Monday, November 30, 2015

Epigenetics and Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis (Part 13/20)

The Miracle of Memory

I was looking around at some people I know and at least one third of them had the malady of needing to move constantly: organizing trips, making reasons to go here and there, and in general, keeping on the move. Does all that constant going and coming lead to strokes and heart attacks? I do think so. Why? Because below all that movement is a giant, silent scream, born of ferocious suffering, suffocation and being stuck; first in the womb with a mother who smokes and takes drugs (unavoidable for the baby), and followed by a birth process where again he is stuck and cannot get out easily. Hence now the need to keep moving. If I tell the average person this, they think I am delusional. But I assure you, I am not.

I have seen thousands of patients relive all kinds of traumas: one key one that is widespread is being trapped in the womb, suffocating and unable to get out. Trapped, suffocating, unable to move; those are the key feelings involved. They could not scream then and they cannot scream now, but once they as adults are in the feeling they can first grunt and try to move and feel then, later, at birth... scream. It is not the screaming that is liberating. It is the reliving of the true feeling – being stuck – and then the scream to express the agony of all that. Now we can actually observe the pain. Reliving changes the imprint, reduces it and begins the resolution process – demethylation. Screaming alone is not what we are after; it is the total agony of the reliving, and then the reaction – screaming. Reactions alone cannot do it. And that is what is wrong with all those early scream clubs in universities that began with the publication of the Primal Scream. Yes, screaming relieves the pressure involved in the reaction but does nothing to the imprint. Let us never believe that relieving is reliving. One is amelioration; the other, cure.

In reliving birth, we vividly see the tremendous pressure in the build-up after the traumatic event early on; not only the birth trauma but also many other traumas where the mother is taking drugs or smoking and drinking and the fetus/baby cannot escape. He can turn his head away as if to escape but, alas, he is trapped. And that feeling impressed into a vulnerable body remains there as an engraved memory and will drive her behavior thereafter: “I have to move. I have to get out of here.” That is the leitmotif of his or her life. And it never, ever leaves! The person is literally trapped in the memory, a trap that has chemicals stronger than steel to bind them forever. It is a chemical conspiracy to make sure we never, ever feel liberated. Even though the inner feeling is feeling bound, they cannot feel it. They are too busy trying to get unbound, acting out trying to get liberated.

I find it astounding that the real feeling is not felt immediately when it occurs; alas, it is too painful for the moment when an infant’s whole being is so vulnerable. The price we pay is never knowing our feelings or where they come from. Can you imagine someone saying to himself, “Wow, I am bound by a feeling in the womb!” In that womb, there are obviously no words or concepts or scenes. Only a physical feeling – no air, strangling, feeling crushed and suffocating. So how can there be a memory? There is no memory as we think of remembering, but the body remembers exactly. It remembers feeling trapped and suffocating because in the Primal that is what comes up and what we see. And in everyday life we lug those feelings around as a weight, as if carrying a ten-pound steel bar around constantly. We are carrying around those devilish chemicals that trap us.

And what changes those chemicals? If screaming won’t do it, what will? How about dampening drugs, such as SSRI’s, the serotonin enhancers? They shush the scream but never, never change the memory, the imprint. The memory is not designed to be changed. It remains in order to be experienced and liberated. That is the miracle of memory. We have the mechanism for our own liberation inside of us, if we only knew it. And how about using drugs to slow us down so we don’t move so much? That just helps the build-up of pressure. It exacerbates the problem and aggravates the need to move. And if we cannot act-out enough then the original Primal imprint will burrow in and seriously damage key body and brain cells. The genes may be transformed into oncogenes, and serious disease gets its start.

So when we see the constant motion we understand, but we never see the agony. Why no agony? Because it is busy being acted-out to relieve the agony before it is fully felt. So we cannot possibly see it, and the person in motion cannot feel it. That is the idea: that it disappear before it is evident. Now we know why psychotherapy is at such a loss. And now we know what could be behind high blood pressure and migraines. I had one patient who was sexually never satisfied. When she could not have sex her blood pressure rose to dangerous heights. Drugs could not help her. What could? Discharging the pressure permanently by feeling the need – a Primal. That helped and... cured. Relieving the pressure is not what cured; it was reliving the feelings that created the pressure. There is no comprehension in relieving; lots of comprehension in reliving. And this is the crucial point: There are no insights following relieving, yet many insights following reliving. It is one among many ways we suss out true feelings.

