Sunday, May 29, 2016

Why Don't We Know We Are in Pain?

First of all, it is a pain that doesn’t hurt. At least you don’t KNOW it is there because it is a long way from feeling and knowing,  both in time and space.  How can we know we are in a pain from  a time that pain is installed years before KNOW came into being.  And that pain is lodged deep in the brain far away biologically from where KNOW lives its life.  We only know we hurt when KNOW meets feeling and embraces it.

Who makes the first step?  KNOW should but only if it is clear that imprinted feelings exist.  Otherwise, how can we KNOW it?    I mean how can we know that certain headaches (migraines) come from a birth with diminished oxygen?
There may be  a thirty year span between the event and our knowledge of it.  But there is no gap at all between the  gap and the experience of it.  Alas, the gap is covered over by chemicals that are designed to shut down the experience of pain.  They cannot block pain; only the experience of it so that we don’t know we are in pain. That is why we become addicted to pain killers while none of us knows that deep pain exists.  If we know it exists and try to feel it, repression rushes in to block the terrible hurt.  Blocking becomes life saving.    It keeps us from undue suffering and being overwhelmed by it.    It helps us go on solving problems in math and physics but never solving what is wrong inside of us.  Strange, we can go on looking into outer space but never delving deep into inner space.  And somehow that  fixation on the planets may be driven by something deep inside.  For now, this is surmise only but a surmise based on years of clinical practice.  It seems to me that the more far-out, and deeper the pain, the more far-out the interests.  That is why those who come to me after many LSD trips often have  a “One With The Cosmos” ideology.  It is a sign of flooding of the  brain circuits.  Once that happens, any idea seems to be accepted and adopted.

The more people experience their deep imprints the less the force of the strange ideas. That is called, “getting real”.  We can test ourselves; when we fervently believe in some Indian Guru or far-out beliefs it can be a measure of hidden pain.    It is systematic in those who have taken hallucinogens; those drugs lessen defenses and allow the brain to be overwhelmed.  The results are psychotic ideas.

Can you imagine being afraid of tight spaces at forty and the birth trauma?  Usually,  that seems too weird a notion. Yet it is accurate as by now hundreds of patients have relived being squeezed into immobility and act-out the need to keep moving.  Even being inside a tinted-glass, silent car can set off a panic attack.  And most certainly, an elevator ride can induce anxiety.  More; when patients truly relive an early even the vital signs move up and down in coordinated fashion. Not so, in abreaction or going through the motions of feeling without experiencing it.

The reason we cannot pinpoint it is because those who live in their head are often charged with finding the kernel of the problem; they search for concepts and theories for answers; exactly where it does not exist.  Those far from their feelings cannot imagine where the answer lies.  Why?  Because the pain drives people away from KNOWING about feeling.  Remember,  KNOWING means pain and that means repression and not knowing.  So what a dilemma.  Those most erudite who seem to know the most, actually know the least about the problem at hand.  That problem is first and foremost, feeling.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Where and What is Neurosis?

 I will imagine that most of you will think of strange ideas and beliefs.  But neurosis, a high level of unresolved pain, is everywhere.  And above all it is found in those who are not very athletic.  Not dexterous, cannot easily put the finger to the nose or hit a tennis ball.   There is a lack of agility and coordination.  Does that mean that all great athletes are not neurotic?  Not at all. From early on that were approved of that proclivity and learned to overcome whatever handicaps they had.  Many do not.  In an average tennis game one can see it among players.  What they do not see is where it comes from. It turns out that harm during gestation and birth sways physical abilities later in life.  In other words, lack of coordination begins before we try to really coordinate. Who’d have thunk it?  And what helps this?   What would you imagine? Lots of close and warm touch. A rare oddity in neurotic families.  It seems as though we can ameliorate some imprinted damage with love.  Not a lot of undoing, no total reversal. But some change. There is a lesson here for those who underwent a blocked or deviated birth:  lots of love right away and for a long time.  Sleep with parents who hug and kiss often.

