Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Here Is What Is So Strange About Us Humans

A lot of you are writing in about justice and seeking justice in your lives, just as I, when younger, read police stories where there was always justice at the end. But, but, though I did this for years I never knew what I was doing.  My life was unjust but I had no words for it nor any conscious awareness of it.  My life, like yours, is just that: my life as I lived it.  I never knew about any alternative. I never knew what life should be about since all I saw was how my life was.  I never knew I should be treated with respect, that my parents should know and call me by name.  I never knew that  I had a right to do nothing without feeling "lazy".  I never knew that children should be hugged and kissed because it never happened.   How was I to know?  You don’t know what is missing until you first get it; then you know.  Or if you begin to feel your life in Primal Therapy and you feel what you needed, what was missing and why it hurt.  You finally find out what was missing through your feelings, not your top level cognition.  That won’t tell you doo-doo about yourself.

Too often we put ourselves in a replica of our early lives, trying to provoke a different ending but it never happens.  We get involved with mean people or critical ones hoping for a smidgen of love, appreciation and approval.   We never think it out; we are just attracted to those who will give us nothing.  One woman patient told me that immediately when she saw a tough looking guy she was attracted to him.  She wanted a strong father who took charge very unlike who her father was.   Another woman was attracted to a strong man who would lead and guide her like her father never did. So what did she get?  A man who took control, dominated her and ordered her around.  She obeyed like a little child.  She got part of what she needed but did not want the other domineering part, which she also got.

Some men want a mother for a wife and want her to do everything around the house.  The little girl complies and does it all because “daddy” says so.  The problem is that this can drift into the husband’s paranoia:   where did you go today? Who did you meet, what did they say? What time did you come home?  “Never do that again without my permission.”   This man over the years becomes dangerous. Until he stalks and follows.   She is in danger.  They almost never escape until it is too late.  Look for the warning signs and do not hope for the best; it is not to come.

What is behind all this? So many things but basically an absent mother, or mother who left for someone else, or an indifferent cold mother.   He needs her close NOW, and has to make sure he has her.  She is now his mother and he, and she, cannot differentiate what is real and what is not.   Watch out for someone suddenly showing up, as if by accident.  You are being followed.  And if you do not act like an obedient child, violence ensures.  He will beat you up.  And even when he does, you will go on hoping for something different and stay around.   She and he are trapped in the past and cannot distinguish the present.  It is all acted out.  She needs a father who helps and guides her; while he needs a mother who is always there for him.  Getting our needs from the past fulfilled in the present seems natural, and the way it should be.  Alas, it can only happen during the critical period when we are in the womb or in our infancy. There is a time limit for fulfillment and only then can it happen.  After that, we act-out, trying to get fulfillment in every way we can.  It is never enough.  How can we get over that?  Only one way:  go back to the critical period and feel the need during the critical period again; with it the pain and then you will be free to stop the act-out.

What is so diabolic is that we never know we are acting symbolically.  We keep on doing it  because the deprivation of need during the critical period keeps it alive.  Need is eternal.  It only dies with us, not before.  The need is often so distant and alienated that it is like from a strange country.  We act on it but never know we are doing it. So we are squeezed at birth and suffocated and we keep on keeping windows open; or we keep on moving there and there because to stop means (back then) being helpless and hopeless.  And guess what?  When we stop we slip into depression: hopeless and helpless. So here we see manic depression.  Keep on moving till we can’t and then feeling depressed—hopeless.   We remain in the grips of history, of our past even though we never understand that simple fact.

We keep on gambling because “lady luck” is going to help us win.  We have compulsive sex because we have so much pressure inside that we do not know exists.  In the case of sex it is understood:  it rises from deep in the brain, long before we have words for sex.   And often long before we can have a relationship that includes sex with another person.  It is called onanism.  You relate to yourself only because you lack the social skills that could combine love and sex.  You are no more than a pressure cooker.  Others are but a relief valve for pains that have no emotions, only impulses.   There was some guy who once called this an impulse neurosis.   A prisoner of Pain (Oh I remember who he is).  Impulsive people are loaded with preverbal pain that comes from the time we were preverbal.  Daah


