Meet the Flipsters

Conversations on the Bridge

A Conversation with Dr. Candace Pert
(The complete Flip interview, with only minor edits, not found in the book)

Dr. Pert ( was awarded her Ph.D. in pharmacology, with distinction, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has held a variety of research positions with the National Institutes of Health, and until 1987, served as Chief of the Section on Brain Biochemistry of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health. She then founded and directed a private biotech laboratory.

Dr. Pert is the author of Molecules of Emotion: The Science behind Mindbody Medicine and an internationally recognized pharmacologist who has published more than 250 scientific articles on peptides and their receptors, focusing on the role of neuropeptides in the immune system. She holds a number of patents for modified peptides in the treatment of psoriasis, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, stroke, and head trauma. One of these, peptide T, is currently undergoing research in the United States for treatment of AIDS and neuroAIDS.

We asked Dr. Pert what makes peptide T so unique and promising. “It’s an entry inhibitor, the very first to block the AIDS virus from entering and infecting cells through a receptor. It’s relatively inexpensive; it will be pennies a day to manufacture. And it can be used with any drug. We’re very excited about the possibilities.”

We were most interested in Candace’s flip from conventional neuroscience to her pioneering work in body-mind medicine. “When I first started at the National Institutes of Health,” Candace recalls, “my emphasis was on drug addiction. I thought my research with opiate receptors and endorphins was going to lead to a new drug to cure addiction, which now seems silly. But my research shifted as I discovered that peptides and other informational substances are the biochemicals of emotion, and their distribution throughout the body’s nerves has all kinds of significance. For starters, body and mind are simultaneous. I like to say that the mind is the flow of information as it moves through the cells, organs, and systems of the body. The mind, as we experience it, is immaterial, yet it has a physical substrate that is both the body and the brain.”

That would mean that emotional traumas are actually stored in the body’s cells as information. “Yes, it’s stored everywhere,” Candace clarifies. “Not just in the cells, but in the connections between them. The human body is one big semiconductor. Emotions are a quality of the entire body. They exhibit biochemical, vibrational and even quantum properties. There’s so much we’re still learning. I’ve been a big promoter of the idea that we shouldn’t give too much credit to the brain. The brain is not the mind; we have a body-mind that consists of a vast information network. Information is stored at receptors that are in contact with every cell and they’re also in contact with this cellular matrix, which is everywhere.

“I believe that emotions are not fully expressed until they reach consciousness. When I speak of consciousness, I include the entire body. I believe that unexpressed emotions travel up the neural access from the periphery, up the spinal cord, up into the brain. When emotion moves up, it can be expressed. It takes a certain amount of energy from our bodies to keep the emotion unexpressed. There are inhibitory chemicals and impulses that function to keep the emotion and information down. I think unexpressed emotions are literally lodged in the lower body.”

Does this mean that unexpressed emotions need to be moved energetically in a cathartic way? “Emotional expression is important, but I’m not recommending that everyone go into primal scream therapy. Emotional blockages are like a kind of cyst, walled off and out of communication. I think it’s more important to engage in movement, dance, exercise; expressing things physically rather than making it another head-trip. This is so important because there is overwhelming evidence that unexpressed emotion causes illness. Raw emotion is always wanting to be expressed in the body; it’s always moving up the neural access. The need to resist it is coming from the cortex. All the brain’s rationalizations are pushing the energy down. The cortical resistance is an attempt to prevent overload; the brain is stingy about what information is allowed up into the cortex. The real, true emotions that need to be expressed are in the body, trying to move up and be expressed and thereby integrated. That’s why I believe psychoanalysis by itself doesn’t work. You are spending all your time in the cortex, rather than in your body. You are adding to the resistance.”

Where does drug treatment fit into this understanding of emotional expression? “Psychiatry is headed for a major flip,” Candace muses, “and I flipped awhile ago. All my friends are biological psychiatrists, but many of us are more and more critical of psychiatric drugs. The biggest problem is that we’ve got people who aren’t even psychiatrists prescribing these drugs to patients. Antidepressants have been widely marketed, even though – as pure biochemical mechanisms – many have proven surprisingly ineffective. They’re really not the answer for many diseases, and in more cases than are recognized, they may do more harm than good. I’m not anti-drug, I just want better drugs. And I think we can invent better drugs. Nor am I anti-psychotherapy. When it comes to countering pathology, there’s no substitute for a good psychotherapist who can lead you out of being in your head into new places. The good therapists are already using leading-edge therapies like eye movement desensitization, plus a number of energetic interventions – even light and music – fused with good psychotherapy.”


The Flip, by Jared Rosen and David Rippe, illuminates a clear path to a vibrant enlightened world where millions of people already live and thrive. It describes in vivid detail and real examples evidence of an upside down world in decay and a Right Side Up world of authentic beings bright with possibility.
The Flip is an owner’s manual for the twenty-first century full of insights, conversations with recognized experts, thought leaders, and visionaries, and actionable exercises and tips you can use to begin your own personal flip.

To read more about The Flip and additional interviews from other luminaries, experts and bestselling authors, please visit

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