Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Primal Enigma Machine*.

As I have said before, I, sometimes, interpret your texts, like when the devil reads the Bible. So when you are saying: “and here lies the enigma” (More on the Meaning of the Act-Out), I read it as “in this aspect the enigma is lying/misleading”. 

The perplexity when love has failed to fulfil my needs and has become painful has caused me a lot of doubts over decades. My interpretation of the impact of love has been somewhat restricted. Your message about the importance of love I have, intellectually, interpreted too literally, although, I within me had reasons to hesitate.

My mother caused me a traumatic birth, which eventually led to epilepsy and a neurotic life pattern. She breastfed me for more than two years, and transmitted, in her modest way, love to me as long as she lived. Her love solidified my neuroses and my hyperactivity, which among other things led to my relationship with my father never developed into more than an unemotional, practical and administrative ritual.

Thanks (!) to that my birth trauma developed into epilepsy, I was able to find my way to The Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse. I did it with the help of Carbamazepine / Tegretol and the ability, of a neurotic act out, to win the confidence of the surroundings. After 40 years of trial and error, I have begun to understand the enigma / perplexity. Closeness and love was always too much to my encapsulated birth trauma. “The ugly head” of the trauma, the epilepsy, showed up at, among other things, too much touch and love and I escaped both figuratively and literally, when my leaky gates and my hyperactivity became too difficult to control. Several of my female relationships told me sad and irritated that I was afraid of closeness, which each time filled me with painful feelings of inadequacy that threatened my inner control.

I have often, in my environment, seen and experienced cases with similarities of my own enigma / perplexity. In these cases, a child, with repressed pain, developed into an abuser in the relationship with a parent, who, unaware of his / her own repressed pain and unfulfilled needs, easily give in to pressure of neurotic character.

An encapsulated and repressed birth trauma, propelling distorting neuroses, can with too much love be provoked to leak pain, as well as hyperventilation can cause the chemical imbalance and produce dizziness, blurred vision, muscle spasm and until unconsciousness. If all our needs from conception are satisfied, love, to a healthy mind and body, is as important as oxygen.

Jan Johnsson

*Alluding to the military enigma machine used by cryptologists to deciphering secret messages.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Life-long Strangelhold.

During the last 40 years (calculated from the reading of The Primal Scream), I have learned to understand the principles and the process to re-live my birth-trauma. That way, I have been able to understand my weakness in emotional contacts, in my relationships and in my childhood, and how my neurotic life pattern was developed. This, eventually, led to a demystification of my epilepsy. In summary, my epilepsy can be described as a compressed short circuit / reaction to my organism’s 48 hour traumatic struggle for survival after the amniotic fluid was gone, to come out of the womb. The horrific struggle had many, for a fetus unbearable, complex events such as squeezing, choking, anesthetics in different forms, turning the fetus and strangling by the umbilical cord when being pulled out. Just recently it’s been 34 years from my first experience of how a normally short, however, shattering grand mal seizure developed / turned into a 1-2 hour long, integrating birth primal.

Having, during three intensive periods (10-15 years apart), re-lived most of the encapsulated pain from my birth trauma, my life has become pretty “normal”. My life pattern, although influenced by my history, has been liberated from the filter of neurotic actions that were previously necessary to reduce the leaking pain I, for most of my life, have been distorted by. A unique, but not totally illogical effect of my liberation from inhibitions and repressed pain, has been my initiative to connect with my teenage love Eva. Our contact ended when I, at age 19, developed epilepsy and was chemically lobotomized.

The resumption of our contact, after 53 years, has been and is a unique restoration of the friendship between two soul mates. The Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse is the catalyst of that success. We have been able to let 53 years pass in review as a script under constant development. An infinite number of undeveloped and / or hidden scenarios well up out of our, increasingly less constricted, minds. This happens in spite (or perhaps it is thanks to?) there being complications in both of us that require solutions and changes. Eva e.g. had a long, and for traditional values, very success-filled academic career as faculty manager and board member at a prestigious university. These successes were achieved at the price of an emotionally impoverished life. “Free painkillers” such as coffee, sugar, cigarettes and workaholism held an emotionally disturbed childhood, with a bipolar mother, at bay. The pain propelled neuroses overloaded her organs and represented the price for academic success. The symptoms for Eva’s success; hyperthyroidism, hypertension and diabetes culminated 6-7 years ago in a burnout and stroke without other visible symptoms than a corrupted working memory and depression.

Over two, years, I have guided Eva into new habits. Through diet, physical exercises and Rolfing, Eva has made great progress and has been able to eliminate significant portions of her medical treatment and regained a functioning working memory. Eva’s long-term memory and her intellectual and emotional abilities are set in relation to her deep repression, surprisingly intact from our youth. Eva has a deep-set, natural drive to free herself from her inhibitions, and she makes daily small steps forward in her fight to pull herself from these neuroses that have kept her away / filtered from her true feelings. Eva has embarked on a stimulating and exciting, but, long and difficult journey of no return.

