Healing Through Prenatal and Perinatal Memory Recall: A Phenomenological Investigation
Publication Date:December 2000
This qualitative study focuses on the experience of healing through prenatal and perinatal recall. Interviews were conducted with seven adults who variously attested to having healed conditions of: syncope, phobias, arthritis, asthma, migraines, depression, suicidality, obsessive-compulsion, side pain, and dysfunctional interpersonal patterns. Intentions were to: (a) illuminate the experience, (b) examine the benefits and drawbacks, and (c) underscore the impact of obstetric intervention.
Literature Review: Reviewed literature includes research on transcendent, fetal, cellular, and somatic memory/consciousness (within a holonomic paradigm), current repression and false memory debates, hypnosis, breathwork, psychedelic, and primal psychotherapies, somatotropic therapy with infants and children, and obstetric intervention.
Method: Existential-phenomenological research methods were used with Hycner's (1982) 15-step analysis for interview data. Two in-depth interviews, a demographics form, and a follow-up question were the instruments used to access data.
Results: Data analysis revealed seven individual, two unique, and two general themes. The general themes included: "A Range of Intensely Felt, Mostly Negative, Emotional, Physical, or Feeling States, and Transpersonal Experiences," which captured the structural underpinnings of the phenomenon, and were expressed by all seven participants. All seven remembered pre- or perinatal trauma, and subsequent child abuse. Three remembered deleterious effects from obstetric intervention including long-term depression, slowed labor from anesthesia, pain from forceps, and vertigo from inversion at birth. After treatment all co-researchers felt the mitigation of psychological and/or physical conditions they had suffered.
Conclusions: Results imply fetal/neonatal memory/consciousness and the need for research into the long and short term effects of obstetric procedures. Trauma occurring during and before parturition may cause life-long physical and/or psychological illness. The resolution of such illness may necessitate intervention at pre- or perinatal levels of memory/consciousness and that the parental relationship and maternal readiness for labor and delivery may be indicators of subsequent traumatic labor and delivery, and/ or child abuse.
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