Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Life: Practicing Primal Therapy

Because of my divorce dictum (I was going to call it an agreement), I could no longer practice in an English speaking country. My French wife, France, and I moved to Paris and opened a French clinic which was packed from the first day. We began our research program in London and flew blood samples back and forth from Paris. We studied the immune system and natural killer (NK) cells to see what happened in therapy. After one year the NK cells grew very fast. These were the cells to survey the system. As soon as a cancer cell began its life, the NK cells searched them out and killed them. Maybe that was why we saw so little cancer in our advanced patients. We studied other aspects as well. We found that body temperature dropped after one year of Primal Therapy, as well as heart rate and blood pressure. Clearly, as we took out internal pain the system was no longer lumbering under heavy pressure. Most importantly, there was the one degree drop in body temperature, which told us that maybe longevity is increased as the system’s workload lessened. There is a theory that for every one degree enduring drop in body temperature, there is a corresponding increase in longevity.  

Europe became a heavy load with a five story building running night and day. Patients came from Europe, by and large, and stayed much longer back then because there were far less Visa restrictions to force patients out. Now in the USA, they are limited, which slows their therapy considerably. We treated a wide range of patients from ambassadors to a sort of terrorists, who were not that at all. They claimed to be revolutionists  but they were the kindest and smartest people I met. We did therapy in several languages and it was really a polyglot group. We did research with several universities and it was all exciting stuff.

We had the clinic in a giant building in Paris, with an old fashion bathtub in the basement. France was treating a 65 year old doctor who never left her village. Why? Because she was a bed better and was so ashamed of it. France had a hunch, and took her down below into the bathtub. She gave the doctor orders to totally relax and let herself go in the tub. She did, and what happened? She urinated. Only now she felt what it was all about: it was the only warmth she ever felt. Soon after, we received postcards from her from all over the world. She was free. No more neurosis.

Here is an example to emphasize how we are a therapy of experience and not of ideas. We had a male patient obsessed with women’s feet and shoes. Our male therapist painted his nails, wore shorts and had the patient sit looking at his feet as he dangled them. Every time the patient tried to touch his feet, the therapist abruptly drew his feet away. Soon the patient was crying and screaming, “Mommy, Mommy, let me touch you.” His mother was a seamstress who did her work in front of her child. She never touched him but he watched her, transfixed, aching to touch her. She kicked him away as a pest, over and over again. His need continued to grow until it was acted out in the street or peering through windows, risking arrest. He finally resolved this act-out after much therapy. The need to be hugged and caressed, that was the simple answer. The force of his original need became the force behind his importuning obsession. The failed effort is usually an attempt to stop the symbolic acting-out. It is an effort to change and block a symbol of the need, not the basic biologic need itself. In every act-out, we must go much deeper to find that need and deal with it. That is what is biologic and real.

In a way our therapy is simple: find the basic biologic need and relive how it was not fulfilled.  But Oh My!  It is so much more than that. Those needs are sequestered by a labyrinth of defenses and are difficult to find. First we need to deal with how the need is ramified as to be unrecognizable. We have to find ways to dig out the essence of the feeling. The complexities became, duh……complex. Neurosis dies hard.

In group, I sometimes had die-hard atheists pray to God for fulfillment: “hold me, cherish me, love me.”  Why God? Because I was after the need, and God became the channel for need. I had to find a neutral channel for patients to express need. Once they get to need, even the atheists crumble in tears because that is where the tears lie hidden. Otherwise they would see the faces of the parents whom they were importuning, and grow cold and feelingless. Anent the act out, some patients refuse to do what is necessary to get well: stop medication, start medication, whatever. If we stay hung up on their bad behavior, we will never get to what is real: “I am hopeless and cannot be helped. What’s the use? I am a failure. No one can help me.”

My education began in France with my new French family. We lived high above Aix en Provence, overlooking a beautiful city. They only spoke French to each other, and I decided I would never let it happen again, that I would never be left out of esoteric and fascinating discussions. I learned French and took part in conversations, and it was erudite and informational as I ever knew. I never had a family and this was certainly an example of what was missing. I learned French fast because now I had someone to talk to but it was not in my natal (Maternal) language. A small impediment.

