Monday, April 4, 2016

Now About This Addiction

I must say, and what wrangles me is that the NY Times refuses to carry any of my articles.  They tell me and I quote:  “You guys think you have all the answers and none of you do “.
Gee, I thought I did.    So here is what they publish on the front page of their  SCIENCE  section.  “Rehab Rooted in Science.” (see  I will discuss what they write so I remain true to their proposition. It is about Dr, Willenbring, a psychiatrist who has found a novel way to treat addiction.  He was treating someone formerly addicted to heroin and tried some twenty faith-based and abstinence notions of therapy. None worked.
The patient’s  brother died of Oxycontin overdose.   He also tried suicide with drugs.   Ayayay.

First step: explaining the neuroscience of alcohol and drug abuse.  Ok, good idea.  Convince them it is bad for you.  Then the doctor adds, “it is genetic.”  Exactly how does he know? Has he ever heard of science and epigenetics?  Now, he should know better since he was formerly director of the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  Surely, the notion of methylation has reached him.

The person is immediately relieved that it is not all his fault. This in contrast to the usual blah blah, booga booga speech where they are exhorted to believe that they have a spiritual defect. It is, they say, all the patient’s fault.  They are put on an abstention program: no drugs, and then they count days off drugs as the beginning of the cure.  And all attendees applaud. Good for the ego and less good for cure.

After five years on the job our doctor returned to his hometown to open a private clinic, with his own ideas, treating drug abuse and alcoholism. He advises, first, to plan on a long-term therapy. And now I quote: “His treatment plans can involve anti-depressants, medication for anxiety, and anti-relapse medication; i.e, pain killers.  He also includes psychotherapy. This is new? He doesn’t get people off drugs; he gets them on them. And he treats for traumatic stress disorder. He states that medication is necessary to reduce alcohol craving. Whey are they craving? Duh; Pain. “I don’t want anyone to have to go through the crap I went through,” the doctor insists.  He credits the pain killer suboxone for his getting off opioids for three years. So he credits one drug for helping him get off other drugs. He believes that the main target is the craving; so it is ok to use drugs to reduce the craving.  And where does the craving come from? Ah!  Another mystery.  There is no recognition of a deep inner life; of embedded imprinted memory that endures and causes cravings. The focus is on inhibiting the desire for drugs; that is, for relief from pain, only the cause of all that is pain, which is rarely mentioned. Oh yes, did I mention breathing exercises? They have added that to the mix.  And they accept weed in moderate doses.  

Wait a minute. Is this a clinic for addiction?  Sadly, it touts itself as an improvement on other approaches.  So explain to me how and why? I could go on but that is enough;  it is not enough to use drugs to cure drugs.  That is an oxymoron. What is needed is the really new approaches, an awareness of a deep inner life; an imprint down into the antipodes of the brain which creates havoc and unrelenting need. It is unrelenting because it results from a memory imprint that is imprinted into the genes of the system and endures perhaps for a lifetime. You do not conquer need.  Need is essential for fulfillment and development.  It cannot be denied or avoided. It is an immovable object. Above all we need to understand how personal evolution gets detoured; we need to examine epigenetics and methylation.  We need to understand what lies below addiction and why it exists.

Let me start with one truism. We are addicted to need not any substance. And that behavior or drug has to block need and the pain it engenders. Are we addicted to sex or are we addicted to the need for touch, for caresses and hugs and kisses; all of which we missed early in our lives but never leaves the memory centers whether in the limbic system or in the brainstem. Those alterations become part of our systems and drive behavior.  They have the importuning quality of life and death because they derive from deep and life endangering pain.