Why cure? Because it dealt with the origin of it all – the original methylation and imprint. Primals change the chemical composition – less methylation, decreased serotonin – and diminish the memory so that we can really change our behavior and our proclivity toward disease. How on earth can we understand anorexia without knowing about the link between research on early trauma and later eating disorders? The research states that it is largely due to key epigenetic changes that take place very early in our lives that alter fetal programming and the evolution of the fetus/baby. So now we see why starvation or reduced calories in the womb can lead to later over-eating. He is eating for now and eating out of memory. It is no different from the desperate need for warmth and love after a birth trauma where the child was abandoned right away by a sick birth mother. He entered a cold world with no succor; no kisses or hugs. That desperate need begins here and is stamped in. Early deprivation means overcoming it by doubling the efforts to be loved. Depending on other factors, once repression and gating sets in, there is the shutting out of any love due to a defense system that won’t allow it in because it reawakens old pain.

Let us not forget the critical sensory window where those events are engraved for a lifetime. That is where we therapists must go, to that window where trauma was impressed into the brain and the whole system. We must look into it seriously. If we do not, then we cannot understand anxiety states in our patients or ADD, which detours focus and concentration. It is not here-and-now; it is there-and-then that must be our focus because there-and-then determines here-and-now, to a great extent. If we exclude there-and-then we would never know that my patient’s need for sex took root in a first-line imprint, an early trauma, which was so strong on the physical level but had no words, nor screams. Beware the ides of here-and-now. The brainstem, almost fully developed at the time, absorbed all that trauma and is therefore heavily methylated. We never will see that until we bring patients down to that level; yet that could take months and then we need to know what to look for. That is why it took me decades to figure it out. It is not evident.

So if people are in deep pain, why aren’t they all walking down the street screaming? Because it’s not accepted social behavior and could lead to arrest or commitment to a mental hospital. But what they can do is scream out the agony via a migraine or heart constriction (angina). And we rush in to treat the heart condition or migraine or high blood pressure. That is where it is obvious but that is not where the problem lies. It lies hidden in the memory embedded in the lungs and surroundings, in the arching back and the constant movement. We see what we see – the obvious – and miss what we cannot see. It would be ideal to be searching for what we cannot see: a lens that magnifies Primal Pain. Alas, not likely.


  1. Art!

    It is too early to tell everything good you are ... I'm still stuck in my need and it will not excuse himself for whatever my need can find other ways!

    Methylation... does it distort an otherwise healthy state... does it occurs in a more or less degree depending on how memories around life-threatening experiences have to be kept in check... distorted to a possible physical survival? Is it one of methylation data? Are there other tasks for methylation? For exemple to improve the living conditions?

    Your Frank

  2. The lens has always been there. Doctors stare through it every day and give everything a neat little peer reviewed label and when they don't recognize what it is that they're observing or can't see the forest for all the trees, they call it a Conversion Disorder. If modern medicine recognizes the legitimacy of Conversion Disorder, then it's already admitted that it has looked through that lens at least once when it was stumped with it's ill fated logic.

  3. Here in Poland Primal Therapy is hardly known even by "specialist". I've studied social rehabilitation and they introduced us writings by Freud, Erickson, Skinner, Watson and many others, but there were no even single word about Primal Therapy. My sister studied clinical psychology and she had only one mention (few sentences) about PT. I think they withhold true. It is sad.

    1. Piotr,

      It is sad, but I balk at being sad all the time. I have been experiencing a regular weather system of disappointment and sadness as a result of perceiving stuff others don't. I don't like my own reactions either.

      There seems to be two hurdles to jump in order to survive. 1. Inappropriate resonance down, ie getting triggered when you least need it. 2. The evidence you need to prove to yourself that it's NOT JUST YOU who are mad.

