Monday, September 21, 2015

Ken Rose on "Life Before Birth". Part 5/6

KR: Right, the fetus constantly adapts to the womb environment and pays the price for it. The first order is survive at all costs. Then if we’re fortunate later, possibly the opportunity exists to go back and take care of unfinished business, and also it’s the last thing we want to do. Nobody wants to feel their pain, nobody wants to feel terror or anything unpleasant really. That’s what our whole lives are about, distracting ourselves in a thousand ways from all this pain we’re carrying around, which keeps relentlessly surging to be made conscious.
Dr. Janov  writes, “those who experience trauma while being carried and in childhood die in average twenty years earlier than those who did not have those risk factors.” So here this is a good argument, for understanding and reliving and feeling our pain, and possibly even healing big sections of our hearts and souls that are… there was an old book that he wrote called “Prisoners of Pain.”  That we’re all kind of hugged tied by our pain and the repression that we use to keep it away from consciousness and the price we pay for it.

JL: Right, and I think this can have all sorts of affects too in terms of how we repress or how we try to deal with it, but many of them are just as bad if we are constantly trying to dig past the pain or repress it that creates enormous strain on the system, which can then show up in other ways. There hasn’t been a lot of definitive research on this, but Dr. Janov really believes that this also may be behind what eventually causes cancer, this sort of massive repression on the cellular level that prevents natural growth and then overtime creates catastrophic consequences.

KR: I’d like to read another short section here, Dr. Janov writes, “What most of medicine and psychotherapy involves today is the treatment of fragments of the human being. We then go about treating the varied offshoots from a central imprint, rather than the imprint itself. Treatment becomes interminable, what we get is a fragment of progress, a change in aspects of an early experience, rather than a holistic recalibration or neuro and physiologic mechanisms connected with the experience.”

JL: Right. I think that’s really… to kind of take that and kind of go tied in with what he was saying… comparisons he draws in the book to somebody like Freud, the relationship he has with some of the earlier schools of psychoanalysis and some of the work that preceded him is complicated. Freud he had this notion that hysteria was rooted in repressed sexual desire and he often charted it in dreams and sort of this symbolic notion of dreams. I think what Janov really does is he takes, much like those I think, thinkers who dwelled in big ideas and sort of profound conclusions, he sort of notes that while Freud was working on the symbolic labels and missed a lot, he was right about the symptoms. Individuals that show this hysteria would constantly be unreflective and prone to overreaction, and Janov would say that yes these traits exist, but instead of looking for symbols in dreams, he’ll look for the signs of what’s actually happening when we’re having nightmares. What’s happening to us biologically when we have a nightmare, or what do we feel during that time, and why is that terror coming up. He’ll look to the limbic system to find where the terror is actually rooted. He’s not trying to find something that’s going to calm down a patient who has ADD or depression for the day or the next couple of hours. Even something that maintains the status quo, he’s really looking to something that can eventually promote a cure.

KR: I’m going to read one more paragraph OK? On my end… Dr. Janov writes, “The brain we need to address doesn’t talk, doesn’t understand English, and as a matter of fact doesn’t understand words. In fact, the term ‘understand’ is a bit of a misnomer, we are not after understanding in the intellectual sense of the term, we are after integration that can happen without cerebral understanding. Yes, understanding helps, but it must not be confused with resolving, connecting and integrating. When a therapist tries to get a patient to report on his feelings all may be lost, for those feelings may be wordless. Trying to express them verbally distances us from the origins of our pain in the lower brain, and since one layer of brain tissue cannot do the work of another we have effectively trumped or efforts, once we get away from words we can focus on what is curative. Understanding came last in human evolution, long after feeling, and it will not lead us to the long term healing we are after. None of this requires abstract or esoteric methods, we can make major changes in society just by paying attention to gestation and changing our birth practices.”

JL: Right, and I mean I think that’s one of the book’s key conclusions, is that we have to look back at birth practices and look at a mother’s emotional state as not just… not at all incidental. I think the idea that feeling is connected to our biology and has these sort of biologic implications, we can see it in our biology is a pretty drastically different way of looking at the field. A field that has been historically characterized by Talk Therapy and by approaches really focused on analysis, not on the right side of the brain. That’s where I think Dr. Janov is really looking to go.

KR: Well, it excites me because I think it opens a huge door. I think it opens an enormous door of understanding and of suggesting very fundamental, none esoteric, as he says, simple birth practices, practices of pregnancy and child birthing that can have the most dramatic and far reaching implications for our human future. It can probably do more good than all the billable hours in the history of the profession.