After an attempt by Eva, in writing, to describe a traumatic family situation that I received by email and read last night, I was hit by a strange empty feeling of hopelessness. Eva had “scientifically”, objectively, described the trauma over 2 A4 pages and only peripherally touched on the feelings that she had not wanted or been able to feel. I went to bed with Eva’s repressed, undescribed, emotions. At 3 o’clock in the morning, I woke up deep in the middle of a birth primal. At first I was painfully numb in my head, arms and legs, which meant feelings which I have experienced many times before. More unique feelings followed that I was dehydrated and chapped in the mouth, tongue and throat. After violent twitching of the legs and the body, I was ripped out backwards with the umbilical cord in a stranglehold around the neck. Indescribable gurgling sounds welled up from my chest, and I could keep myself conscious throughout the process.

Out of the hopeless feeling when I went to bed, something extraordinarily positive had emerged, and I had been through another liberating, wordless re-experience of my birth trauma!  “My Primal Journey will not end. There is no way, the way turns into reality while I travel. It is the journey that is the labour’s worth, not the goal of the path.”

Jan Johnsson

In motion

The sated day is never first.
The best day is a day of thirst.

Yes, there is a goal and mening in our path -
but it’s the way that is the labour’s worth.

The best goal is a night-long rest,
fire lit, and bread broken in haste.

In places where one sleeps but once,
sleep is secure, dreams full of songs.

Strike camp, strike camp! The new day shows its light.
Our great adventure has no end in sight.

Karin Boye (1927)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

An Invaluable Primal Dialogue.

An Invaluable Primal Dialogue.

The Primal Principle (Evolution in Reverse) and the process of re-living repressed pain are, unfortunately, still so unique, unknown and in some circles discredited that, basically, there is only one source, with whom to keep an undoubted dialogue; Art Janov. In the Reflection “Does Plenty of Infancy and Childhood Love Undo Early Trauma?”, Art mentions his own experiences from childhood and adolescence and the importance of loving experiences. This form av reflective dialogue lights up my world and associates emotions and memories that further enhance the image of the Primal Principle.

Although both the traumas and their outcomes may vary, the principle behind is the same. Non-perceived pain, i.e. for a fetus unbearable pain, which has been encapsulated, distorts our reality in many respects. The pain lives on, repressed, a whole life and propeles us to neurotic, superficial successes and to over-taxing our organs leading to strokes, heart attacks, ulcers etc.

My life has consisted of 73 years dependent on my birth trauma. The last 35 years have been an improvised “tango dance” in Evolution in Reverse to eliminate the accumulated pain and to dissolve the protective but at the same time degrading and backbreaking neuroses. Gradually I have understood my life-pattern, and eventually I could change my life and behavior better to suit my real needs.

After a traumatic birth, both for me and for my mother, I had three years alone as my parents’ beloved prince until I was dethroned by my first sister. Parallel to that I developed a pain-driven hyperactivity my father became increasingly sensitive and nervous. He did not lack emotional traits but, he was eventually unable to demonstrate it. He was marked by a difficult childhood (his mother and two siblings died of the Spanish flu during the second decade of the last century). Our emotional relationship became with the years more and more disturbed; however, he was always on hand when I practically needed him. He could not cope with my hyperactivity, but he let me largely keep on with annoying pranks and constant absence from home. My mother was not very emotional, but, during a lifetime, I felt her unconditional sympathy and love.

I was always fortunate, from a very early age, outside my home to meet people who liked me and helped me, which temporarily relieved / stunned my pain. The same thing happened up through my career. I formed teams / collaborated with executives of both male and female background until my life pattern pushed me on. (A company boss supported e.g. my years in LA). My relationships and marriages followed the same pattern.

Unlimited love was not enough to eliminate my pain. I managed temporarily to keep it down and use it to propel energy for some time. For a project, a marriage, a new culture / language, etc. Looking back in my life, I have many scars of love that I had not managed to receive before the pain started to leak and I became epileptic suicidal. Neurotically engaging projects were together with Carbamazepine / Tegretol my main painkillers. I have been on a long term escape from my birth trauma, and solely love was not able to cure the pain that my mother’s religious idea, “to give birth in pain”, created.

Slowly over 40 years, Art Janov and his psychotherapeutic, Primal Principles have, aided by Ida Rolf’s liberating physiotherapy principles, made me re-live my birth trauma and discharge the pain that my body and mind were trying to limit with neurotic filters and tricks in a seemingly unreasonable proportion.

