Peoria Journal Star Article
On October 10, 2003, a two-part article on my work, Infant-Parent
Healing, was featured in the Peoria Journal Star. The
writer, Pam Adams, did an excellent job of discussing the
concepts of prenatal and birth therapy after interviewing me and observing
working with two children. Below is first, the two-part article; then, a letter
to the editor from a reader (claiming the work “is not
supported by science”); and then is my response to his letter.
NOTE: There is no connection with my work and "rebirthing".
NEVER is a child covered, restrained, or controlled. Parents are
taught to observe BEHAVIOR and learn how the child's behavior is
communication. "Bad" behavior is unheard communication and the child's
repeated attempts to communicate. Parents learn, to respond accurately
to the behavior and the message. The child in the photo below happen
to chose to use a table in her own home to communicate her experience
of being stuck in the birth canal for three hours. If it appears to
you she is communicating cesarean section, she is. However, she was
not born by cesarean. It's just part of her story. During that time in her
birth, the midwife had intervened repeatedly with the physician to prevent a
cesarean. The little girl is sharing her perspective of the
experience. It turns out her episodic intense frustration at her
mother and crying was about her experience during the three hours. She
only needed to have it acknowledged, which is one of main needs of
every human. It begins with the birth experience.
The baby whisperer:
A birth therapist tries to
the results of a traumatic
Story by Pam Adams
Photographs by Leslie Renken
of Peoria Journal Star
October 10, 2003
LouJanel Miranda helps Mika Carlton, 3, crawl out
of a coffee table cabinet after asking to be shut inside to take
a nap. Miranda says activities like this help Mika overcome her
traumatic birth experience - Mika was stuck in the birth canal
for more than four hours because she was not positioned
correctly. Therapy has helped Mika get to this point. "Being
locked in a dark cabinet is not something a child who was
stuck in the birth canal for four hours would ever ask for,"
Miranda said. Looking on is Mika's mother, Julie Carlton, and
brother, Elijah, 9 months.
early afternoon, old friends and new visitors have been tramping
through the house since before lunch, and Mika is at that point
mothers of toddlers know all too well.
think it's time for a nap," Julie Carlton of Washington says
softly, as her daughter, 3½-year-old
Michaela, "Mika," pouts and flops on the living room floor, next
to the coffee table.
as mothers of toddlers know well, Mika stiffens her body before
she answers with the one word toddlers know best: "No!"
little girl lies there for a few seconds, next to the coffee
table. Before her mother can say a word, she announces, "I'm
climbing in, and I will not come out."
fumbles with the latch-handled doors of the cabinet-style coffee
table. This is where LouJanel Miranda steps in.
has been sitting on the floor, watching
or, as she might say, "reading"
the encounter between mother and daughter. She moves closer and
helps Mika open the door, speaking gently the whole time.
most might see a cranky child resisting a nap, Miranda, a
prenatal and birth therapist sometimes known as "the baby
whisperer," sees a little girl trying to tell adults what it
felt like when she was pushing her way out of the womb.
Prenatal therapy? Birth therapy? Babies trying to tell adults
about traumatic experiences at birth? Miranda knows it sounds
weird. She insists it's not. Babies are always trying to tell
adults about the traumas of birth, she had said earlier, through
their play, their actions, their illnesses. But adults, mainly
through the new field of prenatal psychology, are just beginning
to explore this language.
Meanwhile, she watches Mika closely, reading every action for
Miranda tells her as she climbs inside the table. "I just want
you to know I'm here to support you. Do you want me to lock it
or just close it?"
curls her body into the dark; Miranda closes the door. No one
says a word for a long moment. Finally, Miranda asks, "How are
you doing in there?"
just fine," comes the little voice from the bottom of the table.
