Saturday, March 30, 2013



I may be a dangerous example. You need much more than the principals in Primal Therapy to succeed.

My personal experience of the primal principals and of Dr. Janov as a guide during 40 years has been flawless. I am for ever thankful that Arts innovation eventually led me to re-live my birth trauma and to demystify my epilepsy. I wish that everybody with a repressed early trauma could be able to “enjoy” the same painful and scaring experience of living their old pain. 

However, my success would never have happened if I had only been dependent on the therapists, first, in the Primal Institute and, later, in the Primal Center, where an often anxious and inexperienced patient are left to take full responsibility for him/herself, which he/she discovers after some time in therapy when resources are pouring, and it is too late - in the middle of flooding pain - to make the necessary long-term planning and adjustments, which the Primal Center should have provided them with. A practical handbook in how we adjust our life to primal therapy is, unfortunately, the missing link in Art Janovs excellent production of books. To create a more practical application, than the one being offered today, this book might have equipped his innovative principal with better conditions.

Patients starting Primal Therapy have their individual hierarchies of needs (1) which like the principal of Russian Dolls (are constructed from one block) that  fit and are nested inside one another. A primal patient who has been through an early trauma before, during or after the birth is carrying on a repressed pain in mind and/or body, which has distorted the entire hierarchy of needs. To dissolve defense mechanisms / neuroses and to straighten out a distorted mental attitude is a complex task, that should be obvious to a responsible offeror of Primal therapy and be included in the rather high fee being charged.

Please read the articles in my blog carefully. The Primal Therapy is an expensive, long term, painful way to a healthier and more autonomous life. You have to be prepared, without exception, to confront a lot of neurotic habits in your life and in all your relationships. The dominant psycho therapeutic treatment paradigm (like for example CBT) can help you treat your symptoms. If you want something more, like Evolution in Reverse,  you need an entrepreneurial spirit to succeed. My personal “craziness” increased my strength and courage to persevere.

Jan Johnsson

1. The Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Situational Irony.

Situational Irony.

During therapeutic treatments, Art Janov discovered that, behind depression and anxiety, there was a repressed pain that could be re-lived. He realized gradually that evolution / our organism had provided us with a protective filter against the pain we experienced, very early on since we had not yet developed sufficient robustness to endure it. Meanwhile, it emerged without exception that all this pain was rooted in a lack of love, security and / or neglect in the initial phase of life.

The most common causes of mental and physical pain occur during the fetal period, during and just after the birth process. Pain (the brain treats mental or physical pain similarly) occurs when a fetus / child is not getting its need met for love, security, touch and care. Neglect includes that the mother is, for example, drinking, smoking, using drugs, expose herself to abnormal stress and eats too much, too little or improper nutrition during pregnancy. A fetus / child, which gets the right treatment during gestation and has its needs for love, security and care of both parents during the first three years has excellent potential to develop according to its potential.

One of Art Janovs ingenious messages implies as stated in the introduction that he explains the natural protective filters to suppress and reduce the unbearable pain that evolution is providing us with. These repressions of physical / mental pain have a hidden, long term cost. To produce protection, our organism is over-taxing our organs and distorting our emotional ability. Everything indicates that the magnitude of the over-taxation and distortion is related to the impact of the repressed pain.

To the extent that our repressions are leaking pain, when we, for example, are exposed to overloads, we suffer a large number of mental sufferings and neuroses. We need protection from the original unbearable pain as long as we live. Therefore, the over-taxation of our organism will speed up that we suffer from common diseases like hypertension, peptic ulcers, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer, alcoholism, etc.

The current, sometimes criticized, psycho therapeutic paradigm does not cure its patients. It is a treadmill that, after all, along with the pharmaceutical industry will take care of our symptoms. A natural question is, therefore, why Primal Therapy does not take over. The reason is that PT does not have the capacity to work in practice more than in exceptional cases. The dynamics and overall vision are not sufficient to establish Primal Therapy in a broader context, even if the primal principle in theory is working, and there are patients in abundance.

