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Body-Centered Hypnosis for Childbirth


Online Certification Training Programs in Childbirth Hypnosis and Counseling in the Peterson Method


“This program begins where traditional education ends. Here is a truly personal preparation for childbirth, reaching emotional and unconscious depths.”

-David Chamberlain, PhD, former president of the American Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health and author of The Mind of Your Newborn Baby

About Dr. Gayle Peterson

“Gayle Peterson could be named the grandmother of birth psychology. Since 1973, she has pioneered the field, long before it was named. Her groundbreaking book, Birthing Normally rocked the childbirth field in 1980 by proclaiming birth not only a life passage and significant to a woman's psychological development, but by embracing the joy, power and pain of the birth experience. Since 1973 Dr. Peterson has engaged in research and clinical practice resulting in a model of preventative care, which supports a woman's psychobiological development during pregnancy, and empowers her personal growth...”

- American Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health , 2008 conference, Nelson, B. C., Canada.

About the Programs

Becoming a mother is a pivotal experience in a woman’s development. Giving birth is the threshold to motherhood. It is not a neutral event. Childbirth can be gratifying and empowering or devastating and traumatic to a woman’s psyche. This program gives childbirth professionals the necessary tools to help a woman explore and express her deepest needs at this important developmental milestone. The training enables the practitioner to effectively assist a woman in gaining valuable insight into her core beliefs and feelings about childbirth, family and motherhood, ensuring an increased ability to adapt to the power and flow of labor. This model is based on Dr. Gayle Peterson’s philosophy and childbirth preparation program originally presented in 1980 in her groundbreaking book, Birthing Normally: A Personal Growth Approach to Childbirth and developed over more than 35 years of research and clinical practice. Gayle is also the author of An Easier Childbirth and Making Healthy Families.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the Certification Training Program

Core and Advanced online Training Programs are available:

I. Core Training -Childbirth Hypnosis & Counseling in the Peterson Method-click for detailed syllabus

II. Advanced Techniques in Childbirth Hypnosis and Counseling in the Peterson Method-click for detailed syllabus

A note from Dr. Gayle Peterson:

Thank you for your interest in the Childbirth Hypnosis and Counseling Training Programs in the Peterson Method.

The goal of this work is the enhancement of a woman's self-esteem and good feelings about herself as a person and a mother at this very critical period in the life cycle.  This kind of work does facilitate normal birth and increases possibilities for a healthy outcome; however, this is a by-product and not the main thrust of attending to the emotional needs of mothers giving birth.  The approach is therefore, a compassionate and not cause and effect or blame-inducing one.  This work should enhance your ability to help women through this transition in the family and help you to support women giving birth in any way they choose.

Following my daughter's birth, I wanted to share the richness of my own experience with other women. I immersed myself in research on the safety of home delivery to see if this choice could truly be a viable one for women throughout the country. Lewis Mehl, M.D., Donald Creevy, M.D., Nancy Shaw, PhD and myself studied the outcomes of the Santa Cruz midwives in the early 70's. This initial research pointed us in the direction of studying prenatal care practices. This led me further to study the contribution of emotional and psychological factors to a normal and healthy labor in any setting, whether it is home or hospital. After physical health and nutrition, emotional factors showed themselves to be important to a normal labor and delivery.

During the past decades, an increasing number of medical researchers have documented the fact that a woman's emotional state affects her physiology. In 1979 Levenson and Shnider published their findings which linked maternal fear to dysfunctional labor patterns. One year later, Roberto Sosa and his associates published research in The New England Journal of Medicine which suggested that having a person present to emotionally support the mother during labor decreased length of labor and increased mother-infant bonding immediately after birth. Research that supported emotional factors as significant to childbirth outcome helped to humanize standard hospital policy to better meet the emotional needs of the laboring mother.

Medical research has shown that fear can affect labor by decreasing the hormone oxytocin, which causes contractions. I have found in my clinical practice and research conducted by myself and colleagues, that a realistic preparation allows women the opportunity to integrate the intensity of labor before it occurs. Body-centered preparation means that a woman can experience, as much as possible, her own physical and emotional response to labor. This allows a woman time to master her fear before labor, creating a greater potential for a smooth and uncomplicated childbirth. This capacity to help women master their fears before childbirth is the essence of what these Training Programs in Childbirth Hypnosis and Counseling offer.

Over the past thirty-five years I have developed a method of childbirth preparation which synthesizes the research on the effects of emotions on labor with the practical experience I have gained from working with pregnant women and their families.

The course syllabus details the content of the training certification program. The Training Programs can be taken for certification or non-certification. Certification is available for the Core Training in Childbirth Hypnosis and Counseling and for the Advanced Training in Childbirth Hypnosis and Counseling. Certification requires satisfactory completion of the homework assignments. 

Included in the training cost are materials other than the books, An Easier Childbirth, Making Healthy Families and Birthing Normally. A training manual pdf, and training video files of the lectures are included in the trainings. Access to the library video files of individual cases is also included, while enrolled in the program. 

What do graduates of the Prenatal Counseling Training Program say about it?

To apply for a space in the program and fee schedule information: click here

Certification Training info: - Click here

Note: this video requires a broadband connection and will NOT work with Dial-up. Depending on your connection speed, it may take a few seconds to load and start playing.
Gayle TV Click here to view complete viewing of the first seminar of six in the program. (30 minutes)
For information on continuing education visit: Psychceu

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