There's another long, silent moment. "OK, you can open it up
now," Mika says.
does anything without asking Mika's permission first. The two go
back and forth as Miranda tries to figure out precisely which
door Mika wants her to open. As it turns out, it's not the door
closest to her head or the one near her feet, it's the tabletop.
confused until Mika's mother assures her the top lifts up. Mika
climbs out and over the table, hands first. She runs to her
mother for a hug. Then, she starts to tidy up the table top,
lifting the heavy statue Miranda had removed to open it.
going to put this back," she says, sounding in a much better
mood than she had less than 10 minutes before when her mother
amazed. Her children, Mika and 9-month-old Elijah, tend to do
things around Miranda they wouldn't normally do, she explains
later. "We've had that table I don't know how long, and this is
the first time she ever decided to climb in and come out that
is not surprised. Mika's decision is a small example of healing
birth traumas through birth therapy, she says.
delivery involves an extended time in the birth canal, as
happened during Mika's birth, tend to have a difficult time
being in closed spaces, Miranda says.
beneath the coffee table obviously symbolized the womb. Mika's
decision to come out through the tabletop represented what
Miranda would call releasing the trauma of being stuck in the
birth canal for hours.
"We all have
a biological impulse to start and finish birth," Miranda says.
The process is interrupted far too often, she adds, by health
professionals who are either unwilling or afraid to let the
birth take its course without technology or drugs.
birth therapists work with babies and adults. "We go back, with
a 2-month-old, a 4-month-old or a 40-year-old, and let their
bodies show us how they wanted to do it."
Even though he can't speak words yet,
9-month-old Elijah Carlton communicates through
expressions, body language and noises. Miranda helps
mothers recognize these forms of expression to better
communicate with their babies and strengthen the
'Peace on Earth Begins With Peace at Birth'
LouJanel Miranda discusses prenatal psychology
by Pam Adams of Peoria Journal Star
October 10, 2003
Miranda has a Web site, infantparenthealing.com, with the
slogan, "Peace on Earth Begins With Peace at Birth," and lengthy
birth experiences, from the use of epidurals, fetal monitors,
forceps, induced labor and drugs to Caesarean sections, breech
births, premature births or other birth complications.
consequences of traumatic birth experiences, including colic in
infants to attention-deficit disorder in older children to
emotional problems in adulthood.
prenatal and birth therapy helps parents and babies resolve
birth issues, relieve anxiety and build better relationships.
The site also
includes testimonials from parents pleased with Miranda's
Talk to her,
read the site or talk to a few of the parents, and it's still
difficult to understand the idea of therapy for experiences that
occurred during, even before, birth.
edge," says Miranda, who can give her own lively explanations of
birth therapy and its evolution out of little-known science
relating to cellular memory, cranial-sacral therapy and, most of
all, the emerging field of pre- and perinatal psychology.
record, the American Psychology Association doesn't have an
official position on prenatal psychology. The APA doesn't take
positions on specific therapies unless they become
controversial, according to a spokesperson.
"It's hard to
explain. The concept makes sense, but it's hard to grasp without
going through it and seeing the outcome," says Julie Carlton of
Washington, whose two young children are currently in birth
therapy with Miranda.
beginning of understanding goes back to one of the basic tenets
of birth therapy.
talking about talking to babies in the womb, reading to babies
in the womb. Part of my work is promoting that babies are
conscious in the womb," Miranda says.
Not only are
they conscious, she adds, but they also remember what happened
at birth. Though Miranda struggles with the implications this
theory has on controversial issues such as abortion, she is
passionate about the effect that healing birth traumas can have
on individuals and societies. Go back to the slogan on her Web
site: "Peace on Earth Begins With Peace at Birth."
memory, the memory of birth, she says, becomes imprinted on the
central nervous system as a baby develops. In turn, those
memories can traumatically affect a person throughout life.
Healing physical and emotional problems, through birth therapy,
can begin at any age, she says, but she prefers working with
of Peoria notices birth trauma through body movements wherever
she goes. For instance, children born by Caesarean section are
always popping up and out of things: They have a difficult time
with tunnels. Babies whose mothers delivered with epidural
anesthesia tend to do the "army crawl."
The body is
geography, she says, and healing through birth therapy involves
learning to read the body as much as learning to understand how
communicate all the time; adults just don't listen."
mother of four, might say there are not accidents but a series
of connected coincidences that led her to birth therapy.
She holds a
master's degree in counseling. After years of working in
counseling and social work, she became increasingly frustrated
with the bureaucracy of social service agencies. At the same
time, she kept noticing clients who would get to a certain
stage, then stop making progress.
been interested in motherhood and birth, she became a doula, or
birth coach, then studied infant massage. Her infant massage
instructor introduced her to birth therapy. Now she's re-taking
and updating science classes she took years ago with plans to
return to nursing school and eventually work in hospitals,
helping deliver babies.
