Friday, January 31, 2014

An Insider-look at Reliving

An Insider-look at Reliving

Having read the Reflection (Another Look at Reliving) and having been guided by the Primal Principles / Evolution in Reverse, during 40 years, I couldn’t ask for a more accurate description of how I have experienced and understood that the early traumatic input influenced my function and behavior. Since I’m not only a neurotic but also an epileptic, I can underline your statement “It is rarely a brain disease; that is concocted by those who fiddle around in neurons and synapses and do not see the brain reacting to experiences”.

However, modern medicine has to whack “the very early pre-verbal experiences” back. They have to make the world spin around.  For millions if not billions of patients the symptoms / serious diseases like allergies, high blood pressure, cancer etc., etc. is a reality. They have no time to ask “why”. Their pain and their social, political, religious and economical influences are setting the priority lists for science and the scientists. This tremendously accumulated force, which you so persistently criticize, is propelled by evolution.

Your position is the intuitive, brilliant outsider, who sometimes tell about how The Primal Therapy can cure pre-verbal experiences. Sometimes you speak of a flawless development from life before birth, in a world full of people with neuroses, sufferings and often with a shortened life-span. The sufferers need immediate help for their symptoms, and you cannot / don’t want to multiply your therapeutic relief efforts. What is the short-term alternative since you reject the scientists’ efforts?

Fortunately there is a growing group of young people who follow both their instincts and the message of love, touch and attention to the children they put in the world. Research will catch up and, eventually, develop methods to measure, describe / define your intuitive knowing how experience changes us. And I suppose that is what you are after!

Jan Johnsson

Tuesday, January 28, 2014



Several of my best decisions in life, privately and in my career, had been when I’ve followed my intuition, i.e. when I subconsciously knew, without me formally knowing. Consequently, I had made some of my worst decisions when I did not follow my intuitive gut feelings, but gave in to logic and conventionality. My life as a series of good and bad intuitive decisions looks pretty much like my book “Evolution in Reverse / Demystifying my Epilepsy”. The treatment, that this trip meant, is not established anywhere in any medical and or therapeutic practice, in the world. However, it fitted into the Primal Principles, and I had discreet guidance over 35 years of Art Janov without him ever having uttered what was best for me and what or how to do. He transferred his confidence in the process to me to trust my feelings and my subconscious. The best 15 years of my professional career were based on the elevated confidence of my intuition, which I got from my first experiences in the Primal Principle and what it meant to be pain propelled.

Art Janov’s books motivated me gradually to understand his interdisciplinary neuropsychological explanations. He became the gateway for my growing interest in the explosion of knowledge that has occurred within the domains of the brain and the behavior, especially during the latest 10-15 years. Gradually, I have gained knowledge through many existing researchers, scientists and writers; Damasio, Kahnemann, Kandel, Miller and Gladwell just to name a few well known. To my opinion most of them have sharpened the point which Art Janov has made in his books. Although most psychotherapeutic treatments still generally fail to get out of denial and treatment of symptoms, the brain research has made the influence of the subconscious to an area of interest for a growing number. It is just the beginning of a  liberating wave that will roll on. 

I often, mainly from his Reflections, get a contradictory feeling about Art Janovs intuition. What he says is based on unilateral information from his patient’s experiences and not from his own. By transliterating the patient experience through new research discoveries, Art Janov struggles obsessively to turn his unique intuitive skills, represented by The Primal Therapy, to a new general psychotherapeutic paradigm. However, he needs the current establishment to get his Primal Therapy affirmed in order to establish a new paradigm. To make the problem bigger; it seems that the establishment has the repressive forces of evolution on their side. According to Art Janov, all of the established scientific community who have connections with cognitive therapy are questionable, and Eric Kandel is not the only prominent brain researcher who have been queried by Art Janov. They are all on the wrong train; cognitive therapy, as well as all of the many spin-offs out of his own Primal Therapy... Art Janov is a hard master with so unique rules that very few will find his station.

