Friday, June 26, 2015

More on Leaky Gates

I have described the gating system several times in my blogs. Basically there are chemicals, not the least of which is methyl (as in methylation) that helped signal danger and also help to suppress its pain.  There is serotonin and a number of other biochemicals with a similar function: suppress the hurt.  But when the first line pain derived from brainstem activity is loaded with pain and the follow-up life compounds the agony, we have gates that become leaky, less effective and allow some pain to escape.

So when I ask an applicant for therapy if he were loved and cared for, he often will say, “yes”.    And If I ask how he sleeps he will tell me, “fitfully”. “Why is that?” I search.  And he says, well I often suffer from bad dreams and nightmares.  Oh, I say.  And then I say to myself, “my god, he has leaky gates”.  It means to me that  he has terrible deep pain that has taxed his repressive system (and often his immune system) and the terror leaks out. It also tells me to go slow and not to approach deep pain for a long time.

So I say to him, what are your nightmares about?  Mostly this and that.  Oh I say, this and that…such as?    Terror really, I am drowning or being suffocated, or held in a dark prison with no air.  And then I think, “If I strip away the content of the nightmare I would have the content of the Primal”.  And months later in therapy it leaks out into the session and he is suffocating in the dark and cannot move. There is something that wants to kill him but he does not know what.  It signals death approaching, as it did originally but it is still a mystery for the patient.  We approach it slowly and over time, not in a single session.  It is terror that can be terrible.  And it informs us accurately that he is carrying around immense pain that needs to come out and be relived eventually.    But in French it is a "compte a rebours", counting backwards.  We always begin therapy in the present and get to the beginning at the end of therapy or of a session.  Evolution brooks no deviation.  Sadly, there are some deviations when the terror/pain is overwhelming, but that is another matter.  We want to know what is in the unconscious that Freud said was so dangerous?  There it is, right in front of us.  We can see it and feel its intensity.  Oh my God, what is it!  It is the PRIMAL.  You mean that is the unconscious, nothing else mysterious and unknowable?

In the nightmare the top level neo-cortex concocts a scenario to explain the upsurging content.  It is a content that closely represents the nature of the trauma itself.  Now if we look at the recent mass killer we see possibly the same thing; massive pain on the upswing crumbling gates, merging with the current zeitgeist of white supremacy which rationalizes the feeling for him and gives it  destination and a raison d’ etre.  It is a living nightmare.  The difference is that it can no longer be constrained in any way, and has to be acted-out.  They need therapy while there is still time.  In neither case do we analyze the ideas; we always go for the feeling, the terror and anger.  Those deep-lying terrible feelings are the problem both for the therapy patient and for the killer.  You cannot say to either, look no one is trying to hurt you, so relax.  Something is gaining on him and it is deep sensations/feelings.  The killer misplaces the feelings and he has a cultural ideology to merge into.  The patient has a state of anxiety that we deal with by attacking the feeling.

In the case of the killer we can call it a psychotic episode,  psychotic breakthrough.  It is result of the imprint that does make people crazy; and it is the kind of thing Freud warned against when he alerted us to staying away from the unconscious.  Does anyone really think that there is a full-blown psychosis lying deep in the brain?  One that even has bizarre ideation, which is neurologically impossible?  Ideation develops much later in life and then gives form to the crazy feelings flowing up from below.
I have treated a killer. I was reluctant to take him but once he felt deep feelings he was a pussy cat and no danger to anyone.

