Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Leap Into Cancer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



  1. Hi
    1) Who has healed yourself? (excuse me)
    2) Are your thoughts similar to eastern philosophers especially Krishnamurti? (for example see:
    3) Are psychological differences between man and woman biological (Cerebral or hormonal) or cultural or caused by interaction between mind and body [similar minds + different bodies -> different psyches]?

    1. Lliya,
      I have read most of Art's books that he has written, and all of them are very informative, and very enlightening. Some things in this life, I believe, are important to know.

  2. Lliya: Those are broad questions that I cannot answer in a few lines. You are welcome to read my books, all the answers are there. art

  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year also to you and your family. Thanks Art !

  4. Science is often impossible to confirm because the scientists are looking for results that more suit own perception than substance presents!

    I saw a program about homosexuality that resulted in positive genetic changes... changes they have chosen to interpret for how homosexuality strengthened the genetic makeup of related... it to justify the homosexual nature. They even tried to prove this by looking at other species homosexuality.

    Right or wrong? I can see how confusing it is around scientific research when they look for a result more fitting own opinion than what hiding behind generations of genetic changes. Maybe... homosexualitet is a process in the evolutionary process to stop something that has gone wrong genetically speaking because they can not procreate... something the homosexual does not want to know.

    Yes... the program was represented by homosexuals. One way to justify their nature instead of disclosing the cause! But they also have a reason to do so because they are persecuted ... what we do not ... in the sense of survival?



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.