Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How Do You Prove Primal Therapy?

I have been going on about my therapy for years that it is the cure. So what does that mean?

I have always been warned not to use the word “prove,” cause nothing is proved in science; it is supported, confirmed, strengthened but never proved.  So why do I go on with the word?  Therein lies the rub because ……first, let me lay out what I mean.

I will use the example of psychosis to explain. Over decades as patients descend down into and back to their early past they begin to lose articulation and have trouble forming sentences; it means they are still on the emotional right level with twinges of left brain verbal skills which begin to diminish.  As they go back more they lose their capacity for words and if they should use complicated words to describe their feelings it is a false primal.  Why?  Because the more remote the Primal trip the less capacity for words there is.  A two year old does not have the capacity for sophisticated language.  If it is a true reliving it would be impossible and usually is.  Mind you, this is after a long time in therapy and after many lesser pains are experienced.

As the patient begins to drop into gestational life there is more pain than one can imagine, soon, it is a pain that does not hurt inside because it becomes a feeling that is being felt.  It looks like pain but it is a manageable one, unless the patient is led or forced into the emotional depths where experience is premature and out of the question.  Here, during this period where the brainstem reigns the pains are the most acute and they can be psychotic making.  How do we know? Some patients who have come to us from rebirthing therapy plunge down deep too early and begin delusions and hallucinations.  “I see the cosmos and shining angels,” etc.  The pain has mounted into the neo-cortex and drove it to manufacture defenses, including false perceptions and bizarre ideas.  It is a sure sign of overload and inundation of pain.

Down on this level, as the patient, over time, goes deeper into the past, the pain mounts, which is how we know where the deepest pain lies.  We see it and measure it; no guesswork.  And when we see it over and over in hundreds of patients over 50 years we  begin to get a good idea of our observations.  It is consistent and replicable.  It is not longer a theory but a precise observation which I call cure. Why?  Because when there are such deep experiences, always nonverbal, so much changes; the biology, the appearance, the feelings, the look and the sense of comfort, at last.  To say nothing of possibly diverting serious imprints from exacerbating into serious illness later on.  Gone are the migraines and high blood pressure and gone is a good deal of the compulsive acting-out, not the least of which is sex.

So here we see the dialectic interplay between memory, deep imprints, the pain and the symptoms it engenders.  It avoids guesswork.  They all converge into a  feeling; it is a unified event.  We are not working on this symptom or that; we are working on the whole system as it responds to the deepest and most devastating imprints.  Feeling them then radiates everywhere in the system so that the effects are systemic-- effects throughout the system.

We are not looking to conform a private theory; we are developing a theory out of our observations.  Experience first, deep brain observations first, then the theory and the hypotheses.  The patients’ experiences do not confirm the theory or the hypothesis, it is the theory that goes or changes or modifies.  I have no desire to hang onto some concocted theory that I adore. If it does not make the patient better then why hang onto it?  This is largely what happened to all those therapists who wanted to improve on our theory.  They added drugs to the mix, then hypnosis, then cognitive and so on ad nauseam.  All because they never saw the central truth of feeling.  And, I assume, because they never underwent their own feelings.


  1. So how do we get professionals to "slur" as a small child when the child is what their professionalism defends itself against ??? They have a longer way to go than others for what their neocortex is busy!


  2. Hi Art,

    -"The patients’ experiences do not confirm the theory or the hypothesis, it is the theory that goes or changes or modifies"-.

    I suppose there's one caveat here; which is that most (if not all) Primal Patients have some knowledge of the theory and some desire to 'descend' (where other therapies don't go). . .

    Therefore, some knowledge of the theory prior to our descents is inevitable. . . A question emerges: "what is it about the theory that actually helps rather than hinders" (in the mind of the patient)?

    This entire blog is possibly the answer but if you could put a simple answer to this question perhaps many opportunities to 'iron out' misunderstandings could emerge.

    I have read the page on abreaction several times, though there are a lot of words there to describe this I wonder if it's worth re updating and re phrasing those words on this subject. It must be something discussed by therapists frequently?

    Paul G.

