Remembering Dr. Arthur Janov

Here are some of the sites, other than the NYT, WP, and AP obituaries and their repetitions, where people remember Dr. Janov:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/DrArthurJanov/

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155221889014118&set=a.65601639117.72499.674399117&type=3

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/register/arthur-janov-obituary-n7zgws597

https://pessimisticshrink.blogspot.com/2017/10/janov.html

http://forward.com/culture/384164/arthur-janov-the-jewish-creator-of-primal-scream-therapy/

http://tributes.com/obituary/guestbook/105268227?pane=candle#guestbook_area


Here’s one that I had a reaction to. My comment is posted below, in case that site’s moderator deletes it:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/founder-primal-scream-therapy-has-died-what-exactly-180965126/

Poor job reporting. According to the NYT..according to Vice..according to the AP..

The last paragraph is especially horrible for misguided attempts to place Dr. Janov’s life in historical context: the unattributed “experts widely regard;” the “pseudoscience” assertion with no proof; the snide implication that his life only had value because John Lennon produced an album.

Why couldn’t the writer be bothered to gather first-hand information such as taking 10-15 minutes to look at the Primal Center’s website? Or look at Dr. Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief, which was outstanding? Or Dr. Janov’s blog that he kept up throughout the years until 2017?

Does this hit piece on the occasion of a man’s death comply with Smithsonian Magazine’s journalism standards?

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Dr. Arthur Janov passed away

Dr. Janov passed away October 1, 2017 at the age of 93.

I remember him as always helping others.

I’ll add more as time goes by. Today, I’ll repeat the last of his 10 comments he made on this blog:

Beyond Belief: What we do instead of getting well

“I do thank you over and over because who quote the essence of my work which pleases me a lot. art janov”


Dr. Janov’s comment on Beyond Belief: Symptoms of hopelessness was:

“i thank you for your help art”

and I replied:

“Thank you for giving me a lens to more clearly see!”


Dr. Janov’s comment on Beyond Belief: Why do we accept being propagandized? was:

“good good art janov”

but my post wasn’t really good. I worked on it, and replied the next day:

“Thanks for helping me improve this post!”


I remember and miss Dr. Janov when I read research and curate studies from what I interpret would be his viewpoint. For example, were he still alive and well, I feel that he would have provided favorable feedback on my Epigenetic effects of early life stress exposure post.

He often noted that aspects of Primal Therapy were proven by subsequent research – especially topics in epigenetics, where research didn’t really start in earnest until the 1980s.

http://cigognenews.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-passing-of-great-man.html

Prisoners of our childhoods

Same old shit – another failed relationship.

Coincident with the start of our relationship, I was struck by a phrase by Dr. Janov, posted in Beyond Belief: What we do instead of getting well:

“It doesn’t matter about the facts we know..if we cannot maintain a relationship with someone else.”

I kept that thought in the forefront.

Both of us are prisoners of our childhoods. I’ve tried to see and feel the walls and bars for what they are.

J hadn’t tried to process the reality of her childhood and life. For example, on her birthday, June 19, I asked her how she celebrated her birthdays when she was growing up. She provided a few details, then mentioned that her parents had skipped some of her birthdays. Although I had no immediate reaction, she quickly said that she had a happy childhood.

I was at fault, too, of course. I again asked a woman to marry me who hadn’t ever told me she loved me, except in jest.

I asked J to marry me around the six-month point of our relationship. I felt wonderful, in love with her that August morning after she slept with me at my house. I made an impromptu plan: in the middle of a four-mile walk, I asked her to marry me while kneeling before her as she sat on a bench outside a jewelry store. But she wouldn’t go in to choose a ring. She said she’d think about it.

A month later, after several dates, sleepovers at her house, and a four-day trip to Montreal, I again brought up marriage while we rested on her large couch in her nice sun room. The thing I felt would be wonderful brought about the end.

I tried to understand why she couldn’t accept me for the person who I intentionally showed her I am. She abstracted everything that she said. I tried to get her to identify why, after all the times we cared for each other, after all our shared experiences, she didn’t want me around anymore.

Didn’t happen. She didn’t tell me things that made sense as answers to my questions.

One thing she said without abstraction was that I was weak for showing my feelings. She told me I was clingy.

Another thing she communicated at the end shocked me. She somehow thought that I was going to dump her. I said that the thought never even crossed my mind.

I didn’t recognize it as projection at the time. Prompted by her underlying feelings, she attributed to me the actions and thoughts that only she herself had.


One thing I’ve felt after the end was that the need underlying my only stated relationship goal – to live with a woman I love who also loves me – is again ruining my life. My latest efforts towards that goal were rife with unconscious symbolic act outs of an unsatisfied need from my early life.