I soon led the French life, reading French magazines and watching French TV, which I do to this day. Nearly all of our friends were French and among them some creative and intelligent people. I do not plan to name drop but our pals were in many of the arts and I was so proud of them, including an actress whom I saw mostly nude in a film when I was in high school. Years later she lived with us and as happens in France there was much nude swimming. Sometimes I thought I was dreaming. But no. I was just living in a sane and non-prudish country, France. Many of the public beaches were nudist. All healthy and non pejorative. Non moralistic. There were many examples of this throughout France.

After years in France, I got permission to practice in the USA so we returned to America.  France’s health was breaking from the load of patients in Paris and she needed a long rest, which she got. We opened a small training center in Santa Monica which blossomed again into a major worldwide clinic, the majority of patients from Europe. I am in my nineties now and am cutting back but I still write books and the blog every day.

There are still hundreds of pretenders throughout the world using my name and my therapy to mislead patients, usually with bad results. They have my books on their desks and to all appearances they are associated with me… Without  a day’s training. That is why it is always best to check with us as to who is qualified and who is not.


  1. Art,
    Thanks for writing. I remember seeing you in Paris, at the Institute in 1983 and 1984, and also in winter 1989, when you were recruiting trainees for the Center to come in LA. Good memories. Thanks for writing!

  2. I enjoyed reading this story, Art, but......

    At the risk of sounding crude, I think a problem with too much nudity is that it ruins the wow-factor. A woman wearing a bikini or underwear, seen for hours everyday, can fatigue a man's wow-neurons. The clitoris and the glans penis are covered by a sleeve of skin designed to prevent these sensitive areas from rubbing against things because excessive rubbing would fatigue the associated neurons. Better to keep those parts 'clothed' so that they are sensitive to touch when the time comes. You don't want to over-stimulate the eyes, ears, taste buds etc. You don't want too much of a good thing. We New Zealanders are notorious for our excessively sweet and salty food as our over-stimulated taste buds are insensitive to subtle flavours. Ever tried a New Zealand pickle? It will make your entire sandwich taste like a dessert.

    And another very important point:
    Art, you are wrong about public nudity being a healthy thing. I think you are still affected by the hippie days. Only a sexually desensitised woman could walk naked through a public area. The beach is no different to a shopping mall except for the difference in social expectations. Even in France, men will stare at a sexy naked woman. I doubt your wife would be happy to publish naked pictures of herself in this blog. A normal woman would feel like her privacy is being violated. Public nudity is never asexual and never impersonal.

    1. Again, which ass are you pulling this stuff out of? Why not stay on track at least mention what is on the blog and not go off on your own blog. Art

    2. I pulled it out of my own ass which has had 44 years of experience. Sometimes you pull things out of your ass too - no harm in that. You did mention the nudity thing in your blog and that's the only part that I wanted to talk about because it means a lot to me. If you think my post is too off-topic you are welcome to not post it. I never intend to be disrespectful.

  3. Maybe it's neurotic, but I would feel hurt and betrayed if my girlfriend offered her naked body for others to see. It's not a possessive thing. It's like she is telling me that her nakedness means nothing at all.... as if the two of us being naked together is not an intimate or private thing at all. To me, it is a very intimate thing.... it has a huge meaning. That's why I would feel hurt if she got naked in front of someone else. I'm not saying nudity is always a sexual thing.... but to me it is always an intimate thing... and intimacy is the most important thing in the world.

    I had a girlfriend who happily showed her breasts on the internet, knowing there would be many guys watching. She was showing them to me but she wasn't concerned about the other guys. Her breasts were nothing to her... she felt they were just lumps on her chest... no more significant than an arm or a leg.

    I spoke to another girl online, she had spent a lot of time nude modelling for young art students. She was very young and sexy. She told me she felt no intensity being naked in front of the students. I just felt like it was a tragedy... like she had lost a huge part of herself. Maybe it's my neurosis making me feel this way.

    I don't believe for one second that France is more sane than other countries. I have no doubt their nude beaches will be crawling with perverts who are experts at hiding their arousal. It's the same in every country. Perverts are attracted to nudist camps etc.

    How can girls be so naive? I think it is perfectly natural for young girls to want to hide their private bits when they begin puberty. A woman's naked body can generate a sexual feeling in a sane man, regardless of her intention. I don't believe this phenomenon exists only in a neurotic environment.

    1. Well at least now we know where it comes from. Art

    2. Richard, notice how dogs sniff each other's rear ends to see if they're ready for sex? And until they are ready, the sniffing dog is totally interested in copulation.

      Humans (non neurotic - this certainly doesn't apply to rapists!) are the same I think. A naked body won't do much for us (sexually) if it's not signally it's ready for sex. But if it is, the signals become obvious and my lizard brain instantly reacts.

