Sunday, March 30, 2014

You Think You Feel But You Don't

All the things you think are feelings are just that - thoughts. What you think are feelings: self-esteem, a sense of importance, feelings of confidence and strength. Are Nada.  Niente.

Now just think of what a feeling is.  You do not have to cogitate about it.  It just FEELS.  Importance, esteem are cerebral.  They have a different origin in the brain from real feelings which emanate from deeper down.   But when you think you feel it often feels like feeling, so the confusion is not surprising.  But we are discussing different brain regions with different functions; and the neo-cortex is in charge of self deception.  It is its ancient function—often, to keep from feeling the depth and horror of our pain.  One of its functions is as a structure of defense.

Maybe I am putting all those booga booga centers out of business, although I don’t think for a moment that it is possible; they are businesses built  on deceptions by those who know better, and for those who are so blinded that they cannot know better.  One reason is that this nonsense is in the zeitgeist. And secondly, it is much more comfortable to believe that we can feel importance or change our self-esteem with a few exhortations, or mumbo-jumbo; or that we can feel important when one’s entire early life was composed of those in charge of us, issuing orders and denigrating our every effort.  And this nearly always occurred when the imprint was the most forceful and enduring. It stuck in our system and controlled our lives; it determined a feeling of unimportance. It was lodged in the limbic system and made us feel unimportant … for life.  No exercise later on will change that. People or therapists later on, assuring us we are wonderful and important, will change nothing.        

Those early feelings live in every cell of our bodies; they are now systemic and organic.  Esteem is an IDEA, not a feeling, just like self-hate is an idea, not a feeling. Yet we can act like we hate ourselves but where does it come from?  All major ideas are cortical not limbic.  Our parents hated us and so we feel hated and not worthy of love.  That was an early experience. How do we raise that low self-esteem?  We feel how the parents treated us and make us feel like worms… worthless… not worthy of love. This is not a mystery.  Our feelings of low esteem, for example, derive from our environment even before we were born.  We were never treated as separate and cherished human beings; so we responded to our environment.  And we feel unimportant.  Because it was our reality — we were unimportant.  A child completely loved never has any use for higher self esteem. Oops, those booga booga workshops are screaming their lungs out.   Do I mean that being loved as a child stops anyone from being transported to some unreal state?  Yes. Why would anyone loved and felt important to his family  search out a center to make her feel important?  So clearly, it is for those who feel unimportant, and that comes from reality and is not neurotic.  It is a real reaction to real life events.   And once the imprint is locked in, there is only one way to change it; go back to the imprint. If you don’t, then you get such games as having people fall back into others’ arms to learn how to trust.
How about feeling hopeless? Again it can set up during birth when every effort failed to give us hope of not dying.  The hopelessness was imprinted systemically.

So were do we get hope again?  From dialectics;  from feeling utter hopelessness when it was imprinted early on.  Does anyone think a therapist or guru can change that and make us feel hopeful again?  We can fall over backwards into some guide’s arms but will that change a deep hopeless feeling? Imprints are predominant; they do not accede to anything or anyone.  They have endured for our lifetime.

Remember that anything that emanates from "on top" is not a feeling.  "On top" can trigger feelings and if we are not neurotic they will be real feelings.  So here is Janov’s law: we can feel higher, better by feeling again those early negative inputs that made us feel bad, but we cannot feel better by aiming high, reaching for self-esteems.  The dialectic rules.  History made us feel a certain way, and returning to history is the only way to change our feelings.  Those feelings were imprinted during our vulnerable history and allow no escape.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

L'Wren Scott Is Dead

Ms Scott, designer and girlfriend of Mick Jagger hanged herself yesterday in her apartment in New York.

The question is, “Why?”  Could anyone have seen it coming?  Mick, maybe?  I doubt it.  Here is why.

She had just about everything in life; although she was in debt, she lived well and lived high with Jagger.  Yet she took the trouble to go through the machinations of hanging. Why not the simpler “out”, pills?  I will explain: the way in is often the way out.  The same imprint that produced deep hopelessness—depression—is also what led to her to choose hanging.  This bespeaks of the enduring life of the imprint. This all has to be surmise but I am not limiting my discussion to Ms Scott but to all of us.