Letter to the
Peoria Journal Star Editor
by Dr. Curtis Dunkel
October 16, 2003
There is no
scientific support for the therapy described in "The baby
whisperer" (Oct. 10, Journal Star). What is the evidence for the
outlandish claims that emotional trauma at birth is related to
colic, attention deficit disorder and emotional problems in
adults, or that the form of therapy described in the article
addresses these problems?
Ms. Miranda's stance, it doesn't take long to identify problems.
A visit to her website reveals faulty reasoning. On the first
page there is a series of bullet points. The first two include
the statements that babies are fully conscious and remember
everything from conception on, and that conception, gestation
and birth experiences are imprinted on the central nervous
the life form is a single cell and does not have a central
nervous system. How can it form memories? How can memories be
imprinted on something that does not yet exist?
important to be a knowledgeable consumer of psychological
services and to recognize the therapy described by Miranda is
not supported by science or logic.
Response to Dr. Curtis Dunkel's Letter to the Editor
LouJanel Miranda, MA
professional person featured in the Journal Star article
entitled “The baby whisperer,” (Oct. 10, 2003) and the subject
of the letter to the editor by Dr. Curtis Dunkel (Oct. 16,
2003), I appreciate the opportunity to respond to questions
about the scientific support for and the logic of my work. I am
sure others have similar questions and I am always happy to
clarify and address questions about my work. At the end I will
provide clarification to correct a misrepresentation about one
of the two children featured in the article.
writer’s questions and the subject of scientific support for my
work is not done quickly and so this is rather lengthy. I hope
you can print it in its entirety, as the personal opinions
presented by Dr. Dunkel are outdated and unfounded. Parents and
community (especially who care for and provide services for our
babies and children) deserve the opportunity to know the extent
and variety of the scientific evidence that supports my work.
At the end of
this letter is a list of research sources that support my work
and that provide scientific understanding that babies are fully
present from conception on, that trauma at any time from
conception through birth is imprinted on the nervous system —
joyful and traumatic, and that who we are in our adult life is
related to our prenatal and birth experiences. I provide this
list of the relevant research that supports my work so that one
can read, research, and decide for one’s self about the
scientific validity and the integrity of my work. I have
published a more detailed response to Dr. Dunkel’s letter to the
editor on my website: www.infantparenthealing.com.
On my website
one can also read stories from parents about how their child’s
lives have been changed with the therapy, particularly children
diagnosed with colic and on medication that was not working.
well-known and respected sources I can offer are two recent
back-to-back cover stories of TIME Magazine presenting
new brain research and its application. The July 31, 2003 issue,
“The New Science of Dyslexia. Why some children struggle so much
with reading used to be a mystery. Now researchers know what’s
wrong—and what to do about it.” The following week the August
7, cover story was, “Just Say Om: Scientists study it. Doctors
recommend it. Millions for Americans — many of whom don’t even
own crystals--practice it everyday. Why? Because meditation
works.” Two quotes from that issue are: “Not only do studies
show that meditation is boosting their immune system, but brain
scans suggest that it may be REWIRING their brains to reduce
stress. Meanwhile, we nonbelievers are becoming the minority.”
And, “It is also being used to restore balance in the face of
such psychiatric disturbances as depression, hyperactivity and
attention-deficit disorder (ADD).” Both of these articles use
the same new science that is the basis for my teacher Dr. Ray
Castellino’s Prenatal and Birth Therapy, and the research of
cellular biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, whose work is verifying
consciousness at conception. One only has to have no fear and a
“faith in science” to alter one’s understanding when presented
with new scientific information.
I would like to share with the readers my
experience in the pre and perinatal psychology field. Of these
researchers I identify here, I have had professional contact
with Dr. Emerson, Dr. Chamberlain, and Dr. Lipton. I am
currently a student of Dr. Castellino.
Dr. David Chamberlain and Dr. William Emerson are
both psychologists in the pre and perinatal field and have done
research over a thirty-year span. Dr. Emerson is a pioneer in
how birth trauma creates psychological dynamics and he has done
a twenty some year longitudinal study. He and Dr. Raymond
Castellino identified five stages of birth from the baby’s
perception that creates a sequence that is replayed in every
aspect of life. Prenatal and Birth Therapy is about repatterning,
or rewiring the central nervous system (brain) as the TIME
source identifies as being shown scientifically to be possible.
