The Other Side of the Glass

Part One was officially released June 2013 in digital distribution format. To purchase to to If you were a donor and want to download your copy send an email to

The trailer

Monday, April 23, 2007

Heal Thy Self

I received a notice from my teacher/colleague, Ray Castellino, founder of the Castellino Prenatal and Birth Therapy and the Womb Surround workshop for adults about upcoming workshops to explore their own prenatal and birth dynamics. In addition to healing the aspects that were traumatic the womb surround supports adults to embrace the joy and resources also experienced at birth, and that manifest in their daily lives. The schedule and other providers of the Womb Surround workshop are listed below.

First, let me tell you about the work --- again ......

The most profound thing about every birth experience from homebirth to surgical, is that the fear, pain, separation is always experienced along with the joy, love, and positive sensations. We can't deny the painful or traumatic experiences of our entry into this world without also denying the joys. pleasure, and feelings of connection. All of these will become aspects of our personality, our way of connecting to and with the mother (and then others), and become our way of surviving. All of these will create our survivor skills in the brain -- because of the birth experience. Prenatal and Birth Therapy is about connecting to the self and embracing the shadows and the gifts to live life in a whole manner and in healthy relationship -- to no longer live life in survival mode.

Let me give you an example. For an baby who was born premature and cared for in the NICU there will be many conflicting experiences -- violating, but life saving procedures; separation from mother and care from strangers who are caring but also the source of pain. One six-year old child I worked with was born at 25 weeks and weighed 500 grams -- because of maternal heroin use. She lived in NICU for the first four months of her life and survived because of drugs and technology. She and her adoptive family did months of profound work to assist her to reorganize her central nervous to be in their family nervous system, not the chaotic one in which she was built nor the chaotic, but life saving one in which she continued to develop and survived in for four months. She communicated in profound ways and clarity HER NICU experience in the relationship with her adoptive mother and their "issues". For example, one very amazing session she had was the necessary fdifferentiation of "good drugs" and "bad drugs." That is something many adults still don't know.

In many births, where babies encounter interventions -- whether life-saving or not -- but especially in NICU experiences the baby continues throughout life feeling the isolation, powerless, hypersensitivity, and avoidance of touch, eye contact, etc as well as the strong knowing of being cared for and loved.

Babies are SENSORY beings. The "memory" of our prenatal, birth, infancy are "preverbal" but the baby is definitely engaging and interacting with everyone and everything in the environment. In the womb that baby has twelve senses. Dr. David Chamberlain's new book is about the more than dozen senses developed prenatally and the consciousness (knowing, awareness) before conception. Like a sponge, a prenate and newborn baby is soaking up everything and throughout early infancy and childhood s/he is bascially, like a computer, being "programmed -- viruses and all. Every parent has joyfully or with embarrassment or surprise experienced the first time their cherub reflects back to them what they have been hearing. Many times it is not what we wanted them to hear.

The work of accessing the unconscious material has long been done by hypnosis but recent scientific advances and techniques in body-mind work give us the ability to be able to work at a new level. The new focus allows the brain an opportunity to experience what it didn't or missed, and to re-imprint. Womb surround and prental and birth therapy is not just remembering and re-experiencing birth, it's forming new neural pathways.

The work is done not so much by looking at the "problem" or "issue" or "pathology" or even the "trauma" although these are surely aspects -- because these do overshadow people's lives. Feelings of fear of abandonment, moving on in life, procrastinating, violence towards loved ones, and patterns one lives over and over throughout life brings one to do the work when all the talk and drug therapies failed to truly enhance and enrich life.

