Leading Psychologist Arthur Janov Suggests Heart Disease, Depression, Anxiety, Asthma, and Addiction Begin in the Womb

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Dr. Arthur Janov's new release "Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives" (NTI Upstream, Dec. 1, 2011) represents the beginning of a unified field theory of psychotherapy. In it, he traces the origins of heart disease, substance addiction, depression, anxiety, and cancer to events in the womb and at birth. Dr. Janov suggests that a carrying mother’s use of drugs, her stress level, and physical and mental traumas during pregnancy, labor, and delivery have a profound effect on the health of an individual.

Arthur Janov

[Dr. Janov's] long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well-being need to be studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.

Dr. Arthur Janov's new release "Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives" (NTI Upstream, Dec. 1, 2011) represents the beginning of a unified field theory of psychotherapy. In it, he traces the origins of heart disease, substance addiction, depression, anxiety, and cancer to events in the womb and at birth. Dr. Janov suggests that a carrying mother’s use of drugs, her stress level, and physical and mental traumas during pregnancy, labor, and delivery have a profound effect on the health of an individual.

“The origins of heart disease, depression, anxiety, substance addiction and even cancer, can be linked to early trauma during pregnancy and birth.” says Arthur Janov, PhD, founder of primal therapy and author of the new book, "Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives."

Author of the bestselling book, "The Primal Scream," Dr. Janov has worked with thousands of people, including the late musician and songwriter John Lennon, at The Primal Center in Santa Monica, CA. His research has shown patients can dramatically reduce such medical problems as depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction and heart disease by returning to the neurological origin of early trauma. At his clinic, every patient, every day, has his or her vital signs (heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure) measured before and after sessions, and Dr. Janov and his team have found dramatic changes in patients after just one year of therapy.

Recent advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics reveal that during pregnancy methyl and other chemical groups can attach to DNA and affect how our genes are expressed, whether they are turned "on" or "off." According to Dr. Janov, that fetal imprint is influenced by factors such as the carrying mother's cortisol level and intrauterine oxygen supply and may leave a lasting mark, resulting in lowered resistance to disease, memory problems, and mental illness.        

"If we understand what happens to us in the womb and later is re-represented on higher brain levels," Dr. Janov writes, "then when traumas affect the more primitive levels (a smoking or drug-using mother who diminishes oxygen to the fetus, for instance) we may treat them accordingly. Often therapy aims, mistakenly in my view, to correct distorted ideas by adjusting a patient's patterns of thought: her ability, through upper-level cortical structures, to re-script a current situation . . . But if the underpinnings of ideas are not first addressed, the ideas themselves will not be altered in an organic and meaningful way."

Researchers like Lou Cozolino, a psychologist at Pepperdine University, support the notion that very early experiences shape our later mental health and suggest that Janov's identification of traumatic experience in the lower brain may have broad application. "Dr. Janov's essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well-being—is no longer in doubt. . . .His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well-being need to be studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy."

Dr. Janov is the first psychologist to submit his methods to scientific scrutiny. Studies at Rutgers University, the University of Copenhagen, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in England, and the University of California, Los Angeles, have all supported his theory that primal therapy (a therapeutic method consisting of helping patients relive childhood pain and feelings) produces measurable positive effects on the functions of the human brain and body. His work has also been the subject of a PBS special in the United States and documentaries in Germany, England, France, and Sweden.

Certain to be controversial, eye-opening, and informative, Dr. Janov is available to discuss:

  • Steps an expectant mother can take to have a healthy pregnancy and birth
  • Separating experiences in the womb from those in early childhood
  • Womb-speak and how love sculpts the fetal brain
  • Oxytocin and its impact on birth, bonding, and breastfeeding
  • Womb-life and the effects of maternal stress on later adult mental and physical illness

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