We think of the years of childbearing as some of the happiest times in our lives - pregnancy, parenthood, starting and growing our families. Sometimes, though, these life transitions have unexpected challenges.
Concerns about Postpartum Depression or Anxiety
Postpartum mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression, are treatable conditions that affect many new mothers (as many as 25%!). If you are experiencing sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, mood swings or scary thoughts, you may be suffering from a postpartum mood disorder. Please don't wait to seek help! Psychotherapy, alone or in combination with other approaches, is an effective treatment that can help you to feel better and enjoy being a parent.
- This should be the happiest time in my life. Why do I feel so low?
- Is this just "baby blues" or something more serious?
- Why am I having scary thoughts about my baby?
- Does this mean that I am a bad mother?
- How can I help my wife/partner to feel better?
Concerns about your birthing experience
- I have a beautiful, healthy baby. Everyone tells me I should feel happy. Why do I feel disappointed, or even traumatized, by my birthing experience?
- This birth was difficult or scary. How do I heal and move on from that, so that I can enjoy being a mom?
- With so much medical intervention in what I hoped would be a natural process, I sometimes feel I didn't even give birth to my baby.
- As a birth partner, witnessing my partner's scary experience still feels traumatic. How do I heal from that, when my partner is the one who went through it?
Concerns about infertility and loss affect us individually
- Miscarriage, loss of your baby: bereavement, finding meaning, moving forward, deciding whether and when to try again.
- For couples, how can we support each other while each us is grieving in different ways?
I have worked extensively for over 30 years with older clients, individually and in couples and families. Concerns include most of the issues that younger adults bring in to therapy, such as anxiety or depression, but may also include:
- Concerns related to health problems, mobility and independence
- Loss of social network as friends move away and die
- Improving or healing difficult relationships with your adult children
- Looking for meaning and satisfaction in later stages of life
- Caregiving for a loved one with illness or dementia
Caregiving presents a special set of challenges. Caregivers of spouses or parents are often likely to neglect their own well-being as they struggle to meet the multiple demands of their busy lives, all the while coping with illness or disability in someone they love.
I will help you to:
- sort out complicated feelings that arise in the caregiving relationship, such as love, guilt and anger;
- look at how you can change old patterns of responding to stress and find new ways that will support health and well-being.
During the last few decades, we have vastly increased our understanding of the causes, effects and treatment of psychological trauma.
What do we mean by "trauma"? It is an event we experience, or even one that we witness, that overwhelms our capacity to cope and that we experience as a threat to survival.
Trauma may be the result of an event that is an obvious and immediate threat to our survival, such as an assault, accident or natural disaster. Other traumas may be harder to describe, perceive or even remember. These are the "adverse experiences of childhood": lack of parental attunement, abuse, neglect, family disruption due to illness, loss of loved ones, or addiction in the family are all examples.
Still another form of trauma is the social trauma of being "other-ized" because of your very identity: race, gender, sexual orientation, ability.
Effective trauma therapy helps us move beyond merely talking about the traumatic experience. Traumatic memory is held in the entire body. The good news is that our bodies, when we tune in to them, also hold great capacity for healing. Current trauma therapies that I include in my practice, such as EMDR and Somatic Experiencing (TM), incorporate awareness of our bodies as a resource. These therapies can be highly effective in helping move us out of the "stuck-ness" of traumatic stress, and into healing and growth.