Friday, March 13, 2015

Act-Outs Are a Funny Thing

 For years I was drawn to crime stories in the newspapers.  Ordinarily, we would not consider  that an act-out but it was, as so many small little act-outs are.  Understanding the act-out helps me comprehend the more egregious act-outs.  Those that are damaging to others.

 For each act-out there is  almost always a feeling behind it; and the more compulsive and obsessive the act the stronger the feeling and usually the earlier it is in life. That is one way we know where the “push” comes from and on what level of brain activity it lies.  So in rage we pretty much know it is brainstem, first-line.  This is also true of other feelings or sensations driven by the first line:  terror, not fear; fury, not annoyance; suicidal hopelessness, not passivity.

 Mind you, I never knew I was acting out or even what an act-out was.  But when I got to the feeling under it, I finally knew.  And what was it?  I was looking for justice. I wanted the guilty party to be found, judged and convicted.  I clearly was acting out my feelings at home.  I was told to do things that made no sense, punished for acts over which I had no control.  Made to feel guilty for the least transgression.  I was continuously afraid of making a mistake.  I was looking for redemption.  It is also why I had a Primal over that lion I wrote about who was raised by a kind lady who came back to see him after five years; he hugged and kissed her.  I waited years for someone to say they loved me.  That all was forgiven and that I was not such a bad person, after all.  And in many of my Primals I cried, “Say I’m good.  Please!”  For those parents who were unloved and never were approved of, they are looking for the same thing.  Before they can say someone else is good they need to hear it for themselves.  It never happens.

 Many act-outs are in the sexual realm; and that same feeling I had can be transported into sex.  Wanting to get even; looking for justice.  So a person wants to dominate and command her sex partner; reliving exactly what happened to her.  That reliving is an attempt at resolution.  It is also a way of “getting even.”

 One woman needed to be spanked again and again in sex.  What was behind it?  Her father pulled down her panties to spank her. That bare-skin contact was what she desperately needed, and she got it with punishment.  She became obsessed with spanking and needed more and more of it in order to orgasm. Imagine! Instead of pleasure leading to climax, it became pain.    Look deep into the act-out and we find pain.

 What we see is how all relevant feelings congeal into a focused act that symbolizes those feelings in the same behavior.  If I punish someone over and over again they will certainly look for justice.  It is not only act-outs that are involved but act-ins also.  So those same feelings can produce a migraine or high blood pressure.  Once they surpass the limit of repression to hold down the feeling there are act-outs or act-ins.  That depends on many things;  a vulnerability of certain weak organs…..tendency to allergies, for example.
 Or a prenatal history that forced act-ins.  A highly blocked fetus who is parasympathetically dominant.  His modus operandi is to be repressive not expressive.  I wrote a book on this called, The Imprint.  It is complicated and needs to be read more deeply.  It is in the way the imprint is laid down.  Maybe later I will expand on it.

 But imprints dog nearly all of us.  They force acts that are completely unconscious and therefore cause all kinds of misery in the world.  So if you cannot feel wrong then you will be a master of figuring out how others are to blame.  Until you feel, feeling wrong is devastating for a young child because it means he is not loved.  He has to shuck that “wrong” immediately and make you wrong.  There is no relief from his abuse except for him to feel wrong in context.  Always in context for that and that alone is resolving.


  1. Hi Art,

    because we are social creatures I see our act outs (& ins) fitting together in a web of established denial. In society these are sometimes referred to as 'taboos'.

    Pain is itself a taboo in the generic sense because we all know pain to an extent, but when we see a manifestation of it in another person we tend to shy away to avoid resonance down to our own pains; we don't want to be "reminded".
    This generates a departmentalisation in society. We 'put away' the loonies into asylums, we assign social workers to the disadvantaged and we incarcerate crims in prison. (Out of sight, out of mind).
    If this isn't a giant act out reflecting the repressive function in each individual I don't know what is.

    Thus individual problems become the focus of specific intervention which nearly always becomes a tyranny. Why? Because when an incident or problem is observed out of context and treated without attention to the bigger picture with all it's other divergent effects and affects it can only produce a new imbalance, a new symptom masquerading as a cure. But it's only temporary, or illusory. It's alopathic.
    Thus the Taboo of Pain leads to a Tyranny of Care.

