In this issue of JOPPPAH we connect strongly with one of the primary ancestors of our field, psychoanalysis, and find there relevance and wisdom that informs and challenges us to consider all perspectives in what constitutes pre- and perinatal psychology today. We find that psychoanalysis is not only an ancestor, but a current explorer in this realm.
Nora Swan-Foster brings the Jungian perspective in with an in depth look at pregnancy as feminine initiation. This focus on the mother’s experience may be unusual for our journal, however, in our concern for the unborn it seems we often overlook the mother’s deep psychological experience in pregnancy. To quote Swan-Foster, “In other words, the pregnant woman’s experience is overlooked. She may be a faceless container in service of the fetus while carrying projections from the collective.” The benefits of a mother who is willing to explore the depths of her own psyche do accrue to her baby. In describing one client, Swan-Foster says, “Her ability to ‘ride’ and survive her feelings while also calming her body and reassuring her fetus led to a rich inner psychological journey and increased maternal-confidence. Ultimately this process laid the groundwork for what was needed from her during the post-partum attachment process.”
From our European colleagues, two articles from the International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine are shared in these pages, with permission of the esteemed editor of that journal, Peter G. Fedor-Freybergh.
We are pleased to bring you Helga Blazy’s insightful article titled, “Thinking the Unthought.” Her words lead us through a brief history of thought about prenatal and perinatal through the writings of Freud, Ferenczi, Winnicott, and others. Bringing to consciousness that which was previously “unthought” is the profound contribution of psychoanalysis to psychology in general and prenatal and perinatal psychology in particular. That contribution continues, as described by Dr. Blazy, in such approaches as Raffai’s Bonding Analysis, which many of you have encountered previously on these pages through the words of Gerhard Schroth.
Dr. Ludwig Janus brings us his thoughts on differentiation between knowledge and non-knowledge in prenatal psychology. This article really demonstrates the maturing of our field as we open ourselves to examining what we “know” and what is still conjecture. As he states in this article, “The scientific weakness of psychological research arises essentially from the fact that there is often no clear difference between knowledge and non-knowledge but that one protects oneself from the challenge of admitting that everything is not known by founding ideologies of therapeutic schools and doctrines. This is why in the future considerable progress can be expected from the interdisciplinary opening of the different schools of thought.”
Working from a very different perspective, Sandy Morningstar brings us a glimpse into the power of working with the body to resolve issues resulting from traumatic birth, specifically shoulder dystocia. She introduces her topic with a very clear description of shoulder dystocia and the methods that have been developed to deal with this complication in the birth process. She then gives three case examples of how the resulting trauma to the body can be released through her very gentle process of working for this release.
The book review section brings you two new jewels in the literature. From Joann O’Leary we have a review of the sensitive and timely book, The Sound of Silence, Journeys through Miscarriage, by Irma Gold. And, from Ellynne Skove, a review of Safe in the Arms of Love: Deepening the Essential Bond with Your Baby by Lisa Rafel, Gary Malkin, & David Surrenda, Ph.D. This later publication includes both a cd and a book designed for parents. Both of these volumes are essential for therapists working with parents, providing resources for you to share with your clients and recommend to others.
Acknowledging the synergy of multiple perspectives is a new frontier for prenatal and perinatal psychology and is essential for our continued development (notice how I slipped the 2012 APPPAH Congress theme in there – don’t forget to check out the program and register for the congress at http://birthpsychology.com/content/2012-congress. This congress will bring you many more perspectives and inspiration for your life and professional practice.
It is from this rich mix of perspectives, research, deep knowing, and mutual respect that truth emerges.