Saturday, January 3, 2015

So What is "Crazy"?

There is so much misunderstanding about what psychosis or “crazy” is. I think that once we take an evolutionary frame of reference it becomes much clearer. Once we know that there are deep brain imprints that resonate with higher brain levels to produce ideas and delusions, we are well on our way. We are the evolutionary result of all of history, personal and ancient. So “crazy” is to encompass all that history, as well. So when we equate bizarre ideas with psychosis we will need to delve deeper; deeper in our personal history and that of the species. Because psychosis must include all of that as the end-point of a process.

What if the pain does not get elevated to the neo-cortex and remains fixed lower down? What if the pain is gated somewhat so that the pain remains on the limbic level and below? What if upcoming pain is partially blocked so that there is no obvious neo-cortical affects that makes us delusional; having false or crazy ideas? In other words, depending on how early and how severe the input we can go "crazy" on different levels of evolution and brain maturation.  And infancy “crazy” has a different configuration from that of an adult who has the capacity for words as part of her psychosis. Autism has a different shape from adult psychosis.

So we see that hallucinations, false perceptions, hearing and seeing what is not there, impacted by feelings of danger are lower and earlier in time from delusions of persecution. We see worms crawling on the wall or see images of the devil as does one of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court. No one says he is psychotic because there are no obvious delusions; they are obvious to me, however.  And yes, that is "crazy". Actually seeing the devil is seeing an image that you manufacture, unless you believe there is a devil and that devil can be seen. If you believe that you need to close ranks with the crazies.  When we take terror and pain, very deep and remote pain, out of the system those "devils" take a hike, not to be seen anymore.  They do not go away until after months of primal therapy where the patient reaches catastrophic suffering and terror, the imprint, that gave birth to the images, in the first place. Again, why is that? Because pure terror is mostly a brain-stem affair and when the fear is strong enough it propels that delusion. Then we say, "the devil made me do it". And this is reinforced by the Catholic Church which does recognize the devil and has certain priests who specialize in Exorcism.  To say that the man in the booth over there is sending me messages, is slightly different from conjuring up a devil to explain what is happening.  Did you get that about the Catholic
Church? They have specialists who root out the devil!

That is one way we know where the culprit, I was going to say, "devil" lies, but I will leave the pun alone. When patients in Primal Therapy go deeper and further back in their evolution the "devil" diminishes, which is one way we know what is behind the illusion.  Illusion is a false sense; delusion is a false idea. Generally, false sense is more remote in origin, as it was in our personal maturation.  We smell odors before we can think about what to call it.  And, as I reported in past blogs, there is evidence that the specific sense of some smells occurs during womb-life. The mother’s odor is recognized right after birth by the baby.  If we smell odors as an adult we can almost be sure there were real early memories behind them. And those memories will lay way back in our lives, so strong that it stayed untouched for decades.

But, on the other hand, as the patient relives first-line deep brain imprints (terrible suffocation at birth) some of the delusions begin to disappear.  We can actually observe the shaping of a delusion. In a lesser fashion, when a spouse wants to leave her husband because he is "suffocating her", we may find the origins deep in the brain. Of course, there may be real external reasons; but still there is a crucible for all this.

So what is crazy? It is a deviation of the whole system and a rerouting of the neuronal, brain-path circuits. The great level of early pain, we saw two brothers both pre-psychotic whose mother took heavy drugs throughout all of her pregnancy, who were "crazy" from the start; very delayed talking and walking slow mental development and great difficulty in focus and concentration.  They ended up being diagnosed as psychotic because they showed evidence of delusions; crazy ideas. That is the contribution of the cognitivists who believe that we need evidence of false ideas, delusions, before we name anything as psychotic.  We can "see" that kind of psychosis before our eyes. We rarely can see the deep anguish that lies deeper. In that sense, organs can go crazy when the cells overspill their banks and become cancer or later Alzheimers disease.