    Paul G.

  2. Paul, I agree that we categorize others in order to think of ourselves as better than them. We need to bolster our defenses to feel better--"at least I'm not as bad as them." Best to keep our freakiness and flaws hidden and get a boost of self-esteem knowing we are better than them.

    I was thinking about the interview that will come out about Bruce Jenner telling how he feels more female than male. People will watch because again they will want to feel good about themselves saying "well at least I'm not like that." Some will watch for curiosity sake--like "how does that happen?" But there is also the resonance it may provoke in our own freakiness inside us too that all is not right. There is something so deep and weird lying beneath.

    I think kids are more accepting of differences in people because they are still so close to their own feelings and self. Sheri

  3. Hi,

    it's a betrayal as well as a tragedy when repression (or rather the denial of pain) reduces the scope of our relations with each other.

    It's not easier if you personally reduced your suffering, somehow; particularly when you can see others still suffering. Most of all if you are advantaged and have no particular expense on others, or intentionally due to your prestige and power exploit others by default.

    If Primal could influence those with power and prestige then it would do so by leveling this playing field.

    Paul G.

    1. An email comment to Paul:
      ""Hi Paul
      Ivé already done it; the primal center that is.
      Already gone into the empathic non primal counsellor thing too. I don´t think it works and often can be harmful. As you say, it´s not an option to cross the barrier into primal pain with a non primal person, but also rarely possible You´re vulnerable once opened up and in danger from someone who isn´t trained. At best, you´ll have your 3rd line tears & misery validated as "releasing" or "cathartic" or some such nonsense - if the counsellor is into that - and considered sufficient for healing. In fact there is a danger, in my view, of getting stuck in a groove and deepening it (neurosis) and the "therapy" making present life unnecessarily painful and confusing. No insights will occur, and no progress will be made, so what is the point? You could release (abreact) with exercise and get many more benefits. I cry when I need to on the 3rd line; until I get proper primal help, that will have to do. Gary"


    2. Hi Gary,
      -"You could release (abreact) with exercise and get many more benefits"-.

      What do you mean? Could you expand on that please?

      Paul G.

    3. Hi Paul
      Not on the benefits of exercise presumably? I was saying so many people use exercise to release constantly building tension. In the Primal Center intensives, ex is hence usually forbidden (though sometimes requested by the therapist). In the absence of proper primal therapy I do regular ex (1) to release tension (2) for health. My natural hygienist diet (low fat, low protein raw vegan also keeps me FAR more relaxed - and incredibly healthy - than when I cheat with anything else; grains, dairy, cooked, caffeine etc and i sleep feeling incredibly relaxed and peaceful. Gary

    4. Hi Gary,

      I managed that lifestyle whilst doing TM for a while. I found myself unable to maintain the social standing whilst 'falling apart' and becoming 'shabby' (again). . . I have to say I am looking forward to having a place of my own. I have cohabited (including with my adorable children) for far too long. I have also traveled around in my wagon playing itinerant carpenter for too long too. I have set my heart on yoga again because I already have a routine worked out from TM days.

      I am considering changing my name to A. Maslow and writing a case study on myself.
      But I'm too busy being shabby. . .

      Paul G.

  4. Hi Sheri,

    -"I think kids are more accepting of differences in people because they are still so close to their own feelings and self"-.

    Very true and I worry how it is that we 'adults' end up expecting them to become something they are not in order to join our club of allegedly 'responsible' people. There's the conspiracy. . .

    Paul G.

  5. "If I punish someone over and over again they will certainly look for justice. It is not only act-outs that are involved but act-ins also. So those same feelings can produce a migraine or high blood pressure". A highly sophisticated order to discover... if we do not make contact with the cause of "what causes act-outs and act-ins". Which phenomena to solve without the tools to do it !?

    So... the question is why we understand so much about anything other than what is necessary to perceive what is right... scientifically speaking? Additional in excess of primal therapy what could be of help from the pharmaceutical industry?

    You might could give them a idea of what medicine could especially be helpful for primal therapy... a medicine who might open and close at need... so they do not become outside of what they perceive themselves to be... with the consequences... they become forced to defend their business. A medical outstanding for its effect for primal therapy?


