Bringing Together: Medicine, Psychology, Mental Health, and all Birthing Professionals



Seattle, Washington – July 7, 2016 – The Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, APPPAH, is proud to announce our annual regional conference at Bastyr University, Seattle, Washington, on September 16 and 17th.  This conference features the most current researchers, professionals, thought leaders and science of the prenatal psychology field and is a must attend event for physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, therapists, birth workers, doulas, midwives, parents and anyone interested in the foundations of human wellness for life.

APPPAH’s Regional Conference brings Medicine, Psychology, Mental Health, and all Birthing Professionals together under one roof to discuss improved outcomes from pregnancy, birth, and postpartum for our families and reduce long term negative affects which may have lifelong implications. At the conference you will learn evidence-based techniques to improve pregnancy, reduce stress, understand the impacts of how birth experiences impact baby and mother,  improved breastfeeding outcomes, and lower the incidence of postpartum depression.

From “Science to Somatics” or the mind-body connection has been a popular term for years, but this conference will bring to light the scientific evidence how the architecture of the brain is being affected by our emotional state during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This impacts the mental and physical health of our babies with lifelong consequences.

As a nonprofit and birth psychology pioneer for thirty-five years, APPPAH educates professionals and the public, worldwide, that a baby’s experience of conception, pregnancy, and birth creates lifelong consequences for individuals, families, and society. As a result of scientific discoveries and continually emerging evidence, we know babies are conscious and sentient beings.  Please visit our website for more information about becoming a member of APPPAH and supporting our nonprofit work,

Find more information about the conference, including registration and pricing, here:



Determinants of Health: Socio-economic Factors and Perinatal Implications, by Stephen Bezruchka, MD

The United States has worse health outcomes than people in the other rich nations and a number of poorer ones despite spending $3 trillion on health care in 2014, almost half of the world's total health care expenditures. Poorer people have poorer health and the large economic gap in this country is the primary determinant of our worse health status. Early life is when a substantial portion of adult health is programmed. The U.S. does not have the support for fetuses, infants and children required to produce healthy adults. National policy priorities are needed to support pre-conception, the fetal period and the first few years of life. Decreasing the economic gap will allow these policies to be funded.

Stephen Bezruchka, MD, from the University of Washington's Department of Global Health at the School of Public Health will be presenting a keynote on "Global Socioeconomic Determinants of Health and Perinatal Implications."

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study and Pre- and Post-natal Family Support, by Vincent Felitti, MD

The ACE Study is a major American medical research project studying the relationship between ten categories of adverse life experiences during childhood or adolescence and the prevalence a half-century later of wellbeing, health-risks, biomedical disease, social malfunction, death, and medical care costs. These ten categories turned out to be unexpectedly common in a general, middle-class population. The implications for medical practice are profound and have the potential to provide a new platform upon which to base primary care medicine.

Vincent Felitti, MD, is a renowned physician and researcher and co-principal investigator of one of the most powerful Public Health studies in recent history.  The Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) study has made a huge impact in medical and psychological arenas with powerful results that document the impact of childhood trauma on later adult health and wellbeing, suicidality, addiction, and happiness.  Dr. Felitti's presentations on this subject bring medical and healthcare professionals to their feet, eagerly questioning how we can intervene earlier to prevent early childhood trauma and the serious consequences that it brings. APPPAH's mission includes emphasis on the power of the time from conception to birth for bonding, attachment, early health promotion, and healthy relationships as well as research-based healthy birth practices that enhance health.  The desire to prevent perinatal trauma and to nurture effective, healthy parenting during pregnancy and parental support at birth becomes a logical extension of the concept of prevention!

Dr. Felitti is a foremost expert on childhood trauma. He is the Founder of the Department of Preventative Medicine for Kaiser Permanente and served as the chief of preventive medicine for over 25 years. We are thrilled that he is coming to Seattle to share these study findings and implications with us!  Don't miss this very special opportunity! Come and prepare to be inspired and challenged!

Incorporating Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Principles into an Obstetrical Practice, by Joel M. Evans, MD

The intrauterine experience has now been shown to be a major determinant of physical and emotional health from infancy to adulthood. Dr. Evans will describe how the illnesses that plague developed countries around the world have their origins in utero, and how caring for pregnant women holistically is the ultimate upstream intervention.

