Arthur Janov Suggests that Stress During Pregnancy Leaves a Distinct Cellular Imprint that Predicts Mental Illness and Serious Disease

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In his new book, 'Life Before Birth' (NTI Upstream, Nov. 2011), Arthur Janov makes the case that events during pregnancy and the first years of life leave a distinct cellular imprint that predicts mental illness and serious disease. Carrying mothers who take drugs or smoke, or who live through serious traumatic events such as war, natural disaster, or troubled marriages may thus give birth to babies prone to mental illness and health problems later in life.

Arthur Janov

"[Steve Jobs] would repeatedly talk about Janov's ideas in regard to how mothers and fathers would fail to love their children and walk out on them in so many ways, creating and perpetuating trauma."

'Rolling Stone', Oct. 27, 2011

Arthur Janov, now in his eighties, is regaining the status of a cultural icon. In the October 2011 issue of 'Rolling Stone', in a commemorative article on the life of Steve Jobs, contributing editor Jeff Goodell reports that Jobs and his longtime girlfriend Chrisann Brennan spoke frequently about Arthur Janov’s 1970 release 'The Primal Scream'. Goodell, quoting from Brennan’s unpublished memoir, writes, “[Steve Jobs] would repeatedly talk about Janov’s ideas in regard to how mothers and fathers would fail to love their children and walk out on them in so many ways, creating and perpetuating trauma.”        

Days later, 'New York Times' op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof titled his column on Wall Street protestors, “America’s ‘Primal Scream.’” And in a recent 'New York Times' book review of a newly released biography on John Lennon, writer James Parker recounts John Lennon’s therapy sessions with Janov in the early 1970s. “Primal scream therapy arrived on the scene, and [Lennon] went for it in a big way. Arthur Janov made a trans-Atlantic house call: six weeks of private sessions in England, retching and howling. . . . Primal scream could have been made for Lennon—the idea that sound, voice, single terrible chord, could express the first cause of suffering.”

While Janov’s work has always been controversial, John Lennon and Steve Jobs are certainly two individuals whose thoughts and attention merit close analysis, even if they are iconoclasts. More than that, after decades of skepticism from the scientific community, Janov is now receiving tremendous support from distinguished scientists in the US and abroad.

In his new book, 'Life Before Birth' (NTI Upstream, http://www.ntiupstream.com, Nov. 2011), Janov makes the case that events during pregnancy and the first years of life leave a distinct cellular imprint that predicts mental illness and serious disease. Carrying mothers who take drugs or smoke, or who live through serious traumatic events such as war, natural disaster, or troubled marriages may thus give birth to babies prone to mental illness and health problems later in life.

“In Steve’s case it was not an auspicious beginning," Janov writes in a recent blog entry. "His mother was impregnated by a Syrian who was heavily objected to by the family; so much so that she had to give her baby up for adoption. Can you imagine her state? Rejected by her family, carrying a baby that is a pariah to the parents. . . . That torment can leave a mark on the cells that may stay for a lifetime. It endures and changes how our genetic legacy plays out. It, in effect, changes heredity through what is known as epignenetics.”

Janov believes he has uncovered a whole new framework for understanding and treating mental illness and disease. Recent studies at Rutgers University, the University of Copenhagen, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and the University of California in Los Angeles, support his theory that primal therapy produces measurable positive effects on the functions of the human brain and body.

“It has to do with resonance,” Janov explains. “There seems to be a specific frequency or chemical affinity between layers of the brain. When we relive traumas in our therapy we eventually trigger off the related first-line, deeply imprinted early imprints that dislocated cellular functioning. . . . [Steve] knew. But he could not know what was raging inside of him so profoundly buried into the antipodes of his mind. He was brilliant about so much in his outer world and so bereft of that knowledge of his internal life.”

'Life Before Birth' will be released by NTI Upstream in November 2011.

Dr. Arthur Janov, one of the world’s leading psychologists, is the founder and director of The Primal Center in Los Angeles. He holds a PhD in psychology from Claremont Graduate School, where he is in the Academic Hall of Fame. He is the author of eleven books, including his international bestseller, 'The Primal Scream', which sold more than one million copies worldwide.

The originator of primal therapy, Dr. Janov has treated thousands of patients while undertaking extensive research in support of his thesis that both physical and psychic ailments can be linked to early traumas. His work has shown that through primal reliving, patients can dramatically reduce debilitating medical problems such as depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, and heart disease.

Over the last thirty years, primal therapy has been established as one of the few therapies that produces deep and lasting changes in a host of psychosomatic symptoms and of psychological problems. Studies at Rutgers University, the University of Copenhagen, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and the University of California in Los Angeles, all support his theory that primal therapy produces measurable positive effects on the functions of the human brain and body.

Dr. Janov has lectured at the Royal College of Medicine in London, Hunter College in New York, and Karolinska Medical and Research Center in Stockholm. His work has been the subject of a PBS special in the United States and documentaries in Germany, England, France, and Sweden. He has presented research to the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D.C., and The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The Primal Scream (G.P. Putnam, 1970)
The Anatomy of Mental Illness (G.P. Putnam, 1971)
The Primal Revolution (Simon & Schuster, 1972)
The Feeling Child: Preventing Neurosis in Children (Simon & Schuster, 1973)
Primal Man: The New Consciousness (T.Y. Crowell, 1976)
Prisoners of Pain (Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1980)
Imprints (T.Y. Crowell, Random House, 1986)
The New Primal Scream (Enterprise Publishing, 1991)
Why You Get Sick, How You Get Well (Dove Books, 1996)
The Biology of Love (Prometheus Books, 2000)
The Janov Solution: Lifting Depression Through Primal Therapy (Sterling House Books, 2007)
Sex and the Subconscious (Kimberley Cameron & Associates, 2011)
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