Disputed treatment results in Primal Therapy, have over the years been explained with the fact that the duration of therapy is uncertain depending on the age of the patient, his / her background and (quite naturally) the nature of the accumulated, unknown / repressed traumas. What once was a quick fix has evolved into a lengthy, often next to life-long treatment process. Art Janov deliberately ignores the importance of a general counselling on issues related to social relationships, career and finances. This sounds like an overlooked, blocked, relic of the happy, golden period when the patient imagined that the entire, expensive, however, quick treatment was supposed to complete in 4 months.

A likeable and logical conclusion, in the ongoing word swap, within the Primal world is;  if the fetus’s need for love, touch and attention are met and if the fetus is not damaged, we will avoid the majority of the staggering number of mental sufferers in the health care. That advice seems to be a safer bet to provide a new psychotherapeutic treatment paradigm, than to believe in a further refinement of the unique intuition that has borne Art Janov’s hallmark for nearly 50 years. We will have to wait for some young revolutionary genius / entrepreneur  - a body / mind pragmatist - within neuroscience who can act interdisciplinary, within the confines of our health care.

Till then, those of us, who want to go beyond the treatment of symptoms, will have to rely on those psychotherapists / guides who know, without knowing and can make snap decisions like one Art made 30 years ago in Bergen, when he turned a grand mal seizure into a birth primal. However, It’s one thing to acknowledge the tremendous power of intuitive snap judgments, but quite another thing, generally, to place our trust in something which is still so seemingly mysterious.

Jan Johnsson

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Collective Dynamic Therapist

To Art Janov,

I agree with some of your concern about the back up given to cognitive psychotherapy by your famous Jewish-American compatriot Eric R. Kandel. Like many, Nobel Prize awarded, scientists even this multifaceted superspecialist in short and long term memories suffers a slight bout of megalomania. He gets, apparently propelled by his selling name, with ease, an article printed in the NYT about “The New Science of Mind / ”. He seems to suggest, theoretical, cognitive applications without, seemingly, having an extensive own practical psychotherapeutic background, at least not one, which is on par with his, awarded, technical specialities.

I wish you had responded to Eric Kandel’s fourth comment about the biology of mental disorders; “the effects of psychotherapy can be studied empirically”. “Aaron Beck, who pioneered the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, long insisted that psychotherapy has an empirical basis that it is a science. Other forms of psychotherapy have been slower to move in this direction, in part because a number of psychotherapists believed that human behavior is too difficult to study in scientific terms”. I have since 1980 heard and read about your plans and ambitions to make scientific research and studies of Primal Therapy. However, the output that has leaked out has been borrowed from various research papers, and they have been interpreted through conclusions based on a limited number of heterogeneous patients with a dubious long-term value.

Unfortunately, feelings have a lot in common with a mirage. Both are real phenomena, but they have a tendency to dissolve under changing conditions and not allow themselves to be caught. However, I sympathize with your desire; “to bring the emotional and mental into the equation”. I have experienced how mental and emotional provocations have initiated lasting, detectable physical changes in my brain and body in a mindful way.

In 2008, Eric Kandel and Daniella Pollak discovered that it was possible to condition mice to associate a specific noise with protection from harm; a behavior called “learned safety”, which produced an internal behavioral antidepressant effect comparable to medication. So Eric Kandel might after all introduce interesting novelties into his version of psychotherapy and new science of mind.

Eric Kandel as a collective dynamic therapist
Finally, I want to give an excerpt from Wikipedia to show that Eric Kandel has an intuitive feeling for re-living tremendous, collective, imprinted pain:

“When Kandel won the Nobel Prize in 2000, it was claimed in Vienna that he was an "Austrian" Nobel. He said it was "...certainly not an Austrian Nobel, it was a Jewish-American Nobel." After that, he got a call from then Austrian president Thomas Klestil asking him, "How can we make things right?" Kandel said that first, Doktor-Karl Lueger-Ring should be renamed; (Karl Lueger was an anti-Semitic mayor of Vienna, cited by Hitler in Mein Kampf) Second, he wanted the Jewish intellectual community to be brought back to Vienna, with scholarships for Jewish students and researchers. He also proposed to have a symposium on the response of Austria to National Socialism.”
Kandel has since accepted an honorary citizenship of Vienna and participates in the academic and cultural life of his native city. His book from 2012, “ The age of insight”, has a subtitle “The quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain from Vienna 1900 to the Present”.

