What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD), or Perinatal Mood Disorders, is a set of symptoms occurring after a woman gives birth.  These symptoms include the following:  feelings of sadness and/or emptiness, excessive crying, inability to sleep, or wanting to sleep all the time, lack of appetite, or overeating, especially junk food, lack of concentration and/or low energy.  These symptoms can lead to feelings of worthlessness, feelings of being a bad mother, no interest in previously enjoyable activities, little interest in the newborn, and obsessive worry over the baby's health.

Postpartum depression is believed to effect 13% of new mothers.  It is usually detected between 2 and 6 weeks postpartum.  However, PPD can last up to 2 years.   It is an illness that often goes undetected, due to the fact that it is often hidden by women, frequently causing them to suffer in silence.  PPD often has a distressing effect on new families.  The often anticipated joy of parenthood is sadly distorted. It is a disorder that deprives a new mother of the pleasures and joy of giving birth and caring for a newborn baby. 

What causes postpartum depression?

Research has found that certain factors have a relationship to depression in women following childbirth. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:  a personal and/or family history of depression, history of infertility, infant temperament, prenatal anxiety, weak social support systems, marital dissatisfaction, and low self esteem.   It is important to note that no one factor has been shown to cause postpartum depression.

Early detection and treatment are extremely important in postpartum depression.  Studies have shown that the use of PPD risk-screening inventory scales are very effective in predicting or diagnosing PPD. Once diagnosed with postpartum depression, new mothers need the reassurance of knowing that with the proper care and treatment they will recover.  They need to understand that this disorder is very common, and they did not make this happen.  It is a biochemical illness.  They are indeed good mothers, and need to take care of themselves in order to be able to take care of their families. 

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. 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're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values

  Developing skills for improving your relationships

  Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy

  Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety

  Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures

  Improving communications and listening skills

  Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones

  Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage

  Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What is therapy like? 

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around 50 minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  Compassion, respect and understanding

   Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings

  Real strategies for enacting positive change

  Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

What about medication?

In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working together we can determine what's best for you. 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 symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

Yes, I am on several insurance plans:

  United Behavioral Health

  Aetna

  Empire

  Value Options

  Cigna

If I am not on your plan:

I can provide treatment as an out of network provider.  I also do a sliding scale for my fee based on financial need.

To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

   What are my mental health benefits?

   What is the coverage amount per therapy session?

   How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?

   How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?

   Is approval required from my primary care physician?

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

   Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.

   If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.

   If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.