Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Epigenetics and Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis (Part 11/20)

And how is this possible? Luckily, each new harmful experience that remains un-integrated at lower levels is later re-represented in a higher level of the nervous system, where it is coded as the outsider or enemy. Lower level imprints send references higher up in the nervous system. These higher-level memories are wired together with their origins down below. They form a neural circuit, a pathway. And when circuits are wired together they tend to fire together; hence resonance. When a trauma exists later on, it may resonate with earlier imprints and set off the whole memory intact. It is here that there may be inordinate responses to the most banal of events. We are winding down again to the originating sources, the base of the feeling. That is how we relive purely physiologic brainstem responses without ever acknowledging them. It is how we get to preverbal events automatically. When the Primal imprint sends its message higher up, feelings are added to the impulse, and then later ideas and comprehension are included. Together these form a complete feeling. All are necessary, eventually, in reliving. That is how something in the present, a rejection, can set off such catastrophic feelings. It is an organic process and needs to happen in a precise order, with the original feelings preserved. It may be that specific brain frequencies tie these events together. Figuratively, what is going on is much like the stone thrown into the pond: a ripple effect in the way the neurons connect to each other in mirrored progression. When there are certain kinds of triggers, the brain conjures up its related history, intact, kindling like-minded feelings and their physiology together.

Recent research, both with Primal patients and in neuroscience labs, is showing that being unconscious of pain is a survival mechanism, a protection against overwhelming input. But the imprinted memory stays and continues to do its damage over a lifetime. In short, it is not inert. It has a force that threatens our ability to adapt, as I explain in detail shortly. The deeper we go down in the brain the more powerful the force of memory. Hence the more unconscious it has to be... for protection. When the trauma is too great or too prolonged, the ability to adapt becomes more feeble and less flexible. This is especially true of long-term neglect and abuse. Here the memories seem to dig in and solidify, impervious to change. And as conscious/awareness lessens, the harm begins, both mental and physical. We are then partially unconscious and are unaware of the damage. Fear-memories are joined by multiple pathways and then are engraved.

What the new research shows is what I’ve been saying all along: that one needs to go back to the mood when the memory was imprinted. But doing so artificially can make matters worse. Far better to arrive there slowly on an evolutionary time-scale. In their studies with mice, the Northwestern researchers made an important observation which applies to our human patients: It is difficult for therapists to access these memories because the patients themselves cannot remember the traumatic experiences that are the root cause of their symptoms. Which is exactly why we need to go slowly down the chain of pain, and let the patient decide how fast he can go. The team noted that the brain functions in different states like a radio, switching from AM to FM. “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,” stated the lead investigator, Dr. Jelena Radulovic, Dunbar Professor in Bipolar Disease at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.(17) In short, certain kinds of severe memories need to be tuned properly to receive painful messages. I would put it differently, but we agree that traumatic memories are stored in the brain, where they remain and cause damage.

What the research team and I agree on is that we need to turn on the exact frequency of the feeling. In other words, we need to go back in time to the imprinted pain, and no byways allowed. We cannot skirt around the feeling. The safeguard here is that we allow the patient to go back there in a precise manner so that any detours, the byways of feeling, are avoided. And in our own research we found that there were specific frequencies that align with feelings. They were never fast, which meant being over the Primal Zone. We watched as we slowed the frequency (with lights) when feelings began to intrude. They insist, as do I, that the brain needs to go back to the proper frequency and target a specific feeling. My observation now for almost fifty years is that the natural evolutionary way is the proper path to follow. Nature is the sine qua non.

(17) Paul, M. (2015, August 18). News. Retrieved from http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2015/08/traumatic-memories-hide-retrieve-them.html


  1. Art

    Some time ago I mentioned to you about Peter A. Levine and his Somatic Experience. Many things are similiar to Primal Therapy, but there are some exeptions. Peter says that to relive pain you dont need to summon original situation, it is no needed. I do remember that you mentioned that felt feeling has to be as one to one context. What do you think of this?

    1. Piotr, It is not what I think but what I know. Reliving has to be exact or it cannot work!!! art

  2. Hi Art.

    I would like to ask you something.
    You had written that the offsprings of the survivors of the holocaust had a higher stress level. And that was because the fear of the war was imprinted in the cells of their parents and passed on to the next generation (epigenetics).
    Am I correct on that?

    And also a similar test on mice, connected stress and a spesific odour and that connection was apparent at the offsprings of those mice.
    Concluding, this alteration of the DNA isn't just a simple and delicate defence mechanish of the baby (ex. against a mother who smokes). It somehow reaches the boundaries of "mutation". An accepted and perhaps highly useful "mutation", but still deeper than the deepest 1st line trauma.

