Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Neurosis is a Brain Disease... What????

Who said that?  A great many booga booga aficionados plus someone else:  the former head of the National Institute of Mental Health.   How could that be?  Let me explain… and try not to interrupt.
First of all, what does that mean---brain disease? Does it mean that the brain is really diseased?   If so, where and how?  I mean is it a real affliction, a hit in the head, or a slow moving virus?  Is there any proof of that?  Not that I have seen.  Maybe we are looking through the wrong lens.  We are looking from outside and guessing what may lie inside; we are not sure so we give it a name—brain disease.  Does it really mean a disease?  If so where does it lie?

I have an idea; let’s look inside. How do we do that without serious surgery?  We look at humans and their lives and their brains.  It seems to me that is what is missing…..the human and his history.  I mean the brain does not live in a vacuum.   It lives in an environment; and maybe in that world lies answers to what we are looking for.  Would we ever search for answers to liver disease without seeing what its environment is?  Was it constantly bathed in alcohol?  Would not that help us find an answer? How about if we find that the brain is constantly bathed in pain with all of its concomitant nefarious effects?   And there was a chronically high cortisol level indicating enduring stress.  And maybe that is the disease---imprinted pain that never leaves.   And it is largely a pain that begins before we can say, “I am in pain?” So no wonder no one knows about that it

Well how come I am so smug and think I have all the answers?  Well for one thing I don’t think I have all of the answers; just some important ones.  I have lived that pain, something that freezes my mouth closed so that no ordinary act of will can force it open. And I have several thousand patients over almost fifty years who have gone through similar experiences; and then we have done double blind studies in England and France to measure our observations and our results; and when we perform double-blind research, we find major changes in many biologic parameters as discussed in scientific journals.  And then the patients report significant improvement in many of their former diseases. As just recently someone who had grand mal seizures for years and now no longer has them.  His whole life has turned around. We shall be filming him to see how and why that happened. We will see the actual disease and no longer concoct “brain disease” to explain the psychological mysteries.   They are not mysteries; they simply are unobserved realities and therefore not found.
They are now.
We have found a way to wind back the evolutionary clock and take a close look at our personal histories, and meanwhile, the history of the species.  It seems that the old truths that we can never go backwards in life is another myth.  We can and do travel backwards in time, and above all, can reverse what happened to us in those past times.  It is the essence of our work. It is now called “de-methylation”. There are so many research results that confirm our hypotheses.  And maybe we need to look into the effects of imprinted Primal pain and see what it does, and how it lies behind so many serious afflictions.   And then maybe others will pick up their therapeutic cudgels and look at what we are doing.  We have found a way to go deep into the brain in a natural way: evolution in reverse and see for ourselves what the truth is. Above all, we need to find ways to look deep in neuroscience.

I never started out with an a priori, an “idée fixe”, an idea of what I wanted to find in my research.   I started not from knowing what I want but only from “wanting to know,” and therefore had no stake in the results, which were often a surprise.  Now current research helps to confirm so much of our work and our theories.   I have confidence that we are on the right track, and that maybe others in the field should look into it.  We have spent nearly all of our profits in wanting to know more.  Why?  For the good of patients and their health, and also for the good of the profession and particularly science so that we do not use vague terms such as “brain science” which leads nowhere and helps no one.  Unless of course we really know what disease of the brain we are talking about. That disease, as it turns out, is so deep in the brain and brainstem as to be unbelievable; and therefore is ignored.   The one disease that is so monumental in its far-reaching consequences, is exactly what has been neglected.   They have apotheosized the neo-cortex and thereby have gone terribly wrong.  I want to shout, “It’s the brainstem!”  But it is also the limbic system; we need to look down, not up.

Warped thinking did not make the world go wrong; it is because of a devastating early life that became imprinted which then steered the cortex askew.   Our salvation lies in reorienting that cortex toward its normal functions; then there may be hope.  Think of it this way: we give medicine for a disease over and over, holding back the symptom.  And why “over and over?” Because we are treating the wrong disease.  So of course it is never a cure.
When we start to cure the right disease we no longer need medication over and over ad nauseam.  “Brain disease,” won’t do it.   A specific primal imprint at gestation and at birth will.  How do we know that? The imprint leaves a trace. For example, a mother overdoses on anesthetics during birth producing a baby who cannot breathe easily.   And who in reliving that trauma in therapy seems to be suffocating. You mean suffocating now?  Yes, because the trauma is an imprint that dogs us throughout life and will not let us go until it is addressed and relived.  We have had many cases where it was not relived with damaging results.  That imprint leaves a trace on the gene; it is measureable and we hope to see it reversible in our forthcoming research.

