Monday, April 25, 2016

Why We Need a Therapy of Feelings

Because that is what is lacking in every neurotic I treat.  And the damage they do to their children is ineffable. They cannot feel it because they are still repressed and miles from their feelings. Therefore, they have no feelings to guide them.  They need to refer to ideas to guide them, so in the old days they read Dr. Spock for guidance and he was largely very wrong.  They never referred to their own instincts because they were buried with their feelings.  It was the blind leading the blind, leading those who could not “smell” the truth.  I use that word because the old smell brain over history became the feeling brain. And when we repressed our feelings, the instincts and the sensibility went with them. And then we had unfeeling souls who Shakespeare said of them, “they have no music in them”. If I drank, I would say, “I’ll drink to that”. Those poor souls have lost the essence of life, and then they go to therapists who help finish the job by directing them to their head. Mostly they go nowhere because they have no idea what is missing and the intellectual pundits have no idea either; how tragic. The doctors look to changing ideas when they should be looking for access to feelings that would solve so much. Those feelings send antennae throughout the system creating havoc and terribly wrong perceptions and beliefs. The ideas, meant to offer feelings to bolster ideas and perceptions, mount such horrific pain that drives their ideas beyond their ken; so we get nutty beliefs and delusions.

It is not ideas that are nutty; they are doing their best to combat the influx of imprinted pain. Alas their efforts fail and become “kooky.”   Let us not forget evolution here; feelings mount for connection and resolution. That is their “raison d’ĂȘtre”. They need connection to be done with pain, but it is often too much and the pain stays inside to produce illness and symptoms of all kinds. Then we have specialists to start to treat the symptoms but who have no idea of their provenance.

Now imagine if we had only therapies of feeling. No more insights before feelings which defy evolution at every step. There are no words among chimps but lots of feelings. We are chimps with words and now we seek to cut off the chimp/feeling self in deference to words.  A therapy of words?  Where did feelings go?
Help people feel?  Wouldn’t that eliminate so much dumb violence in the world. People could feel the consequence of their acts and would shudder. They would never hit/spank a helpless child, again they would sense how wrong it is. They would not beat their animals for the same reasons. They would love their wives, husbands and children because they could feel what they need. They would touch, hug and caress them and utter words of kindness and approval; words of support and encouragement. They would be THERE for them in every sense of the term.
They would ensure a drug free birth and know that gestation is crucial for the child’s development, so no drugs, alcohol or crazy diets. That there is a living being inside.

They would know that those who are addicted are in pain; the idea is not to take their drugs away but to take the REASON FOR THE DRUGS away.  If, if, only they knew what the reasons are and where they lie.  We do not take medicine from the diabetics.  They need it; so do addicts need their medicine.  And pain killers are for pain; the problem is that we have no idea that early life leaves a residue of imprinted pain for life. So they drug and we just think that is just a bad habit because we cannot see the reason for it. A therapy of feelings would seek out and find the pain so it will no longer be a mystery.

But to have a therapy of feeling we need someone who is feeling and knows its importance; not an easy solution.

We don’t have to stop killing and hunting because no feeling person could hunt and kill a mother who is safeguarding her babies.  And we don’t have to imprison those who drink and drive because that kind of obsession with alcohol would be gone.  Ooh.  Is it that easy?  It is not that hard.  All we have to do is teach about feeling in school with classes, not in therapy but in feeling where students would sit for each other and help each other feel.  It is not that insurmountable.

And once they get to first line where rage and anxiety live, there would a way to extirpate all that. We have treated those who kill but now could not even imagine it.  And believe it or not, we treat a lot of anxiety and panic cases with success because we know where the origins lie and how to get it out of the system.  And they are so relieved to get those feelings out of their bodies.  That can never happen in a therapy without feeling. Again, when there is deep repression all access between levels of conscious are sealed off and feelings can no longer inform action.  So there are uncontrolled rages and what happens?  They are sent to “anger management”.  Like feelings are a business to be managed.  But to manage is a top-down affair, while the person needs a bottom up affair. He must reach deep into the brain and brainstem to get at the solid imprint that lives there. That can take months but it is essential when dealing with what lives deep down: utter hopelessness from a birth that was drugged or allowed no egress and left a residue of helplessness and hopelessness and a body temp way down into the 96’s.   A sign that the body had to give up and abandon hope as the forces against the baby were overwhelming. It was never thought out; it was FELT, because no words existed back then.  And that is exactly why we need a therapy of feeling if we are ever to get to the root of the matter.