JL: Yes, I think there was a chapter in this book that came about later specifically dealing with pregnancy, and I had a really great time working with Dr. Janov in this whole process and just kind of being exposed to the constant influx of new ideas and research he was exposing me to and all the work that was being done, in the field of epigenetics and in the field of gestational health and new studies he was showing me about memory and anxiety and all these other topics, but one of the things that I think really stuck was this idea about what to do during pregnancy. And he ended up sort of writing a chapter on pregnancy and just offering some almost concrete pieces of advice for women that can have some really lasting implications. As he writes at the beginning of the chapter, “I know it sounds like an oxymoron for me to give advice since I am not by profession nor intention an aficionado of advice. But let us not minimize what a carrying mother can do for the good or bad of her child.” It is with a little bit of caution that he approaches the subject, because he is male and because obviously this has a big impact if you’re sort of providing some guidelines for how it behaved. But things like watching your stress; if I can read just a couple parts of this chapter I think it’s really important. “There is no way to eliminate stress entirely, but there are certainly ways to manage it. Don’t plan a new business or start a series of complicated projects that put you under stress while pregnant. The baby will feel this anxiety and suffer. Try to work out problems with your spouse before you get pregnant. Once you are pregnant, it is largely too late. That doesn’t mean you should never argue or fight again; but try to resolve the more serious difficulties before you introduce a new life on this planet. The baby deserves his or her best chance at life, and what you do during pregnancy to manage your stress is important, in that regard.”
He talks about eating right and getting protein, calcium, folic acid, fiber. He talks about being very cautious about going about tranquilizers and painkillers to relive anxiety. New studies are coming out all the time on this but there have been new studies on the use of antidepressants, the use of tranquilizers during pregnancy, and we’re still kind of figuring out what all this does, ultimately it may be good for the mother to keep her emotions balanced but we really have to see what other effects this could have during gestation.

I think the main thing he focuses on all of this is love. To touch your baby early on, to breastfeed if you can, he says, "Read French obstetrician Frederic Leboyer, who popularized the practice of immersing the newborn in a warm water bath, without drugs and without bright lights. Leboyer recommends that the baby be held right away and for a long time. He advises against cutting the umbilical cord too soon as the child's attachment with his mother is vital at the start of life." "There is no greater advice I can give than this: be open, expressive, and feeling with your children. A caring mother gives her baby the best chance for long-term well-being. Yes, even if you don't eat those carrots and tomatoes when you should, love will help. Your child is part of you and feels what you feel, even though he doesn't have words to express it. All I ask is awareness. The research is there; we don't have to guess anymore." He's putting it out there, we have research into this field, we can't turn a blind eye to it, we have to look at it and start to think about what it might mean.


  1. Can I just unload my feelings? As a child I never felt I had this right, as I know virtually none of us do, so I´m going against my imprint, and indeed against universal conditioning. And actually that is my life: as my awareness has grown over the decades, my life has gone more and more against the bulk of social norms, until now I break all the rules. If I didn´t, conformity would surely by now have killed me.

    I really couldn´t have a lower opinion of neurotic humanity than I do because I am just too awake, too sensitive, too perceptive, too knowledgeable, and what I know from primal theory, raw nutrition and years of research into everything that matters, have all interbred to produce a rearranged ME, but also an acute psychophysiological antipathy towards people. The only way I can deal with it is to withdraw from people because rarely does anyone even begin to understand. Unless primally aware, finding someone who understands about feelings and childhood trauma is like finding the holy grail. Just when I think I find someone who is genuinely intelligent, genuinely feeling, who really does understand, I soon realise they are not REALLY feeling and inteligente at all. It´s my self serving illusion that they are. Because people don´t KNOW that nature designed them to FEEL, they think being in their heads and not feeling is perfectly normal and OK. Or that the "kindness" or "niceness" they or others show is REAL and little more than an empty, shallow neurotic act-out. So the "kindness" or "niceness" exchanged between people is generally a mere "folie a deux".

    I may sound "cynical", but no I´m not. I´m just very aware & sensitive of the neurosis which surrounds me and which is invisible to everyone else. If it weren´t for that I know people would be a joy to be with, as nature intended.

    And if it weren´t for my animals I really don´t know what I´d do. They are the only beings in my life who truly and naturally make my heart sing. Art was right, but far from the first to do so when he said that animals have the same feeling base as WE DO. That shines a completely different light on the animal holocaust called "factory farming" and on vivisection. We live in a strange version of "Planet of the Apes" where the unfeeling have power over and abuse the feeling. I am sick and tired of spending time with numb, unfeeling idiots who live entirely in their heads and believe by dint of being human adults that they are the exclusive owners of all wisdom and knowledge and that this gives them the right to treat children and animals how the hell they wish. The feeling are at the mercy of the unfeeling, an extremely dangerous situation. Try as unthreateningly as you can to awaken someone to the feelingness and true nature and needs of the children or animals in their care and you will rarely be met by anything but defensiveness and anger. No argument, no picture of suffering, will get through to damaged, unfeeling people. Some do begin to feel something, but their own primal needs to suppress the life in others will always take precedence. Gary

