Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What Is More Important Genes or Epigenes?

Now with the new work on epigenetics we have to ask the question which has the most impact on influence on us, genes or epigenes (what happens to the genes when they meet experience?).    So maybe it is not either-or but both at once.  That is how does the gene affect experience, epigenetics?   It is obvious that genes affect the brain; affect our thinking, reasoning and understanding.   But the genes and how they behave are dependent on experience.  The genes interact and affect each other, as well.  And they mix with epigenes to merge and drive symptoms and behavior.

The new article on this is reporting a survey of Swedish students, over 1300, of them, re: family history, sexual abuse, delinquency, quality of rapport with parents and many other factors. (see
One thing they found, is what we find; those females who had an abusive childhood have a high activity variant of the MAOA gene. That translated into enhanced ant-social behavior.  The MAOA gene is a brain enzyme that breaks down certain elements (serotonin) and releases energy.    Those who carry low serotonin variant and who had bad childhoods were likely to be more aggressive.  This is the result of the admixture of genetics and epigenetics.

What the genes do is not cause certain behaviors but form a crucible for living experience to play on them in order to induce behavior. If there were a loving environment then those genes will not supply the susceptibility to delinquency.  So we begin to see how experience interacts with genetics to produce who we are and what symptoms we will suffer.  It is not that we didn’t already know about this, but we now begin to have research evidence to confirm it.

So is criminal behavior genetic?  Yes, in part, and no, in another part.  If we leave out experience then we only have half the story.  And if we confine our research to one part we will go off-track.   When we hear that something is genetic we need to hear the whole story.  In our therapy we get the whole story because we see the whole person reacting.   And when we extract a load of pain from him or her, we see what is left.  It gives us a better view of what is genetic and non-genetic.

Is homosexuality genetic?  We have successfully treated it, which makes the assumption that it is a disease.  Let me clarify:  in every neurosis there is a detour or a dysfunction of certain biologic and neurologic elements.  Sometimes it feminizes the man.  I have cited many animal studies to support this view, and the fact that with no special intent we have altered this tendency in only some patients.  As the sexual apparatus begins to mature, there can be experience  that changes the sexual orientation.  Yes, but my patients say, but I have felt this way all of my life. And I say, I agree but the dysfunction may largely predate memory and verbal explanation.  In other words the changes can begin in the womb and accumulate during the birth process and for a few years afterwards.  I have no stake in whether it is genetic or not, but experience dictates to me the experiential factors that may play a role, and only in some cases.  After all, we do not treat every homosexual patient for his or her sexual orientation; most do not want to change sexual orientation at all, but simply want to get rid of their depression, anxiety or anger.  We do not dictate what aspect is to be treated. The patient dictates and we follow. In the cases of change we never started out to change any orientation; it came as a surprise.  When this happened I asked a female patient what will you do now with your lover?  She said we won’t be lovers but we will be close friends, just as we always have.  I should add that without descending down deep in the brain where the imprinted culprit lives, it is most often impossible to change anyone in any profound way.

All this is a way of saying "chacun sa vie",  everyone his own life and chooses how she or he wants to live it.  I have no grand scheme for anyone, and no special style of life for anyone.  If they want to start college, that is fine.  If they don’t, that is also fine.  It is their life and not mine to direct it.  I never tell them they should get married or divorced.   When they get themselves back they will decide, usually wisely.   What a relief for me and my therapists, and what a relief for patient who does not need to follow anyone’s dictates.   Not to have to live up to anyone else’s values or desires.   Everyone relax!