It would be strange, indeed, to think that only the top level cortex can go crazy. That is a narrow view of our complexity. We go crazy in different ways depending on our genetics, epigenetics and later life experiences; fighting a war, for example. Although I fought many battles in the war, I believe that my family life did me in, far more than battles. That is, I fought a much more serious battle as a fetus and infant, with no one to help me; all alone with no one to turn to, and no one to lean on.  Those early battles change everything and for life. They are embedded deep in the brain and we fight that battle for the rest of our lives.


  1. Hi,

    -"They ended up being diagnosed as psychotic because they showed evidence of delusions; crazy ideas. That is the contribution of the cognitivists who believe that we need evidence of false ideas, delusions, before we name anything as psychotic"-.

    Forgive me if I'm generalising too much but what you seem to be 'covering' here are two disparate yet related types/levels of 'act out'.
    1: The obvious 'acute' presenting symptom of the patient (hir psychosis/act out) and then 2: (Horror of all horrors) the blessed analyst observing and 'categorising' (euphemism for judging) it. But by who's theory and standards of categorisation?

    Who is really acting out any more than the other?

    OK, I appear to speaking glibly but really; what's in it for the observer? Vindication? Of what?

    Their superior judgement? Their professional standing and their wage packet. . .

    What's in it for the patient? Temporary respite from the terror of their history through admission to a predominantly behavioural/drug prescriptive hospital program.

    Who is really feeding off who?

    Paul G.

    1. Hi,
      bee in my bonnet again,

      -"We rarely can see the deep anguish that lies deeper"-.

      Dr. George Simon sets a very low threshold for personality disorder and a very high threshold for PTSD. He is obsessed with labeling. He exhorts that there are people with disorderly personalities who experience no shame, cannot see the 'poor choices' they make and blame every one else. . . He says he regularly gets these types into counseling and has decided they need to be addressed on their behaviour because it is 'old hat' to try to figure out the causes of their 'disorderliness'. It simply gets no where. . .
      He makes a distinction between these types and neurotics who he says 'feel shame'. But he confuses shame & guilt. . . for him they are interchangeable and that is the root of his cheap con; let me explain:

      It is as if he has divided us all into EITHER psychos OR neurotics and he the behavioural SAVIOUR can TEACH us new behaviours to make us good and wholesome FOLKS.

      His high threshold for PTSD is basically you have to have experienced threat of DEATH or witnessed DEATH in another. That's a very high threshold for PTSD isn't it?

      Except of course there are so many of us who have indeed been subjected to near death experiences in the womb, at birth or in early infancy. . . (OR all three)!

      But of course, because we don't "Remember" these we can't say (or rather Dr. George Simon Jesus Christ, saviour of behaviour WON'T say) that we have PTSD if and when we get triggered into weird horrible feelings later in life. . . Can HE? ? ?

      Shit the bed ! NO, he will say that we are 'borderline' and need to correct our attitudes.

      This IS the new Zeitgeist. It is a very 'smart' maneuvering in the drama triad. It recruits believers who are able to fit the norms prescribed in Dr. Simon's gestalt. Basically you can enter counseling on the basis of behaviour modification. . . IE YOU (if you feel neurotic) can feel ashamed for you behaviour and receive some 'empowerment training' in which no doubt you learn to recognise how to "Rise Above Your (personality disordered) Persecuting Boss / Husband / Wife / Agent / Mother / Father / Tinker / Tailor Soldier / Sailor / Rich Man / Poor Man / Beggar Man / Thief". . .

      Any one else who disagrees is a 'personality disordered individual' with a 'blame problem'; these need constantly to be picked up on their behaviour.

      The con here is that there really are disorderly personalities who wreak havoc because they have no remorse. . . But this doesn't mean that if a neurotic blames or criticises some one else for colluding in their downfall that she is suddenly an intractable psycho does it?
      What is the difference between shame & guilt? Shame is a social 3rd line affect caused by many things which 'isolate you' from support in your community. Guilt is 2nd line, it is what children feel if they havn't been loved enough. The 1st line correlating / originating cause is UN MET NEED. . .

      Remorse is what all people can feel if they've done something that hurts another. Does Dr. George Simon have the capacity for remorse?. . . I digress.

