Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On the Difference Between Abreaction and Feeling (Part 9/9)

 We Are Specialists of Joy, Not Pain

 Primal Therapy is no quick fix. We are attempting to redo someone’s entire life. It will be done in a slow methodical manner so as to never overwhelm the patient and make him suffer all over again, as happens with abreaction. If he can experience just enough to have a full experience that is enough for a session. We do not want him to suffer any more than necessary. He will suffer when the pain comes up arbitrarily, prematurely so that he cannot integrate it; the pain hangs there in an ego-dystonic fashion (Freud again), meaning alien and apart with pure pain that cannot be made ego-syntonic or integrated.

 So why do we have to trace back our evolution again? One reason is that we never sever anything permanently in our evolution; we suppress the old and add on the new. Sometimes the primal pain vestige is so powerful that it exerts a constant force that disrupts our functioning. In my patois, the first line erupts and surges higher. Then it has to be dealt with and relived. I call it “intrusion,” an imprint so strong that it interferes with our personal evolution and our current functioning. We see it in physical symptoms and deformation of organs and growth; we see it in diseases such as hypertension, cancer and heart failure that are actually offshoots of the central damaging memory, locked in as an imprint, out of reach and out of touch. This is also the case with Attention Deficit Disorder where forceful imprints constantly surge toward the top level to disrupt concentration and attention processes. Remember, earlier, I explained that evolution always moves the imprint higher so that first-line damage may be expressed on the upper levels of brain function, where attention and concentration are mustered. Training a person how to concentrate is not the answer; feeling the force that scatters thoughts is the answer.

 Once we lift the repressive lid (done in orderly fashion) there is no longer unconscious forces driving behavior and symptoms. And as repression lifts, the patient’s truth becomes self-revealing. Bit by bit his unconscious tells him what he needs to know, but not too much, just enough to integrate the pain and its information. His orderly descent into feelings eventually informs him of what it all means. Everything he needs to learn is already lying inside of him, waiting for discovery. It must come from inside, never outside, just as the feelings were laid down by the system and not by executive order.

 The aim is not insights; it is change in all aspects of the person: his behavior, biochemistry, neurology and feelings. We are after total change because there was total change at the time of the imprints. We want normalization of the whole person. We are not there to give love; we are there, paradoxically, to help patients feel unloved so that they recapture the ability to feel and then can feel love when it is there.

 If a therapist needs to be loved he will act out on the patient and give him what he, the therapist, never got. He has become a “pal” not his doctor. The patient feels loved, it feels good…and he loses! Or there are great discussions about music and art and politics, and the patient becomes an intellectual pal, and again he loses. He has been transformed from a patient who needs treatment into a good friend. Nice idea but very wrong. We are not there to give love; we offer kindness and caring but also science. We don’t replace science with pseudo caring. We adhere to key principles. The patient begins to suffer; we do not rush in to stop it and make him feel better. We don’t do him any favors suffocating the pain with “love.” His feelings are about real suffering. It must not be tampered with. That is the part he has kept hidden for years; it must come out and be experienced. Then we will be free; free of that pain which has made him depressed or anxious for so long. The patient is himself at last.

 It is dialectic; he has to feel unloved so as to unlock the feeling gates. He will never do that with therapeutic approval and warmth and understanding. He will get that after the feeling, not before. When he has made a breakthrough, we rejoice with him. It is not just about pain; it is about contentment, ease and relaxation. It is about joy. It is what we want too for them; why else do the therapy? I received over fifty letters on my birthday thanking me and my staff for saving their lives or improving them greatly. That is the reward and the meaning of our lives. We are not pain specialists; we are joy specialists who need pain to help joy along.
 There is a reason the patient has to feel unloved.  He needs to go back to the open sensory window when “unloved” dominated.  That is the essence of our therapy; travelling back in time and undoing the original damage. We cannot do any better than that.