Relatively speaking, only a few (financially fortunate) patients have experienced a radical cure through the primal principle. In my own case, the decisive stimulus was a traumatic birth process leading to epilepsy. My epileptic stigma meant that I eventually could not abstain from following the primal principles and re-live my birth trauma. I dared to risk my life in order to demystify my pain / epilepsy. Since my epilepsy always had appeared dramatically and wordlessly, so I had a bridge into the wordless feelings during my birth trauma.

Anxiety, “to lie down and feel the stab of wordless pain”, discourages most people from re-living their, by evolution, repressed traumas. For the Primal Therapy ( = "Evolution in Reverse"), it is a situational irony that traditional psycho therapy and the pharmaceutical industry free can  plagiarize the evolutionary “patent” to suppress pain. Evolution is thus the ally of the current treatment paradigm. This impressive - and often necessary - pact can we best resolve if all children, from the moment of conception and at least three years ahead get enough love, security, stimulation and care.

Jan Johnsson

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Customer/Patient is King

Customer/Patient is King

I have for many years participated in the chorus of critics of Cognitive Therapy, but it has had no appreciable effect. Our subjective arguments, presented by way of verbal stories about how early imprinted and repressed pain has been re-lived, has been of little use.

The Cognitive therapist corps has continued to grow and has officially >135.000 registered members. Although their efforts are short-term, constantly reiterated, treatment of symptoms, our critical voices have had the same effect as a piss in the Pacific. As in, for example, consumer goods sales, the cognitive shrinks supply what patients want and think will help them. Our big problem is that in matters of mental illness (with 60 million patients in varying degrees dependent on drugs only in the US), there is no consumer information / education regarding Primal Therapy. Information which can reach different types of customers with the necessary enlightenment on possible opportunities to be cured of repressed mental pain. In the meantime, we continue to criticize the old treatment monopoly and its practitioners.

In order to break its self-imposed isolation, the Primal Therapy must find ways efficiently to communicate the potential of its principles, when correctly implemented. Criticizing different social systems, and the current treatment paradigm obviously leads nowhere, which only reinforces our knowledge of how human neuroses works.

The Primal management both want to socialize the current establishment (to get scientific acceptance of the effects of the “revolutionary” Primal principals) and criticize its successful development of treatments of symptoms. 
Because of, for whatever reason, avoiding to use modern marketing, PT thus waived to reach and help a larger patient base which ultimately could have given access to resources which could have been beneficial for PT’s unique ideas. This sympathetic but inhibitory stance has removed the inherent dynamic vigor which PT once gave such an enthusiastic promise of in the sign of (r)evolution.

The great thing with “The Primal Scream” was that, in the book, the patient / customer was The King! There was in the book a natural built-in marketing dynamic that spoke to the patients / clients. Following a flying start, and without being able to control the development, whether from an administrative or treatment standpoint, eventually the patient / customer focus dissolved and primal “technology” took the upper hand. The Patient was no longer The King even though the Primal Therapy treatment principles requires it. Parallels in all kinds of business are countless, and many ups and downs, which has delayed development, have occurred.

The Patient is The King, and he decides whether he wants, for example, Cognitive Therapy or Prima Therapy. PT has to do its homework and communicate to the Patients why Primal Therapy and how it best may cure them. The patient decides which of the different therapies is the best for him.

Jan Johnsson

Friday, March 22, 2013

A 40 year revolution - an oxymoron!

(Click to access!)

My comment:

A 40 year revolution - an oxymoron!

“ Neurosis is systemic and it is everywhere in us. We must take into account the entire organism, in order to reverse the present psychotherapy approach, and avoid not to suppress the patient. We need to allow for “evolutionary time” getting down there.  Getting to the generating sources in the brain and reversing the imprint means altering the brain circuity, which leads to a basic change in our biochemistry”.

