Friday, December 9, 2016

Precious Advice


Here is the response I sometimes get from so-called well wishers:   “Hey, time has passed.   Get over it and get on with your life.   Blah blah blah…”  This is not a well wisher; it is the  ultimate denier.  And the more you try to get over it the shorter your life will be. You cannot leave a trail of emotional debris scattered around while you “get over it.”  Biology will not permit this wait because you cannot get over what is now part of you.   Now here is the problem: if you are enmeshed in mental activity and insights and explanations you are in fact stating that memories are mainly in your thinking, remembering mind.  Yet our work and recent research says the opposite, that key embedded memories that contain the mountain of pain are located much deeper than that. And you cannot  just get over something engraved in your neurology and biology. And get on with your life.  Your life is driven by those memories, ad nauseam.  It is like telling someone to cut off his hand and get on with his life.  Well with imprinted Primal Pain he has cut off something far more important for survival:  his feelings. They should guide and direct him but alas, they fail because they have been left in the wilderness.   I was going to say, “left in the wilderness without  trace,”  but unhappily there is always a trace.  A trickle of methyl that marks the spot and tells us where the memory lies and how forceful it is.

It damages us and then screams its message, “I am suffering and I cannot stop.  The pain originates right here.”  It demands that we return to the scene of the crime and address it again. You mean to “suffer all over again.”   We can rationalize, forget and deny but the memory does not; it stays in its pristine form, unchanging, clamoring for surcease.   Yes you have to suffer again but this time there is an ending.  The first time we could cry  but repression rushed in to stop the overload.  This time in therapy the therapist will help stop any hint of overload which can often lead to the deadly abreaction and the blockage of feeling. That is what overload means; no more feeling.  It is already too much.

So what are we getting over, at last.  We are not; we are forgetting, denying, changing the subject.  We are changing our mind in the guise of ”getting over” something.  And yes, we can force the top level mind to change the direction of memory and pretend mentally that it does not exist.  We can play tricks with our minds but never can we play tricks with deep-lying trauma whose memories have penetrated the deepest levels of the brain and, like the methyl trace, are part of us biologically.  And those are the memories that wreak havoc with the system creating  afflictions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and numerous others.  And those are the same maladies that require addressing on the level where they were imprinted:  diseases that become systemic because the deep-lying pain has  also become systemic.

Here lies the crossing of the road where  conventional psychotherapy plays games with the brain, making it mindful, or unleashing volcanoes of pain. When taking hallucinogens, for example.  But not making the slow, painful, journey into the zone of the interior to meet with the devil also known as birth with  drugs, lack of touch, lack of nursing,  or a nursing mother taking pain killers, and you can fill in the blanks.  And it remains a “blank” until we can give it a name---pain.  We use any kind of painkiller, no matter the name, because it erases for a moment the real problem, imprinted agony.  Why?  Because we cannot see it, and above all, we cannot feel it because the system in its wisdom has shut down the pain just so we cannot feel it.  Imagine what a miracle it is that when deep pain becomes overwhelming we have a mechanism to shut it down for decades, and oft- times, for all or our lives.  How about that for efficacy? We  survived because we could build and create despite our pain.  And we could die prematurely because of that same pain.  We pay a price for repression; that is, for cutting away part of us so we can go on creating and inventing.

When we go deep in the brain we can feel it in all its agonies. And patients tell me that is a pain that does not hurt. I would say that it is a pain that has an ending, where each session is limited to what the  patient can feel and integrate.  That is the need for an expert therapist.  To make sure that patients do not suffer too much and are not pushed to go on feeling beyond his limit.   For that reason we need feeling therapists not someone who delights in watching someone writhe to prove what a good therapist he is.

Believe me, it I could have gotten over it and got on with my life I would have but memories endure; they are a life force we must deal with.  No way out and no short cuts.  I always knew the danger of abreaction but it was only recently that we know how to reverse it.   In long-time abreactors who wanted the easy way they often become untreatable.  So caution and care; do not treat your body as a toy or plaything.  There are serious consequences for not doing it right.  I can tell who is an abreactor, but treating it is a whole other matter.