  1. Dear Dr. Janov,
    Please see article bellow(Hope it will be usefull)
    Title: Study of Holocaust Survivors Finds Trauma Passed on to Children’s Genes
    Published Online: August 12, 2015
    "Holocaust exposure had an effect on FKBP5 methylation that was observed in exposed parents (F0) as well in their offspring (F1). These effects were observed at bin 3/site 6. Interestingly, in Holocaust survivors, methylation at this site was higher in comparison to controls, whereas in Holocaust offspring, methylation was lower. F0 and F1 methylation levels were significantly correlated. In contrast to the findings at bin 3/site 6, offspring methylation at bin 2/sites 3-5 associated with childhood physical and sexual abuse in interaction with an FKBP5 risk-allele, previously associated with vulnerability to psychological consequences of childhood adversity. The findings suggest the possibility of site-specificity to environmental influences, as sites in bins 3 and 2 were differentially associated with parental trauma and the offspring’s own childhood trauma, respectively. FKBP5 methylation averaged across the three bins examined, associated with wake-up cortisol levels, indicating functional relevance of the methylation measures."
    "This is the first demonstration of transmission of pre-conception parental trauma to child associated with epigenetic changes in both generations, providing a potential insight into how severe psychological trauma can have intergenerational effects."

    Very Best Regards,

    1. Hi Nelson,

      Along with the (yet again) terrifying confirmation of the basic epigenetic principle of trauma stored in the form of the imprint doesn't this also have exciting and positive implications in the development of evolution theory? I mean, some theorists explain that evolution happens in rapid jumps rather than gradual increments. . . Does this material lend weight to the idea that adaption (and maladaption) can happen rapidly as a consequence of sudden and massive environmental change?

      Paul G.

    2. Dear Nelson Simas,
      The regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) is also manifest in humans who experienced childhood stress and neglect (lack of oxytocin, ergo lack of serotonin). IL (interleukin) glucocorticoid receptor response is mainly related to high adrenal output.
      The question not answered yet is, was the gene methylation prenatal or altered during childhood adversity. Once the gene is manipulated (methylated) this marker can be inherited by the next generation. Nevertheless a list of illnesses derived from hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (DNA markers) show malfunction see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=glucocorticoid+receptor+response+childhood+stress
      As Dr. Janov indicated in all his writings LOVE and CARE (oxytocin) is what a child needs. My theory: oxytocin is the preventer of gene methylation. However, a mother who never experienced love and care, genetically imprinted with high or too low cortisol, can only give what she has still intact.

    3. Paul: Do you remember I wrote about the 100th monkey (Ken Keyes book) experiment in the 1950s on this blog? On a Japanese Island the practice of monkeys washing their sweet potatoes before eating them in seawater spread. Suddenly, the practice appeared spontaneously amonst large sections of simlar monkeys on other Japanese islands, and the mainland, IMMEDIATELY after 100 of the original monkeys had adopted the practice, and with NO POSSIBLE CONTACT BETWEEN THE GROUPS ON DIFFERENT ISLANDS AND THE MAINLAND.
      It has always puzzled me how evolution could bestow identical evolutionary characteristics across entire species, hundreds of thousand of animals. What power, what intelligence, changes animals in an identical way if that change does not start with just ONE animal, and then the change is passed on via succeeding generations, which woud take thousands of years to accomplish, and even then, the previous "models" would continue through all the other individual "family" lines? Gary

    4. Hi Gary,

      people tried to discredit the '100th monkey syndrome' and some say the numbers are 'dodgy'. . . At one point there were similar questions being asked about the crystal experiments being conducted around the world. . . Crystalisation being a very important part to chemistry and the developments of new compounds. Researchers found that different scientists around the world were conducting experiments independently and after a while where some had no success others started to get the results and then hey presto, after a 'magic number' then ALL the scientists started to get these good results. At one point the researchers started to check to see if the crystals from one laboratory had accidentally gotten carried across the world in the beards of fellow scientists and inadvertently dropped into the experiments elsewhere to try to explain this phenomena . . .

      Crystalisation seems to be a very important part of Human consciousness. . .

      Paul G.