    1. Paul: There is a major and long answer coming up in 2 weeks and that should help. art

  3. Art; Your comment "I see the cosmos and shining angels,” etc." about psychotic symbolisation ties in with your comments in your article on loneliness, and elsewhere, on very early pain, eg separation immediately after birth, often causing mystical ideation in later life ie whe the cerebral córtex has sufficiently developed.
    A recently acquired "friend" - I use inverted commas - bugged me for quite some time with his smug and arrogant assertions about his recently acquired LSD habit giving him access to demons" and "other realities". He is absolutely convinced his visions are real. Interestingly, he also attributes God-like qualities to simple plant hallucinogens such as ayahuesca and marijuana, even going so far, after a preliminary perusal of The New Primal Scream, to assert that the former could play the role of a primal therapist in all aspects, including any necessary medication. To my mind, he is using "magic" to save his life, a life under threat when he was in an incubator for 12 hours immediately after birth. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he got very agitated after reading your section on LSD in TNPS, accusing you of having a "closed mind", and I´ve not seen him now for over a week. Oh well, plus ca change...Gary

    1. Gary: Does he know how dangerous it all is? art. Very perceptive

    2. From a psychiatric stance, hallucinogens are the most dangerous, underestimated and not well understood (by most) drug, in my opinion. Jacquie

    3. Hi Gary & Art,

      Oh dear, two good frieds (or so I thought) have entered into that 'dimension' and said almost the exactly the same thing to me too.

      Particularly ayahuesca. One into 'spiritual healing' (whom I've known since childhood) told me that during the ceremony (in a marquee in Surrey) he met the God of Wine, Bacchus, (no less) and it was 'real'. . . IE: my fried actually believed his encounter was the real deal. . .

      And another, who told me outright that before I tell him any more about my reality that I had to take ayahuesca in order to be truly REAL and able to relate to him at all.

      Then there were the family I thought were going to be able to offer my son some support who told me I should consider the rebirthing facility that the local rebirther offered. . . As I mentioned before, this one apparently "approved of Janov".

      The list of snake oil charlatans is so long in the new age movement it's a wonder if any of them are clients. . . they all seem to be 'therapists' (!)

      Ho Hum.

      Paul G.

    4. Jacquie: agreed. the most dangerous and long lasting. art

    5. Art: good point; yes, the most long lasting.. They act on the blood-brain barrier. Jacquie

    6. Jacquie, Art, Paul: I know little about hallucinogens, except they include magic mushrooms, LSD and ayahuesca etc. The long term effects of drugs seem to me in ratio to their potency, so a dose of LSD would take much longer to recover from than the equivalent dose of say, dope.
      I spent years researching into the effects of microwaves from mobiles, masts, WiFi, DECT phones, wireless baby monitors, burglar alarms etc and know that, among countless other effects,they erode the blood/brain barrier, hence allowing toxins (eg heavy metals) and killer T-cells into the brain, the latter of which do not recognise brain cells and attack them as foreign bodies. But hallucinogens do this too? Does this mean they also damage the brain in this manner AS WELL AS blasting open the gating system which normally keeps our pain nailed down? Jesus H Christ!
      Paul: I´ve been getting the same old New Agey shite from local English expats here in Portugal. I believe the strength of attachment to their "spiritual" beliefs and practices is proportionate to the intensity of pain requiring suppression, and mystical beliefs are, if I´m not mistaken, a result of MAJOR early trauma. Being a crutch for "emotional cripples", these beliefs & practices, (a term which sounds insulting, but I think is a very vivid metaphor), like real crutches, can rapidly take over from other defences as the MAIN defence, which to me explains why anyone (mis)perceived to threaten them is treated with an unusual intensity of defensiveness. I see this very clearly: my left brain sees the irrationality/inconsistency/ of what they say, whilst the right brain translates what I sense about them into words; anger, tension, fear, panic etc.
      Too, these beliefs are all abstractions, entirely unrelated to our usual five sense perceptions, at best, unfounded distortions of reality. Nature has not equipped either children or animals to adopt such beliefs & practices, which tends to place adults able to do so into a privileged & exclusive category in terms of the Booga dealers doesn´t it? But then these New Age belief creeds are extremely hierarchical: "ascended masters", "old" (superior) and "young" (inferior) souls, "learning life lessons", "life missions". And not much fun....These people are internally and externally censorious, constantly policing themselves and you. I find them unconmfortable to be around. They are out of touch with reality and however "nice" and "trustworthy" they appear, they are not experiencing so many things which to you are obvious and common sense, which young children have in abundance. Everything is translated through the filter of their 3rd line mental structures rather than just being experienced or seen for what it is, or FELT. They take a feeling and censor & control it. They say everything is "mind", which for them is true because that´s where they live imprisoned by their own rules and beliefs, so everything is fed via their minds. IMO pain based practices & beliefs always make people treat you badly; conceit, smugness, control etc replacing equal and genuinely respectful treatment of other people. Sooner or later, they´ll show their true colours. Beware. Gary

