Sunday, January 5, 2014

On Psychological Medicine

Here is what I think is proper medicine in psychotherapy:  it must be always a collaboration between patient and doctor.  It is not something done to the patient as if she were only a research subject. It means that her input has to be considered as a leg of the diagnostic procedure; and that is what seems to be missing in so much psychotherapy today.  The patient is “done to.”  There is a certain set of procedures, which is fixedly applied to the patient without her input whatsoever.  Therefore, a critical leg of the diagnostic procedure is missing and the diagnosis is faulty.  It has to be since a critical input is not there.

The problem is that there is a certain set of assumptions that are decided before the patient ever enters the room, which are then a priori draped over him, and the therapy begins. I use the word, “draped,” because these assumptions then sequester the real patient before them, and she can no longer be seen.  All they see is the image decided on helter-skelter.  And the patient must fit into this image, rather than vice versa…getting all the facts and seeing how they lead to a diagnosis.  How the theory fits the patient; how the diagnosis emanates from those facts and data.  There is rarely a diagnosis that can be changed to fit the new information.  So she is squeezed into a diagnostic category to make it all fit.

So here we have, “got the tools to be applied and don’t let the facts interfere with their use.“  Well don’t we do that, as well?  We try to change our hypothesis when necessary but our hypotheses and theory derived from decades of research and observation.  It wasn’t a decided on procedure irrespective of the facts.  In brief, the facts led to an ever-changing diagnostic approach.  Not so loose as to be a sieve but rather something with a key structure that leaves room for change.  It is a fine line.

How does that work in practice?  One simple point:  I originally never believed in birth primals at the start and told patients it was ridiculous.  I took my lead from a university neurology department who advised me how impossible it was.  So I eliminated the idea and took it out of my diagnostic armamentarium.  But the facts kept piling up; patients who came from many different countries did in fact relive birth, and then we did research on it, testing brainwaves and biochemistry. Reliving birth was filmed and measured, and the results were inescapable.  It not only was possible but major biologic change resulted from the reliving.  We never shut down the idea totally; we waited and studied it to see what it was and what it did.  And it did exactly what the patients insisted what it did.  It changed them; lowered their blood pressure and body temperature.  It was a collaborative process, which included the patient’s input. I cannot imagine it being done without that input.

Reliving stopped anxiety attacks. Then we needed to know why. And we were off and yet another study of panic and anxiety attacks.  What were they and where did they come from?  The result of our work is found in the World Congress of Psychiatry (Spring 2013).  Our work evolves exactly because we leave room for the new.

Now let us turn back, (and I do mean “back”), to the “rebirthers”. They saw something dramatic in it and decided world-wide to practice it randomly. They saw a cure-all, done in an afternoon, some done in swimming pools, other done without the water.  And what did that “I have the tools and will find patients to fit in,” idea accomplish? Many patients completely broken down and coming to us for help to re-establish their sanity.  It is now a predictable result because these patients were victims of the “tool box.”  No studies or research, no seeing if patients can go deep with impunity.  And they cannot.

In fact, I have yet to see, among all those mock practitioners any serious research to accompany their work.  They found a name, Primal, and a technique, Rebirthing, and off they went, using well-researched ideas as their own. Who suffered?  Patients.  Even Steve Jobs was fooled into thinking he was going to a legitimate primal center. There are those who see the title “doctor,” and cannot imagine that a “doctor” would engage in chicanery.  Alas, they can and do.  Few want to put in the years of study again to learn a new approach, so they make off with the name and voila! They are primal therapists.

The hypocrisy goes on:  there is a man in Sweden who has spend decades denigrating primal therapy, all the while practicing it in secret,  Tomas Videgard.  Here is a letter in part from one of his “patients“: “It is difficult to know what he did to me.  Pressed me down to a painful trauma and refused to take me out of it. He told me that he was chosen by you to become a primal therapist.  But he skipped the whole thing (the training).  It was a nightmare.”

I cannot vouch for the letter’s accuracy but it sounds a lot like other reports I have received.  And it highlights the danger of those using the term Primal to practice a so-called primal therapy.  I am often asked, “Why don’t they use some other name?”  The answer is that with the name goes years of research and practice, which they take as their own, giving them a cachet they have not earned. And worse, it allows them to damage patients in our name.  Since there are literally hundreds of so-called primal therapists advertising the therapy, it is not surprising that those who are hurting and need help can be fooled.


