Friday, April 7, 2017

Birth Trauma and Psychosis

A report about the relationship between prolonged labor and its complications to schizophrenia has been issued by Reuters Medical News and can be found on the internet. ("Obstetric Complications Correlate with Brain Differences in Schizophrenia." http// This is a report by Dr. T.F. McNeil of the Malmo University Hospital in Sweden. (American Journal of Psychiatry. 2000, 157:203-212.)

Using the magnetic resonance technique to study aspects of the limbic system (hippocampus) in 22 pairs of twins in which only one had diagnosed schizophrenia, they found that the mentally ill twin had smaller hippocampus. There was a significant correlation between labor complications and brain shrinking. Prolonged labor was one central culprit. The authors write, "Trauma at the time of labor and delivery and especially prolonged labor appear to be of importance for brain structure anomalies associated with schizophrenia." (Reuters. 2/22/2000)

What the authors contend, something I have described for decades, is that the birth trauma has something to do with later mental illness. Further, that the feeling system is grossly affected by this trauma. This means that birth trauma affects all manner of feeling states later on, whether of suicidal tendencies or criminal proclivities. So the central questions: "Why does one twin become mentally ill and not the other?", can be partially answered by reference to the birth trauma. Not only the birth trauma, but most importantly, what happened in the womb. We must consider the background, historical effects that made the neonate vulnerable to the birth trauma.


  1. How would I know what it's like to be in anxiety of defense against my tears when I'm anxious not to detect it? I could also have been a professional in any profession with the same consistency that anxiety causes... it to not know about my tears.

    It is not just a memory of a thought that is a memory... there is also an experience that I have left inside of me that hurts in to death that I must become "friends with"... it to end my pain... it to survive the pain I gone through... and it is only by experiencing of what those memories was all about that makes it possibility... memories that are linked to what happened and not what I think about it. It is an such intensity... an intensity of experience that causes anxiety to survive ... it in defense against reality. Anxiety a defense against the intensity of reality... an experience as then... and now could have taken my life!

    It is like an echo from memories as visualized when I say goodbye to my brother who recently passed away. An echo from when we were little and played outside our house. Art now I know what you mean by resonance... but in my simple world it does fit better to be mentioned as an echo... a word that in my sence of feelings sounds better of its reason to cry.


    1. I like that 'echo' word too, Frank; and becoming 'friends with' your experience left inside. How poetic. We do have to welcome our pains back, don't we, to feel them and be well.

  2. Hat... it could be perceived as irritation is a defense against understand anything! Even for what we would need to understand about ourselves hate is a well-established defense. What unfortunate!


    1. It does no good to hate. Sure we might hate, but it is a useless emotion; one that expends energy. Hate can make one blinded to many situations; many people just "hate" and they have absolutely no reason to. You might think I am being unrealistic and don't know what it is like to be around "senseless hate". I do know that it is not good to hate (unless it is a terrorist, or someone killing innocent people and children; unless it is our terrorist enemies).

    2. So... it is about what we know about hate? If we knew better the world would soon change!

      Hate do not "expends energy"... it is at its source we do not feel why and has nothing with a reflection to do.

      Hatred is not something we decide to do! Hate is a coupled reaction from an event we do not feel why... or we'll get canser... ulcers or other physiological ailments. In other words... we are beyond own knowledge of what causes hatred! If we do not hate instead we would be victims of our own physiological system... which we will be anyway if we do not understand what it is primal therapy teaches us... to direct hate to its source.

      Your Frank

    3. Hello beachcoast7!

      About all terrorists fate!

      Behind blue eyes hides pain that can kill in an attempt not to suffer! So has need of love turned into hatred. And what is our reaction of being exposed to hate? Our own hatred! So war is a more natural consequence than understanding of its cause... natural of its cause... but without understanding to be the cause in need of love.

      Your Frank

    4. Frank,

      Terrorists are just extreme cases of people who were neglected, unloved, and abused as children, and most likely damaged in the womb too.