    1. Frank: In my youth I was addicted to stories where there was final justice because as you say when we are punished over and over we do look for ultimate justice. art

    2. An email answer to Frank:
      "Frank; you said "So... the question is why we understand so much about anything other than what is necessary to perceive what is right... scientifically speaking?" Right; Hitler, Stalin, Oppenheimer, Einstein (developed the atom bomb) genii all, but how much compassion did they have? How much natural empathy with other sentient beings? How much did it motivate them in their lives? Cerebral intelligence is the outstanding quality putting the "great men" (and women but patriarchal culture minimises them) up there in history, the inventors, discoverers, pioneers. But the real heroes? Art, Dr Douglas Graham, Juliet Gellatly, A S Neill, etc. Heard of them? Highly feeling, compassionate, committed, their achievements motivated by their compassion.
      I mean, humans appoint themselves the most superior species on earth, yet my beloved dog Rosie is endlessly patient, accommodating, loving, trusting and yes, empathic, to me. I rescued her recently from 3 years on a 3 metre metal chain, thrown scraps for food, no affecton. Yet she is still the best friend I have. No human has ever come close. And look at how we treat animals. Gary"

  6. Can a medication be of help to get past the problem of being undetected?

    "The amount of pain we can manage is what our systems can integrate". But if there is an way to open and close in time to what we can handle the pain ... handle the pain that might be readable electrochemically seen and medications could be a means to get past what we otherwise do not automatically experience... and we remain in a state of unconsciousness of it? Especially when it comes to the symptom of being professional?


    1. Frank: We know about medication but our therapists" instincts are better. Art

  7. Hello Paul, I am at the stage in recovery where I am learning to accept and acknowledge when I am wrong, it is a painful process as the shame and fear of annihilation are so visceral.
    However now there are times when I approach my defects with a sense of excitement, as it is another key to knowing myself free from my false self created to survive my toxic childhood. Learning to accept myself as human, and not needing others and myself to be perfect so I can protect the fragility of my shattered soul.

    I have discovered some of my responses are so physiologically set that at times I can do nothing but wait for the waves of fight, flight, freeze (and fawn) to subside, regulate and then respond instead of reacting to people challenging me on making others wrong. I do wonder when/if my physiology will always be thus impaired, will I always have a physiological limp, but even if that is so, I now have more of my internal tools to not be overcome with shame and internally collapse.
    I have found at this stage that I physically need to move to challenge the 'freeze' response,- it is not always enough to get something psychologically.

    It pains me that so little of the plight of humans is acknowledged and worked with in society, the more I work on myself the more society's imprints and acting in/out are clearly seen and it is miserable. As a result I often feel more alone which is not good for us limbic creatures. It is at those times that I have to choose, do I go continue forward in healing or stay as 'mad' as society...? If I stall at least some sort of connection is maintained. But for myself I have noticed if the work on yourself is deep enough which includes your physiology, then stalling/stopping does not appear to be an option for long. The body/soul is inherently moved towards actualisation.

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I have made some very serious mistakes in my life as an adult and I also am still learning to acknowledge those 'errors'. . . Such bitter pills to swallow; but they also resonate down to earlier pains and rejections and makes being an 'adult' so, so difficult.

      I am certain some other people (with more power than I) exploit this 'conscience' of mine to make themselves feel better. Luckily for me I have never stooped that low. . . Luckily for me when confronted by others feeling remorse for what they've done wrong, well, I have started to feel remorse for my 'wrongs' too. I think it's called empathy. Thank goodness for empathy. . .

      Occasionally I have felt and acted impulsively vindictive but pretty quickly I felt revulsion at my own evil fantasy or act and put the brakes on; then I screwed my courage back onto my conscience (where it belongs). . .

      It never ceases to amaze me how SOME people just can't help themselves unconsciously climb up onto the suffering of others and lord it over them. . .

      F*****s !

      Paul G.

    2. Hi Paul thanks for your reply. I just responded with a long post , but I think I pressed the wrong link and it disappeared before I could submit it, darn. I will try to post again tomorrow, it's close to 1am here and time for my bed. Goodnight

  8. I've read this post every day since it came out. Every day it invokes a different feeling.

    This morning it led me to feel exactly what my mother's childhood was like. Why she was impelled to "choose" the career she did.

