Karuna Institute
+44(0)1647 221457
Our Journey Here
The Karuna Institute

Our Journey Here

Prenatal and Birth Experience and Lifelong Influences
An Experiential Training for Practitioners


Cherionna Menzam Sills
Senior Biodynamic Teacher and Prenatal and Birth Therapist with a PhD in Pre- and Perinatal Psychology
Sally Belcham - Assistant
Keith Evans - Assistant

Deposit: £1,000 (non-transferable and non-refundable)


Seminar 1: Journey to the Womb: Sunday – Friday, January 17th – 22nd, 2021
Online Tutorial 1: Sunday, March 21st, 2021, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Seminar 2: Life in the Womb: Sunday – Friday, May 23rd – 28th, 2021
Online Tutorial 2: Sunday, July 11th, 2021, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Seminar 3: Passing through the Portal: Birth and Bonding: Sunday – Friday, September 12th – 17th, 2021

The Karuna Institute, Natsworthy Manor, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ13 7TR

Download the application form


Our Journey Here is a postgraduate training for practitioners wishing to extend their therapeutic practice or deepen their understanding of pre- and perinatal psychology and therapy approaches. The training will cover important developmental concepts including early pre- and perinatal memory, learning and intelligence, significant embryological events and their psychological correlates, and essential skills in identifying, being present with and resolving primal trauma. The course is highly experiential, with somatic explorations grounded in relational, heart-centred, mindfulness and inspired by the work of pre- and perinatal pioneers Ray Castellino and William Emerson, as well as somatic practices like Body-Mind Centering (BMC) and Continuum. Participants are encouraged to investigate their own early life experience. A major intention is to practice recognizing early trauma and being able to orient to the original potential the trauma may have occluded, both in oneself and in one’s clientele. This training is open to accredited psychotherapists, craniosacral therapists and other complementary and orthodox health professionals. The curriculum is covered in three five-day seminars at Karuna and two online tutorials, which students are required to attend.

Cherionna Menzam-Sills:

Cherionna has been a somatic psychotherapist and prenatal and birth therapist for almost thirty years. She is also a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and teacher and has her PhD in Pre- and Perinatal Psychology. She has studied and worked extensively with leaders in the field, Dr. William Emerson and Ray Castellino, and has taught graduate students in Somatic Psychology and Prenatal and Birth Psychology at Naropa University and the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, as well being senior tutor at Karuna. Authorised by founder Emilie Conrad in 2007 to teach Continuum, she teaches this mindful movement practice, which facilitates moving beyond conditioned form by accessing deeper embryological potential and fluidity. Cherionna has taught embryology through movement since the early 90s. She has authored two books, The Breath of Life: An Introduction to Craniosacral Biodynamics and the soon to be published Fluid and Cosmos: Embodying our Original Embryological Potential, which combines embryological development and prenatal psychology.

Seminar 1: Journey to the Womb

  • Establishing the field: introductions, intentions
  • Introduction to the Castellino principles, relational mindfulness and somatic awareness as a ground for safe, heart-centred, present-time, heart-centred, embodied exploration
  • The nature of the safe holding field, with concepts and research from the field of pre- and perinatal psychology on what babies (and those exploring little one states) need
  • Introduction to enquiry into early experience and the nature of umbilical affect, double binds and orienting to potential as an aspect of working with early trauma
  • Preverbal memory, learning and intelligence
  • Experience and exploration of pre-conception: sperm and egg journey
  • Experience and exploration conception and the implantation journey

Seminar 2: Life in the Womb

  • Introduction to and exploration of implantation dynamics and potential effects on personality and behaviour
  • Effects of stress and support on mother and baby in relation to health, psyche and culture
  • Exploring umbilical affect
  • Experience and exploration of discovery of the pregnancy and effects on personality and behaviour tendencies
  • Experience of prenatal bonding, twin dynamics, haunted womb

Seminar 3: Passing through the Portal: Birth and Bonding

  • Metaphor of birth in life and culture, exploring what are you birthing in your life? How do you do birth in your life?
  • Introduction and exploration of birth process, stages of birth, birth patterns and psychological/psycho-emotional correlates
  • Common challenges and medical interventions with possible life-long repercussions of birthing process and impacts on personality formation and relational tendencies
  • Supporting bonding before, during and after birth
  • Review and facilitating our transition out of the training
  • Completions and celebration.


Cherionna Menzam-Sills PhD, ISMETA RSMT/E, RCST, BCST

Cherionna Menzam-Sills

Cherionna Menzam-Sills has practiced Craniosacral Therapy since 1991. She became certified as a teacher by the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America in 2006. Author of The Breath of Life: An Introduction to Craniosacral Biodynamics, she has conducted her own practitioner trainings in the U.S.A. and Canada, as well as teaching with her husband, Franklyn Sills, in North America and Europe. She offers post-graduate seminars on pre- and perinatal issues, including working with babies and new families, and regularly facilitates small womb surround process workshops influenced by her in-depth studies with pre- and perinatal therapy pioneers, Ray Castellino and William Emerson. Cherionna was authorized in 2007 to teach Continuum by Continuum founder, Emilie Conrad. She incorporates this fluid somatic mindfulness practice into her classes, as well as teaching Continuum across North America and Europe. A therapist for over 40 years, Cherionna draws on her varied experience as an Occupational Therapist, Somatic Psychotherapist, and Prenatal and Birth Therapists. She holds graduate degrees in Somatic Psychology and Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and has taught graduate students in both fields.

Sally Belcham RCST BCST

Sally Belcham

Graduating from Karuna in 2012, Sally came from a background working in mental health and with people with learning disabilities. She had a growing sense of just how fundamental quality of attention and presence are when working with vulnerable people. The craniosacral training offered just this. She runs a practice near Brighton and works in Portsmouth with a military charity supporting veterans diagnosed with PTSD and their families. A further interest in all things pre and perinatal led Sally to study with Ray Castellino. Her work now includes assisting Cherionna Menzam-Sills in womb surround process workshops. She recently qualified as a yoga teacher, having been a regular practitioner for almost two decades. She lives in Sussex with her husband and their two dogs.

Keith Evans

Keith Evans

Keith Evans is a qualified, accredited Core Process psychotherapist with a private practice in Edinburgh. He holds an honours degree in psychology and three masters’ degrees - in mindfulness-based psychotherapeutic practice, occupational psychology and business administration – as well as a certificate as a Pre- and Perinatal Educator. He also graduated from the ‘Prenatal Person’ programme run at Karuna by Franklyn and Cherionna in 2017/18 and attended a William Emerson 5-day workshop in 2018. He is currently undertaking a PhD in Counselling Studies with the University of Edinburgh, focusing on pre- and perinatal experiences as a foundation for our relational ways-of-being. He is accredited with the UKCP, is a registered member of the BACP and a member of the BPsS and APPPAH. He has been practicing mindfulness since his early twenties and taken refuge as a Buddhist. His resources include his very wise and intelligent Hungarian Vizsla Genji, motorcycling and martial arts practice.

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