  4. I referenced this blog post at the end of my own somewhat roundabout thoughts on the subject:

    1. How brilliant. Who are you and what do you do? thanks for the article art

    2. You should know that I published 2 peer reviewed articles in the World Congress of Psychiatry plus other journals and we embarking on brain studies together with a brain research lab. Dr. Justin Feinstein, which I discuss in 2 of my blogs. art

    3. Okay, I added links to the UCLA experiment and to the upcoming collaboration with Dr. Feinstein.
      I'm Paul Rice, I was a patient 2008-2011, and I work full time as a software developer.

    4. Well hi and thanks for the very bright piece you did. art

    5. Talking about proving Primal Therapy, why are the authorities not interested to fund research into this phenomenal phenomenon, of a miraculous human healing ability, to recall ones own biological history. If not to validate Dr. Janov's findings, then don't they want to protect innocent victoms. Just seems like a negligent silence on the matter. Who is supposed to be investigating this? Grateful for Primal Therapy as always.
      Regards, Katherine

  5. To me it is painfully simple (no pun intended).

    The human brain processes emotional and physical pain. That's what it does. "Curing" simply involves (and means) letting the brain do its thing. Letting it process - not block - the pain.

    Should we have faith in our own body's way? Why not? Who can argue with a process developed over 4 billion years, and obviously intrinsic to the human system?

    Is a trendy new-age idea going to do better that the "authority" of 4 billion years? Good. Luck.

    The only thing to be developed is the methods in which we might help people get to their pain, so their bodies can do what they need to do: perform the normal process of the emotional integration of pain. And this can happen, obviously, only when we can feel it.

    And is it such a radical thing to believe, when we see kids processing their pain, so overtly, every time they get hurt? Should we think they cry for no (evolved) reason?

    1. Andrew: Hi, I use children as my benchmark too; they are wonderful, I love having my niece &nephew in my life. Yes, the system is always striving for homeostasis; a state of health; if we work *with this it will find it's way. Jacquie

  6. Hi Art,

    -"as patients descend down into and back to their early past they begin to lose articulation and have trouble forming sentences"-.

    I am like this most mornings nowadays and find the security of my bed much more appealing than the bustle (and bullying) of my work environment. Some days it takes all morning for me to climb up and out of the pit of despair & loneliness and make it to the 'carpentry environment'.

    My son is like it for days at a time. . . I went to tidy up a bit and cook a simple meal for him yesterday. . . nobody else understands, remotely what it's like and why it's so hard to speak, to use the telephone, to text, email, to communicate with others. . . Many people take personal offense and get 'shirty'. . .

    It's high time Primal Theory got a proper public airing. . .

    Paul G.

    1. Hi Paul.

      There are people that do understand; even being unaware of this blog. People that have been living their lives, according to the very principle of primal therapy; being genuine with their feelings.

      I would add "don't lose hope". But "hope" and/or "anticipation" work sometimes as defences and this is something adults don't need anymore.

      - Yannis -

    2. Thanks Yannis,

      -"But "hope" and/or "anticipation" work sometimes as defences and this is something adults don't need anymore"-.