  1. To you "proffessional" and you who think you are!

    A thought... always landing at what is its role in relation to an affirming process... but a destructive thought is also "good" as it defending against life-threatening events.

    This is what keeps professional "alive" without having to stand up for their opinion... they can hide behind sentences without the need to adjudication... we are simply too few to constitute a majority on the arrangements for this to come to light! The need for deceptive perception is a safeguard against life threatening content... that is what we need to know in our struggeling for the right to primal therapy!

    What would a legal process... in word of this... with all its opportunities... be of help?


  2. Hello Art,

    I understand that you once had the term Primal Therapy trademarked, but that some of these other therapists challenged it in court and the trademark was cancelled? A damn shame. Is there any way it can be reinstated, or have you thought about registering something similar such as Janovian Primal Therapy/Primal Therapist?


    1. Erron: Yes we did try and people went on copying it anyway. Now in Russia there are Clinics using what we do only saying that they do it better. And they cannot be attacked legally. I could tell you many stories but there is essentially nothing we can do. It takes lawyers and lots of money to reinstate matters and we don't have it. We did sue one primal center and won so they change it from the primal center to: the feeling center, formerly the primal center. So where did it get us. art

  3. Hi,

    The problem as I see it is that from the neo-cortical point of view Primal pain barely exists at all OR more pertinently only belongs to the patient and not to the 'organisations' claiming to be able to help patients get cured.

    So far so good. Who could argue with that ? Therefore, 'any-one' can claim to help any-one because nobody can patent a therapeutic process that is essentially as client centered as Primal.

    The charlatans of course 'impose' their own distorted version onto the patients because they are control freaks. . . but how do you stop control freaks manipulating dis-advantaged people ?

    Therefore the only process by which any-one can reasonably know who to trust is through thorough research into those facts of Primal pain that are universal, IE: those aspects of neurology / neurosis which are common to all people. Then you can set standards and gradually the charlatans will fade away due to the demand being taken up by those who are influenced by the actual facts, not the vague theories stolen via 'Chinese Whispers'. . .

    I'm sure this is actually happening, gradually the truth is out, but it's slow. . .

    Given that most of the scientific community still have not accepted a 'universal theory' of neurological functioning (and feeling, more importantly), then we are still up against a 'free for all' (trade) in human pain & cure. . .

    I have been trawling back through some of Arts earlier posts and the contributions of others (2008 - 2009). Though I fully accept we can all contact that part of our psyche that will-fully 'GETS OUT' and 'BREAKS THROUGH' the barriers of our SUFFERING; I nevertheless feel it must be said (as has Dr France Janov quoted) : "we have very little will, that we are pre-programmed". I mean, let's not 'give up' or 'despair', that's not the only truth, we are survivors but. . . .

    That is the Imprint in the critical window and it is this source of pain that so many mainstream 'authorities' cannot get their voluminous heads around. Because ? Because that requires a totally different language and totally different compass of understanding. Problems that cannot be discussed away are not on the agenda for those still trapped in their neo-cortex.

    (And Frank not in court. . . taking Primal to court would be like taking your pet dog to the butcher for a check up).

    Paul G.

    1. I do not mind what you say... but time is running out!

      Our thoughts are imprisoned and without vision... we can not see beyond the scope of what the words mean... without feelings no vision... but we have the words of a sequence of mathematical dignity (science) which "commands" respect even in a legal process!

      You forgot the vocabulary equation somewhat intellectuals are imprisoned of! There are many butchers who realize what they are doing... so they have changed their profession!

      How did your own change become possible? Imagine that all in the area of psychiatrist and psychological ordained Primal Therapy... what would that be worth?

      You are perhaps too much behind yourselves in the question for how others might perceive what we are saying?

      If we are simultaneously working on more options to a revolution so we put the seeds here and there!

      Your Frank

  4. We are egoists and emotionally "beautiful" ones!

    No one will miss me when I die! We can only experience our own loss! Believing us miss someone depends on inaccessible feelings about our own needs! The loss of someone I have loved belongs to my "truths" as long as I do not feel the cause of it! The difference about longing and loss is for whom it belongs!


    1. Hi Frank,

      I think you are treading on thin ice there, let me explain from my own perspective.

      I have un-met needs from my father and I know (knowing Primal) that when he dies I will feel the full force of my pain regarding those needs.