  1. I think everyone should post this article to every person on planet earth. Who can't relate to it?

  2. Art, if I understand you correctly, it seems to me short of feeling the feelings that cause the act out, the neurotic is doomed to act out. And even when the neurotic is aware of his act outs and tries to put a stop to them, well that is probably just another act out. No doubt he even acts out in his dreams. For the neurotic it seems it’s impossible not to act out. And most if not almost all act outs seem so normal that they go unmissed. The neurotic could read all of Art’s books ten times over and fully understand Primal Theory, but he will still act out. His life is one big act out and he can no more put a stop to them than he could change the colour of his eyes by an act of will. He will probably even die, acting out. He has no alternative, other than feeling his feelings, in Primal Therapy.

    Great article Art. Do write more on the act out if you can.



    1. Good piece Steve. So so right. art

    2. Hi Steve,

      -"For the neurotic it seems it’s impossible not to act out. And most if not almost all act outs seem so normal that they go unmissed"-.

      So much for free will then. . . In an earlier post when questioned about the % of neurotic people on planet earth, Art said he hadn't met many people who didn't have some imprinted traumas. It makes me wonder what it is that actually trips any one out of their 'waking dream' into seeking a different life. It seems to me that failing gates is possibly the most usual; but that in itself delivers distortions and fantasies which feed back into what Jung called the "collective unconscious". . . I know Art isn't much into Jung but I'm sure that is because Arts discovery explains the symbolisms we all "act out" and of course Primal therapy eventually dissolves (re-integrates) the forces (1st line) that drive them.

      Nevertheless, when discussing act outs it is worth looking at what Jung was banging on about, particularly in a Primal context.

      There do seem to be patterns to both personality and the cyclic development of humans and Jung went to a lot of trouble to explore the symbolism of many different cultures to draw together the overall picture of human symbolism. I'm sure these patterns dissolve as neurosis is solved. . . IE: these patterns are an expression of what is wrong with us, not a feature of what is NORMAL.

      It seems to me we are 'partial' people, we are incomplete, we are 'slit off' from important 'members'. If Jung could have seen the science of epigenetics which shows how methylation suppresses / retards / represses gene expression I wonder if he would have made any connections of his own?

      Anyway, I am continually struck by the ever more apparent SHALLOW AFFECT that repression has on society as a whole. As long as people BELIEVE in their act outs then they will continue to skate along on the thin ice of their repression. . .

      Paul G.

  3. Hi Art,

    -"What is so diabolic is that we never know we are acting symbolically"-.

    I dunno, after all this education on your blog for 4 years and some feelings of my own I seem to be walking around on eggs slapping my own cheeks and pinching myself to make sure I awake and ready for the next 'self fulfilling prophesy' of mine to come true. . . (and that of course is another layer of my act out).

    But on a good note the local authority in the city I live in have finally given me a little studio flat in a swanky part of town. . . And just after I spent a shed load of cash on my ancient Landrover camper thinking I'd have to stay 'on the road (Jack, and don't you come back no more no more)'. . . . .

    I've been homeless and of no fixed abode working in 7 different yards staying in 6 different places around the UK over the last 5 years and boy oh boy am I fed up of this 'act out'. . .

    I'm sure I was sent away as a toddler when my Mum got ill and had some traumatic experiences at the hands of my 'surrogate carers'. . . and then off to boarding school later to 'drive home' the imprint thoroughly. . . (compounding). And thence on from there I went, here and there and everywhere. . . eternally looking for home, my family, my friends and my Mum & Dad. . .

    I've got the keys in front of me now. . . I've moved some of my stuff in already. . .

    Paul G.

  4. Hello.

    There is an issue that I haven’t so far comprehended. From my experience and when discussing it with other people, I have figured out that every single person tends to attract events, but especially humans, that will trigger feelings inside him.

    One of my students for example, was attracting bullying or aggressive behavior even from his teachers. If there were not teachers, there were students. And I really don’t have to go into details about his shitty childhood.

    People, who were deprived of love, but are really close to their need and feel their deprivation, attract personalities that will refuse even some crumbs of affection.

    Other people, who were also not loved, but diverted that need to anger, will attract people who will dominate and upon who will express their anger.

