled danger and threat,  originally.  Back years I noted that a woman whose car ran off the road,  totally froze and could not take the wheel to save her life.  It was the parasympathetic nervous system that dominated.    The other example I used was the man whose business was failing and decided to use up all his money pursuing a useless lawsuit; he was constantly aggressive and fighting all the time.  He was driven by his brainstem survival mode of struggle.  He could not stop because “stop” meant death.  There are variations to all of this, but the point is that we revert to lower brain levels in the face of danger.

 Why is this so important?  New research that tells us that, (“Cancer evolved to protect us.”  Scientific American, Oct. 2, 2014. Z. Meraldi, see  What?  We get cancer as a means of protection and adaptation for survival?  It could be.

 They want to go back to evolution to explain the appearance of cancer.  And guess what?  They recommend treatment with oxygen, inter alia.  They never said or knew that perhaps oxygen deprivation during gestation could be one cause of afflictions.  They simply tried to rethink cancer from the “bottom up.”  (Paul Davies, Arizona State, C. Lineweaver, National University of Canberra and Mark Vincent, London Health Sciences).

 And we think first, from the bottom up and then the top down.  For example, we take a certain belief and trace it down through the patient’s feelings. We know how the feeling builds into belief systems later on and how to treat it, if it indeed needs treating.  Resonance works in both directions at all times.  Without this concept I don’t know how anyone could treat a patient.

 Let’s get back to cancer; even though I think the concept applies to many catastrophic diseases, meaning that they have their origin when threats were life-endangering and catastrophic.  And catastrophic input usually means catastrophic output, or symptoms.  That is why Alzheimers Disease has, in my opinion,  such early beginnings.  And why the worst diseases are so opaque; they have very, very early origins.  And we cannot imagine that womb-life predominates.  Experience before we have words to explain to doctors seems so distant and non-verifiable.

 Oops, I said I was getting back to cancer, so I’d better.  Here is what the article says: “The effects of oxygen levels on cancer have been independently investigated for many years and appear to support Davies’  ideas.”  They noted that slightly elevate oxygen levels can begin to induce leukemia cell death without harming normal cells.  When they supplied a little extra oxygen it helped in cancer therapy with human patients.

 They also recommend immunotherapy to bolster the immune system to fight off newly developing cancer cells (research we did in England).  Theirs is what they call, the “atavistic model”.  When cancer starts to appear key cells revert to their primitive origins; and here is what is crucial:  when this happens, more recently evolved gene cells lose their function. Top levels, in short abdicated their function and ceded to primitive coping mechanisms.  That is my leitmotif, as well. Which is why the lady who went off the road froze and could no longer help to save her life.  Only in in my therapy we permit the regression and understand it as healthy, not an aberration.    And they are not driving a car while going back in time; and they really do go back until eventually they lose all capacity to articulate language.  We understand the bottom-to-top  top-to bottom relationships.  We need oxygen during the trauma and we add it now to treat it, even though the cause is unknown to so many.  It is called evolution.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rationalizing your Biology

I have said it many times; most of our lives is a rationale for our biology.  Years ago I thought that meant genetic tendencies.  Now I know better.  Most of our lives is a giant rationale for our epigenetics.  And that is set early on. Why not genetics?  Because early experience messes with the gene and alters its genetic destination.  And in my experience, which is now 60 years of therapy, it is epigenetics that really counts, building on the crucible of the genes.

The genes do respond but they are usurped by experience and their evolution is diverted.  It is the detour that remains and controls.  It looks like genetics and in some sense it is; on the other hand, it is not.  And what kills so many of us is EPIGENETICS.  You fate is sealed in the womb and at birth.  That seems exaggerated, hyperbole, but I think it is true, which is why we have to reorient everyone to much better gestation and birth practices.