      I will no longer live in false hope of ever getting those needs met. So, on the one hand I will miss the possibility (of getting those needs met) and on the other I will also be freed from the false hope.

      Even the most healthy of us suffer and feel pain when some-one we are close to dies.

      The problem for most of us is that when that close person dies we are left with our own un-met needs too. . . So it can be a terrifying "double - whammy". . .

      We need support with kindness when loved ones are no longer there, not reminders of our Primal Pain.

      Paul G.

    2. Hell Paul!

      "I have un-met needs from my father and I know (knowing Primal) that when he dies I will feel the full force of my pain regarding those needs"

      Paul...   You need to re-read what I wrote!

      Your Frank,

    3. Hi Frank

      I suppose it depends on what you view "love" is. For a neurotic it is the suppossed fulfillment of unmet needs perhaps. A young woman will fall "in love" with an older man to make up for a lack of a Father for example. A woman may get together with someone who is strong in her eyes because he never cries and always supports her no matter how badly she treats him because she needs a "supportive" rock but then finds he dies early from a heart attack and so she bemoans the loss of her "Rock" not understanding that perhaps she is lacking something herself. I can see your point in that.

      However what is real love? Real love is total respect for another person I suppose. Real love is two people getting together to breed knowing they respect each other and can therefore work as a team to breed the next generation fulfilling the needs of that new generation because the parents have no needs. Ofcourse we have needs no matter how loved we were as children but these are different needs and how many of us know what those would be?

    4. Hi,

      Real love is re-vealed after we re-live the lack of it.

      Paul G.

    5. Hi Frank,

      I understand what you are saying and agree with you , cognitively. . .

      but when faced with my own actual grief and loss now ( and that of others ) I personally choose not to remind myself or any-one else, about our Primal Pain. At least not in cognitive terms.

      I mean, it's up to the bereft to tell us about "old wounds". Isn't it ?

      Also, when I return my daughter to her mother I am quite clear about the difference between my earlier loss (as a child) and the loss I feel as a parent, unable to parent my child due to enforced separation.

      But it still hurts twice.

      Paul G.

    6. Paul!

      My own experience of missing in my therapeutic process is of an incredible missing... leading to my loneliness... no one is there and no one ever will... an indescribable experience... where my life begins!

      When all the barriers about death is cleared then it is natural for us as there are no detours for another sense of escape... then we are sentient!

      When our loved one passes away then is all we have left our self! Missing belongs to what our dearest was... someone who will never come back ... a cognitive order of longing!

      The ultimate experience of death seek no mitigating experiences... it is a physiological process with itself... that is where the feeling of fear... joy and love has its real place... without the primal therapeutic process to it we become sick!

      Your Frank,

  5. In emotional terms... we are handicapped and that in itself is the decisive handicap to solve the primal therapeutic question!!

    Intellectual foolhardiness now legitimate is a tragedy for humanity... something we will be caught to the day we can perceive the intellectual disability... it will not be done so easily... because we live up to what intellectuals "professionals" decides whether emotional disabilities!

    One issue in itself for intellectuals to consider!


  6. I am concerned for my world and for the human race, therefore I support primal therapy. Charlatans have always been with us and now that the internet is available it seems that such fakes have even more opportunity to harm the public with half baked notions. Indeed, why do they not simply call what they do something else? Perhaps it is time to call Primal Therapy by another name, perhaps Janovian Therapy. Perhaps it is time for your therapy to rise with a new name from the ashes heaped upon it from charlatans and from mainstream professional frauds. I believe that needs become painful because of helplessness and the resulting panic accompanying them due to trauma and deprivation, this is my understanding of primal pain. However right or wrong this understanding is I am betting that that healthy optimism, the opposite of helplessness, can be found by feeling our feelings in their original helplessness, carefully, one step at a time. This variant on how to express and argue for genuine Primal Therapy might do well in a book, a different twist for a different time might be just the ticket for the advancement of Primal Therapy. You might even call the process Optimistic Integration as it integrates our connection to our ability to feel empowered in life. A rose by any name might smell as sweet, but changing a name now and then, and getting the full legal rights to use it might be wise at this point. It is unfair what the quacks have done, but we need to actually do something about this in the public arena, in my opinion. Janovian Integration Therapy? Well, think about it. It can be magic to appear to be "new" in this adrenaline addicted world society.