So let’s see what Dr. Willenbring brings to us: suboxone, which has elements of an opioid in it, joined with naloxone which blocks the effects of an opioid.  This latter helps undo a bit of repression.  It is basically an opioid antagonist.
Why that?  Because they have also offered a wee bit of the drug they are trying to detox.  Many years ago we used it for a time for depression.  So here we have drugs to stop drug addiction?  And this is revolutionary? Is there ever going to be a realization of why we need that?  A description of inner life and above all, of our early history.  Or are we changing chairs on the Titanic? Because down below there really is a catastrophe  lurking; the boat is sinking.  And what is being treated?  What we can see in the present, on top: behavior.
We too see behavior but of  very different sort: the behavior of those who address and relive their history with all of its agony. We don’t have to confine ourselves to what is obvious, taking drugs.  We reach the bottom layers of the brain which contain feelings, needs and pain so that we are not limited to the evident.  Aah.  What a relief, just because our good doctor brings relief but no resolution,  a big difference.  But if you have no way to observe deep into the nervous system then you are confined to the superficial.  This is what Primal Therapy offers: a deep look at the changes in the brain, so that we understand the importance of the new neurology: epigenetics and methylation.  We can now measure the pain and measure its resolution; that is science at work, no surmise nor guesswork.  Neurology has opened up a whole new dimension to us.  Let us not neglect it. If we do, it is at the patient’s peril.

Allow me to add another caveat: it is a pain that ends, a pain that feels good because it is out of the system and becomes a relief. A pain that feels good.

Can we imagine the lifetime effects of never reaching the pain and leaving that deleterious force to do its damage over the decades?  No one escapes; no one who has unaddressed pain stays untreated with impunity; repression will take its toll.  Caveat emptor.


  1. A phenomenon goes again!

    All who come with revolutionary tasks get difficult to demonstrate the scientific content of it as it is a threat for those who has intrests in their own business. So we are locked in by current resonsible professional and not rejected by those who need primal therapy... not to forget. So we therefore have a smaller obstacles than we imagined. Now... how will we reach those who need Primal Therapy When Those Who determines the order of what should apply not want it? Do they have any right to it? No... of course not! Do we have any opportunities to make the perpetrators accountable for their prank? Yes absolutely! If we want... we have science on our side!


  2. The people at the NY Times, Harvard, NIMH all suffer from an arrogant atmosphere of "special insider's knowledge" in which they feel that they are far more advanced than the average joe whose opinion means little. I see this arrogance everywhere. My first job as a graphic artist in a small advertising agency.... I saw the marketing experts mocking and insulting the intelligence of customers (when the customers were away) and laughing at the customers' criticism and suggestions. Being new to the industry, I often quietly agreed with the customer's thoughts, but said nothing because I assumed there must be special things that these experts knew about... things I needed to learn. After about six months I started to see that there were no such things, and that the experts often got it wrong, but they were experts at being incredibly confident and impressing their new customers. They even had an advertising award framed and mounted on the wall in the reception room - an award invented entirely by the agency! They had no problem laughing about that too, when I questioned them on its authenticity.
    When I talk to students studying in psychology-related fields, I get exactly the same kind of arrogance. They are quick to insult me, mock me, and they have a very quick, irrefutable answer for everything....their confidence is incredible... they believe they are totally infallible because they are part of an exclusive club which is far more advanced than the average joe.
    Even many of the pilots I chat with every day at my airport job.... they speak with incredible confidence, as if they somehow know better than anyone else, regardless of the topic, because their audience is usually a humble flight attendant or simple shuttle driver - the type of audience that would not dare to challenge the thoughts of a well-educated pilot. I correctly explained a concept in aerodynamics to a pilot, he patronisingly praised me for my excellent "attempt", and then he corrected me with his incorrect explanation, which was immediately accepted by the flight attendants who were listening in. I realised it was his image of superiority that won the acceptance of the flight attendants -- it didn't matter what came out of his mouth. He would always be right and I would always be wrong in the eyes of the average joe. And I will always be wrong in the eyes of the expert who doesn't bother to listen properly.
    You, Art, will always be wrong because you have failed to maintain an image of superiority. It doesn't matter what comes out of your mouth.