    5. No... David!

      Extremists are not as rare as we might think... the moment of insane outbursts depends more on what happens than we are in control of what causes it! I can even see it in many mothers who roam with their strollers ready to explode for its task. I'm not saying it will happen... but if they had their ilk around them... with the same symptoms... so one can assume that it would take a long time before it folded.

      Your Frank

    6. Hi,

      Hate is anger directed at someone or something, or some behaviour.

      It is extreme irritation. It has become a 'groove' for some people who are then trapped in it. Even if they realise it and don't want to be stuck in the groove of hate, it's difficult to change. I can be hateful and people hate me for it !

      I break down and cry, the walls of my groove dissolve and I collapse falling out from it, a bit like a new born.

      This keeps on happening but every time the pressure lessens. Then I notice how well adapted I have become to the 'hate groove' and how easy it is to get back into it. Only after many returns to this cycle do I begin to change things in my outer life. Outer life then offers a few more avenues and that vital energy inside me, that energy we need to 'get out' becomes something a little more creative, channeled into good things.

      It's a life's work.

      Paul G.

  3. Hi All,

    here is an excerpt from the article:

    -" Donald Trump, narcissism and diagnosis as political sport


    Special to The Globe and Mail

    Published Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 2:27PM EDT

    Last updated Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 2:21PM EST

    The consensus as to Donald Trump’s psychiatric issues is nearly unanimous. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” according to clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, quoted in Vanity Fair. He is just one of many who have reached the same conclusion. Noting his motor mouth, chronic inability to pay attention and shockingly deficient impulse control, others diagnosed Trump as a severe case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter for his 1987 bestseller, The Art of the Deal, reported that his client had no attention span and fidgeted “like a kindergartner who cannot sit still.”

    In an election cycle where a candidate has been accused of unprecedented misconduct, including the latest allegations of sexual assault by multiple women, psychiatrists are bypassing the long-held professional standard, called the Goldwater rule, which stipulates that no psychologist should make a diagnosis of a person he or she has not examined face-to-face"-.

    Paul G.

    1. Hello Paul!

      Serotonin blocks not only from pain from how we look up on it... it also confuses us from being in our right mind of awareness... as are a consequences of blocking pain from need of love.

      Your Frank

    2. Paul,

      Who ever made that diagnosis really does not know much about such matters.

      The most dominant condition is:

      Megalomania :a delusional mental illness that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur.

      It is caused by intense, severe, heavy handed, long term child abuse.


    3. I just had some spare time and searched out the original Globe and Mail article and read it:

      The author is: Retired physician, Gabor Maté is a Vancouver author and speaker. His next book, The Myth of Normal: Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture, will be published in 2018.

      It is such an amazing article!

      I was blown away with this guy's understanding and insight of such matters. It is far superior to anything else I saw written by academically trained specialists.

      It is exactly what I saw and wrote about before. And because of Gabor's academic education, he put eloquent and succinct words to things I could not.

      He uses the word "grandiosity" which is basically the same as megalomania.

      He is such a clear writer!

      He makes many very profound statements:


      What we perceive as the adult personality often reflects compensations a helpless child unwittingly adopted in order to survive. Such adaptations can become wired into the brain, persisting into adulthood. Underneath all psychiatric categories, Trump manifests childhood trauma. His opponent Hillary Clinton evinces her own history of early suffering, even if milder and far more muted in its impact.

      The ghostwriter Schwartz reports that Trump had no recollection of his youth. There is always a reason for such amnesia. People have poor recall of their childhoods when they found reality so painful that their minds had to push memories into the unconscious. “I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” Trump admitted to a biographer.

      According to biographers, Trump’s father was a workaholic, a ruthless, cold and authoritarian man who believed life is a competition where the “killers” win.

      Donald’s elder brother drove himself into alcoholism, a common escape from pain, and to an early death. The younger, favoured child is now self-destructing on the world stage.


      The flaws of our leaders perfectly mirror the emotional underdevelopment of the society that elevates them to power.