    So, the question is:
    Can primal therapy go so far inside the cell and change something apparently genetic, which is in fact epigenetic?

    Thank you.

    1. Yannis, you understand correctly. Over the years we have reversed all kinds of afflictions. I don't know if we got to the very bottom of it all but certainly we have made major changes. art

    2. Hi Yannis & Art,

      it seems to me there are very different gates & defenses for the 1st line; even if serotonin is the universal 'inhibitor/blocker'. That would explain why abreaction is so common. because the 'valence' of the pain / trauma is always pushing up past those gates and distorting the 2nd & 3rd line UNTIL correct access is gained. Without correct access to the 1st line there could be eternal re manufacturing / retraumatising of 2nd & 3rd line pains. Thus the lower pain driving into a higher resonance of it.

      So, access to the 1st line is essential and it seems obvious that some drugs may be needed to block the 1st line until 2nd & 3rd are resolved enough. . . otherwise a melange is inevitable, perfectly described by Frank with his doorway analogy. Presumably there are several ways in to the 1st line rather than merely one single thread. Given the essential nature of the brainstem there must be a limited number of certain key functions / pathways IN. Could this also correspond to a certain limited variety of emotional / sensational states? (There are certainly an INFINITE number of 3rd line ideas)! So, it seems to me that some 1st line access will be dramatically resolving due to the cessation of that pathway falsely activating higher ones BUT there may be other (1st line) pathways derived from different key 1st line functions which also need access from above down. Could this explain why some patients may continue to have unexpected Primals much later in life?

      Please don't think I'm getting all 'booga booga' but did you know that the pentagram contains the exact relation of the Golden Mean (1 : 1.618) and this defines the spiral of the genetic code (exactly) and the brainstem (according to common lore) is comprised of 5 senses. So, is it possible that 1st line access may be needed in up to 5 different ways? Maybe 1st line wounding occurs by fifths?

      Given how much denial exists in the world due to Primal Pain it is hardly surprising that hardly any research has been done to study Primal Theory in the light of Gene Physics and Gene Mathematics /Geometry. . . We certainly gotta lot of chemistry research, but then we would wouldn't we? After all chemistry is wonderfully reductionist and offers an infinite number of possible permutations for drugs and further reductionist research.

      I do not make these remarks lightly. 1 : 1.618 defines precise proportions in all DNA life forms. . . It is even reflected in the various different parts of the body, in all animals and possibly all organisms. Different parts of the DNA code are responsible for different parts of body development and Primal research has show that 1st line trauma has resulted in distorted / retarded body development, feet, hands, legs, musculature, skeletal. . . Unlocking the trauma/methylation has resulted in later growth & normalisation in the body.

      Just a thought. . .

      Paul G.

    3. Paul, are you sure that 1st line comprises of five senses? i don't get it. i also don't understand the second part of second paragraph. can you maybe try again?

      regarding golden mean, it is science. primitive, but yet another way to deliberately reach and communicate beauty, divinity. we are really trying, aren't we? so all new we know is sucked by the system that controls survival. and that in almost every case is - disconnection. this kind of knowledge is not what we really really need maybe.

    4. Hi vuko,

      well, I don't know but people say:


      Maybe 'digestion' is part of taste. Maybe 'temperature' is part of touch (or the other way around)! Maybe 'hearing' is linked to touch. . . I don't know. . . I'm neither a Primal Therapist nor Physicist !

      But I am an organised carpenter and a cook and was once a musician/percussionist and boring oh boring I have been trained as a facilitator (none of these things made me a better parent though). Thus I have had a lot of experience of processes, relationships and how the world works (this hasn't made me 'successful'). I do love the natural world and how 'it' relates with itself. It's interesting that the 'stem cells' are able to adapt to different functions. That in itself seems like part of the survival / adaption process. The MAIN or 'original' process indeed.

      I find it helpful to think of evolution starting with a single strand of self replicating protein (which could only have happened because the environment was willing to support this) and then a single cell, perhaps 'joining forces' with other single cells and these cells relative interaction with each other and then their environment. Once cells 'join forces' and 'stick together' their 'boundaries' become specific to their neighbouring cells and / or their neighbouring environment. . . So, the cell walls need to 'send / receive' messages and behave in different ways according to how the survival of the organism either side of these boundaries "Co Relates". . . Right from the start there has been an aspect of role specific 'INTERDEPENDENCE' methinks. Bill Mollison, the Australian ecologist who coined the phrase 'Permaculture' and went on to set up the Permaculture Movement identified the way trees and various other shrubs and plants CO EXISTED in the Forests of Tasmania. He identified that Mutually Beneficent Boundaries were being created/explored all the time by these organisms and it is at these boundaries that adaption occurs (of course). Thus you can see that the early stem cells in evolution were already aligning their cell walls to pick up information and to transmit information about and to their neighbours and environment.