      No. 2 is more important than you might imagine. Even ex Primal patients who are much better and doing reasonably well have to maintain defenses. If only Primal were so simple as to generate a 'positive bow wave' in front of you to protect you from the madness (and your own, of-course). To an extent that is true, ie: being healed does often generate a positive field around you, but it's rarely a black or white thing is it?

      To an extent you have to be your own guinea pig and take notes. I keep a diary, although it doesn't make easy reading (!); but seriously, I need to read through it to see the repeating patterns, to know myself and to also see the repeating and the predictable patterns "Out There".

      I'm far from healed but I DO need to 'have a life' and it's gotta be one which actually fits, both sides of my boundary. So, my challenge is to 'get a life' in the light of everything I have learned, most of all from my previous experiences. . . That for me at the moment is my most interesting compass, it seems to offer me the best insights. That I can look through several years of my diary and see how my perceptions have changed in the light of my Primal education on this blog/ Arts books. By the way, I did intentionally have an old counselor fortnightly for 6 months last year when things got really bad.

      They say life circumstances tend to get better when you do, thus your circumstances are a barometer for your progress. But I think 'progress' is misleading. Not everything happens in a linear way, I get the impression that trauma is locked into strata and 'complex networks'. . . That Primal may 'come & go' in one's life, depending partly on how & when you can attend to your stuff but also how & when you are able to make certain life achievements. Maybe it shouldn't be like this, optimally some patients have short & predictable therapy with dramatic results; others not so . . . . Primal is a 'way of life' but not like yoga or Buddhism, it's not a philosophy. . . . If you've had a breakdown or serious illness / trauma as an adult and found these connect and resonate down to earlier stuff in your life you are faced with serious difficulties in recovering and adapting, mostly people will not understand.

      Thus No.2 is very important for overcoming negative feedback. . . I look forward to Art's new book "Beyond Belief" and also the long awaited 'Legacy' because those seem to be pivotal to raising awareness and helping more people realise and value a life with more feelings.

      Paul G.

      Paul G.

  4. By being here on the blog and take part of the featured content so begins our process in a therapeutic regime depending on our individual circumstances to take place. We all have our defense sufficient enough to get by here on the blog... to the next of keeping us away from the blog for its impact. I think this phenomenon is what many are suffering... many who are otherwise engaged in what psychiatry and cognitive schemes is all about... but can not handle what the blog expresses. I think this happens to a greater extent than we even imagine!


    1. Sieglinde, this is for you to answer. art

    2. Frank,
      You say:" I think this phenomenon is what many are suffering... many who are otherwise engaged in what psychiatry and cognitive schemes is all about... but can not handle what the blog expresses. I think this happens to a greater extent than we even imagine!"

      I don't understand what exactly you mean. Could you please elaborate.
      Thanks, Sieglinde

    3. Hello Sieglinde!

      To only cognitively be engaged in what psychiatry and cognitive terapier require... it for what neocortex can repress feelings... feelings who can be so frightening to lighten the cap to that we avoid everything what feelings is all about... it with consequences of what your question might belong?
      We can by cognitive automatic avoid everything psychiatry and cognitive schemes really is all about... for what threats we do not yet feel which manifests itself through extremely uncomfortable experiences... as issues of it may pose.

      About the fear... you ask me I know.

      Your Frank.

  5. An email comment:
    "I cannot read anything that you say that doesn't ring clear & true.
    Why do people not comprehend and understand?
    I have known it since reading the Primal Scream
    Keep spreading your wise message Art.
    Your words save my life!"

    1. And my answer:
      It is why I write; to help others feel better; otherwise why do it? art

    2. I do not doubt that you write because you want others to feel better! On the other hand, I doubt neither that the reason you write and have written a whole life has been to feel better about yourself! You are after all human stocked with repressed mental pain due to a rough, insensitive upbringing. Jan

    3. Hi Jan & Art,

      It interests me that in this so called modern age we are called (by whom?) to give a reason for absolutely everything. It seems to me cognitivism has become the new moral zeitgeist with a new, simplified moral code. That Code is Behaviourism. Surreptitiously we are all pressured into justifying our behaviour. If we have any radical ideas (which in social mammals are inevitably going to want to be shared eh?) well then now we even have to justify WHY we want to share. . .