    People, who deep inside them need justice, will bring injustice to their lives, either in their profession or their relationship or something else.

    And all this sounds so metaphysical!!

    As a consequent, those stressful situations will definitely bring up long – forgotten imprints. The most amazing thing, now, is that if someone does primal therapy, automatically breaks that chain. He stops attracting the unfaithful lover or the tyrannical boss. If more feelings remain, but on a different matter, he will attract other type of events, coordinated with the new feelings that have arisen!!
    Even more amazing, if someone is – for example – cheated, but lets himself feel all the feelings of the betrayal and goes even deeper inside him, destroying part of his neurosis (without even knowing about primal therapy), even then he will start to attract different situations. In other words, just by being true to your feelings and to yourself is redemptory.

    And I am speaking from my own experience. Of course, I could be wrong, but I was really eager to share this with you guys.

    Dr. Janov, once you said that (for example) “willpower” cannot be acquired by just thinking that you are brave. And that’s absolutely true, because (as you added) this is a 3rd line approach. So, either your whole existence IS willpower or it is NOT. In my opinion, when someone expresses the capability of willpower naturally and it comes straight from his feelings, he doesn’t even realize it. It feels so natural like walking.

    Thank you...

    - Yannis -

    1. Hi Yannis,

      Yes, really good letter. . . but I question this:

      -"every single person tends to attract events, but especially humans, that will trigger feelings inside him"-.

      I prefer to describe this as navigating life with blind spots caused by repression. . . "Avoidances" is a good word. . . In epigenetics I have heard the idea: "suppression of gene expression". . .

      I'm not trying to split hairs but to point out that every new insight is like a new navigation tool which we can use to better 'make way' through obstacles in life. Every new insight (gained from regaining split off feelings) adds colour to a formerly colourless terrain. Proportion can evolve out of dimension. . .

      My purpose here is twofold: 1. To prevent victims blaming themselves and 2. To remind others that we all have some blind spots which others can see better than us ourselves and honestly, we NEED others to help us with our blind spots and NOT exploit them.

      A community of neurotics would agree to BE like this for each other. . .

      Paul G.

  5. The theory of primal therapy is great. But the therapy does not work. I know. I went through primal therapy in early 1970's. The human psychic is more complex. Capturing and feeling the inner child in pain is only a small part of the answer. There is the magical child, the joyful child also to remember and embrace. And more...there is a source of deep love, peace within each of us, underneath our emotions/thoughts, inside our hearts. Primal therapy and psychology in general is limited when it does not include the spiritual resource within us all, within our hearts.
    This is about religion but literally love, a vast space of acceptance, trust, well being which is within everyone, found in meditation and other whole body approaches.
    Bruce Davis, Ph.D.
    Retreat leader at Silent Stay, Napa,California

    1. I think that Primal theory and therapy's aim is to ultimately find that peace and love you speak of. I think the therapy is spiritual in that you can relate to children again as if you were one. You are more alive and can see innocence.
      Feeling feelings brings you back to who you were. You discover the pain that shut you off and feel the deprivations.
      Who wants to do that--it's painful but it works.
      Because therapy or the theory did not work for you, you cannot assume it does not work for others. There are several books by Dr. Janov telling of its workings and success.

    2. Hi Bruce,

      That's all very well and I'm sorry that for you Primal didn't work, perhaps it did start to work but you didn't notice, or perhaps you hit a wall and got lost. I did Transcendental Meditation for years and for a while I was able to lead a kind of 'real life' skimming along the surface with my spiritual assumptions. But in the end I discovered my imprints remained totally untouched and they tripped me up and I fell. . .

      I still meditate occasionally, when desperate. . . when overloaded. I also recite the Lords Prayer sometimes too. . . Usually when desperate. . . But I no longer 'believe' in palliatives and I no longer search out love situations. . . This has become my new discipline. I realise I have become a 'love addict' and more and more I 'let go' of this kind of false hope.

      I know many people who go to retreats and 'get off' on a love vibe generated out of 'community building' which surely accesses the parasympathetic system. In good company this can be shared and with constant 'back up' one can make surface changes which help. But I am certain the imprints remain. . . The kind of freedom your retreats produce are conditional, temporary. . . I'm not knocking it. . .