The trauma is an experience that must be lived, finally.  It must come to life and be experienced and resolved.   It then is no longer an extraneous force, but becomes organic and part of us.  The only reason we say “brain disease” is because we have no idea what lies in the antipodes of the brain; we are forced to guess and make a vague statement about what might be inside.
The real disease has so many ramifications that it seems like many diseases.  It affects brain function (hence brain disease), but also the immune system, where we have done research, as well as the circulatory\blood systems, and just about everywhere else.
The former chief mental health officer, Dr. Insel, is someone I do respect but he is at a loss, for the same reason so many other professionals are; they do not know what lies hidden inside.   Without Primal techniques I fail to see how anyone can really know.  It requires a descent into the cerebral underground, something that took us decades to figure out.   It is not a secret; it is open to all.  And indeed a Primal Legacy (90 videos) by Dr. France Janov,  is coming out within a few weeks that shows the process of Primal Therapy, and it shows professionals some of what must to done to help others.  It has been five years in the making.  We want no monopoly but we know how dangerous it can be to explore the deep brain without knowing exactly what you are doing.
We have seen over and over again the harm to patients who have done Rebirthing Therapy, skipping evolutionary steps, abutting up against very early and very forceful imprints for which the patient is not ready.  The result is a confused and jumbled mind.
Dr. Insel has more to say: (in August 22,  2015. New Scientist).  He believes that “schizophrenia and depression are brain diseases”. They are an outgrowth of physiologic changes. (See Yes, OK but what makes those changes?    Imprints lying low down that alter the biochemistry; when we relive them the “symptoms” diminish.   The cart is pulling the horse here.  Can’t get anywhere that way. Insel believes we need to fold psychotherapy into neurology to make things more precise.  He sort of denigrates psychology.  But neurology has not done much better in the field of emotions, which he assumes, should be thought of as disorders in brain circuitry.  Is there a human anywhere inside there?  He looks for markers in the brain but does he consider markers in the environment in which we start life, starting with parents and birth doctors?  He believes it is nearly always an underlying disorder of brain circuits. I guess that emotions are too vague and aleatory to be pinned down scientifically.   And the result of all this is now that psychiatrists are using neurology to merge Freudian analysis with it and help make it a science.  So let’s see; they want to take a 100 year old therapy with a missing validity, and construct neurology around it.  Will that make Freudian theory more scientific?  How?   Putting a dress on dung doesn’t not make it pretty or acceptable.  How about renewing our theories and aligning them with neurology?  Neurology cannot be the last word; human experience is. Neurology must try to align itself with human experience, and not maintain an exalted position.

Dr. Insel says that they have found depression to be one of several diseases.  I doubt that.  It has been one disease with many manifestations that make it seem like many diseases.   When we deal with the deep pain as the therapy goes on, we see how it spreads all over the system.   It can affect breathing and heart rate, yet it is still one disease. And those levels diminish as an ensemble with the reliving; finally making the pain organic.

Having said all this, neuroscience can be a great help and must be included in the scientific armamentarium.  We use it all of the time to confirm our findings, but it is not meant to englobe or take the place of other key functions such as emotions and feelings.
We can not suss out the cause of neurosis by profound observation of neurons.  Dr. Insel wants to build on neuroscience to help find answers but they will not be there.  They will be in our early lives and how the brain and nervous system was imprinted with those experiences. And how those imprints radically change the trajectory of our lives.