    “You guys think you have all the answers and none of you do.“
    What they are really saying is "Who do you think you are?"

    On the flip side, when you were popular, people tried to copy you without even listening to you. They blindly accepted your image of superiority. The results were disastrous, and even today this ignorance continues.

    It must be so hard to find scientists who are not influenced by their 'superior' group.

    1. Interesting post, Richard. You can see this disgusting arrogance in the strutting sexist and racist males of the TV series "Madmen" which I am watching. These are advertising executives in early 1960s in New York.However, they pay a price for this competitive egotism: smoking and drinking incessantly,heart attacks,loneliness, suddenly realising life is slipping by while glimpses of what really matters shatter their masculine macho complacency,abortions, loss of family support, etc.. I have no sympathy for their contemporary equivalents since they dominate the rest of us with their macho arrogance and contempt in all spheres of life.They are all going down eventually and I hope to be one of the people that makes sure they never dominate us ever again.


  3. Dear Arthur
    They will never hear you, they are far away from their own pain.

  4. One can sense your frustration Art.

    A hundred years ago Albert Einstein predicted that his equations of relativity would show that light would bend in a gravitation field. When asked what he would say if scientists who were trying to confirm his theory proved that he was in fact wrong he replied ‘then I would pity the dear lord, for I am correct’, or words to that effect.

    Off course the human condition is not as black and white as physics. Einstein knew that he was correct and he also had the pleasure of seeing his theory duly confirmed within his own lifetime.

    What I ask do you have to do to at least make people sit up and take some notice of your work, likewise preferably in your own lifetime. Let’s face it epigenetics will be the way forward and your work surely will be seen not only as something that was ahead of its time but something that is also for our time now.

    Perhaps if you live for another 20 years in good health, which would mean you would be equal in age to the oldest man alive today, people might just sit up and consider that you must have done something right?

    I say that of course with all sincerity and heartily wish you do just that.

    Kind regards


  5. An email comment:
    "Hi Art thanks for writing this. What Dr. Wilderburg forgot to mention is that opiate addicts get addicted to Suboxone just as readily as Heroin..They inject it just like Heroin and are dying of Od's from it just like Heroin. There is too little naltrexone in the Suboxone to block the opiate part of the drug and it's easy to overwhelm the naltrexone with larger doses of Suboxone. It's s mistake to let psychiatrists run treatment programs because they know very little about street drugs. Your right they put addicts on drugs to get them off's crazy. The Ny Times is not going to do anything against the medical corporations because it's a big money maker. Most people get off drugs without help 5% succeed as opposed to 1% that go to rehabs..AA claims 20%..that's why rehabs have panels from 12 step meetings cause otherwise they would have a much lower success rate."

  6. Another email comment:
    "Art: I am floored by the rejection of your lifelong work on discovering the 'Cure of Nuerosis' and hence understanding TOTALLY the nature of addiction.

    I know from within my very being that we can only get addicted to 'Pain killers' period end ... because the PAIN was laid down in womb life or very, very early childhood and exacerbated as childhood progressed. I am nobody in particular, especially to those associated with Science, Medical Science or the science of Psychiatry. But this I DO know. Arthur Janov PhD of his Primal Center, Santa Monica, MADE THE GREATEST DISCOVERY THAT MANKIND EVER MADE, OR WILL EVER MAKE for we NOW know about our REAL NATURE. Period end.

    How do I know ... because4 I had a re-living experience of my early childhood way before I read "The Primal Scream" then on reading that book in 1973. threw the book in the air on merely reading the introduction ... claiming "I've got it" now that experience made total sense to me and have continued going deeper and deeper into my child-hood, baby-hood and some rare womb experiences that are beyond description to the science community. Principally because they are only able to see and use the left lobe of their brain, AND cannot see beyond symptoms, microbiology, or medical science that is also merely a left brain function ... ignoring the whole brain and brain stem.

    Until those egocentric doctors the likes of Dr, Willen begin to see further than the end of their nose they are flying in the face of any future of us humans.

