Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Are Primals Real?

Other than the testimonies of many patients about the reality of the Primal experience, there is also our research.  We filmed those reliving early pain at the UCLA Pulmonary lab.  While in the primal, reliving a lack of oxygen at birth,  patients had what I call locomotive breathing.  It sounded like a freight train and went on for over twenty minutes.  The patients neither got dizzy nor faint.  But in an experiment later with no reliving I had them breathe deeply for as long as they could.  Within a very few minutes they started to get dizzy and were about to faint. So what was the difference?  Why did heavy breathing make them faint in one case,  deliberately trying, and not in the other where feelings were coming up to be fully experienced.    That is, not trying for  a feeling.

The difference was a deeply embedded real need for oxygen. The patients were back in their baby selves trying to keep from dying from anoxia. It was not an exercise directed by a doctor but a need from inside.  And that was the difference. It told us why there was incipient fainting among all the research subjects, and it informed us about basic need.  Those were not faked actions but something organic and historic.  It demonstrates the difference between Primal and following directions from the doctor; such as “Tell your mother”, or ”Scream at your father for his punishing you”.  Those are useless because they originate higher in the brain in non primal situations, and do not reflect the brain and time when the punishment  occurred.  Following orders and feeling one’s past are two entirely different things. They reflect two different brain systems at work;  one is healing and the other is alleviating but not resolving.  We must talk to the right brain; the one that does not talk but can feel.  The mature adult brain cannot do it; the harder it tries the worse it gets because it remains alienated from the patient’s own history.

It is no different from patients who cry and cry over long periods in our therapy. Once opened up they cry for the thousands of tears they could not express at the time.  And the tears are real as is the sound of the crying.  Fake cries have a hollow sound with no affect behind them.

That separates Primal Therapy from other approaches.  If we want to reach the patient’s early history and what happened to him we must engage the brain active at the time of the original trauma.  This is precisely why cognitive approaches cannot resolve and cure.  We are dialing in the wrong  brain and trying to get it to do what it cannot do.  Feel.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

On What Helps Us Love

There is the obvious: being loved from the start.
There is the less obvious, abstracting the chemical elements that are part of the ability to give and receive love; i.e, oxytocin.  Being loved is the natural way; paradoxically, another way is to feel the lack of love, which seems to normalize so many biochemicals.  I have seen so many patients who are unloved by parents who cannot sustain a loving relationship.

This inability to love is now being recognized in the field  and doctors are prescribing a spray that enhances oxytocin. I have another idea;  let them scream out their agony over not being loved, in Primal Therapy.  What we find is an increase in loving in patients who have relived their pain over the lack of love. It is an odd dialectic that crying out not being loved can help you love, as one turns into the other.  Determined to love one’s wife or kids will help but it does not add the feeling element to the process. And it is the feeling element that is missing, at the start.  And can happen despite our best intentions. The will power needs to be driven by passion and  feelings.  Otherwise it remains a cerebral desire, bereft of feeling.

Those who take pain killers also suppress passion. But, suppose we are on pain-killers permanently; when there is great early pain, there is an equal and opposite reaction to hold down feeling…repression which is constant and obdurate to hold down great agony.  Then we cannot love completely.   And that can begin before we begin in this world.  Clearly, when we remove deeply embedded pain we enhance the ability to love.  We reopen the feeling channels.

Remember, feeling unloved means feeling; repressing it means no feeling.

Let us not look only at oxytocin because what we have found is that normalizing the patient elevates so many biochemicals to normal levels, as we have measured over the years.

We do not dissect the patient into his parts, a kidney, a heart or a liver. We try to approach the human being as a totality and expect changes as a totality, as well.  That is the trouble with Rolfing and Bioenergetics where muscle groups are targeted and worked on to the exclusion of the brain and mind.  Which means all that does not come from the central nervous system but the organs themselves.   Which is how we go awry studying the organ apart from the human being.  And we get changes in the muscle groups and not an organic change. Relaxing tense muscles is not the same as relaxing the whole person.  The tension usually arrives from experiences in life and those sculpt the human being.  I treated one person who had chronic arm muscle tension. He felt in therapy he was chronically holding back, hitting back his father who beat him incessantly.    Beware of the facile, easy answers.  We are not an arm, a liver or blood pressure.  We are humans, and therapy must be of experience.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Scientific Confirmation for Primal Therapy

It isn’t only what happens in a laboratory with men in white coats that counts as science; I think clinical science also counts in the mix.  And it is not only the need to extrapolate from studying little animals with white tails.  It means studying real people with real maladies.  Which I believe we have done over fifty years, including also research results from outside groups … those mysterious souls in white coats.