First, we need to know where to look in the patient; then, how to look: with an MRI? Then we need to know what we are seeing, and finally we need to know what it means.   Is a very low body temp in a depressive a good or bad sign?  Without a proper theory we will never know. And when the body temperature rises to “normal” levels is that a good sign?  We need to be fully armed with a theory and an experience behind it.  We need to stop guessing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Mysteries of Some Behaviors

One of the great MYSTERIES escapes most of us:  why is this child so anxious and out of control, so incapable of doing school work, and mostly hangs out with the wrong people?  Gets in trouble all the time,  several auto accidents,  takes drugs and cannot be counted on.   Recognize him?  He is you neighbor, the guy down the street or the person who works next to you.   He is unstable  and cannot do anything , any project or task, for any length of time.  He is anxious and skittish and very unreliable.   He, and less often he, flits around and cannot be pinned down.  Often leaves a trail of destruction everywhere he goes.    He can be charming on the surface but when it gets deeper he is a mess.   Cannot keep a relationship for any length of time.  Never count on him; cause his word means nothing.

Yet he had stable loving parents who blame themselves.

So what is wrong?  He suffers from ineffable damage so early as to be unimaginable.   His mind is a cesspool of inputs that drive him hither and yon.  What inputs?  The damage inflicted by an unsuspecting mother who drinks many cups of coffee a day, or is highly anxious, keeps on an unhealthy diet, drinks alcohol, etc.   Each piece of damage is imprinted and sends its message through the system that there is impairment there.   It keeps the mind busy dealing with all that information, which is ultimately distracting and plays into ADD, attention deficit disorder.  It is like a phone operator sending the top level brain unending messages which overwhelm its  possibilities for integration.

He is often labeled a psychopath because on the way in the womb towards life on the planet, his limbic/feeling system has been damaged and he no long can feel for others nor empathize.  The imprint impairs the limbic/feeling system from keeping feelings alive and expressive because it too is flooded with damage information.   It keeps him from being stable and being able to maintain a long-term emotional relationship.   The damaged limbic system won’t allow long-term emotional commitment.   And the developing brain begins to lose its adaptability and plasticity in infancy so that the earlier damage cannot be changed.  Any intervention to be effective at all must occur during the brain’s most dynamic growth, just after a trauma occurs.  After that not much can change.

Even with his parents, who soon learn that they have little influence on him or his emotions .  We may blame his parents as they may blame themselves but the damage is done before he was born, and they could even touch him. He is behaving as though his parents made him suffer constantly, which they did, only inadvertently.  They certainly did not mean to but their own pain made them act in deleterious ways toward the baby; taking drugs, or drinking or smoking.  And it happened during the critical period when the damage from an anxious mother, or one who smokes and drinks or fights with her spouse, is deeply embedded, inaccessible and practically irreversible.…..the imprint.  Therein lies the mystery; an arcane memory lying in the antipodes of the mind out of reach and out of touch, so it is a mystery.

So we therapists have been taught to reassure our patient that it is not her fault. Relieving her of any blame but maybe it is; maybe it is by default; not in her control, at least not in her awareness.  It happened when the baby could not scream, or complain, just silent suffering which shows up in force later on when he can behave. And he does.   Do not try to control him because he is not in control, or rather, he is controlled by powerful forces sending out messages of constant pain.  It continues to drive him in every direction possible.  He cannot pay attention.  What do we do?  We drug him, not for what we think is wrong but to cool the imprint which has gone awry.   What is controlling him is far more powerful than any control by teachers or parents, who complain that he is out of control.  We drug his neuro-biologic reactions to calm him down. Sometimes it works for a short time, but not for long.

My God!  What is the solution?   To attack the origins of it all; I know of nothing else to do but to relive the trauma fully, as painful as it might be.  To relive in small feel-able bits over many months.  That, for me, is the only solution.  Otherwise,  we have to keep pushing it back, an endless affair.  And we cannot just approach the imprint quickly; we have to feel many other feel-able  memories first, and over months before we can approach the deep imprint.  There is where the deep pain lies, we have measured it in many ways, much higher blood pressure and heart rate and changes in brain frequency and amplitude.   That level of pain won’t let us attack it directly; we need to approach it with great caution.   If we don’t we will get the effects of rebirthing: greater damage and more irreversible pain.   This happens because we dredge up great pain which arises out of sequence and is overwhelming and can never be properly integrated.    The unconscious is no place for charlatans who decide they know to do and they don’t.    