In the womb surround one identifies and sets an intention -- "to have a 'felt sense' of being wanted ... held ... supported ... nurtured." This can certainly grow out of 'issues" of not being able to connect with others, or even physical symptoms of headaches, hip, shoulder, breathing, asthma, visual, etc. Integration of our preverbal experiences -- in our brain -- so that we don't have to THINK about and WILL ourselves to stop doing that which brings us the same miserable results. Our prenatal and birth experience, particularly our birth experience, is like broken record that gets played over and over -- only because no one in our environment believed that we were fully present, sentient beings and no one realized that at birth we SENSORY orientated, taking everything like little sponges. As adults, we can be the one to attend to the baby as she or he needed -- relationships with others will AUTOMATICALLY change. It's amazing.

Dr. Ray Castellino is the pioneer of the work and a master . Several colleagues/classmates also provide the Castellino form of Womb Surround healing workshop and I will list them at the end of the this description of the work. Dr. Castellino's work is featured in the video, What Babies Want. Dr. Castellino and other prominent people in the pre and perinatal psychology field are featured in the film. The video is narrated by Noah Wiley, actor from NBC's ER show. He and his wife, Tracy homebirthed their two children.

Dr. Castellino's upcoming schedule:

Space Available
Three of Ray’s upcoming process workshops have space in them for more participants. At this time, we are accepting anyone who wishes to participate. In the past, we have limited workshops to health care / bodywork / psychological professionals. These are still welcome. So are accountants, students, homemakers, etc. All of us were born and experienced early imprinting so anyone can benefit from the workshops.

May 12-15 in Petaluma with Ray – 3 spaces available

June 7-10 in Santa Barbara with Ray – 4 spaces available

June 28-July 1 or June 29-July 1 with Ray and Mary Jackson, L.M. (midwife). Ray and Mary have been working together privately for over 2 years seeing prenatal couples, families and adults. This is likely to be the only process workshop anywhere that Mary offers in 2007 since it is so challenging to find time between births. If the workshop is 3 days, it will be for 5 people; if 4 days it will be for 7 people.

August 2nd week & maybe 1st – North Carolina - Ray, dates and location TBA

Future Workshops will be held in Santa Barbara, the Bay Area, North Carolina, the Portland area and elsewhere, wherever Ray is invited to come.

Let me know if you are interested but the above dates don’t work for you. If interested in sponsoring a process workshop, contact me.


Life changing! The most important work out there!
Ariel Giarretto, L.M.F.T., C.M.T., S.E.P., Somatic Experiencing Practitioner who teaches SE work in the US and Europe.

Finally! After 35 years as a professional counselor, I found the integration of modalities, body-centered and more that give real solution to lifelong, destructive patterns of meeting life. Dr. Castellino is a gifted master teacher and therapist.

--Cristina Casanova, psychotherapist

Ray's Process Workshop is one of the most profound, healing and informative workshops I've ever experienced. His principles ensured the safety and integrity of the experience. The way he prepares the surround to receive and support the participant is masterful. His structure for checking in negotiating turns and sharing after each turn informed and deepened the process. This is an experience I will never forget. I look forward to seeing how my INTENTIONS unfold into everyday practice.

--Priscilla Chaveyz-Reilly, M.S., retired head of NYC guidance counselors

This was a wonderful, deep, empowering and very healing workshop for me and my partner. I loved it!
--Glenn Francis

The Skills / Tools
Ray Uses A Womb Surround Process Workshop is a structure/form developed/continuing to refine by Ray Castellino to create a safe, welcoming environment in which to explore early imprinting in a group setting. One of the main threads is SEP approach applied to preverbal experience. Others include cranial sacral therapy, pre and perinatal psychology, working with group/family dynamics and focusing on relationships past and present. All this is informed by an understanding of the processes of conception, implantation, pregnancy, birth, the period right after birth and the way these early experiences impact our present day view / experience / approach to life and to others.

The Format
The actual format is as following:
The first morning is spent with participants sharing intentions and Ray establishing the ground rules/structure that makes it possible to share and receive at a deep level from a resourced place. Then each person has a turn during which the whole group, led by Ray, focuses on helping the ‘turn person’ explore some aspect of his/her preverbal life. Each step is taken with consciousness, permission from the turn person and with a goal of supporting the turn person’s intention as they explore this early material. After each turn there is an opportunity for each person to share how the turn persons’ work affected him/her. There is also a group check-in each morning, a mini-debriefing of each turn by Ray and a closure. Each workshop is limited to seven participants.