Neurosis has uneven effects depending on when and where it happened and where it landed. This reminds me that wherever we look at early trauma we see neurosis in all its forms. It lies in breathing problems, in chronic tiredness, in dizzy spells and some seizures; we find it in hyperactivity and in a myriad of other afflictions.   The symptoms settle in and become chronic.

Ah now! What keeps them going on and what is it that we ignore in treatment?  The cause is always there; it can be observed. And it can be extirpated.  Think of that, as we go on trying to find solutions, yet we do something instead. Give pill after pill without any thought to causes and to ending them.

We can do it now!  We know what to do and have known for decades.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Why Primal Pain Endures

New information again seems to document that pain memory lasts a long time.  (see .  We have known that for fifty years but new research shows us where and how. The fact remains that early injury and its suffering carries on perhaps for a lifetime.  They don’t just carry on; they continuously do damage.  And the cells send information of the damage and its agony to higher levels.  This was a study on persistent pain in mice. They found that damage changes epigenetic marks on some genes of immune cells to mark the spot; they carry on the memory of trauma. The investigators wanted to know why pain becomes chronic; and they are searching out the nerve pathway that carry pain along. The point is that there are neural mechanisms that make pain endure.  We don’t just get over it; it is now part of us.  Certain nerve cells become much more activated.  The problem is that with pain they remain in an hyperactive state.  It is not only in our minds but everywhere inside of us.  And the adaptive damaged cells keep in replicating themselves.

Notice, I did not say, maladaptive cells.  Because maladaptive is the way damaged cells adapt. To carry the idea forward, we need to get to those pained cells and experience them fully so that we can now adapt normally.  They point out that neurons acquire epigenetic footprints that affect key proteins. Those pains seem to insist that we must face the pain and react fully.  Otherwise, after a fully reliving why do cells return to their normal state?  It is a matter of unfinished business; we cannot neglect our biology and hope to be normal.

The problem is with most enduring pain we do not know where to look or how deep to go.  So instead of doing what we should, feel it fully, we push it back and hide it until it comes out in a different form: cancer?  Same pain, different expression.  Same epigene, different phenotype.  It is not always helpful to look for different causes for different afflictions; they may be the same.

I have noted that Primal memories are not inert.  They do not lie here waiting to be discovered.  They agitate and gnaw away.  Recently on TED TALK there is a report on nanoparticles “trained” to enter the body, search out developing cancer cells  and kill them, all in microscopic space.  These particles know what their job is and they don’t forget (see  Our own immune cells clearly have the same kind of memory; they try to do their job but imprinted pain overwhelms them and prevents them from discharging their “daily rounds.”  How do I know?  When we reduce the pain in the system through one year of Primal Therapy the natural killer cells increase; the same kind of cell as those nanoparticles I wrote about.  Deep pain prevents us from being normal and acting normal and having our biology behave normally.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Why Didn't I Know?

When I was in analysis; oh yes I did that.  I was a wreck after the war and yet all we did was analyze my dreams.  And then later someone in my field asked me why don’t I do what he does and talk to himself, reassure himself and look on the positive side?   Ok fine but what if whom I speak to is not there?    Or even more, what if the brain speaking now is not at all the same brain that underwent stress before, during and after birth?  And what if that deep brain that processes emotions is buried under loads of repression and pain?   You see, they are the not the same brains.
The brain that hurts from very early life is not the same one who think, reasons and believes today?   They cannot speak to each other and cannot influence each other except through intermediaries.  Through other brain structures.    Especially true when repression has blocked exit and access and left no openings to feelings.

That is why we cannot reason away addiction.   Where addiction lives there is no reason!   Reason can change other ideas but never deep imprints which has a home way down deep in the brain.   It not only does not know about reason but cannot listen and understand what is says, ever.    The top level has only a tenuous relationship to the lower depths.  So counseling for deeply originated trauma talks to deaf ears.  It is the brain of powerful agony and misery.  It wants one thing:  surcease.  Relief.  And now we know that the only relief is not to leave it alone with its agony.  It awaits a lifetime to be experienced and resolved.   It cannot be ignored; for when it is, addiction and suicide may follow.

