Dear All,

We have great pleasure in inviting you all to our next Pluralogue, Tocophobia: crisis in pregnancy.

With: Judith Barac

Date: Sunday 18 June 2017

Venue: Halkin Business Centre, 1–2 Paris Garden, London SE1 8ND

About the topic

The term Tocophobia describes the condition of being severely anxious about pregnancy and/or the process of childbirth.

In recent years there has been much coverage in the media about women who request Caesarian section. This coverage has often been negative and judgmental, earning these women the label of ‘too posh to push’.

I work with women to help provide a space where we can think together about what lies behind this fear and what we can understand by it and how we might be of help.

For some, this is a life-long fear and for others it can be a focus for a more generalised anxiety at a time when evidence indicates that anxiety levels (and other forms of psychological disorders) are higher than at other times in women’s lives.

Interestingly, there is a paucity of thinking or writing about this subject from a psychodynamic or psychoanalytic perspective. Given that we are all born, and many of us will have children of our own, I am puzzled by this. There are a range of presentations and possible underlying causes for this anxiety. Is this fear a primal fear, which puts us in touch with death as well as new life? Does this fear indicate something more than just fear of the birth process itself? Is this ambivalence about impending parenthood? Is something being repeated?

Recently I addressed The Foundation for Psychotherapy and Counselling annual conference and was delighted to find that this subject drew unprecedented interest. There was a lively discussion and left me with even more thoughts about what is really going on here.

I will present my experience of working with this cohort of women, supporting staff and offering clinical advice within a large NHS teaching hospital. I will also look at the issue from a more psychoanalytic perspective. What processes are at work between the mother and the unborn? Where does the father figure in the constellation? I will also think about other conscious and unconscious processes that may be at work between professionals, as well as the patient.

I will explore some parallel processes that often are repetitions of past history and how we can think about untangling them safely at a time of accelerated change.

I feel confident that we will have plenty of material to talk about and that there will be a lively and, perhaps at times, challenging discussion as there is plenty of food for thought.

About Judith Barac

I trained as a midwife in the 1990s because of my interest in the psycho-social aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and becoming a parent. I have worked in the NHS as a specialist midwife giving support to women with psychological disturbance ranging from mild through moderate conditions to the more severe end of the spectrum.

Whilst managing a specialist perinatal psychiatric service I became interested in psychotherapy and started my training as a psychodynamic psychotherapist at Westminster Pastoral Foundation.

When I graduated I set up a clinic for women requesting Caesarean section for non-medical reasons.

I continue to do this at a teaching hospital in the NHS. Additionally, I work in the NHS in-team providing psychotherapy amongst other modalities for adults experiencing an acute onset of psycho-social crisis. Part of this work involves providing psychotherapy for women and men where there is a baby in the picture. I also have a private practice and work in SE1.

About the Pluralogue

For those new to this event, the Pluralogue is a space where we get together to both learn and socialise, meet some new colleagues and find out what others are up to, as well as enjoy some food and drink whilst digesting new ideas.

The term ‘Pluralogue’ was coined by Doron many years ago, to depict moving beyond monologue to dialogue… to Pluralogue (the conversation of many).

We hope to learn together and from each other in the form of a learning community in a friendly atmosphere with the added fun of dining together. The added bonus is that we structure it as a CPD event so you will actually be able to count it as CPD hours (a CPD certificate will be provided as well).


1pm–2pm: Lunch

2pm–3pm: Presentation

3pm–3.30pm: Tea break

3.30pm–5pm: Discussion

Booking information

Places cost £35.

To confirm your booking please email us at and we will reply with details of how to pay.

Please use your name + PL18 as reference.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Warm regards,

Doron, Dianne and Darren

07848 013 328