Let me give one example.  Over the years we have seen dozens of patients suffering migraine headaches.  Those were the ones with severe anesthesia at birth.  Their Primals (reliving of feelings) were of choking and suffocation, gasping for air.  It was the commonality of most of them, but not all.  But as they relived lack of oxygen at birth, the suffocation went away as did the migraine.  It sounds like we figured it all out right away.  No.  It took months and years of this observation to learn that the whole vascular system was shutting down to defend against dying from lack of oxygen.  It was an extreme conservation move to survive.

Sometimes if the Primal did not finish there would be a return of the migraine, in short, there was still the memory of suffocation at work.  We were learning that the origins of many migraines was this asphyxiation during the birth process.  One of the early treatments for migraines was oxygen.  Now it is pills for shutting down pain, but coffee as a vasoconstrictor can help because it helps shut down the blood flow.

What then happened later on was that almost any stress could trigger the migraine as it also reawakened the original reaction which became the modus operandi for the sufferer.

The first coalescence of lab research and our clinical efforts was found at King’s College, London; Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.  They wondered why pain continued even after the physical insult had gone.  They wanted to know why pain became chronic.  One thing they knew was that in pain there were more pain nerves active.  But why did they continue to cause pain?  Why did these proteins maintain their altered function?  They believed it was prolonged by epigenetics.  After an initial injury there is an “epigenetic footprint”.  The molecular imprint reawakens those proteins again; hence pain.  It tells us about the mechanisms but less often about the “why” of all this.  Why is there a migraine, in the first place? What caused it?

In Primal terms, the imprinted memory is still there and endures, and adverse events can set off the reactions again.  The nerves involved are still there waiting to be activated again.  But they carry the imprinted memory and are vulnerable. The triggers can be any threat or danger, even a criticism, taken as a threat to being loved; worse, to be excluded.

Another point of convergence between lab science and clinical science: A November 2015 study in Nature, Neuroscience (see, found that prenatal trauma was important in leaving traces on the gene of past trauma. This happens to coincide with our work where we actually see patients relive these traumas—a process called methylation.

The lab scientists found that these early traumas were heavily implicated in the later development of schizophrenia.  They studied methylation traces in over 500 cases and found that methylation changes “were most pronounced between pre and postnatal periods”.  We are finding this often during gestation that leads to many different kinds of mental afflictions.  Terror states becoming anxiety reactions in the parlance, the key cause of attention deficit reactions later on. Several studies have shown DNA methylation earlier than anyone expected: in the prenatal life.  And this then, in turn, changes gene expression, so what looks like pure genetics is really epigenetics which can be changed because it is not set in stone.  And a great deal of methylation changes occur very early to start the neurotic process even before we are born.  So in any therapy that deals with later life exclusively may be missing the proper therapeutic target.

It is not ideas that produce neurosis; it is the feeling traumas that predate them. They produce twisted ideas and perceptions and also physical abnormalities.

Here is more of what the researchers point out: ”Whatever risk factors are occurring in the fetal environment in utero, they appear to leave a lasting  mark on the sites that are different later in life in brains of patients (with schizophrenia).”
So there is an imprint that causes damage and endures and affects our mental apparatus.
Wait, isn’t that Primal Theory?  Oh my, we converge.
We must address the right brain, which literally is the right brain which imprints earlier than the left, if we are to help patients.  And isn’t that our goal?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Twice More on Addiction

