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This paper explores the development of beliefs during the prenatal and perinatal period and how babies portray their beliefs. Four vignettes from therapeutic work with babies illustrate the powerful impact beliefs already have in shaping their lives. Basic principles to help babies shift potentially constrictive beliefs to more life enhancing ones are included. This paper is intended as a theoretical and clinical exploration leading to new thought, research and clinical direction. This paper calls for a paradigm for infant development and communication with babies that is based on the premise that consciousness is the organizing principle of human experience. The importance of both practitioner and parent's beliefs is discussed.


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Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D.*

* This paper is based on a presentation to the 10th International Congress of APPPAH held in San Francisco, Dec. 2001. She is the founding Chair, and member of the founding faculty of the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Program at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. In addition, she was the co-founder of BEBA, a non-profit clinic for therapeutic work with babies and their families. Dr. McCarty would like to thank the families whose stories are included in this paper for their participation and for permission to share their stories. Correspondence can be sent to:

JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.

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