The reason no one could see it coming is that it was coming from deep inside, thrusting its head through the defensive layers into conscious/awareness, where she felt so hopeless and “down” despite her current surroundings.  As I have written a mainte reprise, many times over, we respond primarily and firstly to inner imprints and much later to external life and outside circumstance.  The body and brain are busy reacting to what happened decades earlier during womb-life and birth. Those are the events we continually react to because of their remoteness, something that occurred when we were vulnerable and easily and heavily impacted.  A mother taking drugs or drinking, heavily depressed herself.  These lay down engraved memories and last a lifetime and show themselves when we are alone, in a weakened state or otherwise too open to events.  And why doesn’t she run away or go to parties and distract herself?  She cannot; the imprint confines her.  She lives within that primordial memory and cannot imagine or think about other solutions.  There were no alternatives originally, thus there are none while living in the imprint.  And the imprint forces her to remain on the same route all over again. Her hopelessness (depression) is all consuming and completely channeling.   She cannot stray outside its bounds. The stabs of depression she suffers from is the stab of the mounting memory that periodically surges upwardly toward awareness. Being alone for a short time can set it off.

When there are later circumstances of neglect and lack of love the deep imprints become compounded and cemented in, defended and long lasting.  Those later traumas (lack of love) increase the repression and force unconscious acting out…..cutting oneself (to try to get at the source, hopefully, yet unconsciously).  But suicide is still a long way off.  It is amazing how so often people cut themselves, unwittingly digging out the source without even knowing what they are doing.

The fact of the deep imprint also can lead to hanging for if she were strangling on the cord she is most likely repeat the act.  It was the closest she came to death and the trauma and its consequences remain.   That is why I state, the way in is also the way out.  And years ago when I took notes and studied the problem I found this was almost a universal law;  we attempt to die in the way our birth was threatened.  Those who were over-drugged try pills, those who were mangled at birth try jumping in front of a train, those who were strangled on the cord will try hanging.    Those memories, that of trauma during gestation, last a lifetime and lead to same attempt years later to die in the way it might have happened at the beginning.   In other words, as the memory of the early trauma rises so does the early result mount, as well.  Thus early strangle leads to later strangle. The logic of the system.   It is confirmation of the imprint and its effect on the system.  It drives behavior ineluctably. So the imprint includes the probable outcome…..death.   It channels behavior despite exhortation and encouragement; the sense of approaching death.  What is often articulated for those who have no idea about the imprint is, “I don’t want to live anymore.” And even that is not fully articulated; it is usually a vague thought or sense.  It is often not, “I am in so much pain I don’t want to go on.”  It is just a vague sense of hopelessness and helplessness that leads to an attempt.   It all remains vague and aleatory; A constant rumination inside of a black cloud descending.

That is why cognitive therapy cannot touch it.    Cognitive tries to re-channel behavior but the imprint will have none of it.   It is far stronger than any re-direction or insight.  That sense of approaching death is what remains marked within us and controls our behavior later on.  Nothing special had to happen at the time; just nothing to do and no pal around can do it; all by oneself with no current distractions.  This is the exact replica of her feelings in the womb and becomes the trigger for suicide;  utter loneliness, no one to help or rescue her.   She could not articulate this in the womb but now she can; and she is interpreting her feelings during life in the womb.  They are utterly compelling.  They lead to the outcome that was in the offing originally.  Let me repeat:  her current life mirrors the original milieu of her current feelings.  They draw her back to the primal imprint, and force her to repeat the situation again; the feelings reactivate the imprint and lead to where they would have originally—death.  

L’wren’s suicide could not be seen coming except by her. She must have had an inkling, a deep down unease and hopeless feeling that would have warned her but she had no idea about imprints or deep-lying trauma/memory.  That is the reason our theory is so important; not so they can come to therapy (although preferable) but so that they can be aware of what is going on inside and  understand what is happening.  This may avoid needless deaths.  How tragic and unnecessary all this.  And now you understand our mission: not money nor fame, but the lives of us humans.  We have a basic right to a full-length life.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Real Role of the Neocortex

So what do you think it is?  I submit that its primary is to keep us from feeling.  And that allows us to slay our enemies with impunity.  If this were not the case, ordinary Germans would not have stood by and watched them shoot Jews in the back, or gas them in caves.  If this were not true then it would have been impossible for Whites to stand around and watch Southerners lynch Blacks as if going to some kind of celebration..  In other words, the neocortex’ job is shut down feelings and allow us to be swallowed up by ideas and propaganda and beliefs that paints others as killable.  Now we know one key function of ideational therapy; like the Germans, fill their heads full of so many ideas, the more convoluted the better, that feelings no longer have any place.

