“My years in labor and delivery have given me a unique perspective when exploring the preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum periods in my clients’ lives.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As a labor and delivery nurse, and then a nurse midwife for over a decade, I developed a passion for working with the unique mental health needs during pregnancy and postpartum. It was a natural progression for me to move from the labor room to the therapy room. My years in labor and delivery have given me a unique perspective when exploring the preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum periods in my clients’ lives. My training includes nursing school, then a master’s in midwifery, and after years of practice, a post-master’s degree in psychiatric nursing and a three-year psychotherapy program.
What should someone know about working with you?
An initial session with me is a comprehensive interview, as well as an opportunity to get to know each other. Many clients come to me in great distress—I’m often told it’s comforting to talk about what’s going on and to feel like someone “gets it.” Pregnancy and its aftermath are unique times in a family’s life, and it’s really important to work with clinicians who have experience in these areas. I also offer my clients educational information from my years in labor and delivery. I specialize in medication management in pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I also utilize group and individual psychotherapy, and holistic therapies. I try to impart to families who are struggling that they are not alone—and, with help, they will feel good again.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Many of my clients have been afraid of judgment from their families and medical professionals for seeking help. Treatment with me is confidential—and children also benefit from their parents receiving treatment. I offer group therapy for mothers, a process that can be very healing—there is such relief in being with others who are going through the same thing. New moms are welcome to bring their babies to my office and I’m happy to hold them as needed. I also do postpartum home visits because the first week or two after having a new baby is a crucial time to make sure the parents are doing well. It’s often too hard to get out of the house, so I’ll come to you.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am excited that perinatal mental health is coming out from the shadows. More women and families are feeling less burdened by the intense stigma surrounding perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Still, there is a lot of progress needed in this area—especially for the most vulnerable families. I am grateful to see so many more professionals focusing on this area, and that new research is looking into how we can best treat mental health issues for childbearing families.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
After leaving clinical midwifery, I worked at Zucker Hillside Hospital as part of the perinatal psychiatry outpatient program and was able to collaborate with the perinatal research team. Being a part of research that looks into the genetics of postpartum depression, and having clients in the brexanolone trials (the new postpartum depression medication), was exciting—and it gives me hope that better treatment is in the future. This work informs my current practice because I seek to understand what I can about the genetic components of perinatal mood disorders. When appropriate, I refer my clients to new medical therapies as they are developed.
“Many clients come to me in great distress—I’m often told it’s comforting to talk about what’s going on and to feel like someone 'gets it.'”