Sunday, December 20, 2015

On Evolution and its Role in Therapy

I am reading a book by Sean Carroll on evolution (Evo-Devo).   He points out that in a survey of many countries, the U.S. came out  last in the understanding of evolution: worse it was last in the agreement with evolutionary principles.   Do we come from earlier species?  Answer, “no”.  This led me to thinking that it also applies to the field of psychotherapy; even though we are clearly the evolutionary result of those who have gone before.   So how can we understand who we humans are without any understanding of who we were? We are then ahistorical beings; and indeed we may as well have come along in full force out of what?  Zeus?  No evolution to explain it, even though key scientists all over the world consider Darwin’s discovery the most important in the history of science.   So the bias toward the present leaves us confined away from history. It may be because of the predominance of anti-evolutionary beliefs in this country.

When evolution is by-passed there is no way to do a proper psychotherapy when our origins are left behind, we cannot acknowledge or know that we are the result of who we were early on; above all, how our early months and years shaped us and changed our evolution. Should I say that again?  Our early lives shape our personalities and help determine who we become.

That is why our therapy is so heavily evolutionary.  It allows us to see personal history in the light of brain evolution; something that cannot be ignored. Yet ignored it is by the majority of therapists who never even mention evolution in their books and papers. We are now a cult of the here-and-now. And we present our findings and results within the context of the here and now.

There is a new study on migraine headaches discussed in the NY Times (Dec. 12) where the newest therapy involves monoclonal antibodies, enhancing immune cells to attack the enemy.  I will not go into its intricacies except to say again that in their work, there is no search for origins, no focus on probable causes.  No use of history to search out answers.  It is as true in research as it is in psychotherapy.  “Don’t bother me with the facts” just get on with it.

I want to go on with this aspect because over decades of doing primal therapy and observing patients about to drop into deep brain imprints I noticed something critical.  It points out the difference between statistical conclusions and observation/clinical ones.  As longer term patients arrive at brainstem memories they sometimes start with the onset of a migraine headache, quite severe.  It comes on suddenly with the patient having no idea what is happening; it often is the harbinger of something totally unexpected, although some have had migraine attacks previously for which they took new painkillers that were transiently effective.

As they get deeper into the pain, and it is often very hurtful, they begin to have breathing problems and cannot catch their breath. As this went on, the headache  pain exacerbates until they  drop into the heart of it all:   the actual memory of the depletion of oxygen when the mother was given a  powerful  anesthesia which blocked some of her pain but also shut down oxygen supplies to the baby; the newborn.

What the patient then knows is that there is not enough oxygen and she can figure it out as she goes along in therapy.   It is quite common and leads us to believe that this is primary and primal cause for the affliction. This was the template for the years to follow:  slight stress, trouble catching one’s breath, and the depletion of oxygen, leading to severe migraine headaches.   If there is no focus on very early life and its imprints, there will be no way to know what is behind the symptoms, or why one needs pain killers for life, after that.  And now begins million dollar research into causes, looking for them in biochemistry, neurology, etc. And yes, they sometimes find correlates or concomitants that help to explain processes in the blood flow or in brain dysfunction, but rarely causes. We must always beware of the difference between the two—correlated or causes.   That changes everything.

And what is often a helpful therapy for them?  A correlated: oxygen therapy.  Of course, there are many other options, the most prescribed of which are painkilling drugs which are somewhat effective for a time.   And it is no surprise that whatever helps constrict the blood vessels, like coffee, helps conserve oxygen and lessens the pain. Let us make sure we are not just treating a correlate.  It helps ease the pain, and that is a good thing but not a good substitute for the real thing.

More important, I have discovered, along with methylation and epigenetic scientists that the earliest months of our lives alter the trajectory  of our development,   it determines  who we become;  what diseases we will suffer and how long we will live.  Also the form we take, physically and mentally.  Carroll says macroevolution is microevolution writ large.  Our trajectory is made up of small changes over time, which turn into major evolutionary changes.

Among some of my patients we see bone growth after they touch on deep levels of consciousness.  I have seen it in my wife whose fingers and feet grew.  This is for now anecdotal.  I have no corroborating information, no scientific studies.  But I have seen it in patients, enough of them to impress me with its veracity.   Why is this important?   Because we seem in some respects to alter the trajectory of their personal evolution, including how they grow.  (Yes, I have seen general growth of patients). We also normalize a number of factors, including heart action, blood pressure and kidney function; to say nothing of epilepsy.  We change evolution. What this means is that we change some of the results in their evolution; one thing we do, for example, is change their susceptibility to diseases. We help increase their natural killer cells levels, which when normal, seek out and destroy early cancer developing cells.  When impaired they cannot do their job and cannot prevent serious disease from happening. We have rare appearances of cancer among our longer-term patients.

