Life Before Birth : The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2011-12-01
  • Publisher: N T I Upstream
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Albert Einstein spent the latter years of life in pursuit of a general field theorysomething to explain how gravitational fields and electromagnetic fields intersect in a single theory. Today researchers in the field of psychotherapy are looking for an analogous theory, particularly for the treatment of psychologic and psychosomatic diseases. Arthur Janov's compilation in Life Before Birth is nothing less than the beginning of a unified field theory of psychotherapy.Dr. Janov's leitmotif is rather simple: the period of our lives that has the greatest impact on disease and personality formation is our gestation and birth. A blend of clinical observation and research leads him to suggest that overlooking pregnancy and the first months of life prevents one from adequately addressing mental illness and treating major health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, Alzheimer's disease, and even cancer. Recent studies at the Primal Center in Los Angeles and elsewhere provide compelling evidence that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from failed marriages, war-torn environments, natural disasters, or other stressful life conditions, may thus give birth to babies prone to mental illness and disease later in life. Low oxygen at birth, drugs taken during pregnancy, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may have similar adverse effects. Until we embrace a unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov asserts, we are in the uncomfortable position of knowing more and more about less and less; studying the minutiae of a patient's symptoms without understanding how early experiences in the lower brain shape our personalities and our susceptibilities to disease and addiction. In the 1970s, The Primal Scream dramatically altered the landscape of psychotherapy, becoming an international bestseller and introducing more than one million readers to primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method Dr. Janov applied in his therapeutic work with John Lennon. Life Before Birth is just as important. Dr. Janov asks for a reorientation of not only our approaches to pregnancy and our use of drugs for a variety of symptoms, but above all, the modes of psychotherapy we implement to treat everything from phobias and compulsions to chronic anxiety and depression. As Dr. Janov writes, "We no longer have to remain in the dark, applying hit and miss therapies while we hold our breath. We can know causes and therefore how to treat misery. We can move toward an end to human suffering, or at least be on the road toward eliminating harm."

Author Biography

Arthur Janov is one of the world’s leading psychologists and the founder and director of the Primal Center in Los Angeles. The originator of primal therapy, he 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. He has lectured at the Royal College of Medicine in London, Hunter College in New York, and Karolinska Medical and Research Center in Stockholm, and his work has been the subject of documentaries in England, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United States. He is the author of 10 books, including The Primal Scream, which have been translated into 24 languages. He lives in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xv
Womb-life, a New Paradigmp. 1
How Love Sculpts the Brainp. 1
Love Before Birthp. 3
The Die is Castp. 7
Are We Already Who We Are at Birth?p. 13
Toxins and the Body's "Conscious" Defensep. 15
Imprinting: The Signature of Pregnancyp. 21
Searching for a Universal Psychotherapyp. 27
The Babel of Clinical Psychologyp. 28
Electroshock Therapy: Zapping Symptoms, Avoiding Curesp. 30
On Vital Signs in Primal Therapyp. 34
How the Brain Talks to Itselfp. 39
Three Levels of Consciousnessp. 40
First-Line: The Brain-Stemp. 41
Second-Line: The Limbic Systemp. 43
Third-Line: The Neocortexp. 45
The Womb as a Black Boxp. 51
The Brain that Doesn't Sleepp. 52
Hormones and Homosexualityp. 55
Depression: The Black Box Perspectivep. 57
The Brainstem in Primal Therapyp. 59
The Science of Early Human Developmentp. 65
How We Internalize Our External World: Telomeres as a Predictor of Life Expectancyp. 65
How Repression Worksp. 69
Small Feet, Small Chest: A Sign of Cancer?p. 72
Epigenetics: The Inheritance of Acquired Characteristicsp. 75
Epigenetics, Birth, and Stressp. 78
Heredity Turned on Its Headp. 79
Epigenetics and Painp. 81
Revisiting Family Historyp. 82
Oxytocin: The Hormone of Lovep. 87
Mother-Child Bondingp. 89
Trauma, Sexuality, and The Maternal Instinctp. 91
Vasopressin: The Male Love Hormonep. 93
Synthetic Drugs and Therapyp. 94
Womb-life and Serotonin Output: The Origin for Later Mental Illnessp. 99
Early Trauma and Epilepsyp. 105
Imipramine Binding Studyp. 113
How Addiction Gets Its Start Early in Our Livesp. 117
The Limbic System and Drugsp. 118
Dopamine and Cocainep. 120
Alcoholp. 122
Explaining Addictionp. 123
The Birth Traumap. 127
Explaining Adult Mental illness and Diseasep. 147
Anoxia, Reduced Oxygen at Birth, and Adult Behaviorp. 147
Hypoxia and Schizophreniap. 149
Stress, Personality, and the Immune Systemp. 150
Oxygen, Metabolism, and Cold Feetp. 156
The Critical Window: Like Grandmother, Like Mother, Like Sonp. 157
Early Warning Signs for Later Psychopathology and Diseasep. 160
Primal Therapy: Toward a Cure for Endogenous Depressionp. 163
On the Nature of Anxietyp. 171
Uncovering the Salamander Brainp. 174
Reliving Anxiety: Away from Pillsp. 177
Animal Terror: MRIs, Nightmares, Sex, and Other Clues to Our Pastp. 179
Evolution of the Left Brainp. 185
Treating the "Right" Brainp. 188
On Psychopathologyp. 195
On Attention Deficit Disorderp. 201
The Root Cause of Alzheimer's and Deep Depressionp. 215
Toward a Feeling Therapyp. 223
The Role of Evolution in Psychotherapyp. 223
Pain's Neurological Evolutionp. 226
Therapy as a Time Machine: Stem Cells, Cancer, and Darwin Revisitedp. 229
On the Corrective Emotional Experiencep. 233
Awareness Versus Consciousnessp. 236
Memory and Reliving: In Search of Lost Timep. 238
Pregnancy: The New Critical Windowp. 243
Feeling Emotional Pain: Can It Be a Matter of Life and Death?p. 249
Manifesto for a New Psychotherapyp. 259
Research Questionnairep. 263
Endnotesp. 267
Indexp. 281
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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