For example, there is more and more evidence that some cancers and Alzheimers derive from womb-life and infancy.  And if those early experiences are so strong, they most certainly drive behavior; hence, neurosis.  So what are these experiences?  I have written long and hard about them, but let’s take one two.  Being stuck in the womb:  first, a  mother drinks and takes drugs and/or is excessively hyper.  The fetus cannot escape this. He is stuck, undefended and unable to run away and escape.  You may think this is rare but a speedy carrying mother is not rare. There are studies that show that speedy mom translates to speedy child.  Just as a depressed mom leads to a “downer” child.  These experiences eventually take precedence over pure genetics and  determine our lives.    Now, we compound this with a birth where the baby is drugged or blocked cannot get out and into life on this planet. He is stuck and blocked again: compounded.  So what does he do later on in stalled traffic or long lines for a theater.  He has to move, to steal a place or find a way around.  He is driven by experience, very early experience that is ineluctable.  And later, he gets married and his wife won’t do he wants immediately.  He goes into a rage.  He “cannot through” to her.  She is blocking his way.    You get it,  “epigenetics. “

These are not genetic tendencies but they do play on the genes already in place.

Another example:  A mother takes tranquilizers because her doctor says it cannot hurt her baby.  So he learns a depressive/suppressive lifestyle.  And when he tries to get born the mother is heavily anesthetized because she wants no pain at all.  But, alas, the baby is also anesthetized.  His being constantly drugged during gestation with the mother’s tranquilizers already sets up a biologic tendency.  Then he cannot help himself to get born because he is so drugged.  The whole biologic balance shifts so that he is moved to dominance of the parasympathetic nervous system.    He is a “drag” in every way.  He is not a self-starter because he could not be.  He gives up easily because he had to in order to save his life.  Too much exertion when there was so little available oxygen made things dangerous.  His blood circulation was compromised.  The blood vessels severely contracted to conserve oxygen and now we have the beginning of a life-long migraine.  Or high blood pressure, as everything had to be internalize and repressed.  And so he doesn’t like exercise, doesn’t like to go and do. Has little energy so that every little task is overwhelming.

Now this does like genetics but only if we discount experience.  And if you leave out epigenetics you have no other choice but to choose genetics.  Guess what happens in psychotherapy; yep, no focus on epigenetics because no awareness of the role of very early life experience.  So what happened when you were six? Is about as far as they go, and they leave out, what?  Epigenetics.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Silent Scream

I was looking around at some people I know and at least 1/3rd of them had the malady of needing to move constantly;  organizing trips, making reasons to go here and there, and, in general keeping on the move. Does all that constant going and coming lead to strokes and heart attacks?  I do think so. Why?  Because below all that movement is a giant silent scream.  So, if they scream it out will they stop moving? Nope.    We have so many assumptions here, so let’s take it slowly.

I have seen thousands of patients relive all kinds of traumas: one key one that is widespread is being trapped in the womb, suffocating and unable to get out.  Trapped. Suffocating, Unable to move; those are the key feelings involved.  They could scream then and they cannot scream now but once they as adults are in the feeling they can first grunt and try to move and feel then, later, At birth…..    scream.  It is not the screaming that is liberating.  It is the reliving.  And then the scream to express the agony of all that.  Reliving changes the imprint, reduces it, and begins the resolution process - demethylation which I have written about extensively.  Screaming alone is not what we are after; it is the total agony of the reliving, and then the reaction—screaming.  Reactions alone cannot do it.  And that is what is wrong with all those early Scream Clubs in universities that began with the publication of the Primal Scream.  Yes, screaming relieves the pressure involved in the reaction but does nothing to the imprint.

So now we see the tremendous pressure in the build up after the traumatic event early on; not only the birth trauma but many other traumas where the mother is taking drugs or smoking and drinking and the fetus/baby cannot escape.  He can turn his head away as if to escape but, alas, he is trapped.  And that feeling impressed into a vulnerable body remains there as a engraved memory and will drive her behavior thereafter.  “I have to move.  I have to get out of here.”  That is the leitmotif of his or her life.  And it never ever leaves!  The person is literally trapped in the memory, a trap that has chemicals stronger than steel to bind them forever.  One of those chemicals is methyl.  Another is serotonin, and there are many others. But is is a chemical conspiracy to make sure we never ever feel free or liberated.  Now do they feel bound?  Of course not. They are too busy trying to get unbound, yet never knowing the feeling and where it comes from.  Can you imagine someone saying to himself, “Wow.  I am bound by a feeling in the womb!”  In that womb there are obviously no words or concepts or scenes. Only a physical feeling.  So how can there be a memory?  There is no memory as wee think of remembering, but the body remembers exactly.  It remembers trapped and suffocating because in the Primal that is what comes up and what we see.  And in everyday life we lug those feelings around as a weight as if carrying a ten pound steel bar around constantly.  We are carrying around those devilish chemicals that trap us, however.  And what changes those chemicals?  Primals.