    5. to understand we have to see the danger inside. the disaster, the specific human life threatening situation… than can makes sense to our pursuit for solutions. Without that we keep being on a wrong track, not enough or we can’t remain consistent.. it is hard to find solution to a problem we don’t see. Real, true problem. Mostly invisible to us. we don’t see it clearly. Just some undefined sensations… abstract. At least for me.

      can epigenetic show it objectively for us? is there somewhere a marker that react ONLY to this unique therapy. and nothing else. just like the patients say it does. Just like they feel it does. not sure. if not too expensive it is really interesting and important possibility.

      But we can take into consideration that most of us are humans in constant danger that we need protection from and have available many mechanisms to protect from that danger. it could lead to more explanations about ourselves. About what we do, think… feel and how to help.

    6. Vuko, There are answers which I shall publish as soon as the journal publishes first. hang on art

  2. Dear Art

    Do you think that ear buzzing - tinnitus auris can be related with child trauma? I have this and it drives me crazy.

    1. Piotr, sorry it is not my area of expertize. I can imagine how annoying it is. art

  3. An email comment:
    "Art; This is a nice, clear, conclusion to the series on differentiating feeling from abreaction. But it does hurt, because - and of course this isn´t your intention - you´re intensifying the yearning in so many of us here for Primal Therapy, and most of us will never be able to make it to the only place it is practised; your own center. That disheartens and sometimes tortures me. The more you write, the more of my life becomes transparent as a neurotic sham, and the more I feel my life is worthless unless I can get proper therapy..
    In "The Primal Scream", you wrote that during the first few months you practised Primal Therapy, you were so convinced that your patients were in agony, that you didn´t bother to ask them. When you did, one said it was "A pain that didn´t hurt", and others said similar things. Could you expound on this please? The idea that Primals are "extreme agony" might put people off. Gary

    1. And my answer: It is that feelings get buried due to their load of pain. When experienced they become again feelings which now can be felt a bit at a time. They arise as feelings but buried as pain. It is pain because the feelings are too brutal to be felt as an infant all at one time. art

    2. Art: Then why would "Bill" in The Feeling Child (or The Primal Revolution?) write "I don´t know how to put that sort of pain down on paper?" or YOU describe one of your own birth primals as "an AGONISING 40 hour birth primal"? if it is "a pain that doesn´t hurt"?
      Also, if long term abreaction takes, as I understand you, at least many months to recover from before someone can begin to primal, does that not mean that a primal intensive at the beginning of therapy will be a waste of time and money for those patients? Or is there another treatment plan for them? Just asking. BW, Gary

    3. Gary, there is pain mostly before you feel it, then it becomes a feeling. But abreaction is deadly and very difficult to overcome. art

    4. Art; If the pain is hence only a pre-primal phase, why does everyone describe primals as "extreme agony" (M. Holden), "agony" (yourself), etc?

      You didn´t answer my Q on abreaction, but i thought more on the point I made and came to two conclusions:

      1. Because it would be difficult to reliably verify whether new Primal Center patients have been abreacting or not before they begin therapy with you, starting out with a treatment programme other than an intensive could be inappropriate for them.

      2. If news got out that previously abreacting patients were given, say, long term twice weekly sessions at your center as an "abreaction treatment programme" to prepare them for an intensive, other people, worried about not getting to their feelings within an intensive and hence wasting a lot of money (which must be a common fear and could lead to abreaction), might tell the Center that they too have been abreacting in order to secure the same treatment programme.

      Perhaps a more viable alternative would be to make a point of checking on whether patients have been abreacting in the initial questionnaire/interview and if so, to (1) advise them on the effects of abreaction, and (2) to stop doing it for a minimum perod (which you would know best) before starting therapy with you, and any other ways to heal from its effects during this cooling off/healing period?

      What do you say? BW, Gary

    5. Gary, The aim is that hurt goes in for repression as massive hurt and comes out over time as feelable feelings in therapy. Repression aids in minimalizing the pain into small amounts at a time. Art.

    6. It's difficult to convince the part of the brain who's purpose it is to defend against pain, that It's ok to let down It's guard. The beauty of the feeling process is that you only need to let a little bit of feeling through to realise what a relief it is , and then the defence has a good reason to give itself up a little more (bit by bit), because It now has information from the feeling part of the brain, that It's safe to do so.