What is the mystery of treating depression and anxiety? No mystery at all when we see the deep brain at work; when we actually see its effects.  It is only complicated when you only stay on top… and don’t center on feelings in the therapy.

Only feelings will lead us to the generating causes. We need to treat the tooth that hurts when we find the abscess. But if we never know an abscess is there?  The patient will go on suffering, and nor he or the doctor will know the answer because the suffering is repressed and out of sight. Behavior is only a sign of the underlying cause. If we are to help patients, we need to address the cause.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What Happens When You Can't Feel? How Fascism Gets Its Start

I  will use myself as an example. I worked in the meat-packing house when I was young. And once  a month we  played “the greased pig. “  We took a greased pig to the park and we stood around in a circle and dove on him to try to pin him down.  The winner was the guy who could pin him down for 2 minutes. It is abhorrent to me now and unthinkable and cruel. Why? Because I could not feel the effect on the poor, poor  animal. I saw but I did not see because my feelings were locked deeply away. I saw without feeling and that happened because cruelty was visited on me very early on, and due to its painful impact, I fell unconscious and could  not feel it.  I could no longer feel my own pain and therefore no one else’s. I participated in cruelty and never knew it. Herein lies the kernel of the cause of the Nazi Concentration Camps.  So the zeitgeist is all important.  It seeps into our minds like Trojan horse, stealthily, quietly and automatically. And soon we do not question anything. It took me decades to feel for those pigs, and it was far too late and now I cringe whenever I think about it. How could I do that?  I could do that because my feelings and beliefs were miles apart to keep my own pain at bay.

First, we need to dehumanize the victims; they are dangerous, threatening,  and not part of our world. The victims are not part of us. It is not that we are taught that.   It is in the  zeitgeist; we grow up with it and never question it.  It is implied in our abattoirs, the way we treat and kill animals.  Until  recently doctors operated on babies without anesthetic because they believed that they do not feel pain. And we treat “junkies”  apart, who can give up drugs if they are strong enough and make the right choice. They  can choose not to be on drugs, is the current belief. In short,  it is all in their head where choices are made; never in the body where pain lives.

How else can humans send young children to death without a second’s thought?   In the same way I allowed us all to attack a poor, lost pig and never think about its consequences.  He was just a thing to play with, not a living feeling being.

The kids were “Jews,” part of an evil empire. The leaders took away any empathy and offered a trick of the mind…..Jews.    Humanity deformed.  And they could do that in  a society already highly repressed and unfeeling. The Nazis just finished the job.  They inculcated a rationale to make killing reasonable and feasible. And for a society that was highly obedient and unquestioning it all made sense. The minute feelings push into conscious/awareness, none of that would be possible. The Nazis killed those who felt; they became the weak ones, cowards and far too sensitive,  the faint hearted who would leave Germany vulnerable. Their so called weakness was a danger to German society. They had to be eliminated. Germany above all else.

And now we begin to understand psychotherapy where we create a divide again between feelings and cognitive behavior. In a sense we are preparing a welcome, a pathway, for the evil and the Nazis to come; producing an unfeeling society who rely on beliefs, uber ales. An evil we took part in.  An evil that is the necessary consequence of a therapy that has eliminated feeling from any consideration. And when our feelings are twisted, all manor of hell can follow. They create the enemy for us and help us justify our violence toward them.  We leaders now direct our anger toward those who menace us.  Above all, those who are different from us,  especially those who think.   “When I hear the word intellectual I read for my gun,” as one Nazi leader put it. And my patients tell me that their therapists, when they hear that their patients are going to Primal Therapy,  become adamant against it, scoffing and derogatory. They won’t read about it and do not want to know about it;  it has a resonance as a  danger … with their practice and beliefs and the pivot of their lives.

We are relieved when Hubert Humphrey can go to Vietnam during the war and ask the soldiers,  “Did you get you any gooks today”?  (An exact quote). You see, they stopped being young people just married and going to school. They became “gooks.” And we can kill “gooks,” with the approval and encouragement of the vice president of the United States of America.  They were dehumanized.  I went to Vietnam and met with them after the war. They were the softest, kindest people I had met in long time.   You cannot are kill people like that.  So we made them monsters, communists who wanted to destroy us.  The story was that they were fighting not for their freedom but a proxy war for the communists, and we had to stop them.  They were “part of a giant conspiracy that threatened our very way of life.” Notice all the abstractions: vague, no proof but ideas handed down to us peasants.  Where do we go to find this great plot against us?  That is the convenience of politicians who create enemies for us; it justifies our fears and hatred.   Violence is soon in the offing.