Joel M. Evans, MD, serves as the Medical Director of APPPAH and is a Board Certified OB/GYN.  He will be opening the conference on Friday morning, September 16. Dr. Evans is a senior lecturer for the Institute for Functional Medicine and the Center for Mind/Body Medicine. He has a special interest in the Functional Medicine approach to reproductive and mental health, and recently co-authored a chapter on Perinatal Influences on Mental Health in the textbook Women's Reproductive Mental Health Across the Lifespan. Dr. Evans spoke at the United Nations in March 2013 on the topic of Prenatal Origins of Violence and now serves as UN Representative and Chief Medical Advisor for OMAEP- World Organization of Prenatal Education Associations.  APPPAH honored Dr. Evans as the recipient of the David Cheek Memorial Award.  He has previously been a member of their Board of Directors. His book, The Whole Pregnancy Handbook (Gotham, 2005), has received critical acclaim and attention. 

Empowering Mothers: Improving Birth Outcomes for Marginalized Populations, by Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM

Disparities in perinatal outcomes impact all members of society. We’ll discuss current approaches to eliminating these disparities. The contrast between traditional prenatal care with the JJ Way system of perinatal care will be described. Strengths and challenges of providing perinatal care through the use of empowerment of the mother, respect for the baby growing in the womb, and including family members as support will be discussed. We’ll discuss how to apply this model to your practice, facility or agency along with action-steps to implement future life-saving programs dedicated to improving the health of vulnerable women and babies. Although Jennie works with uninsured, underinsured, and a high-risk population, the improved outcomes are full-term, healthy weight babies.

Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM, is a British-trained midwife who runs a birth center and clinic for women in Central Florida, where families are receiving supportive prenatal care and birthing facilities for low income families. She also heads a midwifery school and doula training facility to prepare women in careers that have the possibility to save millions in health care costs and at the same time improving outcomes for mothers and babies.

Supporting Babies’ Multidimensional Wholeness and Optimal Relationships from the Beginning of Life, by Wendy McCarty, PhD, RN

The heart of all healing and human potential lies in generating greater wholeness, coherence, and right relationship. Our understanding of babies’ wholeness is in the midst of a profound evolution from a biologically-based to a more inclusive consciousness-based landscape. PPN findings reveal that babies enter physical life as capable, conscious beings who already have an I AM sense of self and are seeking relationship and meaningful connection. We will explore this new terrain of early development and how we can communicate with and support our multidimensional babies and parents to have greater intimacy and optimal development during the prenatal period.

Wendy Anne McCarty, PhD, RN is a leader in prenatal and perinatal psychology, integrated early development, and teacher of energy psychology healing modalities. Formerly an OB nurse, childbirth educator, public health early development program director, marriage and family therapist, prenatal and birth therapist for children, babies, and adults, and is a consulting holistic specialist, educator and mentor.

She is also author of Welcoming Consciousness: Supporting Babies’ Wholeness from the Beginning of Life–An Integrated Model of Early Development, Being with Babies, and peer review journal articles.

The Powerful Impact of Prenatal Bonding (BA) in the Prevention of Postpartum Mood Disorders, by Gerhard Schroth, MD

Gerhard Schroth, MD, is the only facilitator for Prenatal Bonding (BA) to teach in the United States.  He will be presenting his talk on “The Powerful Impact of Prenatal Bonding (BA) in the Prevention of Postpartum Mood Disorders”.  Since the inception of Prenatal Bonding (BA) by Jenoe Raffai in 1995 more than 7000 cases have been facilitated with less than 1% of mothers suffering from postpartum depression.  Birthing is more empowering and nursing greatly improved. The babies have solid attachment and self-esteem enhancing full access to personal potential. At the moment there are less than 15 facilitators in the US working with families. The powerful program has the potential of changing the perceptions of women’s pregnancy experience as rewarding, empowering, and healthy.  The babies benefit from the positive uterine experience of being welcomed and preventing the affects of stress hormones on brain architecture. Their neurobiology will improve as well as emotional regulation.

We know the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Now we have a tool to help prevent these devastating experiences by working with families to bring about positive outcomes. Dr. Schroth is starting the first International Prenatal Bonding(BA) Facilitator Course directly after the Regional conference.

