The development of Pre and Perinatal Psychotherapy with Alison Hunter and Shirley Ward at Amethyst

© 1998-2022  Shirley A Ward Med DipEd

Alison Hunter worked as a Pastoral Consultant with Dr Frank Lake for three years in the late 1970s in Nottingham whilst he was researching some of his finest work. She had known him since 1968.

Shirley Ward frequently visited the Clinical Theology Association, founded by Frank in 1962 and was always delighted and amazed at his enthusiasm to share with her his most up to date theories and findings in his work.

From 1976 Alison, assisted by Shirley and others ran Primal Integration workshops in Lingdale (the home of CTA) and also in other venues in England and Ireland. In these early workshops many of the newer therapeutic disciplines of the day were incorporated - ie Gestalt, Encounter, Bioenergetics etc. Now over twenty years later many of these disciplines are widely accepted.

At the time of his death in 1982 Primal Integration was seen by many to be Frank Lake's most controversial work. Hunter and Ward continued to develop their own unique style of pre and perinatal work by combining primal integration and regression therapy with their own blend of ideas and vision. Moving to Ireland in the early 80s their international workshops were popular.

The visit of the internationally renowned healer, Rosalyn Bruyere, to Ireland in 1982 was exciting as she taught healing techniques, energy work and body symbology.

The work at Amethyst began to change as Hunter and Ward gained in expertise in the 'hands on' healing energy skills, adding a new dimension to the primal work. It was discovered that by using energy work clients could access pre and perinatal traumas more easily than previously. Evolving also with Frank's work, like him they often pushed the boundaries of current knowledge.

Their work at this stage began to be called Primal Healing; these year of experience realised the importance of the Chakras in Psychotherapy and Body Symbology. As healing energy was used with people there was no way it could be kept out of therapy - now psychotherapy with the added input of healing energy go together at Amethyst.

The courses developed at Amethyst have included Introduction to Counselling, Healing Courses, Healing for the 21 st Century, Getting the Past Out of the Present weekends, Spirituality through Sacred Journeys, Primal Integration and Regression Therapy training courses and a week long Journey Through Life - a theoretical and experiential journey from conception to death.

Amethyst has always incorporated knowledge from specialists in their field of Pre and Perinatal Psychology worldwide. From years of experience Hunter and Ward devised a 2 year Diploma Course for suitably would-be practitioners in Pre and Perinatal Psychotherapy and Primal Healing.

In 1991 Shirley attended the APPPAH conference in Atlanta, Georgia where Jean Houston, the principal speaker 'delivered' the most inspiring, charismatic and dynamic 'baby' entitled Preparing the Foetus, Repairing the Earth. Her vision on the Fractal Dimension inspired Shirley to put this fractal concept onto the Pre and Perinatal field of work. So evolved Amethyst's four year Counselling and Psychotherapy Training, where Pre and Perinatal Psychotherapy is introduced in the second year and studied deeply in the final two years.

How we are prepared for conception; how we are conceived; how we are treated in the womb; how we are born - influences our lifelong behaviour, and that conclusively we live our lives according to the trauma or glory of our conception and our birth.

So Alison Hunter and Shirley Ward have 'delivered' Primal Healing and Pre and Perinatal Psychotherapy from the early 'conception' of the work of Frank Lake.