And when it is relived, bit by bit, it has to include all of its origins, the pain and the context.  All that was part of the original reaction must be experienced again including the part that could not be experienced so early because of the terrible pain.  I assume that any other therapy is helping repression and continued disconnection; it focuses on a brain that has no communication to deeper levels.    Therefore, those deeper levels are impervious to language.   Can you talk English to a shark?  How about French to a dinosaur?   See my point?  We need a modicum of neurology to know that the brainstem does not speak any language and cannot respond to it. It is only if we think the problem is language deep that we can believe that words and insights will change things.

If we want to cure anxiety and stress we need to go too their home office;  take the down neuronal elevator to the lower floor and press the code … primal.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My Life, My Music

I just got off a ship from the European theater and landed in the Brooklyn navy yard.  The first days I was there I was invited by a sailor name Phillie Gilbert to join a band he was organizing.  The night before, however, I could not walk and missed the band.  I was in the infirmary for a few days and then got out.  I heard about a man named Charlie Parker playing on 52nd st.  He was playing a new kind of music called be-bop.    I went to hear him and was so impressed that I decided to talk to him but I didn’t know what to say, so I asked him what time it was?  He grunted, humm? And that was my night with Parker, but his music influenced me for ever.

I took my horn to hear Count Basie at the blue room of the hotel Lincoln, and later Duke Ellington and got to play with both.  Basie asked me to take another solo of one o’clock jump.  But my neurosis could hardly let me enjoy it, yet it was one highlight of my life.

I was good at playing solos out of pure feeling but due to my severe ADD I could not learn transposition and many  other technical aspects of my trumpet.  Then years later I played every Thursday night with the “Psychopathic  Syncopators” at the Brentwood mental hospital. Girls came from everywhere to dance with patients; never an untoward event.  The entire sax section had lobotomies; and when we travelled for gigs we had to hold hands to keep from losing people.  Lobotomy became one of the most devastating therapies of all time and left most patients vegetables.

I have already written about my pal Hector Acosta who, I think because he was Mexican, was assigned to lock himself inside the ship in case of a submarine attack.  He would sink but the ship would not.  That night he called out from the dance floor and I saw him for the first time since the war.  It was such a joy and I asked what he was doing in a mental hospital?  He shrugged and recounted his battle station locking himself inside against a sub attack.  That did it. I wonder now if he is still alive as we are all in our nineties.  Our first battle was in the Aleutians in the early 1940s. From there to the south Pacific and then to Europe being chased by German subs all the way across.

It was while I was playing in the mental hospital band that I played second trumpet to a patient who was pre-psychotic and an addict.  He played great, so great that I knew then and there that I could never play that good, no matter what. I sort of gave up on music until I wrote songs with David Foster.  I played gigs but I always knew that I was never going to be above an everyday player.

My ADD neurosis was deeply embedded and could not be seen or conceptualized until I saw first line, brainstem imprints decades later. Then I knew what had plagued me all my life and why I could not learn.  I treated myself with my new found therapy and now I have an excellent attention span and great concentration.

Why?  I dug into my deep brain and relived and therefore eradicated what was driving my ADD.  Now, I am never distracted and can work hours at a time sitting still.  There is nothing agitating me from inside.

I wrote before that my “No” was taken away in childhood, so when I boarded my ship to be in the band, I was told the papers  never mentioned it.  I never protested and became a machine gunner.  Six battles later I was sent to college by the navy without my knowledge; all because of an intelligence test we all had to take when joining up.  I did well and got  As.  I began to think that I could do this, so I did go to college, paid for by the navy. Spent 11 or 12 years at Oregon State,  USC,  UCLA, Claremont Graduate University who awarded me the academic hall of fame.  Until therapy, I never could feel I earned it until I felt stupid over and over again.  Only then, could I feel smart;  the dialectic at work and the linchpin of my work.    We need to feel deeply hopeless to get back real hope, and feel a failure to then later feel like a success.  You fill in the blanks.  The dialectic means the interpenetration of opposites.    Toward a new state; a new whole.  Alas, by the way, success is not a feeling; it is others’ idea of you.  So don’t wait to feel it.

