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.


  1. Art, I can relate. 10 days after my birth my mother's milk ran out mysteriously. Shortly afterwards she became inexplicably bedridden, and I was sent to be looked after by my paternal grandmother. Fortunately, I feel that my experience with the grandmother may have been more happy than yours: I have a very vague early memory of lying on my back in a tin hip bath, being bathed by her, laughing up at her smiling face. It's my earliest memory. I'm sure this early rejection by my mother has driven my life, and not for the good.


  2. Hi Art,

    reading your account deconstructs my paralysis in the face of authority (and that's just the words).

    In my history I have authoritarians who have succeeded in making me feel bad for having feelings at all. Thus for me, to read such an account from an authority such as you, still being drawn down to the same emotional level as me or any one else (children) is a relief and an honor.

    This kind of proves that authoritarians exploit repression as a form of control by denying feelings. Promulgating the idea that feelings are undesirable and superfluous to the successful life.

    If we believe that it just makes us into robots all the more easily manipulated (and manipulating).

    I think one consequence of becoming acquainted with one's true feelings is the ability to build more effective defenses against external hazards; not just 'forward thinking' (that too) but also a kind of 'bullshit shield'.

    Paul G.

  3. Hi,

    -"So when someone tells you, “Just get over it”-.

    Unfortunately, this type of person is very likely to have already pronounced you as 'deficient' in some way. . . It is very likely too late or too hard to explain to them anything other than the price of MEAT. If you persist, YOU may well suffer further consequences of their judgement, particularly if they hold any power or authority over you (or your children).

    The best one can do with types like this is to ask them to stand in your shoes for a moment and imagine what it must be like for THEM to experience YOUR experiences. If you don't then discover they believe things that screw you up could never possibly happen to them. . . then they may well simply feign or 'stall'. . . like a car starved of fuel. . . The problem with the Janovian Gap is that you cannot put Primal Explanations into it, these explanations simple fall into the chasm of your despair (which is their DENIAL). Bridges across this Gap can only be built from BOTH sides simultaneously. It takes some empathy for people to even bother looking across.

    I hope I'm being no more than realistic here.

    Paul G.

  4. Art,

    I feel what you say ... for how it evokes my emotions were similar to yours!

    I was taught not to feel... so now I got the process of learning to feel ahead of me! Learn how to let go of thoughts for what they binds me to. I think before I feel in the sense of not feeling what got me thinking.


  5. That is indeed some real trauma Art..


  6. Dang Dr. Janov, that hurts – triggering anxiety feelings - being abandoned after birth.
    As I had to find out primaling is not for cowards. Especially after I trained myself since I was about 10 years old, not to show any emotion, because to me, emotions mend being helpless/vulnerable/easy prey. What I face now after 65 years (at the Center) is painful and liberating at the same time.
    Thanks for writing this.

    1. Hello Singlinde.

      "As I had to find out prima treatment is not for cowards."

      Cowards is what I become... it in eyes of others who could not feel. It cost me a "lesson"... not to feel anymore... I had to deny my self to feel and I was lost for what others sentences got me to be.

      It was little Frank and he was no coward... he did what was necessary to survive! Cowards in the case is the result of moral and minder worthy explanations! When I cry out for what I was called I am no coward anymore.

      Yours Frank

    2. Hi Sieglinde,

      I am very glad you made it into therapy.

      Paul G.

    3. Frank thanks,
      My father, the psychopath, drilled in us kids: “crying children become coward adults”.

    4. Again Singlinde!

      I did not get a chance to live... I did not get a moment of closeness to my mom and dad. What can not be the reaction of a PRIMAL SCREAM if not the moment of experience the feeling of what I lost... for all of what could be for my life!

      Your Frank

    5. Hi Paul G.
      So am I. Thanks
      It’s frightening what I discovered/become conscious. Sieglinde

      Hi Frank,
      “I did not get a moment of closeness to my mom and dad. What can not be the reaction of a PRIMAL SCREAM if not the moment of experience the feeling of what I lost...”

      That’s my case as well. My parents were abusive strangers to me. I lost the most important 10 years between the age around 8-19. After my grandma died, I was 7 and had to become an adult overnight. Suddenly I was 20 and became a mother. I was never allowed to develop my Identity which takes place in the teen years. I never did girly things. I love my grandmother and grandfather but have no longing for my mother or father, only revulsion. Sieglinde

    6. Good luck with the therapy Sieglinde

  7. Art, I really love the way you weave snippets of your life in with the theory, it really brings everything about primal alive, as well as a feeling of warmth I get from your generous sharing.