It is easy to agree with everything you mention in this paragraph. It takes time and requires a lot of patience (often up to several years, which requires highly qualified resources, guidance and (ay ay ay) money.

A revolution is a sudden radical and pervasive change in ideas, methods etc. Primal Therapy has been around for more than 40 years, a too long transition to be considered a revolution.

What we now need by the help of Primal Therapy is a long expected reform of the Freudian psychotherapy-revolution which introduced clinical techniques in an attempt to help neurotics. Freud’s innovation has for decades proved to be a decent but insufficient, short-term, help. It is in need of innovations and modern techniques that, if possible, can cure the patients.

I and others have said it before and I will repeat it again. The Primal approach to psychotherapy is far too narrow which is a pity now when there is such a need for a drastic change to reform the old psychotherapy which has entered into a dead end. Why? Because the dominating part of the society being slave under the evolutionary capabilities to use language to suppress feelings and to disengage itself from painful feelings.

A “revolution” started with few supporters takes a long time to implement.

Jan Johnsson

Hi Jan,

listen, how do you understand decent and insufficient together. in my reading decent is good and insufficient is bad, let's say it to simplify. how come you mean a therapy is good (helping the patient) and then insufficient (not helping the patient) - how can Freudians be good if they do not achieve anything?


My comment:

Decent, but insufficient

 A psychotherapy may be decent (“good” in a modest way put into relation of the dominating recognized standards, which patients are being offered under the present treatment paradigm) at treating symptoms but at the same time insufficient when it comes to curing the imprinted pain of a patient. 
So yes, something can both be decent / (modestly) good and insufficient  at the same time.

Jan Johnsson

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hablar con mi madre!

  (Click to access!)

My comment:

Hablar con mi madre! Parler à ma mère!

I love your personal stories, and reading the latest I understand why these stories are so scarce... “Funny” enough I grew up in a family with largely the  same habits as yours, and when I feel what I missed, I feel an urge to suppress these old needs by defending evolution. If you had been satisfied as a kid, you would probably never have developed your skills to help others and make us understand the importance of fulfilled needs.

Until I met you I did not not understand the importance of talking to my first two kids about them and their needs. My third child, my daughter Isabel (who you met), was born 20 years after I started to understand your message and she has been brought up with your, hard earned, wisdom in memory. A different world, giving me, if not compensation for what I missed as a child, so a pleasure of understanding that behavior can be changed over time. So when your pain is still there for what you were missing as a kid, feel it and please turn the coin and enjoy the wisdom you are spreading. Your suffering - our pleasure! 

While writing this it comes to my mind that my parents were inhibited, unable to see our needs. However, my mother loved when I came home (or by phone) and told her stories/news from my varied life. I could tell her almost everything. She was as a sponge, with ever unfulfilled needs to be satisfied. And she repaid one day (when I came back from L.A. January 1980) when she, for once, opened up and told me, crying, about my traumatic birth. During this conversation, she fulfilled more needs than I could have dreamt of. She then gave me the information to understand my epilepsy, the principles of Primal Therapy, and it eventually opened the gates to my pain and the neuroses propelled by the pain.

No pain - no gain...

Jan Johnsson


  1. Jan; If my life and knowledge helps others it is all I ask. Money cannot touch that. art

    My comment:

    Touchy feelings about money!
    My broken English seems to have made you think that I insinuated you were turning your childhood suffering into money/coins. NOT SO! My intention was to make you enjoy your childhood suffering by looking upon it as a symbolic "coin", and when you flip this over you should, on the other side of the symbolic coin, enjoy our pleasure when we assimilate the wisdom you are spreading!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Primal Research

Janov's Reflections on the Human Condition
Dear Readers,

I want to ask something...
I think Primal Therapy lengthens life considerably. We would like to support our clinical observations by a series of research regarding the long-term effects of Primal Therapy on our patients. We need funding to undergo this research.