I am convinced of unconditional love from the moment of conception, but accidents, follies, etc. can create situations in which love becomes painful. The fact that I with natural methods have been able to take me out of such a trauma and understand my destiny, it is neither more nor less than a miracle. That I, moreover, after 53 years have been reunited with my childhood love will, eventually, be the subject of a separate documenting in the history of Primal Therapy.

It has been an amazing journey through life, epilepsy and pain. I hope that those I left sad and confused along the way will understand and forgive me. I saw and had no choice if I wanted to survive.

Jan Johnsson

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A new Reference-frame of life

Art-destruction (and Art Janov) created my new reference-frame of life.

After a horrific birth trauma which almost cost me my life, I was born with a voluminous, engraved repressed pain. My unconscious pain was, during my youth, predominantly expressed in the form of hyperactivity, physical and mental. Later, when after excessive energy efforts my leaky gates to my pain were left unprotected, I would for a short period of time be depressed, which ended in suicidal thoughts. This short (2-3 days) suicidal state was always followed, by my decision, to give me another chance. I was soon on my way into a new hyperactivity period of 3 - 5 years. (This ongoing life pattern turned later during Primal Therapy into birth primals when I re-lived my fight for life and death to get out and by being strangled by the umbilical cord.)

During my hyperactivity, I developed a collection of neuroses / unreal needs in order to be accepted, get attention and be loved. Some of these neurotic behaviors showed in the form of crazy ideas. An example is when I, guided by ignorant and insensitive parents, was told that I, being the first born of 4 siblings, always ought to know best and be responsible. I interpreted this message my own way and thought that I was stupid and cheated when I was reading homework during my time in junior-secondary school. These neuroses increased my often humiliating activity to capture knowledge and achieve a lower school certificate without opening the books. This neurotic madness along with social neuroses caused me to avoid secondary studies during adolescence. Only when I, at 19 of age, developed epilepsy and became medically lobotomised I managed, with several years delay, to repair my lack of studies, to graduate and pursue a career, my hyperactivity-neuroses turned to a commercial career.

In spite of a full time job, advanced evening studies, a relation that led to marriage and two children, I needed a lot of physical exercises and sex to  consume all the pain-propelled energy that was pouring out of me. I rarely slept 5 hours a night. My career was dead straight, and I was seen early to have a unique ability to judge external factors, business and staff assessment. However, I had a poor understanding of myself, though, literally, I could feel my prison of pain. It was my epilepsy, which constantly kept me aware of the existence of my pain. It would take 40 years to bit by bit re-live most of my engraved pain and to dissolve the neurotic, survival-filters between my cortex and the other two brain systems in the triune brain. When the filter dissolved I saw the same world as before, but now motivated by different, more real needs. A new way of living, a new way of valuing events and actions and a new set of attitudes, own and others, which I had to show and to accept.

Sometimes, when I, nowadays, talk with someone, I can for a fraction of a second feel tempted, by residues of my old habit, to give a neurotic response. However, now my answer instinctively matches my real needs even if it may put me in a less favorable position. It is pleasant to have been freed from the humiliating needs for political, tactical and prestige-related short-term games l often felt pain-propelled into.

Very often paradigm changes take more than politicians, scientists and psychologists can handle out from their locked in positions. We need sometimes, figuratively, to destroy a lifestyle which has run into a dead end and then we need a Raphael Ortiz and an Yoko Ono to show us the way and if we are lucky an Art Janov will appear and create a new frame of reference. Maybe a new paradigm.

Jan Johnsson

Raphael Ortiz and Yoko Ono closing, in Oct., 2013, the circle from a Destruction Art Symposion1966. (When The Primal Therapy was born...)

“The world is your mirror and your mind is a magnet. What you perceive in this world is largely a reflection of your own attitudes and beliefs.” M. LeBeuf

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fire Watch

Fire Watch

The other day Art Janov, in an article (What is Primal Therapy?), used an interesting metaphor when he told us that his hair “caught fire”. This had happened due to the fact that a number of unnamed psycho-therapists in an unauthorized manner borrows the term “Primal” to deceive patients to their version of therapy.

The fire in Art’s hair sparked memories in my bald (which ought to make it fireproof) head. When I, 1971, for the first time read The Primal Scream in Danish, a, then, unconscious, pain-propelled neurosis guided me. The pain behind my neurosis proved one day to be my mothers pride over my siblings curly hair and her sorrow over my straggling hair growth. I became neurotically obsessed with Art’s hair (on the book cover), which now, 42 years later, “caught fire”.

In the Primal Scream, Art Janov explains how the invention of the Primal Principle was born. One of his patients had been to a different show during the 1960ies in NY with the renowned avant-garde artist Raphael Ortiz (incidentally a colleague of Yoko Ono) who experimented, with the audience, to find out more about the unconscious mind. The patient’s experience led to that Art Janov guided him to undergo the first emotional experience with the label “Primal”. The rest is history and the line of “prisoners of pain” from all over the world, which, more or less successfully have made a pilgrimage to LA to get free from their pain, is long.