      Paul G.

    2. Hi,

      -briefly on remorse:

      Remorse IS a major key to breaking the hold repression has on us. It's not the only one. . . But it is the one ALL real humans comprehend from ALL walks of life.

      I shouldn't even need to discuss it here but the water has been muddied so much by these f*****g behaviourists , the WORD needs to be taken out of it's 'closet', dusted off and given an airing from time to time.

      I feel remorse when I've hurt someone else through my own actions. It is a bed fellow of EMPATHY. To my feelings EMPATHY & REMORSE are almost the same thing.

      What makes Remorse slightly different is that YOU are the cause of the suffering. Thus YOU can feel remorseful FOR yourself as well as for another who you have hurt. . . YES! YOU can even FEEL Remorse for what YOU did to YOURSELF. . . Then you can get down to the real feelings you hid from yourself for so long. . .

      Remorse is not shame nor is it guilt. It is an aspect of Conscience, of Consciousness. As Art says: "It IS ALL OF A PIECE". The whole judicial system knows all this stuff but frequently completely muddles it up because societies at large forget the truth about the human condition. . . OR they never discovered it in the first place.

      Remorse leads you to the edge of the Janovian Gap. It is there with you when you look right into it and begin to feel. . . begin to see across. . . begin to stop suffering and feeling the pain.

      Paul G.

  2. Hi Art,
    another thought:

    -"Although I fought many battles in the war, I believe that my family life did me in, far more than battles. That is, I fought a much more serious battle as a fetus and infant, with no one to help me; all alone with no one to turn to, and no one to lean on. Those early battles change everything and for life"-.

    Me too, though the battles I fought as an adult weren't 'military'. . .

    I've realised that so many of us are showing the symptoms of illness now because adult experiences (3rd line battles) have triggered off (resonance down) to 2nd & 1st. I think the various health authorities are partially aware of this but find themselves in a quandary about WHO is really the 'perpetrator'. . . Without an obvious 'perpetrator' things get complicated.

    There is this fixation with trying to ascribe the drama triad to ALL situations when really history is so often a lot more complicated than that. Keeping things on a 'behavioural' standing is an attempt to keep things 'simple' and costs down. . . Entirely counter - productive of course, as denial always is.

    Stick a label on it and carry on regardless. . .

    Paul G.

  3. Fascinating as always. I went through a period of seeing things as an adult. They were when I woke up when the unconcious and concious mind are mixed up. Was this crazy Art? I never saw anything during the day when I was totally awake. I sometimes wonder whether I was experiencing the real me breaking through the false me. I think this is what has happened to me over the past 10 years. It was as though I had to go through this transformation. All the things I saw were as you have often said containers for feelings. Also containers for events, coloured by contextual details of the events mixed up into surreal imagery that needed unravelling. I never sat down and tried to work out what they meant. I used to walk to work and simply wait for insights to pop up. I gave them space to appear. There always seemed to be some link with my past. Often the imagery tended to be linked to the period of the trauma. Imagery from TV series that were important to me as a child around the time of the event. Things of importance linked to my Parents. Hints about where something may have happened. I even found these helped me to work out roughly when something happened. Ofcourse the earliest events in the womb tended to be represented by nightmares because what else was there to offer context other than the terror.

  4. Evolution and Creationism / The Book of Genesis.

    I certainly enjoy Art Janov’s Reflections about how repressed / imprinted pain compels us, both short and long term, to experience life in surreal conditions. The pain propels abnormal vital signs, wear down our bodies prematurely and “make us go crazy on different levels of evolution and brain maturation.”

    Inspired by Art, The Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse, I have over 40 years, gained practical insights into how repressed pain works and distorts, but that the pain with patience can be re-lived. I did not understand that the outside world (and then I include everyone from my nearest environments to the world at large) did not do as I did, struggled to get free from their imprinted pain. Since then I have realized that I have been lucky in misfortune, who was exposed to a birth trauma / pain which developed into epilepsy. My fits, seizures, and hallucinations could not be repressed, except with strong, toxic and mind distorting, however, lifesaving medicine. They forced me to seek the help of Dr. Janov and Evolution in Reverse, so that I, eventually, could enter / re-live my repressed and wordless pain.

