Effective, empathic therapy to support recovery from perinatal or postpartum mood disorders
Postpartum Depression Therapists
Various mental health care professionals can deliver effective, relieving psychotherapy if they have obtained specialized training in maternal mental health. Ask your provider what continuing education they have sought, professional associations they held, and percentage of their practice devoted to women's reproductive mental health.
Clinical Social Workerswho carry the advanced license (LCSW, licensed clinical social worker which is only offered at the post Master's level) deliver the majority of facility based and out-patient mental health services sought by consumers today. This advanced license is conferred by each state after the Social Work Examiners Board has verified passage of the clinical exam and the licensee has completed thousands of hours of supervised treatment. The license is maintained by the fulfillment of mandated continuing education credits needed for renewal every two years. Only licensed clinical social workers are able to operate independent private practices. A social worker who has only obtained the initial license of LSW must work under the guidance and supervision of LCSW's, psychiatrists or psychologists.
Clinical social workers maintain group or independent private practices and may participate in insurance panels. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat these disorders, but need an additional "R" rating to prescribe medication. They are among the most respected mental health practitioners for women, families and children with a special appreciation for the biopsychosocial perspective associated with perinatal mood disorders.
Clinical Psychologistsmust have a PhD and a state license in order to practice or offer mental health services independently outside an agency or hospital setting. Today, many psychologists are employed for their specialized skills in testing and evaluation. They also provide individual therapy, but are not able to prescribe medication.
Nurse Practitioners - Are licensed to assess, treat and in some cases prescribe medication for their clients. A rapidly developing field of private practice, nurse practitioners are highly trained clinicians whose medical background and experience gives them great professional understanding of the perinatal period.
Psychiatrist - An MD who has chosen to dedicate his practice to the field of mental health. Psychiatrists assess, evaluate and treat clients, prescribe medication where necessary or admit clients to inpatient programs at affiliated hospitals where they may remain under their care. Psychiatrists may offer therapy themselves or make therapy referrals to social workers, nurse practitioners or psychologists.
Always ask what specific training your provider has had in perinatal mood disorders. Request verification of such training through certificate or CEU programs to ensure quality care and the best possible match between your needs and his/her professional expertise. A mental health provider with this specialty should be able to see you within 48 hours of referral or sooner.
To initiate your search, visit PSI's worldwide local help and support locator... you will be connected with someone in your state who can direct you to local services which may offer suggestions for experienced practitioners. Or for a national list of providers who have completed specialized training in perinatal mood disorders visit www.mededppd.org
Questions your provider may ask you
Here are some questions that your mental health provider may wish to discuss with you.Read the questions and think about those that may most apply to you.
1.How have you been feeling the past several days and weeks?
2.How is your sleep, appetite and mood? Are you crying or very sad much of the time?
3.Have you noticed that you are agitated, irritable and unable to calm down?
4.Are you angry at those around you and feel they are not supporting you?
5.Do you wish your partner would do more to help you? Or are you compulsively attempting to do it all yourself? Are you staying up late to clean the house or do the laundry?
6.If you are breastfeeding, is it going well? Was it your personal choice to breastfeed?
7.Are you excessively worried aboutyour babyís health?
8.Do you check on your baby all the time, even though you know he is okay?
9.Are you afraid to leave the house, take public transportation or other activites that didn't bother you before?
10.Do certain situations, foods, smells that you didnít mind before now bother you?
11.How is your relationship with your partner and family?
12.Do you like being a mother? Did you want to have a baby or was this pregnancy to please your partner?
13.Are you happy with the health, sex, disposition of your new baby?
14.Do you sometimes wonder if your baby is trying to annoy you?
15.Do you think your baby does not like you?
16.Do you think you are a good mother? If not, why?
17. Do you constantly put yourself down? Do feelings of guilt overwhelm you?
18.Do you ever wish you could give the baby away because you feel helpless to care for him?
19.Do you ever think about running away? Do you wish someone else could raise your baby?
20.Do you ever think of harming yourself or the baby?
21. Is parenting not at all what you expected? Is it too much?
22.Do you long for your pre motherhood life?
23.Are you eating much more or less than you used to?
24.Do you feel like you could jump right out of your skin?
25.Do you have racing thoughts that will not allow you peace of mind?
26.Do you have panic attacks when your heart races, or you feel like you could faint or choke?
27.Do you feel like something bad is about to happen?
28.Do you think people are out to get you?
29.Do you ever have the feeling that someone is watching you?
30.Do you hear voices telling you what to do?
31.Do you have trouble remembering the time of day the day of the week or other things?
32.Do you sometimes feel like you arenít really here or that you are removed from reality?
33.Do you feel like you are in a dream from which you cannot awake?
34.Is anyone hurting you or your baby or making unreasonable demands?
35.Is there a custody dispute or legal action being taken against you?
36.Do you or anyone in your family have a history of anxiety, depression or another disorder?
37.Have you ever had an eating disorder or substance abuse issue?
38.Do you find it hard to be patient and get along with people including your baby?
39.Are you a veteran of any war? Are you currently facing deployment?
40.Have you been subjected to traumatic experiences which continue to bother you?
41.Do you have a history of sexual or physical abuse?
42.How was the actual birth experience of your baby?
43.Was there a life threatening event or unexpected emergency that arose?
44.Are you very angry at someone? Your doctor? Your partner?
45.Do you feel you are not getting enough help at home but feel guilty asking for more?
46.Are you experiencing financial or legal issues? Are you in excessive debt?
47.Do you have a chronic health problem? Are you in pain right now?
48.Have you sought therapy in the past? Was it helpful?
49.Have you been on medication in the past or now?
50.Are you using illegal substances or abusing prescription medication?
51.Are you drinking alcohol excessively? Do you smoke?
52.Are you harming yourself in any way?
53. Did you have a previous fetal loss, stillbirth or infant death?
54. Did you have treatment for infertility, or IVF?
55. Do you feel guilty because you don't want to be with your baby all the time?
56. Do you feel guilty because you do not want to have sex, because you need more help or because you aren't contributing more financially to the family?
57. Have you recently moved to a new location?
58. Have you changed jobs, separated from your former partner or has your financial situation worsened recently?
59. Did you lose a friend, a family member or end an important association in the last year?
58.What is the number one reason you are seeking help?
59.What would you like to see happen as a result of therapy?
If you live in another area of the country, visit the website of Postpartum Support International and click on local resources. In addition, you can visit MedEdPPD which maintains a listing of providers who have specifically focused on perinatal mood disorders.