Dr. Lipton’s cellular work in consciousness explains how this is
Dr. Castellino has been studying, synthesizing,
and integrating cranial osteopathy, brain research, chiropractic
medicine, pre and perinatal psychological, and cellular biology
research for over twenty years. He has studied the ten-year
cyclical patterns in obstetric medicine over the past sixty
years and how this relates to patterns of personal dysfunctions.
He is internationally known for his pioneering work in the
application of the current scientific research into the
therapeutic practice of Prenatal and Birth Therapy that I do. I
have been studying directly with Dr. Castellino for two years at
the BEBA Research Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.
I have also studied with Dr. David Chamberlain
who wrote, “The Mind of Your Newborn Baby” which is now
published in five languages. He is co-founder of the US
Association of Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health. His new
book on the consciousness of babies from conception and in the
womb is due out in 2004. I have also received professional
supervision with Mr. Michael Trout, Director of the
Infant-Parent Institute in Champaign, IL. He is the past
president of the Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology
Finally, I want to also take this opportunity to
clarify a few mistakes in the original article. First, related
to the issue of science, I would like to correct a quote from
the article. It said that I referred to “the body is our
geography.” I actually refer to the body as our “biography,” a
concept from “Anatomy of the Spirit” by Caroline Myss, a very
well known author and speaker in the field of mind-body
connection, consciousness, and alternative healing.
Lastly, I would
like to clarify the work that was presented in the article,
especially in light of Dr. Dunkel’s uninformed beliefs about
science and his unwarranted concluding warning to the public.
The baby boy
featured in the article was mistakenly identified as having a
traumatic birth. He was actually born during a planned homebirth
with a Certified Nurse Midwife in water. He weighed 11# 2 oz.;
his mother had no drugs, and no tearing. Not only was his birth
not traumatic, it was peaceful. Unfortunately, three days after
he was born he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that
was undetected despite his mother's two prenatal ultrasounds. He
underwent two open-heart surgeries in the first ten days of
life. Because of his peaceful, non-traumatic birth, he was
better able to manage the experiences of heart surgery and PICU
in ways that amazed even his medical providers. He did not have
to recover from a traumatic birth AND surgery so he was able to
put all of his energy towards healing his heart and his progress
was nothing short of amazing! I have worked with him and his
family on the traumatic experiences after birth,
not his birth. His birth is an example of how the LACK
of stress, trauma, and medical interventions in birth
contributes to the ability to meet life differently. His therapy
and story are featured on my website.
I was actually working with the younger boy
during the photo session for the article. There is an excellent
picture of the process working with him. He has his arm up and
is looking at the camera. The writer and the photographer hoped
for more photos, but he was distracted by the visitors and by
the camera. Children are respected in my work and he was not
pushed to do anything else. His sister happily obliged and she
began to show them the result of her healing her birth -- what
she can do now that she could not do before. Because she used a
table with doors, I want to clarify that my work does not
involve me directing the child in anyway or in using any
objects, other than toys, unless the child directs us. The
feeling of safety is usually an issue with most babies, and the
child directing and feeling safe is a fundamental part of the
work. The young girl chose to use the table to show her progress
to the visitors. This was after several sessions where she was
able to communicate with each of us present how terrified,
angry, and in pain she was while stuck in the birth canal for
this opportunity to answer the questions raised in the letter to
the editor and to further share this amazing work with the
Sources That Support My Work:
Raymond. “The Polarity Therapy Paradigm Regarding
Pre-conception, Prenatal and Birth Imprinting.” Available
www.beba.org and he is
currently writing about his work.
Chamberlain, David. “Mind of Your Newborn Baby” (1975)
Claire B and Kaler, Sandra R. “Risk in Infancy: Origins
and Implications, American Psychologist.” 44(2), 2/89,
p224-230. This article focuses on biological risks that can
adversely influence development during infancy and later. In
the first part of the article, the origins of risks and their
potential consequences are discussed relative to prepregnancy,
prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal periods.
