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October, 2005
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This article identifies an issue within the discipline of prenatal and perinatal (PPN) psychology, namely that the field currently consists of individual practitioners' modalities without empirical validation around treatment efficacy. The goal undertaken was to integrate the PPN literature related to adult psychotherapy into a coherent and practical model to serve as a guide for students and professionals that could also be empirically tested. Covered briefly is a review of the historical and pivotal literature, a description of theory, an assessment process, PPN treatment plan, techniques to facilitate access to PPN memories, and two illustrative excerpts from sessions as examples. Finally, suggestions for methodologically testing the model are offered.

KEY WORDS: Prenatal, perinatal, adult, psychotherapy, trauma, consciousness, intervention.


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Bobbi Jo Lyman

Santa Barbara Graduate Institute

Bobbi Jo ("B.J.") Lyman, PhD, is Chair of the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Programs at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute (SBGI). She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the APPPAH Journal. Helpful in the conceptualization of this paper were Marti Glenn, PhD, Jill Kern, PhD, and students at SBGI who aspire to learn and practice prenatal and perinatal psychotherapy.

Bobbi Jo Lyman, Ph.D.

525 E. Micheltorena, #301

Santa Barbara, California 93103

(805) 963-6896



I find that during the earliest of human developmental periods (prenatal and birth), experiences have a profound impact on later health and human behavior. Life is a continuum that starts, not as commonly thought, at birth, but at conception. The following is a brief summary of the validity of this developing modality.

* There is some empirical research that supports this construct.

* There are some significant gaps in the literature regarding this modality, as it would be at present be considered experimental. However, theoretically, pre- and perinatal psychology is firmly grounded in the well-accepted theories of developmental psychology, attachment, and trauma therapy.

* I have been studying and/or applying this modality for approximately 30 years.

* The benefits expected include a more thorough cessation of the symptoms you present with, if they are likely to have begun during this period of your life. The risks might be an increased level of discomfort as deeply held emotions are uncovered. You have the right to ask questions about any of the procedures used in the course of your therapy and I will explain my approach and methods to you. You have the right to not choose to receive therapy from me and in this situation I will provide you with names of other qualified professional therapists.

* This modality may include touch in support of healing. Permission for touch will be discussed in advance and only utilized upon your consent.

I will provide you with literature that will inform you about this modality, before and during the therapeutic contract.

"Under these conditions, I am willing to include the modality of prenatal and perinatal (birth) psychology as part of my therapeutic contract."

__________ __________

Signature of client/patient Date

__________ __________

Signature of Dr. Lyman Date

Name of client (printed)