      That's very true, even harder to explain how, or why it's true. But I'm going to try:

      The further away from the source of pain the more 'concrete' are the defenses. The more 'manifest' are our desires, beliefs & assumptions; to the point where we 'hope' for 'things' which will never give us pleasure, particularly for as long as the source of the pain remains unaddressed (repressed). The 'anticipation' of these 'things' keeps our organism is a state of focused alertness which also keeps defenses 'concretised' and painful old memories well buried. . .

      Paul G.

  7. "The patients’ experiences do not confirm the theory or the hypothesis" this is critical: it's how PT differs from the research norm. As you outline in the Intro of The Primal Scream, Art, the *theory was *developed from the *experience: an *idea didn't come first. And patients' (therapeutic) experiences continue to act on the theory; it "..goes or changes or modifies". The approach &process is truly organic, unique &revolutionary. Jacquie

  8. Art,
    the root for the word 'prove' is the same as for 'improve'. So you could incorporate into the definition of therapy the idea of a 'process' or journey toward cure (nothing new there I know).

    Cure is 'absolute', 'getting better' is not. So the signs and symptoms of improvement are not necessarily what you might expect. My homelessness situation is a good example:

    My 'rootlessness' is in the UK culture where 'every man's home is his castle' (feudal law if there ever was). When I eventually got rehoused I experienced a worsening of my symptoms because I had spent way too long inside of the peripatetic 'reality'; I had become aclimatised to 'rootlessness'. 'Arriving home' became another trigger for release of my defenses. Ensued a battle inside of me to 'occupy' my own 'territory' whilst also hold off the grief from all my history of 'rootlessness'. Truly an internal struggle as well as an 'International Malaise'. . .
    The point here is that (from the observational / behavioural position) you may appear to get worse before you get better. It depends on your methodology and never so true is that in psychotherapy and probably most of all in Primal.
    In Primal we want to re-live true feelings no matter how frightening they may be, to a naive observer the poor patient may appear to be getting worse. . . I mean who wants to feel pain and go through suffering only to experience excruciating pain as the goal ? ? ? Isn't the doctor supposed to be alleviating suffering & pain?
    Primal people know better than this. We also know that all this pain can't be felt in one go either, so we expect a process over time, maybe a lifetime. . . Therein lies the rub; how can any doctor claim that his patients are getting better when their involving & evolving symptoms & signs keep changing (and mine certainly have changed over time)?

    I've been re-evaluating my trauma tree and I have to say its worth discussing the difference between a "Mechanical Mix" & a "Solution". It seems to me that the pathways in our brains have a sophisticated interwoven nature which tends to support rigid defenses / personality traits. Nevertheless, when we re-live certain 'bits' of pain from our past then certain pathways re route or possibly grow or die out even. . . This is the microscopic / bio -chemical aspect to neurology which is IMPOSSIBLE to prove because you can't send an electrician into the brain (like you can into the telephone exchange down the road) to actually check all the connections and different colour coded pathways.
    You cannot 'reduce' the human psyche to this PROOF by reverse engineering a theory of what might actually PROVE the wrong / right connection. . . Can you ?

    But each patient can keep a diary of their trauma tree and how the effect of access seems to change the interwoven nature of defenses and personality expression. My personality is changing in subtle ways and my 'fixations' and 'habits of mind' are too. . . So too the colour of my fantasies and dreams and also my relative understanding of all of these aspects of my psyche.
    None of this has happened because of 'studying' Primal, nor due to having (sagely) gone back into counseling here in UK or accessing this amazing blog. . . (Though having some support has undoubtedly helped). What has triggered these changes is FEELING.

    I'm quite sure if I had been able to get to the Center (get more support), I could be a lot further along my journey to cure. . . but in this discussion, that is certainly beside the point. For those who doubt my sanity I am more likely now to actually make that journey to the Center. That is not a factor of homefulness, nor of finances either. . . It is a factor of having dissolved some defenses and built new bridges INSIDE of myself; ie: I have become slightly better equipped at dealing with reality.

    Paul G.

  9. Hi All,

    although this excellent blog is quite unique and brilliant and brings so many of us together (from many places around the planet), in words. . . it cant address the issues we have at our homes where we live and where we are dependent for our 'livelihood'.

