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Psychogenesis: A Theory of Perinatal Experience

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Perinatal experience is posited as generative of psychogenesis: the psychological birth of the infant. The process involves a sentient human being rather than a nonconscious tabula rasa fetus. That birth experience is only traumatic is reductionist. The origins of positively colored affects as well as sexual feelings and even ecstasy may be intrauterine. The importance and complexity of the birth experience can better be described in terms of phases of being that parallel the physical stages of labor. These phases are immanence, obstruence, descendence, experience, ascendence, emergence, and transcendence. Each of these phases encompasses a unique state and dynamic process. Birth as such is shown to be a rich multidimensional experience that is also transformative.

Affiliations: 1: Baruch College, City University of New York


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