      End of quote.

      The last sentence is so true. There is no fault in politicians or government authorities that the electorate cannot find in themselves.

      The government is a manifestation of the electorate.

      Gabor Mate is a very smart man.

      I would add, that it takes one to know one. Gabor Mate had to have experienced his own childhood trauma of some sort, and educated himself over it, in order to be so good in understanding and explaining such matters.

      Paul, thanks for bringing that to at least my attention.



  4. I thought this write up was interesting:



  5. 1) I want to comment on what Gabor Mate wrote about amnesia:


    The ghostwriter Schwartz reports that Trump had no recollection of his youth. There is always a reason for such amnesia. People have poor recall of their childhoods when they found reality so painful that their minds had to push memories into the unconscious. “I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” Trump admitted to a biographer.

    End of quote.

    Prior to getting regression trauma therapy (PTSD therapy), I experienced the same amnesia.

    I could not remember anything prior to 13 yrs of age.

    But after some good trauma therapy, I can now recall back to about 4 maybe 3 yrs of age.

    I have tried hard to go back further, many times, over many years, but so far with no success.

    In contrast, I have met people who remember being born.

    I have met people with photographic memory.They are amazing.

    I have met one guy who said he can read a average size book (novel size) in 20 minutes. He said he has read about 10,000 books in his life. He is a motivational speaker.

    It takes me 20 minutes to read 3 or 4 pages.

    Oh boy!


    2) Frank:

    I want to comment on what you said here about hate:

    "So has need of love turned into hatred."

    What happens is:

    Need of love and emotional nourishment, causes frustration

    (because of emotional pain and the mind not working right and they are dysfunctional in various ways and cannot compete in life)

    then frustration turns to madness, then hate, then boiling rage, which than can kill, in order to be killed, so as not to suffer.

    And "make a public statement" too.

    Basically the unspoken statement is:

    "Fuck you world, and everybody in it. You are all fucking crazy.

    There is a lot of truth in those words.

    All mad men, murderers, mass murders and terrorists think like this. Feminists think like this too.

    That young man from Alaska who boarded a plane in Alaska and got the plane diverted to Fort Lauderdale last January:

    according to the article had a history of mental illness.

    According to reports he had previously went to agencies in Alaska begging for help, begging for attention and only got the run around or ignored.

    We can get a lot of good clues from these media reports, and see further into him and his case, based on what we know.

    And this ties right into the point you make Frank.

    Frustration, madness and boiling rage, devolved into the (bottom line): ......the troubled person killed to be killed.

    He sought help, begged for help, but there was no help.

    Modern psychological knowledge and it's so called mental health services, know nothing useful and cannot help with mental illness.

    A similar thing happened here in my house a few weeks ago.

    The young man who I mentioned a few blogs ago, whose mother is schitzophrenic and narcissistic and close to biplar, and psychotic too, who I said has been screaming and shouting at her son since I moved in here, went to seek help a few weeks ago, from our mental health system.

    I met him coming back from his meetings with the different agencies, and talked to him.

    He was half crying in frustration.

    He said he was first told to go to one agency. He said the director took him out for coffee and talked about meaningless things to try and make him feel better.

    Then he told him to go to another agency, then that agency told him to go to another one.

    The kid, says to me in tears, they do not know anything and can not help anyone with mental illness.

    That is the truth.


    1. David, the definition of a feminist is one who supports feminism, an organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests. I would not lump feministic traits with those of madmen and mass murderers.

      Though women's lib might have been irritating to a lot of people it did bring attention and change to a sexist society even though we are still fighting against it in the work place.

      When I was growing up the occupations freely open to women were: nursing, secretarial work and teaching. Now the opportunities have greatly widened. When I was in high school there was no money for sports programs for girls. Since then because of the women's movement my nieces have had sports opportunities and also their daughters now too have participated in competitions that in my time only were allowed for the male classmates. You could be a cheerleader but there was no women's basketball, volleyball or soccer team.