The cost depends on how and when you pay. Ray’s are $895/$800. Ray’s and Mary’s are $999/$900. Details are on the website. Yes, it is a substantial investment. And yes, it is one of the most profoundly transformative experiences of many participants lives.

If you are interested and finances are a concern, ask me about our payment plan.

Private Work and Phone Support
Ray is available for private work both alone and with Mary Jackson, with adults, couples, prenatal parents, babies and children & their parents. Ray is also available for professional and personal phone support for adults.Further InformationFor further information, visit our website at

Or call, me Sandra Castellino, at 805 687-2897.

Other practitioners of the Womb Surround:

Judith Cohen, Tucson, AZ is available to come to your community. Her website is under construction. She is scheduled to be in Missouri and Indianapolis this fall. She is assisted by several people around the country, including myself and Sheila Harris-Schutz, from Florida, and Tera Judell, NM and NY

Myrna Martin, Vancouver, Canada provides the three-day Womb Surround workshops and conducts a ten module training for professionals. Her site is

Judith Weaver, PhD, provides workshops in northern California and Canada. Dr. Weaver is co-founder of the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute and creator and founding chair of its M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Somatic Psychology. She is assisted by several colleagues, including my friend, Maraiel Ruth, from California.

Chantek McNeilage, England. and David Haas, England provide Womb Surround and individual and family sessions.

No comments:

"Soft is the heart of a child. Do not harden it."

A public awareness reminder that things that happen behind the scenes, out of our sight, aren't always as rosy as we might think them to be. Perhaps its a restaurant cook who accidentally drops your burger on the floor before placing it on the bun and serving it to you. Here it's an overworked apathetic (pathetic) nurse giving my newborn daughter her first bath. Please comment and rate this video, so as to insure that it is viewed as widely as possible, perhaps to prevent other such abuse. -- The mother who posted this YouTube. How NOT to wash a baby on YouTube Are you going to try to tell me that "babies don't remember?" There is no difference to this baby's experience and the imprinting of her nervous system/brain and one that is held and cleaned by the mother or father either at the hospital or at home? By the way, this is probably NOT the baby's first bath. The nurse is ungloved. Medical staff protocol is that they can't handle a baby ungloved until is has been bathed (scrubbed if you've seen it) because the baby is a BIO-HAZARD -- for them. Never mind that the bio-hazard IS the baby's first line of defense against hospital germs.

Missouri Senator Louden Speaks

Finally, A Birth Film for Fathers

Part One of the "The Other Side of the Glass: Finally, A Birth Film for and about Men" was released June, 2013.

Through presentation of the current research and stories of fathers, the routine use of interventions are questioned. How we protect and support the physiological need of the human newborn attachment sequence is the foundation for creating safe birth wherever birth happens.

Based on knowing that babies are sentient beings and the experience of birth is remembered in the body, mind, and soul, fathers are asked to research for themselves what is best for their partner and baby and to prepare to protect their baby.

The film is designed for midwives, doulas, and couples, particularly fathers to work with their caregivers. Doctors and nurses in the medical environment are asked to "be kind" to the laboring, birthing baby, and newborn. They are called to be accountable for doing what science has been so clear about for decades. The mother-baby relationship is core for life. Doctors and nurses and hospital caregivers and administrators are asked to create protocols that protect the mother-baby relationship.

Men are asked to join together to address the vagaries of the medical system that harm their partner, baby and self in the process of the most defining moments of their lives. Men are asked to begin to challenge the system BEFORE they even conceive babies as there is no way to be assured of being able to protect his loved ones once they are in the medical machine, the war zone, on the conveyor belt -- some of the ways that men describe their journey into fatherhood in the medicine culture.

