Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An Unsung Hero

 There is someone who is doing heroic work in the shadows, who does not get paid but who works many hours a day.  She supervises all clinical work, and teaches the basics of the therapy, runs the administrative side of the Center and deals with all outside inquiries.  In short, the pivot around which the clinic revolves.
 She is the engine, the motor for the advancement in  the practice of Primal Therapy. She is there to help therapists work with patients.  Who could do any more?  She is our resident savant……Dr. France Janov.

 It is hard to realize, even for me, how much work goes into directing even a small clinic, a clinic that has patients from 38 countries, and requires communications among people from many countries of the world.  And oh yes, she is my wife of 42 years.

 What does it mean to run a psychiatric clinic?  It means knowing the latest science so as to help therapists know how our therapy fits in with science.  It means knowing the various afflictions people suffer and why.  It involves knowing about people from different countries and how they differ as a population; for ex., what is the most repressed country and what is the least?  It is a wide-ranging job that requires clinical skills, financial ability, relevant science and how to help our therapists relate to foreign patients some who only have minimal skills in English.  Needless to say, it is a job well done, too often done in the shadows by someone who manages to keep it all going well.  She has done this for years without pay.  It is a labor of love or her and also because Primal Therapy saved her life.  She teaches not out of academic persuasion, but because she learned out of her own feelings for a very long time.

Our thanks to France.



  1. Thank you France. You are truly an amazing person. I love to watch your training excerpt videos; you teach effortlessly and brilliantly. Thank you for all your help with me and my family. You are so full of heart. Even though you are behind the scenes at the Center I know you are very engaged and integral to the therapy.
    Jean H

  2. " What does it mean to run a psychiatric clinic"?

    France... this is for everyone who conducts primal therapy around the world without the slightest idea of what they are doing... not least in Sweden!

    To face emotions based on cognitive conditions... it is a primal therapist's task... it for whatever thoughts... symptoms show.
    If he does not have experience on the origins of what symptoms can include he is a danger to his patient!

    To jump from an airplane without a parachute in the faith to be alive at the landing... it can may well be compared to what a therapist shoulders in their attempt to help someone...if they could feel what primal therapy was all about... eagerness to help someone can take drastic forms! It should be a warning pledged by all governments around care establishments!

    To all of you who practice primal therapy! Why is it so drastically? I told you... for you to jump without a parachute in the belief to clear it is what it is all about... your eagerness to help someone has no limits! Some other words will not be enough for you to understand the difference between thinking about primal therapy and feel in it... if ever.


    Thank you for standing as garnat of what science wants to tell!

    Your Frank

  3. It`s good to be reminded of the person, France Janov, who will carry on this important work, one, I beleive, destined to eventually have a more widespread impact, IF sufferring mankind makes another big leap forward like it did in the 60s, with many people no longer able to tolerate the superficiality, loneliness, misery, and meaninglessness of their lives. A big IF in my opinion, since I usualy feel pessimistic (perhps unwarranted) about the prospects of neurotic mankind.

    Mes meilleurs souhaits a vous, Mme Janov!


    1. France was very moved by your letter, thank you. art

    2. Yes Marco, I worry too about the "Body Snatchers" of neurosis. Those who live on fear and want to lead others by it. Thinking of the campaigning now in U.S. of those who tap into our fears, hates and insecurities instead of realistic hope and a view to compassion.
      So I say let's hear it for those who buck the negativity and know there is a better way to live.

      I've always loved listening to France's videos. They are a meaningful, valuable interpretation of 'primal'. For me it was a comforting female "mother" voice to explain the complexities of neurosis. Thanks to Art and France, both.

    3. Sheri: Always excellent writing. Send me again what you wrote on shooting in the dark as I am writing a piece on it. thanks art

  4. Wanted to post something earlier, when I first saw this....(just one of those "end of the week,busy" and couldn't. Anyway, if I could, I would put a heart around the picture of Dr. Janov and his wife...nice picture. They say "love makes the world go round" and I do believe that,all kinds of love, with different relationships. Even if it isn't an intimate love relationship; (which I have given up on,) there are other ways of love (which I hope everyone knows). There is love & understanding, feelings, and emotions towards ones' fellow man and even one's own feelings and emotions towards animals. Thank you Art for writing this, and France, thank you for what you do and also for what you have done.

  5. I also think France est magnifiique!

    thanks to both of you....

  6. An email comment: " The world owes great love and assistance to you both. You have told us here that France is the wind beneath Primal Therapy's wings, I can hear it playing now. How sweet a romance in which one of you created the plane and it's wings, you each perfected it together, and the other understands maintains and supplies it's lift: Romance to its fullest.

    Hugs to you both and the best in life for each of you.

  7. Art, my first reaction was that you look lost and vulnerable like a child.

    Then my intellect kicked in and told me you were 'lost' in a train of thought and were not quite ready to be photographed.

    France looks confident and friendly and maybe a little protective of you.

    I am curious... what is the most repressed country and what is the least?

    1. Richard: Try England and Germany. art

    2. Hi Art,

      do you mean England AND Germany are the most, or Germany the least?

      I think you mean both don't you?

      Paul G

  8. Hi Art. I don't know if my resending the "dark" comment got thru because it said it was blocked. If so can send in email.

  9. as a pure gambler i would bet on Germany as the champions of neurosis. though i wouldn't bet a dime myself..

  10. i don't know much about France, but i remember long time ago i had a terible nightmare were i was feeling hopeless and helpless. as i was "screaming" in that dream i suddenly saw you Art and France on my side making me feel that you were there to help me with my feelings. even in my dream what a huge relief that was!!! i felt a tiny yet important hope as i woke up, that maybe someday it can happen for real. later that day i wrotte a poem about helpless that i sent it to you Art. i think you liked it. Anyway, the 2 of you are my heroes!!! even in my dreams!!!

    1. Thanasis, Hello whatever gets you through the night, even fantasies can help as you saw. And above all, we are still here. art

  11. Thanasis, When we had the clinic in Paris we saw many countries represented; Germany was a close winner. art


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.