 An example:  my cats were yelling for their food this morning.  And I got anxious and wanted to feed them right away. It is also the reason I am known as some one who gets things done.  Why?  I felt about that need to feed the cats.  It took me back to my asking my father for something I wanted to buy.  His answer was either "Later”.  Or no response.  He was incapable of acting spontaneously.  This helped make him a loser.   He could not get going on anything.  Kept it all inside, and died early of a massive heart attack.

It was all of a  piece; he could not say anything spontaneously, could not show love or affection, could not reach out to touch or hug.   Everything was “later” for a later that never came.   He just could not make a decision.  He was happy to drive a truck and have no one bother him, which he did day after day, never putting his life in question or what his life was about. He never read a book, listened to music, never escaped that tight circle he called life.   He had to have it that way because he wanted no surprises not even a son who asked for something.  To put it off for him was never having to make a decision or do anything new or different.  He was comfortable doing nothing and never changing his routine.

I became the  opposite; wanting to find out more and more; reading religiously, becoming a musician, traveling to various countries; you get the idea—to become the opposite from him.  That was my way to survive.  I learned from him; how not to be.  Money was his only interest which was something that never ever interested me.  He never laughed or joked.  Never saw the humor of life and above all,  never saw any beauty in the world.  I learned to travel to art galleries in many countries.  I learned foreign languages.  He dined at the 5:30 at inexpensive restaurants, not because he liked the food but because it was cheap.  Money dominated everything.  I never knew there was a place to buy clothes apart from the little Mexican shops on the East side.  He never gave gifts because he could not give.  A man with a short fuse, angry all of the time, something I never am.  I heard his screams constantly and vowed not to be like that.  He was my inverse role model.  A man with no interests and no knowledge and no idea how to interact socially. A man without friends whose wife was mentally ill.  She was also my mother….. A five year old who called my father, "daddy". "Daddy can I go to the store now?"

She was always a thing, a nonentity to me.   I needed love and believed I could get it from my father until I learned better and saw a man who could not love.  As Shakespeare described him: a man with no music in him. I made my own.

39 comments:

  1. Thank you for that post. Thank you Art

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  2. Piotr, thank you for the encouragement. art

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  3. My heart has been struck hard and rushed every day of my life without that I could understand why.... something that resulted in anxiety attacks until this day!

    I was a victim of my father hate as a child. My father threatened to beat me daily... something that I must have been normalized since no question of someone else's fault was a question... besides the anger I could experience when it was possible . There was only me who could be the guilty as I was in such a need of my dad and my heart started to beat fast of fear when I came close to him and just by thinking about him. My heart has not been in a soothing rhythm ever since. This is my every day when something becomes sensitive to do.


    MY HEART WILL CONTINUE TO RUSH AND BEAT HARD AS LONG AS I DO NOT EXPERIENCED THE CAUSE OF IT.
    MY THERAPEUTIC ROOM IS WHERE I LEFT IT... WHERE I WAS EXPOSED BY MY FATHER'S HATRED. IT'S AN INCREDIBLE SCARY PLACE TO GET TO BUT WELL THERE THE QUESTION IS AN OTHER... BUT STILL FULL OF PAIN.

    SO NOW I BEGIN TO KNOW AND FEEL WHY MY HEART HAS BEEN BEATING SO BAD DURING MY ENTIRE LIFE.

    Frank

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  4. "Imagine what a miracle it is that when deep pain becomes overwhelming we have a mechanism to shut it down for decades, and oft- times, for all or our lives".

    And what a paradox: this miracle is deadly in the eind
    We have to experience the pain to get healthy
    But when we never had a mother or father who looked at us and asked "what do you think, what do you feel...", then we have not learned to look at our self and look for our feelings.

    So, that's double difficult; the miracle (surviving mechanism) in the combination with not having learned to explore how we feel.

