Alyssa Rickels earned her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Colgate University in 1994. Following a brief stint in the juvenile justice policy field, she spent her graduate training working in the disciplines of adoption and child welfare, as well as in psychopharmacology research. Alyssa has spent the past nine years working part-time for the Hall-Mercer Child and Parent Center at Pennsylvania Hospital, facilitating weekly parenting support groups for both first-time mothers of newborns as well as mothers introducing a new child to the family. Her extensive counseling experience has focused primarily on helping perinatal women adjust to parenting singletons, multiples, and other sibling pairs; understand changes in mood and self-image; navigate shifting relationship dynamics with partners, friends, and extended family; manage work/life balance; and learn about infant needs and development. She is the mother of four children: two boys, ages 17 and 14, and twin girls, ages 12. Alyssa is a member of Postpartum Support International, the Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health, and the National Association of Social Workers. In addition to her psychotherapeutic support, Alyssa offers one-on-one parenting consultations where she offers skills and solutions to common but anxiety-provoking concerns.
There are very few events that rock a woman’s world more than the birth of a baby. In a moment’s time, she becomes responsible for an entire new human being – a passage that carries with it a full range of feelings. Add to these complex emotions days upon end without much sleep, the challenging care of a newborn, and a body’s physical recovery, and – this should not be underestimated – you have a woman in need of great compassion and support. My goal is to provide a safe haven for women to explore the often-tricky terrain of new parenthood; to ease some of the burdens of this enormous life transition by helping them realize they are not alone in how they feel and that solid coping strategies exist; and to instill confidence that they will get to a place where they can fully embrace their “new normal” of motherhood.