    As a consequence of being (in mind) on this blog and having heard quite a few things about belief and 'free will' I have to say that I have become hardened in my opinion regarding 'free will'.

    I can see that some people have more because they are less neurotic. . . But I can also see that others have 'more' precisely because they avoid their 'condition' through the acquisition of power and / or wealth. . .

    We keep banging on about being 'human' whilst also eulogising our other mammalian / feeling collaborators here on planet earth. We try desperately to keep alive the notion of 'free will'.

    Do our other mammalian chums have 'free will'. . ? If they did / do, then how come they can't form alliances that curb us humans worst excesses? I mean, if we humans could cope the same way our other mammalian friends do. . . ?

    I think we are lesser to the other mammals, I feel they have MORE free will because they don't suffer the degree we do for the need for guidance when young.

    Our collaborators on the planet are more instinctually programmed and thus 'saved' from the privilege of 'free will' we humans can keep on inventing.


    It seems a curse to me. . . That we can keep on believing in 'free will' whilst destroying the lives of those who don't need 'free will'. . .

    Gary, is that what you are angry about?

    Paul G.

  10. Paul: My wife France agrees with you, art.

    1. Hi Art,

      after consideration I am not surprised you've said this that way. . . The following is a theory based on my feelings and insights (not only popular gender science / belief):

      We men 'need' the illusion of free will much more than women because we have evolved to be 'out there' where technological advantage in the manifest world aids survival.

      Perhaps we men even 'need' to believe in free will to make it into therapy (!)

      I don't think women necessarily see 'free will' as relevant (how say you women?). Perhaps in those disgusting sexist cultures that still oppress women then indeed they need to believe in free will too, but that isn't quite the point I'm making.

      On this blog we (men) have occasionally referred to women as being 'mediators', peace keepers (and survival studies show women to be better survivors in adversity) BECAUSE they are the nurturers (breast feeders / holders etc).

      For as long as Primal / Evolutionary Theory remains submerged beneath out dated (survival of the 'fittest') thinking then this dualism (between men & women) will remain. Rather like your post using the metaphor of the 'conjoined twins' (which is a very good metaphor by the way).

      Increasingly I am realising that what will unite men & women and bring about this revolution is the acknowledgement of the truth about early imprints and way they (and the repressive function) SUPPRESSES the facts of life.

      No matter how much we try to 'reason' and 'debate' and 'reform' and 'negotiate' with each other, if one or the other 'party' remain unaccepting / ignorant of Primal Principles ( call them what you like) then there will continue to be this obfuscation between the sexes.

      Primal 'underpins' relationships and offers the solution to what is currently still various degrees of a concretised & mechanical mix.

      Sorry to be so 'intellectual'. . . Could it be my particular male style of the free will to express my truth?

      Paul G.

    2. We are free to choose. We choose blindness when there is no other choice.

      How do you guide a blind person? Blind people seldom trust their guide dogs. I watch blind people yelling at their dogs and forcing them to wait when it is safe to walk. The poor dogs are confused..... their good training undone by their owner's mistrust.

      Blind people are free to do as they choose. That is the problem. If we want a revolution, we must tie a leash around the neck of every blind person. We must force them to STOP walking in the wrong direction.

      Stop using blind theories which only serve to hurt fetuses and adult patients. Stop all this egotistical talk about self-love and self-empowerment. Stop arrogant grandparents from stealing hugs from their grandchildren.

      How can we stop all of this? We can do what Frank says; we can expose every crime that is hidden from SEEING eyes. But not in a court room. First we must search for seeing eyes. How do we reach them?

      Google's advertising revenue is enormous because it has an efficient way of placing sellers right in the path of buyers. Primal people could place themselves in the path of seeing eyes instead of wasting time with blind people. What are seeing-eyed people attracted to? Where do they go? Where can we ambush them? What type of spider's web would catch the most seeing eyes?

      If we can gather enough seeing-eyed people, we can force the blind to listen to our voice. Maybe.