Jan Johnsson

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Body Always Tells The Truth

On a few previous occasions, I have pointed out that my two years, intended for Primal Therapy, in LA, 1978 and 1979, passed without something essential, from psychotherapy viewpoint, occurred. The only thing, of value, that I became aware of was that I, at age three, was dethroned by my sister. This trauma caused lasting neurotic effects on my relationships with both women and men/authorities. Otherwise, I experienced the two years in California and Colorado as a profound refreshment. I had lived the first, close to, 40 years of my life in a fast pace and under abnormal pressure. The time in the western United States gave me a new start in life in many respects.

However, during my “two years in Primal Therapy” I started, from a therapeutic point, another couple of processes that I, first much later, have understood the profound and crucial value of. 1978, I wrote from LA to my parents in Sweden and expressed my anger about the abuse and the insensibility, which they subjected me to during my childhood. This marked a decisive break from the untruthful picture of a “happy childhood” I fought with in order not to feel my pain. My distorted image was wishful thinking, and a result of that I came from a religious home where the Bible and the commandments were prevalent. This especially applied the fourth commandment: “Thou shalt honor thy father and mother.”

The effects of my correspondence appeared in two steps. During a trip to Sweden in the spring of 1979, I met with my father. Our meeting was brief and did not last very long. When I was to leave my parents house, my father began to cry and asked if I still hated him for what he had done to me 30 years earlier, when he recklessly had beaten me. I was so confused and influenced by the situation that I spontaneously replied; “No”. We hugged, and I returned in a few days to LA. A month later my father died, in his sleep, of a heart attack. I broke the practice and did not go to his funeral. He had ruined too many years of my life. I, finally, let my body decide.

Step two occurred in January 1980, when I returned from 2 years in LA. My mother, who was now a widow and lived alone, had changed and was less inhibited and religious. When, for the first time in long, we met in her apartment, she was suddenly eager to open up and talk about my birth. During the years, she hade repeatedly told me that she had not caused that I developed epilepsy. Now she wanted, suddenly, to tell me what really had happened. In tears, as in a painful primal, she told me heartbroken how my birth had been. The birth process had been very difficult and had lasted 48 hours after the amniotic fluid had gone. The reason, she told me remorse filled, had been that she had been possessed be a religious idea, she had got from the Bible; to give birth with pain. My mother realized finally that she had contributed to that I developed epilepsy. This was a truth that both my body and soul understood, and it was a giant step towards a cure.

For me, these two, albeit delayed, occasions of unfiltered truth direct from my parents mouths, meant that I have not been able to avoid attacking the untruthful, moralizing filter that the fourth commandment for thousands of years has developed. From an early age, the fourth commandment is engraved deeply in us through religious messages from our churches, via the highly diversified influence of our religions, which has gone hand in hand with educational and political needs. The implications of the commandment have served as the spiritual and secular power seal on the evolutionary pain relief for us to survive, those to a fetus and child overwhelming early physical and emotional traumas. Please remember this process takes place when our brains become structured.

I have not fully understood my successful demystification of my epilepsy and my neurotic life pattern until I started reading Alice Miller (i.e. “The Body Never Lies”, etc..). To a crucial part, it has been successful through my refusal to adapt to different consequences of, often complex, truth corruption on the effects of a traumatic birth and childhood, caused by loveless and insensible parents. The direct and indirect impact of the fourth commandment and all the related moral aspects in which we live and breathe have been the cause of virtually all therapeutic failures that I know of in and outside the Primal Therapy. 

Both Alice Miller and Arthur Janov advocate the importance of unconditional love. The lack of love, touch, attention and affirmation leads to that the communication between the intellect and the body / emotions, is distorted to  extent equivalent to the effect of the physical and / or emotional childhood trauma. By taking us out of the neurotic lie, which represses the encapsulated pain and by re-living it, we can recover our real self.