      But I'm not relying on it any more.
      Paul G.

  6. The parts of the above article about battered women is timely for me, in that I have just been reading the mid-90s autobiography of a female actress and comedienne Brett Butler,who had a TV show, also in the mid-90s, called "Grace under Fire". When she was a young adult she was in relationship where she was repeatedly battered; she was also alcoholic and addicted to various drugs. She was then "clean" for a long period and got re-addicted in the late 90s, losing her show and her husband. She then dropped out of sight, eventually broke and homeless in the late 2000s. Although not having sufferred so much myself and thus not completely identifying with these stories, I am always attracted to reading such books, or movies about such situations. One reason is to try to understand how , for instance, people get into such violent personal relationsips. If what Dr Janov says is true about unconscious need driving such dynamics, then that is pretty incredible. It never ceases to amaze me. I'm not totally convinced: I'd have to read more case studies, talk to persons who have gotten out of nasty situations using Primal Therapy, but I am certainly open to finding out more, that's for sure.

    One other aspect to these contemporary stories is that most of these people use the 12 step programmes to try to help themselves. What seems to be apparent is that whatever "recovery' they make using the illusion of a "Higher Power" and confused "spiritual" support seems pretty precarious. One false move and...boom, back to Hell. It seems to me that any true therapy would help with a durable well-grounded recovery relatively impervious to inner or outside shocks. Maybe that is what primal Therapy is.


  7. Hi,

    Justice is something we hope to get at the end of a cycle. Justification is also a scientific and technical word. . . it equates to 'completion'. When some one or something stands in the way of completion, of 'realisation' of a cycle in life, then we feel betrayed and possibly even angry. If this condition persists then we feel as if we are becoming forced to act out our rage against this 'obstacle' which stands in the way of satisfaction.

    Just recently all the suns in my life are being eclipsed by their corresponding moons. For me as an old sun (a waning star even) I have faced the indignity of a certain type of tyranny which presides like an unconscious and symbiotic matrix over my family. I am certain of one thing: Injustice is a fact of life on planet earth but I still don't believe any one should merely 'go along with it'.

    Call me bullish if you like but this old perfectionist remains critical of those who simply cannot tell fact from fiction and march inexorably to the tune of repressive domination.

    The cycle of life needs to turn and to complete. There are those who 'act out' power struggles in society with no comprehension of the truth, no awareness of their own culpability. They stand in the way of LIFE. They particularly avoid weakness OR WORSE, use their power and position to expose it in others. By 'stacking the cards' in favour of a certain prejudice, a certain 'track', well then, they force some of us to ride in cattle trucks to the WRONG destination.

    I kid you not. . . Fact is so often stranger than fiction. I for one will not stand by with the blinkers on and pretend it's just a figment of MY HISTORY, of my act out, of me being stuck in the past. . . The powers that be FORCE act outs on others and get away with it. They use our children as chess pieces to do it too. I will always remain critical of this tyranny and I will refuse to co-operate with it until the day I die.

    In the meantime, for as long as my gnarled old hands can hold the tools and my mind do the sums I will stick to carpentry where honesty, accuracy & justification gets me some satisfaction in the cycle of MY LIFE.

    Paul G.

  8. My question for justice!

    Why justice also become the phenomenon it is? It is because there is no justice! If we want justice so are the ground rules of what the phenomenon justice has as a possibility to a change... if we do not change it by our questions of science! To do so... we must also negotiate with what justice has to offer... whatever it has to offer!

    I know... I know... I know you dont belive in it. Now... "you dont belive in it"... so you think you must belive in something impossible to make it possible? No... right... but we have to try. From where we are now... everything is impossible! No one will understand anything they understand to not understand what primaltherapy is all about. What they understand is not enough to argue against what science tells... for what investigation round scientific implications offers. It is our chance.

    So it's not just a matter of asserting justice... it is a matter of the will to change something that is completely crazy. "If the devil is in the boat so we must also row him into ashore"!

    The primal therapeutic process has its reality in "A lot of you are writing in about justice and seeking justice in your lives". But if justice is about science... about the possibility of getting a "fair" treatment as primal therapy is... so raises the question what shall we do? Something does not come out of nothing in the question of how to establish Primal Therapy. You know that Art ... you have tried so many times! The question is how it should be done?