    1. Thanks David, let me think about it. art

    2. Hi David

      I take your point about the internet making all kinds of fools and charlatans available to many people. I would argue that we have always had Snake Oil Salesmen, conmen, liars etc etc. The Internet saved me. It enabled me to sidestep societies recognised ways of dealing with depression etc. It enabled me to search for the right books and enabled me to find this Blog, Alice Miller's website and many others. It enabled me to start my recovery.

      The Internet is a double edged sword and an amazing resource.

    3. Hi,

      I've had a few conversations with qualified psychotherapists and they all label Primal by various different 'authors'. So, Janovian Primal is already labelled Janovian Primal.

      This is another terrifying aspect to cognition. . . life in the neo-cortex 'acknowledges' many different authors. . . In order to maintain the DEFENSE of CHOICE (as an aspect of individualism) we 'believe' we can 'CHOOSE' according to our own unique needs.

      In a way this is putting the cart before the horse by assuming we already know what is wrong with us (which is also a true PRIMAL TENET) ! ! !

      The problem with 'reasoning' is that in the neo-cortex ANYTHING CAN MEAN ANYTHING. This is another reason why taking Primal to court would be a mistake because lawyers are trained to reason EITHER WAY. . . IE: either in defense or prosecution. Like Franks remark that 'selling and buying ' is all the same distraction so too the neo-cortex can reason anything to mean anything. . .

      This is why Art keeps on banging on about feelings because without feelings consciousness is absent and awareness alone tells lies.

      Paul G.
      Paul G.

    4. Origin Therapy
      Liberation Therapy
      Tracking Therapy
      Tracing Therapy
      Reversion Therapy
      Revertive Therapy
      Resonation Therapy

      I know those are lame suggestions but maybe they are food for thought.

    5. Richard Thanks, interesting. art

    6. Hi,

      I feel you can't change the name now. It would be a cop out. . . and also mistaken as 're-invention'. . .

      I feel there are some things which need their original names any way, no matter how 'clumsy' the word sounds. Also the band 'Primal Scream' were on your side I feel, so, not all 'name pinching' is disadvantageous. Lastly, by keeping the original name ("Since 1969") you are steadfastly refusing to budge from your convictions. That is very important.

      Paul G.

    7. Hi Paul, I don't have a conclusive opinion because I haven't done any research on this, but remember we are trying to reach those who know nothing of Art Janov and his therapy - and his warnings. Do these new people give a damn about the name and it's history? I would hope that they are more concerned about their own personal history and the Primal Center's latest results. Art moved away from the Primal Institute and formed the Primal Center. Do people think he copped out? People will have plenty of time to study the history of primal therapy - I think the most important thing is for people to understand Janov's theory FIRST -- before they read all those soothing promises; "Purchase some genuine Primal Therapy today and we will include one other therapy of your choice at no extra cost." (I'm not joking - there is a place that does stuff like that in Australia)

    8. Hi Richard,

      I see what you mean, but I feel trying to change the packaging won't necessarily convince the ignorant either. One of the illusions of marketing is that by constantly re-inventing a new face the content will keep up with changing marketing forces. In other words marketing defines the product and so the product would have to change to keep up with the marketing.

      To try to appeal to people's ignorance or lack of interest OR simply their lack of knowledge through changing the outer name may also expand the audience but to whom ? I think by expanding the marketing to change of name is only going to attract people who already are looking for therapy but therapy in their area. . . Which is why Primal got hijacked in the first place. . . It was never available in your local area outside Santa Monica. . . Unless. . .

      If the Legacy Program is marketed in the 'right' way then the words you have used to suggest a new name may also become part of the vernacular in a Primal Context. I like the words you have suggested, a lot. . . If you think about how marketing works you can see that (based on rigorous training and licensing) these words could become franchises. . . as long as they stick to the method and standards set by the Primal Center..

      All these 'systems' of regulation already exist in Company Law and through what in UK is known as trading standards you can explicitly define your product through registering your product with Companies house and Trading Standards .

      Paul G.

      Paul G.

    9. Hi Richard,

      There is a part of us that really wants to belong. Marketing and labeling stuff is an aspect of belonging, we are advertising and seeking ways of showing our worth, belonging. It drives us and how we drive making money. How we 'go about our business'; ( in a trading and belonging sort of way). What we say about our products is an advert for who we want to be-friend and also those who we feel left out from. This is all driven from the 1st line imprints when we were always only part of some-one else' but doubtful of our 'membership' but not knowing why. In the critical period, traumatized without 'knowing it' .