The development has not stood still during the 47 years that The Primal Therapy has existed, but it has, on the other hand, neither meant that a secure universal psycho-therapeutic Primal method has been developed outside the domains of Art Janov if even there! Why? Why are there so many who want to help their patients with the miracle sign Primal?

Many therapists are apparently somewhat aware, however, not consciously, of the curative potential to re-live imprinted / traumatic pain. The Primal Therapy places enormous demands on both those who want to be therapists and those who want to be patients. It takes a long time to learn to become a patient. For those who want to become a skilled guide / therapist, they must themselves have made the journey as a patient; otherwise they will never understand that the patient is the one who is in charge and determining and that the therapist can only be a guide.

Personally, I made my journey in three stages of development - 10-15 year intervals - which has covered most of a lifetime. Art Janov’s guidance, his narrated patient experiences and my unconventional therapy experiments with my physique and my diet has been my indispensable guiding principles. Not to forget, I have been fortunate and selfish enough to acquire and allocate the material resources, of substantial size, which has been required.

Regardless of my own positive experiences, when I de-mystified my epilepsy by re-living my birth trauma and saw degrading neurotic behavior being dissolved, it is an experience that, during the past 2 years, has meant most to my understanding of the Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse. Using my experience over 40 years, I have been able to guide a friend from childhood to  get out of a deep depression caused by a stroke and burn out after a long academic career. Her joy and enthusiasm can be compared to the experience I had during the years when I, when necessary, have been patiently guided by Art Janovs ingenious intuition. A practical, non-scientific, confirmation of the Primal Principle.

Together and separately we have made an emotional, interdisciplinary therapeutic journey, that has taken us from cognitive awareness to a truer consciousness.

Jan Johnsson

Friday, November 29, 2013

Social Equality.

Social Equality.

It is hard not to feel a pang of sympathy when Frank Larsson fights for his absurd idea, through a legal process, to achieve free access to Primal Therapy (FrankNovember 25, 2013 at 12:26 AM). It seems that his struggle is as intense as his deeply engraved primal pain. In the world, Frank is describing are those who are intellectuals, i.e., those who are locked up in their left, intellectual cerebral hemisphere, guilty of criminal acts since they do not introduce social rules of free Primal Therapy for all. The crux is only that all the intellectuals, which according to Frank, have a brain like a safe (with the key forever, self-inflicted hidden inside the safe), are dominating both the judiciary and all forms of treatments. This means that these key individuals, in Frank’s alleged entitlement process, themselves, logically, must first undergo Primal Therapy and eliminate the pain and neuroses that propelled them to their positions so that they blend in Frank’s world. This looks like a catch-22.

The table on which Frank’s case reasonably belongs is Social Equality, which includes Equal Rights under the law, with equal access to social goods and services. However, Social Equality is an ideal situation, that does not occur in actuality, in complex economics. The administration of our constitutions favouring the many instead of the few, this is why they are called democracies. To avoid getting into a legal witch hunt, Frank is recommended to choose the political path. Frank is not alone in his fight for a fairer world. Some (radical) feminists have opposed equality before the law because they think it maintains the weak situation of the weak.

In the literature and in the fairy tale are several examples, that resembles Frank’s ambitions. The Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, in his classic and influential work “Don Quixote”, described the impossible dream personified by the knight Don Quixote of Mancha and his squire Sancho Panza. Don Quixote tries, despite his own idealism, to teach Sancho Panza that: “Those who believe that the state of things in this world can be changed, think something they should not believe”... Sometimes, when I read Art Janov’s and Frank Larsson’s argument shifts, I start involuntarily to think of Cervantes.

H.C. Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a tale about a couple of weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out; “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” It does not take much imagination to hear the scream of H.C. Andersen’s child when Frank is commenting his indignation over the intellectual masquerades of the rulers.

Jan Johnsson

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Remark about Mindfulness (One of the factors of enlightment).

Remark about Mindfulness (One of the factors of enlightment).

Daniel Goleman, author of the long-lived bestseller “Emotional Intelligence”, published in 1995, broadened the view of the narrow-charged word intelligence. In business, life became more human. It suddenly became easier to talk about feelings, and emotional reactions in cooperation as well in change situations and even the logically limited technology specialists had easier to admit that emotions were part of the general intelligence.

Goleman gathered during his ph.D. studies at Harvard knowledge and inspiration from Indian Mindfulness. Later after his successful establishment of the new intelligence-paradigm, he has this year in collaboration published a book: “Working with Mindfulness: Research and Practice of Mindful Techniques in Organizations).” All of Coleman’s production and exercises are based on scientific research in an ambition to keep his language demystified and free from gobbledygook.