So tell me.  Why are we doing psychotherapy that lives in our heads, that confines ideas to the intellectual and that suppresses feelings?  Since it is clear that neurosis is a disease of feeling how can we ever get well while neglecting and repressing them?  Well, you say, I practice meditation and that relaxes me.  I think you believe it relaxes you.  Not quite the same thing.  I mean how can you neglect feelings and be relaxed when it is imprinted pain and tension that prevents relaxation?  Otherwise, how could it be that my patients drop many signs of pain permanently after months of feeling pain?  Lower cortisol, lower blood pressure and heart rate, etc.    And the one thing that cannot be faked, radical changes in the amplitude and frequency of brain waves.  

Here is the problem.  If we agree about imprints, that bad memories are stored deep in the brain and agitate us all of the time, then how can we really relax in a “head” therapy…a therapy that rides above the imprint?  And all new neurobiologic information confirms for all time the veracity and the impact of the imprint which now inhabits the primitive genes and cells.  How can we relax when we enter a therapy whose ancient, prehistoric role is to push back feelings?  If you don’t believe it look again at the Nazis who were ordinary Germans, after all.  Marlene Dietrich never spoke to her sister again after she learned that she lived across the way from a death camp.  How could she? She could because many of the Germans’ minds had been filled for years about the inferiority of Jews, and those ideas occupied most of their neo-cortex, which allowed them to watch and tolerate killing without any feeling.  So now we know that dental scientists can drill on your teeth with no pain so long as they explain to you that their hypnosis (ideas) will take care of the hurt.  And mostly it works.  Excuse the expression but it is all a “mind-fuck”.  It is cognitive manipulation, which shows how susceptible it all is.  And  of course when you fill a child’s head with ideas early on they tend to stick.  Those first impressions are powerful and they endure.

Hitler could feel for his dog because his head left a little space for other beings but not much space.  So again, how can any therapy that specializes in ideas and insights get you well when the real problem resides far deeper in the brain.  So any therapy that includes beginning with ideas,beliefs and notions does not penetrate to where it has to go.  Think of it this way:  any therapy where the therapist directs you, even “do this and then do that,” is most often a detour.  Therapy has to be inner prompted.  If it comes from some else it is her ideas not yours.  We have all enough manipulation in our lives but the problem is that we get used to being manipulated and told how to think so we just slip into being directed.  Ayayay.

I have had patients, many, who after months of Primal suddenly are aware of the egregious mistakes they made with their kids.  This, after we liberated the pain and feelings.  As a result of feelings they were now aware, not like before, aware in their heads but consciously aware due to feeling feelings. Yes feelings provide real conscious awareness, not cognitive awareness which rides about them.  Suddenly one sees that he ignored the child’s drawings leaving his son feeling a it less capable.  Or spanking his daughter cause he learned about “tough love. “  Never once imagining the consequences of their actions.  But feelings make you conscious and aware and finally about to see, really see.

Historically then, shutting down served many functions, not letting feelings interfere with what had to be done.  And above all, permitting us actions of which we could not feel.  Thus the origin of the neo-cortex, very important for connection to lower level  feelings but remaining able to shut them out when they become dangerous (my mother does not love me.  I cannot live without love.).  So if we ignore the pain it will always be there and we cannot ever really relax.  How could it be otherwise, unless we live in a world of denial where we never acknowledge it?  We cannot have it both ways;  we cannot be feeling humans and ignore feelings.  We cannot relax without brain surgery to cut out memory.  We can never relax as long as ideas and beliefs occupy feeling space?  And so, following evolution, as I have noted a myriad of times, ideas and insights must come to us in evolutionary sequence: after feelings, as they did for millions of years.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What Did I Do to Deserve This?