  8. An email comment:Art Wow! Wow! & Wow! I could hardly believe my eyes reading this article of yours. First from knowing more about you ... but also (if I may be arrogant enough to say so) that is how I have been feeling for years since my early entry into therapy 34 years ago. I was arrogant and conceited enough to write a book "Feeling Therapy: Real Health: Yourself".

    In that book I said several things (much of which admittedly I garnered from you and your writing), but it did give me pause.

    The first was:- that I was the best expert on me.
    The second was that:- I so desired to enter the Feeling Zone of life .. which I contend is were the Rhino was at, that got shipped away from that, that he'd only known as home
    Third:- that Feeling was the essence of REAL HEALTH.
    Fourth:- I am now in the feeling zone and expressing those feeling. I cry quite often. When angry I beat the mattress or pillow and use every expletive I can think of ... the fears and terrors are somewhat more difficult, but I do feel them and am apt to scream ... my way of dealing with terror ... of dying
    Fifth:- like you seemingly, I feel very deeply for animals that I see or hear suffering. I even feel bad about eating creatures such as fish and chicken ... but I do eat them.

    I just know that I will be expressing my feeling for the rest of my life ... and it's no big deal.

    One last addendum: From your blog I got in touch with a Serbian guy from Belgrade who asked me for the book "Cure by Crying." I had two copies and sent him one that he never received so I sent him an e-copy of my book. He suffers Tourret syndrome (ticks). There was one phrase in my book that touched him deeply where I wrote "....just let it happen" He took great note of that and has since been feeling (Primaling) ever since knowing now that his Tourret is a factor of his birth. I am so encouraged and proud of him and we email on a regular basis. If he feels he can fly (he never has and is skeptical) I will pay for him to visit me here in Santa Monica ... and if it were at all possible I would love for him to meet you. It would be his hearts desire and a memory he would cherish for the rest of his life. He's read most of your books and I understand he still reads your blog. His name is Nenad Petrovic.

    He's straight and there is no desire on my part to be involved with him, other than a very deep (Primal) friendship.

    Sincerely Jack Waddington

  9. Another email comment: Art, very powerful affirmation we must continue the process for a lifetime. Thanks again! Warmly, Bob

  10. Art,
    I love the simplicity of 'So we don't turn into robots'; you've always been a man after my own heart. I'm so glad you exist
    Along w/living a good life, I'm committed to your legacy..

    I wish you could live forever

    1. Jacquie, Believe me so do I. I love life. My role is to see that others can love life too. thanks art

    2. I love life too. I don't want to die.. Time is so very precious
      The android's passing speech in 'Bladerunner' comes to mind..

      Your legacy will live on Art, in each &every way. And have faith that Primal will develop where it needs to be.. Jacquie

    3. OK let us hope together.Time is precious art

    4. String of thoughts --The android also said: "I want more life." An interesting mix of words. Nobody wants to die they just want the pain to stop...( thinking Robin Williams here ) I'm more and more and more sensitive to the reality of animals as sentient beings as I become more aware of myself. They deserve our care. I'm very impressed with your expression of personal pain Art. You used to be much more private. You've come a long way baby! love you!

    5. It is.. hope needs to translate to do. Jx

    6. Thanks Anonymous,
      I love Bladerunner, &science fiction-- it highlights humanity..
      And I too appreciate hearing Art's personal experience

  11. Hi,

    I just don't know how this man ticks but have you heard of Mark Dempster? Former crim and drug addict now Harley Street Addiction therapist. . .

    In the Sunday Telegraph: -"He has now been sober and drug free for longer than he was an addict - and yet, still, he feels plagued by the emotions and temptations he has always felt"-.

    Of course. . . He said: "You Know, we're never really clean"-. . .

    He got interested in counseling when in re-hab and that was his turning point.

    I must say that focusing attention on other peoples problems is a good way to keep your own just under the threshold. . . Anyway, cynicism aside, he wants to set up a re-hab for poor people in UK and find a way to "get them clean" without using methadone. . . Laudable indeed but what are his techniques and how do they work? Do they work?

    Paul G.

    1. Alice Miller was vociferous in her condemnation of therapists who were in for themselves. Commenting on and manipulating other peoples feelings is a damaging form of self denial. The patients will be vunerable and often desperate to get well so will often take on board all kinds of mumbo jumbo simply so they can have a sense of feeling better.