      Primal feelings are not agony, they are only painful while in the resistance phase when the defence system is fighting against letting in the feeling, or when the defences are not working and there is an overload, in which case something can be done to repress some of the feeling load. Thank god for repression and thank god for Feelings.
      Thanks Bloggers for the opportunity to learn more!


  4. An email comment:"That makes sense to me, and it feels like a relief (which is how patients describe primals). The other which puzzles me is that from reading your books, my understanding is that pains are always relived inreverse chronological order to the way they were originally experienced; last in, first out. Yet in one of your early books - either The Feeling Child or The Primal Revolution, written over 40 years ago - you refer to your own birth primals, yet you have had later childhood primals only within the last year! I´d be very interested in hearing about how the human system organizes the sequence of relivings. Thanks, Gary "

    1. And my answer:
      There is my bio being written. Hang on. Also I will have a major piece in the World Congress of Psychiatry coming out in the future which explains a lot. art

    2. Hi Gary & Art,

      so would I be interested in hearing about how the human system organises the sequence of reliving. . .

      Paul G.

    3. I am so eager to read your bio, Art. Please: YOU hang on too ;-)

  5. Hello Art!

    Now I "know" the way I involuntarily experiencing memories!

    The sensory window must be what happens to me when I involuntarily experiencing memories... my living room can by all its emptiness get me to the memories of other rooms... it when I as a kid was so alone... but in the process to not be there now experience the terror that was then. I'm not there now... but in my memories... therefore not a victim here and now and I can live through it?

    This has involuntarily happened to me many times in life without I was currently in the process which has cost me much suffering... which I also presume is the primal therapeutic process... all in one... from its beginning! It is fantastic!

    Your Frank

  6. Dear Art

    Almost whole my life everyone convinced me to live in lie, deception. Once upon a time I faced some web page of guy who had been sexualy abused, he translated few your articles from blog into Polish. For me it was: "wow there is someone who knows this things, he says (You) exactly what I felt whole my life" I owe you. How are you feel now? Yet, you passed 91.

  7. Hi Art,

    -" My approach resembles no other. That is why it is revolutionary. Try not to fit it into a thousand other ideas and take it for what it is"-.

    I gave an old friend a copy of your 'Life Before Birth', he read it, started agreeing about his birth traumas and now I have a horrible feeling he's off to an Ayahuasca ceremony in Spain this October. I might be wrong but the last thing I want to do is confront him 'head on' about it for fear of 'driving him deeper' and he's gone rather quiet since he told me he will be "Off to Spain".
    Anyway, even if I am wrong, (which I hope I am) the advertisement for the event goes into some detail to point out that various trained counselors will be on hand; also, a vetting of candidates will be compulsory and there will even be a group who DON'T actually take the drug on the advice of those counselors who feel (presumably) that some people really shouldn't. My friend definitely shouldn't, he's already been hospitalised after smoking a joint and had 4 bouts of ECT. . . But it would be just like him. . .

    What irks me is that the organisers are basically saying this is an event tailored for 'curing addictions, neurosis' etc etc. . . as well as 'spiritual guidance' etc etc. . . and all achieved in two to five days. . .
    So my point is that I can imagine some people reading your books and waltzing off to events like these having completely failed to get the right message about 'reliving trauma' and I really worry that my friend is under this delusion. . .

    What you said in your quote above reminds me that it is part of the Human Condition to do exactly that. To find a new 'jewel' and plant it in a 'garden' of previously found jewels so as to 'adorn' the garden of your own personal delusion. . . Aaaand the crazy thing is that All the most respected 'spiritual leaders' have repeated endlessly that this is exactly what we do and that drugs are not necessary for 'realisation' anyway. . . Aaaand yet, here we are again with people booking Easy Jet Flights to Easy Enlightenment at the End of a Drug Fueled (DMT) Rainbow. . .

    It's not a pot of gold at the end, it's a crock of shit.

    Paul G.