Can you guess?  Less methylation, decreased serotonin (which we have measured) and on and on.  We change the chemical composition and diminish the memory so that we can really change our behavior and our proclivity toward disease.  So screaming won’t do it. What will?  How about dampening drugs, SSRI’s?  They shush the scream but never never change the memory, the imprint.  And how about slowing us down so we don’t move so much?  That just helps the build-up of pressure.  It exacerbates the problem and aggravates the need to move.  What helps? Nada!

So when we see the constant motion we understand, but we never see the agony. Why no agony?  Because it is busy being acted-out to relieve the agony before it is fully felt.  So we cannot possibly see it and the person in motion cannot feel it; that is the idea, that it disappear before it is evident.  Now we know why psychotherapy is at such a loss.  And now we know what could be behind high blood pressure and migraines. I had one patient who was sexually never satisfied.  When she could not have sex her blood pressure rose to dangerous heights.  Drugs could not help her. What could?  Feeling the need to discharge pressure,, a Primal; that helped.  That cured.    Why cure? Because it dealt with the origin of it all.  The original methylation and imprint.  What caused all that need for sex; to say nothing of her first-line imprint which was so strong.  An imprint on the physical level that had no words, nor screams.  A constant smoking mother who was literally killing her baby.  Or a chronically anxious mother who could not shut off her anxiety.  The brainstem, almost fully developed at the time absorbed all that trauma and is therefore heavily methylated. We never will see that until we bring patients down to that level; yet that could take months and then we need to know what to look for.  That is why it took me decades to figure it out.  It is not evident.

So why aren’t they all walking down the street screaming?  It is not done and not polite, but what they can do is scream out the agony of the migraine or heart constriction (angina).  And we rush in to treat the heart condition or migraine or high blood pressure.  That is where it is obvious but that is NOT where the problem lies.  It lies hidden in the lungs and surroundings.  In the arching back and the constant movement.  We see what we see, the obvious, and miss what we cannot see.  That makes sense.  Maybe we should be searching for what cannot see: a lens that magnifies primal pain.  dHey,I have it and I am giving it away.  Oh you mean no one wants it. Why? They are too busy treating what they see.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

On the Science of Psychotherapy

Sometimes I realize I am getting science heavy but what is happening today is so exciting, especially since it supports what I have been writing about for almost 50 years.  (See the following:  T.J. Rebello, et al., “Postnatal day 2  to 11 constitutes a 5HT sensitive period.”    G. Perna: “Panic and the brainstem: clues from neuroimaging studies.”  2014 1996 Betham Science Publishers (see an abstract at    Justin Feinstein (my colleague) with E.G. Velez and D. Tranel  “Feeling without memory in Alzheimer Disease.” see

I will try to sum up the implications of their research without all the scientific lingo.  Let’s start out with the urgency of early love.  Eric Nestler, (Mt. Sinai Hospital, N.Y.)  writing on epigenetics states the following:
“There are epigenetics effects that last a lifetime.  Rat pups that are rarely licked are more susceptible to later stress.” (see the full article at: And of course rat pups licked and love do much better later in life.  They are more adventurous and curious.  What is important is that we can begin to zoom in on why, and the answer seems to be that damage means heavier methylation.  And what is that great damage?  Early lack of love.  It takes many forms in humans, but poor nutrition, a mother drinking, smoking and taking drugs and later abuse found in neglect and lack of touch (licking).