  1. Art; my asthma "Started" age 3 months according to my mother. Age 41 I adopted the Natural Hygienist diet ( and have had not a single days asthma since. For the first 41 years of my life barely a day went by in the English winter when I did not use my asthma inhaler up to several times a day, yet I continued to live in the UK for several years afterwards before moving here to Portugal and only on very rare occasions when triggered by dust did I need it then; UK winters ceased completely to trigger my asthma on the NH diet.
    Now both sides of my family have a genetic susceptibility to asthma; father, brother, cousin, grandma etc. So in my case - and this has been proven by tens of thousands who have adopted the NH diet - my genetic vulnerability to a specific illness has been easily neutralised by natural diet.
    Given my familys genetic susceptibilty to asthma, presumably only a minority (but rapidly increasing percentage) of the population will get it given identical life experiences. My homosexuality is a different matter. Are you saying that given identical (mal)formative experiences, genetics are irrelevant in this? Gary

    1. Gary: Your diet may be fine but I cannot publish anything I do not really know about. What I am saying is that epigenetics are paramount. art

  2. A Small Therapy With A Great Revolutionary Idea.

    Dr. Janov developed the Primal Therapy, and he explained, through books and articles, its dynamics. He demonstrated our evolutionary, lifesaving ability to repress early (before, during and shortly after the birth process) unbearable pain. The pain affects the reptilian brain and the body and is overloading the limbic system and creates a lifelong wear on our mind and organs. Our vital signs are distorted as is the communication between the triune brain when the neocortex gradually develop. Janov guided his patients, to re-live repressed pain (following the Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse), and showed possibilities to regain full mental health and avoid premature death.

    To a greater extent than the actual therapy, the principle of Evolution in Reverse has meant a new meaning of my life. The Primal Principle embodied by Dr. Janov became the guide and motivation wich governed my decisions. During the last 40 years, I have made an epileptic journey, which during its processes has meant a holistic education in Evolution, genetics, and molecular biology. My journey has been bumpy. It consisted of endless practical experiments and a constant search for supportive facts in fiction and scientific literature. My ability to assimilate / understand the theory rose as I re-lived pain and changed my lifestyle as the neuroses dissolved. Gradually, I experienced myself, my history and those around me like an ongoing, mutual / reciprocal evolutionary process over billions of years.

    The trust / hope for a solution which my traumatic birthing, after all, imprinted into my organism, made me a self-starter. Theories that had no roots in my experiences, I skeptically filtered out. I have intuitively been oriented towards a holistic experimenting with psychotherapy (PT), physical therapy (Rolfing, etc.), nutritional knowledge, self-actualisation (Maslow), family relations (Alice Miller), etc.. With and without these experiences I have had the good fortune to have experienced a very diverse and qualified career in some nationally and internationally renowned companies.

    I have always had an ambiguous feeling toward Primal Therapy. The Principle I believe steadfastly in, but the applied treatment I see as too narrow and restricted. With more counseling, complementary therapies and supplements of more talented employees with background and experience from “nonneurotic” / healthy environments, PT might well have become the Apple of Psycho Therapy.
    My feelings towards Art Janov and PT have a previous parallel in my life. My father, a straight, talented and honorable man became during my childhood too depressed and pain-imprisoned for us to develop a positive relationship. With my mother’s emotional support, I searched my way. “Through a Glass Darkly” / as in a mirror, Art Janov, and my father, at crucial moments in my life have been my role models. I criticize them happily, but I love both.

    Art says, in his latest Reflection, that PT do not advise their patients how to live, if to get married or divorced. 1982 Vivian Janov advised me how I should act to tackle a neurotic relationship / marriage. The solution was painful, what seemed like a quick fix took years to get through. However, the pain healed, neuroses dissolved and, today, I thank Vivian for her courage to open my eyes and give me advice.

    Evolution in Reverse means, as far as is possible, to re-live repressed pain. That requirement, I can verify. PT today gives the impression of being a “light” version of the previously applicable. The consequences of this, which I do not belittle, had hardly helped me.

    Jan Johnsson

    1. Thanks for the letter Jan. Vivian may give advice but I live by the principle of
      chacun sa vie, everyone his own life. If I give advice it is because I do not trust you. You feelings will advise you much better than I can. I never want to sway anyone to my view; it is your view that is important. And it is far too easy for us to fall into the Guru mold and tell people how to live; that is what is wrong with psychotherapy today. art

    2. Dear Art,

      Advice / Counseling That Makes A Difference

      Semantically I interpret advice / counseling as a guidance or recommendation, typically given by somebody regarded as knowledgeable and authoritative. To sway somebody and expose him / her for leverage is outside of my vision of advice / counseling. However, I can understand that people with low self-reliance can be and feel deceived to follow advice that they should not have done. A skilled advisor has thus an extra responsibility to judge the individual recipients of advice. Of course, I assume that PT, in contrast to many others within psychotherapy, would take such a responsibility.