      I went to see two NHS shrinks 24 years ago who persuaded me that my fears of having been sexually abused were unfounded and frankly thier authority pushed my fears much further down and retraumatised me. So after that rather than feeling scared and frightened about episodes in my life that were quite near the surface and would not have taken much to reach the light of day if I had been listened to for a while, I ended up slowly becomeing more and more obsessive and paranoid because I had these people's daft theories locking the events away which my subconcious was desperate expel and thus a war in my head ensued that is only now being won.

    2. Hello Paul,

      "I must say that focusing attention on other peoples problems is a good way to keep your own just under the threshold". Yes they are!

      Your Frank

  12. HiArt,
    how on earth did You "make it" through college/university etc before th"advent" of Primal Therapy?!!
    Was it Your genius which kept You alive or the ability to keep all those Pains down and fuction..?
    For my part :I did n o t function and am not able to evaluate the difference between Your amount and mine..(I guess it`s a matter o GENIUS !!
    Yours emanuel

    1. I never developed until my later twenties. I could feel my brain changing. I was the worst student, had severe ADD and could not learn at all. I never planned to go to college but when I joined the Navy I took an intelligence test, and then forgot about it. One year later my battleship was on the way to Saipan when a Destroyer came alongside and asked for me to get aboard. My test was so high that they thought I should go to officers training college. I joined Preflight and went to Oregon State Univ. I got such high grades that I began to think I could continue university after the war. I had already done six battles and wanted no more war. Since my father always treated me and told me that I was an idiot I had no other frame of reference until the Navy. And of course I did several universities and always got high grades. art

    2. Art!

      No... I was never appreciated for something like that... to be inteligent wise or in any other sense. I ran in every direction where I could avoid to be seen. My time at school was disastrous.

      Others had to "rescued" me... so as girls saw me looking good (my "luck"... but very painful) and what cars and motorcycles could do for what I would be seen... anything other than I could manage to be.

      The only joy I experienced is the one I now can experience in myself that is what primal therapy is making for me... I'm starting to "dare" to be with what is slowly on its way up through my system... the little boy Frank.

      If we learn about what is now seen as wrong around your therapy Art... to be right... we've won a lot... it is the beginning of our life!

      Your very thankfull Frank... now more alone than ever... it along with myself... it with eyes that beginning to see!


    3. Dr. Janov, I can relate. Intelligence has nothing to do with learning abilities. In my opinion, rising feelings from way down in the right Hemisphere are interfering or even blocking left Hemisphere concentration. Sieglinde

  13. a peer reviewed paper that might be interesting..

    Leading nursing journal finds mothers and babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact

    Research during the past 30 years has found many benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns immediately after birth, particularly with aiding breastfeeding. However, in some hospitals, skin-to-skin contact following cesarean birth is not implemented, due to practices around the surgery. A recent quality improvement project demonstrated that women's birth experiences were improved by implementing skin-to-skin contact after cesarean surgery.

  14. That was a very touching testimony from an obviously sensitive person. Much appreciated.

    May I offer a reading suggestion: "When elephants weep:the emotional lives of animals" by Jeffrey Masson. OK, I haven't read it yet, but by flipping through it a bit, it seems pretty appealing.

    You know, everytime I see some jerk walking her or his dog on a leash, and I see that person yanking the leash ,thus choking the dog temporarily because the dog is just trying to be free to act, a rage arises within me. And then you sometimes see these idiots actually talking to the dog, admonishing it, wagging their fingers in the dog's face, as if the dog understands what is being said! No wonder I am turning into a bitter reclusive misanthrope!

    All this brings up memories of the worst thing I ever did in my life: when I was a child I was with a kid I saw only once in a while. He had a BB gun or some such type of gun,and gave me it to shoot at something. I was kind of reluctant, not having any interest one way or another. Then all of a sudden, he says:look, there's a bird on the wire there. Shoot it! So I wirl around and shoot.I hit the bird,the bird drops to the ground, where, grievously wounded, its wings start to flail about. Seeing this, I am mortified, and burst out into tears, running to my mother, in deep anguish and guilt at having done such a horrible thing. That was 50 years ago, and I have never forgotten it.Needless to say ,I have never repeated such a odious act, and never will (unless I was starving in the middle of the woods, an unlikely prospect)


    1. Hi Marco,

      I did exactly the same thing with an air rifle and managed to put the poor creature out of it's misery with another pellet. . .

      That is burned into my memory; in particular was the internal emotional anguish / dilemma that as soon as I had 'dropped' my target, I would NOW need to go shoot at point blank range to finish it off.

      So, from 'almost innocent' Bird Slaughter to consciously delivered 'Bird Murder'.