So I began to wonder why could I not learn?  Why was I so anxious with allergies all over?    I found the source.  And as I relived it my allergies and neurotic ADD left forever and I am allergic to nothing now.

My last year in the Navy I had a 26 piece band that play all over Oregon and then the war ended.  I had a constant pressure in my head with periodic vomiting toward the end. The commander said to me, “Janov did you want to go out like a man or like a pussy?” I answered immediately, “Like a man, sir.”  Where upon I lost all chance for a medical/psychiatric pension. So goes life.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Pollyanna Effect of Looking for the Positive

This article first published on this blog in August 2010, but I think it is very important. So I decided to publish it again. art

Inner tranquilizers have a Pollyanna effect. They permit us to "look on the bright side" of belief rather than the "dark side" of ourselves. The Reagan years were characterized by someone who always did look on the bright side. That optimism was infectious even though it may have been unreal. It was adopted by those who did not want to explore the past and feelings. He was perfect for that— a man with little access to feelings who constructed a weltanschauung of denial and joy. If we ask people whether they would vote for pain and liberation or joy, the answer is a foregone conclusion. The man who took a bullet in the head for him during the assassination attempt was almost never visited by him in the hospital. Could he feel for this crippled human being? Reagan continued to vote against gun control. Ideas took precedence over feelings. After all, he was shot, as well, by a maniac who should have never have had a gun. Logic cannot dictate when buried feelings, transformed into an ironclad political belief system, trump reason. When your insides are turned inside out you can easily view the world from a warped perspective. Sometimes you get so “positive” that you slip into Pollyanna and that is where you stay: banal, cliché, unreal.

A belief system or other symptoms is often where the pain goes. Let us not treat the symptom — let us treat the cause. A simple example: A patient could not be alone without a terrible feeling welling up in her. She was left alone for weeks after birth and then again at six months of age when her mother had to return to the hospital for cancer treatment. Aloneness and bad feelings were imprinted. Any approach that ignores the profound feeling lodged in her brain was bound to fail. She had gone to psychoanalysis previously and learned that she was left alone with babysitters throughout her childhood. This was true, but was only the top level of a nerve network that spun down to the brainstem.
Beliefs, in this sense, are like ulcers or migraines. There are levels of causes on the various levels of consciousness.
As I said, it is not the content of a belief system that matters, but what draws us toward ideas and beliefs, and what makes beliefs so important to us, so enduring and how the nerve cells in the brain relate to each other. In short, why do we believe?

All belief systems have something in common. They are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively. And belief systems all respond to an almost universal, hard-wired need. It is not that we need to believe; we believe because we need. And the pollyannas do not think; they rely on slogans. Those run her life. That is why slogans are so important in an election. It is what hang onto instead of thinking through matters.

All of us are programmed to some extent to reject and deny the voice of our feelings. That is the function of belief systems: to quiet the feeling that there is no one to care for us, to protect us, to love us, that the "meaning of life" is endless pain. The drug of belief anesthetizes. It is why one can give up drugs and alcohol and fall into a belief system. They both inject painkillers into the system.

Just as someone lacking sugar or iron automatically seeks out what he needs in foods, a person carrying around imprinted pain may automatically lock into belief systems. Instead of trying to feel the void that lurks inside the hidden crevices of the unconscious, the believer rises above hopelessness and helplessness into "salvation." Sometimes he goes so far as to adopt a new name, a new identity. Susan becomes Saraswati, Robert becomes Rama, as if to say, "I
am not even me anymore" (the pained me) "I am someone else." What is he saved from? Himself. One patient came to us from a cult, which she entered because of chronic anorexia. She relived a feeling in our therapy: "What’s the use of eating if no one loves me or wants me alive?" The leader reassured her that he did. All she had to do was give him her car and the money she had in the bank. She did. Because he said he wanted her to get well. He told her that he wanted her. It was irresistible. And women will give up their bodies easily when someone combats their feeling of being unwanted by telling her how badly she is wanted.