This reminds me of those who are diagnosed as chronic schizophrenics.  I want to alert those in the diagnostic field that schizophrenia is apparent when the cortical gates give way and feelings intrude into the neocortex to produce strange irrational ideas and beliefs.  But what happens when there is no intrusion yet and the gates hold on for a while to block intrusion?  Where did the psychosis go?  Now we get close to what psychosis means.  The problem lies down deep in the brain,  within the brainstem and lower limbic ares where a total tumult is raging from damage that occurred early in life, gestation or birth.  That is what constantly threatening the top level brain.  So can we be psychotic down deeper in the brain?  Of course, but since it has not yet recruited ideation to handle and cover the rampant feelings we have to give it a different name: cancer, the psychosis of the cells. The cells’ boundaries cannot hold and there is an over-spill.  Or the “psychosis"  can take on a different form, usually catastrophic in different kinds of diseases.  So as the pain mounts we develop new serious diseases, and we give it all new diagnoses.  But what is it after all?  Pain, a pain so immense as to be ineffable.  But that is what it is.  It lives on different brain levels, but we need to know what it is so we treat the right thing.  What is the treatment of psychosis?  Pain killers.  And childhood Anxiety and ADD?  Pain killers.  And difficulty in learning and severe asthma?  You guessed it.  There is the notion that Schizophrenia only appears in late adolescence as it did not exist until then.  But maybe it doesn’t start until we enter adulthood because we now have the language to talk schizophrenia.  Now we know about words like “cosmos” and we can imagine we merge with it.  We have perfected a new language which is far-out… because it is far in.  We are trying to make sense out of an input that has no sense; it is just a massive first-line, brainstem input.  We dress it in words even though it has no words;  it is pure agonizing pain. The neocortex is scrambling to give it a rationale, that seems so bizarre because it has no rationale.

Over the years of Primal, now almost 50 years of practice, we have gone very deep, and that is what we find: our life experience lying in wait for its time to be free of its biologic constraints. That is the key danger:  us.  We are afraid of ourselves and what we have undergone, and that means exactly when and where every psychotherapy avoids… first line.  Is it dangerous?  Yes.  Only if we mess with evolution and reach it prematurely.  It is dangerous if we are in a hurry, do not understand how dangerous it can be and have no idea about how the brain works.  And once there we have no idea how to turn it off.  So what happens? Emergency clinics and heavy tranquilizers.  Push back the demons is what they understand without ever knowing what the demons are.  How could they since they have never seen the unconscious in its full regalia.
And what are those tranquilizers that the emergency clinic offers the freaking-out patient?  Some of the same chemicals he depleted in his original attempt to shut down the terror/pain,  such as serotonin.  It is part of the drugs, Prozac and Zoloft.  They are only replacing what was depleted at the start. Because unlike alligators, who are built to handle immediate and brief threats, we cannot deal with prolonged danger without deregulating our whole system.

And now we come to methylation.  It is an accurate index of our early, painful imprints.  A study by the Society for Research in Child Development, (Sept. 8, 21014), found that children who were abused or neglected early in life are at risk for both emotional ill health and physical afflictions.(See:  “The researchers found an association between the kind of parenting children had and crucial aspects of ……health.”  One culprit is DNA methylation.  They took two groups of children; one abused and the other not. Abused  or neglected kids were likely to suffer mood changes, poor school performance and tendencies toward serious diseases. They also had increased methylation, in particular on several sites of the glucocorticoid gene.  Not the fact with normally reared children.
We see aspects of this in our levels of cortisol, an anti-inflammatory.  The neglected kids could not handle emotional stress well. Sound familiar?  It does to me.
Most important, the methylation process affected nerve-growth factor which augurs badly for brain development.

Our research job will be to point out how and where this methylation takes place and why?  We believe, but we want to measure, if indeed our therapy will help undo some of the prolonged effects of methylation; i.e.,  de-methylation.  Above all, is emotional abuse ultimately physical abuse?  Of course, and when we see chronically sick kids, we need not only to exam the details of the symptom but also the details of his previous emotional life.  There lies the real culprit. The answers lie not in the minute cells of the brain which are reluctant to reveal the truth and often cannot, but in the complications of the person’s life going way, way back.  Let us all decide to delve deeper from now on and the surprises will be never-ending.


  1. Art,

    Wonderful blog, so much stuff you wrote is related to my condition. Thanks.


  2. Cause... effect and consequence... science man lives or must show his respekt to!?

    There is nothing that has not its science! It's just so that science represents what we want to know about something... something we to often of "greed" want to know... greed for how we do not know we are affected... greed an extremely important science... a matter of conscious awareness! Without its science and the science is lost for its consequence.


  3. Art: Thanks for all this, though I still don´t know if I have leaky gates (same as overload?). My mother tells me my asthma began at about 3 weeks, and it does run in my family (my father and younger brother inc.) though it disappeared completely 13 years ago, age 41, as soon as I adopted a low fat raw vegan diet (just raw fruits & greens). However I DO accept your explanation, and once you wrote that Asthma is psychosis of the body. So am I psychotic?

