I’m not your normal therapist. I break a lot of rules. But I do it because I believe it’s needed.
When I decided to seek help for my post-natal anxiety I was referred, like so many of you, for CBT. This was what I expected, and I had heard good things. The first hurdle came when I had to have an initial assessment call. This was done by a receptionist who repeated everything back to me over the phone like she was taking dictation. Hearing hear bored voice repeating my worst thoughts and innermost fears was horrendous. But she was just doing her job. Going through the motions.
With NHS funded CBT you cannot choose your therapist and I didn’t bond with mine. Whilst I agree with my counselling cohorts that you don’t have to have walked in some one shoes to have empathy it certainly helps. Try sitting there looking like seven bags of shit explaining to the young 25-year-old chap opposite that you couldn’t breast feed, you haven’t slept in days, you are not sure if you are ever going to want to have sex again and you are having thoughts about things which are quite frankly terrifying the crap out of you. It does not make for a good therapeutic alliance (that’s psychobabble for ‘this isn’t going to work’)
I get it.
Well I have been there. So, when my clients sit in front of me I GET IT. I get the fact that you have sick on your top or your roots are 4 inches long and you have mismatched shoes on. I get it when you tell me that everything is making cry or that you feel so angry you don’t know where the rage is coming from. I understand when you say you can’t bring yourself to leave the house.
My second problem was I couldn’t always get a baby sitter. The counselling community would advise that you should never bring your baby to therapy. Now no one is going to argue that having an hour to yourself to talk freely with no distraction is going to be the best option but what if that is the only option? What happens then? What happens to all those women who can’t get a sitter for a day time appointment? Who helps those women?
I do appointments via skype in the evenings until 10pm and at weekends. If you need to breast feed your baby or have your baby with you then that’s fine by me. We can work with it. Some therapy is better than no therapy in my book. Any bloody day.
I do appointments by skype. So, you don’t have to leave your house. You can wear your seven-day old pj’s and I wont judge you.
Post-natal anxiety and Post-natal depression are exacerbated by diet, lifestyle choices, lack of sleep. So, I work in a holistic manner. When clients work with me we look at ALL these areas. We address other factors that might be affecting your mental health such as your relationships, your baby’s sleep habits and household.
In therapy self-disclosure is not considered a good option. But I think its important that the women I work with know how I got here. That they understand why I practice the way I do.