Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health

APPPAH’s History

APPPAH’s Birth

In 1981, Dr. Thomas Verny, a Canadian psychiatrist, published a book entitled “The Secret Life of the Unborn Child,” and in 1988 David Chamberlain, a California psychologist published his book called, “Babies Remember Birth,” both based on what they had independently discovered in their work with adult patients who recalled events from their birth and prenatal life while under hypnosis in psychotherapy. These experiences were paradigm altering and brought a completely new understanding about babies.

Dr. Verny and Dr. Chamberlain discovered each other through their published papers, and in 1983, Dr. Verny founded the non-profit organization Pre- and Perinatal Association of North America (PPPANA, later changed to APPPAH) with Dr. Chamberlain as a member of the Board of Directors.

Since APPPAH began, many advancements have been made in understanding the neurobiology of infant brain development and the surprising learning capabilities of babies before and after birth.  More research has documented prenatal and birth memories, and therapeutic treatments have been developed and utilized successfully for babies, children, and adults who have experienced prenatal or birth traumas.


Pioneers of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health

The following individuals each contributed greatly to the advancement of APPPAH’s principles and practices around the globe.  The world is better because of them, and we are grateful for their wisdom, and experience, and dedication to improving the lives of babies, mothers and families.

Thomas Verny, MD, DPsych, DHL (Hon), FRCPC, FAPA - APPPAH Founder and First President

Thomas R. Verny is a psychiatrist, writer and academic. After publishing his book, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (1981), he founded the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Association of North America (PPPANA) in 1983 (renamed APPPAH in 1989) and served as its president for eight years. In 1986 he launched the Association's Journal (JOPPPAH), which he edited until 1990 and continues to serve on the JOPPPAH Editorial Board. Thomas continues to lecture and lead workshops on Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Psychotherapy through-out Canada, the United States, Europe, South America and Southeast Asia. He is member of the Ontario Review Board (ORB). Presently Thomas is in the final stages of editing hie new book, THE EMBODIED MIND. Thomas lives in Stratford, ON, Canada.

David Chamberlain, PhD - APPPAH Past President

David Chamberlain was a psychologist, author, and editor who lectured on birth psychology in 20 countries. In 1974 he began using hypnotherapy to discover and resolve traumas arising in the womb and at birth. In landmark research with mother and child pairs in 1980, he demonstrated that birth memories were reliable memories. Dr. Chamberlain was a founding member of APPPAH and was APPPAH’s second President. His books, Babies Remember Birth (1988), The Mind of Your Newborn Baby (1998), and Windows to the Womb: Revealing the Whole Baby from Conception to Birth (2014) have changed our thinking about babies before and after birth. Although Dr. Chamberlain died in May 2014, his legacy lives on in his writing and in the hearts and minds of all who knew him.

Barbara Findeisen, MA, MFT - APPPAH Past President

Barbara Findeisen is a founding member of APPPAH and a past President.  She is the founder of Pocket Sanctuary, and creator and Clinical Director of STAR workshops.  Barbara has been a practicing psychotherapist for four decades and has been doing birth therapy since 1983. She is narrator and producer of two documentary films, Journey to Be Born and the Psychology of Birth. She has also been a guest on numerous radio and television talk shows including the Oprah Winfrey Show.

William Emerson, PhD - APPPAH Past President

William Emerson is a psychologist, a workshop leader, writer, lecturer, and pioneer in the field of pre and perinatal psychology and is a past President of APPPAH.  He was among the first in the world to develop prenatal and perinatal treatment methods for infants and children, is a renowned expert in treatment methods for adults, and is recognized world-wide for his contributions. Dr. Emerson practiced psychotherapy for 25 years, specializing in regression therapy, and lectured nationally and internationally on these topics.  He continues to write and hold training workshops.

Sandra Bardsley, RN, MA, CNM - APPPAH Past President

Sandra Bardsley is a nurse midwife with over 40 years of experience in the field of Maternal Child Health with a master’s in Psychology and Cultural Anthropology focused on Hispanic cultural beliefs and cultural influences concerning pregnancy, birth and early parenting.  Sandra was a founding member of APPPAH and is a past President.  She is the co-author of Creating A Joyful Birth Experience: Developing a Partnership with Your Unborn Child for Healthy Pregnancy, Labor and Early Pregnancy (1994), and worked for many years with clients using her workbook, Create A Joyful Birth: Relax, Connect, Prepare.

Wendy Anne McCarty, PhD, RN, HNB-BC, DCEP

Wendy Ann McCarty is a leader in optimizing human potential and relationships from the beginning of life and has been serving families for over 40 years utilizing groundbreaking consciousness-based early development theory, consciousness studies and energy psychology healing modalities. She is an international presenter, educator, and consultant to families, professionals, and organizations - bridging theory, principles and practice. Dr. McCarty was a c-founding chair and associate faculty at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, which was the first programs to offer a graduate degree in prenatal and perinatal psychology and is the author of Welcoming Consciousness: Supporting Babies’ Wholeness at the Beginning of Life–An Integrated Model of Early Development.

Ray Castellino, DC, RPP, RPE, RCST©

Raymond Castellino, DC (retired), RPP, RPE, RCST®, had over 45 years as a pioneer in the field of Prenatal and Perinatal therapy; using energetic and somatic approaches to facilitate attachment and bonding with babies and adults. His contribution in this field is immeasurable.

He developed numerous integrated somatic/psychological approaches for discovering how all beings implicitly remember early pre- and perinatal experiences. He conducted ongoing research on the manifestation of “sequential behavioral patterns” that originate from “sequential imprinting” from ancestral, conception, gestation, and birth experience.
He co-founded the Building & Enhancing Bonding & Attachment (BEBA) research clinic, the About Connections Parenting Program, and the Womb Surround Process Workshops, as well as many professional trainings. He was honored in 2015 with APPPAH's Clinical Practice Award for his exceptional work in the advancement of clinical philosophies and practices in birth. 
Marti Glenn, PhD

Marti Glenn is Co-Director of the STAR Foundation,, offering intensive retreats for healing early trauma. She is also Co-Founder and Clinical Director of Ryzio Institute.

She was the founding President of Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, the first program to offer graduate degrees in pre- and perinatal and somatic psychology.  A pioneering psychotherapist and trainer for over 30 years, she integrates affective neuroscience with attachment, early development, and trauma. Dr. Glenn served on APPPAH’s Board of Directors and chaired several APPPAH conferences. She co-produced the documentary, Trauma, Brain, and Relationship: Helping Children Heal and has appeared in the film What Babies Want; What Babies Know; Reducing Infant Mortality and Improving the Health of Babies.  She conducts training programs and speaks at conferences world-wide.

APPPAH Past Presidents

1983-1990:      Thomas Verny, MD
1991-1999:      David Chamberlain, PhD
2000-2002:      Barbara Findeisen, MFT
2003-2012:      William Emerson, PhD
2013-2017:      Sandra Bardsley, CNM
2018-2019:      Dennis Hertenstein, DC
2019-2020:      Margaret Bledsoe, OTD