    1. Gary:

      I can so relate to a lot of what you write. Practically everyone else on this planet seems sick to me also: ecological meltdown everywhere, economic inequality and corruption, nuclear weapons etc... and practically no one seems to be really concerned. The mainstream media of all sorts are totally unreal; I can't even watch commercial TV any more, it weirds me out so much.People in this suburban neighborhood near where I live seem half dead, except for their children and teenage daughters that still have some life in them. They too will eventually be steamrolled emotionally by "adult" society. These days I'm comparing Janov with a book by mainstream psychiatrists about various psychological disorders just for the "fun" of it: I can't believe how dumb, arrogant, and insensitive these so-called professionnals are, trying vainly to "manage" all these disorders with drugs and weird theories and procedures.

      It's a sad scene out there: thank "God" there are some voices of sanity like Janov, Reich, and Lowen, and so many great artists. That helps keep me minimally sane most of the time.But I must admit spacing out and getting into some weary depression, bitterness, and very lonely detachment about all this these days, more than usual.

      I'll leave you all with these lucid words by Alexander Lowen about this pervasive alienation in out sick societies: " If (real) therapy cannot return us to our first nature, which is the state of grace, it can bring us closer to it and so diminish the alienation most of us suffer. Alienation more than any other word describes the plight of modern man. He is like a "stranger in a strange land" never free from the question "What am I living for? What is it all about?" He struggles with a lack of meaning in his life, a vague but persistent feeling of unreality, a pervasive sense of loneliness that he tries hard to overcome and deny, and a deep fear that life will escape him before he has had a chance to live it..."
      ( excerpt from "Bioenergetics" by Alexander Lowen, 1975)


    2. Hi Marco,

      thanks, so true,

      Paul G.

    3. Hi Marco,

      -"But I must admit spacing out and getting into some weary depression, bitterness, and very lonely detachment about all this these days, more than usual"-.

      Me too.

      Paul G.

    4. Hi Marco: thanks, you put it so well. I´m a long term grass roots anarchist involved in animal rights (and lots of other things) so I know there are a hell of a lot of vegans who spend their lives working against factory farming, hunting, vivisection etc. Neurotic or not, their feelings of revulsion and grief for the plight of animals is strong and they are intelligent people, many also realising how children are treated and treating their own children very differently. Juliet and Tony, founders of Viva! or Doug & Roz Graham, the most superb exponents of vegan Natural Hygienism, are perfect exemples and I wouuld sday extremely good if not quite perfect parents. Roz Graham particularly has eaten only raw fruit and veg for over 18 years and I am sure her 10 year old daughter - who breast fed until the age of 8, has zero womb or birth or post birth trauma because of Roz´s exceptional sensitivity & intelligence.
      What I´m saying is, there are a lot of people who "get it" or who are starting to get it but don´t know where to´s just that they are mostly isolated and don´t know about for example, this group. Love Gary

    5. Dear Paul G. and Gary:

      Thank you both for your kind replies.


      I printed out your first post and read it carefully at home. I will also keep it; that`s how valuable I found it, especially in my state of mind the night I read it. I am feeling better now, but this terrible world gets me down regularly. I need to know others like you feel like I do. It lessens the loneliness and anguish (and so do Janov`s deeply humane and insightful books, of course, as always.)

      Let me say clearly that I am in total solidarity with animal rights activists and have deep respect for their work. I try to keep my intake of meat to a minimum (with any meat from my natural food store), with my ultimate goal being veganism.When I read about fox hunting, for instance, I become crazy. I followed foxes around a cemetary one summer: why would any imbecile want to track and kill these astounding and beautiful animals? But try convincing those sick conservative aristocrats in England!

      Did you know that there were some American states (which? I can`t remember) that now specifically criminally forbid activists from taking photos and gathering information about animals being tortured in factories for our food? It seems that the meat industries were being subjected to too much negative publicity from animal rights activists and they then convinced local state legislatures to pass these laws. Details can be found in a book I just recently read called "Out of Sight" , which title refers to the tactics used by so many corporations to hide their cruel and insensitive exploitation of both animals and humans.

      Apart from these political considerations, I have found that I have learned much from those humane commentators who also refer to those natural aspects of animals that we humans have lost, much to our detriment ( why we have lost so much of our naturalness, and become so grossly and often destructively neurotic is THE most important dilemma to solve as far as the future of man(un)kind, IMO, a future I find by no means assurred; in fact I am quite pessimistic). Way back in 1926, Wilhelm Reich had this to say in his book "Genitality in the theory and therapy of Neurosis": " In animals (any) destructive drive appears exclusively as a (natural) oral killing instinct which serves either self-preservation or self-defense. Carnivorous beasts of prey kill suitable objects when hunger requires. Captive predatory animals are not dangerous when their hunger is completely satified. Their aggressiveness towards strangers is caused by an instinctive sense of danger, as is proven by their contrary attitude towards their trainers. Nothing similar to the sadism of humans, such as stabbing, shoooting, beating, squashing, trampling exists in the non-human animal kingdom... The human destructive drive is distinguished primarily by the fact that its goals are not biological necessities."