I would like to ask you, my readers, if you would be willing to contribute a small amount every month for one year to help out with this project. Only those where that amount of money would not do a hardship would be asked. No matter how good your heart is, do not contribute if you cannot afford it.

All money will go into research; no money will go into clerical work or our therapy work. We need about 2500-3000 dollars per month for one year.

I am not asking for anything right now, we just want to know who might contribute and if it is feasible. Please understand that our research is ultimately for the good of mankind and to show how important a feeling therapy is.

If you are interested and think that you can contribute, please send an email to and specify the amount you can contribute per month. I will let you know what the response has been and whether we had enough people wanting to contribute to do the research by the end of this month (March 2013).

Thank you,

Here are, in random order, a few of my ideas:

1. Measure telomeres to see if we do indeed lengthen life and avoid serious
illness, as pain foretells shortening of telomeres and of possible
early serious disease.

2. To see if the brain is more harmonized after our therapy, bottom
to top and right to left.

3. Measure vital functions core body temp; blood pressure heart rate etc.

4. Measure cortisol and natural killer cells and immune functions.

5. Measure methylation to see if we do indeed take the pain out of the
system permanently and reverse methylation. This means changing the
tumor combating chemicals, whose names escape me right now.

6. Measure cortisol levels to see how much we lower stress levels
and to see how it correlates with changes in telomeres; they work in
see-saw fashion with each other

7. Measure imipramine binding to see how much we produce serotonin and
the basic level of it we have.

8. Oxygen levels before and after therapy

9. Measure birth trauma and gestation trauma as it relates to
Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer.
10. Mapping resonance so we see how the brain works 1-2-3 and then 3=2=1

My respons:

Primal Research

All meaningful research,  which is aimed at proving the validity of the Primal Therapy Principles, (how to “take the pain out of the system”), has our, mine and Evas, support.

You mention a, from a research standpoint, modest amount, $ 36.000 / year, indicating that the proposed project will be limited. All experience shows that most projects with qualified scientific design take a lot of time. A project normally is dragging out on time and will be 2 - 5 times as long as an optimistic preliminary estimate. The over all risk, that a project fails, is for various reasons high (>40%), and especially if there is only a one-year funding guarantee. Another issue to consider is how long, by which control and endurance a research project on Primal Therapy can be held together before the person responsible eventually presents it.

The 10 research ideas you mention are in many cases highly complex / delicate to define. To this must be added that the scientific issues such as control groups, patient categories and effects under varying durations, etc., further increases the complexity.

I could deepen my views much more. To my own practical international, industrial experience, I have been able to add the access to Eva, a person with experience of qualified academic (chemical / medical) research management. We have had occasion to discuss your proposal in a constructive and committed manner.

We would suggest, as a first project, a qualified compilation of all available information on research, monitoring, etc., that is in yours and other’s available records. Only then, an assessment should be made as to where the first research effort (in relation to existing resources / grants) can most effectively be deployed. Eventually, hopefully, resources are created that can administer all of the matters you have raised in our draft list.

Proposal no. 10 (which is about how the Triune Brain works) feels like a major theme. It is important to get closer to an understanding of how our three brains (the reptilian brain, the limbic system and the cortex) work and are affected in their internal communication because of early imprints and gradually developed neuroses. We also want to have answers to how the brain, after the re-lived pain, regains its normal function to regulate the processes of our body, thoughts and emotions and prioritizes real needs. My own transformation during 35 years of contact with the PT is a remarkable experience, where coordination between various brain levels have meant more than longevity and improved values of vital signs (heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure).

By undoubtedly applying the Primal Principle (Evolution in Reverse) I avoided  a perishing in the med 90’s. PT has thus already given me 15 years extra lifetime plus enhanced quality of life.

Jan Johnsson and Eva Thomé.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Knowledge is not Understanding.

  (Click to access!)

My comment:

Knowledge is not Understanding. (In neurology and psychology.)

