Finding a Therapist to Help

Are you trying to find a perinatal therapist?

• A personal recommendation from someone you trust is one of the best places to start.

• The following organizations have searchable lists of therapists in the U.S. and outside the U.S. who are trained as postpartum specialists.

  1. The Postpartum Stress Center
  2. Postpartum Support International
  3. Postpartum Progress
  4. Postpartum Resource Center of NY

• If you’re searching on your own, Below is a partial list of questions and considerations:

  1. Are they licensed to practice in the state you live?
  2. Do they have specialized training in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders by reputable organizations? (e.g. Postpartum Support International, Seleni, 2020mom, The Postpartum Stress Center, The Motherhood Center)
  3. How long have they been practicing? (Longer is not necessarily better, but it increases the likelihood that they have experience with a greater range of illnesses and symptoms.
  4. Do they endorse a variety of therapeutic modalities that appeal to you? (e.g. individual counseling, couples counseling, group support, medication options, psychiatric support)
  5. Do they offer a therapy regime or adjunctive interventions that interest you? (Supportive psychotherapy, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) IPT (interpersonal psychotherapy), EMDR (eye-movement desensitization & reprocessing)
  6. Do they support the use of medication (if necessary) together with therapy?
  7. Will they see you as soon as possible if your symptoms are acute/severe?
  8. If you want to use your insurance, make sure you have coverage for outpatient mental health services. If you are referred to a specialist who does not accept your insurance, ask if they have a sliding scale for fee-for-service (cash) clients.
  9. If you make a first appointment and do not feel safe to express how you really feel, decide whether you want to explore that further or whether you would feel better finding another therapist. Do not underestimate your gut feelings, even though it’s difficult to trust yourself when you don’t feel good. Consider how this person makes you feel when you talk to them on the phone, or in person. Do they sound professional and skilled without being overconfident? Do they believe they can help you? Do they come across caring and compassionate? Do you feel any relief while, or after, talking with them?
  10. IF YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE WAY YOU ARE FEELING, or having thoughts that are scaring you, do your best to let the therapist know. If you do not feel safe enough to express this, ask yourself if it is you, or if it’s them, getting in the way. If you are not sure what’s getting in the way, ask someone you trust to accompany you.
  11. If you do not feel comfortable with the answers or feelings you have, keep looking until you do.

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