If due to primal damage very early on they are destined for serious disease later on, we may abort that fatal destiny by reducing or eliminating the trajectory of primal pain that would have led to serious disease.  We shall test this out in the month and years to come in our research on epigenetics and methylation. Above all, by liberating or cutting short those who previously had a bad developmental trajectory, they can become who they were supposed to be. That is why we see breast growth in some women after we reverse serious repression (most often in flat-chested women); the repression that does not permit normal evolution to take place. When all that pressure is removed from the system the body returns to its genetic destiny; and for some women it means breast growth.  For others, heredity has its say and no breast growth appears.  It seems that we work with evolution in some ways. By liberating its normal processes.

If we can change, even minutely who we are destined to be, wouldn’t that be wonderful?  Changing evolution is not easily done, and in dialectic fashion, to do that we must go back in time to recapture basic genetics, and undo some harmful epigenetics.  In short, to recapture our biologic destiny.  We may then grow to where nature intended.  And be as healthy as nature intended before methylation stepped in to abort normality from setting in. It is both genetics and epigenetics that change.  For when we undo epigenetic harm, we free genetics to be their normal selves again. When we reverse repression, the breasts can be normal again and let genetics hold sway. I know this can sound booga booga but I have observed so many times as to dissuade me from any booga booga ideas.

What does this mean for the rest of us?  That we interfere with evolution in some ways. And liberate its normal processes,  and if we can change, even minutely who we are destined to be ,wouldn’t that be amazing?  Changing evolution is not easily done, and in dialectic fashion, to do that we must go back in time to recapture basic genetics, and undo some epigenetics.  In short, to recapture our biologic destiny.  

If we confine our search to only the correlates involved in the development of migraines it can be an unlimited task. We will certainly find reduce blood flow and start with circulation enhancers.   Or we will find excessive salt intake; and it will go on and on; those answers may be partially right, as associates of the key primal imprint:  they are proximate causes: but they are not and cannot be the ultimate causes. Until then, every therapy we try will be temporary, something we need to do over and over again.   It can be nothing else because the imprint has the force of survival, of a lifesaving memory and must endure until the life-endangering imprint is finally fully felt and resolved.  Clearly this applies to many problems, from high blood pressure to asthma and allergies.   That is why it is urgent that we re-focus on the real problem and avoid at all costs, those therapies that remain blindly and snuggly in the present.
Aside from the admonition not to forget about evolution in the practice of psychotherapy there is one more admonition: don’t forget the dialectic:  the interpenetration of opposites:  how one structure or process can turn into its opposite. Thus, basic feeling at a certain valence loses its identity and  becomes amorphous pain. When that pain is forceful enough it becomes repression, so that feeling becomes no feeling. And when pain is relived,  the repression diminishes and becomes a specific feeling again.  When feeling is experienced over time it is integrated and becomes a normal part of us.  Until it becomes a specific feeling, it cannot be dealt nor integrated. The dialectic has come full circle which means cure.  There is no cure with simple happy or positive thoughts.  Cure must grow out of the reality that exists in us...pain. Then negative turns into positive and can lead to positive thoughts. History and the dialectic can be our twin saviors.  Let us not denigrate them in favor of a safer present.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

More on Depression

Depression seems to be rampant today throughout the world so I thought I would discuss it a bit more.  What I have found after treating many people who claim that they are depressed is they have a typical imprint that drives it.  I should say depression is underlined by many imprints that all tell the same story……. I am about to die.

Before I do go further I want to note something that I found in many depressives that led me to my conclusions.  I did measurements during their Primals and found one key reaction:  the deeper they got into the kernel of their depression the lower their body temperature. Sometimes lower by 3 degrees. It would seem dangerous but it was not.  But why that drop?   And more important why did they usually soon come back to the so-called normal range after the session?