    3. Richard,
      Saying that there is something wrong with nudity because there are perverts is like saying there is something wrong with children because there are pedophiles. Sorry to be blunt!

      Nature is naked by nature.


    4. Thanks Art for what you told me about what could be a sign of a healthy life around people's prejudices!

      What peoples opinion is about nudity is the reason why it is criminal. I've thought about it for many times in my life... why it is criminal to appear naked... it can not be other than that it grew out of sick beliefs... beliefs about other people's nakedness and your own.

      It is really incredible that it is an offense to appear naked. The only thing we have is our naked bodies... but with sick notions about it so we are put in jail if we show ourselves naked on the so-called public places here in Sweden.

      Is not this a spread for a forum on how it can be a criminal offense to show himself naked... a question for what laws have been dictated by sick people?

      If we would be allowed to be naked... so would a lot of sick ideas do not emerge they would not have a target for their imagination.

      But at the same time it tells about where we can have ours trust... a life of oppression.


    5. Hey Richard,

      maybe you could consider becoming Muslim and only dating women in Burkhas. . .

      Joking aside, the facts are that people wear what they want, except in Wahabi cultures. Usually, if you ask her in a 'quiet moment' you can get a woman to reflect that if or when she 'prefers' to wear skimpy clothes it's because she likes the sense of freedom and the feeling of air on skin, which kind of contradicts what you are saying. I like that too and I suppose it might make me MORE aroused, but only if I am sexually repressed or frustrated and when I am, I am rarely thinking of waltzing outside in my birthday suit. Nudists like that sensation as well and they don't walk around with stiffys ! Women get stiffys too, from my experience.

      Don't be such a prude !

      The human body could be all the more revered, respected and cared for IF we didn't feel so ashamed; that is a Primal issue. There is a place for modesty of course, actually mostly everywhere EXCEPT nudist beaches and your own property, and of-course in certain places nudity is going to be a distraction, but because men are only distracted by their sexual hormone responses? -Is rarely the case. Beauty is more than merely a 'sexy body'. . . Beauty can also be a distraction, a beautiful body is worthy of a rubber neck and the sexual element merely THE distraction emanating from your own sexuality.

      Primal patients who have become 'Sexually Hijacked' are easily distracted and there is a wealth of evidence that shows certain 'mutilation practices' on infants of either gender generate a sexual hijack. I shouldn't say more because Art is the expert on this NOT me.

      Paul G.

    6. You know who an expert is? A guy from out of town. Art

    7. Katherina, brilliantly put!


    8. Well certainly not in my town, much to my chagrin.

      Paul G.

  4. Not ever married, and I felt "chains" , restrictions after a breakup; Not right. Can only imagine how a married person feels. Then one really has to wonder: "was it ever "love"? How could it have been to be forced to practice in another country or to feel some type of restriction (just having gone out with a person for over a year). At least in France, one can "breathe". I have many French lessons to learn in how to speak the language; right now, don't know much of it. What an experience to be able to live the French life. Thanks for writing this Art; you really know a lot.

  5. If we (my family and me) could just get away to France for a few years; or just family visit for a few months out of year(whatever) it would be so great. Live the French way of life, has always appealed to me; and I know also for some family members. Such a dream; someday maybe it will come true. For Art and his family, it must have been "a blessing in disguise" to live there for a while.

  6. Good to know more about the man who made the greatest discovery of the 20th Century! But you are very unlikely, I mean with that childhood you could have easily become someone out for revenge. I remember A.S.Neill wondering why he went against the authoritarian culture also instead of conforming..
    PS I recently watched Summerhill, the movie again on Youtube, if you've not seen it really nice.

    1. I knew Neill and visited him in England. He was upset that he was not recognized by the Queen. Art

    2. Art,

      you are or have been rightly rankled about Primal not getting a fair hearing. But the Queen, including that pussy in the Whitehouse, both are deaf, dumb and blind to the facts of real life. . .

      Paul G.

