Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt

Body Centered Hypnosis for Childbirth

Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD

This course meets the qualifications for 8 hours of continuing education units



We are pleased and honored to offer courses by Gayle Peterson, LCSW, Ph.D, a renowned family therapist, prenatal and child development specialist.

Body-Centered hypnosis for decreasing anxiety has proven an effective tool for many applications, including fear of childbirth and
post traumatic stress syndrome resulting from physical and/or emotional trauma.

While dissociative hypnosis has been used successfully to reduce chronic pain in patients suffering from disease, a body-centered or associative hypnosis (associating to the body’s sensations and working with pain and the individual woman’s psychological profile) has proven to be a superior method of hypnosis for childbearing women.

Body-Centered hypnosis is more successful than traditional hypnosis due to the nature of changing sensation of labor pain versus chronic pain, and due to the individual nature of anxiety related issues in the pregnant woman.
Additionally, the author has successfully applied this approach to other clinical issues, including:
1) test anxiety
2) post traumatic stress
3) to ease anxiety related to upcoming medical operations for both children and adults
4) to normalize blood pressure, prevent premature labor and other medical conditions

Clinical applications for perinatal psychology
Therapists will learn how to identify and treat anxieties arising in women clients, during pregnancy and childbirth. Through on-line material and videotaped case study, Dr. Gayle Peterson will present an introduction to her method of prenatal assessment, based on 25 years of research and clinical experience. Clinicians will learn how to use body-centered hypnosis to help women master anxieties related to this crucial developmental period, largely overlooked by even family therapists.
The student interested in working with pregnant women and their families is highly encouraged to refer to the author’s book, An Easier Childbirth for further study of Dr Gayle Peterson’s Preventive Prenatal Counseling Model, on which this course for body-centered hypnosis is based.

Learning Objectives

In this 8 unit course:

1. Clinicians will learn to identify specific birth-related anxiety occurring in the pregnant woman. These anxieties relate not only to her associations and experiences of childbirth, but to her past generational posttraumatic stress related to perinatal loss, and to the transition to motherhood in the family system.
2. Clinicians will become familiarized with the interrelationship of psychological and biological processes
3. Clinicians will be introduced to hypnotic methods to effectively treat anxiety in the pregnant woman.
4. Clinicians will become familiarized with women’s development during the perinatal period on the family life cycle.

This course meets the qualifications for 8 hours of continuing education units

is approved by the:

American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists - maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Board of Registered Nursing (#13620)
California Board of Behavioral Science (#1540)
Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling (BAP #753)
NAADAC - The Association for Addiction Professionals (#478)
National Association of Social Workers (#886382116)
National Board for Certified Counselors (#6055)
Ohio Counselor, Social Work and Marriage and Family CPE (#RCST090402)
The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (#52526)
The Texas Board of Social Work Examiners (#CS3473)
maintains responsibility for the program.

To receive credit students must
  • register for the course (order on-line or call 888-777-3773), after which you will receive the Post-Test. 
  • the cost of the course is $88, the video is an additional $45 +shipping and handling
  • Read the online course material
  • view Body Centered Hypnosis for Childbirth by Gayle Peterson, LCSW, Ph.D

video cover
* Video 54 minutes
* Publisher: Shadow and Light Publications; ; (January 1, 2000)
$45.00 + shipping and handling

  • Pass the post-test
  • Upon passing the test, you will receive a certificate of completion.


This course consists of a post-test based upon reading online material as well as viewing a video. Additional online portions include a Forum for discussion and the post-test. After you pass the post-test, you may print out your own certificate.



The Arnolfini Portrait
by Jan Van Eyck


"...Gayle Peterson uses vocal intonations, symbols and visual imagery to encode messages in the body and address deep emotional concerns which affect the pregnant woman during labor and birth. Therapists will learn the power of body-centered hypnosis and the techniques for reaching the unconscious, such as tonality, phrasing and embedded commands." Deborah Davis, The Doula Magazine

“Dr. Gayle Peterson is a nationally recognized leader and author in the field of perinatal psychology and family development. Those already familiar with her ideas from her books, Birthing Normally and An Easier Childbirth will welcome this opportunity to see her in action. Body centered hypnosis, as developed by Dr. Peterson is a powerful technique for resolving past childbirth and birth trauma, facilitating normal delivery, decreasing risk of prematurity and increasing maternal-infant bonding. This video makes the principles of holistic prenatal care, which she has pioneered, accessible to mental health practitioners who are in a unique position to work with families during this pivotal family transition.
The video is well-made and held my interest. This is a great medium for gaining an understanding of these techniques, which can be applied by mental health professionals who work with pregnant women.”
Rahima Baldwin, Educator, Author, “Pregnant Feelings”

Dr. Gayle Peterson--a family therapist specializing in perinatal and family development--gives clear expression to the body's wisdom. Messages such as "Family waits for you" offer comfort while the guided visualizations remind of us more dreamlike ways of what we already know. Many women build shrines for the coming child: this tape represents another way to honor and connect to the baby within" Joan Logghe, Mothering Magazine


Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting. She is a clinical member of The Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a Diplomate with the National Association of Social Work. She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.

Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for, and the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance".

She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Berkeley, California and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother.

More courses by Dr. Peterson:

Making Healthy Families

Please also visit Gayle Peterson's website

To order

e-mail us!

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