Mindfulness is a readily available technique, accessible to an insignificant cost. It can help those in need through stressful situations. “If you want to have a human moment, which is when everything really happens, you have to set aside what you’re thinking about, turn off your iPad, turn away from your screen, stop your daydreams about whatever is pulling you away, and be fully present with the person/child you’re with. I think we need more and more help having those human moments.”

If that mindful attitude, whether it comes from MMP, could be combined with / linked to, the Primal Principles; “to lay back and feel the stab of anxiety” the human race would be less dependent of DSM 5, and it’s drug-initiating categorizations.

Jan Johnsson 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bridge of Asses (Pons asinorum)

Bridge of Asses (Pons asinorum)

To create a new frame to understand the Primal Therapy.

I have often found it difficult, in an easily understandable way, to explain how, using the Primal Therapy and its principles, I was able to relive the imprinted pain from my terrifying and traumatic birth-process. It has taken four decades of my life to feel at home, “confused on a higher level”, in that potential new paradigm of PT.

Art Janov writes for instance in his article series “The Mystery Known as Depression”: “It is a new paradigm. If we try to understand it, within the old frame of reference, we will fail. What is difficult to accept is our assertion that re-living traumatic experiences, including birth, is the way to reverse depression, Exploring the mind has been like exploring the world to prove it is round; it often cannot be believed until somebody actually makes the journey. In the development of Primal Therapy, we have always let ourselves be guided by one unassailable truth - the experience of our patients.

The above quote by Art Janov caused me, during my long, unusual and eventful Epileptic Journey, often to come across a “Bridge of Asses”. I had  need of a metaphor for an explanation or justification which could pass a critical test of understanding to, for myself and others, explain the experiences, I physically and mentally underwent. That meant, not infrequently, especially in the beginning, deductions / syllogisms of extremely subtle, sophisticated or deceptive neurotic symptoms.

The documentation available on the principles of the Primal Therapy has its predominant source in Art Janov’s vast literary lifetime achievement as books and articles. I have often made it easy for me by, relatively unsuspectingly, swallow the truth from other sources, which Art referred to. Although, I have informed me of inaccuracies in both McLean’s model of the Triune Brain as in Hæckel’s theory of recapitulation “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”, it has not interfered with my “worldview”, and I have found no reasons to doubt.

On November 14, AnttiJ (AnttiJNovember 14, 2013 at 9:27 AM) commented on Part 3 of “The Mystery Known as Depression” in an intelligent way about the danger of using metaphors of dubious up to date scientific value. The readers / target groups of articles do not consist only of patients (potential and those who are in treatment) but hopefully they consist of knowledgeable, critical scientists and neuroscience experts of all categories.

I agree with Antti that Art Janov’s mainly practical / experiential-based conclusions of the Primal Therapy should be anchored in facts that include current, impeccable scientific terms to create interdisciplinary respect. It is crucial that both simplified and complicated transcriptions from therapeutic experiences take place in a proper manner so that neuro-scientific and psychotherapeutic circles do not expose a sensitive treatment like Primal Therapy, with unique potential to cure depression, to floccinaucinihilipilification (the act or habit of describing or regarding something as unimportant, of having no value or being worthless).

Primal Therapy is challenged by a two lane Bridge of Asses, one for patients and one for the intellectuals and scientists.

Jan Johnsson

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Attention to the Placenta!

Attention to the Placenta!

The powerhouse of Art Janov and the Primal Principles.

For me, Primal Therapy is synonymous with Art Janov. WHY? Because of  trust and confidence he has communicated to me about the Primal Principle.  This was done first by his books and was confirmed subsequently through hands-on treatments and guidance on a number of retreats under unique circumstances (in Denmark, France, Switzerland and Norway) and has later been followed up for many years through his Reflections about the human conditions. With his charisma, Art Janov radiates a total conviction about how our lives and personalities are shaped from the moment of conception, through our life in the placenta, through the birth process and through the unconditional love, touch and attention we need during our first years of sensitive development. 

Over the decades when I, figuratively and literally, have followed Art Janov, I have both emotionally and intellectually developed my ability to understand, re-live and integrate my pain from my birth trauma. The radical learning process to re-live repressed pain occurred during three periods of intensive therapy when I relieved pain that my horrific birth trauma had engraved in my brain, mind, senses and body. The intensive periods of therapy were the starting point for many neurotic (non-real) behaviors to dissolve and / or change. 

