Prenatal and perinatal EMDR therapy: Early family intervention


The Calming Womb Family Therapy Model (CWFTM) is a multidisciplinary, integrative, early intervention approach to treating mothers and their babies from conception through the first year of life. The foundations of CWFTM originate from Murray Bowen’s family model of understanding the individual in the context of their families as emotional interactive systems; Selma Fraiberg’s psychodynamic work and psychoeducational interventions with mothers and infants to resolve maternal trauma and transference reactions to their babies followed by educational guidance in infant development through the first year of their lives; and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which is uniquely suited for application within the CWFTM. EMDR therapy can improve internal resources for expectant mothers; monitor their levels of psychological distress; and enable them to access and process traumatic memories, other adverse life experiences, recent stressors, and pre-perinatal concerns and bring them to adaptive resolution. EMDR therapy can also help pregnant mothers develop imaginal templates of future events that incorporate in utero developmental prenatal education and deepen their bonds with their babies. The pre-perinatal psychotherapist’s knowledge of infant development and capacity for interpersonal warmth, affect tolerance, somatic resourcing, reflective stance, and relational attunement can provide a fertile ground for the expectant mother and womb baby relationship and enriching life together. The ultimate goal is to conceive and rear healthy children.






Rosita Cortizo

Original Work Citation

Cortizo, R. (2019). Prenatal and perinatal EMDR therapy: Early family intervention. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 14(2), 1-12. doi:10.1891/EMDR-D-19-00046



“Prenatal and perinatal EMDR therapy: Early family intervention,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020,

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