      You don't even have to be a woman to be a feminist--many men who care about women are feminists too.

  6. I found a Ted Talks video by Gabor Mate:

    It is incredible.


  7. Thanks, David, for sharing Gabor Mate's article. I was able to meet him once, a few years ago, and also heard him speak twice. He is an admirer of Janov and plays some John Lennon songs in his talks to describe examples of primal pain. What I find interesting about him is that he so clearly understands childhood trauma and pain as the causes of later problems in life. Yet, he advocates for mindfulness practices, rather than reliving, as the solution. Also, when I met him, I asked him about his own therapy. He told me that he had not found any therapy or therapist particularly helpful. I was very surprised to hear this! His books, articles, and talks, all suggested to me that he has done a tremendous amount of his own therapy.

    Renee S.

    1. Hi Renee,

      Thank you for reply re: Gabor Mate.

      What you said is interesting.

      And it is interesting that you met and talked to Gabor, too.

      RE: Therapy:

      Good therapy is as scarce as hen's teeth in this world.

      First of all I want to say this:

      To be successful to a good degree, such type of healing requires a phenomenal amount of work by the patient, first.

      A patient cannot just lie on the therapist's couch and say ok, doc fix me, like getting a broken limb fixed.

      The client needs to do a lot of the right kind of work on self improvement, education and re-education on the right kind of life knowledge to be able to live and function at the level the client would like to live and function at.

      People fail in any endeavor for only one reason, and that is for the lack of the right knowledge to solve the problem at hand.

      Find the right knowledge and you can solve any problem.

      Higher states of existence requires higher states, higher quality of knowledge.

      That may be what Jesus meant, when he said: You must be born again.

      A man who re makes himself, is re born, or born again.

      Mankind has only made any useful headway on the science of mental health (how to be reborn) in recent years and most of it has been done outside academia, and is not respected by most academicians. Usually poo-pooed.

      Now that being said...

      Re: Gabor Mate:

      I can see that he has did a lot of work. I mentioned earlier that it was obvious to me that he educated himself above his traumatic child hood.

      Now as far as actual therapy goes, it really helps if there is a good match between patient and therapist too.

      So if you have a patient who is doing everything possible within his own means to heal his life, and you have a good therapist who is an expert with all the best therapies in the world, I am sure full recovery is possible.

      But it would take a few years of dedicated work.

      To begin to be a good therapist in this field takes about 20 to 40 yrs of dedicated hard work. And most of it on healing himself. You can not be a good therapist if you have not been there.

      That includes learning all the related therapies (or all therapies of comparable magnitude) in the world.

      Another way to say it, is the therapist needs a tool box full all the different kinds of tools (all the different kinds of therapies), like the all the different kinds of tools a mechanic needs to fix cars. The more the better.

      You cannot fix a car with only an adjustable, a screw driver and a hammer.


  8. Have you seen this movie?

    1. Hi Piotr,

      I watched your video.



    2. Piotr, I did see Runaway Train when it came out in the mid-80's on VHS tape. A friend I was seeing it with said he got out of it that when you are treated like an animal or beast then you act that way. I agree now too. Rage and defiance is how you react and survive by instinct always expecting to be attacked, till that is all you have in you to give, even for friends, if you/we were maltreated.

      What did you feel about the movie?

    3. I feel sad.
      Manny Manheim from movie it is me, I do not see hope, for me all is bullshit. This movie touches me deeply. I was beaten all my life by my mother, abused, assaulted, rejected by my father. I am wreck inside. My soul is damaged. I act as a robot and have buried my emotions. But in the end I know, that only my pain can liberate me.

    4. Hi Piotr,

      I thought the reference was for a u tube satire on economics. I will watch Runaway Train.

      Paul G.

    5. Hi Piotr & Sheri,

      I watched the wrong thing on you tube at first. Eventually found the whole version and just finished watching it.

      -"You're an animal - NO! - Worse, I'm human"-. . .

      Paul G.


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.