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.


  1. Love a word to not exist!

    Yesterday I was back at my mother's parents' house... I was eleven years old and recently had an operation for appendicitis. I was in a house completely without love. I was in a atmosphere like a vacuum... my head felt like it could implode... a vacuum I have no memories of but now at my return I felt the madness of... to be so alone as I was and absolutely nobody to talk to. WHERE AM I... WHERE HAVE YOU LEFT ME!? If I would have to stay there alone out on the countryside I would have been buried in this vacuum with no way in trying to run away from myself... a lurking condition I have been carried with me throughout my life.

    It is not so that we become schizophrenics we have it with us and we just live in another crazy world away from it. We live for what we are forced to teach us ... we are punished to be "normal" and normal is to become an intellectual... keep our thinking in order for the requirements of it... which is the only possibility way to be accepted... the only way possible in attempt to be and to fit into for what our system can possibly perform and we've become talented idiots with an lurking outbreak of schizophrenia.


    1. I don't know Frank. You seem to know how to act, but yet you don't think you had never been in a loving atmosphere growing up. To know how to be, is a good thing. One must have, possibly, at one time, shown you the loving ways of the world early on?

    2. Hello beachcoast7

      My life is just about pain in addition to glimpses of other things!

      My moments from the experiences of love are memories when our neighbor... a beautiful young student smiled at me when we met... and she asked me if I wanted to help her raking leaves in her garden. Her smile rushed through my body like a fire without burning as my memories in primal therapy confirmed... a crash against my suffering... but still than the experience of love for the beauty I experienced. I was ten years old and now I will never forget it. I got a glimt of love. A moment of memories like that can be enough to reconnect it... even if it only lasted for a moment... it when we do our journy in primal therapy as we slowly but surely moving towards what we went through... even for what a glimt of love meant... moments that can color our whole lives when we get the chance to meet up with them.

      Your Frank

  2. Knowing that love and loving ways are the answer, but yet for some reason the one born in trauma, always needs and seeks much more love. And when they don't get....what sometimes happens , is that they "give up" all together (on loving fellow human beings) almost to the point where they don't even "act" like themselves possibly because outside family and friend is a cold world. But yes, of course, one must be themselves....and be a loving, caring natural person. What happens when they aren't...., just totally not right; they can't act like some of the "cold" people in this world. Primal Therapy is the answer; so it's not so much a "ball of confusion" for that person.

  3. Sorry but I vehemently disagree with Janov when he writes that "the trouble with ...Bioenergetics (is that) muscle groups are targeted and worked on to the exclusion of the brain and mind" ,and most inaccurately when Janov writes that "relaxing tense muscles is not the same as relaxing the whole person" . First of all ,the mind is not excluded in Bioenergetics; it's considered to be part of the energetic whole of an organism, and thus affected by any pressures on the organism and affected indirectly by therapeutic procedures. And the brain is not excluded either because it it too is implicitly considered as part of the energetic whole. True, neither Reich nor Lowen talk about the brain (and hormones etc...) as much as Janov, but in terms of results , is it that important? That some part of the brain processes emotion is an interesting fact but, pragmatically, neither Janov or Lowen work directly on the brain. We don't know Janov's procedures but I doubt if any direct work on the physical brain is performed , like a probe.So his techniques are not directed to the brain directly. And Lowen's procedures affect the brain insofar as the muscular armoring is dissolved.But most importantly, in contradiction to Janov's false assertion in this blog , the work on the muscles does not just affect the muscles, they affect the whole being just as in Janov's work.Why? because of the emotional releases and reequilibrium after the systematic muscle work AND after deep verbal analytical work.That should be perfectly obvious if one reads Reich and Lowen carefully.

    What I see , as a difference with Lowen and Reich, is that Janov has brought to our attention other important traumas besides emotional ones which affect the organism profoundly and holistically, such as reduced oxygen at birth, the effects of drugs on the fetus etc... These are never mentioned in Lowen's and Reich's work; they deal exclusively with emotional trauma.And it's not clear to me if Janov has discovered other defenses apart from the muscular armoring , which he never mentions anyways.