      People who get left out of the group often need an endlessly better marketing strategy in an attempt to get back to where the care is. But like me, they might need Primal Therapy first before implementing the marketing strategy. It's a clear case of 'both / and.

      So, the best marketing strategy would be to licence new franchises on the basis of full 7 year training with the clinic first.


      Paul G.

      (PS. I havn't started on 're-branding' yet).

      If you want to spread Primal you must set up a charity / not for profit to engage with existing licensed Primal Therapists. This so because the Center is a 'not for profit'.

      Paul G.

    10. Hi,
      I'm in a very difficult situation here because I am a director of a 'not for profit'.

      This is so controversial for me.

      How does company law help worthy causes ?

      Paul G,.

  7. What can words do?

    Is there any vocabulary truth confirming science? No... not as long as the truth is tasked to defend what we do not manage to think of!

    How shall we be able to recognize the words as science when thoughts are aimed at defending inability... we are missing the crux punt... the limbic system!

    Could we manage to admit of what to us is unreasonable? No... not as long as the content of thought alone serves the purpose to relieve suffering... it for professional... if so! The purpose could be different with some guidance and delight for them with ears to hear!

    Alone in neocortex... we have too much to admit containing suffering... why the kognitv performances is so strong... it goes through fire to escape... and the science of the limbic system is lost... if we not through suffering can get help!

    We need to convince about what is unreasonable... display content of what is unreasonable! How it now will be done... perhaps by sentences like these above... a vocabulary equation inquiring it self about answers... and someone who wants to know?


  8. Cognitive scourge!

    Our cognitive memory consists of thoughts and re thoughts... thoughts in a never-ending flow... an endlessly intertwined electrochemical adjacent to it is broken then the chemical composition can no longer hold back what the limbic system is leaking and we fall into the brain's infinite universe... today with a grim turn... the primal center is there... it without being noticed! THAT'S ENOUGH NOW!


  9. It is really terrifying how damaging even the most well meaning caring therapists can be practicing regressive therapy. After a year with the Janov centre of undoing 8 years of "primal" I hope when people read your warnings they take them seriously.... not that I did. But I wish everyday I had...... pain certainly clouds your ability to be discerning when you are desperate! To anyone practicing regressive types of psychotherapy (regardless of what you call it) without proper training from the one centre that has continuously and is continuously refining its practice through research and a collaborative approach, with many safeguards to damage for the patient.... please don't! Refer patients to the specialists. It is highly unethical and dangerous to practice treatment you are not qualified to use. It is like a skin surgeon operating on the brain.

    1. Anonymous,

      Caring people don't damage people. It's that simple. Caring people are cautious -- they feel responsible for their actions. A few weeks ago I chatted with a young girl who works as a secretary for a company called Landmark. They do a quick, intense regressive therapy, completed in just three days. She said (this is almost her exact words) "It can go either way. About half of our patients seem to show improvement in their lives, and the other half seem to go into a really bad downward spiral and they just get worse and worse." I asked her if she understood the science behind their therapy. She said, "No. Actually I don't trust it. I would never try it for myself, I see what it does to people."

      Well meaning caring therapists? I think they are admired actors whose personal beliefs are reinforced every day: they deserve all of the credit and none of the blame.

  10. Hi Art,
    You are so right :NO therapist have s a w Me when I entered (or remained for that matter..)
    for several sessions (until I got sick and tired of never been really looked and heared to my

    My REAL life theme!!! obviously is NOT part of "their" diagnostic manual" ...till nowadays !
    They only claim to know ...the condition "bodily dysmorphism"?(I do not the correct expression...
    The possibility that there could BE a complain... about my bodily feature ...does not
    even come close to their mind.!

    I wonder why is so? Are they ... so lightyears away from THEIR bodies?

