Seminars For Therapists

Seminar I: The Impact of Prenatal and Early Postnatal Experiences Over the Lifespan


This seminar will present recent knowledge and research in science and medicine that demonstrate the relationship between prenatal and early postnatal development and experience, and an individual’s growth, health and behavior over the life span.

It is crucial for psychotherapists to incorporate this knowledge into their understanding of human development and relationships because:

  • This knowledge will inform their work with women and families before, during and after pregnancy and/or adoption; and

  • These foundational experiences influence patients’ behavior and attachment dynamics in the therapeutic relationship.

Postnatal development and experience is built upon the quality of the foundation established in the prenatal period.

This seminar will present recent contributions from disciplines that study the human organism, including neurobiology, psychology, and psychophysiology that illuminate how the foundations for growth, resiliency, brain development, emotional intelligence and self regulation are shaped by conditions during the pre-conception, prenatal and early postnatal period.

This seminar is designed to shed light on how conditions that are present in the internal and external environment of the mother during this period profoundly influence the development of her offspring. It will explore how the impacts of these prenatal conditions continue to influence child development in the postnatal period and the establishment of the family’s early attachment relationships.

Knowledge and research from the disciplines mentioned above have expanded our understanding of the effects of early childhood trauma on early attachment experiences. In turn, the effects of these experiences impact the quality of an individual’s relationships over the life span.

These understandings have largely emerged from a focus on traumatic experience that occurs after birth. This seminar is designed to provide an understanding of how traumatic experiences that occur in the prenatal period, during birth and the early postnatal period impact attachment relationships between children and their primary caregivers.

In addition to an exploration of the influence of pre-conception, prenatal and early postnatal experience and trauma on dyadic interactions, this seminar is designed to provide practitioners with knowledge they can use to incorporatepsychoeducational components in their work with patients who are planning to conceive, are pregnant, have recently given birth, are undergoing treatment for infertility or are adopting a child.

Psychoeducation provided to patients at this critical time in their development as parents will enhance their awareness of:

  • How cultivating a nurturing internal and external environment during the prenatal period contributes to their child’s healthy growth and behavior over their life span; and

  • How doing so strengthens the foundation of their emerging attachment relationship with their child.

Educational Objectives

Participants in this seminar will have the opportunity to learn:

  • The relationship between prenatal development and experience, and the development, health and behavior of the individual over the life span

  • How traumatic stress symptoms impact women’s reproductive experiences, the prenatal environment of her offspring and early attachment relationships in the family

  • The potential impacts of experiences of reproductive endocrinology treatment for infertility on women and families

  • How the impacts of prenatal development and experience may influence interactions in the therapeutic relationship