Methylation seems to be an important marker for lack of early love, both in animals and in humans.  What new research is finding is that so many diseases are methylation dependent, including MS, Diabetes and heart disease.  Again, these are stress related, and the great stressor seems to be a simple lack of love.  And lack of love means ignoring and denying the baby’s basic primal needs.  Not surprising in the rat study was the fact that heavy methylation occurred in the limbic/feeling structures such as the hippocampus which has to do with memory.  It doesn’t take an Einstein to see the possible later relationship with Alzheimer’s disease.    Above all, we need doctors to stop asking “Have you been in any unusual stress recently?”  They need to ask the right questions if they want the right answers.  And that includes research scientists who must delve into the marks of damage to key cells that will provide answers.  Since we cannot ask the fetus about his stress we need to do the next best thing and sniff out biologic damage.

Remember when there is very early stress (womb-life) the genes can be up or down regulated, and here starts the origins of depression and anxiety. It becomes the crucible for later disease.  When we add abuse in infancy in childhood, given away to foster parents, a  mother too sick to care for the child, etc., we can almost be sure that neurotic behavior and disease will follow.  That almost surely will involve ADD, lack of concentration and learning disorders.  The DNA has been chemically modified and it reroutes normal reactions for behavior and disease.  These changes are not neurotic; they are often normal to the noxious intrusion of things like a mother’s smoking or drinking.  The fetus is trying to adapt as best she can.  Neurosis is an adaptive reaction to threat.  It is in that sense, normal.  Behaviorists are trying to change a normal adaptation into something else that is not organic nor adaptive.  They are basically moralists, trying to get patients to adopt healthy behaviors when they are already in normal behaviors depending on their early experience.  Or they concoct exercises for relaxation when the only proper relaxation is to deal directly with the imprint.  Otherwise, they are still behaviorists trying to find ways to change our response to early damage without acknowledging that damage.  My patients do not need special relaxation ploys because when we take the pain out, they are very relaxed and that state endures.

Now the important part:  they are finding where all this begins, and like my mother used to say, “Columbus discovered America”, early damage, the primordial primal imprint involves the brainstem.  Phylogenetically this is an ancient brain system that we share with sharks.  It makes us hyperaware and hyper-reactive. It is the source of basic biological impulses, fight or flight.  And research points to this key structure as where anxiety emanates from.  Something I have seen and written about for many decades.  Somehow,  “objective” research has credibility.  What imprints here do is adversely affect the serotonin system which should help dampen panic but it cannot.  So what do we do years later for panic? We offer serotonin pills in the form of SSRI’s.  And what does that do? Make up for what was affected during brainstem dominance.

What the Perna group did was do a complete literature search of many databases for panic disorders.  Yes the brainstem was involved. The brainstem, which registers very early trauma and sets the tone for how we respond to it later in life.  So  mother’s drug taking and later birth anesthesia sets up a panic reaction to lack of oxygen.  Later in life, closed doors or windows become a threat and can set up a panic attack.  Their summary was as follows: “Panic patients tend to have abnormal brainstem activation to emotional stimuli when compared with healthy controls.”

Here is my question for them but it cannot be answered by research alone?  Where does that come from?  What causes that brainstem reaction?  Or does the brainstem just go off and do its own special thing?  What is the exact relationship between certain experiences and brainstem activation? Those are the answers that will lead to proper therapies.  Above all, why is the brainstem so involved?  Maybe the damage is registered there because it dominates during the first weeks or days of life in the womb.  And the brainstem becomes methylated early on.  And as I say, it is the earliest imprints that are the most damaging; there is where therapy needs to begin.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Letter

Dear Arthur,

A short message to wish you happy birthday and to tell you thank you for your work which has without any doubt pushed the understanding of human behavior forward. Everything is feeling and all you need is love to prevent you from trauma and neurosis later on.

I had the chance to come to the Primal Center from April to June 2013. To me primal therapy was the last chance, the end of the tunnel…my only hope. It changed my life forever and for the best and I wish to finish my therapy in the years to come (I’m 24 now and I’m saving money to come back in a bit)

Since I came to primal therapy I feel I have a much better understanding of where I come from and why I have been acting the way I did for years. I also know that parents do make mistakes and that you don’t owe anything to them. Before I was living with a feeling of guilt to my mother because she has been depressed for years and I couldn’t do anything. Now I understand that she is neurotic and there is not much I can do (except talk to her about your therapy, your books and blog which is easier to understand for outsiders but also about the work of Docteur Leboyer which I think is very complementary to your work).

