I am honored to bring you this special edition memorial edition of JOPPPAH, featuring the work of our former editor, Dr. B. J. Lyman. A special contribution, Remembering B. J., from her colleagues at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, Drs. Marti Glenn and Wendy Anne McCarty, opens the issue.
As I reviewed B. J.'s published work in performing the difficult task of choosing what to feature in this special edition, B. J. spoke to me through her written words. I want to share first from one of her editorials, from the Spring, 2009 (Volume 23, Issue 3) edition of this journal.
On occasions I've found myself wishing I could ask Otto Rank (The Trauma of Birth, 1929/1993) how he grappled with the decision to part ways with his colleague, Sigmund Freud, selecting an early trauma experience and mother-child relationship focus over drive theory. Or to inquire of Phyllis Greenacre what it felt like to be a woman practicing in the psychoanalytic field early-to-mid twentieth century, being criticized for exploring preverbal stages of development, and arguing that the roots of anxiety might predate the existence of the ego. Though I now need to extrapolate the answers to my questions from early author's writings because they have passed on, many prominent thinkers are still with us who can speak to a number of issues from a lifetime of work in prenatal and perinatal psychology. Thus - I began by asking Thomas Verny M.D this question: "Who named our field?" He replied that he had selected it. (Thomas was, of course, an ideal choice for this one, as he founded the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Association of North America [PPPAZVA], as well). I inquired of Ludwig Janus, M.D., German psychoanalyst and author of The Enduring Effects of Prenatal Experience: Echoes from the Womb, what he considered the most important characteristic in the transference relationship when working with prenatal issues. He stated without hesitation, "attention." By this he meant that the psychotherapist would hold his attention on the prenatal feelings the client was expressing without dismissing them.
We must now rely on B. J.'s written words to hear her answers to our questions. However, for all who knew her she was open to questions and clear with her answers. In addition to her writing, she leaves a legacy of personal impacts on her friends, colleagues, and students. When we met just after I became her associate editor in 2002, she shared with me that her dream was to bring new scientific rigor to the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology (PPN). The three articles selected for this special edition reflects that passion and the hard work B. J. put into realizing that dream.
We begin with her first article in JOPPPAH, from the Spring/Summer 1999 edition (Volume 13, Issue, 3-4). In this article, B.J. focuses on the antecedents of somatoform disorders, hypothesizing a prenatal and perinatal connection. Written when she was a PhD candidate at The Fielding Institute, this article began the process of making connections between prior accepted theories in psychology and prenatal and perinatal psychology (PPN). We then jump to 2005 (the fall edition, Volume 20, Issue 1) to find the sprouting of the seeds that had been planted into the application of PPN theory to psychotherapy with adults and the beginning of a integrative model that can be empirically tested. The Spring 2008 edition (Volume 22, Issue 3) brings this growth to the budding stage of case formulation and evidence-based assessment of the origin of repetitive behaviors in adults.
It is now up to us to bring this work to full flower, responding to B. J.'s recommendations for future research. In her words, "The most obvious next step is to investigate if this model will demonstrate reliability using inner-observer agreement around assessment."
Whether your focus in this field is on psychotherapy with adults, preventative work with parents and babies, or healing in both areas, B. J. serves as a beacon and inspiration to all of us to find our own unique contribution to future generations through the healing and/or prevention of prenatal and perinatal wounds. Her impact is reflected in the following words, selected as representative of the many tributes that have come in from her friends, colleagues, and students.
More than anything, Bobby Jo was committed to living passionately and with gusto, while at the same time respecting, loving, and supporting those around her. This special combination of self expression and tenderness toward others is a rarely-found gift, and a reminder what a great mentor and teacher she was for all of us who were blessed to know her.
- William Emerson, APPPAH Board President
Bobbie Jo embodied APPPAH. She was tirelessly creative, open minded to the ideas of others, and she walked in joy. She never hesitated to speak her opinion even if it was unusual, offbeat, or definitely opposed to the majority. Her sense of humor and her love of music was legendary. She is missed by us all even as she continues to inspire us. I am glad I knew her.
- Sandy Morningstar, APPPAH Board Member
Loved her lively spirit and take-charge attitude.
- Pat Martin, APPPAH Board Member
Many people have benefitted from her, her work, her teaching, her mentoring, her wisdom. The ripple effect will last forever.
- Phyllis Klaus, APPPAH Member
Thank you, BJ, for using your time here with so much endearment and such great contribution on the planet. I bless you in your journey elsewhere.
- Mor Neveh, Student
I will ever remember her and the grace and friendship she shared with me and all those around her.
- Diane Callecod, Student
In closing, I again turn to B.J.'s words, from the closing of her editorial in the Spring, 2008 (Volume 22, Issue 3) edition of the journal.
Let me close by naming that today more than any other time in history, research is confirming the importance of the prenatal and perinatal periods. I am grateful for each new discovery that unfolds and for being part of the effort.
To that I add my own note of gratitude for the privilege of knowing B.J. and being mentored by her in this work of editing the Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health.