    1. -Hi,

      -it just really makes me wonder what the urge to do it is. I mean, I was young and naive and luckily for me I didn't get into the serious class A stuff till I was relatively mature; IE: my brain had developed somewhat, I shudder when I think about those 'youngsters' who perhaps at age 14 or 15 got into acid back in the 60's. - And this is what gets to me, I went through all that three decades ago and today people I know in their 50s are looking at me with that 'wistful' expression on their faces like they're gonna meet grandad or grandma or some long lost (mysterious) loved one. . . And now on U Tube Jason Silva is gonna tell me "Breaking Up" is a preparation for dying, I can't watch it. . . Oh please save me from people stuck in their fantastical heads. . . . . I'm only pissed off about this because I also was once 'taken in' by this fantastical bullshit myself. . .

      On a more serious note though, I think it is important to understand history and the development of ideas. I don't think it's possible to understand the significance of Primal Theory unless you have investigated (to an extent) what people have believed so far.

      I'm not saying a Primal patient 'needs' to have done this for their OWN therapy but I am saying that there has been a history of ideas about the human condition and the human psyche and it's worth seeing how that has developed. Personally speaking, to me it seems some traditions have got very near to the 'Primal Reality' and even Art has on occasion 'borrowed' words from them.

      Thus I am saying there are benefits to fitting those ideas into Primal; NOT the other way around, which is what we usually do in our ignorance (read 'repression'). I like Arts "Grand Delusions" and I'm looking forward to "Beyond Belief". . . These books (I assume) rather back up my point about looking at the history of ideas. Much insight can be gained from "Eliminating" the booga booga. . . That could even contribute to developing correct defenses and thus guarding against 'abreaction'. . . I suppose it all depends on what 'ideas' you have become influenced (indoctrinated?) by / with.

      Paul G.

    2. Hi,
      -so much of a bee in my bonnet have I got about Psychedelics as a 'cure' for neurosis / trauma that I researched Ayahuasca online to see if any real research has been conducted into the drug (which is essentially DMT). I came across references to Dr. Gabor Mate. Apparently, up until 2011 he was of a similar opinion to Art and sympathetic to Primal. He understood addicts as pre-natally traumatised and therefore 'self prescribers'. Then, in my delvings, I was reminded that Dr Mate had been in touch with Art and I discovered various references to him on this blog (great).

      However, to my horror and confusion I have discovered that from 2011 Dr Mate has become a proponent of Ayahuasca. . . Aand the worrying thing is that the medical establishment have jumped onto him countering his views (same as Arts) by refuting the 'statistical' evidence that "trauma = addiction / addiction = trauma". . .

      - I think the issue here is that PRE NATAL trauma is hard to measure and therefore cannot easily be incorporated into the figures. . . Thus the establishment can put his theories down as "inaccurate reductionism" (their words). . . and that to me sounds like DARVO; IE: the reductionists accusing the humanists of reductionism. . .

      Anyway, back to the point. How & why does Dr Mate think Ayahuasca can actually help? I mean, as far as I can now see (particularly after Arts 9 point article on abreaction), the 'psychedelic experience' is a highly BELIEVABLE SHORT CIRCUIT and could easily make REAL CONNECTION more difficult. So, that which could lead some people into a "realisation" of their condition might also make their condition MORE repressed? I mean, take addiction, if a belief system somehow becomes more 'involved', is it not possible that it can produce a kind of palliation, even allowing the serotonin system to somehow become more efficient? And lets face it, this IS what Dr Mate is saying. He is saying Ayehuasca resets the serotonin system.

      Now then, my experiences of LSD & Psylocybin many years ago was that for a long time after (after I stopped) I appeared to myself to be 'a new man'. . . But only much later did I start to crash. . . So, if people are reporting "Improvements" and deep insight and therefore (so called) life changes; well, how long is this going to last for?

      Last but not least the literature on Ayehuasca and the "quotes" from people who've reported positive changes are extremely seductive. I mean, I'm one of the most suspicious of old hippies nowadays and for a moment I started to believe the rhetoric. . .
      I mean, despite knowing Primal Theory inside out and having some feelings I have started to feel "drawn in" yet again to the magical proposition that some amazing naturally occurring drug could help me. . . Worse, I am starting to buy into the 'idea' that I might be MISSING OUT on something if I don't do Ayahuasca. . .

      And isn't that exactly what is happening? People, love lost, seeking and finding false gods. . .

