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.


  1. Repression, I find, causes problems, but to exist after birth trauma one might find it necessary. Many times, I think I was better off when I was in the age bracket of 3-5; at home with my family, my mother always helping me, and the love I received from my parents and siblings) but still under great stress or so I felt. Now sometimes one is confronted with other people's problems that these people carry with them, and to deal with that and perform one's job properly, one has to ignore to a certain extent; and just do one's job. Many times, it just comes down to: "how one reacts to situations and not the situation itself". People with great problems bringing it to work (dealing with coworkers), the job, just absolutely compounds what one went through during birth. One must ignore certain aspects , block out, especially if one went through birth trauma. The birth trauma and what they went through should definitely not be repressed. One has to get their priorities straight and not be distracted by unnecessary problems from people (some totally obnoxious) that one can't do anything about anyway. Sure one can listen to other people, but one has to remember, remember ones' priorities (family, yourself, (especially if you went through birth trauma and can't get Primal Therapy)and your "livelihood". It takes a while, to realize what's going on, and even to this day, I definitely know that I don't know all there is to know about a person who went through a birth trauma.

  2. I must say it again! Art... you are talking about me.

    When I heard that the eurovision festival starts soon... which is a struggle to be the best... a competition to win in music! So I decided not to bother as it is impossible to compete in music. Now that the competition is finished so I felt anyway that something was missing... I had bothered without thinking about it. My feelings of loneliness that flows like a thread through my life... made themselves known... and for me to possibly be able to perceive them if I could. This shows what you are saying that my thoughts have nothing to do with my feelings... they are always surprising me... it's my buried feelings that makes themselves heard... the question for me is whether I can perceive them or not? They are subtle in their present as long as I do not agree with them... but then!


  3. excellent explanation, wish therapy was available everywhere

  4. Hi Art, I have just finished reading your book Beyond Belief. I have to give it a full five stars and would thoroughly recommend it to fellow bloggers and anyone else for that matter. You have a wonderful way of saying more in a single sentence than other authors would do in an entire chapter.

    Having read your book, I now realise that we are even madder than I thought possible while most of this madness comes wonderfully disguised as normal, natural and uncontested.

    I do not know whether our species climbed down from the trees or walked out of the savannah but I have little doubt that we are still but ‘children’, still seeking as you say. We are truly a wounded species in my opinion. And as a species I believe (no pun intended) that we really are quite mad. How we have survived this far beats me. And how we do not even see our own madness astounds me.

    I sometimes imagine a world without religion and religious beliefs. What a world that would be, a real heaven on earth in my opinion.

    You say in your book that ‘we are a nation and a world of seekers, a people who seek refuge in all manner of beliefs, that we believe in lieu of consciousness, for one can have one or the other but not both as they are incompatible entities, and that the neurotic believer hopes for the ultimate unreality, that life will never end’.

    I would not disagree with you and only add that in those and other sentences like them lies some of your best writing to date.

    Kind regards,


    1. Steve, Well my god what a wonderful letter. I do appreciate it so much; it says as much about you as me. thanks and thanks art

    2. I totally agree with the third paragraph of this post: we are quite mad as a species, at least these days. But is that our essential nature, or have we been driven mad en masse for some reason? If so, why? Are we essentially good deep down, or basically evil deep down? I think we are basically good deep down, but now so corrupted that I despair for humanity's future. In the meantime, living in the midst of all this madness makes me bitter, despairing , lonely and misanthropic.I think about these matters a lot, but no one cares that I do: what a freak and a loser, wanting to save the world! I curse my parents for bringing me into all this , and I will never have children.

      It helps to have Janov to read amongst this chaos, one of the rare voices that makes some sense.


  5. It's still hard to realise that nothing else can help and so you can't really change. You can change your 'mind' but the pain is there and it's coming to get you one day one way or another...

  6. It's not like I am asking for sympathy's not that at all. I don't go around feeling sorry for myself. I just know growing up and dealing with people, social situations, etc...all could have been a lot less "struggle"; could have been an easy connection had I have received Primal Therapy; that's why I go on...I now realize that help is out there. If I had the extra money or if I were covered medically to receive Primal Therapy, I would not hesitate to get the help.

  7. What can words explain as has its sence in understanding not to feel?

    How can it be possible for me to know something when something else is what I know to not know what I need to feel? And I can offer my life to not learn about myself by being something society requires as defense of insanity? What more can be said for what my Catch-22 drives me as I dont know what my Catch-22 is all about... an Catch-22 that has a side of me that can learn about technical solutions that provides power to protect humans disability... an cognitive activity under control by me to be me... far from myself!


  8. The word of love is a hackneyed word of her missing!

    How am I suppose to remember what I read as I read to not remember how tormented I was by trying to learn to read... and those who did this tramples and stomps still on me to this very day and I do not remember how tormented I was without me understand it to this day. In sence of showing them the scientific content of what they subjected me and others to... it's a rush for what is now happening on this earth! These people may not remain in the school system... but there is no difference of humiliation then and now in order to force children into something society requires more than the form of a flourishing process without set targets and compulsory schooling.

    We have much to do... but we need the scientific evidence in an amount or intensity of what the media could be very helpful! What is not a driving force in view of the child's now situation as having to learn something in need of something else... something they can't be without of life?

    The word of love tells about being yourself ... far from requirement of it!


  9. Art.
    Off topic.
    Lets suppose that losing of lover will trigger old pain, but person is unconscious of that. Lets suppose that he or she wallows in pain but not in context. He/she still thinks that it is only related to lover. Is it curative or is it only strong abreaction solving nothing?

    1. Piotr: You seem to know the answer. art

    2. Hi Piotr,

      it's possible to 'know' it's about your Mum but still break down at the thought of your lover. . . That requires some kind of discipline to break out of the 'hold' your repression has on you. . . I cannot think of any other effective discipline than Primal.

      Paul G

    3. Hello Piotr Urbański!

      We are hopelessly alone why we seek closeness and call it love!

      When we talk about our loved ones as reason to trigger old feelings we must not forget that we are looking for lost love in our "dears". So if we use the sentence lover in this context the need may be lost!


  10. I love it when you talk about yourself, Art. Makes me feel somehow less worthless to know that others at the vanguard of sanity's exploration have similarly suffered.



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.