Between my three peak periods (with about 15-year intervals) Art Janov’s books and articles stimulated me and my memories. Such a process can start by, for example, a Reflection of Art Janov that captures my interest and evokes memories. My reactions take place both immediately and / or within a few days. My triune brain then stimulates emotional and physiological processes, which always, in some way, are connected either directly to my birth trauma or to the neurosis I developed, over many years, to kill my pain. The combination of total trust in the powerhouse of Art Janov’s expertise and to my own confirmatory life experiences concerning the Primal Principle is the basis for the trust in my own ability that I have developed concerning feelings and emotions.

Reading Art Janov has always meant that my memory processes have triggered parts of my birth trauma / pain that I “forgot” / repressed. After every such process, a new piece of the compressed pain, which has been engraved in my mind and body, has been erased. These experiences have for every time and over the years become more spontaneous and is now part of a natural self-healing process.

The powerhouse of memories

Art Jano’vs recent Reflection The Role of the Placenta, “the powerhouse of chemistry”, which is our home during our first nine months, began an extensive process of memories, which I had not completely repressed, but kept at bay for almost 40 years and which culminated this morning by triggering a “forgotten” birth primal of very profound character.

1975, the year after I read The Primal Scream, I moved hastily together with a very young woman (“Q”). I had just gotten divorced, moved to Denmark and taken up a post as COE in a consumer goods company. I carried a Janus face, one that looked into the future and showed a well-trained, resourceful workaholic and another face that looked back into the past hiding a chemically lobotomized epileptic with constant anxiety of losing control and being exposed. “Q”, who fell for my forward-looking face, was very beautiful and attractive. However, it quickly turned out, behind the beautiful façade there was a bottomless anxiety of a woman who early lost her mother. Because the father was a bohemian and addict, she had grown up, with conditional love, with an aunt. Stimulated by “The Primal Scream” I dug quickly up her life story and made her fast dependent on my well-intentioned, but limited “insights”. We established fast, especially socially, a, seemingly, good life together. The visible problem was “Q’s” jealousy of my former wife, which was manifested every other weekend when I had custody of my two children from the previous marriage.

After only a few months together, “Q” became pregnant even though she used the barrier method (IUD) for contraception. I was anguished but pushed  those feelings aside, and we established a situation that had several elements of seemingly happiness. This, however, rested on a foundation which in both cases was under varying influence of anxiety. The first seven months of pregnancy went well and without incident. During the last two months “Q” started to feel bad which showed in dizziness and high blood pressure. Regular visits to one, as it later proved careless female doctor assured us that the pregnancy proceeded normally. In early summer 1976, the birth would take place and everything looked OK except “Q”, who normally was physically strong and fit, was very tired.

Suddenly, one morning I woke up very early and found “Q” unconscious by my side. Her face was swollen and bluish, like after a seizure. I called the ambulance which arrived within 15-20 minutes. The local hospital reacted very fast and the doctor concluded immediately that the fetus was dead and that it most likely died of eclampsia (fetal poisoning). The local hospital had insufficient resources to save and cure “Q” and a special transport was arranged to Copenhagen. By fortuitous circumstances, Copenhagen’s largest hospital, “Rigshospitalet”, arranged an international gynecologist conference and an American gynecologist with the speciality in placenta got a unique opportunity to both save “Q’s” life, remove the dead fetus and to demonstrate his skills before his international colleagues.

Eclampsia - An imbalance in the powerhouse of the placenta

Pre-eclampsia is a medical condition characterized by high blood pressure and significant amounts of protein in the urine of a pregnant woman. If left untreated, it can develop into eclampsia, the life-threatening occurrence of seizures during pregnancy. There are many different causes for the condition. It appears likely that there are substances from the placenta that can cause dysfunction in the maternal blood vessels of susceptible women. Blood pressure elevation (severe pre-eclampsia involves BP over 160/110) is the most visible sign of  the disease. BP elevation involves generalised damage to the maternal endothelium (the thin layer of cells that lines the entire circulatory system), kidneys, and liver, with the release of vasoconstrictive (contraction of the muscular wall of the large arteries and small arterioles) factors being a consequence of the original damage.

Pre-eclampsia may develop at any time after 20 weeks of gestation. Pre-eclampsia before 32 weeks is considered early onset and is assosiated with increased morbidity and most cases are diagnosed before labor typically would begin. Apart from Caesarean section and induction of labor (and therefore delivery of the placenta), there is no known cure. Pre-eclampsia affects approximately 6-8% (!) of all pregnancies worldwide with the onset of symptoms in the late second or third trimester, most commonly after the 32nd week. It is much more common in women who are pregnant for the first time, and its frequency drops significantly in second pregnancies.