It would seem that these patients were headed toward body fail as though they were dying; and the vital signs followed suit.  But why that?  Were they near death lying in my padded therapy room?  Yes and no.   In their memory imprint, they were certainly dying. And when into the feeling they were again dying.   But this time with a different ending; they were coming alive and out of their depression as they were immersed into the feeling:  “I am dying, suffocating, can’t breathe and can’t move“. Yet so many do die or kill themselves as that feeling has a stranglehold on their systems and wreaks damage when they are not in a therapy that can resolve it.

This is a strange dialectic: dying to come alive.  But if you do not feel dying you cannot be liberated and come alive.  Why?   The imprint/memory dominates.  It actually happened and it is an embedded memory.  Until you eliminate what is dragging you down, you cannot overcome it.  This is an iron primal/biologic law. The imprinted memory has to be totally relived even if it takes months to feel it.  It cannot be done in a day or a week.  It is so powerful that it makes a person depressed.  And what is depression?   Hopelessness and helplessness.    So, it is not strictly depression: it is hopelessness called depression.   So we cannot say you are depressed therefore you feel hopeless. No. Hopeless is another name for depression.  I have seen patients descend deep in the brain and their “depression” becomes hopelessness as they touch the real imprint: “ I am dying and there is nothing I can do.”

That is what the memory is suppressing and that suppression makes it such a mystery.  Our system is suppressing the memory of approaching death and its terror. When my patients start to feel deep depression; what I call first-line brainstem depression, because its origins are so deep and remote, the body accommodates to this approaching disaster and slows down to conserve oxygen and energy. It says: “Hold back, do nothing vigorous or your life will be endangered. Don’t breathe deeply.”  These are the elements of depression that trail us throughout life.  We don’t want to do anything,  go anywhere and begin any chore even though it is urgent.  They feel energy-less, without motivation.  It can never be as urgent as the imprint of near death.  It is so importuning that the depressive considers suicide without fully knowing what the true feeling is.  It just feels terrible and unbearable. And he does not know how to stop it. He thinks that only death will stop it: strange, to kill oneself over the possibility of feeling death approaching.   I know how to get out it: feel it, get into it, but first you need to know what to feel and that takes a while in therapy because it is so recondite as to be unbelievable.  And at first it is a distant and foggy element.  Not recognized for what it is.   And there is no one to tell you what it is or when to feel it.  It is a memory waiting its biologic turn to be experienced.  It is above all, not just some idea concocted by a therapist where he admonishes the patient to change his ideas to get out of the depression.  It is not just a mental affair; it is neuro-biologic.   The person feels “down”  and wonders why?  I know.  He was seriously drugged very early on and he feels it all the time as an imprinted memory.   He drugs himself or runs from it because he does not know what “it” is.  How could he know that he has to feel it again, only this time alongside a professional who will help and who will not allow anything untoward to happen to the patient.

Remember, that what happens to us outside, even during life in the womb, changes the DNA methylation and makes it internal.  The memory is now inside and stays there.   There is a kind of merger, if you will, so that experience and heredity become one.  Suffocation is now a fixed memory.  I see it in patients on the verge of early feelings who cannot stand the doors or windows closed without becoming anxious and terror filled, the same feeling imprinted deep in the brain.

Otherwise he gets into a feeling and experiences low body temperature and it mystifies him.  And the doctor, perplexed, offers drugs to help him out.  He should be helping him “in”.  Hold on:  I assume that it is a trained primal therapist who knows the danger signs.

Meanwhile the depressives often get into serious drugs to keep the imprint at bay.   It is always there and raging down below.  Of course the depressive is a downer because not exerting himself was life saving.  It is not that the depressive feels hopeless:  it is that depression is hopelessness.   That is why he deals with all of the time.

You mean to get rid of something you have to go into it again?   That makes no sense; except it makes all the sense because the feeling was far too much to be accepted and integrated when it happened. It could have led to death.   And what is that memory?  A mother drinking or smoking; unavoidable and inescapable for the baby.  Or anesthetics at birth, which almost completely shut down the baby’s whole system and his breathing included.  A hundred thirty pound mother allowing drugs into a 5-pound infant.  What may be perfect for her is almost lethal for a young body.  That is why as an adult patient the pain can only be felt a small bit at a time until it is totally integrated.  The defense system is now mature enough to titrate the input and keep it manageable.
A mother taking even mild tranquilizers can produce the same effect.  I guess it all boils down to recognizing the imprint and its enduring and painful content.  It is life endangering for two reasons; the pain will eventually lead to serious afflictions such as heart attacks.  Or, it will lead to suicide attempts in an effort to stop the agony.  Choose your weapons: feel it or ??

