Thursday, June 30, 2011

Arthur Janov: Being Unloved Makes You More Vulnerable to All Outside Events


Arthur Janov said....

Jan: This speaks for itself and expands on what I wrote. art janov

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jan J.'s comment to Arts question: "It is not just a theory is it?"

Genovés 2011-06-28
“It is not just a theory is it?” So Art, why are you labelling  it a “Unified Theory in Neuropsychology”?
One of my “weaknesses” during my whole life has been my difficulty I have had with theories which I could not relate to in practice. For me, PT is certainly not just theory. To me it was straight from the beginning a matter of pain;  fear, anxiety, terror, inferiority, epilepsy, hallucinations etc. You taught me to identify, locate, structure and to go with the emerging feelings and to stop my escapism.
But no matter how much I like you and admire you with respect to my progress and understanding of the impact om my pain, I would not have succeeded if I had not been very curios / “hands on” and involved myself in physiotherapeutic treatments and experiments with nutrition and epileptic medication. During these experiments you have been my guide, radiating unconditional support which enhanced my confidence and understanding until this day.
I think the PT debate is at a too limited degree about the responsibility, freedom and initiativ of the patients. How do we make people, who are propelled by pain, look for help, in a way so that they dare to invest in their own future reality. For that they need to be willing take risks, time and costs on their own responsability. Is the PT debate too dominated by inbreeding between likeminded?
I “broke” early the rules of the Primal Institute and opend that way my Pandoras Box. However I have for 40 years been faithful to your innovation “Evolution in Reverse”. Because you love one, you need not hate everyone else.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

If you have to ask, you’ll never know. The Primal Mind.

by Bruce Wilson
I’ve often told Arthur Janov that primal therapy needs good evidence from well-designed outcome studies before the psychological community will accept it as a valid therapy. I tell him this is the only way his colleagues will come to believe that the therapy works. His response is usually something like, “they won’t believe it even if you prove it to them. With scientists, the distance from the left brain to the right cannot be crossed.”
In a way, he’s correct. To those of us who have allowed ourselves to let go and drop deeply into feelings without inhibition or control, the concept of “feeling” takes on a whole new meaning. From that point forward, the common notion of feeling held by most psychologists is revealed as a pale facsimile of the real thing. Rather, it is only the tip of the iceberg, the bare beginning of what’s needed to connect with our deepest selves and reclaim our birthright as fully feeling human beings. And as Janov repeatedly reminds us, this process must be done slowly and carefully, with a constant focus on insight and connection, otherwise we can get easily get lost in empty catharsis with few insights or bizarre ideation. Janov calls this “abreaction.”
To psychologists who haven’t gone deeply into their own feelings, this is terra incognita. Most consider deep feeling as dangerous – something to avoid lest it “retraumatize” the client. Even the most well-meaning of therapists who say their approach is “all about feelings” miss the point. The loss of control needed to descend to the level at which the trauma occurred cannot be avoided. Without it, you remain at a distance, apart from the trauma. You must go into the center of the pain to resolve it, and when done properly, the pain dissolves into feeling and the insights flow. Left brain and right brain connect to create a wholly functional, feeling being.
But in today’s trauma therapy, the client is usually led part-way into the pain whereupon the therapist intervenes with advice on how to “appraise” the feeling. The cognitive brain stays firmly in control while the feeling is observed from afar, as though on a stage. A variation of this is EMDR – eye movement desensitization therapy – where the client witnesses the trauma from afar, as though in hypnosis, and then talks about it. She remains detached from her pain because to go deeper into it risks retraumatization.
And herein lies the difficulty in encouraging the scientific community to consider primal therapy seriously: unless you’ve been there and dropped to that level yourself, the concept of primal feeling is foreign and usually confused with loud screaming, crying, venting, flailing or flopping about, or some other display of extreme emotion, but with no understanding of what is happening on the inside. More often than not, deep feeling is avoided because most if not all psychologists have some degree of past trauma they are defending against. They may have touched on it in talk therapy, cried about it even, but very few have let themselves go to the depths because after all, it is painful, and most talk therapy situations don’t allow full expression of feelings, lest it disturb their professional neighbours. Also, later trauma often connects to earlier trauma underneath, a phenomenon Janov refers to as the chain of pain. There is a general fear of losing control, despite the fact that primal therapy has mapped this territory well over its forty plus years of development.
This is why the science of primal therapy – the real science, that is, not the “science” that Janov writes about – must be done by researchers who have gone through the primal process, preferably all the way through therapist training. Otherwise, one there will always ask what is really meant by primal feelings and primal pain. And as Louis Armstrong said when someone asked what jazz was, “if you have to ask, you’ll never know.”
JanJohnsson’ comment:
Genovés 20ll-06-26
Thank You for another well written analytical article about Primal Therapy. It represents a viable complement to the messages coming from the inventor, our “unloved” guide, Art Janov. When you, in a very elegant way are letting Louis Armstrong "play the overture" of your reflections it provokes two different memory scenarios.
The first memory to ascend is one of a dear femal friend of mine, Grethe. She was an early Primal patient back in the 70ies and she was back in the 60ies married to Ben Webster when they lived in Copenhagen. One of their friends was Lous Armstrong, so Grethe, who was a jazz singer, had many opportunities to sing together with both Webster and Armstrong. At times, when I was sorry that I could not express myself in terms of jazz, Grethe said that it was more than OK if I could listen to it  and like it. She said she could do it but could not explain it. Unfortunately this lovely woman had early imprinted pain of a magnitud that her cells went crazy and she died from bonecancer in my arms the 18th of August 1982, while Etta Cameron sang gospels for us.
The other memory caused by “If you ask, you will never know” can be interpreted in different ways. Maybe you can help me? I have been connected to PT during almost 40 years. However, during all these years very, very few of those who know me and others have ever asked me about PT!!!  That this did not happen during a few decades, I can understand, while I kept it private due to my proffessional carrier as manager and consultant in different listed companies. However during the last 15 years it has been more official and especially during the last couple of years, when I have been publishing my “secrets” on my blogg. The only questions I’ve had are coming from Art and a couple of people like yourself.
The Google statistics are telling me that a flattering number of readers are aware of my existens. In my circle of contacts there are and has been quite a few psychologists, therapists and neurologists and according to Art’s and your opinion I interpret their silence as a defence against some degree of past trauma. However, for Hells sake they are proffessionals. In my opinion it should be part of their obligation to ask when they find a unique case. Maybe they are trapped by “if you have to ask, you will never know” or to quote another giant, Winston Churchill; “Do not reveal all your ignorance by unnecessary statements. It is better to shut up and let people maintain some degree of illusion about you.”
Probably their pain is covering up their real truth. Or worse, they do know but do not dare to.
Jan Johnsson