    I wish to write to the New York times; but wonder if they will even take a glance for what I would write/say.

    Art You are the greatest, and I have no compunction in saying so; what-so-ever ANYONE might say about me in respect to you. And I have been given many.


    P.S. John Harrison of John and Ula that worked with you in France was the guy that lent me "The Primal Scream" I since believe that John regrets turning me onto the book; but I know not why.


  7. Dear Art, I have known since the age of 5years old that your therapy works, and transforms people's lives because that's how old I was when Mother started Primal Therapy and started to turn our lives around. My Mother ended being a medical secretary for a leading Pediatricion and Obsetrician, who by the way endorsed and used your work to the best of his ability. However my point is that if not for your work my Mother would not have survived the stress of a childhood of sexual abuse,living in orphanages, and a physically abusive marriage prior to Primal Therapy. Primal Therapy saved my Mothers life. How can I ever thank you.....well as a matter of fact I'm working on doing a Psychology degree and doing Therapy and training at your centre before you go. Ps. Can't wait to watch the Legacy videos. Katherina

    1. Katherina How wonderful. The is the whole point of our therapy: to save lives. Legacy is just about ready. art

  8. Let us just carry on as usual. At least you, Art, were not threatened to be burned at the stake like Galileo, or chased out of the country like Semmelweiss. The NY Times sells what people want, not what they need.

    That reminds me of a saying at The Primal Institute '77/78: "You don't get what you want, you get what you need."

    Most people don't like that. And my next t-shirt will sport the acronym "YDWTK". When people ask: "What does that mean?" I will answer "You don't want to know", so they'll say "But I do want to know" and I'll answer "You Don't Want To Know". Silly? Yes, but I'd like to provoke for once! I always were a good boy... Anyway, like I've said before, it's a bit lonely on this side of the fence. Which in turn reminds me of the young Spanish neurologist who moved to England to have better research opportunities, became too successful for his own good and was advised by his professor to move west, "because the forerunners get the arrows in the back".

    You, Art, have had more than a fair share of those arrows. Personally I'd rather send an article to Hugh Hefner than to the NY TIMES.

    With all due respect, Sir,

  9. An email comment:
    "Oh god, how a love you. So honest forthright and true to facts, and totally in touch with the human condition. I have suffered before from such nonsense and in very case it was "religious" not matter what the source. It was trust or faith with no reason to believe. Authoritarian in nature, and coming from emperors with no clothes.

    Nothing fake about you or France. :)

    Best to both of you always.

    David "Mitch" Sotelo (also optimisticintelligence@gmail)

    PS By optimistic intelligence I don't mean a smart way to put a smile on your face, I mean a real connection to the life inside you that was meant to cope, survive, and grow, and to truly thrive. This only comes from unlearning the helplessness and hopelessness inside us by reliving our primal pain. IMHO

    Well, I might be an idiot compared to you my friend, but to the best of my ability I "got yer back" and I repost all that you post. :)

  10. P.S. Regarding my comment above about a t-shirt with the acronym YDWTK, you don't want to know, if anyone would really insist and say: "But I really want to know!" the answer would of course be the title of one of Art's books: "Why You Get Ill And How To Get Well". And then I don't know what would happen. Maybe I'd just say "Read the book!"

    1. Hello Erik!

      A very good idea! Primal Therapy needs you Erik!

      Your Frank.

  11. An email comment: "Finally I have linked to some devastating feelings that surely relate to your concept of the parasympath. I can't believe the severe compounding of that which has occurred in my life time.

    Only recently have I felt the link between all these events. Unfortunately without professional help elements of these events from pre verbal to the present time all jump up at once and it takes a LONG time to get to a feeling I can integrate, which at this time have tears.

    Even then, because of the over whelming realization of how deep these roots go and how long it might take to uproot them, I am confronted with a lot of problems. I have to deal with these problems and other sometimes dire concerns, and my entrapment into adverse relationships, that are an unavoidable consequence of past.