    To select Evolution in Reverse as a treatment method is deeply linked to a conviction “that we are the evolutionary result of all history, personal and ancient.” I would never trust a religious believer, who lives by the Bible’s creation story / Genesis and the commandments, at the same time, to be a reliable Primal Therapist. Possibly, he / she can be an interesting PT patient seeking a cure for his / her pain propelled religiosity. My heart rate flew up into the 70’s when Art expressed his surprise that the Catholic Church has priests / specialists who recognize / root out the devil. It takes One (a pain propelled Catholic priest) to know One (the devil). Their roles /specialties are both pain propelled products of the same evolution. (The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, was appointed Person of the Year 2013 by the US news magazine Time. Without making other comparisons, the same magazine appointed Adolf Hitler, Person of the Year, in 1938.)

    More than 100 years ago one of Sweden’s most talented personalities, the skilled biologist, scientist and Darwinist Bengt Lidforss got his career seriously disturbed by the bishop, acting university chancellor and devil worshiper Gottfrid Billing. In his book, “Why Evolution is True”, Jerry A Coyne tells us that anti-evolutionism, still today is very strong in the US and on the rise in England and Germany!

    In 2006 only 40% of Americans (down 5% from 1985!!) believed that humans developed from earlier species of animals. We descend from a primate lineage that split off from our common ancestor with the chimpanzees roughly seven million years ago. (In France and Scandinavia 80% of people see evolution as true). According to Jerry A Coyne, evolution gets bumped down even further in the US when it comes to deciding whether it should be taught in the public schools. Two-thirds of Americans feel that if evolution is taught in the science classroom, creationism should be as well. In the US only 12 percent - one in eight people - think that evolution should be taught without mentioning a creationist alternative…

    Sen from the bright side, 12% of the US population means 38 million people…

    Jan Johnsson

    Today it is Sunday, a day of rest. Which we celebrate as a religious relic from the Book of Genesis, when the world had been created in six days…

    1. if any of these answers could mean something. does asking questions ever results in meaningful answer?

    2. there is something scary in what i mean. it is more defined by your question.
      not every question is the same. i think those from the survey are superficial.
      your question is nothing special. but i see now that IT DEPENDS...
      on circumstances...

    3. Hi vuko,

      I think it also depends on how at the time of the insight you FEEL about the way YOU think.

      I mean, I am capricious with what I think and believe. I have "fluctuating capacity" in this respect. . . But then I look around me and I see other people appearing to me to be in a similar situation. . . I FEEL we can be conscious of this FLUCTUATION but it's hard without help from an "Impartial Witness" to build your 'descent' to lower realms FROM that fluctuating position. If it's windy UP there, the branches sway alarmingly. My inclination when in this situation is to cling on for dear life!

      The lower realms are where the energy drives AND the imprint IS. To me, this is the edge of the 2nd line downward, a convergence of two (or more) great Bows in the Tree of descent. . . It's NOT to be undertaken ALONE.

      Climbing down the trunk to the roots requires complex supervision.

      I'm still hanging around in the canopy of my tree trying to 'negotiate' some new rope with people already on the ground. My old rope is nearly all worn out.

      Paul G.

    4. Hi,
      i think lack of sleep lately helped to create a storm inside my ADD tree... in this atmosphere a simple question can be decisive...
      ADD doesn't affect only thoughts but also everything else, and make me think i am nowhere and no one... but the fact could be that i am close (too close) to something/somebody. and perhaps my writing/thinking is trying to compensate for the chaos. it is instant insight at the time of writing this.probably it won't last.
      about supervision> supervision includes our defenses... the trust has to be earned.
      sorry, the rest is lost in translation. isn't that often the case with (old) scriptures...?