And what happens to parents who go to psychotherapy?  They still do not see really, how they treat their children.  They cannot because intellect and cognitive processed have been apotheosized to the neglect of feelings.  That is the ultimate deformation.   Psycho--Therapy has helped us lose our humanity and compelled us to follow the leader (doctor,  head of state, the same). Psychologists reign.

How We Become Programmed Before Birth

You know, we are in a very different position from where we were just a few years ago.  I used to write about the traumas embedded in our systems during gestation but we had few ways to prove it.  Now we do.  And we can show how a smoking mother adversely affects her baby for a lifetime. Actually, we did have proof but it was clinical, not the statistical kind, so it did not count.   And we could never call anything “proof” because we did not abide by the rules of the game.  Those rules do help us remain objective so it is not a bad thing.

But now we can measure the traces on the gene that trauma leaves.  We can undo trauma and change it.  We can undo neurosis and pain. The caveat that I have maintained for decades: to resolve the buried pain we must arrive deep in the brain and we must relive it exactly as it was laid down. If it were laid down with no words there must be no words during the primal reliving. We get to deep brain sites by the opposite of willfulness, by allowing the neuronal chain of pain to take over and guide us.

What we are learning is how experience is more important than genetics and weighs more heavily in determining our sicknesses and later behavior.;  and how we can pinpoint the damage, where it lies and how crucial it is.  In other words, our social life changes our biology and our neurology. It can change his genetic make-up.

Let me say that again; your life on this planet, your very early life, overrides genetics.  A carrying mother who smokes, damages her baby, perhaps for lifetime. (Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research  (2016). Their research states that these babies are susceptible to serious diseases later on. It affects their immunity. It is a very bad start in life. There are precise epigenetic changes that endure, not the least of which is lung disease later on.   There is no escape.  I had a patient who felt suffocated all of the time.  She moved to Arizona to escape, thinking she needed clean air.  She did but way back when.   She was trying to escape an old imprint, and there is no escape from it; it is YOU.

In current research they have found that those infants who underwent a smoking mother during gestation seem to light up the same genes as  the adult who smokes.   So are both are just terrible for the child and adult, unless they prefer shortening their lives.   The fetus is not breathing but there is a blood-borne effect.   It all passes through the placenta.   What is diabolic is that the maternal effects on the fetus that embed pain can cause chronic smoking in the adult who slowly kills himself in trying to make it through life. He wants to live but without pain.  Hobson’s choice.   It is no choice at all. He is using the genes he used at the start to get out of  pain but alas…….If your mother smoked you are on your way to smoking; all for the same goal; to get out of pain.  Why?  She is killing pain and the fetus’ body is learning that it kills pain too.

 Hello addiction, which also begins deep down in the brain.  Hey, check the blood from the umbilical cord.   Smoking mothers produce a different kind of baby, and he is vulnerable.   (see the PACE consortium.  Also, Cell Press).  Do the addiction centers know what they are dealing with?  We are programmed almost from day one.  Free will?   Where?

Important:  (American,  J. of Human Genetics.   March 31, 2016) smoking in the mother damages the fetal  DNA.  And here the  newly developing genes can begin, I suggest, their voyage to later cancer.  It is a stealth but sure enemy.  And it has a long lifespan.   One reason that voyage to disease carries on unabated, is that trauma lowers the development of natural killer cells of the immune system that can search out and destroy newly developing cancer cells.   Our research with Primal Therapy showed a doubling of them (NK Cells) after one year of our therapy.

In one study (Univ. of Wisconsin.  Journal of Child Development), Examined 50 young children who had been physically abused.  There was a marked amount of methylation in them (the glucosteroid centers) as compared with non-abused children.   Why do we fall ill from cancer later in Life?  Check Primal Pain through methylation.   Same for Alzheimers.

