Perhaps the single most distinctive piece of the human puzzle, which prenatal and perinatal psychology has historically offered, is our knowledge around early traumatic events reported by clinicians working with adults. While prevention (keeping trauma from being imprinted early on) is also a major focus of the field, it is the many case studies and distinctive anecdotal reports where we truly appreciate how early events alter a person's life course. The first two articles in this issue of the journal focus on challenging diagnoses adults have that reflect the effects of early events. The third article looks at a similarly debilitating mental health problem, but here the emphasis is on an epigenetic explanation around the early environmental experiences leading to long-standing behavioral difficulties. Following the clinical articles is a position paper, a wellcrafted essay that contributes as a model of how to explain our field to others in funding, policy-making, research, education, and parenting practices positions. Here now are more detailed descriptions about each offering.
The first article by Althea M. Hayton, M.A. (England) is entitled: Possible Prenatal Origins of Morbid Obesity. The relevance here is obvious, in that obesity is a significant factor to health facing many people today. The depth and sensitivity around searching for an explanation from the prenatal and perinatal perspective will interest the readers of this journal. Stating the painful truth is this quote from the article, "...In this case, until the prenatal and birth experiences are fully realized and understood, the over-eating behaviour may persist, even unto death."
Shirley A. Ward, M.Ed., Dip.Ed. (Ireland), a frequent contributor to the journal and experienced clinician, offers the article: The Black Hole: Exploring the Schizoid Personality Disorder, Dysfunction and Deprivation with their Roots in the Pre and Perinatal Period. Again we benefit from her observations around early traumatic events from conception to birth and Schizoid Personality Disorder. Ms. Ward continues to keep the work of British psychiatrist, Dr. Frank Lake, alive blending while integrating it with her own personal experiences.
Michel Odent, M. D. (England) submitted his review article that asks the question, Autism and Anorexia Nervosa: Two Facets of the Same Disease? He writes about the shift away from the primacy of genetics to the importance of environmental factors with the concept of 'gene expression' (i.e., epigenetics) as the mechanism. Increasing our understanding of the origin of pathological conditions and personality traits beginning in the primal or prenatal/perinatal periods may bring a new nosology for diagnoses as well, posits Dr. Odent.
Drs. Wendy Anne McCarty and Marti Glenn (USA) share their position paper. While not the traditional academic or research work, this artfully written essay presents a detailed and comprehensive view of prenatal and perinatal psychology for those not familiar with the field. The authors introduce "12 guiding principles to align the revisioning and strategic planning for funding, policy-making, research, professional education and training, and parenting practices. First action steps to maximize human potential and human capital from a prenatal and perinatal psychology perspective are addressed."
In the Sharing Space section, Karlton Terry's brief article is The Sperm Cell - Finding the Origin of Who We Are. Here he identifies a father's biology, energy field, relationships, and psychological characteristics as pivotal to the new life through the sperm cell. His perspective is that, "Who we are as women and men, and how we feel about the masculine has its roots in the parallel journeys of the embodying soul and the conceiving sperm."
In closing let me say a few words about the change of Associate Editors on the Association of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health's journal staff. My affiliation with Jeane Rhodes, Ph.D., while she served in that position over the past six years, has been one of my most valued. We communicated digitally for the most part, discussing the appropriateness of articles, dealing with deadlines, limits of space, etc., and I experienced our working relationship as a seamless and supportive process. Thus, my appreciation is offered deeply and genuinely here.
A search for Dr. Rhode's successor was undertaken and the position filled by Dr. Anne Maiden Brown. Here is a short list of her significant skills and qualifications for interested readers: a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, University of Michigan; postgraduate studies in Gestalt therapy, Jungian analysis, and Psychosyn thesis; professional training in family support, preservation, and crisis prevention; continuing professional education as a psychologist; and doula training; many publications including: The Tibetan Art of Parenting: from Before Conception through Early Childhood (a newly revised edition out shortly), Options for Healthy Birth, and Tibetan Healing Science, her current project, co-authored with a 7th generation Tibetan physician and the Dalai Lama will write its foreword.
I look forward to collaborating with Dr. Brown, as we continue to bring the Association's journal into the future.