Art says he has a friend who is a brilliant neuroscientist without understanding for what his knowledge means in reality!!!!  So Art, how can your colleague be a brilliant neuroscientist if he has no deep understanding what his knowledge means in reality. He may hold a great deal of valuable information which only might become brilliant if it has practical application.

I have no reason to doubt that your friend is considered a brilliant neuroscientist by established academic measures. But when you are doubting his understanding and then simultaneously agree with traditional values I do not think you are loyal to your own opinion. From a philosophical point of view, I accept your approach as pluralistic. However, this I find hard to believe is your intention.

Most neuroscientists, psychologists and therapists have never been trained in dealing with deep lying feelings. Their intuition, based on theoretical knowledge, will betray them in patient relationships. This shortcoming to identify patients history is further confused / enhanced by their own, unidentified, unique and unresolved imprints. Therefore, predictions and long term cures based on intuitions about deep feelings always end in betrayal. To claim correct intuition is by nature, in an unpredictable situation, self-delusional.

If, a neurotic society, by adapting a pluralistic philosophy, makes it possible to, at the same time, accept both a brilliant theoretical neuroscientist, without understanding for what his knowledge means in reality, and a feeling Primal Guide/Therapist dealing with real feelings, it has after all taken a step forward. 

Jan Johnsson

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The success of a project depends on the extent to which it is adopted by others.

The success of a project depends on the extent to which it is adopted by others.

I agree with Art Janov when he says  “Life Before Birth” is his best book. It contains unique patient stories that are followed up with experienced and knowledgeable neurological and psychological explanations. The cases are typical examples of what happens to our lives if we do not get our parent’s unconditional love and care during pregnancy, birth and the vulnerable first three years.

More and more research shows the epigenetic changes that may affect a fetus with a mother suffering from stress during pregnancy. Bruce Wilson reports e.g. in an article: “Maternal Stress Shortens Fetal Telomeres and Programs Aging and Disease In Utero” the following:

"Telomeres are short strands of DNA at the end of each chromosome that protect the chromosomes from deterioration or from fusing with other chromosomes. After each cell division, the telomeres become shortened, and an enzyme known as telomerase adds more DNA to keep the telomeres intact. But over time, the telomeres reach a critical short length and the cell ages and dies. For this reason, telomere length has long been established as a marker for human aging - the shorter the telomeres, the earlier you will die.

Studies in the past few years have shown that the telomeres are far more than a marker for aging; they also mediate epigenetic changes, preserve the overall structure of chromatin (the DNA and proteins in the cell nucleus) and regulate gene expression. In effect, the telomere / telomerase system is one of the major mediators of health and disease throughout the life span."

If stress during the primal period is a fact we know that the health during our lifespan, prematurely, is at stake. When mental and/or physical diseases occur, most of the treatment we have to look forward to is one that is dealing with symptoms. To cure the original imprints of before birth is a unique possibility that require resources in terms of expertise, money and time, which only in rare and exceptional cases can be mobilized.

I have for 40 years been part of a project with Primal Therapy. This has meant that through a unique method and guidance, I have been able to re-live the feelings of a brutal, traumatic birth process that led to that I developed epilepsy. As an adult, after a complicated, very costly and long lasting process with total dedication, I could eventually demystify my epilepsy, my suicidal feelings, my allergies and my neuroses. My life became normal, and my personality changed, and I could live without being chased by my pain propelled needs.

My experiences with positive changes including Primal Therapy led me to think that many more should be able to resolve anxiety and pain-related neuroses by re-living pain. However, as the years and decades have passed, I have realized that the euphoric hope that “The Primal Scream” once brought to cure mental afflictions have decreased dramatically. The requirements to be cured has proven so exorbitant that very few of the, often rightly criticized psychological and therapeutical corps, have adopted the principles of “Evolution in Reverse.” They continue to treat the symptoms with more or less short-term solutions / quick fixes.

Simone de Beauvoir’s old truth: “The success of our projects depends on the extent to which they are adopted by others”, also applies to Primal Therapy.

Jan Johnsson