      And even further back,in the late19th Century the great Russian writer Dostoyevsky wrote a beautiful plea on behalf of respect for animals and children through a speech by one of his key characters ,Father Zossima, in his novel "The Brothers Karamasov".Check it out; the section is "Exhortations of Father Zossima". As usual, the artists are way ahead of their time .

      Take care all,


  2. Anonymous,
    Tank you, I woke up à littl bit more!
    Your Frank

  3. What it is now (as if no one knows).....people suppress life in others whether they went through a primal or not. A lot of people are nasty now in this world (sad to say, but true). Sure I am sensitive, and I do have attributes (just like others), but one has to be "strong"; not to let one's attributes be squelched by others as often might happen if one isn't strong enough. People used to feel more, but somehow they think it good for the future adults (children) if they (the parents are totally unfeelng (and totally unintelligent). It's out there, more so now, so that one can barely find a "caring, intelligent, sensitive , strong person"). Many people are "immune" to niceness , ....many , many times people cannot recognize "niceness" because they have been habitually confronted with nastiness even from their own children. Now since it's not being corrected by many, the U.S. people just have bad attitudes with a weak nation and they don't even go for obtaining good mental health; which might help them. Very sad. Just to go back,...go back to before all this technology, before cell phones, for the children....maybe the world could straighten out. But as it is now, I can see that very few really care. People so often judge a book by it's cover, (at least where I work....and maybe I am glad that none of these nasty people know that I have true feelings and really care...if they knew I probably would be what?......massacred, sabotaged, attacked, killed, who knows???? I"m definitely not saying to "go with the crowd"...that is something I definitely would not even attempt to do anymore. Sure maybe where you come from, you might "find people a joy"....but there are people out there who just don't have humanistic qualities or feelings (which one needs, and they don't realize it). I a lot think people who never went through a birth trauma or anything like that, should get primal therapy ...just to be able to feel again, and become stronger, more intelligent, and more caring.

  4. Gary, people are overwhelmed. That's why they are confused. That's why they act so dumb. That's why they are lost in their stupid hopeful thoughts. They are overwhelmed and desperate to hold onto something even if it doesn't make perfect sense. Better than holding onto nothing. They are not stupid. In their desperation they make human mistakes. You cannot imagine the amount of pain that pushes their heads around. They are always struggling to find peace in the intellectual answers they come up with. The more you feel reality, the more your frustration is replaced with compassion and heartache for others. Most of the time I don't care about others. I understand you and I don't judge you. I am similar to you.

    1. Hi Richard,

      well said and I agree, I'm also one of the confused. . . but not as much as I was before. . .

      Paul G.

    2. Hi Richard: Thanks. I know I can sound misanthropic but sometimes I just want to let off steam but please don´t think I don´t know the sort of pain people are in. I come from a bitchy family where my mother just constantly ran me down behnd my back and my neurotic impulse to do the same is very strong. I constantly feel people are talking about me behind my back however they behave towards me, and always feel unworthy of even human company, let alone friendship. I organize my entire life so as not to need ongoing human relationships in situ, email being an ideal way to be intimate but with the protection of not being with the other person. My whole life (I´m 54) has been incredibly lonely. My main defence against loneliness is "sour grapes" ie "those people are not worth it anyway". Ironically Primal Theory has given me the conviction that this is so, and I compulsively look for things in peoples characters or lives which make them unaceptable in case I get rejected by them, which of course I would not do if I´d not been rejected as a child. Gary

  5. Sure I have a heart and compassion....but a lot of the people I am confronted with now (not family) are just in "bad moods" , unhappy, nasty...why????? It is a sad situation. Life is not as simple as it was in the 50's. The prejudices, jealousies I feel, (judging a book by it's cover)....hate for no reason. And what does it come down to...I don't know, but I think possibly jealousies for no reason, prejudices for no reason. People setting the groundwork for others, and they did it without really any thought to the future. Is this progress? We are suffocating ourselves habitually. What would happen if we took a "break" from progress and all the technology going around? Really concentrate on what is good for a nation. I know we can't all act "uniform", but how can it get any worse? The quality of person has to be acknowledged and maybe it is going through primal therapy for a lot.

    1. Ah yes beachcoast7,

      -progress-. . .

      This could be the worst of all addictions.

      Paul G.


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.