  7. Such exciting times in Paris. Maybe the Legacy can inspire such a movement again. To be hoped.


  8. Hear hear! Check with the Janov Centre whether a Primal Practitioner is qualified! I
    had a doctor who was also a specialist and top in his field, however as a Primal Therapist was not tops. I believe that as a patient I was left to guide a lot of my own "primal therapy" in Australia by the doctor, whom was not endorsed nor recognised as a Primal Therapist by the experts in Primal Therapy. The doctor even knew that Art did not recognise his therapy as Primal Therapy and told some of us. However in my ignorance as a desperate and frightened patient I needed to believe that it was Arts limitation that he did not recognise the therapy as primal therapy. In my poverty, ignorance and mental illness It never occurred to me to write to the Janov Centre for advice all those years ago. If only I had and if only I'd known then.

    There is simply no excuse for doctors who have all the qualifications and financial resources, to not get proper training from the Janov Centre. Particularly when they know that Dr. Janov does not endorse their practice in primal therapy.

    Demand proper Primal Therapy and therapy full stop! The science is available, there is no excuse!


    1. Katherina, may I ask where you did therapy, and with whom? Sounds like Melbourne, with John Spensley, if I have the era right?


    2. "desperate and frightened....".
      years ago my pal told me to worn him if he ever intend to get married to anyone. just in case he couldn't see the obvious> that the girl is not a right woman for him.

      in primal center there are more than just one therapist. every patient has a co-therapist too... but just in case, patient maybe should come with a co-patient. but who? his ego? come with trust. maybe it is even worse to come with skepticism. to
      have some job or just important activity could help. not sure. you have more experience Katherina.

  9. Hallo Art.

    We have a discussion... if it is possible to be hypnotized or not? I think it would be good with a little help from you on the matter as it brings some clarity about our unconscious state... that there are parts of our brain we are not aware of.

    I have tried to make clear that hypnosis can only be used on those who do not have access to their feelings. The response is "you can not be hypnotized," which I think in this context it is important to understand.... that it is possible to be hypnotized... so it arises understanding of how the brain works... which can arouse interest with insights on how other things also can be suppressed and be forgotten... it to understand that there is parts of our brain that we are unaware of.

    Your Frank

    1. In the first chapter of my site, there is a book, The Grand Illusion, which has a chapter on hypnosis. Art

    2. Grand Delusions methinks. I read it all twice.

      I love your booga booga debunkings. . . It's cathartic to read your almost rants on the subject. . .
      Paul G.

  10. Sure got a good laugh out of Art's replies to Richard Atkin's funny!

  11. The first Primal Retreat took place in the summer of 1980 near Champery, Switzerland, not too far from Lausanne and Montreux at the east end of Lake Geneva, French speaking Switzerland. It was organized by Swiss patients, who after returning back home felt a need for follow-up sessions on European soil.

    The participants, about 30, were ex-patients (if you can say "ex" about a lifelong patientship) from the two Institutes, coming from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, France and UK, but also USA. Among them I noted a male Swiss professor in physics, a female Swiss principal of a School for Nurses, a relative of one of Swedish film director Ingemar Bergman's preferred actors (Bergman himself once wanted to get into therapy but was not accepted), and myself, who had just started a new life after ten years as a fighter pilot, now going to medical school. Also a young male American, heavily into biking. He could not bike to Europe, but disassembled his bike and brought it in a suitcase! (I tried it once, geared for steep hills) A lovely American woman looked warmly at me and wanted me to be her Swedish Viking.

    The therapists included Arthur and Vivian Janov, fortified by some of the ordinary therapists from the Institutes in LA and NYC.

    The venue was a ski lodge, chalêt, sitting on the steep hillside; main floor with a large hall, bed rooms with bunk beds, kitchen for DIY cooking, a large attic under the roof, and a souterrain level with shower heads in the ceiling.

    Group sessions were in the evenings, private sessions could be ordered at additional cost.

    The days were spent loitering, cooking, trekking; swimming, tennis available; beautiful nature at the foot of the Alps; the Swiss professor found his jeans were too warm and took a knife and made shorts, Art showed his amazing Sony Walkman; the sun was shining.

    Since Wednesday was free, the American Beauty and the Swedish Viking rented a car in a nearby town and went on a wild goose chase. No therapy till next day's evening! At the hotel, that we found for the night, we had dinner on the veranda, view over the beautiful Neuchatêl lake. In bed, she wanted to have sex. (Wow!) I said Thanks, but no thanks, being inexperienced (yes!), and married with two young children. Also did not want to risk the sweet atmosphere between us with a failed one night stand. The following evening in post-group session, she complained that I had refused to have sex with her. "Well, was he obliged to?" said Vivian.

