How Birth InfluencesAnnie Brook’s Books
Reviewed by Dawn Bhat, MA, MS, NCC

Birth’s Hidden Legacy: How Surprising Beliefs from Infancy Limit Successful Child and Adult Behavior, Volume 1, and Birth’s Hidden Legacy: Treat Earliest Origins of Shock and Attachment Trauma In Adults, Children, And Infants, Volume 2.

It happens to all of us: birth! Every birth is as different as every body, every mind and every person. How does birth influence personality and shape behavior? Does the uniqueness of the individual stem from early life development in utero and in vivo? Annie Brook, PhD explores prenatal and birth origins of behavior, identity and personality in her latest two-volume book entitled, Birth’s Hidden Legacy. Readers may be therapists seeking to improve their clinical skills, parents hoping to understand their child, and couples planning to bring a new life forward.

Annie Brook, PhD integrates prenatal and perinatal psychology, infant mental health, child development, and somatic psychotherapy in a profoundly captivating way. Sharing her personal perinatal history and her scholarly work, Brook opens readers’ eyes to considering the potential for pregnancy, birth, and neonatal development to have a long-lasting effect. She provides many case examples that represent typical and atypical experiences in development and in treatment.

Supported by perinatal and attachment theories, the cases presented may be considered anecdotal yet are a representation of the range of challenges that may be followed by any given birth. In a similar vein, such issues may be explored in this volume as a means of prevention. These clinical findings are part of a growing field within psychology and psychotherapy that has not been afforded its rightful attention in traditional academic training programs. On the other hand, Brook provides evidence for the application of neuroscience, attachment dynamics, pre and perinatal psychology, and bodymind approaches to treatment, healing and transformation.

Birth’s Hidden Legacy makes important contributions to the growing fields of somatic psychology and prenatal and perinatal psychology. It is a guide for clinicians exploring early life events with their clients from a bodymind perspective. It is an information source for pregnant couples that wish to have an optimal, safe birth experience in modern society that typically includes various medical interventions, some of which are absolutely necessary. Furthermore, Brook provides a synthesis of theory integrated with case examples, which is an artful skill that she developed over the course of three decades in practice. Brook points out that to create a biographical narrative of early precognitive parts of a person’s life is to find lasting change in behavior. As a manual for parents, educators and therapists, this work treats the subtle, non-verbal, body-based material that they affect autonomic nervous system regulation and manifest in overt behavior.

For a complete review of both volumes, we invite you to read our Spring 2014 issue of Somatic Psychotherapy Today, volume 4 number 1, available for free on our website May 15, 2014.

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