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Social Determinants of Health by Peter Prontzos

This post contains a portion of the talk that I gave last month at the 16th International Conference of the Association of Psychology and Psychiatry for Adults and Children in Athens. While I began with a short discussion of primal theory, I also wanted to stress how social and economic factors create the basis for much of the pain in our lives.

Research has now clearly established that economic, and social variables – more than individual or family behavior – are the most salient factors overall in determining a child’s well-being.

Epigenetics, for instance, explores how the social and economic experiences of one’s parents and even grandparents are transmitted to a fetus by influencing whether genes are turned on or off.

And psychologist Monique Robinson points out that:

Regardless of exposure to stress in the womb, a nurturing environment after birth can provide the child with enormous potential to change their course of development. This is known as “developmental plasticity,” which means that the brain can adapt and change as the child grows with a positive environment.

The important message here is in how we as a community support pregnant women. Stressful lives are most often linked with socioeconomic disadvantage. This research shows we should be targeting these women with support programs to ensure the stress does not negatively affect the unborn child.

Not surprisingly, poverty can do significant harm to children, including brain damage. Researchers at UBC and UC Berkeley found that US children from low socioeconomic environments displayed a response in the prefrontal cortex that was similar “to the response of people who have had a portion of their frontal lobe destroyed by a stroke.”

Providing optimal conditions for pregnant women, such as nutrition and prenatal care, would prevent children from suffering from a host of cognitive, emotional, and physical illnesses.

Nobel prize-winning economist James Heckman argues that every dollar invested “in the very young” not only saves lives and prevents illness, but it will also save from $4-17 dollars in future social costs. For instance, toxic chemicals and air pollutants, which result in such outcomes as lead poisoning, ADHD, and autism, cost the United States $77 billion annually.

Almost 350,000 women die each year in childbirth – most of whom could be saved for the cost of – six fighter jets.

The most horrific figure is this: over 22,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from hunger and preventable diseases – almost 9 million every year.

The crime is that the world has more than enough wealth and knowledge to eliminate most of this suffering.

Consider that governments give approximately $400-500 billion dollars every year to wealthy corporations whose activities are destroying the environment.

This year’s US military budget is around $800 billion, and the world spends twice that: $1.6 trillion. Perhaps the simplest (and most rational) change would be to redirect wasteful military spending – one-fifth of which, according to the United Nations, would end the worst elements of global poverty by providing basic levels of health care, sanitation, food, housing and education.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq alone will cost over $3 trillion.

Literally trillions of dollars were spent bailing out Wall Street when their dubious investments collapsed, and yet the 25 top hedge fund managers in 2009 “earned” an average of more than a billion dollars each – “more than 24,000 times that of the average American.” Millions lost their jobs and houses, but it’s OK because, in the view of the CEO of Goldman Sachs, they were “doing God’s work” (McQuaig and Brooks, The Trouble with Billionaires, Penguin, Toronto, 2010).