    If we seek justice for our questions to assert ourselves ... it's a completely different issue ... even if it can be assimilated to it. If I'm looking for a change outwards or inwards that is the question!

    Art... you are always of the help I can get ... thanks!


    1. Hi Frank,

      really good post but:

      -"we must also negotiate with what justice has to offer... whatever it has to offer"!-

      Unfortunately, as Art has so adroitly pointed out several times before in the context of 'legal action' all you get 'offered' in court is LAW not JUSTICE.

      And specifically regarding Primal Theory we are up against a legal belief system which relies on an interpretation of the human psyche exactly at the level of the gating system.

      By this I mean the majority of all psychotherapeutic systems and their corresponding philosophies / theories are developed to reinforce the gates and re-establish their corresponding repressive belief systems. All these DENY the value of history and the past traumas on the future wellbeing & behaviour of individuals.

      Nobody wants to go back into history EXCEPT to vindicate a specific FINANCIAL remuneration; such as airplane crash survivors etc etc (where purchase of tickets to fly include LEGAL contracts establishing risk of PTSD in the event of near death experiences).

      If it were possible to get neonates to read and write and sign contracts PRIOR to conception & birth then it might be possible to bring a LEGAL action against the various adults who contributed to their downfall. But as we all know babies, infants & children have no legal voice because they have no comprehension of neocortical concepts or the skills with which to negotiate their way forward in life.

      If I were emperor of the world not only would I make all adults wear their underpants on the outside but I would also give the vote to all children from primary school age to boot; just as soon as they could read and write their own names.

      Paul G.

    2. Hello Paul... just to keep the question alive!

      With all due respect for what limitations to understand the issue of law and justice! Because it does not exist then it is additional to a process... for way a change is necessary.

      Is it not a matter of justice so well our fight to get the right care? A question for a legal process due to the ignorance that drives theses on cognitive methods... that they would have anything with caring efforts to do... with the result that suffering is cemented for life... think about it?

      The law who does not exists is there to be corrected... for those who run their argument that the law applies... it to achieve scientific facts in the end!? The law in our heads is not enough to run across a scientific lawsuit... not here in Sweden anyway... emotion is for what science proves!

      That we would just be a victim of the law... falls on its own absurdity... regardless of how it looks in our brain. Thoughts about something is not convincing if proved otherwise... it has many cases around law and justice proven.

      Now we talk about the physiological process of a scientific context... then I do not think anyone will argue... assert their rights against better judgment... scientific evidence.

      For what primal therapy puts crotchets into the heads of so-called professional will remain as crotchets and be relegated to more of philosophical crotchets. We know today for what is the right to be wrong ... why can not it change for the better?

      When something is going to be right (even for thinkers) so it will be extremely difficult to return to unscientific context ... it has many together with Copernicus Science much later confessions proven.

      I talk to the neocortex about what lurks in the limbic system! Can it be channeled into the neocortex in a way possible to understand so too will the changes happen! We... all who agrees about the primal therapy process proves it... even if the roads have been different... and with science in our hand... how can we lose?

      Your Frank

    3. Hi Frank,

      -"how can we lose"-?

      Primal is not about winning (and most important of all not losing either). . . In earlier posts we discussed the practicalities of spreading Primal and though there was no particular consensus, there was a theme which acknowledged the complex & serious problems of setting up another Primal Center, somewhere else on the planet.

      It's a really good idea, but to actually do this a group of committed people would need to come together to develop a plan. . . and that could only be because there were a plan at the existing center in Santa Monica to do same.

      France & Art and no doubt other unsung heroes and heroines are developing the long awaited "Legacy Program". . . and this possibly could be the vehicle for development outside the US.

      How say you Art?

      Paul G.

    4. Stockholm 2015-03-26

      Paul it is a question of money and a step into the limbic system that so many do not perceive with themselves!

      Having reached the child in myself when and where I reflecting whatever my narrowing is all about... not having experienced myself... something that is happening now ... now in a process within myself... the feeling of being the Frank I once was. It's an amazing experience the moment when I'm just myself at the window towards the park... where I can accept myself... myself that takes me back to whereever I landing. This is the big problem for all who think they know better!