      Paul G.

    3. Paul: Let us all stay far away from those drugs. They are dangerous. art

    4. -" My approach resembles no other. That is why it is revolutionary. Try not to fit it into a thousand other ideas and take it for what it is"-.
      I have never found a single person to whom i´ve tried to explain primal therapy who doesn´t try to understand it within a conceptual framework with which they are already familiar. I think that is because of neurosis. I feel that neurosis makes people try to fit things into a pre-formed mental framework because that framework is a function of the defence system. It views the world in such a way as to keep feelings repressed, so resists challenges. Gary

    5. Art & Gary,

      But our whole 'neo-cortex' is in cahoots with that regardless of neurosis. . . Once you stop believing in 'ideas' and 'thoughts about' stuff, you no longer are completely controlled by your own defense system. . . There's room for other more important and essential ingredients. . .

      Paul G.

    6. But Paul, animals and children (unless indoctrinated) have no need of a mental defence structure through which to view the world, so why do adults?

      And not ALL adults by a long way.

      Are New Age, religions and right wing political ideologies and beliefs - racism, misogyny etc - not also functions of the mental defence system? I´m sure they fall away during primal therapy.

      I think any tenaciously held belief or habit which is destructive/inhumane/irrational is a defence against pain. To me that includes alcoholism, drug addiction, resistance to hearing about self destrucive dietary habits, violence towards women, children, animals, and so on virtually ad infinitum....

      LOL Gary

    7. that is where it could matter where we grow up. in Italy or Germany. or Amazon jungle. what part of us is more stimulated... do we move to another country as children?
      many years ago my father told me how during WWII the Italians were good soft occupators. they liked children and gave them things as opposed to Germans. Germans were dangerous. that was their experience. remember well of his words.

      it seems that the neocortex is getting more and more stimulated in modern society. along with these existential crisis we have it could make a perfect repressive tandem. maybe.

  8. Hi Art

    I simply have to comment on this series: “On the Difference Between Abreaction and Feeling”.
    It's so well explained, precise, complete and sharp.
    It builds up to deliver a punch towards those who have misunderstood and misuse the term: Primal Therapy, and those who lack the proper respect for the fragile process that leads to healing.
    And it gives renewed hope and courage for those who seek real healing of the human mind.
    There is so much information here.

    Thank you Art (and France) for sharing your genius.

    Flemming D

    1. Flemming you are very welcome. It also reassures me that there are people out there who get it. art

  9. Hi Paul
    Ayahuesca is becoming big now. My neighbour friend is into it and is set to train under a Peruvian Shaman using Ayahuesca as the main "consciousness raising" tool.
    He believes Ayahuesca to be the only necessity in safely reliving & resolving all of ones pain, the logical implication being that South American tribal societies have been primalling away all their pain for thousands of years.
    Yeah right. Amazing how stupid primal pain can make people.
    Things change and of course our pain makes us eagerly swallow announcements of "breakthroughs" and "new discoveries". Easy to manipulate. Easy to fool. Very.
    Plus ca change, plus cést la meme chose. Gary

  10. Hi, off topic but more encouraging journalism:

    -"Unlocking traumatic memories: Brain stimulants linked to psychological repression"-.

    By Sean Martin.
    August 17, 2015 16:03 BST 3 11

    A new study on lab mice has found a way to access traumatic memories. This may serve as a breakthrough on how to psychologically treat patients who have repressed memories of traumatic events such as childhood abuse.

    The report, published in Nature Neuroscience, described two amino acids in the form of glutamate and GABA as the Yin and Yang of the brain which are normally balanced. Glutamate is the chemical that helps us store memories whereas GABA calms us and helps us to sleep.

    There are two kinds of GABA receptors, one which balances glutamate to help us to remain calm, whereas the others are extra-synaptic GABA receptors which adjust brain waves and mental states. "Extra-synaptic GABA receptors change the brain's state to make us aroused, sleepy, alert, sedated, inebriated or even psychotic," said a press release for the report.