  11. An email comment:
    "I was a "research patient" at the Primal Institute when it was located at Almont and Melrose in West LA. I volunteered to have my brain waves measured at base line (a couple of days before entering therapy) around January 25, 1973. I started therapy on January 29, 1973. I went to UCLA's Neuro-Psychiatric Institute (NPI) to have my brain waves measured at base line -- after my three weeks of intensive -- and at a couple of other junctures later in therapy. Never heard anything about the results.

    But there's this: My girlfriend at the time and I were waiting at the bar at an old favorite haunt of ours called Bruno's at Venice and Centinella in West LA. The very Freudian-looking psychology professional who had been my administrator during all of my brain wave testing at UCLA was there too. I thought it would be a good time to ask him if the brain waves of Primal patients had changed substantially. He very seriously nodded his head in the affirmative and peered at me over his bearded face and rimless spectacles (ala Sigmund Freud). I don't remember what his exact words were, but he was noticeably impressed and surprised. So was I.

    I've never known anyone in a "talk therapy" to ever have their therapist measure their brain waves throughout their therapy. Probably don't really want to know the results. That's not the case with Arthur Janov and Primal Therapy, obviously. I rest my case.

    My life is very different now, which is amazing since I almost died at birth (I was a high-forceps delivery), my father was sexually molesting me in my crib before I could walk or talk. This according to my mother, who told me after I had been in therapy a couple of years that she walked in on him once while he was in the act. He performed fellatio on me when I was five. I remember that very clearly. We moved 15 times by the time I was 14 years old. Take a story like that to your "talk therapist" and see how they react.

    1. Hi, a fascinating letter. I think we published the results in Acta Scandanaica a long time ago but what you report is fascinating. I would like to hear more about how you are doing and what you are doing. best art

  12. Hi Art
    (Just want to know if I have understood it all correctly – funny how my defense system constantly tries to blur the understanding of Primal Therapy ).

    It functions as a catalyst, but it is of cause not Primal Therapy that are doing the actual healing of the mind, it's the body's own self healing capacity who does that (the homeostasis principle). Our 100 trillion (something like that) cells wouldn’t live very long without this repairing / balancing capacity. Primal Therapy discovered that this process also included the health of the mind - why should this be excluded ? Looking at mental illness it could look like it was excluded. Those illnesses seems static – like the healing process is running around in an eternal circle – not getting the job done. Primal Therapy discovered that the self healing process was blocked when the process lacked information ( unfulfilled Primal needs ) or the information was way to strong (trauma). The discovery of the Primal Zone showed that a blocked feeling could be freed from the blockage, if it was brought to a feel able intensity – not to strong and not to weak. And very important: to avoid chaos and create new damaging unbalance, it can only be done effectively, if it is the body who decides the order of feelings to be felt. The body “knows” that a more present blocked feeling needs to be felt before an older one (a fragile process, easily disturbed by a wrongful therapy technique, drugs or extreme life circumstances). The healing system needs this order to be set up and be ready for the next and possibly stronger feeling (older blocked feelings are stronger than newer ones). The body will guide the process from the present all the way to the oldest blocked feelings/memory’s. In the process the body's healing capacity is freed.

    Primal Therapy is formed around the body's own self healing system. The body dictating the laws the therapy (scientifically and with an open minds sensitivity) has to follow. So in a way it was not Art who first said : “Primal Therapy is the cure for mental illness” it is the body saying it – with permanent lowered vital signs and a freed body development - plus an end to a ton of symptoms from mental illness (to include all; there is of cause some types of extreme damage to the body that is beyond repair). The healing system has many million years experience and there is no other way to a real and permanent healing. Primal Therapy follows the “voice” of the body's own self healing system.

    No other therapy can do that better – ever!

    And what better scientific prof is needed when the results are saying it all so loud?

    Even talk about pain closes eyes and ears – science should know that and must try to look beyond that obstacle, if it wants to find a truth.

    Flemming D.

  13. Very good. I just discovered the mechanism for cure; after that the body does its thing. art

    1. Hi Art

      Thank you. I used over-simplification to prove a point and forgot to mention the discoveries about the imprint ( very important !).
      Your work behind Primal Therapy is so large, that I would never be able to make a summary.

      Flemming D.


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.