      The following advice which are well synchronized with my feelings, (and “qui m’a donné une vie propre") may be worth mentioning. All have their roots in an evolution process kicked off by Ortiz / Janov.

      Svend Møller-Andersen advised me, during a creativity course in Copenhagen in 1974, to read the Primal Scream, if I had real ambitions to change myself and my work situation. He did not need to sway me. He opened the gates to a latent need (and my pain). He had seen something I needed and with which I was unfamiliar.

      The Primal Institute, maybe Vivian, connected me, 1979, with a couple of primal patients in Boulder, Colorado, where I, two days a week, did consult jobs for a biotech company. From one of them, who is still my friend, I rented a room in his house. The other (a Fritz Perls follower) gave me interesting advice when I asked him for the address of a skilled masseur. He then introduced me to the Rolfing Institute in Boulder. Rolfing or Structural Integration, with its soft tissue manipulation and movement education, is a therapy that organizes the body in gravity. An intensive ten-session Rolfing Treatment, in Boulder December 1979 kicked off my first primal in January 1980, when I was back in Sweden. A potential grand mal seizure turned into a revolutionary primal experience that dramatically made me understand the meaning of Evolution in Reverse. That was the first time I experienced my birth trauma instead of suffering an epileptic attack.

      In Bern, Switzerland, January 1982, Vivian advised me when I revealed repressed emotions during a session. I sat listening to a discussion between Vivian and a patient who did not love his partner but didn’t dare to end the relationship. “Killing softly” suddenly flew out loud of my mouth. Shortly afterward Vivian came up and spoke to me and during our conversation, it became clear to me that I was in a relationship that I did not dare to leave. During the following group meeting, you, Art, came in, and in a overpowering way said that you were “pissed off” with those, who did not dare to bring up important feelings during our sessions. You turned then to me, and my being revealed felt painful but fair. During the 33 years that have passed since then, I have tried my best not to press down unresolved feelings.

      Last but not least, during the spring of 2009 I got an email from you: “Jan, your letters are much appreciated. You should do a book”. I followed your advice and wrote a book and material for three books more. It never became a bestseller. It became more than that; it became my liberation, and it helped me to re-establish the connection with my childhood soulmate and love Eva. Can you ask for more from advice?


    3. Hi Jan & Art (& all),

      this idea of offering advice will always be extremely controversial. It is usually accepted as a general principle in life 'never to offer unless asked for'. In the therapeutic context my inclination is to steer well clear of either asking for OR offering advice. . .

      Even when asked for, advice presumes the recipient is able to 'digest it'. Also is presumed that the person 'giving' actually understands what is being asked for. Aaaand if you think about that, well, it's almost oxymoronic isn't it?

      Given that advice is asked for in the absence of the recipient knowing what they want 'advice' at best could only be part of a much more elaborate relationship between the two parties. . . TWO PARTIES ? ! ? !

      There's never only two parties. . . It's a mine field and every turn presents new hazards.

      Children ask direct questions out of pure naivety and these can be answered directly out of pure LOVE. . .

      But we 'adults'; well. . . It's a tad more complicated. . .

      Paul G.

    4. Jan-Åke ... you disappoint me!

      Now when you use all science available to account the primal therapy's content... it to illuminate your own opinion and then go to "attack" ... so is my wonder what it sets? Your rhetoric is seen through! Clapping with his right hand to legitimize the right to strike with his left ... no ... Jan-Åke.
      For me it feels better if you were to use your "knowledge" about what we need to establish what you give expression to "A Small Therapy With A Great Revolutionary Idea"... it to to make it to a revolutionary process. Where is the revolutionary idea if it is disparaged for questions insignificant their task?

      Jan-Åke... love has no room for disparaging in order to achieve success! Where to let go... to discover its contents? Where in lies the pride of being knowledgeable... it for the right or wrong!?