So the New York Times is again running pieces about addiction with the same old tired results;  conclusion  “We do need to rein this in“. Thus spoke not Zarathustra but  Dr. Lynn Mcpherson of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. (see She would be right if we are addicted to drugs.  But what if we are addicted to needs which requires drugs to calm  them.  Would we say that about any other procedure? With no idea what her need is?  Need changes the problem immediately and alters our therapeutic approach.  No one takes pain killers over and over if there is no need for calming and soothing.  Let’s see: pain equals need for pain killers. But what if we see no pain?  Then of course we think pain killers are the problem.  And why don’t they see pain?  Because all they know is that in order to help rein in drugs they recommend going to a safer way; cognitive therapy (yes, it is recommended); it is all in our head, they believe, and therefore a therapy where we can turn our mind away from that need should do the job nicely.  The implication is that it is a bad habit, an attitude that needs changing. There is no understanding of deep pain or that it is imprinted in the brain and body.  We just need to “get over it.”  Said by those whose defenses work marvelously.  And if we become addicted we need better defenses; against what?  It is not said or acknowledged.  But pain from lack of early love seems to be off limits.

What does lack of love mean? Above all, early hugging, kissing, cuddling, protecting, teaching and other signs of carrying about the baby.  It is hard to visualize the amount of pain in the lack of their fulfillment but it is enormous; we have only to observe the reliving in our therapy of needs gone unfulfilled to understand it.  This is true of childhood life, of being ignored, never talked to, explained feelings and emotions, to be perceptive for the child’s moods and needs.  To be empathic and not denigrative when the child cries; to be encouraging without driving the child to fulfill parents’ needs.  To be understanding.

On a deep, earlier level, to make sure the child is not bustled about, fed correctly,  no drugs for the mother, or alcohol and tranquilizers.  This is essential as those drugs enter the fetus and create havoc; the need to escape from an input that is terrible and consistent—a chronic smoking mother.  When the child is not loved he is in pain and that pain is constant and unrelenting.  And, hidden.  The earlier the trauma the more deeply hidden it is.  When child is made anxious by an anxious carrying mother and then gives birth with heavy anesthetics, inescapable by the baby, he may be born terrified—no escape, cannot get out. Then at age two, left alone in the dark with no one there to hold and soothe him, his terror grows unceasingly; and sometimes, crib death is the result.  The result of the latent imprint fear and terror.  Sometimes the gating system kicks in and the deadening of feelings works.  Other times the pain is overwhelming.  The gates become leaky and the child is hyperactive and later becomes ADD. He cannot focus or concentrate and cannot sit still.  Mind you, we still cannot see the terror inside the baby; we can only infer it and still might never know where it comes from.  At age 20 she becomes addicted.  To drugs?  Yes but because her needs drive it. That is why I say that the addict is addicted to needs first. They drive it all.

Because, I submit, deeply sequestered anguish is off limits for those who treat.  It is not within the limit of their conscious/awareness; it lies off their mental boundary.  Feelings are not considered because addiction is “bad,” they are misbehaving.  And to make it true, the addict is often forced to go to street dealers and mingle with criminals.  Or to shooting-up galleries where other addicts hang out.  Some do steal to support their habit because they have been reined in from getting drugs legally.  Yet their bodies seem to know what they need.  Yes they do overdose because they are not medically supervised and are left to their own devices, and above all, they use street drugs with no idea what is in them.

The pain we are dealing with is so remote and so deep that it is far beyond the usual psychologic boundary.  For our adult patients, they are no longer infants in desperate need which eases a bit of the catastrophy of lack of love. To be held and cuddled right after birth is absolutely essential, not just something correct we must do.  And if it has gone missing, then a reliving is in order. Why? because the need remains and is unresolved until lived fully.  It needs crying out for fulfillment even though there is no fulfillment possible.

I have treated patients all of the time who tell me, “What’s the use they cannot love.”  And I say, “Your needs and feelings are what is at stake here.  So try… beg them to cherish you, to hold you and want you, even if they have never done it.”  That is what is liberating--feeling.  The unfulfilled need is blocked and held in storage deep within the brain.  That is why we don’t see it and deny it. And then we are off on a cognitive voyage trying to find what’s wrong; and we never ever do.  So if we don’t see it, it does not exist and we go on finding this solution or that, never dealing with the primordial cause.