As to further underscore the point: a study in Nature, Dec. 2015, indicates how early trauma can lead to psychosis/schizophrenia.  It is always the earliest that is most deleterious.  And nearly always pre-natal (before birth).  They found  close association between methylation traces and later mental illness/psychosis.   So when doctors look at childhood trauma to understand depression and anxiety, they are already far off the mark.    One key problem is that the person does not know about his prenatal life, since it did not contain words, but we know because we travel back on the neuronal train that is not equipped with words. …..sensations and feelings, and that is a lot and enough.  And we never ask; they tell.   The body tells and we listen.  Any therapy that is word dominated cannot ever get to the truth.
Andrew Jaffe, of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development (Baltimore. Md.), found crucial information:  Methylation was “most pronounced” between pre and post-natal periods, meaning again, early, early trauma is the most devastating and enduring of what happens to us.  Something I have found in my clinical work for 50 years.  And because I saw it and measured it, it should count.  But now we have confirming science at work to tell us again that very early trauma is the most embedded and the most harmful.  It is the most lasting and the hardest to shake; and we can only shake it by traveling back on the neuronal train to where it lives and is engraved.  There is no other way. We lock into feelings in the present, “I saw a father at the part hugging his son and the son kissed him back, and I start to cry.”  We burrow into that feeling and then let go; he is on the feeling track that will take him back slowly and safely for months to where the primal imprint is located, with its load of pain.  It has to be lived because it was never fully lived at the start;  far too painful for a fetus.  We let biology and feelings be our guide and never interfere with its trajectory.  It is our precise history being run off and it must travel all of the way toward completion.  That is when we get better and eventually, cure.   If not, we get what we got originally, partial completion and a residue of pain to be acted out for a life-time. Neurosis really means we are partial beings, not fully developed. And that means we must mature slowly, reliving early life until we are whole, until we get back all of ourselves.   We need to get our childhood back with our needs and feelings. They disappeared long ago and we don’t even know they re done. A tragedy. The depressive often feels, something is missing.  But what?   Him.

There is more evidence that the hurt begins early;  methylation shows itself soon after birth.  Jaffe emphasizes prenatal life is critical what I called the CRITICAL PERIOD. And it is.  And there is a discussion by them of in utero life,  as well which they find important for the development of schizophrenia. Another group(Mills), studied the brains of deceased fetuses  and found early widespread methylation changes in their brains.

Ayayay.  Is anyone out there?  Are you listening?

There is study after study who say pretty much the same thing:  Genes and epigenes shape how we develop and mature.  (Tel  Aviv University.  March 28, 2016.)  They found that parents who underwent stress can have lasting effects on new generations.   And “Memories of traumatic events often last a lifetime because they are so difficult to treat.”    Really?   Oh yes, they said through behavioral methods alone.   Now they are talking.  Why can’t they take the next easy step and say, Primal Therapy.     They adhere too closely to “facts.” And need to extrapolate to the solution.   Sadly, it is a giant emotional leap!! To do that, they need an intellect heavily propelled by feelings.  Ayayay. Where are those feelings? Buried under mountains of intellect that forces them away from the leap.  They stick close to facts.

Now look at this:  “Drugs that weaken traumatic memories hold promise for PTSD treatment.” (Science Daily).    Wha????   That will kill off all  their chances of cure.
We want and need the memory; it is the key to liberation. But they somehow know we need access to feelings. I say “Imprint,” while they say “memory”. A big difference.  It is not just cerebral. It is neurobiologic.  It is everywhere and yet nowhere.   There is not on spot we can focus on.  It is in the hormones, muscles, and brain.   That is why we have to focus on the central nervous system that orchestrates the whole mess.  Not just the  blood supply to the heart or brain. Not just the tension in the muscles. …….. EVERYWHERE. I call it the imprint because it is exactly that:  an imprint deep in the system and ramifies to the whole system.  In fact, what we can remember it is usually what we don’t want.  We are after  unconscious memories; they do the most damage and are the hardest to access.

They lost their infancy and the facts it contains.  It would have told them so much.  Don’t hug those facts too closely. You need to rely on feelings too.  Yes, facts do help keep us away from feelings but do not think they are the only objective truth.   You are not a better scientist because you stick to facts; you may be an unfeeling scientist that will help you avoid truths. So do not accept facts in lieu of truths.   It has happened for decades; “scientists’” pleading for Behavior and Cognitive therapy despite the truth that there is a deeper world we must deal with.   All this because facts has had a bad name, since Freud they were considered beneath us smart people, who “knew” that they were dangerous and unhealthy. OH.  He is so emotional.    If parents knock the feelings out of us we can become unfeeling objective scientists  who can state fact after fact in their papers and never draw the logical conclusions from them.  That means that they have to apply facts to human life and human interaction.    Did I already say, ayayay?