    Scientists from Northwestern University found that these amino acids also help encode memories of a fear-inducing event and hide these memories away from the conscience. "The brain functions in different states, much like a radio operates at AM and FM frequency bands," said principal investigator Dr. Jelena Radulovic, the Dunbar Professor in Bipolar Disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

    "It's as if the brain is normally tuned to FM stations to access memories, but needs to be tuned to AM stations to access subconscious memories. If a traumatic event occurs when these extra-synaptic GABA receptors are activated, the memory of this event cannot be accessed unless these receptors are activated once again, essentially tuning the brain into the AM stations."

    Testing on mice, the researchers infused the hippocampus – in the medial temporal lobe of the brain - with gaboxadol, a drug that stimulates extra-synaptic GABA receptors. "It's like we got them a little inebriated, just enough to change their brain state," Radulovic said.

    The mice were then placed in a box where they were given a small electric shock. They were then returned to the box the next day but seemingly didn't remember being shocked. However, they were then given gaboxadol which stimulated the GABA receptors and placed in again and froze with fear as they awaited an electric shock.

    Radulovic said: "This establishes when the mice were returned to the same brain state created by the drug, they remembered the stressful experience of the shock." The findings suggest that some individuals react to a traumatic experience by activating the extra-synaptic GABA system and form inaccessible traumatic memories.

    "The findings show there are multiple pathways to storage of fear-inducing memories, and we identified an important one for fear-related memories. This could eventually lead to new treatments for patients with psychiatric disorders for whom conscious access to their traumatic memories is needed if they are to recover."

    I found this on Yahoo News. It's interesting that what was once merely 'tacit' reference to 'cure' through epigenetic research is now becoming 'overt' reference to cure through the idea of retrieval / re-living. . . This is good news. It shows there's a more open acceptance of the truth. It's the second article I have seen recently, the first in the Telegraph (UK), that was referenced from this blog too.

    Paul G.

    1. Paul, I just finished writing about this in my long article on epigenetics. art

    2. Hi,

      Ok: - Although you can start with the idea that 'The Body Never Lies', you can't carry on assuming that the 'muscle' we call the brain should necessarily be believed when it (allegedly) gives us feedback. In short: "You don't want to believe anything in particular and least of all the concoctions in our own head".

      This is why we need supervision from some-one at least a 'fair bit' ahead of us. . .

      As Art once said: "It's not rocket science". . .

      Paul G.

  11. An email comment:
    "Dear Art,

    I am writing you because of your recent article on Abreaction. I have written because of what i Consider a glaring error in your article.

    I am not criticizing Primal Therapy, mainly because Its helped me so much. But rather because I have an undergraduate degree in anthropology. Anthropology was my chosen field until I got my graduate degree in clinical psychology.

    I have also spent lots of time reading, in Anthropology, and Paleontology - Dinosaurs were my first love.

    Here is my point.

    That phrase that you write, ontology recapitulates phylogeny, is incorrect. There is no such thing.

    This idea also called Haeckels law, or the biogenetic law, was developed in the 19th century, and reflects antiquated views of evolution and also biology. There is simply no such thing. It was disproved by a scientist by the name of Walter Garstang, who said of the law, a house is not a shack with an addition, thus heckling Haekel. A famous quotation from the history of Science.

    Evolution is a very conservative process, and it retains structures of past evolutionary forms, but that does not mean a recapitulation of evolution is what were are seeing

    There is a different process, called Paedomorphisis, that better accounts for what is being seen. Paedomorphisis is the retention fetal characteristics in adulthood.

    This process is probably responsible for the prevalence of culture in our species, because it means that genes, don’t regulate our adult behavior to the degree they do in other species.

    Ashley Montague, one of your favorites wrote a whole book on the subject, called Growing Young. Stephen Jay Gould also wrote an complete work on the subject, called Ontogeny and Philogeny one of my favorites, he goes into it in detail. Its worth some thought.



    1. And my answer:
      OK .. I stand corrected, but I have seen this in action in my patients during relivings. They do go through evolution in reverse. I have seen it hundreds of times and do believe in what I observed. Read my work carefully cause I rely on this to guide me. And patients who abrogate evolution do get more neurotic…...such as reliving which drives people crazy. We have to follow evolution and its laws totally 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.