To see outside we must first be open to the inside of us.  That I think is an obdurate law. So long as our iron-clad defenses work we will not be open to inside feelings and needs.  That is the function of defenses; to close us off from inside.  And we will then be struck with a heart attack or other kinds of afflictions with no forewarning.  Now look at our parents who were so closed off; did they have all kinds of medical problems?  Those early imprints were still at work manufacturing symptoms to be dealt with which were reminders of unfelt feelings and needs.  The imprint won’t let us go. Those needs and their pain from lack of fulfillment are embedded into the brain and biologic system and never disappear on their own.  They own us.

The rulers of current day therapy and research reminds me of the painting of the kindly old lady staring at a rose when a gorgeous  nude girl hovers in the background.  For the professionals they continue to look outside for clues; and believe that taking drugs is a sign of weakness, giving in to impulses. Rarely do we see any attempt to measure the latent pain levels in the system to see whether heavy pain killers are necessary.  In no other field of medicine do we give medicines without  a full work-up of the level of deficit or oversupply.  Why in the case of painkillers do we pontificate, leaving science behind, about their evil.  It sounds like a religious cult in a tent survival meeting defining the evil that lurks.  Where? Why inside of, course.  And it remains an unknown, a danger.  Recommendation? Reining in the drugs.

Interesting that when describing a so-called enemy, they are usually from outside wanting to harm us.

There are ways to measure imprinted pain.  One way is through stress hormones.  More important is the new field of methylation. We can measure pain by the process of observing methylated traces on the gene; and we can also measure its lowered levels with our therapy. (Research in the future).

What needs reining-in is a therapy that urges reining in. The incredible level of pain is not seen because of the type of their therapy.  I mean another type in their armentarium is Behavior Therapy; the unreflective extrapolation of one’s childhood family life;  all deviant behavior is not driven by anything but bad intentions.  We see this deviant behavior and we dance around it with all sorts of theories as to why; except one: pain.

So what is left?  Unfulfilled need.  How do we rein that need?  In the simplest way possible; we feel it.  Due to its load of pain it could not be felt at the time.  It is an old, primitive need that must be approached carefully, and never with drugs or other aides  such as LSD which blow open the repressive gates.    A need so archaic that it can hardly be described or conceptualized.  We rein-in needs that have resided in the antipodes of the brain; wordless and tearless.  A silent killer that waits its turn a lifetime for its need to be felt and fully experienced.  experience.  Imprinted pain leaves its traces on the gene.  And those traces are methyl, the processs of marking the spot Is called Methylation.  And we believe we do indeed rein in that need through demethylizing the basic cells.  And when we do, we diminish or stop the addiction in its tracks.  We address and reduce the unfulfilled need and with it the pain engendered.   All this because we can go back, find the spot and its circumstances and live the pain for the first time.  We have observed it and measured it through many different avenues:  cortisol, natural killer cells, vital signs and other biochemical. We can tell when the Primal is not real and certainly not resolving.

We have had success in eliminating pain but we will not do it on an outpatient basis.  It needs careful control and supervision plus a process that addresses the imprint.  The latter is what is missing with the therapies done in addiction centers.  All that is lacking for them is science.  Do they do biochemical controls, natural killer cells?  Stress hormones?  No. It is booga booga medicine, joined at the hip with medical centers treating addiction who also seem to leave science behind.  All remain on the top level, ignoring even that deep levels even exist.

What we will look for in our therapy are changes in neurobiology to verify what we are doing. Our job is to stop the terrible suffering, not just to replace it with this false piste or another.  Addicts are hurting and need help, not in an addiction center masked with lovely surroundings and great food and exercise, but with a therapy that recognizes their pain and does something about it.  May I suggest Primal Therapy?

Friday, June 10, 2016

How Can We Remember What We Can't Remember?

I am asked this question over and over. That is because we think of memory as cognitive output. There are very different kinds of memory that have nothing to do with words. In fact Primal memories, the ones that cure, are often just the ones that cannot be remembered … in words. Usually the damage was so early and deep that made trauma immediately repressed and shut away from top level conscious awareness. What we are left with is a feeling tone: sad, depressed, angry, fearful or hopeless. But, and this is critical, the memory is usually not verbal at the start. It is that tone which represents key early events that are unconscious, for the moment. 