Since primal therapy I met a girl and was able to have complete « sexual intercourse » which was impossible for me before (I had like a « blocage »). I have been with her for almost a year now and for the first time I am able to make plans about the future with a total stranger.

Of course, there are days when things don’t go so well and I’m still not sure about the professional path I have chosen (I might want to study psychology actually in the coming years). But it is reassuring in my day to day life to know that every feeling has to be felt for what it is which means that to get better all you have to do is stop your activity go to a room or a place where you can be alone and cry and feel.

So to make things short : thank you very much Arthur. You truly saved my life and I’m sure the one of many and I look forward to meeting you when I’ll come back to the Center.

All the best and hello to David !

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Letter

Dr. Janov,

 I have been admiring your work for such short time. But, in this time I have learnt a lot. Things, I wouldn't have learnt anywhere else. Things that brought me to accept & be open to my feelings rather than label them, repress them, and ignoring them.
 It is because of a person like you I have come to be more human, more empathetic, and more understanding.
 Feelings are no longer the enemy.

 My only hope is that your wonderful work & wisdom be spread around the world as so to help other people who suffer.

 Rare are gems like you.

 Happy loving birthday! :)

Here is the Ultimate Logic of Primal Therapy

So why I am banging on about epigenetics?  There must be some other new science somewhere in psychology.  Not to my knowledge.  But look here:  this could be a quote from my book but instead and far better it is a quote from a scientific group that is confirming primal theory with every sentence.  “Children who have been abused or rejected early in life are at risk for developing both emotional and physical health problems.  In the new study, researchers were able to measure the degree  to which genes were turned on or off through a biochemical process called methylation.”  ( “Maltreatment affects the way children’s genes are activated.” Society for Research in Child Development.    Science Daily, 24 July 2014. see

Is that right?  You mean traumas during early childhood determine how our genetic legacy turns out.  Did I say that?  Are they saying it too? Then we agree and we have the clinical experience and research results to confirm it.

The researchers  found that children who had been badly treated had more of the “Marks” or “Traces” of methylation on the genes, meaning trauma, that dictates health and sociability later in life.  This methylation, as I have written many times, is one key biochemical mechanism that cells use to control how genes are expressed or not expressed.
And that means how we evolve, how we behave, how and when we get sick.  How our lives turn out, in short.  I have seen it clinically for over fifty years and now independent sources are supporting what we know clinically, not only do we not grow out of childhood trauma, nor do we forget it and leave it behind, but that traces are embedded for a lifetime in our brain system and physiology.  To get well we must deal with the methylated imprint.  There is no more discussion of this point. We have treated thousands of patients over the decades and observe it constantly.  Nurture does change nature, and seems very important in our evolution.

The difference we have now is that scientists can measure the degree or severity of the imprint.  And we are beginning to account for how much pain drives us and how much does experience account for all this; that is, how much experience changes the biology of our genes.  We know this from many studies, not the least of which is found in recent autopsies of depressives whose feeling brains were heavily methylated.  (M.S. Korgaonkar, et al.  “Early exposure to traumatic stressors impairs emotional brain circuitry. “  Plos One    Sept 13, 2013, see  With trauma they have found a less developed feeling brain, including the  amygdala.  It turns out that a great deal of the feeling brain is affected.  And science is beginning to see the origins of Alzheimers disease associated with increased methylation.

So when kids are having trouble in school or have constant anxiety or attention problems we need to look deep in the brain and deeper into their early experience.  When there are constant allergies, are they correlated with methylation and how much?  In other words, we need to stop  intellectualizing and search into our history and early history.  What I have been reiterating for decades is that the seeds of later heart disease, breathing function, blood pressure, epilepsy and migraines can have origins even while we live in the womb.  And soon we will be able to measure the lessening of methylation and the undoing of repression.  Imagine that; a means to measure neurosis and its eradication.  Wonderful.  believe it is no longer possible to ignore all this and pretend to do proper psychotherapy.    It means that end of doling out pills to suppress the pain, but on the contrary, to allow its expression and stop hiding it.  It means final liberation: pointing to a number and saying, “ you are this much less neurotic now.  You are this much less likely to be addicted again or have high blood pressure again.  Wow.

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.