    Ingrid

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  5. I just can't understand why a man, like Dr. Janov's father, would be so closed-minded; so "unyielding". No acknowledgement or recognition of pleasures in life. Thinking like "later" is better? Wow. Could it be because he was afraid, afraid to even enjoy; too nervous over money? Didn't want anyone to "break" his "machoism"...maybe a combination of all 3. I would think one has to let out feelings at some point; no matter how "macho-man" they are. One has to feel some type of release. The person who is so businesslike, can't bring joy to themselves or family. They might have other problems, and hide behind their issues with their routine businesslike "macho-man" life. Even people who haven't gone through birth trauma, or experienced any kind of trauma, should at least "give it a shot" to release their feelings at some point in their lives. It's too bad, sometimes people can see what is wrong with a person, but that very person actually thinks nothing is wrong. Humanities and feelings are still needed to survive, to live longer; they shouldn't be squelched or treated insignificantly. I can see it in the younger generation now, some are just plain outright "cold", and that comes from their home life, as teachers know.

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  6. A miracle you survived, Art.

    My mother was also quite crazy – permanently on medication, carted off to an institution for ECT at one stage, dangerously violent at times (to me, anyway) etc. – but at least my father could enjoy a laugh, was capable of putting his arm around me from time to time, and could even cry occasionally.

    But with both parents closed off and unavailable, as in your case, it really is a tribute to you that you have made the life you have.

    Thanks for this, it makes me appreciate my own history more.

    Erron

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    1. Erron, you are always welcome. I write to help you all understand and to help myself understand. I tell my students that if you cannot articulate clearly you do not understand it clearly. art

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  7. Hi Art,

    -"It is like telling someone to cut off his hand and get on with his life"-.

    Spot On.

    Your dark humour is certainly required at times. Here in UK we have 'austerity' which is allegedly a 'political ideology'. Well actually it's not political, it's psychological, with our benefits system persecuting disabled people, literally saying for example to amputees: -"Just hop down to the prosthetics shop and everything will be ok".

    The Human Condition gets acted out by powerful people (mostly sympaths) and imposed onto less powerful people who are then blamed for being in a self fulfilling prophesy.

    Paul G.

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  8. Art,

    A short summary of your essay:

    Cry or die

    Erik

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  9. They can continue to award the nobel peace prize without reaching any different results than the war will continue indefinitely if not primal therapy will be an accepted method to a therapeutic activity about the causes for why war arises!

    AND we can talk about how primal therapy should be able to gain ground forever (and we do)... but unless we do not do much more then to this day so is humanity's days numbered and numbered of their own cause of being human of pride and professionalism instead of being cherishing people of love.

    All yours Frank

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  10. Primal therapy is almost impossible to do alone and alone around others due to the unmet needs we have why we always end up in conflict... it because we do not have the necessary escorts. We can be smart when we read any book of Janov but when we face symptoms so we are forced to pay attention to it... in try to avoid suffering... so are these books far from being any escort of mind.

    We are creatures of impulses without consciousness as yet primal therapy has proven our painful conditions.

    Frank

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  11. A joyous time of life must be wonderful!

    The last man on earth... it is we ourselves... we have just the times we live to take care of. For the sake of human race... we are just a cog in the machine... but can affect it for what we want our offspring to have the best opportunity in life... but in its case of life it is also to reproduce!

    There is nothing but love that can satisfy us in life... if there is anything else that we experience satisfies us or think is love... then we by this shall know that we have troubles!

    Frank

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  12. Why the issue of love is so universal? It does not exist!

    We can not die in peace with ourselves because we have not lived in peace with ourselves. We have lived and live in anxiety and depression... and to avoid it how ever possible... we seek peace in alcohol... drugs... overconsumption and not least war. Is it not a human catch-22? How are we suppose to ask ourselves a question of doing wrong when we are not to ask the question? How should a professional be able to set a correct diagnosis of symptoms when he put the wrong for not discovering what he himself suffers from. He is not of any good help!

