All therapy is currently online, using HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms.
Therapy consists of weekly sessions and may progress to bi-weekly and booster (check-in) sessions. After taking a history, we will create a treatment plan together determined by your goals. I will help guide you through this collaboration. I usually begin with self-regulation skills, working with clients to develop tools for emotion regulation. We may cover breath training, grounding skills, distress-tolerance skills, progressive muscle relaxation, self-talk, schema identification, and imagery work. We will work with your assumptive world- your set of beliefs about yourself and others -that are contributing to your distress. We will identify how these beliefs play out with others through observation and insight. This becomes the foundation for change.
I am certified in advanced level training in Maternal Mental Health through both the IPT and Postpartum Support International institutes. Perinatal psychotherapy is a specialized approach to psychotherapy for pregnant and postpartum mothers. Postpartum depression (a term used to describe many postpartum experiences including depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis, and traumatic birth experiences) affects around 10-20% of mothers worldwide. There are biological, psychological, spiritual and social factors that contribute to the likelihood of this happening. Unfortunately, many mothers don't receive the services they need because their distress may not look like typical depression. For many mothers, intrusive thoughts, high anxiety, or overwhelming fears may be the dominant presentation.
Becoming a mother is a huge transition that can bring historical issues to the surface. Mothers often struggle with their own unmet emotional needs from childhood. They may feel those emotional needs acutely, but not know what to do with them as they are being called into a parental role. There may be unconscious efforts to re-create, or, alternatively, to compensate for what happened in their own childhoods. Emotional vulnerability and new levels of dependency on others may be uncomfortable. Allowing for these needs and learning to communicate them in a clear and gracious way becomes paramount. We will work to identify what you need, how to meet those needs, and how to move forward when older needs cannot be met.
Identity crises, sometimes experienced as,"I was that person then, but who am I now?" are common during postpartum adjustment. This is a time of role transitions and redefining oneself. I see this crisis as a unique opportunity. With the right support, it is an opportunity for personal growth. Like most adversity, the reward may not present itself immediately but will be experienced over time. A sense of purpose may emerge and priorities can be rearranged. Becoming a parent forces us to master conflicts that have been previously avoided.
Breastfeeding is another emotional challenge often wrought with hopes and expectations. Exclusive breastfeeding may not be realistic for some mothers, and this can feel like failure. Therapy helps mothers identify their implicit expectations, grieve losses, and come to the best resolution for themselves. I bring a background in lactation education and a non-judgmental stance to supporting clients through these decisions. It may not need to be an either-or decision in the end, and this provides relief and hope for many mothers.
Psychotherapy for perinatal disorders has been proven highly effective for mothers, and also protective for baby's physical and mental development.