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Primo Levi

Yesterday was December 7, the anniversary of the start of WWII.    And now I have good friends who are German scientists. Before they might have designed bombs to kill Americans; now they are working on the cure for cancer.  My how life gets changed. And how enemies have changed, but watch out because we can turn anyone into an enemy; whether blacks or muslims or foreigners.   We just need a little encouragement.    And it will take hold if we live in our brain and do not have much of ourselves and are not based in our feelings.

Primo Levi the great Italian writer who was in a concentration camp for a long time wrote: “to create and maintain a war you first need to demonize the other side; make them “the  enemy”  the attackers, etc, so that they are bereft of any humanity”.  Then we can do inhuman acts to them and not feel anything.   That is the basic capacity of humans.  Not only to humans but animals and babies too where so many doctors previously felt that they never felt pain.
The first job of war is to dehumanize the “enemy”.  It is called “brainwashing” for good reason.  We have extracted the brain and left the body behind that might together with is feelings, indicate to us the truth.  And we see wild rejoicing in the ”booga booga” therapies because they imagine that they have been liberated just like those who have “mastered” their breathing in mindfulness, which I call “mindlessness”.  In France this is called “nonmbrilisme”*.  We no longer live in a social world; we inhabit a solipsistic one where only we exist. Ayayay.  Then we are satisfied to have access only to our thoughts and not to our feelings.   We continue what our unfeeling parents believed; that feelings are an anathema to be discouraged and disparaged.   That is how Hitler convinced the Germans that the Jews had to be destroyed.  And how we convince patients that feelings have to be either destroyed or ignored.  They become the enemy.  We don’t have to say it; we just ignore it and that sends the message; feelings do not count.

We need to extract their humanity out of them; then we are not hurting humans.  And it is very true of extracting our own humanity out of ourselves so that we can inflict pain on others with impunity; with not a drop of feeling.   As we grow up and undergo lack of love we hurt, but soon cover it over with repression; we cease to feel…..for others and above all, for ourselves.  We lack humanness.   If that could be stopped or averted we would not have a population that could hurt others, or go to hunt and kill animals and call it “sport.”  Above all, one could feel the needs of children and fulfill them.  What a world that would be.

So how do we dehumanize?  Oh wait.  I know.  We call people depressives or obsessives and now we treat a cerebral category, not a person.   Or we call our child “son” or “boy”?

These are tricks of the mind and from this we can see how a parent can inflict damage.  He is “son” or “daughter” and they are treated as such:  theirs not to question why.   Theirs but to do or die.   They are there to take orders because they are “my child.”  “Should we let children cry it out?”   We only ask that because children are no longer people. Should we cry it out?  Of course.  We ask that if we never have and were forbidden to.  And worse, we stop our children from expressing any feeling strongly.  We dehumanize.

It is the neocortex that can dehumanize ourselves and we then enter a therapy that is basically inhuman…..the property of a brain that thinks but does not feel.  And where do we get well?  In our head; the body is left out of the equation.  We become dehumanized and “think” we are so much better when all we have done is shift around the thinking cortex to adjust to our unconscious pain.  The feelings remain but are deeply hidden, and so is our humanity.

*Literally “navel-gazing”

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Epigenetics and Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis (Part 15/20)

The Brain’s Hemispheres

A natural cure must coincide with our knowledge of the way the brain is structured. First, we know that the brain has two sides, one more feeling and the other (left side) more thinking, grosso modo. Also, we know that the right side develops earlier than the left and absorbs so much early trauma long before we can understand it and give it a name. We are driven by those right-side imprints so that by the time we are born we are allergic, nervous, restless, colicky and choleric (bad tempered), and so on. So we are taken to the doctor who is mystified. We do know that it is the right brain that is active when we retrieve old memories and when we relive those memories, and it is only through that brain that we can get to those memories, very early ones, that were registered on the right. Otherwise, no matter how much we dig down, when we leave those memories intact,they will continue to drive us.(19) But eventually we will need to dig down with the help of the deep-right, orbito-frontal brain which functions as a dredge to lift up instinct/feeling memories to the fore. And we don’t even have to do it; the brain itself, when given the chance, will perform its proper function. And if we don’t force it, the brain will find the right time to do it, and not process it prematurely. We need to take great care about dredging up traumas too early. We can get flooding and being overwhelmed, rather than connected.