Sometimes people only respond to feelings and vote for political candidates who reflect them. But often they vote for an idea that reflects their underlying needs and feelings: e.g., "This man will make our country safe." We can ignore the reality of what he does because his rhetoric soothes apprehensions and salves fear. But of course, the leader has to first install fear — the enemy is planning secret attacks. Then, I will protect you by arming heavily.
"Yes, yes I will vote for more and more arms so I can feel safe." Too often individuals vote their feelings in the guise of an idea. The more neurotic (heavily repressed) a person is, the greater the distance between his ideas and feelings — what I call the Janovian gap — the more symbolic her ideas. By neurotic I mean someone with a high degree of imprinted, blocked pain that distorts the whole system physically and psychologically. It is not just that someone has far- out ideas. They are linked into a major system. They have anchors into a personality. There are certain traumas imprinted in the system that require repression, and the interplay between them is the hub of neurosis. The outcome of that interaction, the resulting symptoms, is what we generally call neurosis.

Belief systems are just another form of symptoms. They do not spring full blown out of the air. There are historical causes. Once we understand this, we can see how one can give up drugs and booze in favor of being born-again; ideas smother the pains just as well as, if not better than, drugs. That is why those who are unwell will tend to fall ill prematurely, stricken by an internal reality of which they are not aware. The more warped the ideas, the more likely the person will have a warped physiology, and vice versa. It isn’t just ideas we are dealing with; it is a whole human being whose ideas reflect his buried needs and feelings.

Twisted ideas and beliefs, in my view, presage a shorter lifespan. The system is neurotic not just one’s beliefs. In psychoanalysis and cognitive therapy they tend to help change ideas without realizing that they part and parcel of a human, and a human with a history. And of course, there are the various tests for progress in therapy usually of the verbal variety so that if one says one is better, one is considered better. Or on certain questions, "Are you more comfortable with yourself now after therapy?" We see that the more one is defended and thereby feels more comfortable, the more progress we consider the patient has made. Trick is get people to focus on the positive, on the external while those little political devils are manipulating our insides with their slogans.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Un Unsung Hero in Our Midst

I published this article in July of 2015, but since my wife France is launching the Legacy program, I would like to remind us all about her incredible contribution to Primal Therapy.

There is someone who is doing heroic work in the shadows who does not get paid but who works many hours a day.  She supervises all clinical work, and teaches the basics of the therapy, runs the administrative side of the Center and deals with all outside inquiries.  In short, the pivot around which the clinic revolves. Her crowning achievement is the Primal Legacy Program. This is the result of 6 years of constant effort to construct a program for professionals and laymen so that the therapy can be understood by all clinically and scientifically. It is the first attempt by any therapy to publish its hypothesis and practice as a result of Dr. France Janov's teaching and supervision. (Available now).
She is the engine, the motor for the advancement in  the practice of Primal Therapy. She is there to help therapists work with patients.  Who could do any more?  She is our resident savant……Dr. France Janov.

It is hard to realize, even for me, how much work goes into directing even a small clinic, a clinic that has patients from 38 countries, and requires communications among people from many countries of the world.  And oh yes, she is my wife of 42 years.

What does it mean to run a psychiatric clinic?  It means knowing the latest science so as to help therapists know how our therapy fits in with science.  It means knowing the various afflictions people suffer and why.  It involves knowing about people from different countries and how they differ as a population; for ex., what is the most repressed country and what is the least?  It is a wide-ranging job that requires clinical skills, financial ability, relevant science and how to help our therapists relate to foreign patients some who only have minimal skills in English.  Needless to say, it is a job well done, too often done in the shadows by someone who manages to keep it all going well.    Our thanks to France.

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.