    Well I have regular dreams about being naked (which I act out in my present life) being amongst people but feeling rejected etc. Not nightmares, which I never have, but unpleasant. I feel as if I´m pretty disturbed. My behaviour can be eccentric and I´m highly strung.

    I tried anti depressants & anxiolytics for a few weeks years ago when I was feeling depressed and though the depression & anxiety lifted, the feeling void which replaced it was worse so I stopped them. I wondered at the time how this numbness, this total lack of any feeling, would be seen by my shrink. Better? Now I know that 21 out of the 27 major tranquillisers are fluoride based, and fluoride is a Narcotic, immuno-suppressant, carcinogem, hormone disruptor, enzyme poison and nerve toxin, in the same toxicity category as Arsenic and Mercury, a virulent protoplasmic poison (ie it kills, every cell which which it comes into contact).

    Brain meds and public water are very convenient dumps for an industrial waste product - hexafluorisilisic acid - so toxic it is illegal to dump it at sea and safe disposal would cost so why not flog it to water cos along weith fraudulent science claiming it benefits kids teeth? Mega lie. Avoid the major tranqs. Gary


  4. art, I just want to sat thank you for not hurting me when I am strategizing so much. I KNOW that you are right and I know that the other therapists... your friends are right. You guys have been through it. You guys can feel reality. If I can't get it right with long term American residency, I will come soon. Thank you for understanding me. It's too much Art. It's way too much. I'm hurting so bad.

    1. Richard, we are here for you when you can get there. Art

  5. Dear Art
    I have returned home after pectus excavatum Ravitch surgery method. It was terrible hospital stay to me. It was to much pain realeased at once. Now I cannot feel. I woke up during night and I dont remember where am I. Mediacial stuff treated patients like robots. I felt left alone in the night, it was so terrible. My chest hurts. I think now I don;t have enought stranght to get it out. Now I am home but, but i don;t feel. I am lost again. I can't even cry.

    1. Piotr It sounds terrible but what is Ravitch surgery? Where are you? Is anyone taking care of you? art

    2. Dear Art

      Now I am home. Wife was with me, but nights was terrible and it was too much pain for me. Surgery was to straight my chest, I had a funnel chest. Now I am dent free but I need time to open up again.

  6. We try the best we can, but we still need Primal Therapy, and people , those who haven't gone through birth trauma, just think the worst of those whe have gone through birth trauma...they catagorize them, and stereotype them; feel superior to them many times. Many people don't understand; which is to bad. Primal Therapy would be well worth the time and money. People, all people, should check out what Art has to say...a lot of it is important and might possibly make an impression upon someone so that they can become a better person.

  7. An email comment: "Brilliant! Brings it all together into one easily understandable package. Not disconnected, hanging bits and pieces. Maybe your best blog ever. Only one obvious, likely error, as I will explain in detail in a letter I am writing."

  8. Another email comment: "You sense I think correctly that I have leaky gates. You advised me that going slow was best. You didn't respond when I said I dreamed I was screaming but woke up and I was not. I thought I would tell you I'm ok and being careful. Thanks for all you do."

  9. Art: I´m interested in how you treat "leaky gates". Does the patient need medication to get his system "primal ready"? Or are there other non drug approaches necessary to get her into primals? Also, how, for our understanding, would conventional psychiatry define leaky gates? OCD? Anxiety attacks? Panic attacks? Is it a psychotic condition?
    Your article raises the issue of painkillers. By this I refer not only to the usual prescribed meds eg the anti depressants, anxiolytics, etc, but to alcohol, cigarettes, dope, illegal drugs etc. You can also include grains such as wheat. oats etc which in addition to being nutritionally bankrupt and responsible for a huge number of health complaints are also full of OPIOIDS. And Dairy, ditto but full of caseimorphines. No wonder they constitute a significant proportion of he diets of most Westerners (but only in the last 10,000 years) and people find it so hard to give them up.
    When I occasionally smoked dope way back, I remember the experience as a more intense version of the anti depressants I later took. It blocked out all pain and suffering, both physical and emotional. The dope was pleasant for precisely this reason, though nobody would see it that way. Denial. Admitting you are normally in pain and seek temporary relief is not palatable to the drug user until he gets seriously hooked. Instead the less intense user sees it as a nice experience - or with the heavier drugs an exceptional one, but only as a change from a normally OK state of being.
    On dope, I "felt" - for want of a better word - like a zombie, but the temporary surcease of emotional pain was a relief so I was able to relate socially without constantly getting pain triggered. But the later anti-depressants made me feel like a zombie all the time. I could hardly feel the ground under my feet. Only later did I discover I´d been on a fluoride based pill (most major tranqs are fluoride based): recently declassified CIA documents from the 1930s reveal that water fluoridation - by then chosen by NAZI scientists to sedate, cripple and sterilise their conquered populations and concentration camp inmates - had been chosen to transform the American people into "Zombies". Chosen that is, over LSD and BZ. And half of Americans still drink fluoridated water.