    Each time I feel I seem to become more free and I am grateful for that. Yet this highlights why people really need your professional clinic to deal with all the issues that can arise in a patient, and to do this with greater safety. I don't even have a "buddy" to primal with because my friend and his wife are fans of breathing and not real primal therapy approaches which they seem to not understand. Breathing is something I use, breathing in and out with emotional feeling, to open my gates, but it can also open up too many things at once, or too much you are not ready for yet.

    Granted I do use contrasts in movies and in my imagination to the lack of love I experienced to awaken my tears and allow me to feel my pain, which does work slowly and to some degree, and only with someone like myself who has had at least a little primal therapy technique applied to them successfully. Others trying this may often and easily slide into "comforts" that aren't real love.

    I seem to be feeling bits of what I have no adequate words for, but which are clearly devastatingly hopeless and helpless. I owe you thanks for any progress I have made.

    The world owes you thanks for what may one day actually save our human race.

    The best of luck and love to you and your dear sweet wife France whose paintings I love.

  12. An email letter:
    "Art: in my last communication with you I asked for your take on my proposed letter to the New York Times. I realized in hindsight that I should not have asked for that,
    I apologize and have since sent the following letter to them.
    Meantime another great Article on your blog Jack Waddington
    I am writing to you about an Article you wrote in your paper ( On reading the report from Dr. Willenbring and I quote:- "He began explaining the neuroscience of alcohol and drug dependence, 60 percent of which, he said, is attributable to a person’s genetic makeup." However, I did read a response on Dr. Arthur Janov's blog about his response to you, where you stated back to him, and I quote "You guys think you have all the answers and none of you do"

    Apparently according to the article. Dr, Willenbring, is convinced that 60% of addiction is genetic. I contend as a former addict this is total nonsense. One can ONLY become addicted to pain killing drugs ... period end. This I KNOW from the very core of my being (subjectively NOT objectively) He, Dr. Willenbring, then goes on to state his novel way of dealing with addiction is; to use another pain killer drug to overcome addiction of the first one (little realizing that drug also is addictive). . If Dr, Willenbring, thinks he's found a remedy for addiction he's fooling himself. First; it is necessary to understand WHAT PAIN and from whence it came?

    The Neuro Physiological departments, have not answered that question. Seemingly their only concern seems to be making one less addicted and leaving the very pain that the addiction was trying to quell; fully intact ... to rear it's ugly head another day. If they are conceited enough into feeling they have ALL the answers, and ignoring the discovery of "Primal Pain" then they are doomed to be ever on a treadmill looking for answers. As I see it; all in the wrong places.

    I contend, for what my contention is worth, that the discovery of Primal Pain by Dr. Arthur Janov, was the GREATEST DISCOVERY MANKIND EVER MADE, or for that matter, WILL EVER MAKE, since we now know something (our Nature as opposed to our Behavior) that we humans have been struggling with for eons.

    It's tantamount to the "flat earth-ers" after Galileo and Copernicus realized that we did not live on a flat earth, but was a spherical object flying round the sun and NOT the sun flying around us. That took a few centuries to dawn on the populous at large. Unless and until the Neurological branch of Medical science understand that Dr. Arthur Janov discovered and defined "Neurosis" and since has researched enough to see some of the major effects on us humans: we humans are doomed to extinction: and sooner than most of us think.

    I ask that your Newspaper delves further into this article by Dr, Willenbring and seeks some other opinions on the matter. Hopefully mine included

    One last point about myself. I had a re-living experience some time before I read or knew of Dr. Arthur Janov. I did not come to embrace his discovery ... the discovery came to me ... unwittingly. When it did I was an immediate convert.

  13. That was a very interesting read, thank you for posting. I have known many who have struggled with addiction as well as have been on suboxone in an attempt to get clean. I have seen mixed results, some still using even while on the suboxone. It is a tough road to travel.


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.