    Frank

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  13. We easily get caught between thought and feelings as all the changes we experiencing is so revolutionary in it self in the primal therapeutic process... why we may experience it to be completed on the half way and we lose the most important conclusion.

    I can understand that many which has been in primal therapy are firmly in their minds of the change! If it is because the process of therapy went ahead of possible links... it with the consequences that the experience become to overwhelming or not I do not know... but that something has gone wrong... I am convinced. After having been in therapy for many years and continue to live with wonders as the cause of life... something has gone wrong.

    Frank

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  14. Hello Dr. Janov,
    thank you for the post.
    Did you ever ask yourself what your father experienced in his childhood?
    I had the chance to learn about my father’s deplorable childhood and begun to understand now how unhealed trauma repeats itself in the next generation.
    Your father and my father, unlike us, had no chance to heal, because there was no primal therapy then.
    Two years ago I was at the Primal Center but healing continues since and every day. I finally discover my true identity (becoming conscious who I am) because the childhood imprinted fear is no longer controlling my life.
    Thank you.
    Sieglinde

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    1. Hi Sieglinde Yes I later learned abut his life but it can excuse his behavior. He did his best to destroy and demean me so that he would not feel stupid. I am so glad you are making progress, art

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    2. Hi Sieglinde, There is a certain compassionate tendency to justify those who preceeded us and affeted our development in the sense you point out: not only did they not have the chance to heal, but they never knew they suffered from a mental disorder. Sure there was no PT then, but neither will every potential primaler become a PT patient today. It depends on one's courage to dare breaking the chains and untying the knots, despite the time of history. Let's not bother so much about who the father or the son are. We're all brothers and sisters through ages and there is equal merit in lifting the chains today as it was decades ago. All the best. Lars

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  15. Hi Art,
    the last "Hi Art" was only trying to test whether my entry would reach You ,the "real" obviously did not...
    It was an remark concerning an encounter with 11 Years old turkish girl /veiled for that matter... like dozens fo every age .
    I do not remember being so much enchanted by her (and the rest of them...

    Oppression did I not sense, neither shyness, et.
    Her "au revoir " will always stay with me!
    She had read the turkish version and listened to my "german..." translation of a beautiful coranic verse from french.

    Now to Your parent: my father and mother told each other (Vati and Mutti ) needs that translation?
    And they acted like thatha; I wish ther would be a license for becoming parent!!!

    I can feel Your loneliness as a little boy .
    Yours emanuel

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  16. I think most fourteen year olds who are not comfortable in their own skins already know that trying to get on with things, the past is in the past, think your way better; know better--that wishing yourself better won't do as if it's only a state of mind. It's only when we grow up and depend on our frontal cortex that we go astray and count on its reasoning alone and make ourselves believe we just need to be calmer and take some classes in meditation. I think junior high age kids ought to know about this primal way out of their misery so when they become adults they can come to a primal legacy inspired clinic. A hope for the future.

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    1. Hi Sheri,

      what you say resonates with me as I see my 13yr old daughter suffer under the tutelage of her 'cognitively modified' mother. She who is now a devotee of some kind of mindfulness. Our daughter is consequently indoctrinated and now needs a meditation lap top video to get to sleep. I hear her 'sleep talking' nightmares when she comes to stay with me. . . I hear also her stony silence as we drive back on Sunday nights.