    I understand why you say that painkillers are the most dangerous of drugs. Nature has given us pain for a reason. It alerts us to something wrong in our bodies. I know a guy who has been smoking dope daily for 10 years and he´s only 25. Now he´s really getting into LSD. My feeling is that this guy really doesn´t know what´s going on inside his own body. Startling detachment. He could get cancer or break a boné and I wonder if he´d know it. Gary

    1. Gary, did you read and thought about leaky gut? it could be strongly connected with leaky gates. there is more and more info about "microbiota", and millions of nerve cells in out gut that are sending information to the brain. they even call gut a "second brain". is it possible that 90 percent of our serotonin is produced in our gut? if our microbiota is bad than it damages the inner lining of our guts that becomes more permeable and provokes inflammation... and who knows what else. the vagus nerve is full of neural fibers that send info UP towards the brain.
      the complex ecosystem in our guts is there even in the womb. and the mother is making it. how it affects the fetus is yet to be discovered. they say it could be significant.
      week before i read about it i started the experiment and i am not consuming grains and milk products at all. and thanks Gary for your information!

    2. there is more... "Brain depends on gut bacteria for protection"

      and "Mother’s Microbes Protect Baby’s Brain"

      i remember Art's an article about the risk for children born to mothers who had the flu during pregnancy. it seems that the risk of antibiotics given to the mother are also affecting the development of the new life inside her. it seems that ours and our mothers gut is a first line modulator. both as adults and back then when it really mattered.

  10. you write: "If I strip away the content of the nightmare I would have the content of the Primal”
    It's so true: i'm having a sabbatical for 5 months now, and i am dreaming/nightmaring a lot. And indeed, I strip the content and the feeling is literally the feeling I had to repress in my youth to survive. Life has the biological power to survive and so by dreaming/nightmaring the truth is presentig herself ... If you go with your own flow (and are not involved in dangerous no-primal nonsense therpy) no more information is given free in the dreams than you can handle at that moment.
    But not only in my dreams I learn very much when I skip the content en study the feelings, daily life provides similar opportunities; as I experience in a situation negative/terrible feelings I'm not able to skip and in reality there is no logical reason for the feeling of being a prisoner of these feelings, I do the same thing. I skip the content of the situation en study the feelings. And then I discover the same things as in the dreams/nightmares: i'm experiencing feelings of my youth I had to respress to survive.

  11. Art, maybe the research you are about to embark to will make primal therapy stand out from the crowd. or maybe it will equalize it with some other approaches. PT is so so so unique. this uniqueness should show somewhere.
    until then, this article about leaky gates is very interesting example of PTheory view on human condition. i think the growing info about gut microbiota is adding to the causes. Sieglinde, Kaz and planespotter wrote about it few years ago and it should be researched more... and talked about more. leaky gut, leaky gates and leaky blood brain barrier...
    maybe it is not a bad idea to find a way to periodically measure gut health of your patients along with other parameters you plan to measure in your study.