Using facts to obscure truths.  Ayayay.

Monday, April 11, 2016

What Lingers On (Part 2/2)

So my Primals for the split in my family were,  “Come back and get me.  I can’t make it without you.  Save me, please; want me.”  I never even knew where they sent my sister.   I was simply alone and abandoned, but I never KNEW it.  I felt it but it lingered on not articulated.   Feelings always precede ideas.   The facts were not there yet but the feelings flourished.   And were embedded deeply.  Those feelings drove me even though I never knew hat they were or what they were.  There they lain, unformed, un-delineated, unexpressed and unfelt.  That was my unconscious.   It all lay below knowledge; it had to.   Far too much to feel and accept except for 90 years later.    I will discuss how this drove my act-outs, later.   And it did. Feelings moved into cortical behavior, silently, stealthily and without my knowledge.  They infused my work, attitudes, interests and beliefs and still, I never knew it.   “Help me.  I am waiting to be rescued.   Please.”  I needed advice and to be told what to do and so became a good student reading book after book; from someone who never read a book before.  I wanted to know what the world was like, what happened to me and why.   With my psychoanalyst I never found out; they were too busy figuring out the meaning of my dreams.  Now I could tell them.

I never learned how to fix things because my mother was so afraid that if I got hurt she would have to take care of me.  If I got near an electric plug she would scream out of her anxiety.   I stayed away from all that and went to my head which worked OK because it was always driven by feelings near the surface.    My life’s leitmotif was  “Help me.  Show me how.  Save me.”  It was acted out in not knowing how to fix anything.   I was helpless and acted being helpless.  My act-out was “help me, teach me talk to me.  Explain explain explain.“ And when someone knew, I attached onto him.  I found ways to have people talk to me because I never felt worthy of anyone talking to me.  I became a shrink and people paid to talk to me.   Wonderful.  A terrific act out.   People did confide in me because I could feel their pain, not in so many words but in my empathy. Animals too.   A far cry for when my father let out my dog in the street and drove away.  And I do mean, “A far cry.”  How can anyone do that to a bewildered animal?

How could a rejected and neglected kid feel he had a right to be talked to and loved?  How could that kid feel worthy………..of love or anything?    He never did; always thought it was an accident.  He was very grateful for any act of kindness and gave away his prize possessions to feel loved by others.  I learned from my parents; how not to be, how not to do.  I did the opposite; that was my education from two inhuman souls.

Friday, April 8, 2016

What Lingers On (Part 1/2)

I am in my nineties now and many of you have asked for more of my feelings; since I had another Primal last night I will tell you how it happened and what it was about.

Primal feelings go beyond therapy and become a way of life.   We help patients learn how to get to feelings so for a  lifetime they can do it on their own.   We teach patients  self development so that they do not have to depend on others for getting better.   Otherwise we would enable patients to lean on therapists  for a lifetime  and not achieve self-direction and self control nor maturity.  That is not health; it continues immaturity and the need for external advice and direction.   Healthy adults don’t need that.  Look at animals, some have at least a five year period where they need parents to watch out for them; then they are on their own as adults. We want to help humans become adults not dependent babies.  If they don’t get love and nurturing early on they will try to get it later from a partner or a shrink who will foster it.

But in my opinion they need to go back to when they needed it and open themselves up to begging for it in order to evolve properly. We cannot ignore the early loss of love and protection and become human adults. We must go through the evolutionary steps; needing help, direction and love.  I did it last night; let me explain.

I watch many nature shows to see how animals develop and also because I relate to them first and foremost.  Sad to say, when I read about people hurt in an auto accident I look to see if any animals were hurt, first.  They are so vulnerable and innocent;  I am reading about me.   It is how I felt all my childhood. My mother was always mentally ill. When I was five or six she was sent to an insane asylum, as it was called back then for three years and my father went to be with her.  All my facts are faulty as they never talked to me nor touched me nor protected me.   So they left without a word to my sister and me.  They split up the family and sent us to different and very strange homes where we knew no one.   Not a word about what was happening.  Not a word when they would come back; they were Russian peasants who had no understanding of anything.  My mother was illiterate and could not read.