      I am glad she has a 'meditation prop' to help her get to sleep, I mean, we all need sleep but I wonder why she needs this prop. I already know, of-course, because I was at her birth and I saw her traumatised and I saw the consequences over and over since she was little; there's something in her that still needs to 'get out' (as there is still in me). But I despair this new palliative meditation trick is perceived 'the cure' as far as her mother is concerned.
      This new (but somehow same old same old) 'cognitive route' with children makes me shudder because it smells of tyranny. It's all about 'choices' (allegedly, but who's choices? the Child's? The Patients)? How many who suck up this new version of 'free will' realise they're dividing themselves as a way to gain some control in outer life? It's not about choices it's about feelings, or shutting them down. These so called 'choices' are all 'out there'. In cognitive behavioural land few if any ask why we reach out for those 'choices' in the first place. . . Few wish to seek out our motives, the causes, the primal origins.
      To unleash this extremely 'out turned perception' (of mindfulness) on children as a way to 'help' is merely another method to shut them down and shut them up about those things that need addressing. It's beguiling because as a short term palliative it works, no wonder it's catching on in schools. The rub is in the appearance of being 'in turned' when really we are 'tuned off' or 'tuned out from feelings' when in meditation. Our feelings simply are not there and it's a beguiling sensation to feel blissfully absent. Yet I hear vital signs are often racing still. . . I was a TM meditator for donkeys years and all it did (and does) is put off the evil moment when really turning in becomes impossible to avoid.

      Yes Sheri, our children Need to Know about Primal. You can be sure I talk to my daughter about it often enough, however it clashes with her mums mindful rhetoric. That is the devil of thinking and ideas, they are exclusive. They can and do exclude the truth of our feelings and without them we are growing half beings, stunted for the lack of a fully feeling life whilst 'sitting in a posture'.

      I wish we could find some other way than words to transmit the conscious facts of Primal. Some Primal Ray Gun we could spray at unfeeling people to get them to consider for just one moment. . .

      Paul G.

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    2. Hi Paul. That age of your daughter, as I remember was quite chaotic for me; Social cliques, interest in boys, rebellion with parents. With your becoming more feeling I hope your daughter will see the benefits of primal. You will be her ray-gun.
      I was seeing on some of the Shrink Rap programs (with Pat Coughlin and others)a different kind of therapy called Short-term dynamic therapy. It seems to be a step up from cognitive in that it recognizes what is in the unconscious. They admit that the modern psychotherapy has a poor record of only half the patients feeling they are getting better and that it sometimes depends on the therapist as to how open they are as to whether the patient progresses. No doubt most of the therapists are not ready to take on the powerful first line feelings or realize they are there.
      It seems like that therapy would benefit from the Legacy program if they want to help patients. They were scratching their heads a bit trying to figure out how to help more people. It stands to reason that the therapist has to be truly 'feeling' to help someone else.

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  17. not only you made your music but devoted yourself into helping others awaken their own. Lars

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  18. For what love should have been?

    I will never get to know who my mom and dad were... to it I would have needed their love. So I'm alone in my life... alone from ever getting to know something about my mom and dad. I can call out into the eternity... eternity as nothing will ever change. I will just meet a weak little boy and never ever any one else. Since I was without love... so I was also alone... alone within myself and around all others! In time and place of it so there is no turning back from loneliness more than my need of love was all about... where I have been all of my life.

    And now I wonder if I will ever be able to grow up and experience what love is? But I will never ever experience what it should have been to me.

    Frank

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  19. Art... for what ever time we have left in our life you shall know that you are the one who made what I to this day have achieved... thanks alot Art!

    When a calm (freedom from anxiety) in suffering is experienced then we experiencing the cause of it... for whatever reason the pain became suffering... suffering of cause... it in our feelings that free us from suffering... but still in pain... pain that will not hurt us anymore... but pain for the lack of love we so badly needed.

    For me it has been a long way to walk... too long... depending on the struggle I had to face alone. What a difference it would have been if primal therapy had been established in Sweden!

    To be suspicious and have to be suspicious for what I understood would be different if the care here in Sweden had primal therapy to care, it has been my scourge. I knew they did not understand anything at all about primal therapy. Maybe it still saved my life?

    Frank

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  20. So spot on. I also dislike the saying 'time is a healer'. Time, heals nothing. I have also been removing childhood trauma for many years now (not quite as many as you) using vibrational medicine to target the parts of the brain/nervous system where the trauma lies. Only then did I begin to get better. But as you've said, it is not quick work, it takes time to feel what we couldn't feel in childhood and integrate the memories. I was led to your books Dr Arthur Janov as to the source of the 'pain' lying in the brain/nervous system and I've not looked back. Thank you for doing what you do!

