Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Therapy

by Judyth O. Weaver

Often we find that the problems we encounter in life have their roots in the imprinting we experience before and during birth and through early childhood. These issues that arise before we are verbal need to be met and repatterned at the same level in which they begin. Working somatically and experientially can offer deep, profound, and often comparatively quick resolution to problems that carry significant influence on development, bonding and attachment and interpersonal relationships.

The field of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Therapy has grown from research that shows prenates and neonates feel, have consciousness, have memories and react specifically to their experiences.  The pioneering work of Dr. Frank Lake, followed by Drs. Eva Reich, William Emerson, Ray Castellino (and even earlier research and psychotherapy by Dr. Wilhelm Reich in the 1940’s and John Bowlby in the 1950’s) demonstrate the importance of this.

Research spanning many disciplines now proves the importance in a person’s life of the quality of conception, the nine months of gestation, and the process of the birth itself. All have great affect on how the child is welcomed and related to at the beginning, which, in turn, affects greatly not only early childhood and development, but continues all the way through our lives into adulthood. Evidence confirms that many health issues physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – are linked to prenatal and birth experiences and parent-infant bonding.

The amount of connection – bonding and attachment in the early days after birth – makes a great difference in how the infant will thrive or not, in the love and intimacy engendered between infant and parent, and even how parents and siblings will relate to each other.

Patterns for ones ability to deal with stress and trauma are also laid down in these early times, they inform us and follow us throughout our lives. These early patterns that go so deep develop while we are pre-verbal. If these patterns are traumatic much of the work to resolve such trauma needs to engage on the pre-verbal level. Working somatically can have deep, profound and often comparatively quick resolution to problems and issues that have seemed to resist other therapeutic attempts.

Prenatal and perinatal psychology and therapy applies to infants and children as well as adults.