      Basically the newly assumed morality is that nobody really needs any one else, we all live in single digital units and should be responsible for ourselves. We teach children this in school and when some fail (no doubt due to neurosis) we automatically assume the parents are to blame. Then, having identified WHO to blame we are absolved.

      Of course parents are to blame. Of course we are neurotic. Of course we want to DO something about it. . . Well, some of us. . .

      The problem as I see it is that the neo cortex has gotten hold of science and neurology and psychology and popularised the language (the words) of these noble pursuits and made them into yet another layer of defense against realising the internal truth of our condition. The one enduring fact of the Human Condition is that we can see it in others but rarely ourselves. So now we know the 'words' we can all be laymen & lay women and some how be newly responsible for ourselves as if 'KNOWING' the information is all it takes. Ah yes, I know about that, don't I?

      Jesus f*****g Christ ! ! ! Am I sick to death of the dumbing down that is happening all over the world. . .

      Yours MOST sincerely,

      Paul G.

      (PS, I write for 'understanding'; I wonder how Behaviourism categorises 'Understanding')?

    4. Hey, Paul. It does give new meaning to the phrase: 'thinking off the top of their heads.' Or maybe cognitivists could be said to be thinking from the left side. And does headstrong really mean that; wish that it were true, but more likely means inflexible. Just a thought.

    5. Hello Jan!

      If I tell you that there is a big hole in front of you that you can fall into... I do it because I do not want you to hurt you. If I also see that there is a hole that almost everyone will fall in with a devastating effect for humanity (big words might seem... but they are small for how far we have come)... so I will also warn them about what's on about to happen!

      Yes... we do things for ourselves to feel better by fundamental need... but what you bring up is no fundamental order... it be more about unmet needs... need as we usually projected others has but forget ourselves.

      Jan... I think you turned on the question... for what your own needs might be. What needs Art has I think he is so aware that he do not need any help in the way you assume to give it.

      Your Frank.

    6. Sheri,

      -yes, and I tire for trying to adapt and act out 'flexibility'.
      Always accommodating (it's an age thing so I'm told). I think that the main problem (as a social being) of becoming more sensitive, is essentially that you become more adapted to those who still haven't, they always seem to be the ones with the power. It looks like a conspiracy, some leave the outcome to 'God'. . . still others duck and dive to avoid the worst excesses of their own naivety, whilst perhaps actually ducking the real bombshells. . . Who really are the survivors?

      Paul G.

  6. Hi Art & all,

    part 3:
    In my business I see what others don't see and purportedly that's why I am employed . Many of them don't realise they are being paid by me OR paying me to have me personally mediate between their ignorance and their presumed desires (others in business say this too) . . . Time and time again what I have found is that my business succeeds because people get something better from the process of learning something from what I facilitate for them in OUR lives together, during the contract. Thus it's nearly all in the relationships and for me Primal Theory has a direct positive influence on my business relations. Well, not always productive, but certainly resolving, one way or another.

    It's this 'stop / start' conundrum I now perceive as where 'success or failure' is expressed and worked out. Figured out even (3rd line). Stop / Start is at the boundaries. In me it seems to have reached it's zenith; I am faced with the prospect of getting another workshop of my own again; at last and hopefully for the right reasons. This time with nearly 6 years experience of this terrifying 'push / pull', 'stop / start', 'struggle / fail' syndrome in me and now observed in nearly every ones life. I think to myself: -"If I can't offer my apprentices (who-ever they are), my suppliers, my clients the benefits of my accumulated experiences through embodying them into a proper service close to where I live in a properly organised workshop. . . then why oh why am I struggling with the chaos of driving 50miles a day to a shoddy mess in some one elses workshop where I have to endure their totally unconscious push / pull, stop / start act outs. . ?

    I have realised that for the lack of consciousness on their part (and mine), this is interminable act out and will lead to my total despair to continue with trying to reconcile.