      I am suggesting (guessing) that there are distinct 'Boundary Defining Functions' (related to the 5 senses) that evolved in single cells a very long time ago and these are still present within us NOW. I am also suggesting that there is a 'kinetic / geometric' relationship between them. I am also suggesting that access to 1st line stuff may be defined by these 5 senses. Interesting things happen in the body when we are touched. So also when we are heard. Furthermore when we taste and when we hear and see. . . We are, after all, a touching, tasting, smelling, hearing and seeing race of beings.

      Perhaps when we have regained the essential connection to all these senses we become "Fully Feeling". Perhaps this is why some of us (me for one) who have significant 1st line imprints will continually feel shit for the way the unresolved 1st line stuff keeps on affecting everything else. Part of a cognitive strategy for us 1st line sufferers is to avoid situations where 2nd & 3rd line stuff is continually re activated by earlier 1st line imprints. It's one thing to be able to follow the chain of pain down in a therapeutic setting but quite another to be stuck in abreaction due to having inappropriate boundaries / defenses. . . That is why Primal Theory trumps CBT. It's useful to know 'Origins', then you can at least adapt your boundaries without having to believe bullshit.

      Paul G.

    5. Paul, And damn those long tentacles from the first line that make us feel we can't do anything and keeps us from seeing what choices we have, too scatter-brained to think smartly.

    6. Sheri,

      yes, I have been in the grips of those tentacles, makes me procrastinate and feel: "oh what's the use, it'll never work out". . .
      But as I experience this more and more and even though I'm slowed down during an 'episode' of doubt and despair, afterwards I can so clearly see where this comes from and continue with my ambitions. . . I can also see how and when in the past I made biased choices due to those tentacles but I just didn't know, I didn't feel them for what they were. . .

      Paul G.

    7. i like parallels.. but also precision. talking about first line, maybe there are five major groups of receptors that grow into five senses. scientists, when they reach a wall might use parallels to move forward. interesting...
      interesting thing can happen while reading Art's book too. resonance...

  3. what is the perception of time when we are living in AM or FM frequency range? i realize that "nine months" doesn't sound like much time for me now. but for a fetus nine months are as long as infinity!
    this perception of time in a way speaks a lot about importance of that time. first trimester of gestation could be longer than the rest of our lives.... it is out life.

    1. vuko,

      which is why the longer we live (and become intellectualised up there in the 3rd line) the faster the time seems to go by. . . People have described the 1st line as "Merged State". . .

      And when we are at our most contented and relaxed it is indeed true that we feel "Timeless". . . Those timeless moments are the best eh? Unless of course we are writhing in interminable agony. . .

      No pressure. . .

      Paul G.

  4. "Get to the feeling, go back." This is difficult , especially now. Many people just "brush aside " what Dr. Janov has to say, even if they do actually believe in Primal Therapy. People want to be "tough", insensitive; upon hearing what Dr. Janov says. It is sad, but that is what it has come to in many areas of the U.S. Parents, many times, let their kids "rule" no matter what, and all they know is that they want their kid to be the best and to "forget about feelings". They want their children and teens to just enjoy all those video games or all the parties that are given to enhance their social lives, to be the smartest , most aggressive "go-getter" child so they can be a "successful" person. But the quality of person many times that turns out is just "no quality". Possibly just an "unkind, go-getter". A lot of people, so it seems, are afraid to have feelings or to even express feelings.
    At one time, people would listen more closely to what Dr. Janov has to say. Now , sure a lot of people do listen and a lot of people do get Primal Therapy, but there are also those that know what Dr. Janov is saying but they "ignore" because the of the use of the word "feeling" and the need to go back. Many people, for some reason are afraid of feelings, or to show them, possibly because they believe it is a sign of weakness, but if someone needs help, they show strength in listening and learning about how Primal Therapy can help. The cure is primal therapy, and the word has got to get out. People who need the help , should not ignore. Of course, in many occupations, one cannot show feelings ...but I"m talking about when one is even free to discuss feelings , and many they because they are "in a mode" where they think it is a sign of weakness.

  5. i read that Dale Bredesen, MD from UCLA had some success in reversing memory loss in small group of patients with Alzheimer disease.

    his protocol is complex... so complex that no patient could stick to it completely. nevertheless 9 out of 10 patients showed improvement. i think it is encouraging to read it. looking forward to a larger trial.