    One final point: I was just re-reading Janov's critique of Reich in his book "The Anatomy of mental Illness". I consider one key element of his critique unfair:he says that work on the body is a haphazard process. To the contrary , all the Reichian case studies I have read point to clear logical non-arbitrary procedures to effect change in distorted energetic patterns.One only has to read Reich's work on a female schizophrenic ( " The Schizophrenic Split" )in his book "Character Analysis" to realise that he seems to know EXACTLY what he is doing to help her.And in fact he cured this woman using body techniques and character analysis techniques, which are systematic interpretations (in the 1940s !). Janov would dispute the use of such interpretations; he always says insights should come from the patient and obviously they do in his therapy, but only after techniques he himself has devised; aren't those latter a form of insight also? In Reich's and Lowen's therapy insights come from BOTH the therapist and patient in so far as I can tell (insights from the therapist are called "interpretations" following the Freudian teminology) .What's wrong with that if they are timely and liberating? Reich also helped a lot of cancer patients survive longer since he discovered the emotional sources of some cancers. And, by the way ,these discoveries (in his "The Cancer Biopathy") seem to coincide with Janov's comments on cancer in "The New Primal Scream".

    So all this Reichian and Lowenian help with schizophrenia, cancer, depression, obsessions, colitis, back problems, heart problems, arthritis etc. came about because this muscular armoring and interpretative work was much more than mere fiddling around with a few muscles here and there!


    1. Marco,
      I won’t go into all your points but I did read all of their work and had a Lowen bioenergetic person on my staff. To me it never touches old and deep embedded memory in the brain. One primal would dissuade you from this idea. I personally don't think that muscle therapy will ever cure anyone of long term serious illness. We do work in brain processes. I have observed bioenergetics and Rolfing at work and I see what it does. Not at all what we do. art janov

    2. Hi Marco,
      I have undergone extensive therapy at Janov's centre and I agree with everything he says. My depression and anxiety have almost disappeared, and this improvement in my mental state is being reflected in my physical state. For example my 'widows hump' is almost gone,I stand taller and straighter and my shoulders are more square. I used to frequent the chiropractors but haven't needed to go since undergoing therapy. My running action is much more free-flowing as I am no longer muscle bound. Oh how I wish I could have my sporting career again! I also see everything as an emotional trauma. Lack of oxygen is not a trauma in itself but it produces an emotional trauma that has a life and death quality to it. Reliving a lack of oxygen is a very emotionally traumatic experience. I totally agree with Art when he says if you experienced a primal your views would change. I believe one of the main reasons primal therapy has not become mainstream is the fact that it cannot be 'figured out' from an intellectual viewpoint. One must experience the thinking, feeling and sensation parts of the mind as three distinctly different ways of experiencing one's life. Even the current psychological paradigm does not factor in the power and influence of the sensations to effect human functioning at both the physical and emotional levels. Having a 'primal feeling' is not part of their training.

    3. If you want to fix a problem, you have to fix the source. The muscles are not the source of the problem.

    4. Marco, so what is your 'cure story' from Bioenergetics? All you write is just intellectual, devoid of your experience.

      I had a couple of true Primal experiences, that changed my life. I went outside after one of them and saw the raindrops clinging to the bough of a tree for the 'first time in my life' (bless you John Lennon ;-)).

      And I'm sorry I have failed both of us: you to whom I can't convey this; me because I failed to keep the process going (no access to proper therapy)...


    5. Richard, So succinct and so well put. art

  4. Art
    As I do observe people I see that for some man it is too late to understand anything. They are so strongly blocked. For most of time for me it is hard to break to my feeling, because all people around me are fooling me and tell "forget". ..... I can't forget, and I won't.

  5. Replies
    1. Piotr, I wish I were. My dad drove a meat truck so we had meat every day. Now I try to eat very little meat as possible. I am close and I understand it. art

  6. Hi, I haven't posted here before. It would seem to me that the work of Reich ,Lowen and Janov could compliment each other. As Janov mentioned in this blog, we are human beings and we can't be summed up easily. I have my own experience of years of personal growth work, including primal and ,the way I see it, it is possible to use primal in conjunction with the many other authentic approaches to personal growth.

    1. Dave, Primal Therapy is very different from the therapies you mentioned. art

    2. Primal Therapy is in fact a neuro-psycho-therapy, as different from any other therapy as are chemo-therapy, physio-therapy, radio-therapy or any other treatment you have ever heard of. You can pour oil into water, mix it, and the oil will come out on top anyway, in the end. That is the difference between Primal Therapy and all other treatments, make no mistake about that.


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.