    Why she did to me what she and my father did. Why if I re-establish contact with her years after severing it, nothing will have changed.

    I started a website last month, that curates scientific research I'm interested in from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, often with my point of view of how applying principles of Primal Therapy apply to the findings.

    1. Surfaceyourrealself: Thanks, keep it up and good idea to establish a website. art

  9. Long time I have been looking for the answers. First I've read Alice Miller's books, later I found out your articles. Thank you, just than you mr Janov. Sorry for my english.

  10. Art, Paul, Sheri
    What you´re all identifying is the way everyone dumps to avoid their own pain. In any social situation, it happens, or you have lots of solitary situations where no one else pays, like solitary drinking or crying or self imposed isolation. The social dumps are all lies, though because nobody knows about primal,pain, nobody sees it. So people are oblivious to the fact that social conventions like handshaking, smiling insincerity, uptightness round physical contact, the harsh,taut face and terse voice, blaming someone for your hurt when all they´ve done is trigger pre existing hurt, and so on...are all defences against primal pain. Dumping is usually benign, making it harder to recognise. Generally, only major overreactions are seen as such.
    I feel most angry at the routine dumping - rationalised & justified by religion, social consensus, whatever it takes, when it is challenged - on children and animals. In both cases, the abuse is socially and institutionally condoned bullying, there´s no two ways about it. The justifications come out because, I think, on some level people know it´s wrong and they automatically defend aganst their guilt, just after they defend against their pain by crushing someone elses or na animals freedom. (By the way, this is from Gary; I can´t work out how to post under my name).

    1. Hi Gary,

      -"Dumping is usually benign, making it harder to recognise"-.

      Absolutely, and an understatement in the extreme. . . 'sitting on the fence', 'deference', 'tergivistation', 'detente', 'obfuscation', 're-framing'. . . There's 6, how many more can you think of?

      Paul G.

  11. Fairness is my "Act-out" which I suppose is justice too. Being bottom of the pecking order in my family was my life sentence. At least I feel it now. I have felt the fury and rage at never being consulted and being ignored.

  12. Hi Paul

    I remember as a teenager that one of the worst things to be thought of in our minds was that we were weird. It was a time that you want to "fit in" and be thought of as a sane person. Many of us did feel weird, strange, alienated. I think that is the time when therapy would be receptive because kids are just full of questions and doubts and have unveiled insecurities. As you infer, as adults we push those thoughts away and try to fit into "programs", squash our doubts and the chance of becoming normal and not miserable.


    1. Hi Sheri,

      Yep; I tried so hard to become something 'more / better / different' when I was a teenager I almost totally lost myself. . . . . . . . . . . I'm lucky to have found my way onto this blog 36 years later. Never too late to be real eh?

      Paul G.

  13. An email comment:

    I’m a devout reader of Arthur Janov’s blog. I could of sworn I recently read mention of when ‘Beyond Belief’ is coming out. End of this year? But now I can’t find where I thought I saw that. Do you know? I’m just curious.

    I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this book. I’ve been in process over the last couple years of separating myself from a spiritual community and teacher. Not an easy task by any means. I’m grateful for the experience both the good, bad, ugly and everything in between. But even more for stepping out of it and seeing the deep rooted imprints that allowed me to create this situation in the first place. It’s all just part of the trial and tribulations of my life. If it makes me stronger, more aware and more awake in the end, so be it. I’m up for the challenge of evolution, and moreso what’s on the other side when I get real with myself.

    I’ve read about 6 of Janov’s books over the last year or so. It’s helped considerably in the process. I live in Hawaii and at some point I do hope to make it to the Center to go through the Primal Therapy Intensive and really get down and dirty with myself and what lies below.

    Thank You for sharing this incredible work.


  14. Another email comment: "As I really feel emotionally rough most of the time and don´t have the money (or hope to) for primal therapy again, I´d really appreciate a piece from you on self primalling. And also overload. My understanding of your position is that self primalling is impossible - though there are many anecdotes about people starting primalling by themselves; Dr Michael Holden for one. I´ve wondered for decades if I´m overloaded and even when I do read something on this issue, it doesn´t explain it to my satisfaction and i´m still left no wiser about my own condition, let alone how to deal with possible overload

    All the best"

    1. Hi,
      Being a UK resident I seem to be constantly waking up to General Custer's dictate:

      -"Go West Son"-.