    The real joke ;one mystic...- no he was a clever Sannyasin(OSHO follower ) -he knew to
    make a buck (in my case 500DM for WATER !!! Imangine :There is nobodoy as gullible like
    a insomniac in search for help!!...
    He at once ! saw my main problem .
    Yours emanuel

  11. Art, how is it that I can be so unfeeling and indifferent to everyone when I am awake, and so feeling when I am asleep? It really is a switch; on and off. You are right....again. People can either feel or they cannot.
    I have just woken up from a dream. I was walking around a cafe, searching for a piece of cake that I had forgotten I purchased. I was angry because they had charged so much money for that little piece of cake and I couldn't find it anywhere. Then I sat down at a table... and started to surrender to the reality that I will never find it. Then some music started playing in the cafe, it was Phil Collins - "In The Air Tonight". The song got to the point where the chords suddenly change direction and lift's the part where he sings "Can't you see-ee-eeee-e-ee-eeeeee". The music just ripped right through my body...I felt ALL of it....I felt every bit of the meaning in the chords and his voice and it sounded so incredibly powerful and sad. In fact it probably sounded better in my dream than it does in the actual was bellowing in my head. I started crying. I was feeling. JUST FEELING everything.... my life... reality. My brother came into the cafe and demanded that I leave with him "RIGHT NOW". At that moment I just couldn't tolerate his demands and I pushed him away. I didn't want him to leave...I just needed him to let me feel. He walked out the door and disappeared. Immediately I ran out the door to find him but he was gone. I woke up before the feeling got too severe.
    I know what you are trying to say in all of your messages, Art, but I know only when I am asleep. Isn't that amazing? And it's also amazing how I can act out on those feelings when I am awake, without feeling them. The message is still sort of getting through but totally unconsciously. What an amazing brain. Life is just so incredible and I am missing it. My brother is too. Maybe even Phil Collins is missing it. Did he make that music while he was conscious of that feeling or was he acting out on it unconsciously. Whatever he was was certainly based on reality. Phil Collins is very very close to reality and that part of his music is an incredible creation. Humans are incredible.

    1. after all the text you immersed me into a movie. powerful!
      it is the power of inside. my switch is also if i get slight cold.
      i first notice it in my feeling response and than a day later
      maybe other symptoms catch up. i think it is because the system is
      shutting down the outside for redistribution of energy.
      verse of another song comes to my mind:
      "as the night shows, the signal grow on radio"

      at the Center they probably work much on that environment. so that
      outside disappears, therapist becomes invisible... as their hand is
      searching for the signal on a "radio scale".

      what could be common for most (visual) artists could be their
      ability to dream, to have powerful dreams and nightmares.

  12. i know there is a warning somewhere about how dangerous practicing of "primal therapy" can be...but it is not easy to find. maybe you should put this warning on first page of this site and the site of the Center. it doesn't have to be scary and repelling... but at least informative. and how you don't have ability to sue them all because they use your name... maybe a distinctive button with a link to a warning page. for now i don't see a better solution.
    and btw for weeks i am seeing the big photography of dr. France instead of yours when i type "janov" or "arthur janov" in google. should be easy to correct.

    i am afraid to ask about your throat. we would like to hear it is a bit better.

  13. Hi Art,

    a question that's plagued me since I found your blog is: "Have any other therapists from other disciplines ever seen what you have seen?

    It just seems bizarre that you can go from provoking a Primal and not believing what you see to attracting many from around the world, presumably because they heard. . . what happened in the middle bit. . . I mean, what differed about your approach to start with that precipitated this in the first place ? Why You ?

    Paul G.

    1. Paul: It takes time to mature and develop. It is and has been a long process and I try to move with science into new information every day. art

    2. Hi Art,

      people have accused me of being capricious for that. It's hardly worth explaining to them that people who care can change.

      What you are offering is not merely 'care' but access to essential transformation.

      Thanks, even though this blog is a distant relative to therapy on the three week intensive in your 'controlled' environment (closed workshop) at least it ais also an induction to the truth of our situation. . .

      No small 'beer'

      Paul G.

  14. What about Prolonged Exposure Therapy? It seems to me that PE shares some basic similarities to PT, yet it has mainstream acceptance. Isn’t PTSD basically the same thing as Neurosis? Aren’t all of us neurotics suffering from stress as a result of prior trauma?
    The one big difference I see between PE and PT is that PE typically only treats current trauma not past or unconscious trauma. If PE is an acceptable form of treatment for current trauma, why can’t we get the mainstream to accept PT for past trauma?
    If you do any research on PE you can easily find examples of people connecting current symptoms to past trauma. I haven’t read enough to know how PE therapists handle clients that start re-experiencing past trauma, but I suspect that this might be a stumbling block and result in unsatisfactory results or worse.
    Anyway, it seems like there is a short leap from PE to PT and that wider acceptance should come in time.