      I can never deny or sacrifice my experience in my further "struggle" around Primal Therapy! I will not be gracious to those who think they know better!

      We have now worked against SBU (swedish council for evaluation of health) during a number of years to get legetimitet for a clinical trial of primal therapy!
      We have done so without success. We have not given up and now is a new answer on the way... for what ever?

      We were promised answers in december... but was delayed to february and now we are in march... so we do not know yet but await with "great" interest?

      Paul... do you know how good this blog has been to make me "strong" in my thinking for the presentation of primal therapy !?


    5. Me too Frank , I too have learned a great deal and in some ways become stronger. . . I also have a plan and strategy for promoting Primal but I can't talk about it here or on any other blog due to the 'legal situation'. . .

      - I hope you understand what I mean.

      Paul G.

  9. Dear Dr Janov,

    I usually enjoy reading your blog but sometimes the way you write about some topics "gets on my nerves"...let me explain : when it comes to men/women relationships you always seem to described women as "little girls" looking for the father they didn't have in one way or other a loving and caring one. Then it's always the little girl with the bad guy who wants a mother who is always there for him and when she's not there comes violence and stalking and murder. I know that those stories happen but could you write about women not being able to tell the difference between a loving and caring man and one just scr...her for the sake of it and because it releases some pressure ! Ok we are not able to feel beyond our unmet needs but I hear so many women complaining about their boyfriend being able to dump them if they get some extra weight : won't they realized that they are going out with assholes ? We are 6 billions human beings on earth half of them being women/girls. I know that in a lot of cultural/civilizational context women are victims of many social pressure (even from other women) but they are not all victims/little girls who can't handle what's happening to their life!
    Do all ( feeling ) men have to feel guilty just because they are born "man" because half of men on earth are ass../macho/violent or whatever?
    There are bossy/twisted and violent women on this planet : history if full of psychopathic women (including the most recent exemple of the nazi women during WW2).
    Sometimes you wrote about "zeitgeist" which means "spirit of the times" approx. The western zeitgeist seems to be "we men should feel guilty because some of us are more paid/powerfull/violent/fanatic than women! There is a lot of cool and easy going men, working and not really well paid. But ok that's not a good subject if you want to make a movie like 50 shades of grey...poor little innocent girl with the twisted/rich/beautiful guy...that's what makes a successfull movie (a woman I known told me "he can wip me whenever he wants" talking about Mr Grey)and I guess she's not the only one ! And on this point I agree with what you wrote about pain mixed with pleasure in the life of a lot of women. When we can read in our western and trendy woman's magazines that "a lot of women fantasized about being raped" are they serious? Do they really realized what it is to be raped? How can they really say things like that?
    I use to say not to trust anyone above 4 years but I keep on believing it !

    1. Yann: Of the women I treat so many are little girls who were never encouraged to grow. And then those who were pressed to grow too fast want to be a child again........diabolic. Art

    2. Hi Yann,

      I kind of wonder why Art prints the stuff we send in and sometimes doesn't. . . On the other hand (when faced with your comments above), I find myself 'back in the seat' of Art's roller coaster of a blog wondering who invented the ride. . .

      There's this statistical way of fudging (sorry, do I mean 'judging'?) around the issues here. I hear 87.5% quite a lot. Then there's the 'confirmation bias' of those political statistics which basically means if you exist in the 12.5% band of "naughty boys" who don't really threaten or cause much harm, well then, every time you exhibit anything remotely psychopathic you must be 87.5% wrong and bad.

      Anger is a no no. It doesn't matter if your partner vents off , rips you off, changes her mind, lets you down and blames you and gets others to play her game. . . just as long as you DON'T get angry.

      Just take it all on the cheek and put it down to "Women". . .

      Even women tell me this, looking at me with big flirty eyes filled with mock surprise. . .

      Paul G.