That unrelenting need is for a woman’s love, but it’s deviated in that somehow she’s always one who doesn’t accept me as I am, and doesn’t love me. My cell is what Dr. Janov calls the imprint that I – as an infant, boy, teenager, young man, middle-aged man, old man – retreat to after my futile attempts to change the past.

I’ve tried to put myself in J’s place. How horrible must it have been for her to be steadily intimate with a man and not feel that his touches, kisses, words, affection, expressed love? That he couldn’t really love me, and I therefore couldn’t love him? That he was actually after something else: sex, property, etc., because it was impossible that he loved me?

“Standing next to me in this lonely crowd
Is a man who swears he’s not to blame
All day long I hear him shout so loud
Crying out that he was framed
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released”

Hope sells

I used a browser yesterday that didn’t have ad blocker software installed. The below pictures came from one of the ads that displayed:

helpless

hope

A young girl in a dance position and outfit juxtaposed with an appeal: “No situation is HELPLESS because there is HOPE.” How interesting!

I didn’t click through the ad yesterday to see what was being sold by engaging customers’ beliefs, within which lay hope. When I clicked the ad today, it asked for donations to “Sponsor a Child,” develop “the perfect recipe for sustainable success,” and, at the bottom of the page, “We love because Jesus loves.”

What do we know about this ad’s appeal from reading Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief? Can hope change a helpless situation per the ad?

On one level – yes, in a believer’s brain, by blocking helpless feelings. Otherwise – no. Hope ultimately isn’t a remedy for the causes of what created helpless feelings.

I donated to a similar organization for a few years, but not anymore.

Beyond Belief: What we do instead of getting well

Continuing Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief:

“p. 61 Heavy pains with no place to go just pressures the cortex into concocting an idea commensurate with the feeling..The feeling itself makes no sense since the original feeling has no scene with it nor verbal capacity; it was laid down in a preverbal time without context, sa[v]e for the feeling itself.

..we cling to those ideas as strongly as the feelings driving us are..Sometimes we argue with someone not realizing that we are battling a defense which is implacable. They don’t want to hear what we have to say. They want to protect their psyche.”

“p. 63 ..suffocation at birth is registered not as an idea, but as a physiologic fact. It becomes an idea when the brain evolves enough to produce ideas. Then it can produce, ‘There is no air in here.’

..A slightly stifling atmosphere in the present can set off this great pain and with it an exaggerated response. ‘I have to leave this woman because she stifles me.'”

“p. 64 It doesn’t matter about the facts we know if we cannot stop drinking or if we cannot maintain a relationship with someone else.”

“p. 68 My task is to examine why individuals adopt belief systems, whatever they are, and how certain feelings provoke specific kinds of belief systems..to demonstrate how feeling feelings can alter those beliefs without once addressing the beliefs at all. Deprogramming is not necessary. Probing need is. Resolving feelings seem to render belief systems inoperative.”

“p. 71 ..we are a nation and a world of seekers, a people who seek refuge in all manner of beliefs.”

“p. 75-76 Later in life, equipped with the cortical ability to substitute ideation for feeling, the traumatized baby can call upon a god to save him from his inner pain, even when he doesn’t know where the pain originated, or even that there is pain. He just calls upon a god to watch over him, to see that he gets justice, who won’t let him down, and above all, who will help him make it into life..”

“p. 106 Neurosis is the only malady on the face of this earth that feels good..numbs the feeling. Numb feels good – not ‘good’ in the absolute sense, just not ‘bad.’

So we settle..we get numbed out and feel no pain and in return, life is blah blah. The person then feels she is not getting anything out of life and seeks out salvation or a guru in one form or another.”


“..we are a nation and a world of seekers, a people who seek refuge in all manner of beliefs.” The patient’s story on pages 89-105 told of horrific damages inflicted by believers and the subsequent consequences. Variations of his story with its adverse childhood experiences could be told by tens of millions of people in the U.S. alone!

Why isn’t the internet flooded with stories of people facing their realities and doing something to effectively address the real causes of what’s wrong in their lives?

Said another way, why is the internet instead flooded with stories of people NOT facing their realities, and doing things to prolong their conditions and avoid getting well?

The many reasons why people do things that don’t truly get them well are covered in Beyond Belief and Dr. Janov’s other publications. One obstacle for people who want enduring therapeutic help is the intentional misrepresentation of Primal Therapy.

Every day I look at the results of an automated search that uses “primal therapy” as the search term. Along with the scams and irrelevancies are the “scream” results.

This misrepresentation is addressed in places such as here:

“Primal Therapy is not Primal ‘Scream’ Therapy. Primal Therapy is not just making people scream; it was never ‘screaming’ therapy. The Primal Scream was the name of the 1st book by Dr. Janov about Primal Therapy.”