    1. ZW: They share similar ideas because they took a piece of PT and used it as the whole therapy. Exposure is one thing but reliving which is curative is a whole other matter. It has to do with demythylation and undoing the imprint. Whatever is simple gets into the mainstream far easier than complex ideas, naturally. If you read my articles in the World Congress of Psychiatry
      you will see that there is a great difference between the two. art

    2. Hi Art. Thanks for directing me to your articles. I just finished the one on Anxiety, Panic and Rage and plan to read the other one on Depression. I learn something new every time I read one of your articles. I have a few of your books and have been an avid follower for over 20 years.

      I get that PE is an incomplete therapy as well as your easier vs. complex reference. People just want a magic pill to solve their problems.

      Even still, it’s intriguing that Prolonged Exposure has managed to gain a fairly high level of acceptance. I’m sure it’s due in some part to them only going down to second line pain. Even at the level PE has its’ detractors just like PT. I’ve read reports where people knock PE because it could do more harm than good.

      I just wonder if there’s a way to reach out to the PE people (practitioners and clients) and inform them about the PT process. I mean they’re already on the path. Is it possible that they would be receptive to the prospect of going deeper? I have to believe that the successes in PE are temporary for many clients. I’m just wondering if there’s any opportunity to spread the word and get “buy in” from the PE people.

      When I try to explain the process to family, friends or even conventional therapists I typically get a lot doubt and push back. They simply Google Primal Therapy and find all kinds of cult references, horror stories, etc. That pretty much ends any more discussion on the topic from me. I’ll never give up trying to explain the process though. Reading more and getting a better understanding helps hone my presentation – so thanks again for turning me onto your articles.

      I’m just trying to be hopeful and looking for opportunities to spread the word. It’s challenging with all the misinformation out there on PT.

  15. For the ones who are puzzled of Primal Therapy!

    Faced with death... I mourning the absence of my mother... it's the "risks" I take by approaching my feelings! If not through primal therapy... what then... by ignorant... experimental trials or involuntarily!?

    By name and science Primal Therapy the only way to approaching our feelings... something extremely important to get it right! I'm heading into what is reflected to me every day... me... a little boy who never got to grow up... a little boy extremely vulnerable for whatever emotional memories tell of... and for what I am trying to do with them... it must be right!

    We need to get it right and what is our right to it? Question to be asked and answered in a lawsuit!?

    We must do what ever it takes... if we get wrong in an ever going process... what is there to lose!

    As a little child I am safe in my therapy... but how do I know... when all was/is life threatening! Something we know to day... something that through science is proven and by all who begin to feel... science is within us for sentences we can make use of!


  16. For what love is missing!

    Thoughts gave us 'eternal' life because they saved our lives from life threatening experiences. The threat of death is something we carry with us and is constantly on the run away from... why there is no limits for what we can do... life itself is chasing us and we need to find shelter... if not... all of it is over us... over us for what love had been a lifeguard... the child in us know!


  17. Art ,concerning Your throat problem...
    There is nothing so incurable than those "iatrogen" induced malaise!!
    As I see it each day at my fingers...
    Sometimes I HATE those criminals!! clothed in white .. Yours emanuel

  18. Hi,

    a bit off topic but I get these insights up to a month or more after a post. . . Antidepressants.

    I keep on meeting people who say they really helped and were glad to have been able to take them.

    Then they stopped and they continued to be "ok".

    I wonder if there are some of us who can use the period of relief gained by these drugs to improve / develop our outer life (formerly 'held back' by the symptoms of neurosis) so that when coming off those drugs we 'have a life' worth living, so to speak.

    This then becomes the bench mark for the success of antidepressants but of course the original traumas are totally UN-addressed. Then one has to ask: "how precarious a success is it". . . ?

    More precisely, what is happening to the gates after such prolonged use of these drugs and why does it appear to sustain results after coming off them ?

    Maybe these "success cases" are the ones without much serious 1st line trauma. Or maybe it's the opposite, maybe they're the ones with specific serious 1st line trauma and the drugs are very effective at 'gating' their emergence. . .

    No matter how much the statisticians convince us of the success rate of these drugs through 'vicarious statistical means' they are still finding some people who show 'results'.

    The worry for them of course is the later onset of serious disease due to the deepening of their repressive systems; IE: Business as usual.

    Paul G.


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.