- Well my friends, it is not what you did but who you stood next to.
- You mean I could get neurotic just standing next to my father or mother?  

- Yes, yes.  But allow me to explain.

People exude who they are from every pore of their being.  I mean that literally.  An uptight, tense mother radiates her repression.  An angry father radiates his anger. They don't have to “do” anything; just be.  But it is worse than that.  When their underlying feelings show themselves we sensed we were right to avoid them or be very careful around them.  They distort our words, detour our natural movements and disapprove almost everything we do, not by words but by those looks.  And worse, when they show no emotion, a child next door almost drowning,  we know that feelings are what we keep to ourselves.  The point is that even before we have words a child is undergoing a lifetime of experience.  And the earlier the more impactful.    It should be obvious; those early experiences that directly affect breathing, digestion and elimination are going to do a lot of damage and will last a lifetime.

Secondly,  those experiences that lie on the feeling level will certainly inhibit later access to our feelings.

But now look at this:  Our genes form the matrix of later life; that much we agree on.  But there are epigenes, severe experiences that build a new “genetic” base called epigenetics and they get imprinted and compounded, change or distort the evolution of our genes.  They then become “inherited.”  We too often distort this with our genetic heritage, but those experiences are long duration  and largely impervious  to later events.  They become a meld of genes and epigenes.  Instead of saying, “she looks and acts just like her mother,”  we need to say, “her mother was “infected” with neurosis, which got imprinted into the system of the offspring.  And now…..she is just as hyperactive and ADD as her distracted and hyperactive mother.

In other words the infant who is being carried has caught what could be a fatal disease: neurosis, the same one lying inside the mother.  The baby will reflect the internal life of the mother and that is what will be imprinted inside him and last a lifetime.  Why? Because this is what had been  learned in order to adapt and adjust.  No words, no reprimands, no social neglect; just who she is,  does it all.  Look at the work of The Association for Psychological Science.  (Feb 3 2014). (see  They discuss emotional synchrony.  The baby is learning how to manage the incoming stress of the mother.  They did studies of several different mothers who gave a talk with a different audience—one approving, one neutral and one not approving. Guess what?
The 14 month old babies reflected what happened.  Differences in heart rate and a greater stress response in those children of mothers who had disapproval.  The children “learned” through some kind of osmosis.  The were inculcated by the mother’s emotional state.  Now imagine that the baby and mother are one, where the baby lives inside the mother. The influences are far more impactful.

You see, you do not need to yell at the child; all you need to do as a mother, is be around the child and the damage can be done.  Picked up early that my parents were emotionally removed. So I never even thought to tell them that a wave hit me and I almost drowned but someone saved me. Those vibes get picked up very early in our lives.

So what gets transmitted?  Odor, facial expression. Lack of feeling,  body movements and on and on. All of the parent is transmitted to the child.  And the child never says to himself, “I guess that’s the way it is, “ cause that is the way it is.  Too often we are completely unconscious of it all.  We live as we always have in a state without acknowledgment of that is just the way it is.

All this to say that our early environment weighs heavily on this and can drive our behavior.  In an article by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, they found that unique experiences in the womb may give a more profound effect on epigenetic factors that influence health later on.  And though fraternal  twins share a womb there is also the difference in the structures of the umbilical cord and placenta which play an important role.  They found that even in identical twins there can be great differences in the methylation patterns between them. (see a preview of a Scientific American article on this topic:

So you say to yourself,  “Did I inherit my mother’s craziness?”  and the answer could be, “Yes.”  But not in the usual sense of inheritance.  Rather,  who she was, hyperactive (or depressed and down) while carrying, left you with a neurotic inheritance which still shaped your life.

So is it life-long?  I believe we can  reverse some of it in our therapy and we shall test it soon, but I also believe that the earlier and stronger the imprint the less likely it can be reversed.  The best we can do is love and hold the child right after birth and thereafter.  The best way to reverse the imprint is through the slow, methodical process of therapy where the least pains can be integrated first.  Finally descending to the great early traumas and the measuring the results.    In other words, we need to trust nature and all its processes;  chemical reversal is far too general and non-specific to each trauma.  It is a shotgun when we need a scoped rifle.  We need nature as a reference. It is when we leave nature behind that need the reference of statistics; never as good as nature itself.