“Birth Trauma: the Psychological Effects of Obstetrical
Interventions,” 1997 and “Collected Works II: Pre and
Perinatal Regression Therapy,” 2000. Available at
“The Biology of Belief.” 2001. Available at
www.brucelipton.com. This article has an extensive list
of basic science resources.
“Nature, Nurture, and Human Development." 2001.
“Insight into Cellular “Consciousness”
2001 Vol 12(1):5).
He says, “…it is also perceived by a majority of scientists
that the human mind and consciousness are ‘encoded’ in the
molecules of the nervous system. This in turn promotes the
concept that the emergence of consciousness reflects the
‘ghost in the machine.’
"Anatomy of the Spirit."
Bruce D. "Incubated in Terror, Incubated in Terror:
Neurodevelopmental Factors in the 'Cycle of Violence' In:
Children, Youth and Violence: The Search for Solutions" (J
Osofsky, Ed.). Guilford Press, New York, pp 124-148. 1997.
Perry, Bruce D.
"Violence and Childhood: How Persisting Fear Can Alter the
Developing Child's Brain." Citation: Perry, B.D. (2001b).
Bruce Perry discusses five neural systems involved in
regulating a child's response to threat: the Reticular
Activating System, Locus Coeruleus, Hippocampus, Amygdala, and
Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, and then describes the
clinical presentation and altered neurobiology of children
exposed to violence. Heartrate data and gender differences are
presented from children at the Branch Davidian's Ranch
Apocalypse compound. Includes about 70 references, 3 figures
and 2 tables.
Perry, Bruce D.
"The neurodevelopmental impact of violence in childhood. In
Schetky D & Benedek, E. (Eds.). "Textbook of child and
adolescent forensic psychiatry." Washington, D.C.: American
Psychiatric Press, Inc. (pp. 221-238).
Perry, Bruce D.
"Childhood Trauma, the Neurobiology of Adaptation, and
Use-Dependent Development of the Brain: How States become
Traits." Infant Mental Health Journal, 16(4), 271-291.
Bruce Perry and his colleagues argue that infants and young
children may be more vulnerable to traumas than adults -- that
they are not resilient, but malleable. They consider
neurobiological consequences of repeated dissociative or
hyperarousal responses on developing brain organization, and
conclude that the more plastic developing brain may be more
vulnerable to disruptions related to these responses.
Evolutionary advantages of gender differences in responses to
trauma (hyperarousal by males; dissociation in females) are
considered briefly, and clinical implications are discussed.
Includes about 70 references.
"Molecules of Emotion." She is the former NIH researcher who
discovered the receptor site for the AIDS virus.
"Only More Mother-Infant Bonding Can Prevent Cycles of
Violence". Cerebrum 3(1): 8-9 & 124, Winter 2001.
Porges, Stephen W.
"Emotion: An Evolutionary By-Product of the Neural Regulation
of the Autonomic Nervous System." Paper to be published in C.
S. Carter, B. Kirkpatrick, & I.I. Lederhendler (eds.), "The
Integrative Neurobiology of Affiliation, Annals of the New
York Academy of Sciences."
"The Effects of a Secure Attachment Relationship on Right
Brain Development. Affect Regulation, and Infant Mental
Health." Infant Journal of Mental Health, 2001, 22, 7-66.
"The Effects of Early Relational Trauma on Right Brain
Development, Affect Regulation, and Infant Mental Health."
Infant Journal of Mental Health, 2001, 22, 201-269.
"Dysregulation of the Right Brain: A Fundamental Mechanism of
Traumatic Attachment and the Psychoapathogensis of
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Australian and New Zealand
Journal of Psychiatry, 36, 9-30.
Siegel, Daniel and Hartzell, Mary.
"Parenting From the Inside Out: How a Deeper
Self-understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive."
An excellent resource for understanding the brain functioning
and the new brain research. In this book he focuses on young
children and does not discuss the experiences of prenatal and
birth as significant; however, each chapter ends with a
"Spotlight on Science" section that provides the science that
verifies and supports the prenatal work of Dr. Castellino.
"Wounds That Time Won't Heal: The Neurobiology of Child
Abuse." Fall, 2000s. This in important contribution to the
growing literature on the structural and functional brain
abnormalities associated with child abuse and neglect.