      Your Frank

    5. Hi Art & Jan (and all),

      there is a place for 'making a statement' about what happened to you that seems similar to the 'gripe' the other is in. . .

      I suppose that might be a 'demonstration' of empathy to let your 'recipient' know that you too had been f****d over in some similar way, for example.

      I have found when looking back that I have on occasion offered some extremely BAD advice, merely on a whim because I felt TOO strongly of (MY) opinions and TOO little of the impact that has on other naive (OR manipulative) people.

      The thing about opinions is that they verge on advice BUT society would be extremely boring with NO opinions at all. I hear there were / are ancient societies tending toward the opinionless but I can't say they allow /ed their members to evolve. Nor, I imagine are they able to defend themselves against the opinions of outsiders. . .

      Or insiders. . .

      In my opinion the ONE thing I have really learned in 52 years of using my voice, is that it's best kept short and to the the point.

      As you can all see.

      I fail dismally.

      Paul G.

    6. Art: After several weeks of regularly socialising with my new vegan neighbours, yesterday I got hurt by their very neurotic reactions to what they perceived to be my arrogance re diet/animal rights etc. Without going into details, I realised any sort of friendship is now out of the question. I admit to my own faults, but these people, like virtually every other human being on the planet, have no primal awareness at all and from experience, I know further contact with them will bring me nothing but pain. They will only misperceive and dump. Saying "Just accept that there are some things I know far more about than you" is just talking into space. I feel sad, a bit hurt, down; human beings are just too crazy for me to have meaningful relationships with. It´s easy to trigger someones feelings over being told what to do, because in constantly denying their childs feelings, wishes, etc, they are in fact violating the natural self regulation and self direction of the whole living organism. That is a crime against nature, and why adults react so strongly to perceived attempts to control them.
      By the way, do you know if Vivian is still alive? Gary

    7. Art: you say "in every neurosis there is a detour or a dysfunction of certain biologic and neurologic elements. Sometimes it feminizes the man". But what are femininity and masculinity? Are women naturally sexually provocative, yielding, dependent, emotional, irrational, animalistic, and second class citizens to men, and are men naturally mentally superior, logical, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and controlling of other peoples lives? No, but these are some of the ways we are all moulded by gender conditioning throughout our formative years. I get very little on a human level from mixing with other men. The rejection of "femininity" in adolescence in order to be accepted by "the boys" takes the form of the self purging of "feminine" traits, the sexual objectification/dehumanising of females and of course homophobia. To become a man, one learns not to cry, to show "weakness", to always be strong. You can´t talk about your depression, your grief, you can´t find another man who will let you cry on his shoulder. Men have to hold it all in, and live up to a fictitious image called "masculinity". And I´m sure the mass bloodshed of football hooliganism and drunken brawls have a lot to do with the immense grief of being forced to reject ones "femininity" as a rite of passage, because we are really rejecting our humanity, purging orselves of it, on constant guard as adults so as not to let our "masculine" image slip one tiny bit. So what is "feminising a man"? is there a natural "feminine" and "masculine" other than the perversions into which we are forced? And if so, what is it? gary

    8. Jan, Your timeline is off. I don't think it was Vivian in 1982, We were in Europe during that time. I cannot publish your letters about rolfing. I had it and know about it and did not see the results you claim. Also I try not to run things about therapies that I do not know enough about. art

    9. Frank,

      Sorry if I disappoint you! If I were to express myself to everyone’s satisfaction, I would soon develop an even worse impaired social interaction. I have never understood what you want to hear, except of course that you, obviously, like all of us want to feel sane and free. You are welcome to include me among the accused if you pull off a lawsuit against society for not having introduced compulsory Primal Therapy. If I am convicted, I will take my punishment! Based on my personal experience I am for a free and holistically organized therapy that follows the Primal Principle. However, I have my doubts as to the practical implementation. Jan

    10. Hello Jan-åke!

      "It Became More than that; IT Became my liberation , and it Helped me to re-establish the connection with my childhood soulmate and love Eve. Can you ask for more from advice" ?