Arthur Janov, motivated by his innovation the Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse, advocate a therapeutic guide that allows the patient’s feelings to determine a treatment process with no, traditional psychotherapy, 50-minute limitations. Art Janov stresses, nowadays, always the importance of a scientifically supported method of treatment, without for that reason to have managed to communicate or distribute this scientific method outside the Primal Center. I personally, for 36 years, did not follow any other scientific methods than the personal guidance that I intuitively sensed from Art Janov.
Alice Miller, talks about the necessity of a companion with deep personal experience of a healing journey in order to know the truth of the body and to be familiar with the consequences of inadequate forgiving life lies (including medicines etc.) which overtaxes the organs and shortens our lives. In her literature dominates the need to sensitize the treacherous effects of the fourth commandment, in both the patient and his surroundings. Our bodies remember until we dissolve our neurotic distortions and lies that plague our body and mind until we no longer allow ourselves to be influenced.

Are there any differences between the two? There is of course a lot that separates them and one thing that spontaneously occurs to me is that Alice Miller reveal herself in a more uninhibited and convincing way. I get a sense that Alice Miller has a deep personal experience when I read her books. This colors also her patient observations, and her analysis of the fate of several famous writers and artists.

Art Janov has only exceptionally and timidly described his own background. He has limited himself, in a fascinating way, to narrate the experiences of his patients. As interdisciplinary coordinator, educator and informer, to his patients in psychological, neurological and psychotherapeutic issues, Art Janov is outstanding. The tendency to dilute his ability, between therapy development, research and writing, probably had an inhibitory effect on the development of the purely practical Primal psychotherapeutic treatment. Hes need for scientific acceptance has taken an increasing share of his time and ambitions. This might be interpreted as a need to prove how wrong his unloving parents were and / or a need, posthumously, to win their, nonexistent, love. Just like Steve Jobs in Apple Inc., Art Janov would have needed a companion, a Steve Wozniak, to lift Primal Therapy to the level it has / had the potential for. 

Had Alice Miller still been alive, I had asked her to edit the following more modern advice instead of the old fourth commandment:

“Love your Child from the moment of conception, that her / his days may be long and less fear filled. Love is the elixir of a healthy body and mind and makes your Child a sane guide / companion for future generations!”

Jan Johnsson

Friday, January 3, 2014

Who is Art Janov?

A leap from fearful suffering to feeling love.

A few times, you have timidly, let your fear filled childhood, drifting along with unfulfilled needs, shine through as an example of parental behavior that was inappropriate and destructive. All the way through your childhood and adolescence you met a harsh and insensitive attitude from your parents. Although, my story was somewhat different, the result was the same; a fear filled childhood with unfulfilled needs. So I certainly believe you when you are saying “that is no way to be”. (The Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics)

Then, ironically, it was the U.S. Navy that discovered your talent and gave you the opportunity for a personal development, which in combination with other circumstances, eventually, would lead to the discovery of the Primal Principles / Evolution in Reverse. So thanks to the U.S. Armed Forces, I have, during 40 years been able to enjoy your invention. You have during half a century, successively, in an undeniable manner shown what trauma before, during och immediately after birth result in. They may result in later irreversible damages, when love no longer can make a big difference.

However, in spite of the fact that you so compelling convince me / us “That is no way to be, believe me”, your aggregated life’s work and experience have helped thousands of us, understand what happened to us, yes, even to be able to feel sane and loved.

Through your discovery, you have had an increasingly reliable instrument tirelessly to work with while research, in various fields of neuroscience, toil to catch up. Here, The Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse has served as an applied interdisciplinary focus. Probably, the Primal Principle is far more appreciated even within psychology and psychiatry, than they dare to admit by neurotic, prestige, economic and power-related reasons. More and more doubt and reject the short-term cognitive treatment paradigm.

Hopefully your fearful suffering has been a necessary, pain propelled, detour that leads to that love can make a great difference to most future generations.

Jan Johnsson