Choose Your Mentor


PPNE Mentors serve two purposes; they assess and grade student work and they provide one-on-one support to students going through the PPNE program. Several also support different languages. This is especially important since one of our main goals is to have you feel fully seen, heard, and supported.  Your mentor will be your guide through the course, so don't hesitate to reach out to them if you have questions, or difficulty getting started, or want to talk more about the content or application to your line of work. We invite you to connect each month in some way (email, Zoom, office hours) and for each module. We find that our most successful students work with their mentors regularly.

We request that you fill out a Course Enrollment Questionnaire that helps your Mentor get to know you better. If you haven't yet completed the Student Enrollment Questionnaire, please do so in the previous section.

Please choose a mentor from the following list (if possible, please send your first 2 preferences)

Email Catherine Lightfoot, Director of Education at [email protected] to be placed in touch with your mentor.

You can also ask Catherine to choose a mentor for you based on your time zone and interests. Be sure to let her know a little about yourself and what qualities you are looking for in a mentor.

Mentors


Barbara C Decker, HBCE, PPNE, CLD Certified Prenatal Bonding Facilitator (BA and GPE)

Washington, USA

Barbara C. Decker has been a childbirth educator for over 45 years and is a HypnoBirthing® Practitioner, doula, and doula trainer (CAPPA). She is a Certified Prenatal Bonding (BA) Facilitator, one of 12 facilitators in the United States trained by Psychoanalyst, Dr. Gerhard Schroth of Germany. Barbara is also a Certified Prenatal Bonding Facilitator through TheGreatestPregnancyEver.com program and assisted with the online training program that addresses challenges with domestic violence, foster care, and adoption on our birthing families. As the designer of a preconception/early pregnancy class called “EmpoweringPregnancy”, she prepares parents before conception or in early pregnancy how to connect with the baby coming to or in the womb. Understanding that most parents have no idea of the importance of the gestational period motivated her as a childbirth educator to start education much earlier than most classes. We know that “the womb is the baby’s first classroom and all must attend”, says David Chamberlain. She has been lecturing across the United States and Internationally at conferences, is a faculty member of CAPPA, Advisor for Prenatal Pregnancy Attachment, Treasurer of NGHWA, and a Registered Hypnotherapist in the state of Washington. As a member of APPPAH she is on the Board and serves as Membership Chair.


Divya Deswal, SEP, BCST, PPNE

Guguram, INDIA

Divya has worked with expectant families since 2001 as a Childbirth educator, HypnoBirthing practitioner and Doula. She is a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist and Somatic Experience Practitioner and is currently teaches and mentors doulas in India. She also collaborates with hospitals to set up and facilitate water birth for their clients.

Divya’s journey began with the birth of her first baby in 1996. She realized how much her choices and preference in birth and parenting arose from her cultural and spiritual beliefs about the sentient nature of the baby and how strongly she felt about them. She had an opportunity to experience an embodied spirituality in pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. 

Divya is a PPNE graduate with APPPAH and has also studied Prenatal Development Interventions and Parent Infant pathways with College of Education + Human Development at University of Minnesota. These programs and her training as a SE and BCST practitioner enables her to support women and babies in their journey through pregnancy and birth and beyond.

Divya is co-founder of an online platform My Child First, www.mychildfirst.com, that offers information on many aspects of reproduction and parenting. The platform aims to bring diverse information and offer an opportunity to the user to integrate that information from the perspective of the baby and make decisions as parents - ‘Choices in childbirth through the baby’s eyes’.


Dr. Susan Highsmith, PhD

Arizona, USA

Susan Highsmith is an educator and counselor residing in Tucson, Arizona. She received her doctorate in Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology from Santa Barbara Graduate Institute (SBGI). She instructs masters and doctoral candidates; lectures at universities, community colleges, and charter schools; and speaks at international congresses addressing consciousness in the womb and the long-lasting effects of our earliest experiences. Susan is a National Board Certified Counselor (NBCC). She holds a Doctorate of Divinity from the American Institute of Holistic Theology, and seeks to balance psychological theory and practice with spiritual and holistic wisdom.


