Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Primal Therapy and Epilepsy: a Letter From a Former Patient


If any of your patiens ever got long-term cured, I was one of them!

Since cured has important components of time, evolution (in reverse!) and duration I will add the following to make clear what I mean when I say that I am cured:

During 35 years, since January 1980, I have had primals. If these primals, gradually, little by little, reliving a complex longlasting and horrific trauma in the birth channel had not happened (over 30 years) they had turned into grand mal and petit mal seizures. (During the 80ies you participated in at least 2 of my dramatic primals, one of which, with bruises reappearing all over my forhead, were filmed by French television).

After having decided to drop my career  in the mid 90ies I quit all medications (Tegretol/Carbamazepine). I spent 2 satanical but revolutionary years when I “entered” my epilepsy and found myself in the borderland between grandmal seizures and primals. That meant eventually less seizures and more primals. Finally primals became a habit and my few seizures had now the character of petit mal seizures. I could not only “lay back and feel the stab of anxiety” and go into a primal when I was awake, but I could also have dramatic dreams when I could decide to go into a primal. During such a primal I became awake, or rather there was, during the primal, no difference between dream and wakefulness. Over the last 4-5 years I have only in few occasions had to go into a primal. That has happened, for example, when a special, surpricing and dramatic event has brought up a repressed memory.

If my tensions and anxiety were channeled into primals there were no need for epileptic seizures. During the last 20 years my lifepattern has changed and my earlier neurotic drive faded away as I relived my imprint/pain and I stopped working myself into impossible situations. I could suddenly feel that I had limits and needed to rest and relax and allow myself to be lazy. It seems that my epilepsy was an evolutionary quick way to save my brain and life. My former employers considered me to be without inhibitions. I went on fighting (acting out) until I fell (read: got epilepsy).

Yes Art, I am cured from epilepsy. It has meant reliving pain which has lead to a modified lifepattern; less struggling, more feelings. I have less urge to do the impossible. My main motivations to put it all together over 35 years are easily identifiable: To cure myself, The Primal Principle, your charisma and your unhesitating conviction, my daughter Isabel and my childhood love Eva.

Compared to many patients I have been blessed by an identifiable problem. I come from an economically and socially priotitized part of the world. I have been able to function and develop an exciting career. Although my judgement has been neurotically driven, I’ve been able to make good and important decisions. I have had the crucial support of resource-rich, knowledeable and sympathetic people (including yourself). Last but not least, I had two parents who finally realized and admitted their wrongdoing.

Even though I have cured my variant of epilepsy, it is a difficult, seemingly hopeless task to transfer my experience to other epileptics.

1 comment:

  1. If primal therapy would be introduced as a professional method then it also would exceed cognitive methods. I also mean... as more people use it the more it will be established.
    The problem we have is that the current "professional" sitting on a "knowledge" they will not have any use of... so they live in a defensive position that is not gracious!
    If we imagine to be financially well off and so sudden be left penniless. I think that there are those who see themselves end up there. But probably the "profession's" pride (need) buried it.
    But we're talking about sufferings huge impact and we can not allow this phenomenon be a reason to silence what the primal therapy achieves. So the choice for what a legal process could achieve is often in my thoughts.
    I think it would be impossible to go back to the lobotomy days but the question is on the same level of what changes are necessary... quackery in the form of best practices have no place around maintenance efforts... that science has proved. But we may just have to hope that quackery cease as soon as possible.
    Anyway... you are one of those now visible and it does not mean little in our way of struggle for a change!

    Your Frank


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.