    This is the nub of it, and I hope it resonates (positively) with the way you all feel about you own lives and your understanding of Primal Therapy & Theory. . . Out there currently, there is the accumulated neurosis of this interminable 'stop / start' act out and it's so bad that it's destroying the ability of people to learn anything new due to the polarity involved at their feeling defense level. It is their beliefs which keep sanity from penetrating their gating system and thus chaos and inefficiency (destruction) has become the unit or currency of success. I am suggesting that for Primal People we must eventually see this for what it is and try to mobilise our efforts in a way which at least circumvents this act 'out there'. . . For as long as this Primal reality remains un - known the pressure to collude will not go away.

    I mean, an outer expression of this in UK is in the notion that military action and bombing civilians is a conservative middle ground response (and therefore "safe"); But pacifism and anti war sentiments are 'Radical' and therefore "un-safe". . . As I type away here now people are saying starting war will make more war but stopping war will be unsafe. . .

    Now, if that isn't a Primal Act Out of a Global Magnitude. . . What Is?

    I implore us all to get on with our lives in the light of what we know about Primal Pain, to take risks even, aside from all this 'push/pull', 'stop / start', 'rest / act', 'agree / disagree', 'fight/ freeze' duality we are presented with nowadays. It's a paralyzing influence if you let it resonate down to your own stuff. Hard though it may seem there must even be a cognitive response within Primal reality.

    When you can see it within yourself, feel it a little, then perhaps you can see it in others and you can act with some freedom and some success, despite all that chaos & bullshit 'out there'. . .

    Paul G.

    1. Paul, interesting comment.
      after some time we should figure out how certain relationship is affecting us. but it is not easy, maybe. we need more than one field of expression. more parallel important relationships to help us navigate... towards more fulfilling ones.

  7. Art: Your outline of the busy-busy sympath resonates with me because if I don´t keep rushing around, filling my days and feeling like I´ve achieved something, I feel crushingly lonely and depressed. WHAT I produce is important too - making money by helping people or animals or at least causing no harm. I´m in no doubt this is basically birth, especially since my asthma - which disappeared after going raw vegan 14 years ago - could have originated by anoxia at birth and/or womb suffocation. However, my sympath tendency was taken advantage of by a needy mother to baby her.. which may account for the compounding of the original "keep-busy" trauma, in that I only feel I have a right to live if I´m looking after people (or animals, though Jesus do they need our help)

    The worst part of all this, as so many of us here realise, is living in a world which just does not understand, let alone sympathise, because I feel that to sympathise, you have to understand, and not just intellectually. It has to be at a feeling level, whether words express it or not, which unless you´re in a primal, are just empty labels to express feeling states. I know this from when I´ve felt seriously depressed, or witnessed the heartbreaking pain of animals in factory farms. Words are little more than just words to people who don´t feel, and by and large, people DON´T feel because their defences are too strong. I feel like I´m trying to stay afloat in an ocean of feeling whilst everyone else remains in blissful oblivion with their cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, coffee, and feeling-crushing diets. Not to mention the new age/new age therapy pain deniers and justifiers talking of "Karma", which, whichever way you cut it, is at root a painkiller, because by making EVERYTHING shit that happens into something DESERVED, they don´t have to feel compassion, whether you´re talikng about a child being sexually abused, animals awaiting the chop in slaughterhouses, Iraqis dying drom DU since the Gulf War, Genocide, you name means they are "paying off Karma" so you have an excuse to do nothing, and don´t have to feel guilt or compassion, which just may resonate with....primal pain.

    Karma is the handmaiden of denial of which "I had a very happy childhood" is a perfect example. It astonishes me the number of well educated and intelligent people who believe this, yet smoke, drink, take drugs, are angry, tense, depressed....Gosh, do they never wonder why!?

    So what I´m saying is that defences look benign, whether physical like drugs, cigs etc or mental - both denial and "Karma" are rooted in primal pain, and it suits everyone to believe the collective delusion that they are NOT defences, because that would mean recognition guessed it, PAIN! And that´s because they hold back pain of such magnitude that nobody dares to even allow the slightest chink of light to shine onto it. Gary

    1. Hi Gary,

      Alone, as one single being, to admit pain is to admit weakness and to admit weakness is to become vulnerable, in the eyes of others. . . It takes more than one being to re-orient this conundrum, it takes at least one friend or at least one colleague. . . Though I am filled with words (both heard & spoken) I am a friend and I will listen and you will be heard. . .

      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.