Vicky Jeter, PPNE, LSP

Kentucky, USA

Currently not taking new students

Vicky has been a Licensed Spiritual Practitioner through Centers for Spiritual Living for 30 years. Using unique combinations of conviction in faith, applied universal creative principles, awareness of pre- and perinatal considerations, compassion and self-empowerment tools for stability and health in each client, Vicky has assisted hundreds of people to embrace expanded consciousness and healing and realize their dreams. Vicky is an experienced teacher, facilitator and motivational speaker in the Science of Mind teaching and she has been a trainee in pre- and perinatal awareness with Dr. William Emerson for 17 years. Vicky is a Pre- and Perinatal Educator (PPNE), with a certificate through the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health. In addition, Vicky is a published author of her autobiographical account of her own healing in her first book, Call Me Victoria: Life Poems and Stories from Trial to Triumph, published in 2012. She has also published a number of stories, articles and reviews for periodicals and magazines on a variety of topics and themes.


Nina Ketscher, MA, PhDc, PPNE, CEIM

Leipzig, GERMANY

Nina holds a masters in Clinical Psychology with a specialty in Somatic Psychology from Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. She is a graduate and mentor of APPPAH’s Prenatal & Perinatal Educator Certificate Program (PPNE) and has been creating and nurturing connections while working with babies, mamas and families in person and virtually for over 12 years. 

In her work with private clients and in workshops, Nina blends Western somatic and prenatal and perinatal psychology with Eastern spiritual healing knowledge. Nina lived, studied, and taught at Sri Kaleshwar’s Soul University, in India for 5 years and most recently worked in an Integrative and Functional Medicine Pediatric clinic in the US, where she saw a greater need for prenatal and perinatal educators to be integrated throughout our medical, mental and behavioral health and educational systems internationally. Born in CA, USA, Nina resides in Leipzig, Germany with her husband and her 6 year old son. 

Nina believes through expanding our view on conception, pregnancy, birth, and parenting, we will create new generations of strong, conscious and loving children, equipped to face the challenges of our modern and unstable world.

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Anne Matthews, BSc Hons Physio, DC, Dip Biomech, FBCA, FCC, PPNE

Belfast, IRELAND, UK

Anne is a Pre & Perinatal Educator having completed the certification program with APPPAH. Since 2006 she has studied in Europe under the instruction of Karlton Terry, Institute of Pre & Perinatal Education (PPNEd - USA) which included 100s of hours of residential and workshop study together with personal PPN regressions and mentoring work.  

Anne has been an independent holistic based Chiropractor with 33 years of clinical experience. Her professional background includes Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Biomechanics, Craniosacral Therapy, Counselling together with Paediatric Neuro-developmental trainings. Anne’s interest in PPN work followed on from the Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation courses taken through the Upledger and Barral Institutes (UK and Ireland) together with the Fascial Release work taught by Carol Phillips, DC (USA).

Anne is also the Clinic Director of the Belfast Chiropractic Clinic & Complementary Therapies which she set up in 1986 and over the past 3 decades has brought together a collaborative care team of natural health care practitioners and therapists focusing on the integrative care ethos of caring for the diverse needs of the family. 

Anne’s works with newborns, older babies, together with small children and pregnant mums. Her passion is to integrate and weave her therapeutic skills in working with children as a Pre & Perinatal Educator. She focusses on the resolution of prenatal, birth and early trauma as she interprets a child’s Baby Body Language, which a child will express physically, developmentally and emotionally. During a child’s trauma healing session Anne will facilitate parents to connect on a more heart felt and soulful way with their child. 

Anne has created and developed her Baby Body Language teaching approach in order to facilitate an understanding of the Pre & Perinatal perspectives in the physical, emotional and developmental challenges of the growing child. She has taught her BBL workshops to parents, practitioners, therapists and teachers both in Europe and USA.