    3. Paul: It is very simple, if you write something that could be your own blog then I do not print it. If it is relevant to what I write about, that adds to what I say then I print it. art

    4. Hi Art,

      I thought about the idea of starting a blog of my own but the deeper I get into this the less I feel like 'blogging' (except here). Here, I find my voice for me with ALL my baggage. You decide what might help others who read it. Elsewhere, including (most of all) my own blog, I could not either expose myself or even promote Primal in the written word as I do here.

      My plan to promote Primal is not to do so through words, primarily.

      Nor are any of the things I could blog about elsewhere, do more than to refer to this blog and your books in passing.

      There was once a very sincere author who I read and she referred to you in passing and here I am 5 years later. . .

      Paul G.

  10. A Prisoner Of Pain; It Takes One To Know One.

    Whenever I thought about my loops around the Globe, I was mainly filled with positive and good memories. However, since I became involved in PT, I have now and then thought that my memories (with the exception of my epilepsy), was a neurotic / unreliable misinterpretation. My positive memories have, though, never hidden the sad fact that I, through pain-propelled act-outs, certainly made many people (especially I’m thinking of my first two kids) sad and disappointed. In my pre-primal life pattern, I was driven, every 3 - 5 years, to change partners, work, and culture / language in my search for my inner justice.

    I had no absent mother. I was my mother’s favorite until she died, and I was then 56 years old. She killed a lot of her pain with religiosity. She defended me without hesitation at at least four critical occasions, when I between 5 and 10 years of age, made pranks. My mothers big blunders;
    A: She subjected me, at my birth, to a lengthy, horrendous trauma in her ambition to fulfill the Bible’s recommendation to give birth with pain.
    B: She did not dare to intervene when my father, once, lost his temper and beat me hard, due to a playful misbehavior when I was nine years old. My mothers (contemporary) subservience combined with sheer respect of my father was too strong. I know that her heart was with me, and her passivity disappointed me.

    My father, like my mother, was always present physically for me. Early on, I realized that my father carried on painful memories from his childhood. A pandemic, about WW1, when he was 3 - 4 years old, snatched away his mother and a pair of siblings. He became over the years increasingly depressed and on a few occasions, he lost his temper and exploded. On one such occasion, when I was a child, I happened to be the sacrifice for his act-out, which unfortunately eliminated all future emotional relationship between us. He tried to compensate this by helping me out of sticky practical situations (often of a financial nature) during my teens but I asked for it. One month before his death, 30 years too late, he took courage and talked with me. My father asked me if I still hated him for the assault, which he had done to me when I was 9. My answer was, fortunately, no. Within me, it took, however, several more years before the hatred of the assault ebbed.

    The above trauma examples caused by my mother and father are dramatic “accidents”. They led to my suffering for decades, which I had never been able to overcome without the guidance of Art and understanding of his innovation the Primal Principle. And last but not least the driving force from the restless pain propelled curiosity of the Prisoner of Pain within myself.

    Often, when I read Art’s descriptions how an imprinted pain propels act-outs, I get the feeling that he avoids positive aspects associated with act-outs. A contradictory feeling emerges when I note that Art’s life has been unjust to him. His long and creative life has led to the development of the Primal Principle. In my case this innovation, based on Art’s unjust life, made it possible to demystify my epilepsy. It also made it possible to obtain redress, from my parents, for my childhood’s two most dramatic trauma, which propelled my neurosis during decades. The evolutionary intelligence makes the individuals’ unconscious pain valuable not only for the human species’ reproduction but also for his / her development.

    Can we, as seen from the species’ development, then say that Art’s life was unjust? This unconscious injustice has helped countless patients to a better life. It has propelled the production of books / documentation of the significance of our right to be loved, touched and get attention, from the day of conception, during our citical and most formative years.

    It seems that the Evolution is consciously supporting that it takes one Prisoner of Pain, Art, to know another, for example, me, Jan. Or vice versa.

    Jan Johnsson

  11. Hi Jan,

    -are you suggesting the development of Primal has been Art's act out? If it has been then he seems to have found redemption for himself through it at some stage. . .
    Also he (and France &other unsung heroes & heroines) will have left a legacy, a 'portal' through which others, including me I hope, will be able to find some redemption from our act outs,

    Maybe the center should have little signs pointing to it strategically positioned all over the world which read:

    -"All Act Outs This Way"- (with one of those pointy fingers).

    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.