12 Guiding Principles – Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology: Nurturing Human Potential and Optimal Relationships...
Understanding our earliest relationship experiences from the baby’s point of view and how these experiences set in motion life patterns has been the intense study of the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology for over 40 years. The field uses this lens to focus on our earliest human experiences from preconception through baby’s first postnatal year and its role in creating children who thrive and become resilient, loving adults. Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology incorporates research and clinical experience from leading-edge fields such as epigenetics, biodynamic embryology, infant mental health, attachment, early trauma, developmental neurosciences, consciousness studies and other new sciences. Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology incorporates research and clinical experience from leading-edge fields such as epigenetics, biodynamic embryology, infant mental health, attachment, early trauma, developmental neurosciences, consciousness studies and other new sciences.
When we help clients neurobiologically separate out early shame from grief, we bring them to the awareness of how present day experiences are actually a confusing entanglement of calling cards from the past. As the responses separate and integrate with support into the client's present day self, a felt sense of choice and autonomy emerge.
One thing I have learned about myself is that I am intuitive. An idea appears to spring forth from the depth of my unconscious, without much form but with enough felt sense conviction to pursue it one way or the other. It acquires shape and clarity and is reality tested in the process of expressing it, teaching it, or writing about it. It is not unlike the process that a painter might undergo in bringing an inspired image in one’s mind’s eye to the canvas. I now understand and accept this as my creative process
When we think of an anniversary, we usually think of the yearly advent of a wedding, birthday, beginning of a business. But there are subtle anniversaries that do not correspond to a date on the calendar. They are reminders, often even unconscious, of a significant event in the past. These may have been positive events or negative events.
May I begin with personal history? Shortly after beginning my undergraduate studies in England, I became incapacitated with a moderately severe depression. I come from a working class background and could not afford therapy, but was fortunate enough to be taken into an experimental program run by the National Health Service and received a year of intensive psychoanalytic treatment. The results were profound.
I was intrigued when I first came across Stephen W. Porges’ Polyvagal theory in 2008 reading his article entitled, Don’t Talk to Me Now, I’m Scanning for Danger. Porges’ Polyvagal theory redefined our former understanding of the autonomic nervous system, an understanding which has been in place since the mid 1800’s. In 2010, at a Somatic Experiencing® training, when my co-trainees and I were grappling with how to apply the theory, we made up lyrics and sang them to the tune of “I Loves You Porgy” from Gershwin’s 1935 opera “Porgy and Bess.” “We love you Porges, we’re polyvagal, We love your theory, though it’s complex, We want to use it, just please explain it, Write a synopsis, that would be best. We love you Porges. . . .” (I’ll spare you the rest, but you get the point.) Repeated requests at workshops and conferences for a user-friendly synopsis of his scholarly information as presented in The Polyvagal Theory, Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, Self-Regulation (2011) prompted Porges to create his more recent publication, The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe (2017). Going another step forward, Porges and co-editor Deb Dana published their newest anthology, Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (2018). Now, Dana offers her well-developed method of incorporating the Polyvagal theory into clinical practice. In her book, The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy, Dana offers the Polyvagal theory to psychotherapists as an elegant new science-based way of working with the body.
I started to write, “I’m the worst person to review a book on social media! I don’t use it.” Then, nearing the end of Dr Primack’s book, I realized, I use it more than I think. I don’t Twitter, nor Instagram. I don’t TicToK or Messenger. I post articles on LinkedIn and use Facebook for the magazine. But a sense of who? me? reached out and grabbed me when Dr Primack discussed Facebook and canned birthday wishes: how people, like me, are reminded of “friends” birthdays so we can offer a greeting, an emoji. What truly tripped me was his discussion on our own take away.
“Ahhhgh!” Lance moaned as he slouched stiffly on the couch on an airy summer day. He stretched his legs past the edge of the table, rubbed his right thigh. Lance groaned. “I’m a mess. The two little ones were crawling all over me this morning, bumping every inch of me that’s bruised. I had to get up and get all of them breakfast, but my body hurt so bad I wasn’t sure I could even move.” A married father of three and a martial artist in his mid-thirties, Lance is tall, tan and robust looking, an appearance that belies his current physical discomfort. “What’s happened to make you so sore, Lance?” “My physical therapist says its bursitis in my muscles. It’s because of my damn job.” Lance, advertises his frustration with a loud, drawn out ‘jawwwb.’ “They have me blasting in a tube again! No PT is going to help me when I’m getting bashed all the time!” Lance’s well-paying job is rather unusual. Working for a company whose contracted venues mandate sandblasting and painting in spaces where he barely fits, Lance must use Superman strength, Ironman agility and Spiderman courage to keep from being crushed against the walls and wounded by the heavy equipment he carries. Although Lance credits martial arts training for giving him the flexibility to perform this work, invariably he ends up moving around in awkward and uncomfortable positions and coming out hurt.
As the holidays approach, many families consider this an opportunity to leave their domicile for adventures near and abroad. Some travel to visit family, some leave as a form of escape, and others pack up the entire clan for a much-anticipated vacation. But what, in fact, does vacation mean and what does it entail?
The spread of the SARSCov2 virus presents an unprecedented event that rapidly introduced widespread life threat, economic de-stabilization, and social isolation. The human nervous system is tuned to detect safety and danger, integrating body and brain responses via the autonomic nervous system. Polyvagal Theory provides a perspective to understand the impact of the pandemic on mental and physical health. This perspective highlights the important role of the state of the autonomic nervous system in exacerbating or dampening threat reactions to the pandemic.