People who perpetuate the “scream” meme are only a few seconds away from search results that would inform them and their readers of accurate representations of Primal Therapy. What purpose does it serve to misdirect their readers away from doing something to effectively address the real causes of what’s wrong in their lives?

Beyond Belief: The impact of merciless beatings on beliefs

Continuing with Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief:

“p. 17 When someone insults us, we immediately create reasons and rationales for it. We cover the pain. Now imagine a whole early childhood of insults and assaults and how that leaves a legacy that must be dealt with.

..The mind of ideas and philosophies doesn’t know it is being used; doesn’t know it serves as a barricade against the danger of feeling..It is why no one can convince the person out of her ideas. They serve a key purpose and should not be tampered with..We are tampering with a survival function.”

“p. 19 It seems like a miracle that something as intangible and invisible as an idea has the power to transform our biologic system. It makes us see what doesn’t exist and sometimes not see what does. What greater power exists than that? To be fooled is not only to convince someone to believe the false, but also to convince others to not believe the truth.

The unloved child who cannot bear the terrible feelings of hopelessness shuts down his own feeling centers and grows insensitive, not only to his pain, but to that of others..So he commits the same error on his child that was visited upon him, and he does so because of the way he was unloved early on. He cannot see his own hopelessness or that of his child.”

“p. 56 ..all defensive beliefs must have a kernel of hope inside of them..it is the embedded hopelessness that gives rise to its opposite – hope – and its accompanying biochemistry of inhibition or gating. To be even more precise, it is the advent of pain surrounding hopelessness that produces the belief entwined with hope..

All defensive belief serves the same function – repression, absorbing the energy of pain.”

“p. 57 An unloved child is a potential future believer.”

“p. 58 ..no one has the answer to life’s questions but you. How you should lead your life depends on you, not outside counsel.

..we do not direct patients, nor dispense wisdom upon them. We have only to put them in touch with themselves; the rest is up to them.

Everything the patient has to learn already resides inside. The patient can make herself conscious. No one else can.”


“p. 29 The personal experience stories throughout the book are written by my patients and, with the exception of a few grammatical corrections, they are presented here exactly as they were given to me.”

All of the Primal Therapy patients’ stories thus far started with horrendous childhoods that resulted in correspondingly strong beliefs.

I came across a public figure example today in 10 Defining Moments In The Childhood Of Martin Luther King Jr. The author included two items germane to an understanding of how beliefs may develop from adverse childhood experiences:

  • 8. King Sr. “..would beat Martin and his brother, Alfred, senseless for any infraction, usually with a belt.”
  • 6. “By the time King was 13, he’d tried to kill himself twice.”

Every reference I found tied King Jr.’s suicide attempts to his grandmother’s death, and not to King Sr.’s beatings or other preteen experiences.

Granted that it’s only the patient who can put together what happened in their lives so that it’s therapeutic. Beyond Belief and Dr. Janov’s other publications outline the framework.

Beyond Belief: Why do we accept being propagandized?

Continuing to read Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief:

“p.13 Beliefs are medicine for the hopeless. They attenuate despair, vitiate loneliness, and dissipate helplessness.”

“p. 14 We need hope more than we need truth..Beliefs divert us from past traumas and current pains because inside the belief lies hope.”

“p.15 Hope is..’the meaning of life.’ It shimmers and sparkles and blinds us from seeing the bars of our prisons of belief.

..we are all, in one way or another, victims of early unfulfilled need. Never think that intelligence prohibits this kind of behavior.

We search for hope here and there based on early hopelessness of which we are unaware. Nothing in one’s current life points to the problem, and nothing even in one’s childhood clarifies it.

..one’s expectations may exceed reality when feelings are thrust into the arena of ideas..one no longer sees reality, but rather a projection of need.”


“We need hope more than we need truth.” Is this part of why we accept headlines as facts, and don’t pay attention to the stories’ subsequent corrections? Why we accept as facts news articles that don’t link to the cited sources?

I had dinner earlier this week with an intelligent woman. She mentioned that she constantly listened to National Public Radio. I asked her what value she got from it, and she replied that it kept her current with events.

I asked what other news sources she sought out. She said that she didn’t usually have the time, and that NPR was a reliable source.

I didn’t further challenge her beliefs. It’s up to each individual to realize that their beliefs are symptoms of what’s ruining their one precious life.

Last weekend I engaged in essentially the same conversation over lunch with another intelligent woman who relied on conservative news sources. She also became defensive, and ended that part of our conversation as a matter of “agreeing to disagree.”

Why does intelligence seem to have little to do with accepting being propagandized?