Anne continues to be a life long learner and has in addition completed a Womb Surround workshop with Cherionna Menzam-Sills, UK

Anne uses her wide range of therapeutic skills to weave through the layers of trans-generational trauma from a Pre & Perinatal perspective by taking into consideration social backgrounds and historical events. 

www.belfastchiropracticclinic.com


Susan Martin AAHCC, CLEC, PPNE

California, USA

For Susan, professional and personal experiences have solidified the concept that parents are the most important influences and advocates in a child's life, and that parenting presents a wonderful opportunity to grow as a human being. Her first pregnancy led her to more than 20 years of study focused on attachment, pregnancy, birth, mothering through breastfeeding, and the dynamics of family relationships. Her professional interests include the prevention of traumatic childbirth, resilience, social and cultural influences on parenting, child well-being, and parent advocacy. The mother of two daughters, Susan is a La Leche League Leader, Bradley Method childbirth educator, doula, and certified lactation counselor. The PPNE program, of which she is a proud graduate, deepened her understanding of all these interests. She loves teaching and working with people.



Esteban Molina, CCEP, CCHt

California, USA

Esteban is a certified Core Energetics practitioner and a certified clinical hypnotherapist. He studied psychology in his home country Colombia where he worked as a clinical psychotherapist in a hospital setting before moving to the US. In 2010 he started working at a surrogacy agency, enlivening his interest in the emotional component of fertility, pregnancy and childbirth, which brought him to APPPAH in 2013. He earned his PPNE certification, giving him a deeper understanding of the complexity of the baby’s perspective as they come into this world, as well as the impact of early experiences in adult life. 

Esteban’s work focuses on supporting individuals and couples navigating their journey of becoming parents from before conception until after birth. He also works with individuals that are experiencing challenges in life hindering their ability to achieve their greatest potential. His work is tailored to his clients’ healing needs, incorporating the language of the body, the expression of energy, the power of the subconscious mind and the wisdom of the soul. He is currently living in Northern California, where he has a full time practice working online with individuals, couples and groups.



Shatia Owsley, BSW, MS, PPNE

Washington DC, USA

Shatia Owsley has a B.S. in Social Work and a Masters in Health Education and Promotion from Maryland University of Integrative Health, where she focused on physical activity during pregnancy with women of color. Shatia has worked in the health care field with local non-profit and hospitals throughout the Washington, DC area, but shifted to holistic and alternative medicine when she believed that healing takes place in the mind, body and spirit. Shatia also serves as co-instructor/ curriculum designer for the annual Medicine Woman apprenticeship in Washington D.C., which empowers women to reclaim their health through ancestral traditions and practices. She contributes to The Gaia Maternal Mental Health Collaborative, serving women and especially women of color as they navigate their maternal mental health. She provides maternal health education and practitioner to clients seeking holistic approaches to postpartum care and maternal mental health.

Shatia’s life vision came full circle in 2013 when she was blessed with the knowledge of being pregnant with her son. Understanding that reproductive, maternal and family health is a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical journey, Shatia decided to dedicate her life to providing families with a supportive, encouraging, and transparent environment that fosters full body healing. As a woman of color, Shatia is dedicated to improving maternal health outcomes with women of color and rebuilding families ONE MOMMY AT a TIME. With that approach in mind, Shatia has decided that in 2020 she will open her own holistic wellness studio in the nation’s capital.

Shatia is credentialed as a Certified Prenatal and Perinatal Educator (PPNE), a Certified INNATE Traditions postpartum Practitioner, a Certified Holistic Full Spectrum Doula, a Preconception and Family Planning Counselor, a Positive Co-Parenting Coach, and several ancestral and maternal health trainings centered around full-body wellness. You can see Shatia's Vlog about the PPNE Program by clicking here.



Christina Petersen, AHA, Dip CH, NLP, PPNE

Perth, AUSTRALIA

Christina Petersen’s quest in life has always been how to best help people live fulfilling lives. She is passionate about educating and helping families to improve and optimize their pregnancy and birth experience, ideally starting before conception.