  6. Hello all!

    I wonder how many of us who use the blog for what our feeling of being rejected surprises us... it for what our posts will be contested... when questions are not answered as we might expect? Or what we experience when we do not get any response at all at our posts? Do we feel what it reminds us of... as a part of our lives long ago? Or do we fight against in order to rescue what can be saved for what anxiety and depression been a lifesaving "companion" so we lose more of our life?

    I do it... and it hurts... as it does for what everything else I experienced disparaging in my life!


    1. Yes, I believe you are right, Frank. Acceptance and acknowledgement for what we write and feel is our little selves asking to be seen again; so if we are ignored it reminds us of that hurt.

    2. Hi Frank & Sheri, part 1.

      too true, I am so pleased to see my words in print but sometimes I think 'oh dear - he printed that one as well' -, This blog trumps them all, its a privilege -it's even better than the horror scopes (!) - far superior to Farce Book. I read all of every one's posts. . . Sometimes I go back two or three years and read some amazing stuff with a completely different perception than I had when I first saw it. . . Always instructive and often liberating. . .

      My greatest benefit from this blog is freeing myself from the cognitive defense/presumptions that I and others have of 'mental/emotional' illness. I have ceased to be so guilable in the face of others ignorance and deeply unconscious act outs, and yes, I was once a bit like them. With blinkers on, people have found a way to 'run on rails' without much feeling (swap 'conscience') and if confronted with something out of the norm, they respond as if this intrusion into their semi sleep is a halucination of YOUR making (?)

      Innit so? No more so than people engaged in spiritual development:

      So interesting that when we're in rest mode we can become susceptible to halucination / dreams; which we know are a sleeping act out. So many (so called) spiritual/religious practices involve generating those 'semi - sleep' states in which the body repairs itself, re-arranges the bits of damaged stuff. . . And in these states we can become 'boundaryless' as well as timeless. In these states we can re manufacture and re cover all sorts of images and memories, some of which are known as "Being Outside of Ones Body".

      Many spiritual and esoteric schools teach that the formation of this 'body' is not only possible through intentional work but also 'desirable' if you want to free yourself from the suffering in this world. They say there are other worlds and I can kind of agree that there are many different 'realities' but I think they're all right here NOW IN this world. Allegedly, others say that 'body' is just one of eight, all corresponding to the so called chakras. . . There have been all kinds of esoteric practices that use ideas like this. Anyway, my point is that I have ceased to understand this possibility as something in the framework of 'otherliness' but as one of the spectrum of symptoms of epigenetic affect. I have come to see that the 'faith' in this super body, super consciousness is driven precisely by the absence of it; and that this absence is an effect of gene methylation. As a woodsman, I am acutely aware of how a nail in the sapling produces a stain right up to the flowers that form on the very top of the tree two or three hundred years later. In those flowers surely we will find iron? Yes? From where? That nail of course. So, I am saying that what people experience as an Astral Body is nothing more than the stain left from a wound long ago. . . A very beautiful 'ink blot' affect carried up from the 'stem' to the tip of the top of the tree where images and 'creations' of all kinds 'flourish'. . . When we see this stain in a tree and an interesting pattern in it's flowers as a consequence, we don't give this flower an 'otherly' mysterious status do we? No, we may marvel at it's beauty and feel refreshed by it's fragrance and colours instead.

      part 2 follows

    3. part 2:

      I am told that airplane pilots can completely lose orientation in thick fog conditions and even be upside down without knowing it. I think these spiritual and esoteric things are of a similar order. The bliss of meditation is also no more than an endorphine and dopamine rush.

      So, why do we give these 'altered states' the mystery and otherly quality we do? Well it seems to get it's start in the need for a loving parent to supply the yet to be met need. It is a 'hope'. . .Then maybe even with love that parent can describe all of the effects of an iron nail as something otherly and mysterious in a set of romanticised fairy tails. Or better still in a series of cosmological sagas with a cast of otherly super beings, all mathematically and geometrically arranged THUS scientific (!). . . All with varying powers and capable of amazing feats, including teaching YOU to be an Astral or even a fully CONSCIOUS being. . . Generation after generation of trauma built into this educational framework and you even get people who astral project together and share dreams and 'realise certain noble truths'. . . Wow. . !

      I am not one of these and gradually I am freeing myself from the terrifying fact that I used to believe I SHOULD BE. . . People are saying their 'cult is better than your cult', people are saying you or they havn't got the right interpretation of the right cult. People are factionalising into secular cults of the Astral Body? ? ? ! ! !

      I tell you, you coudn't make this stuff up. . .

      Paul G.

    4. Yes, Paul, and those who seek cults and astral consciousness are too lost to recognize the simple truth that they are looking for the lost love of their parents and not a higher way of being.

    5. Thank you Sheri,

      I can see exactly that in me 35 years ago.

      At least one veil has been lifted.

      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.