    1. Vuko: It is interesting but it is not my field at all. art

    2. it is the same old story about our environment. only expanded. i googled "fetus microbiome" and this was mostly on the first page>
      "limiting fat intake during pregnancy had a profound and positive effect on the gut microbiomes of the mother and her young. It was actually far more important for fostering healthy gut microbiomes than whether or not the mother was obese".
      "Aagaard says that the placental microbiome likely represents a baby’s first meeting with the microbial world. The birthing process, then, would be the second stop on a tour of the maternal microbiome. Once on the outside, a baby’s first embrace with his mother is really a group hug with her skin microbiome. And then there’s breastmilk, which for many decades was also considered sterile, but which is in fact a creamy bacterial soup".
      "Ardissone and colleagues (38) found that amniotic fluid flora accounted for a greater relative abundance of bacteria found in meconium than either the oral or vaginal cavities of pregnant women. A previous study was also able to isolate Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and Propionibacterium from umbilical cord blood, suggesting a hematogenous mechanism by which microbiomes from distal locations in the mother can be transmitted to the fetus". (40)
      "women need to head into pregnancy with a healthy microbiome and then maintain it".
      "Avoid bathing baby for at least 24 hours after birth, and then only use plain water for at least 4 weeks".
      "Commercial formulas are sterilized and do not contain microbes and donor human milk is pasteurized and should contain few if any microbes".
      "Factors that affect this in-utero microbiome such as maternal antibiotics or maternal diet may play a large role in epigenetic and/or immunologic alterations that can occur during this very critical window of development".
      "...we review the current understanding of microbial colonization at the feto-maternal interface and explain how normal gut colonization drives a balanced neonatal mucosal immune system, while dysbiosis contributes to aberrant immune function early in life and beyond".

      A video

      and another one
      “Early start of feeding formula milk changes the composition of the intestinal-microbiota, promoting colonization by obligate anaerobes…”
      “due to strong emotional stress, the disruption of the mother-infant bond (i.e., by separation from the mother) in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) altered the composition of infants’ gut microbiota, increasing their vulnerability to disease.

      gut-brain axis (GBA) and HPA axis probably can't be looked at seperately.

    3. What I know of gut (bacterial) health is that it's related to immunity. Jacquie

    4. Vuko's reply (deleted by mistake):
      "thanks for reply Jacquie. yes, immunity and autoimmunity. Alessio Fasano, MD says that knowledge about our gut microbiome from 3 years ago is already "classic". old. passe. he is at the tip of science about autoimmune disease, more specifically - celiac disease.

      but there is more... stress, obesity, cancer, autism... inflammation.

      he likes to call our gut - the first brain. vagus nerve is indeed connected to brain stem and affecting the parasympathic reaction. rest and digestion. and feeling.

      and serotonin production.

      there is so much data that connects many, many ailments with our gut. it is new data.

      but this one is from 2011>

      it must be important part of the healing process to learn to know to choose our environment and how to nourish it. make the best of it. "

  12. Happy Indepence Day.

    8 years on an SSRI and then facing the Sunami that exploded out of my head when I came off them has been a terrifying but fascinating journey dealing with my leaky gates which seem to be stronger now. Quite obviously dreams are the minds own titration of recovery. Understand them and the contained feelings and one can start recovery.

    I would be very interested to hear if any of your patients have experienced anything like I am about to relate which I think is about leaky gates.

    I don't often have nightmares any more. My dreams are mostly realistic with only small incidents of surrealism within them. That would suggest I have made something of a recovery.

    I recently had a dream within a dream. My unconcious self was asleep and dreaming. In that second layer I dreamt my great Grandmother stood (with another figure in the shadows) holding a thick wooden dowel about 3 feet long with a leather loop at the handle end. This was a stick that had been used to beat me aged 3 (by a drunk great Uncle) and leave me with a piece of bone broken off my 6th vertebrae and scoliosis resulting from the massive muscle tension the beating caused and which a Chiropractor only really relaxed 4 years ago.

    I (obviously it was an earlier younger me) saw my grandmother from the perspective of a small boy. He then woke up and cried. Thus I was crying in my dream. I then woke up.

    I know that traumatised children often split themselves off from Trauma and I am wondering whether I have just experienced a dream within the subconcious of little me split from the slightly older little me. In other words the little me who grew into the 3 year old who was then beaten and traumatised. I honestly think I crossed the trauma barrier in that dream and experienced who I was before the beating. Still a long way to go but incredible non the less.

    1. Hi planespotter,

      I relate to what you narrate very strongly. Firstly I agree generally with the Primal view that dream analysis / content is not as important as the feeling in the dream. Mostly it's anxiety / fear / terror in my dreams, many of which are recurring (symptomatic of 1st line).
      I used to keep a dream diary. My dreams also have become more 'realistic' in the way you describe; less symbolic, though what symbols do appear are almost obvious IN the dream and particularly in relation to the FEELING. Thus I seem to becoming 'aware / conscious' IN my dreams. IE: there is an element of having some self that is REAL, that is constant. . .