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  21. When there is not an ounce of love between couples or friends then there is no possibility to help each other! In uncharitableness but in need there is no way in to be of any help... more than to be accusatory against each other!

    Art everything you say about abreaction... it is also the big problem in a intimate relationships... in the meaning that we are suppose be of help to each other... but when we live in denial of each other... then there is not even space to talk about abreaction... because that is what we are a part of in the sence of our relationships... an consequence that a relationships becomes loveless. We can then not love eachother for what we need support for abreaction... our loveless relationship supports abreaction as long as we do not understand what and why... if none one can take the other's shortcomings and be listening.

    Frank

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    1. Frank, I did go to sweden to present my case, and they had a prepared speech before I got there saying Primal Therapy was not advanced enough or proven so they rejected it. art

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    2. Hello Art!

      Yes... I remember when you visited karolinska Institute! It was packed with people... and you met a little arogant professor. I remember his face. He said nothing more than what you already said. His whole face was talking about what he was going to say "we have already decided what applies to you and your primal therapy here in sweden"

      I also remember a special event when he asked a number of questions and you began to respond. Your answer was careful and well presented. When you finished with the first question... you said "what was your next question"... he stood up went over to microfonen and said "are you not suppose to remember my second questions"? And his face... you can not forget it! This is what one encounters among scholars who have to stand up for what criticism they receive.


      Yes Art... what to say more than that there "rests a curse" over scholars who do not know other than what is comming from there heads of thinking!

      There is much more to do!

      I hope that your promise of clinical trials here in sweden will take place when the time is right!

      Your Frank

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    3. Frank, I am afraid it is not up to me. I cannot believe you were at Karolinska when I was. It is a very long time. art

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  22. Art... I am sorry for my delusions of thoughts!

    If we look at the scientific side of your history so one can say with hindsight "it is our luck that your childhood was not so glamorous" otherwise would not primal therapy seen "the light of day"! Is this not a cruel side of science that we have to suffer to discover it... the reality?

    What an unfortunate science it is to be hidden in suffering before it was discovered... who would had bothered in prosperous? A more appropriate question might be ... whom could have done it in "wellbeing" of his career and power!? Now we know!

    A dream is perhaps on its place! What would be if we had passed that stage of suffering? What a world would it not be if love flourished in every sence of its nature!

    Frank

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  23. Hatred is a dominating behaviors why others has to suffer... and finally go to war!?

    When we through arrogance and ignorance shows what we think of others so is our case about helpings far away! It will always need something extra to crack the shell we built ourselves into... we ourself through others needs of how to be. To be needing love... not to be causes catastrophic behavior.

    What is wrong with love? The big obstacle is the suffering to regain the confidence of love! We may experience that we suffer less when we live without it... that we perceive us suffer less as we live perverted without knowing about it. What an emotional equation to solve for a thinking person... impossible!

    What is the opposite of love? Hate in its nyance of social behavior!

    Frank

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  24. Self Control.

    When a person tries to feel, he tries to create a feeling. But he doesn't need to do that. He needs to resolve the feelings that were already created by trauma a long time ago. No need to 'make' something happen.

    When the feeling explodes all the way to full consciousness, it will not control you entirely, but it will dominate all of your consciousness until your automatic senses interrupt the experience if necessary.

    For example, a properly connected orgasm will dominate all of your consciousness (if you let it) until the bedroom door opens in your automatic peripheral vision.

    Or, a properly connected traumatic feeling will dominate all of your consciousness (even if you didn't let it) until your heart sends an automatic signal saying "I have had enough now -- time for a rest!"

    My point is, self-control is not a significant or important aspect of feeling. Self-control is an important aspect of decision-making. For example, you can decide to use a condom, or decide to refrain from killing someone etc.

    Now you can see why self-therapy is a ridiculous concept. Feelings are spontaneous.

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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.
Editor