Craniosacral Therapy, Trauma Resolution and Somatic Experiencing™ In Perinatal Client Populations, by Kate White, MA, CMT, CEIM, SEP

Bodywork combined with trauma resolution approaches are blending into an effective therapy for prenatal and perinatal clients. This presentation will detail a therapeutic triangle of craniosacral therapy and bodywork (touch therapies), trauma resolution in the pre and perinatal field, and Somatic Experiencing™ (SE) as a container for recovery from difficulty in birth and improving health outcomes. Innate to these therapies are effective treatments of the autonomic nervous system.

Kate White, MA, CMT, CEIM, SEP is a massage and craniosacral therapist who specializes in working with babies and their families.  She has extensive training in working with families during the childbearing year, especially prenatal and perinatal health, trauma resolution, birth, breastfeeding, and bonding/attachment.  She is currently the Director of Education at APPPAH, Director of the Center for Prenatal and Perinatal Programs, and owns a private bodywork practice in Charlottesville, VA. She is married with two children. 


Buela Loretta Arvizu, RN, LMP, CCST—From the Ground Up: Finding Mindfulness in Movement

Cheryl R. Azlin, Psy.D. and Susana L. McCune, Psy.D. - The Psychological Impact of Infectious

Disease Threat During Conception and Pregnancy: Impact on the Mother/Prenate Dyad

David Hartman, LCSW and Diane Zimberoff, LMFT—Hypnotherapy as a Vital Component of Integrative Medicine in Treating Birth Trauma/Shock

Leubgythe (Nancy) Holm, Ph.D. and Barbara Decker, PPNE, HBCE, HBFC— Revisioning Prenatal Parent Education: Support for Optimal Biopsychosocial-spiritual Development of the Prenate from Very Early Pregnancy in Support of Lifelong Health

Phyllis Klaus, LMFT, LMSW—The use of Hypnosis and Brief Psychotherapy to Alleviate Medical and Psychological Complications of Pregnancy

Alisha Wilkes DNP, ARNP, CNM and Joanne Dorpat Halverson, Psy.D., LMHC—Tending the Mother-Child Garden: Exploring the Relationships Between Maternal Mental Health and Infant Outcomes

View full event schedule here.


APPPAH is proud to sponsor a preview screening of the new documentary, IN UTERO, an award-winning cinematic exploration of the sciences supporting birth psychology and humanity's potential for personal and societal healing. The film features interviews with APPPAH cofounder, Thomas Verny, MD. On a groundbreaking and ambitious mission to investigate how our experiences in utero shape our future, it asks “How are we formed? Who are we? Why are we who we are?" IN UTERO weaves together disparate and dynamic fields of scientific research, expert interviews, insights from ancient and modern mythology and fairy tales - including Disney films, The Matrix and the superhero blockbuster film phenomenon. The film symposium will be held on Friday evening.

“Two of our Seattle families were part of this documentary. They will be present after the film to discuss the benefits of their prenatal work in improving perinatal outcome,” says Barbara Decker, conference co-chair.

APPPAH also participated in the international film premier of IN UTERO in Seattle in June 2015.  You can read about the film's premier and APPPAH's discussion at SIFF, Seattle International Film Festival here.

A panel discussion will follow the Friday night screening. Please note when registering for the conference to purchase your IN UTERO tickets in addition to conference and meal tickets.

Find out more information about the film at


The 51 acre Bastyr University campus is situated nestled among woodlands on the northeast shore of Lake Washington. The campus complex is located 10 miles northeast of Seattle in Kenmore, Washington.  The original building was a Catholic Seminary. Next door to the Campus is St. Edwards State Park with lots of beautiful walking paths through the woods to Lake Washington.

This is a wonderful location for the conference, since the educational facility is ready to serve this type of event with lots of classrooms and a large auditorium. The cafeteria serves all organic food.

The Seattle area is loaded with museums, markets, educational facilities, and magnificent scenery. From the Olympic Mountains to the Cascades Mountains, you have amazing waterways. Lake Washington to the East and Puget Sound to the West with the Pacific Ocean on the western most point of the state. You have Vancouver, BC to the North, with beautiful Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC to the far North. This is a great place to bring the family.


Because of the location of this beautiful, spacious campus, a car will be necessary to travel to Seattle and the surrounding hotels and restaurants.


Antioch University, Seattle

The Wellness Institute


Barbara Decker, Co-Chair of 2016 APPPAH Regional Conference