To retrieve the memory we need to “live” on the level of its existence for a time, use the right brain to lift it toward conscious/awareness, and bit by small bit integrate parts of the memory into the brain and the entire system. Thus, we need to de-methylate the memory. Until we do that there can be no profound change in anyone despite all claims to the contrary. Not meditation, not cognitive therapy, not mindfulness or hundreds of other nonsense approaches that ignore neurobiology. No one can make real change when two-thirds of our brains are unacknowledged. We have the tail and the feet but we still don’t know what it is. How can we treat it?

(19)  See all of Wilder Penfield.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Epigenetics and Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis (Part 14/20)

Another Look at Reliving

We need to make sure that reliving is important in the therapy for all kinds of neuroses. Neurosis means that there is an early traumatic input that alters function and behavior; not one or the other but both. That is, there is pain and denial of need that overwhelms normal functioning and causes a diversion. We are no longer normal; things go wrong neurologically, biochemically and behaviorally. To cure we need to normalize the whole system, not just behavior or biochemistry. Otherwise we are condemned to treating behavior and physiology as two distinct problems when they are inextricably related.

That in a tiny nutshell is the story of neurosis. We are no longer ourselves; we are re-routed in function. To get back to ourselves we have to re-establish function in every aspect. Not just behavior. And when we are diverted and rerouted, there are marks that leave their traces; epigenetic marks. Being loved minimizes the marks on the genes. Being unloved increases them. For example, if we are loved and hugged and touched a lot there are changes in the brain where methylation patterns are changed so that we respond normally to stress. When there is trauma, the part of the brain that controls the stress response is tagged by methyl groups and produces alterations in how genes are expressed or repressed; shut down or opened up. And this changes us in profound ways. Our personality becomes different; we can be more open or closed off; more depressed or anxious depending on what genes do what.

So now we have those marks, methylation, which foretells of a life to come and how it will be lived. How do we change all that? We need to revisit those early experiences, those without words, go back and redo them. Change history and its chemical traces. We need to undo the damage and that means slowly demethylizing, in my model. One experience at a time; or one experience over many times. We need to find how the system was detoured and put it back on track, literally. This happened because pain installed itself and forced change. And this can be measured; the amount of methylation can be observed and changed. That is meaningful progress. It informs us about altering neuroses. In a way, the levels of methylation can be a marker for having been loved early on, or not having been loved. We could tell more than the statements by the person who claims he was loved in his childhood if he were indeed not loved. How much denial is there? We see how “under-funded” the notion of cognitive therapy is when it deals mostly with words and ideas; something that did not exist during the times of key imprints.

Neurochemistry may be a more reliable indicator because it has no reason to lie, or rather, no way to lie. It can be a marker for post-traumatic stress or how much repression exists in ADD, or how much pain/repression there is in Alzheimer’s disease. We already have some information in this regard because autopsies on depressive/suicides found them to have been heavily methylated in the hippocampal (feeling=memory) area. The more abuse as a child in these cases the more methylation is produced. When we add this to our future research on telomeres and cortisol we will begin to have precise measures of the pain in us. And we will know when a drug is too dangerous for us, particularly the drugs like marijuana that tend to open us to ourselves, to our feelings and pain. Finally we will have a marker for the efficacy of certain psychotherapies. Does the therapy undo the past? Does it help relieve repression and therefore depression? Is there great first line pain in anxiety states? I already can answer that in the affirmative, having treated person after person with anxiety.

The best way to reverse the imprint is through the slow, methodical process of therapy where the least pains can be integrated first, finally descending to the great early traumas and then measuring the results. In other words, we need to trust nature and all its processes; chemical reversal alone, without regard to total neuro-biologic state is far too general and non-specific to each trauma. It is a shotgun when we need a scoped rifle. It seems to me the natural way provides far less possibility for collateral damage to the system. We need nature as a reference. It is when we leave nature behind that we need the reference of statistics; never as good as nature itself.

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.