Donors can email to get a digital copy.
Buy the film at

The film focuses on the male baby, his journey from the womb to the world and reveals healing and integrating the mother, father, and baby's wounded birth experience. The film is about the restoring of our families, society, and world through birthing loved, protected, and nurtured males (and females, of course). It's about empowering males to support the females to birth humanity safely, lovingly, and consciously.

Finally, a birth film for fathers.

What People Are Saying About the FIlm

Well, I finally had a chance to check out the trailer and .. wow! It's nice that they're acknowledging the father has more than just cursory rights (of course mom's rights are rarely acknowledged either) and it's great that they're bringing out the impact of the experience on the newborn, but I'm really impressed that they're not shying away from the political side.

They are rightly calling what happens in every American maternity unit, every day, by its rightful name - abuse. Abuse of the newborn, abuse of the parents and their rights, abuse of the supposedly sacrosanct ethical principal of patient autonomy and the medico-legal doctrine of informed consent, which has been long ago discarded in all but name. I love it!

In the immortal words of the "shrub", "bring it on!" This film needs to be shown and if I can help facilitate or promote it, let me know.

Father in Asheville, NC

OMG'ess, I just saw the trailer and am in tears. This is so needed. I watch over and over and over as fathers get swallowed in the fear of hospitals birth practice. I need a tool like this to help fathers see how very vital it is for them to protect their partner and baby. I am torn apart every time I see a father stand back and chew his knuckle while his wife is essentially assaulted or his baby is left to lie there screaming.
Please send me more info!!!!
Carrie Hankins
CD(DONA), CCCE, Aspiring Midwife

Thanks for sharing this. It was very touching to me. I thought of my brother-in-law standing on the other side of the glass when my sister had to have a C-section with her first child because the doctor was missing his golf date. I'll never forget his pacing back and forth and my realizing that he was already a father, even though he hadn't been allowed to be with his son yet.

Margaret, Columbia, MO

In case you don't find me here

Soon, I'll be back to heavy-duty editing and it will be quiet here again. I keep thinking this blog is winding down, and then it revives. It is so important to me.

I wish I'd kept a blog of my journey with this film this past 10 months. It's been amazing.

I have a new blog address for the film, and will keep a journal of simple reporting of the journey for the rest of the film.

I'll be heading east this week to meet with a group of men. I plan to post pictures and clips on the film blog.

I'll keep up here when I can -- when I learn something juicy, outrageous, or inspiring related to making birth safer for the birthing baby.

Review of the film

Most of us were born surrounded by people who had no clue about how aware and feeling we were. This trailer triggers a lot of emotions for people if they have not considered the baby's needs and were not considered as a baby. Most of us born in the US were not. The final film will include detailed and profound information about the science-based, cutting-edge therapies for healing birth trauma.

The full film will have the interviews of a wider spectrum of professionals and fathers, and will include a third birth, at home, where the caregivers do a necessary intervention, suctioning, while being conscious of the baby.

The final version will feature OBs, RNs, CNMs, LM, CPM, Doulas, childbirth educators, pre and perinatal psychologists and trauma healing therapists, physiologists, neurologists, speech therapists and lots and lots of fathers -- will hopefully be done in early 2009.

The final version will include the science needed to advocated for delayed cord clamping, and the science that shows when a baby needs to be suctioned and addresses other interventions. Experts in conscious parenting will teach how to be present with a sentient newborn in a conscious, gentle way -- especially when administering life-saving techniques.

The goal is to keep the baby in the mother's arms so that the baby gets all of his or her placental blood and to avoid unnecessary, violating, and abusive touch and interactions. When we do that, whether at home or hospital, with doctor or midwife, the birth is safe for the father. The "trick" for birthing men and women is how to make it happen in the hospital.

Birth Trauma Healing

Ani DeFranco Speaks About Her Homebirth

"Self-Evident" by Ani DeFranco

Patrick Houser at

Colin speaks out about interventions at birth