    One afternoon I went down to the showers. Empty. I started undressing, when the Swiss principal entered. Now what? was my thought. She said Hi and calmly found the other end of the wooden bench and began undressing too. Sigh of relief, no fuss. And we had our showers, minding one's own business. It felt all natural, as if we were siblings. Or brothers in arms, fighting a common enemy - Pain.

    It was just a week, but an important one. Many more were to follow. The memories are still vivid, like when, for instance, Art had stopped his rented car on top of the little wooden bridge across the brook, chatting through the window with that Swedish film actor in his car, facing the opposite direction, almost blocking my way, coming down on that mountain top gear bike. "Erik, you'll be late for group!" he said. I answered "No I won't", and sped on and was seated in the assembly hall on time.

    What a joy!

    1. Wow, does that bring back memories of great times, of great patients, and an evolving therapy that I was still learning about. Thanks so much for this Erik, So much has happened, so much we have gone through, so many great experiences. What memories! Art

    2. I have no idea. Did she retire? Art

  12. Hello Frank!

    If for some reason we think we can make our therapy around people with the same mentality we grew up in... then we will fail. We are absolut not as smart as needed to it.

    During the therapeutic process we are faced with more or less powerful experiences. In order to possibly cope with so strong emotions that require a proximity exactly for what happened to us then when we were small. So in that case it is impossible to pass unscathed from a similar situation if the circumstances is not the right ones around our trusted.

    The consequences are extremely serious. So... we should at least have some knowledge what it is we embark as there is life-threatening experiences that are on its way up to the surface of our awareness... it without it has been at deliberately before. It can not be done unless the people around you are tollerant and knowledgeable about what is happening so that you can feel safe with what you are doing.


  13. Hi Raindog,
    Yes you have the era right .
    I had my first few Primal Therapy sessions with Dr. Graham Farrant just before he retired, then I continued my primal therapy with Dr. John Spensleys for about five years in Melbourne. I grew up in Melbourne not far from the Primal centre in Richmond where my mother went for Primal therapy. I met Dr. Spensley after he stepped out of a group of Dr. Farrents that my mother was attending when I was five years old. I was waiting for my mother, John was very friendly and kind, and seemed to know just how to approach me so that I felt confidant in his presence. Normally I was very shy.
    Me and my sister used to go and run around the padded red group room after all the adults had come out of group. I used to be able to hear some of the adults cries faintly while waiting in the waiting area. It didn't disturb me at all. But years later when my mother started to Primal at home I found that very upsetting. I only recently started to have feelings about my mother during her early therapy years and it's a great relief.

    What about you have you done Primal Therapy ? Are you from Australia too.

    Thanks for asking.


    1. AYAYAY! You spend weeks buying a car but when it comes to your life you make hasty judgements and go to people who decided they were Primal therapists without a day of training. And then theur ex-patients come to us to be fixed, which is never easily done. Art

  14. So, Art, who is more thirsty for Primal Therapy - the Americans or the Europeans? I assume that there is not much demand from the Asians or the Russians.

    1. We are inundated by Russians and also many Europeans. Art

  15. Hi Raindog,
    I'm not sure how naming names would help for now, so until I understand what I'm getting into I feel better to err on the side of privacy. The main point for me is that Art has made it abundantly clear that Primal Therapy is now a precise science, and there is no need to make the mistakes of the past in therapy any longer. Thanks to Art and France.

    I think the public has a right to know about advances and discoveries in health science.

    Thanks for your interest it's helped me to make more sense of my life. For that I am very greatful to you Raindog. I'm really glad you asked.


    1. We are working on a way to make Primal less fearful and painful as it is relived. Art

    2. Hello Katherina,

      Sure, I understand.

      You did ask about my experience of therapy. I also attended Graham Farrant's therapy centre in Richmond, about the same time you did evidently, as he was getting ill about then and retired soon after. I do remember kids coming to play in the red room. So many memories.

      I also attended the Jamillon centres under John Spensley. The current Jamillon centre is quite different, much improved in my opinion. They also have a therapist who spent several years training with Art. This is where I go for therapy at the moment.

      I quite understand Art's warnings about untrained therapists. I felt a lot of the therapists in the Richmond centre really didn't know what they were doing, and some were downright dangerous. But still, there were one or two I chose to work with, and I made valued progress with them.

      I would love to one day travel to LA, finances permitting. I would love to at least meet you Art, as you have formed such a large part and monumental influence for the good in my life. Irrespective of your feelings towards the kind of therapy some of us can afford, you have truly saved my life.



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.