 It usually expresses itself in some kind of physiologic disorder. Stomach aches and cramps, migraines, high blood pressure and on and on. It starts being largely physical with physical symptoms. They are apt to be symptoms or their precursors on deep biologic levels. Diabetes, Alzheimers, cancer, Parkinson and epilepsy. All potentially life-endangering symptoms, matching the dangerous Primal input; a carrying mother smoking or drinking, for example. These are processed on the survival level and the impairment shows up here….on all the critical physiologic processes of food/hunger, drink and thirst, Blood circulation, breathing processes, digestion and elimination. We do not remember the imprint of cellular overload and the inability to integrate the input, but their effects are deeply installed and ramified. 

 That is why Primal is often a therapy of deeply embedded memories and of deeply repressed impulses; it separates Primal from other approaches because we do not deal with verbal memory as a goal. Feelings must be our primary aim because evolution dictates it; feelings came along before we had words to describe them. “Mama, hold me, cherish me, want me” these are feelings that are curative, the unspoken, repressed feelings/needs that belie so much pain; feelings often not easily accessible to conscious awareness. In this sense, we are a therapy of the unconscious. And a therapy of full consciousness. Dialectically, we cannot have one without the other; the deeper we delve into the unconscious, the deeper is our level of conscious awareness. We cannot defy the dialectic and go directly to consciousness; it is imprisoned by the cage of repression. It can only be liberated by looking and feeling underneath to meet the pain that keeps it all hidden. That pain is the door that broadens conscious awareness. Cognitive has it backwards: trying to enhance consciousness through intellectual processes primarily. That only cloisters it and embeds feelings even more; all this to the neglect of gaining to feelings; again, we are a therapy of feeling. Because ideas, too often are used to suppress feelings. That means we can’t get there from here. We cannot get to feelings by intellectual means; only by letting go of the intellect. First, we all have to agree that feelings are our ultimate goal. Once that is done we know what road to take or at least what road not to take. 

 We also need to agree, all of us, on the law of self-determination. Each one his own life. He cannot and should not be dictated to as to what feelings he must be feeling. That is up to the patient, his evolution and his biology. His system must dictate the order of feelings, not an outsider. 

 An example. One patient, now feeling has had a memory of bouncing her ball up the stairs to her home. She had done it many times as a child but in therapy it was the tone that directed her; on the way in for her session some children were bouncing balls on the sidewalk. She began to feel that little girl going home and found that home was a place of no love. It was a vacuous place, bereft of caring and warmth, and she began to feel it. It was a devastating feeling of loneliness, no one cares, and no one loves me; there is no love in this home. It was a horrifying awareness. Intolerable and un-feelable. Far too much for a very young child to feel. In a safe milieu she could begin to feel it; it is a place that encouraged deep anguish and crying. The Primal Center. It is a place where over 50 years we have learned about feelings. For example a patient, after months of therapy, may suddenly emerge deep into something where his movements are sometimes blocked with crossed feet, (nearly always) a fetal expression, crossed arms and constant choking; this is a new kind of memory, something he never felt before. We do not interfere with it; we know where it is going. It is a first line memory with no words or tears and crying. If these expressions exist they are not Primal. They may be a mélange of levels of feeling which too often are not resolving because they are not pure; they are a slop-over from one level to another, a sign of being flooded with heavy feelings. 

 Cure means a purity of feeling exactly how it was laid down with no intrusion. Here is where the skill of the therapist enters. We do not lead the patient but follow him to make sure that an overload of feeling does not drive him onto a derivative channel. The mélange of feelings are never resolving. We must take great care. It is not that the unconscious is intruding (as Freud surmised) but that too much of it is intruding all at once. When a therapist leads the way and gives orders to the patient, chances are he is driving an overload; much too soon and too early, hence no integration and no resolution; result, no progress. We now know the signs of both good and bad therapy and how to treat it. We do not have to re-invent the wheel and make mistakes while learning on a patient. We learned from the best expert around: our patients.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Why Primal Pain Endures

New information again seems to document that pain memory lasts a long time.  (see Kings College London.  "Cells Carry Memory of Injury". See,-which-could-reveal-why-chronic-pain-persists.aspx).  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; that 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 in a 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 (see  These particles know what their job is and they don’t forget.  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.

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.