Many of my clients are in pain and are often struggling when they decide it is time to reach out for support. It is not easy to do. I provide a comfortable, compassionate space for clients to unpack what they are feeling and what has happened in their life. With warmth, and a sense of safety, we collaborate to increase symptom relief, improve your mental health and relationships with others so you can feel more like you again.
How do I know if I need therapy?
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it, especially at this phase of life. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools to cope with your new life situation. Often those who experience postpartum depression or other mood disorders often also have perfectionistic qualities and a strong sense of independence. There is a feeling that no help is needed, and there may even be hiding from true feelings for fear of shame and judgement from others. Being honest with yourself and how you feel can only speed up your wellness track.
What is therapy like?
Because each client has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, we may discuss the current struggles happening in your life, explore relevant issues from the past to include family relationships, and you may share your progress, or lack thereof, and insights gained since the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult issues or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions to start.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in sessions back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, making time to take care of yourself, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptoms, therapy addresses the causes of distress and the behavior patterns that curb progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. However, in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. There are certain medications that are safe for pregnant and nursing mothers. It is important to know there can be side effects to taking medication, but there are also side effects of PPD and other Perinatal Mood Disorders when not taking medication. A referral to a psychiatrist specializing in maternal care may be made to determine if medication is recommended.
Do you take insurance and how does that work?
I am an out of network provider. Therefore, you will need to check your insurance plan to determine reimbursement for out of network providers. To determine if you have mental health coverage for out of network providers, the first thing you should do is call your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- Do I need to meet a deductible before reimbursement is granted for out of network providers?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session for out of network providers?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but duirng a therapy session. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want me to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
- Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
- If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.
What services do you provide?
- Assessment/Screening and Treatment of Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Anxiety and/or other Perinatal Mood Disorders
- Addressing birth complications, trauma and feelings that labor and delivery did not go as planned.
- Grief and Loss
- Supportive counseling for mom and in some cases dad
- Support in learning to care for your baby and even adding a child to your family.
- Support in return to work
- Stress Management
- Creating a plan for a support system before and after baby.
- Postpartum Preparation
- Exploring how family of origin issues are related to your own parenting and attachment with your baby.
- Exploring your identity as a mother.
- Support navigating marriage with a new baby.
- Providing and connecting moms with community resources such as new mom groups in her specific community.
- Providing further treatment and/or referrals to additional professionals as needed.
- Coordinating with any relevant treatment professionals to support the well being of the mother.
- Increasing wellness during pregnancy.
- Strategies to maintain healthy marriage when the baby arrives.
- Identity shifts
- Adjustment to parenthood
- Walk and Talk
- Telehealth or In-Person Therapy
- Other services as necessary.
How long do I have to be in therapy? When will I feel better?
How often a mother would like support through therapy and related services is individual. Though there is no one size fits all answer to “how long will it take for therapy to work”, often clients report symptom relief and an improvement in coping after 10-12 weeks for mild depression. Most clients benefit from weekly sessions, however, others do better with biweekly, or even more intensive treatment, of which would likely require a referral. Though rare, some moms want an assessment/screening and tools for coping and referrals and want to be on their way. It cannot be emphasized enough though that therapy and a “prescription” of what to do to cope is not how therapy works- there is no magic bullet for wellness or symptom relief. Despite this truth, in any case, guidelines for coping and referrals for community resources can be helpful and can be provided. Most often, progress is made through the process of therapy and the support it provides.
In some cases, setting up assessments or “check ins” at predetermined intervals can be beneficial. Some moms find comfort in knowing appointments are set in advance. For example, it works well to provide screenings for moms at:
- 2 weeks postpartum
- 4 weeks postpartum
- 6 weeks postpartum
- 8 weeks postpartum
- 12 weeks postpartum
- 14 weeks postpartum
- 16 weeks postpartum
Importantly, research shows that 3-4 months postpartum, a mother is at risk for a postpartum mood and anxiety disorder. This may be in part to hormone changes, compounded sleepless nights, and the reality of having a new baby sets in.
Can I bring my baby to appointments?
Of course you can bring your baby to appointments. Pre-crawling babies only. During sessions you are free to do whatever you need for the baby. Some moms like the option of having the baby with her during appointments, but other moms prefer to use the appointment time as time just for herself.
Whatever is most comfortable for you is the way to go. If there is an in-home session, please do not feel it necessary to clean up or do anything that you find stressful before the appointment time. Having me come to your home for appointments is meant to make things easier!
In a comfortable, and supportive atmosphere, I offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each of my clients individual needs so she can be well and thrive as a mother.