The pre-eclampsia syndrome is thought, in many cases, to be caused by a shallowly implanted placenta which becomes hypoxic (deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching body tissues), leading to an immune reaction. The shallow implantation results in an immune response against paternal antigens from the fetus and its placenta. In some cases of pre-eclampsia, it is thought that the mother lacks receptors for the proteins the placenta is using to downregulate the maternal immune system’s response to it. This view is consistent with evidence showing many miscarriages to be an immunologic disorder where the mother’s immune system “unleashes a destructive attack on the tissues of the developing child”. The current understanding of the syndrome is a two-stage process, with a highly variable first stage which predisposes the placenta to hypoxia, followed by the release of soluble factors, which result in many other events in the origination and development of  the disease.

Many studies have suggested the importance of a woman immunological tolerance to her baby’s father, whose genes are present in the young fetus and its placenta and which may pose a challenge to her immune system. As the theory is further investigated, researchers are increasingly studying the importance of a woman’s continued exposure to her partner’s semen as early as several years before conception. One study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology involved several hundreds of women and found “women with a short period of cohabitation (less than 4 months) who used barrier methods for contraception had a substantially elevated risk for the development of pre-eclampsia compared with women with more tan 12 months of cohabitation before conception”. Continued exposure to a partner’s semen has strong protective effect against pre-eclampsia, largely due to the absorption of several immune modulating factors present in seminal fluid. “Although pre-eclampsia is a disease of first pregnancies, the protective effect of multiparity is lost with change of partner”.

According to the theory, the fetus and placenta both contain “foreign” proteins from paternal genes, but regular, preceding and coincident exposure to the father’s semen may promote immune acceptance and subsequent implantation, a process which is significantly supported by as many as 93 currently identified immune regulating factors in seminal fluid. An Austrailian team has also investigated to see if men who have fathered pregnancies which have ended in miscarriage or pre-eclampsia had low seminal levels of critical modulating factors. The team has found that certain men are several times more likely to father pregnancies that would end in either pre-eclampsia or miscarriage. Among other tings, most of these males seemed to lack sufficient levels of seminal immune factors necessary to induce immunologic tolerance in their partners.

Attention to life before conception

My dramatic experience, 38 years ago, has, thanks to Art Janov’s Reflections of the placenta, caused a shattering experience in my feelings (relieve of pain) and increased my knowledge and understanding of the human condition. Additionally, my views on how to achieve a healthy, robust new generation of people expanded. They now include facts, before conception, to provide the right, non-polluted, conditions, in the placenta, to the fetus. These conditions are, at least, on the same level as no smoking while pregnant, to live in a non-polluted milieu and to eat properly.

Jan Johnsson

Saturday, October 12, 2013


A lot of Catch-as-catch-can out there!

“Cognitive therapy is learned catch-as-catch-can,
while Primal Therapy is learned deeply and thoroughly through the daily rigors of Survival.”

It took 70 years of rigors to succeed in understanding that only “one thing works to reverse the imprint and to resolve the engraved feelings of a birth-trauma to resolve health and relieve suffering”. And then I had established enough of a clue, helped by favourable circumstances, to be able to guide my own life out of a myriad of risky treatments and categorizations (e.g. DSM) which with accelerating speed causes an ever growing general dependence of psychopharmaceutical (to name but the mental aspects of how our organs are being over-taxed by repressed early imprinted pain...) or worse.

Of course, I do not have all the answers to Dr. Janov’s question “WHY? it out there” is so much nonsense in the treatment of mental illness. (See: The Looking Glass is Inside Out). My own journey took more than 70 years and even if I credibly can boil down and explain my experiences in a compressed paper they will just be my own subjective interpretation, as unique as my own fingerprints. My no-nonsense paper will never be a formal scientific proof of repeatability. However the definition of the scientific law: “A phenomenon of nature that has proven  invariably to occur whenever certain conditions exist or are met”...

A recurring pattern in the search for my own truth / pain / cure was that I was repeatedly misled by neurotic (pain propelled) actions, both my own and others’. The strength of our neurotic, often subtly distorted reality, is extremely strong and hard to penetrate. The strength of neurotic, distorted reality is not surprising given that this process is the most important ally to evolution in the survival of the human species. In cooperation with evolution, the American DSM has eliminated the category of “neurosis”, reflecting a decision to provide descriptions of behaviors / symptoms as opposed to hidden psychological mechanisms as diagnostic criteria. So there seems to be  some consistency in the nonsense “out there”.

It was only with the conscious awareness of death as a travel companion that I realized that my neuroses kept me alive. When I was willing to risk making the company of death, the neuroses which eventually were produced and developed in my triune brain as a result of my birth trauma (on life and death), gave way after hours, months and years of re-living the engraved pain.

By discovering and understanding my treacherous but vital neurotic behaviors  (interacting with myself, my family and other social settings which I depended on) during my curative process, I have, in recent years, had the advantage of my invaluable insights when I, at times, act as a mentor to someone who ask for my help.