There was never a book, a record or even a magazine in the house.  My parents were my whole world.   And it was a pretty barren one.  I never expected love and never knew what it was.   I never heard  a laugh  my whole childhood.   That should be a big  part of any childhood; to lighten the atmosphere and make life fun and enjoyable.  It was grim; early, we lived in the ghetto and never saw the real world.  My sister worked in a bank her whole life and died recently of what?   I don’t know but I can guess;  no love.   Without Primal the same fate awaited me.  Yes, we need a good diet, but also we need an organic and harmonious system, and that is what feelings give us; to integrate feelings in us smoothly.  And when that happens our love hormones increase and stress hormones decrease and I think we live longer.   I will let you know when I am 100...

I never knew about swimming pools until my mid twenties when I saw a private pool, and was amazed.   I never heard an intellectual conversation until my late teens, and that changed me.  I began to realize that there was a different world out there other than,  “Did you take out the garbage today.?”

It is hard to believe that parents never said a word to us but we were treated like animals and could only relate to them.  I recalled the story of visiting the neighbors and the mother was standing in the kitchen with her two sons, laughing and joking.  I was shocked and ran home to say what I had seen, a mother talking to her kids. I spilled it out only to be chastised by my father for wishing someone would talk to me.  I stopped asking.  I had an underlying terror of him because when he got mad, which was every five minutes and he would scream at my crazy mother, and his eyes turned red and watered.  I knew then to watch out. But it became an imprinted Primal of fear.

Never a kind word, nor of  “How are you doing?”  Never an arm around you. Just chores by parents who thought that the job of parents was to give orders and demand respect;  never defy their need for respect.  We obeyed “religiously.”  My mother had no needs; she lived in some world I never understood.   A world of talking to herself, only.  And never to us.

Now my Primal:  I watched Nature on TV.  They raised orphans chimps and elephants until they  were ready for the Wild. Their trainers went back to the jungle after the animals were in the wild for 2-5 years to see if they were remembered.  Of course they did; the chimps came down from the trees to hug and kiss them.   They never forgot; and my Primal was that I was waiting a lifetime for them to come back from the Asylum to take care of me and love me.  I never had it and that need burrowed inside and never left.  I carried it around for ninety years and felt it last night.  I had to get to so many previous needs and hurts first.  Then later descending to age five and being left alone with strangers.  I never got it and I never had  a warm contact with my sister after the family was split.  Nothing was said but we were no longer family.

I used to feel that I was waiting for something but I never knew what it was, until last night.  My wife wanted to hug me to ease the pain and I stopped her because I had to feel alone and lonely; that was my salvation, my health and sanity.   I was getting “ME” back.  It was no more than what I had always felt deep down.   And when I was alone I was very uncomfortable.   It was the equivalent of my early life.    Alone, empty, unloved and untouched.   Not ever to be addressed directly or having a parent call my name.  And I will play you a song I wrote called SAY MY NAME.

Half the time my mother never knew who I was.  I expected it and was never shocked when she exclaimed, Who is he?    But the Primal was about needing someone to love me and be happy for me.   That never happened.  When I got my Ph.D it took place in an old English auditorium with British seats and atmosphere,  I invited them, maybe to give them one more chance to offer love, but after the ceremony they were two stones who never said a word,  and never showed any happiness for me.  One reason I became a shrink was to make women well, so I could have a sane mother.  Ayayay.

So before Primal I looked for love by starting with cold, hard people and trying desperately to have them be warm and kind.   Never happened.  I was lost and confused and alone.   I had 6 majors in college and never could talk to anyone about what I wanted to do in life, when one day I was walking across UCLA campus and Jean Fargo was waiting in a line.  I said “Jean what are you waiting for.”?  She said I am applying to graduate school where they help students learn to help others.  I said,  “I want to help others.”   She said, come on along.  I did and went to Social Work school, where I was selected for a special psychiatric internship at a famous clinic.  But when I graduated I realized that the job was like a low-paid teacher and I could not support my family, and I wanted to know more about humans. So I started all over again in psychology.   And years later I received a plaque that made me Academic Hall of Fame.    A lost kid from the ghetto; not bad.

