Presidential Address-IX International Congress on Pre-Natal and Peri-Natal Psychology and Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel, March, 1989

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Dear Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

It is a great pleasure and privilege to welcome you on behalf of the International Society of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine to our 9th International Congress.

First, I would like to express my gratitude to the president of the Congress, Professor David Serr, for inviting our Society to hold the 9th International Congress in Jerusalem, and to the organizational committee of International Ltd in Tel Aviv who made this vision a reality. I further want to extend my appreciation to Doctor Marsden Wagner of the World Health Organization who gave our society moral support and brought WHO to this Congress as co-organizer. Finally, I also want to thank on behalf of our society, the College of Continuing Medical Education, Israel Medical Association and Tel Aviv University under whose auspices this Congress is being held.

When we remember that our Judeo-Christian roots were grounded here in Israel, then it is certainly a fitting location for our "encounter." I ask you, dear friends and colleagues, to regard this Congress as a dichotomy which is synchronous. In other words, two parallels which are mutually essential, valid and inter-dependent.

First of all, think of the dichotomy of the encounter. It is certainly appropriate that the title of this Congress is "Encounter with the Unborn." How can we ever hope to surmount the obstacles which face us just within our own individual cultures if we have trouble with the encounters which we may experience here at this Congress? We shall attempt to tackle problems and questions which reach to the very core of the human race and overcome any prejudices which we carry with us. Hopefully the encounters which we experience at our Congress will not be troublesome.We will encounter the prenatal being fully, optimistically and with deep faith.

The next phase we should ponder is the dialogue between us and the dialogue which exists between the unborn child and its mother. Think of the dialogue we shall have here, our inter-dependence each on the other, the developing and nourishing of ideas and the eventual trust and kinship which will be our bond. Will that be any different from the dialogue between the living fetus and its mother? The dependence of both on the other, physical and psychological, the nourishment of both relying on the other for their individual fruition, growth, birth and rebirth. And the ultimate goal of this Congress will be the bond which will be formed here between us complementing the bond formed between parents and the newborn.

Finally, we must consider our human life as an indivisible continuity, a dialectic process of encounters and dialogues. We know that the different developmental stages of our lives cannot be seen independent from each other, and that there is an ongoing mutual dependency of all our functions. Discontinuity on the other hand, has become a more serious problem today given the spread of health, ecological, psychological and social disturbances. We are very much aware of the dangers of discontinuity which can generate within the unborn and the newborn. We can parallel our work here in the Society where only continuity can guarantee we fully reach our goals.

Please keep in mind during the next four days that we are all in the same fetal position and without each other we cannot survive! And with each other working in continuity, not only do we survive, we thrive.

Now that I have presented an overall view of my aspirations for this Congress, I would like to discuss some more tangible areas by first telling you about the strides we have made over the years. Ever since the 7th Congress of our society in 1983 in Dusseldorf, when I was elected president, one of the main objectives I put forth was to further develop ISPPM, to internationalize it and give it a more interdisciplinary profile. This was our approach to the 8th International Congress in Badgastein in 1986. …