  5. Yes, The Roman Catholic church has set up a school of exorcism in the past few years to exorcise the Devil out of people, especially teenage girls in Africa etc.
    Personally I think they should sit all them men in frocks down for 10 episodes of George
    Oh yes we have the auld exorcism in Ireland . Especially for gifted and talented children.
    We also have the ECT for abused to burn out the memories and also for the gifted one too - to normalise them.
    Its time the light of truth was shone on Ireland and its dark age consciousness.

  6. A very serious, sobering and realistic post that provides minimum ammunition for unrealistic expectations primal therapy-wise.
    You, Art, are writing as well or better than ever!

    1. Pbef:
      Strange. It is what my wife says. My writing is getting more pithy and clear. Thanks for your observation. art

    2. Something to get our teeth into. . .

  7. "Although I fought many battles in the war, I believe that my family life did me in, far more than battles. That is, I fought a much more serious battle as a fetus and infant, with no one to help me; all alone with no one to turn to, and no one to lean on. Those early battles change everything and for life"

    Art: I'm glad that you had what must have been a fairly intact "3rd line," to have survived the stressors of war in the Pacific. Had you not, we would not be benefiting from Primal therapy. For me, having been a combat medic in Vietnam did indeed "break' me. I came home a broken man. I had to " feel" that brokenness over and over since my father only offered me a handshake when I got home. I had to imagine myself lying at his feet in our hallway a multitude of times feeling: "I'm broken dad, please help me." in that scene.
    I've gotten to progressively resolve 1st line now which as you say has given me more relief from my symptoms than the pain of Vietnam. Birth and War. There's the history of humankind all wrapped up in one title? Do we act out the rage of our birth and feeling unloved against each other ad nauseum? Peace then would truly have to be resolved from within ourselves before it would be a lasting reality in the world.

  8. Hi Walt,

    -"Birth and War. There's the history of humankind all wrapped up in one title-.

    So true. . .

    Paul G.

  9. cortex is naturally wired to understand what lower structures contain. but lower structures don't know what it is. so how can cortex know it? he receives the messy impulse and it is the worst confusion that can be. undefined danger! but if we label it, we contain it. add the some kind of savior and we are ok again.
    it is good to have ability to contain it. it would be also good to be able to connect with it. slowly.

  10. it is convenient for all those labeled powerful coalitions to have a labeled danger. then we have it in a legal system. we can regulate it... keep it under control.
    does devil have an address?

  11. An email comment:
    "Wow, just a terrific blog on psychosis. Never viewed it in that light but it makes so much sense. I meet with a lot of parents whose children have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Because one of the three distinguishing characteristics of such children is sensory impairments,
    I would guess that the nature of this developmental impairment might be a clue to its origin.

    Recently gave a presentation to staff of the STAR Program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles in Hematology-Oncology Unit.

    1. And my answer:
      Glad you liked it, thanks! By the way, I was on staff at the psychiatric department of L.A. Children's Hospital for several years. art

  12. "There is so much misunderstanding about what psychosis or “crazy” is".

    Delusions a brain process for survival!

    When we produce ideas that result in socially acceptable madness... then it's not so easy to convince that it's delusions due to historical circumstances for survival.

    Who do we talk to? A question well deserving of its right for what social inabilities argue their abilities.

    We can invite them in their belief that they are right when they represent primal therapy... a social training for what now prevails concerning hundreds of other methods. Or we can hope that "god" is or catch them in their outbreak of symptoms which do not fit into the social aragemanget.

    Science can perhaps turn inside out on the whole but "faith will move mountains". We could sneak in to the universities in sense that Janovs primal therapy is the one and only... in analogy with what the process suffered around Freud... but now with primaltherapy without suffering. It is perhaps what is happening here on the blog... learn through word of what science presents around primaltherapy and in the sense ultimately prevail.

    It is similar to "the horse from Troy". We could try by the legal authorities... I know ... they are represented by delusions... but science itself can move mountains.


  13. Hi Art,

    The devil is in the detail. . . Primal offers the detail. . . Thus dissolving the devil. . .

    Paul G.


Review of "Beyond Belief"

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

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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