      It was made by chance! If it would not connect to someones memories what would happen then... illusions of another?
      Your Frank

    11. Gary: What you are asking would take a whole new blog to answer. I deal with it when I can but what I meant was, as with many animals, trauma very early on changes the hormone equation so in the absence of a father in life, one is more vulnerable to changes in gender choice. Good letter but I can only write so much. art

    12. Hello Jan-Åke

      "Sorry if I disappoint you! If I were to express myself to everyone’s satisfaction, I would soon develop an even worse impaired social interaction". I know that... if you do not perceive the therapeutic process for what content can end up in!

      "You are welcome to include me among the accused if you pull off a lawsuit against society for not having introduced compulsory Primal Therapy"

      The issue is... the society is not free in the question of the therapeutic methods so your expression for freedom is since long imprisoned. Your ideas of how you imagine freedom is imprisoned by laws... something you are prepared to go to jail to execute? Would you also chase Koprenikus companions to burn them at the stake!

      Is not this a problem primal therapy bleeding from? Many who have been in therapy at Janovs center makes them self known to have undergone primal therapy and make statements that do not serve its purpose due to incomplete therapy.

      But... but... but there is much to use for our own sentences that sound incredibly good in the sense to defend our self against incredible pain! Something we do not understand the content of and all become wrong for what we otherwise we could learn our selves!

      Your Frank

    13. Art: I spent many years on the gay scene and don´t feel that either the "queeniness" (degrees of hysteria) of males and the "butchness" and weight problems of women can be solely attributed to either immersion in "the scene" or conditioned/acquired early experiences. They would seem therefore, as you say, to be the result of early hormone disruption, (unless one believes homosexuality to be natural. But why would nature create peple with such - and i speak as a Gay man of 53 - obvious neuroses?) But is this enough to redirect sexual orientation? Many straight men are very "effeminate". A S Neill wrote that in over 40 years, Summerhill,school (a very radical school in the UK) had never produced a single homosexual. So perhaps the early hormonal changes are necessary, but also the later ones, eg an absent father, seductive mother. I had both parents throughout childhood, but both were "absent". However, radical feminism says the parents gender matters not one iota providing the child can be him/herself, and you wrote the same thing somewhere; what traumatises the child is not never having a father, but having one and then being abandoned. Love is love, whatever the gender. Isn´t it? But how to explain A S Neill? 1 in 20 (depending on who you believe) of his pupils would presumably have become "gay" or lesbian if they had remained at home instead of attending his school as boarders. The main difference appears to be that his school allowed almost unlimited freedom. Gary

    14. Art: I´d very much appreciate a blog on how to rear healthy children if it´s on the cards. gary

    15. Gary: I am beginning a book on that maybe in French and English. art

  3. Hi Art,

    blaming genes for 'behaviour' is like blaming 'religion' or 'politics' for war.

    There will always be the need for 'ideals' and 'social mores'. . .

    I like science because it's true methodology can accelerate what repression holds back. Namely 'evolution'. We try, we try and then we try again. Having discovered what we didn't understand we then discover how (& why) we didn't understand it. . .

    For that to really happen, contact with 'origins' (causes) is essential. Otherwise our brains allow us to go off on 'tangents' and miss the point of existence. . .

    We remain machines acting out existence;

    rather than beings allowed to evolve. . .

    Who gives us permission?

    Paul G.

    1. Well, our hope (in us, for ourselves) gives us permission to evolve.

      But without acknowledgement of origins and causes 'hope' can be pinned to beliefs which 'belong' elsewhere. . . Perhaps to some one elses life. . . we have to decide what we want before we share our lives with another. . . for fear of recurring an old act out.

      Paul G.

      Paul G.

  4. Fantastic!

    So when we look at the genetic make-up then we know that the difficulties of communication due to genetic factors might be an obstacle!?
    If the question of genetic factors has to do with how memories are stored... for where memory has its place... the question is ultimately of interest... a revolution.
    How would our way of looking at life be like if it was found that the memory does not have its place only in the brain but rather is in a close link between genes throughout the body? Then we would not just think of the brain as the source of our memories... or would we still be depend on the particular genetic barrier as irregularities brought with it... with the result of continued barbarism we live?


