This is the final President's letter of 2010, and I wish all of you a wonderful and happy holiday season, and a robust and successful 2011. The current issue of the APPPAH Newsletter is focused on the recently concluded 2010 Congress at Asilomar Conference Grounds near Pacific Grove, CA, from Nov. 11-14. A wonderful and enriching time was had by all, and many participants said they plan to attend the next Congress November 17 - 20, 2011, in San Francisco, at the Kabuki Hotel. Please save the date! Barbara Findeisen is the Congress Chair and Bruce Lipton will be a featured speaker and workshop leader.
One of the highlights of the 2010 Congress was a first-ever, brain-storming session with participants, who networked together in small groups to give feedback about the ways in which APPPAH could be more supportive of membership needs, more effective as an organization, and more helpful to society in terms of outreach. In many of the seven groups, participants seemed eager to participate in helping the new ideas come to fruition. It was a very exciting time for all, and built a type of momentum I have not seen before.
We had another "first-ever" at the Congress, a bookstore, comprised of used book donations from members and speakers-only books, run by Kit (BJ Lyman's husband) and Ken (Marti Glenn's husband) and other volunteers. This resulted in a needed fund raiser for APPPAH. Many thanks to the program committee and to Ken and Kit for making this possible. We plan to do the same during the 2011 Congress in San Francisco.
The major theme of the November 2010 Asilomar Congress was research with clinical applications to psychology, education, medicine, and other fields. Most of the speakers were either clinicians or researchers, and many were both. This led to very interesting and compelling presentations, with a "solidity" and validity rarely found in conferences that focus on theory, or eschew research. The Congress was a big success in describing evidence-based practices. There are many examples of this, but I must limit my comments to three presenters for the sake of brevity.
Christof Plothe from Germany is an osteopath who has done extensive research on synthetic oxytocin, documenting that it has been used in almost 80% of births for over four decades. He finds there are long-term social consequences, as the natural form of oxytocin in the body is highly conducive to relational caring, understanding, and empathy, whereas the artificial form used during birth impedes the natural hormone and its relational impacts.
Robbie Davis-Floyd is a cultural anthropologist and former APPPAH Board member who presented research from her 2009 book, Birth Models That Work (edited with 3 others). The book describes research on successful childbirth models in cultures as wealthy, poor, and diverse as Holland, Japan, UK, Samoa, Brazil, and others. With this type of applied research happening all over the world, no one can say the US maternity care system is impossible to change, or say that nothing can be done to correct the high degree of interventionism and the poor birth outcomes in the US. Birth Models That Work is a celebration of success, but also a plea for change.
Barry and Janae Weinhold presented their theory of traumatology, making important developmental distinctions between trauma, shock, and distress, upgrading distinctions Frank Lake and I made during the late twentieth century. Their book is a very valuable contribution to effective trauma resolution, and a must-read for professionals treating pre and perinatal trauma. See a review of their book, Healing Developmental Trauma: A Systems Approach to Counseling, Social Work, and Marriage & Family, also in this Newsletter under Book Reviews.
All-in-all, this Congress represents a step forward for APPPAH, with a focus on furthering the validity of our field, while looking to the future. The 2011 Congress promises to be even more inspiring. Start making your plans now.
In your service,
William R. Emerson, Ph.D.,