Jan Johnsson

Monday, October 7, 2013

Waiting for Godot

(click to access Dr. Janov's paper)

Waiting for Godot
  • Waiting for the final demystification of depression

I don’t know why, but after having read Dr. Art Janov’s unique and exquisite scientific paper The Mystery Known As Depression, I spontaneously got the Nobel, Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot” (after Beckets own original French version “En Attendant Godot”) on my mind. In Waiting for Godot, Becket tries, through two vagabonds, to show us life and what is not yet decided and settled. The play invites to all kinds of religious, philosophical, psychoanalytical and biographical suggestions. 

The two vagabonds, Vladimir and Estragon, are often played with Irish accents, which possibly is due to the fact that the involvement of another couple, Pozzo and Lucky,  seems like a metaphor for Irelands view of mainland Britain where society has ever been harmed by a greedy ruling elite keeping the working classes passive and ignorant by whatever means. Anyhow, over the years Becket realized that the greater part of Godot’s success came down to the fact that it was open to a variety of distinctive interpretations, as, for example, the theory that it was based on Sigmund Freud’s Trinitarian description of the psyche in “The Ego and the Id”... which tempted my thoughts that Becket could have had Maclean/Janov’s triune brain in his modernist mind...

Over four decades I have repeatedly read much of what Dr. Janov has written about his invention, the Primal Therapy, so when reading his latest masterpiece I can feel every paragraph, every sentence and every word on my own body and in my triune brain. The strong impact is of course due to the fact that I practiced Primal Therapy during 35 years guided by Dr. Janov. One could say that I have taken the exams several times in this principally extremely simple, yet so subtly difficult-executed theme. How do I measure and explain my success? Having re-lived my traumatic birth process, I have demystified my epilepsy, dissolved most of my neurotic behavior. With much reduced mental pain, I’m now free from depression and from thoughts of suicide. Add to that my vital signs (blood pressure, pulse and body temperature) are excellent!

So why is it so difficult in general to follow Art Janovs principles and “to lay back and feel the stab of anxiety”? I can of course only answer for myself. 
I was “helped” by my epilepsy, which with its erratic presence was a reminder that my repressed pain was alive. It was only hidden occasionally and would appear later in more painful ways.

First I spent almost 10 years to create a strategy to earn the necessary economic resources (including time) to go to L.A. Without counseling my two years in L.A. was a master example how a patient can be made to feel patronized, even if he has a good time in the sunshine on the Santa Monica Beach and does exciting excursions to Boulder, San Francisco, New Mexico, Las Vegas etc., etc.. If it had not been for my disobedience, to the rules at the Primal Institute, to go and see a Rolfer in Boulder 1979, my Primal Journey might have ended when I went back to Sweden.

Then followed 15 hit rich career year, gilded by a number of European Primal Retreats. Things went, at times, very well because I thought I had the hidden pain under control. However, logically, I worked myself into a burn out when the pain propelled my ambitions in a maximal risky way. 

25 years after I read the Primal Scream, I realized that I could not both enjoy and abuse my pain propelled neuroses and at the same time re-live and expect them to dissolve and disappear (historically a very common problem amongst Primal patients). I had come to a point where either I worked myself to death, or gave up my non-real ambitions to achieve conditional love/appreciation by working 60-80 hour weeks. The Primal Principles, Arts charisma, four experiences of grand mal seizures turning birth-primals (including retreats in Bern in Switzerland, Bergen in Norway and Chantilly in France) and the fact that I had seen through the career fury gave me courage, where the risk of death was a reality, to go all in into PT.

I was lucky to have a good team around me in Sweden. I had access to a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a homeopath and the long-distance e-mail access to my guide Art Janov. (Attempts to bring in a cognitive psychologist failed due to me being allergic to her attitude). I can still remember the moment in the office of my Danish psychiatrist when I - figuratively - made up my mind to “go through the eye of the needle” and change my life. The local members of my “team” supported me even if they for years shook their heads when I explained my experiences, which I, by the way, kept a diary over.

The Primal Therapy, / The Primal Principle, became a lifeguard and a philosophy of life, which has saved me from a too early death. Art Janov’s innovation gave me eventually a high quality of life, both physiologically and mentally. The fact that my epileptic trip took a whole life doing, however, made me understand how difficult the primal principle is to apply and implement when the distorting powers that the pain sets in motion has been developed for too long. The neuroses then create a personality, which involves too great a sacrifice to eliminate not only for the victim of the pain but also for people in his / her surrounding, which in turn are suffering from their own repressed pain.

The master plan of Evolution was, after all, on the survival of the species, which many of our neurotic posturing leads to. There are 7.1 billion of us at present. If enough people read Dr. Janov’s books and understand his message of our need for unconditional love, touch and acceptance, there is a hope for the future.

Jan Johnsson