      This thing about layers. . . Did you say 'layers'? No, but it sounds like you are experiencing them. I had a dream of following myself up a road on foot following my brother in my Dad's car. . . I have had other dreams where I seemed to be asleep in my dream but aware that I was and then woke up to find myself still asleep but aware that I'm dreaming ? ! ?

      It all makes perfect sense to me, what you are reporting also confirms that perhaps the symbols and the scenarios are important in dreams but ONLY in relation to the feeling. Also, your organism is 're-orienting' itself. The feeling IS the fulcrum around which the 'scenarios' revolve. Thus developing a sense of the FEELING in dreams is not as obvious as it may sound; as I said, mine are mostly all anxiety related.

      Art reported having a Primal in his dream recently and I have had that too. I have started to realise that perhaps dreaming in this way is becoming a substitute for having access to a good therapist / therapy space. Lets face it, one can't always GET the support and FEEDBACK you need when feelings arise AT THE TIME; they don't like to be constrained by a timetable, and so, for the foreseeable future dreams will continue to "Alert" us to feelings / things we usually can't perceive on our own.

      You can see why people put so much importance on dreams, and of course why in Primal this 'importance' NEEDS refining and putting into it's correct context.

      In the end though, we want to be conscious of feelings and not 'wake up' endlessly wondering what 'that was all about'.

      Paul G.

    2. Hi Paul.

      I think dreams are the minds way of letting you down slowly if only you could be allowed to understand them. Glad to hear you have dreamt in layers. i do feel this is a way of accessing an earlier self traumatised into being cut off from the rest of the self. Only by accessing all those cut off selves can one slowly become whole as they all meet.

      I dramt I met myself the other day as a small 3 or 4 year old boy. One of the most profound dreams I have ever had. I have not been the same since. It changed me 9for the better hopefully). He/I was such a sad manipulated melancholy little Boy.

      I think dreams hold many answers. I was very resistant to Art's theory of all symbols being feeling containers (I hope that is right). I do feel that the symbols are important. Some of mine have almost been markers in time as to when an event happened. What i was missing was that i was'nt feeling all the feelings in the dreams. Those markers also contain feelings felt at the time of the event so confirming and solidifying the sense of reality and experience.

      I resist any talk of having "importance" set out for someone. The right question asked gives someone space to come to thier own conclusions which in the end is perhaps the best way forward. It is for me anyhow.

      I think that dreams are a gentle precoursor to the feelings and contextual events actually coming into the concious mind. They are natures own titration in just the same way that Art describes tiny steps forward in therapy being "Titration".

      In the same way my Nightmares of blackness and claustrophobia were about being trapped in a waterless womb for a week before being hauled out with Forceps.

      It's all Freuds fault. The Guy go so close to understanding how Trauma works with his Trauma theory and then he chickened out because of Societal pressure. All that bloody dream analysis.

      Totally get the being asleep dreaming and then walking up in the dream and realising I am still asleep. A bit of a Mind F**k to say the least! :-)

  13. "We are afraid of ourselves and what we have undergone...";"Only if we mess with evolution and reach it prematurely..." That's it Art. That's exactly what happened to our chimp ancestors (surely straight walking by then though) some 300 thousand years ago. Darwin's lost link in the chain of evolution demands its microphone. And humanity is on the brink to solving it thanks to your efforts. I truly belive we, as a species, underwent a deep hurting experience as some individuals were forced to jump from australopithecus afarensis or homo erectus to homo sapiens in a way too short of a lapse (in evolutionary terms, of course). That sudden and unexpected evolutionary hop must have been the root to our specie's disfunctionality ever since. At least to the intellectual inheritors of babilonian legacy (that is the whole western civilization settled on the northern hemisphere). What was it that put us in a state of unexpected shock and left an open scar as we took a shortcut to this very present moment? I'm afraid it is all written on the seven clay sumerian tablets. Enuma Elish. That's the name of it. Oh by the way I'm not concocting any schizoid idea in order to frame any leaking panic. I just connected the dots after ten years of research. And you Art have found THE way to give it a "carte d'identité", the means to unlock the overwhelming and unstoppable amount of fear, unable to stay kept hidden anymore. After all there must be a logical reason for all this mess we humans are facing "en fin de temps". The more I dig into it the more I understand there's an evolutionary knot that affected us not only physically but also disturbed our feelings way back in time.


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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.”
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Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

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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.