And in 2009, the combined net worth of the world’s 1,011 billionaires increased to $3.6 trillion, up $1.2 trillion in just one year. Just one-quarter of this new wealth could end global poverty.

The single greatest negative influence on the health of children is extreme social and economic inequality (both relative and absolute). This is just as true for wealthy countries as it is for poor ones, since “high levels of inequality have a negative impact on population health in both rich and poor nations alike.”

It is obvious that trying to “live” on $2/day or less is hardly optimal for one’s physical or emotional health, but almost half the world’s population is trapped in this predicament. Even a rich country like Canada is nowhere near as healthy as it could be:

The primary factors that shape the health of Canadians are not medical treatments or lifestyle choices, but rather the living conditions they experience…how income and wealth is distributed, whether or not we are employed, and if so, by the working conditions we experience (“Canadians’ health is mostly shaped by social determinants”, CCPA Monitor, June 2010).

Almost everything that is vital to a healthy community, from life expectancy to levels of depression to educational performance to crime rates, is affected by how unequal a society is. This is true in both rich and poor countries. Infants and children are the ones most vulnerable to negative social and economic inequalities (The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, Wilkinson and Pickett).

Perhaps the most important point to remember is that none of the social, economic, and environmental problems are necessary. All scarcities are, as Murray Bookchin pointed out over 40 years ago, artificial. We possess both the knowledge and the wealth to eliminate the worst of these afflictions. Why aren’t we doing so?
Peter Prontzos

Jan Johnsson's comments:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Art Janovs Reflection on the Human Condition

A Charter Member of the Unloved Club

Someone wrote me on facebook, a girlfriend I have not seen in decades. We talked a long time, only to find out that she was in love with me. She never told me but I also could not sense it because growing up unloved I had no idea what it was when I saw it, or at least unable to recognize it when it was in front of me. And among my friends and patients most of us grew up unloved. How strange when the most natural thing on earth is to grow up loved; to be hugged and kissed by someone who is glad to see you, cherishes you and misses you when you are gone. So many of us pass by love; and the only way to avoid that is two-fold: either you get into my therapy and feel completely unloved. When you do that you finally feel and then you can go and find love. Or, you find someone who loves you. You finally know what it feels like and it opens you up to more of the same; a rare occurrence because those of us who feel like shit never go straight for love. We either need to buy it, offer the guy or girl some kind of reward or job or gift. Or we pursue her because we cannot imagine she would freely approach us. We never expect it to be mutual, and when by chance it is, we manage to f---k it up royally, all so we can feel unloved again. It is like the gambling addiction; not to win but to lose so we can try to win again. We are addicted to the struggle for love, not love itself.

So many adults have so much neurosis that loving a child becomes almost impossible; that is filling his need and not their own. They want a smart kid, athletic child, passive, obedient one or more aggressive one; whatever the parent need is becomes the child’s destiny; her life and her future. He wants an obedient child and he gets it; someone who cannot get going. She cannot get a job or be aggressive in the market place because she is waiting for her orders; something she got all of her life. Parents who cannot sit still have a hard time loving their child because they are too busy doing other things; going and doing without cease. They are driven by internal promptings, primal promptings that will not let them rest, nor relax enough to hug their child, play with him at length and be there to listen; to be there for him. They have to travel all the time to keep from feeling constrained (at birth or after in the home), and so the child is again bereft.

Parents too often lead the unexamined life; they just go on doing what was done to them. They demand obedience and no sassing from the children. They expect to be obeyed without question; the makings of a good Nazi. “I was just following orders.” These parents haven’t learned about feelings and their crucial importance. And so many do not know that all that counts in life is to be loved and love back. There is nothing else; everything else is fioriture, gingerbread, topping on the cake. But beyond that, and this is crucial, we need to grow up loved, valued, cherished, adored, kissed, cuddled and hug. That is love. It comes from feeling human beings and sets the whole tone for our lives. With it we feel loved, secure, confident, open, optimistic and free. Without it, we spend a lifetime trying to overcome it. We drug and drink so that the pain remains covered. We don’t really know we are in pain. We just feel ill-at-ease, lousy, uncomfortable and icky in our skin. And we cannot overcome it until we feel it; and we cannot feel it until we know it is there. And we cannot know it is there when we go to therapy because the therapist is in his head and doesn’t know it is there too. He became a shrink because his parents set him on the program. He became smart and unloved. And we cannot know it is there until we feel loved; but diabolically, we never do, since feeling unloved supersedes it. It washes any chance we have away. We need to know we are in pain. That is the first step. Then feel it and shred its effects. Then we are free; free to feel loved at last.