Over the last 6 years while serving as the Editor for the Journal, I have eagerly sought out research-based articles that seek to validate the basic claims that prenatal and perinatal psychology makes. The purpose is obvious, to continue the building of an empirical research base for the discipline. Nonetheless, in an emerging discipline it is equally important to share the voices of those who push beyond the current boundaries of thought to light the way ahead for future researchers and clinicians. This issue of the journal does just that with a Special Theme of "theory-based arguments and positions," beginning with the possible connection between prenatal and perinatal development and religious experience.
The Special Theme issue begins with an article by Ait on Birnbaum, Psy.D. entitled, Collective Birth Trauma in the Ancient Biblical History of Israel. This is an application of Rank's concept of individual birth trauma to the broad context of the history of ancient Israel. Pointed to is the depictions in the Bible on recurrent and significant trauma at individual, family, and large-scale collective levels. How this can be hypothesized as connected to early birth trauma is offered and as well, and how these remnants can be seen in Jewish history and current cultural practices.
The second article by Helen Holmes, M. A. is, Birth of The Living Gods? Exploring the Pre- and Perinatal Aspects of Religious Development. This work references Rizzuto and Freud where the origins of God representations are traced to early parental relations within a psychodynamic framework. Ms. Holmes suggests "... It is deemed important to grapple with the pre- and perinatal research available, mainly through the work of Stanislav Grof and Frank Lake, within the framework of Freud and Winnicott, in order to explore the possible impact of prenatal life for the religious development of the individual in relation to their parents and God representations."
Finally, Recreating Ourselves: Ground-Breaking Research for a New Humanity, is an article by Philip Johncock, M. A., M.M.s. that reviews and summarizes specific literatures grouping them into four key pre verbal developmental stages (conception, prenatal, birth, and bonding). The influence of somatic psychology authors and practitioners are noted in this typology along with a stated interest toward interdisciplinary fields being in dialogue toward the process of developing a new view of humanity.
It is my hope that as the pendulum swings back toward valuing the qualitative or theoretical works that those visionaries will feel a greater sense of support, because it is they who have been willing to take risks by writing about what they see inside of them, and balance that with what is observable outside.
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.