  5. Art: I've always been intrigued w/the fact that I'm so drawn to gay men (&sometimes in love, which is not fun); throughout my adult life, in every continent I've lived, they've been my best friends. Why is this do you think?? My sister is the same (a little less so)
    Remind me of the chemistry behind why the 'detour' feminises the man? What does the same 'detour' do to women? I don't think I'm overtly feminine (actually I think I'm quite balanced) but I connect profoundly w/gay men. Appreciate your thoughts. Thank you! Jacquie x

    1. Jacquie: There are many reasons; some I find are that gays are less threatening. If you want friendship but not sex then it is perfect . But there are many many reasons. art

    2. Jacquie: First off, please do keep contributing, because this fórum is very male dominated, as was the Primal Support Group (which I left) and I wonder why this is? Can I ask you if you feel, as a woman, put off in some way?
      As a gay man, I´ve always had one close friend at any one time, but have usually felt freer to express myself, less inhibited and more confident of being understood around women than around men. Men are not conditioned to empathise, but to be adversarial. Male friends I have had nearly always see me as a rival in some way....male conditioning is competitive and "negative" feelings are seen as weakness. My feeling is that gay men and women often intuitively understand that we both regularly get crapped on by straight men, and the feelings of inferiority that often induces. We empathise with each other. And of course, neither feels sexually threatened. gary

  6. I want to pick up on a previous thread about animal communication. If anyone hasn´t yet seen "The Animal Communicator" about Ana Breytenberg on You Tube, I urge you to do so. though centered on her, it includes interiews with native Americans, African tribe members and Aborigines, and includes footage of animal communication which will leave you absolutely stunned, as well as profoundly moved, because Ana is very empathic and breaks down in tears and feels things from the animals. Gary

    1. I´ll reply to myself it no one minds. There is a cockatoo in this vídeo which was separated from its owner with whom it had a very close relationship, without being able to say goodbye. Ana describes this, then covers her face with her hands as she cries. Later she said that just a few weeks after this, the bird died. Then, as now, I cried. In my family, members have always died without their loved ones near. None of my grandparents had any close relation by their bedside when they died. Neither my mother or father said "goodbye" to their own parents (or anyone else in the family) and they died with just a stranger by their bedside or alone. I dread dying alone. I have feelings about all this. When my beloved dog Betty disappeared last November, it broke my heart...4 years we had been together...I endured weeks of sheer hell thinking of her crying inside for me, her little heart breaking. I finally accepted her death and grieved for her dying alone, possibly crawling off to die after being shot by a hunter, or drowning in terror in a well. it was hell. Time went on and I accepted her death and stopped crying. The memories were fond. Then after 4 1/2 months, just a few weeks ago, I found her, trotting along the main road going thru my village. She jumped round in circles and leapt into my arms. I bawled my head off. She was very quiet, very calm. I carried her 2 kilometres back home. And amazingly, we took up just where we left off. She´s exactly the same wonderful Betty who always makes my heart sing. Yet I´m in awe of her. How did she survive for all that time? gary

  7. Thank you for hearing me Art. Life teaches, and this experience has taught me more about Betty, and perhaps dogs in general. They certainly adapt far better to new situations than we do, and in Betty´s case, wth no apparent harm. She feels very intensely, and I feel how much she loves me in the amazing ways she shows it. I take her feelings as seriously as I would any human; we all should.
    Relationships always trigger both ways and rarely can you take your own primal stuff out of a situation, however clear cut, however black & white, it appears. Betty´s story looks like I´m all heart; Jesus like. Well I´m not. Who is? Imagining Betty dying alone was without doubt my own stuff, because whenever I think of my Grandma dying alone now - 27 years on - it still kills me inside, and I guess that´s a portal into earlier stuff for me. But there are a lot of people like me who devote their lives to saving seals (Brian Davies) or all animals (Juliet Gellatley) women (Andrea Dworkin). Those are the real unsung heroes, much mr so IMO than Stephen Hawking or Nelson Mandela. They do fantastic work even though their empathy does have primal roots. But it´s the best we got. Don t look a gift horse in the mouth, as the saying goes. Gary


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.