      This event along with several others including traveling in East Africa and seeing gross poverty, disease and injustice so PRICKED my conscience I have forever become an advocate for peace. . . It's hardly surprising my own anger and frustrations from infancy and a difficult birth have emerged and led me to a breakdown (breakthrough).

      Sometimes when I read testimonies such as Arts above I sense that many people's denial / repression is kept intact by having been 'cossetted' by the various 'States'. People who have vivid experiences possibly stand more chance of finding their true selves. . . The 'moral majority' sail in a ship purposely designed to protect them from REAL shocks in life that might wake them up to the truth of their condition. I dunno, there are no simple solutions are there?

      Paul G.

  15. Primal Therapy contains a science that easy can be lost... it for gererationer to come unless something is done about it.

    Science has so little time to exist depending on how long we live!

    For this reason... the question is whether we should allow science to show content or whether we should let it be lost for what other "sentences" have as purpose to not disclose other than what the defense will do against suffering.

    It is not to seldom science becomes a threat against own activities... it is perceived as a loss for what cognitive sense serves its purpose... not to "incriminate" what caused the pain.

    Fraunhofer's discovery of what prism glass talked about was kept secret for a hundred years because it would violate the scheme of what society could accept. We are about to lose that "secret" for what primal therapy talks about... if we do not "kicking in doors" to what we are about to lose!


  16. DR. AJ "It began so early that the imprint was compounded. I have taken off layers and layers of it but the residue remains.

    What about this?
    "Unconscious fear memories established through the amygdala appear to be indelibly burned into the brain. They are propably with us for life. ... Psychiatrist Roger Pitman has astutely noted that findings from studies of fear coditioning in rats have important implications for how anxiety is treated. The classic treatment, based on Mowrer's and Miller's theory, was to force the patient to be exposed to the anxiety-causing stimuli without allowing any avoidance or escape behavior and thereby try to extinguish the anxiety that the stimuli elicit. But in the light of the indelibility of the amygdala's hold on traumatic memories, he suggests a bleaker, though perhaps more realistic, assessment. We may not be able to get rid of the impilicit memories that underlie anxiety disorders. If this is the case, the best we can hope for is to exercise control over them." (Joseph LeDoux: The emotional brain. 1998, p.252)

    1. Anonymous: They can be extinguished and that is what our brain research will attempt to do. art


  17. The pain is still at the little boy Frank... Frank who now suffers for not allowing himself to be who he is!

    How can I stop thinking? It to help myself when thoughts was... is all help I have... help to survive... all I have as defense against unbearable pain... pain I can not possibly experience "without help on how"?

    For the question of "stop thinking" lays the answer because the idea avoids to do other things than what they defense against! A thought about it... can "gently lift the lid" for what thoughts holds.

    We are slaves under own ok because we suffer from pain our thoughts defense against... thoughts against what we has of feelings. Feelings who can be disastrous for us... so disastrous that suffering can work its way to a professors task... it with the consequences of not feel own pain.

    We now know what a professor can cause because of his denial of the child in him... the child as talks about why he chose to become a professor!


  18. Hi,

    I heard on BBC Radio 4 that there has been some new research into "Free Will".

    It's good to look at Wikepedia on this subject as it confirms what I thought; which is that the words are generic and there are actually several forms of "Free Will".

    Anyway; the most recent researchers confirmed what Kathleen Vohs & Jonathan Schooler discovered which is that under experimental conditions subjects who worked under 'deterministic conditions' (IE: did NOT believe in Free Will) were more likely to cheat.

    They concluded that: -"Perhaps denying Free Will simply provides the ultimate excuse to behave as one likes"-. . .

    Now please forgive me for raising this issue but this whole discussion seems to go around in a loop does it not? I mean, what is "cheating" and "behaving as one likes" if they are NOT aspects of Free Will? I mean to ask: "are we acting freely and have we consciously chosen to do the stuff we do PARTICULARLY WHEN we simply follow the rules"? NO, we are not; thus if we do decide to 'break away' from the 'straight & narrow', to follow the 'unbeaten path' (such as Primal), then surely we are acting with a degree of Free Will? Yes? Is that "cheating"? NO.

    Let me turn this around the other way: Most researchers agree there are seriously flawed assumptions with 'Free Will'. . . Thus one can loosely agree that 'Morality & Rules' are there to guide the majority of us through life without really having to "Consciously Decide" what to do. . .
    Yet under experimental conditions these researchers discover we appear to NEED the illusion of Free Will to act in a Moral way. But what is moral?