Christina is originally from Germany, where she trained as a Physiotherapist in the early 1980’s. After finishing that training, she became more interested in the body/mind/spirit connection, which led her to alternative ways of healing. In the late 1980’s, she became aware of the impact of the time before conception through pregnancy, birth and the first few years on a person’s life. This understanding moved her towards work with couples and improving the experiences of pregnancy and birth, instead of fixing problems later. Her personal journey of self-development over the last 30 years led her towards spirituality and hypnotherapy, culminating in her training as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Counselor, Hypno-Birthing Practitioner, Reflexologist, and in 2016, the APPPAH PPNE program. Christina is passionate about educating and helping families to improve and optimize their pregnancy and birth experience, ideally starting before conception.

She earned a Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy and Counseling, and certificates in HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method, Reflexology with a specialization in Maternity Reflexology, and as a PPNE educator from APPPAH.

She works in Australia as a therapist in private practice and as a Trainer and Assessor offering national accredited courses for a training organization. She gives private sessions as a Hypnotherapist/ Counselor, specializing in anxiety, fears, previous birth trauma and other emotional issues. As a Reflexologist, she focuses mainly on Maternity Reflexology sessions for pregnant mums, also teaching private and group classes in HypnoBirthing Childbirth Preparation and in Relaxation/Bonding during Pregnancy.

She talks to groups of mums and professionals about prenatal education and birth. On a personal note, Christina has lived in different countries and moved from France, where she lived for 17 years, to Perth in 2008, where she loves the sunshine, the sea and the way of life.

Website: www.joyousbeginnings.com.au


Joy (Zhouyou) Skinner PPNE, HBCB, HBFC, DFB, Reiki

Beijing, CHINA and Utah, USA

Speaks Chinese and English (Chinese-speaking students preferred)

As the first Hypnobirthing Practitioner in Beijing China, she have taught more than 500 families and contributed to the Gentle Birth Revolution in China. She is the founder of “Joy Birth” focuses on the transformation of birth trauma. Joy is studying psychology in US now and also in the transpersonal psychotherapist training in International Institute for Consciousness Exploration and Psychotherapy (Germany). As one of the earliest childbirth educator in China, She always has passion to empower the mother and baby. (Email: [email protected] )


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Paola Zuazua, PPNE

Munich, GERMANY

Speaks English, Spanish, German and French

Hi my name is Paola Zuazua. 41 years old. Mother, daughter, sister, partner, friend… an epigenetic coach, very much focused on pre & perinatal development and how this sensitive time is an important foundation for the unfolding to come of our health, our wellbeing, of our believes, of our being… being in this world, being within ourselves and being with others.

I train and coach and I am also layer of support not only for men & women, couples, or families; but for everyone gifted by being close to babies and children.

Originally from Mexico but lived and worked all around the Globe. Graduated in Business Administration with large experience in Strategy. I have a life-long interest in consciousness, sentience and being. I have developed particular interest in how our earliest experiences shape who we become and shape how our genes mark and express.

With the time, I start swooping my experience in strategy and experience on coaching managers and directors reach their business goals, to coach individuals on their own consciousness and wellbeing optimization, that slowly brought my into the wonderful science of epigenetics.

None of my previous experiences and expertise prepared me for working within the pre- and perinatal realm. I learned pre- and perinatal psychology and experienced it not only within myself with within my family, with my children, today 5 and 2.

Epigenetics and pre- and perinatal psychology and health interplay and provided me with a broad and multidisciplinary knowledge of our Early Life as significant umbrella for our consciousness, sentience and wellbeing.




The following mentors are not currently able to accept new students


Florentine Peralta, MA, PPNE

Currently not taking new students

California, USA

Speaks English and German

Since the start of Florentine’s professional path, she has been passionate about the soul’s potential to heal and grow. After completing her Masters degree in education in Vienna, Austria (where she is originally from), she studied various psychological healing methods, which she implemented in her work as a counselor for women.

To gain a deeper, more holistic understanding about the roots of emotional and mental problems, she went to India to study the ancient knowledge of “soul healing” with Sri Kaleshwar. This provided the spiritual dimension she was missing in western approaches. Since then, she’s been integrating eastern wisdom and healing practices into her work.