But inside nothing changed until I saw a Primal from Dennis; at that moment my life changed; I realized that there was another world I had never seen before, well hidden and explosive.  It was me I had discovered.  It was me I liberated  but along with me was  thousands of others who shook their pain.  They began to have a life.  I realized it had little to do with what was in their head but what was deeply lodged in their feelings.  Feelings not Intellect was the answer.  That was a revolution.  Simple truth is always  revolutionary.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Now About This Addiction

I must say, and what wrangles me is that the NY Times refuses to carry any of my articles.  They tell me and I quote:  “You guys think you have all the answers and none of you do “.
Gee, I thought I did.    So here is what they publish on the front page of their  SCIENCE  section.  “Rehab Rooted in Science.” (see  I will discuss what they write so I remain true to their proposition. It is about Dr, Willenbring, a psychiatrist who has found a novel way to treat addiction.  He was treating someone formerly addicted to heroin and tried some twenty faith-based and abstinence notions of therapy. None worked.
The patient’s  brother died of Oxycontin overdose.   He also tried suicide with drugs.   Ayayay.

First step: explaining the neuroscience of alcohol and drug abuse.  Ok, good idea.  Convince them it is bad for you.  Then the doctor adds, “it is genetic.”  Exactly how does he know? Has he ever heard of science and epigenetics?  Now, he should know better since he was formerly director of the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  Surely, the notion of methylation has reached him.

The person is immediately relieved that it is not all his fault. This in contrast to the usual blah blah, booga booga speech where they are exhorted to believe that they have a spiritual defect. It is, they say, all the patient’s fault.  They are put on an abstention program: no drugs, and then they count days off drugs as the beginning of the cure.  And all attendees applaud. Good for the ego and less good for cure.

After five years on the job our doctor returned to his hometown to open a private clinic, with his own ideas, treating drug abuse and alcoholism. He advises, first, to plan on a long-term therapy. And now I quote: “His treatment plans can involve anti-depressants, medication for anxiety, and anti-relapse medication; i.e, pain killers.  He also includes psychotherapy. This is new? He doesn’t get people off drugs; he gets them on them. And he treats for traumatic stress disorder. He states that medication is necessary to reduce alcohol craving. Whey are they craving? Duh; Pain. “I don’t want anyone to have to go through the crap I went through,” the doctor insists.  He credits the pain killer suboxone for his getting off opioids for three years. So he credits one drug for helping him get off other drugs. He believes that the main target is the craving; so it is ok to use drugs to reduce the craving.  And where does the craving come from? Ah!  Another mystery.  There is no recognition of a deep inner life; of embedded imprinted memory that endures and causes cravings. The focus is on inhibiting the desire for drugs; that is, for relief from pain, only the cause of all that is pain, which is rarely mentioned. Oh yes, did I mention breathing exercises? They have added that to the mix.  And they accept weed in moderate doses.  

Wait a minute. Is this a clinic for addiction?  Sadly, it touts itself as an improvement on other approaches.  So explain to me how and why? I could go on but that is enough;  it is not enough to use drugs to cure drugs.  That is an oxymoron. What is needed is the really new approaches, an awareness of a deep inner life; an imprint down into the antipodes of the brain which creates havoc and unrelenting need. It is unrelenting because it results from a memory imprint that is imprinted into the genes of the system and endures perhaps for a lifetime. You do not conquer need.  Need is essential for fulfillment and development.  It cannot be denied or avoided. It is an immovable object. Above all we need to understand how personal evolution gets detoured; we need to examine epigenetics and methylation.  We need to understand what lies below addiction and why it exists.

Let me start with one truism. We are addicted to need not any substance. And that behavior or drug has to block need and the pain it engenders. Are we addicted to sex or are we addicted to the need for touch, for caresses and hugs and kisses; all of which we missed early in our lives but never leaves the memory centers whether in the limbic system or in the brainstem. Those alterations become part of our systems and drive behavior.  They have the importuning quality of life and death because they derive from deep and life endangering pain.

