Category Archives: Counseling


Stressors & Children: Divorce

Over my years as a therapist, I have had the opportunity to support many children, couples and families affected by divorce.   Families have come to me at various stages of this process.   Some individuals or couples seek out therapy when they are trying to evaluate whether divorce is an option.  Others have reached out after they’ve decided to move forward with divorce or separation and want support around how to help their families with this transition.   Some clients (adults and/or children) come to see me after the divorce has taken place and want to process how this change has affected them.

When children are involved, parents typically have a lot of questions about how their children will respond to learning that their parents are separating or divorcing and the best way to support their children.   In general, I find that children tend to adjust the best to their parents separating or divorcing when they receive support, validation and age appropriate information about the divorce.    The support and validation that children need is around processing and coping with the changes they are experiencing and the emotions that accompany these changes.

In today’s post, I attempt to answer some of the most common questions about that I hear from parents who are planning to divorce.    My answers here are fairly general and cannot adequately address the uniqueness of each child and family situation, but I hope it gives you some basic information from which to start thinking about how to best support your child. Continue reading Stressors & Children: Divorce


Your Growing Family-Preparing to Welcome a New Sibling from the Parent’s Perspective

In a recent post,  I addressed helping children prepare for the birth of a new sibling, but this time around I want to focus on you, the parents.   Adding another child to your family is a significant transition for you, too.

This post includes two types of tips for parents of growing families; parenting tips and self care tips. I suggest paying attention to both  types of tips.   They are both important areas of focus during this time of transition. Continue reading Your Growing Family-Preparing to Welcome a New Sibling from the Parent’s Perspective


What Should I know about PMADs? Tips for New and Expecting Parents from Mental Health Professionals

Through the magic of social media and the internet, I have been able to connect with many professionals around the country (and world) who specialize in in maternal mental health.

I asked some of my colleagues to share their thoughts on the following question:

As a mental health professional, what information do you think new or expecting parents should know about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders? 

I noticed 5 themes in the answers my colleagues shared. Continue reading What Should I know about PMADs? Tips for New and Expecting Parents from Mental Health Professionals


10 Self Care Tips for New Parents

What is self care?  How does becoming a parent impact our self care?

Self care is purposeful action we take to ensure our wellbeing.   Wellbeing includes our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.

As we take on the new role of being a parent and learning how to balance our new responsibilities, it can be easy to put self care on the back burner.   We focus on taking good care of our babies and can forget to take care of ourselves, too.  In order to be the best parents that we can be, we need to make sure we are tending to our self care needs, too.

10 Tips Self Care Tips for New Parents Continue reading 10 Self Care Tips for New Parents


Perinatal Mental Health: A Brief Q & A

If you’ve heard the phrase perinatal mental health and not been sure what that means, you are not alone.    This post will provide a brief overview of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  It is a quick read with links to more information, if needed.   Please take a few minutes to check it out, especially if you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling.

What is a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder?
A perinatal mood or anxiety disorder is one that emerges during pregnancy or within the first 12 months after childbirth.

While it is believed that 80% of new mothers experience the “baby blues,” the symptoms of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder are more severe and last longer.

  • 15-20% of women experience significant symptoms of depression or anxiety after childbirth.
  • Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders affect women of all ages and backgrounds.
  • New fathers can also experience depression or anxiety.

Continue reading Perinatal Mental Health: A Brief Q & A


What is postpartum anxiety?

In my personal experience as a mom-to-be, I often heard about postpartum depression.    My doctor’s screened for it.  My friends experienced it.  It was talked about in the news.   On the other hand, I don’t remember hearing about postpartum anxiety until I began to learn more about perinatal mental health, in my role as a therapist.

6% of pregnant women develop anxiety.

10% of women develop anxiety during the postpartum period.

Continue reading What is postpartum anxiety?


Do I have Postpartum Depression?

If you (or a loved one) have recently had a baby and are experiencing changes in your mood you may be wondering if you are experiencing postpartum depression.      It can be difficult to differentiate between the normal emotional adjustments to becoming a parent and a perinatal mental health concern such as postpartum depression.     In fact, it is estimated that around 80% of new mothers experience the “baby blues” during the first 2-3 weeks postpartum.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are more severe and don’t go away quickly.   It is believed that at least 15% of women experience significant depression following the birth of a child.   If you experience any of the following symptoms during the first year postpartum and, you may be experiencing postpartum depression: Continue reading Do I have Postpartum Depression?


End of the Year Reflection Questions

A new year is just around the corner.   Although, I am not big on New Year’s Resolutions, I do think there are certain times of the year that lend themselves well to reflection and planning.  The beginning of a new year is one of those times because it is often a time of transition after the holidays.  The beginning of  spring and fall can also be great times for reflection.

Continue reading End of the Year Reflection Questions


Effective Coping Strategies for Children & Teens

In previous posts, I have written about helping children build their feelings vocabulary and express their emotions.    Today, I address coping strategies for children and teens.   The coping strategies that we find effective as adults may not be as helpful for children or teens.

What is a coping strategy?

A coping strategy is any strategy that helps us tolerate intense emotion, stressful situations or conflict   The types of coping strategies we utilize can be healthy or unhealthy (think overeating, excess drinking and more).   It is important to help children develop a foundation of utilizing healthy coping strategies when they are young.

Coping strategies are not one size fits all.   The type of strategies that may be effective and acceptable vary based on the child’s needs, the family’s expectations, the setting, the type of emotion being experienced, the intensity of the emotion and available resources. Continue reading Effective Coping Strategies for Children & Teens


Why therapy? Why not? Part 2

People who seek therapy are often struggling with common issues that we all encounter in our lives.   There are many reasons why people seek therapy and therapists work with clients to identify their specific reasons for seeking therapy and to create an individualized plan to address their concerns.    Below I discuss some general reasons why people commonly seek therapy.

5 common reasons why people seek therapy Continue reading Why therapy? Why not? Part 2