After her first child was born in 2011, she began working with pregnant women, mothers and babies. That’s when she learned that infants already carry an emotional load from pre- and perinatal life and realized that the potential to heal at this stage of life is most powerful. This sparked her fascination with pre- and perinatal psychology. She began to study Baby Therapy with PPN pioneer Karlton Terry and has been implementing it in her work with families ever since.

With her second child, Florentine experienced first-hand the power and sacredness of prenatal bonding, as well as the importance of soul nourishment for the baby in a conscious pregnancy and birth.

Her highest aim is to support and empower mothers. She helps them heal their own early wounds, so they can reach their highest motherly potential and raise babies who feel loved, nourished, safe and secure. For her, strong and healthy mother-baby bonds are essential to transforming the world.

She is the co-founder of the Maheshwari Center for Family Healing - Holistic counseling and healing for conscious pregnancy, birth, and parenting: maheshwaricenter.org



Ellynne Skove MA, LCAT,BC- DMT, NCC, CBC, RPP, E-RYT

Currently not taking new students

New York, USA

Ellynne is a New York state licensed Movement therapist, nationally certified counselor,yoga teacher, and Polarity therapist. In 2010 Ellynne completed additional graduate studies in Pre and Peri Natal Psychology at The Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. She has worked for over 30 years with pregnant women, parents, babies, children, and adults. Ellynne studied developmental movement/Dynamic Anatomy with the late Nancy Topf for 15 years, Body/Mind Centering, Brain Gym and Yoga for the Special Child. She received her 200 hour yoga teacher certification from OM Yoga and studied PreNatal Yoga with Ma Yoga & Janice Clarfield, Mommy & Me Yoga with Jyohti Larson. She is certified in the H.U.G newborn parenting program, Baby Wearing, and as a Breastfeeding Counselor.

In her work with babies and parents, Ellynne has worked on the staffs of The Motherhood Center, Families First, RealBirth, The Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Birthday Presence, The Battery Park City Conservancy, PreNatal Yoga Center, & Wild Was Mama. She has presented programs in developmental movement, yoga, and polarity therapy for The American Dance Therapy Association, The American Polarity Therapy Association, The Association for Pre & Perinatal Psychology & Health, Biodynamic Cranio-Sacral Therapy Association, Area Yoga, Vira Yoga, Child Light Yoga, Druna, Pentacle, The Open Center Polarity Program, and The Lotus Project’s production of Eve Ensler’s, The Vagina Monologues. Additionally, over the past two decades, Ellynne has served as a consultant and faculty member for numerous New York City schools specializing in early intervention and special education. She supervises graduate students from Pratt, Antioch, and Sarah Lawrence Colleges. Ellynne teaches professional trainings in The Czech Republic as well as the U.S.A. Ellynne has presented at the NYC Museum of Motherhood and has been a guest member of the NGOs, OMEAP, & CEPPS, at the United Nations. Ellynne is a strong proponent of prenatal communication, and conscious parenting. She is available for pregnancy and fertility counseling, as well as prenatal bonding, bodywork, and birth trauma resolution.

Rebecca Thompson Hitt, MS, MFT, PPNE

Florida, USA

Currently not taking new students

Rebecca Thompson Hitt is the founder and executive director of The Consciously Parenting Project, Inc. She has been working with families since the early 90s, when she became a classroom teacher, but has always felt called to focusing on relationships. She left institutional education to pursue a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. During that time, she became a certified hypnotherapist through the Wellness Institute and saw, over and over, how early life showed up so often in sessions with her clients. When she became pregnant with her first baby, she found a midwife who educated her about the needs of babies, forever changing her and her work.

After earning her masters, Rebecca immediately began volunteering for Attachment Parenting International and La Leche League. She is the former editor of API’s leader publication, Connections and has published three books: Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families; Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth, and Beyond; and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding, with a fourth book on the way. Rebecca is the mother of two boys who have taught her more about parenting and life than any degree ever could, including not getting wrapped up in trying to parent perfectly. Rebecca works with families in person in the Tampa Bay area, in Mexico, and around the globe via phone and Skype to help create, nurture, and repair their family relationships. PPNE owes a lot of its programming and design to Rebecca's hard work. See her website (link is external) at http://www.consciouslyparenting.com.