      More seriously though, I feel it is ok to feel stuff on the 3rd line, perhaps touching on the 2nd. . . and with the help of an empathetic counselor. . . but that will sooner or later lead to lower pains. . . and that cannot be accessed without specialist help from the Primal Center OR suppression of the pain with a prescription for antidepressants / strong painkillers.

      Paul G.

  15. Hi anonymous. Liked your post. I've been at a kind of juncture in my travels to wellness. In my family there have been 2 different examples to follow--either be ego-centric, for yourself type or sensitive and empathetic toward others. I found myself I in a split second choosing the latter even though the first seemed more natural just not long ago. Maybe eventually I would have chosen the right path.
    I said to myself I don't want to be harsh to people or friends or those who are dependent on me. It was a deliberate choice, rather than natural.
    I think the rewards are worth it when you continue to feel for other people. And it is worth it to continue letting yourself feel. Because eventually it seems there's a world of feeling people (in many ways) out there that you can better see and relate to. And the bad actors are also more visible too and you know not to trust them.

  16. An email comment:

    "As In A Mirror

    “Funny” enough, reading about Act-outs in Art’s Reflections I got a feeling that my life raced past. The memory process is fascinating in the sense that many interpretations that I had, during decades, of old memories, I now revise. I’m able to do that because I have re-lived much of the imprint that propelled my neurotic behavior and values.
    During the first half, I was often quick to distort and create erroneous interpretations of symptoms, events and situations (both of my own and other’s). My need to “confidently” impress those around me, was was an unconsciously propelled process, which was deeply confusing for myself because of its lack of harmony with reality.
    During the second half, having lived the Evolution in Reverse / the Primal Principle and demystified my repressed pain = epilepsy, my understanding of act-outs and act-ins has improved and continue to do so. (In this connection it is worth mentioning the unique fact that I spontaneously got liberating and dramatic confessions from both my parents about my two devastating childhood traumas.)

    Having read the act-out-Reflections a couple of times, I got a feeling that I saw my life in a mirror. Inside the mirror were additional mirrors reflecting episodes from my life. Suddenly I remembered a film of Ingmar Bergman, “Through a Glass Darkly”, which 1961 received an Oscar. The Swedish title of the film was “Såsom i en spegel” which, in a straight translation, means “As in a mirror”!!!! The film left a deep impression, like all Ingmar Bergman’s movies. The fact that Max von Sydow, who plays the husband Martin in this family drama, came from the same school, and it’s theater, which I belonged to, added another dimension to my experience.

    Ingmar Bergman film 1961, the same motif as Art Janov's Reflection, 2015, concerning act-outs and act-ins. The theme elaborates the consequences of what happens when our parents deny us love, attention, and touch during the first and most critical stages of life. Bergman understood, intuitively, to visualize our unconscious pains and hold up a mirror for us. (The film ends with the following, tragically revealing, words from Martins 17-year-old son Minus: “Papa spoke to me!” ).

    Janov has, through his development of The Primal Principle, taken us a step further and guides us, by re-living our pain, into the unconscious. For me, it feels like magic, to read Art's brilliant description of his own and everyone's tendency to act-out our unconscious. I can feel how I got it all together, 55 years after I developed epilepsy and saw “Through a Glass Darkly”.

    Fascinating and satisfying to follow how Art, after the age of 90, just like another of my favorites, Picasso, did, continues to be productive and inspire the world.


    1. Jan: Ingmar Bergman was one of the great people I knew. He brought me to Sweden to see one of his films. I got there in this dark room and I said to him, Hey I do not speak Swedish. He said not to worry. The room goes dark and suddenly a man appears behind me and starts whispering the dialogue in my ear. Within minutes it was as if I was watching the film in English. He visited me at the clinic and afterwards said, with all this chaos there must be a lot of creativity going on.
      Thanks Jan for the kind words. I think your case is important because there is something we can do with some epilepsies. art


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.