Developing the Expertise that Infertility Patients Deserve
“The therapist that I fired claimed to be an expert but she was not. I could tell that she had looked up a few things on the internet and was pretending that she knew what I needed her to know.”
I’ve heard this or a variation of this upset from infertility patients many times. You can avoid being the therapist who “gets fired” by seeking the professional training that matches the needs of this special and under served population.
Close to 20 % of couples in their childbearing years find themselves in an unwanted quest to build their family. Therefore, any therapist in general practice is likely to find him or herself sitting across from an man, woman or couple who is living in a life that has become unrecognizable in every way and is suffering emotionally.
For starters, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) approaches to pregnancy such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Ovum or Sperm Donation, Embryo Adoption and Surrogacy. This can be accomplished on the internet as long as you don’t presume to know what your patient is going through. There are many variations in protocol and you must recognize that no matter the approach, patients feel like they are in a science-fiction movie while their friends are conceiving the old-fashioned way. Rule of thumb: inquire, inquire, inquire. With gentleness and sensitivity you can make your way into a place where your patient feels understood.
That the medical treatment is an ordeal is one thing. But the emotional experience raises the agony exponentially. Doctors’ have the responsibility to enhance the patients’ “seeds”. Our responsibility is to inspire the patient to tend to their “soil” with mind/body self-care practices so that they can be in the most receptive place for the wonders of modern medicine to take root.
There is much to learn and a while back it occurred to me that with 35 years of experience in this field, I have much to teach. Helen is a dynamic therapist who not only understands infertility but also her clients’ needs. Some of the things she addresses:
- How to reverse the physiology of stress due to physical, emotional, social and spiritual issues – of which there are many.
- How to work with the mind by understanding the brain.
- How to evaluate what changes need to be made and how to break habits that prevent committing to change.
- How to maintain hope.
- How to sift through the confusion to gain clarity about the myriad choices.
- How to claim and reclaim resilience.
- How to grow from adversity.
- Most importantly, how partners can stay on the same page with each other.
You can email her here: email@example.com
About the Author: Helen Adrienne
Helen Adrienne, LCSW general psychotherapist, clinical hypnotherapist, a practitioner of mind/body therapy with a specialty in infertility, author, speaker. New York City