Yushi Zhang, Qigong, PPNE

Minnesota, USA 

Speaks Chinese and English (prefers Chinese speaking mentees)

Currently not taking new students.

Yushi Zhang, a journalist by training, brought the movement of private doula service and childbirth education to China and founded the first mother-to-mother birth and nursing support nonprofit, raising public attention to women and children’s birthing and nursing rights. She provided aid and support to women who experience natural disasters and other emergencies as a lactation consultant, doula, and childbirth educator. She created the Positive Sex Education program for parents with young children, to free parents from colonialist or commercial mentalities, and has facilitated over 3,000 families. She is a student of Vipassana and Anthroposophy, whose genuine interest in people and their life stories has presented her incredible opportunities to have studied with many great teachers in academia, nature, and in life. 

Yushi now resides in Minnesota, USA with her two sons. As a business and marketing consultant for many women entrepreneurs, she has been enjoying working to share her experiences to help her mentees establish and develop healthy small businesses and organizations. She was nominated for national honors in China, and has spoken on different occasions for UNICEF, the British Council, and Harvard about her campaign to change the birthing and nursing environment for Chinese mothers and babies, acknowledged by multiple international media outlets. 



Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA, CST, RCST, PPNE

Colombus, OH, USA

Currently not taking new students

Dr. Hazelbaker has been a therapist for over 30 years. She specializes in cross-disciplinary treatment and to that end has taken training in several modalities to best assist her clients. She is a certified Craniosacral Therapist, a Haller Method practitioner, a Lymph Drainage Therapy practitioner, a Pre and Perinatal Psychology Educator and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice.

She earned her undergraduate degree from New York University, Her master’s Degree from Pacific Oaks College (Human Development specializing in Human Lactation) and her doctorate from The Union Institute and University (Psychology, specializing in Energetic and Transformational healing.) She is a Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association and received the APPPAH award for PPNE student of the year in 2017.

Her original research on tongue-tie, completed in 1993, has changed clinical practice both in the USA and abroad. She authored the Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function (ATLFF) during her Master’s Degree program. The ATLFF remains the only research-based tongue-tie screening process in infants under 6 months regardless of feeding method.

Dr. Hazelbaker authored Tongue-tie: Morphogenesis, Impact, Assessment and Treatment, and multiple monographs and articles on lactation theory and management. As an innovator, she invented the Hazelbaker™ FingerFeeder to address infant sucking problems. She serves on both the JHL and Clinical Lactation Journal Editorial Review boards and reviews monographs, books and DVDs for the ILCA Globe.

She is a sought after speaker and speaks at conferences all over the world. She maintains a busy teaching schedule as training craniosacral practitioners to work with infant feeding issues. She incorporates the principles of pre and perinatal psychology and health into all her presentations and classes.

Spirit of Healing, LLC, Aidan & Eva, LLC, fingerfeeder.com, AlisonHazelbaker.com, HazelbakerLactationInstitute.org


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Karen Melton Dip. Humanistic Psychology (U.K.), Certs. Prenatal & Birth Therapy and Cranial-Sacral Work

California, USA Currently not taking new students

Karen trained in Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology with Dr William Emerson and Ray Castellino, after a background, and practice, in humanistic psychology for 15 years. Her 'real' training began 58 years ago in the womb. Karen became aware of her own prenatal trauma during a spontaneous flashback to the womb at the age of 23. Embracing and healing her own inner Little One has contributed to a deep sense of well-being and integration, and completely eradicated the terror that was once running her life. She has a deep, personal understanding of how early imprinting can profoundly affect one’s life. Karen has offices in San Rafael and Santa Rosa, CA and works with people all over the world by Skype and telephone. Her work is somatic, experiential and hands-on, incorporating cranial work and other modalities. Karen works with babies, children and adults healing early imprints, offering Somatic-Emotional Work, Re-Patterning Attachment for Couples, and Parenting & Attachment support. She is grateful every day to be doing the work that she loves and feels passionate about. See her web site at www.HealYourEarlyImprints.com(link is external) for an expanded bio, to read articles on her blog, and to listen to her being interviewed on the radio.