    I think this all comes down to denial of the 1st line. It's like the Jungians regularly refer to "ancient deep lying ARCHAIC REMNANTS" (which are eternally unfathomable) and moan about the impoverishment of SYMBOLIC life. Virtually nobody comprehends what is really driving us and that IS our 1st line imprints.

    It must have driven Art (as a Doctor of Psychology and a practicing Psychotherapist) into various states of perplexion and infuriation to have been so familiar with this FUNDAMENTAL aspect of the human condition and for so long ONLY to see other researchers endlessly debating the CONSEQUENCES of the 1st line without ever actually considering there may be this SIMPLE and DEVASTATING CAUSE.

    I've heard it called: "Pouring From The Empty Into The Void" but you can't tell other people that when they continually debate consequences without realising that is what they are 'compelled' by their own denial to do.

    Paul G.

  19. we need access to both the feelings and defenses from them. the latest therapeutic development in the Center could be about new ways to support the defenses with medications if necessary?
    memories are far away - with a reason.
    jarre's souvenir de chine for some reason always make me very sad.

    1. Hi vuko,

      minor chords. . . in a descending octave. . . brings us down. . . to where feelings really matter. I think it's because when we wail for mamma and eventually begin to give up for the lack of her we also descend even lower down to lower levels as a survival mechanism. . . To Mums heart beat. . . To mums deep breathing when we are inside her womb and she's resting. . .

      Sometimes for me it is the sound of the sea and the surf washing up against the beach. Nearly everywhere on the planet the waves wash at a similar frequency and that frequency is ancient. . . A rhythm so old we cannot 'remember' consciously. . . we can only sense it.

      I love to lie on the beach on a sunny day and relax to the sound of the waves. Sometimes during the winter when it's cold and raining I also go to the beach and hunch under an umbrella and 'brood'. . .
      Paul G.

    2. Hi Paul:

      Your opening remarks about minor chords in a descending octave caught my eye. I don`t know what you technically mean, but I sure do know that some types of music, for me, are powerful evokers of feelings. Although I can`t listen to music as much as I would like because of a serious ear problem I have, I am repeatedly listening to parts of one magnificent song these days : "Standing on the corner of the Third World" by Tears for Fears.Wow...the depth and meaning and beauty of that song is just incredible. Feelings start to swirl and swell within me. What great artists! And I know that Janov`s books influenced them at the beginnings of their careers, which is an interesting connection.


      Man, I never slept so hard
      I never dreamt so well
      Dreaming, I was safe in life
      Like mussels in a shell

    3. Hi Marco,

      Yes, I know Tears For Fears too. It's heartening to know some people get to reflect Arts work back into the world.

      The technical music stuff is not as tech as it sounds. Research shows most of us mammals are 'hooked into' sound as a way to 'bond' and to communicate basic environmental conditions.
      When we are alerted our voices rise to a higher alerting octave and with notes which are often in the major chords (think trumpet calls or the cry: "LOOK - OUT"!): TA - DAAAAH ! ! !

      So we get woken up by those ascending major noises and then descending noises we use to sooth. . . Mums voice deepens as she tries to sooth us and when we are sad and in 'questioning / self reflective mode our voices often ask in minor chords dropping to lower notes down the octave.

      It is possible to modify your mood with music but of course as Art tells us it won't change the imprint at all. In this sense music is a drug triggering the release of feel-good hormones; temporary but essential relief from the madness surrounding our hectic / humdrum lives.

      Paul G.

      Paul G.

    4. Thanks for your reply, Paul.

      I still don`t understand your technical discussion, but that`s OK.

      I forgot to point out in my original post that the last 4 lines of it are the opening lyrics to the "Tears for Fears" song ,"Standing on the Corner of the Third World", which I refer to.

      I have to disagree with you and Janov that music is just a kind of drug temporarily making us feel good. I beleive that there are gradations of the depth of our ability to feel ,depending on how neurotic one is. My point is that most of us can still feel truly to some extent. The more neurotic`s true feelings though are mixed with more irrationnal responses and/or depression, but they still can be partly real and true. Everyone can respond to some extent to love,and thus to good music, or other arts.This also brings up the disagreement I have with Janov that most therapists loving accdeptance is also just a drug for which we come back as for a fix. In my opinion,if their aceptance is false, we feel it. If their acceptance is true, we feel the connection and feelings flow from the patient to the therapist. Anyways that is my positive experience with my Bioenergetic therapist. . I don`t feel that seeing her is like taking a drink, or smoking a joint.


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.