So let’s see what Dr. Willenbring brings to us: suboxone, which has elements of an opioid in it, joined with naloxone which blocks the effects of an opioid.  This latter helps undo a bit of repression.  It is basically an opioid antagonist.
Why that?  Because they have also offered a wee bit of the drug they are trying to detox.  Many years ago we used it for a time for depression.  So here we have drugs to stop drug addiction?  And this is revolutionary? Is there ever going to be a realization of why we need that?  A description of inner life and above all, of our early history.  Or are we changing chairs on the Titanic? Because down below there really is a catastrophe  lurking; the boat is sinking.  And what is being treated?  What we can see in the present, on top: behavior.
We too see behavior but of  very different sort: the behavior of those who address and relive their history with all of its agony. We don’t have to confine ourselves to what is obvious, taking drugs.  We reach the bottom layers of the brain which contain feelings, needs and pain so that we are not limited to the evident.  Aah.  What a relief, just because our good doctor brings relief but no resolution,  a big difference.  But if you have no way to observe deep into the nervous system then you are confined to the superficial.  This is what Primal Therapy offers: a deep look at the changes in the brain, so that we understand the importance of the new neurology: epigenetics and methylation.  We can now measure the pain and measure its resolution; that is science at work, no surmise nor guesswork.  Neurology has opened up a whole new dimension to us.  Let us not neglect it. If we do, it is at the patient’s peril.

Allow me to add another caveat: it is a pain that ends, a pain that feels good because it is out of the system and becomes a relief. A pain that feels good.

Can we imagine the lifetime effects of never reaching the pain and leaving that deleterious force to do its damage over the decades?  No one escapes; no one who has unaddressed pain stays untreated with impunity; repression will take its toll.  Caveat emptor.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

More on Feelings

A story from my life.   I had just finished writing the Primal Scream which sold in the millions worldwide.  Before the sale,  a copy of my manuscript was lying on the kitchen table.  My father came in for his yearly visit and walked by the kitchen to see his grandchildren.  On his way in he saw the manuscript and asked what it was.  I told him it was a book I just finished called the Primal Scream.   He walked by and rummaged through the pages in about one minute, not reading any of it and said, “we know all that”.  And walked on.  That was what he thought of my years of work. He denigrated me and made me feel stupid daily and so when it looked like I did something smart he had to dismiss it. He was terrified of looking and being dumb.  He never considered the impact it had on me; it was part of his daily rituals, “Hey stupid, hand me that tool.”

His only way to feel superior was to make me feel inferior, like he felt down deep.  And throughout my early life I felt completely stupid; never once thought of going to college, convinced I could never make it.

My early primals were always, “Say I’m OK, just once, please“. Never to come   “I begged, could you cherish me a little?  Say I’m good.  Tell me that you like me.   I am your son.    He could not because he felt the same way, and could not offer anything to me because his whole system needed it first.  There was never a book, a record or even a magazine in the house.  All he read were detective horror murder stories with those ugly drawings accompanying them.  Of course my mother was illiterate so she could never read; she signed with an “X”. We never had one conversation in her whole life.  She lived on a different planet.   My father treated us like dogs.  He never talked directly to us and when they left to go to the insane asylum for my mother for years there was not a minute of explanation.  We were given over to strangers; my sister to another strange family.    We were never close after that.

What  I hear in patients who are primaling,  when I ask them to beg their parents for love, “What’s the use, they are unfeeling robots so what is the point”?  The point is that this need for approval and love is still there and never goes away.  It has to be relived; it is their own private feelings inside them no matter how robotic parents are.  I too felt, what is the use?  But I know I had to feel that deep deep need and be rid of it.  So I needed to plead to my father just once: “Say I’m good, please just once, say I’m good.” ……… Never.

Of course in school I get involved with the most critical colleagues and tried to make them like me; what a struggle;  all driven by feeling so unliked.  Just like my father who felt like a failure and finally as I wrote previously: he was  driving down the street, I was twenty something  and without looking at me, staring straight ahead, bemoans, “I feel like a failure”.  There it was, twenty years late and much too late to change the deep-seeded imprint that destroyed my life. He never looked at me. He just had to get this feeling out to no one in particular. It was his mini-primal. It was never the same problem with my mother because she was lost in her world and had no plans for me; never knew where I went to school or if I went to school and did not care. I played hookey a lot,  missed key classes. It was no loss as I was so anxious I could not listen or pay attention and certainly could never learn.  (All my class notes say, Janov is nervous).  But she never tried to make me into anything and that was life-saving. They were Russian peasants, after all, chased out of Russia by the Cossacks. They never had a life, either. I fell close to the tree but fought my way out of. I discovered something to save my life; and oh yes, the lives of many others.

So now if you ask if I started out to change the world?  I would say “No, I just never wanted the world to change me.  I never wanted to join their world. That would have been the end of me”.

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.