All those childhood studies that think it is early childhood that is to blame, which it is, in a sense, need to convert their work to earlier times if they want to be accurate.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Bit More on Depression Again

So let’s get it straight. When we show a symptom such as depression there are two aspects to it:
1. The cause; 2. The reaction.
We need to keep this bifurcation clear because they are two different animals and must be treated differently. Nearly all approaches today are just that; approaches, the therapy of reaction. So the cognitivists try changing your reactions—attitudes and thoughts, aiming at more wholesome ideas. Neurologists try changing how the brain reacts, i.e., interfering with brain function. And there are others who put wires in the brain to block deep brain reactions. Remember these are responses, not causes. Causes seem to be forgotten in all this, and why? Because the fields have despaired of finding causes and so focus on reactions. Why the despair? Because without a therapy of deep brain processes they will never find causes. It will all remain a mystery; they will turn away from origins and just focus on blocking or changing reactions. And that can be endless because we need to change the biochemistry, the neurochemistry, neuron signals, overall brain function, psychological responses and on and on. All because causes are avoided.

In the NY Times are two articles; one in the Sunday June 30, magazine section, and the other in the Tuesday Science section, July 2.

The Science section deals with brain function, namely transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) (See There are magnetic pulses to the brain from outside that stimulate those parts of the brain that are involved with depression. Powerful magnets are placed on the frontal area of the head. Those pulses seem to help many people and are often more effective than medication. But….it is attacking the responses while the generating sources are left intact, only to rear their ugly head again. How could it not be? It is a therapy of reactions not causes so we cannot expect to be rid of the originating sources. It is a good amelioration and that is OK. We do not help, but there is a way of getting to those generating sources, why is it paid no heed? They have no theory for it, no therapy for it, and no psychological readiness for it. Easier to tinker; and tinker they do, tweak this and then tweak that. Ayayay.

Now the Magazine section has a different twist. It is called, “Uncovering the self-destructive impulses that many people hide from themselves.” (See Hmmmm. Self destructive? What self might that be? I guess it is the hurt one, the one containing all those painful imprints from years ago. Are we trying to destroy it? Wouldn’t that be terrible?

They point out that more die of suicide than murder: world-wide there are one million suicides each year. It is an epidemic. They want to figure out how to figure out who might kill himself? What are the signs? And they add, “We have never gone out and observed, as an ecologist or biologist would go out and observe the thing you’re interested in.” (page 24). But wait! That’s what we do, and we find the answers when patients get to feelings, deep pain that makes them want to kill themselves. And they say, “My god. That’s why I wanted to kill myself; all to avoid that feeling.”

So what did the researchers do? They called up soldiers and asked them to explain why they wanted to kill themselves. They hoped to shift through the transcripts to find answers. The problem is that they never knew really. How could they when the imprints lie so deep in the brain. This is basically the cognitive. Ideational approach. It stays on the level of ideas. They say that they have had theories of suicide but they want to work on the other end…data. OK but data from victims? Most of ten they never know. I have seen many depressives over the years and they almost never know where it comes from.  Some of them resist counseling because somewhere they understand that it cannot work. Then they are labeled “resistant”. “They don’t really want to get well.”

Finally further in the piece they say, “brain cells that regulate the stress hormone cortisol, leave the brain in a chemical state of increased alertness that causes a person to overreact to stress.” I am not sure that tells us what to do about it but the direction is right. There is acknowledgment that depressives often suffer abuse as children. But what from there? Do we attack and/or address the abuse? They go back to faulty thinking. And they tout the Association test which is again mental operations. They are looking for biases against being alive by the victims. It all came to naught as these tests were not so hot at predicting future suicide attempts. How could they be if they avoid the key low brain-level imprints that are at the origin of it all? So what do they do? They are tweaking it so they combine several cognitive tests together to refine what they do. It is over and over again intellectuals focusing on thoughts and attitudes ignoring a big part of the brain and its function. They are after changing patterns of thinking. The cognitivists are ruling the roost; yet they are the very ones who can never never never find answers.

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.