This is an adaptation of an address delivered in response to receiving the Thomas R. Verny Award for Outstanding Contributions to Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health at the 1999 Congress. For additional important perspectives on APPPAH’s history, please see Dr. Verny's tribute to Dr. Chamberlain in the Spring 2011 issue of this newsletter.
Our Association was born in the mind of Thomas R. Verny. Before this, Thomas had earned doctorates in medicine and psychology and had distinguished himself as a teacher and author. He explains what we might call our conception, in the Foreword to The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (1981, p. 11).
In celebration of APPPAH's 25th anniversary, I'd like to share the brief story of my entry into the prenatal and perinatal world. It occurred when I had my first birth memory, at the age of 28. I re-lived and catharted the trauma of birth, and its healing impact was profound, as you will soon discover. The healing created a certainty about the impacts of preverbal trauma, and propelled me into joining APPPAH, becoming a 27-year member (and still counting), a 17-year director on its board, and ultimately its president.
"25 years? I was at two PPPANA conferences before 1986, in Toronto and San Diego. I didn't think the name changed until into the 1990's. I'm wondering about how that 25-year calculation came to be...?"
– Diane Speier, APPPAH member
Those longtime members with a good memory may recall that APPPAH was conceived in 1983 as PPPANA (Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Association of North America) and begun as a non-profit Canadian organization by Thomas Verny. Its first international congress, as noted by David Chamberlain above, took place in Toronto that same year.