Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW, Founding Director

Karen Kleiman is well known as an international expert on postpartum depression and anxiety and advocate for perinatal women and their families. Her work has been featured worldwide, and she is considered a pioneer in the field of maternal mental health for three decades. In 1988, Karen founded The Postpartum Stress Center, LLC, a premier treatment and training facility for prenatal and postpartum depression/anxiety disorders where she treats individuals and couples experiencing perinatal mood/anxiety disorders.

Karen has been interviewed for, featured in, and reviewed by local and national TV, magazines, radio shows and health websites. Her national television appearances include Inside Edition, The Oprah Winfrey Show and NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. Popular magazines that have featured her work or interviewed her include: Self Magazine, Fit Pregnancy, Parenting, Working Mother, Star, and Mothering Magazine. Karen is featured as an expert on PsychologyToday.com as a “Best Voice in Psychology” as author of her blog, “This Isn’t What I Expected: Notes on Healing Postpartum Depression”.

In 1980, Karen received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Illinois in Chicago and has been practicing clinical social work ever since. In addition to her clinical work at The Postpartum Stress Center, she created and instructs a professional training course for clinicians from around the world, who have an interest in specializing in the treatment of postpartum distress. Her first book, This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression (revised, second edition, 2013), co-authored with Dr. Valerie Davis Raskin, forged new territory in the self-help book market on postpartum depression. Frequently listed as the bestselling postpartum book on Amazon.com, Karen’s book has proven to be an essential resource for women and their families.

Her subsequent books on postpartum depression, The Postpartum Husband: Practical Solutions for Living with Postpartum Depression (xlibris, 2001) and What Am I Thinking? Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression (xlibris, 2005) continue to contribute significantly to the self-help market for families dealing with postpartum depression. She co-authored Dropping the Baby and Other Scary Thoughts: Breaking the Cycle of Unwanted Thoughts in Motherhood (2011; Routledge; with A. Wenzel), and her book, Therapy and the Postpartum Woman: Notes on Healing Postpartum Depression for Clinicians and the Women Who Seek Their Help(Routledge, 2009), has been a groundbreaking resource for clinicians who treat women with postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. She  co-authored Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Perinatal Distress (Routledge, 2014) and Tokens of Affection: Reclaiming your marriage after postpartum depression (Routledge, 2014) with A. Wenzel. Her recent book, The Are of Holding in Therapy: An essential intervention for postpartum depression and anxiety (Routledge, 2017) has become an essential addition to professional training curriculums. Her latest book, GOOD MOMS Have Scary Thoughts (Familius, 2019) continues to receive rave reviews from moms and from healthcare providers seeking relatable, digestible information on PMADs.

Additionally, she has contributed to two edited parenting collections, ParentSchool: Parent School: Simple Lessons from the Leading Experts on Being a Mom and Dad by Jerry and Lorin Biederman (M. Evans & Company, Inc. 2002) and The Experts’ Guide to the Baby Years: 100 Things Every Parent Should Know by Samantha Ettus (Clarkson Potter, 2006) with brief inserts from the perspective of a postpartum expert. Additionally, she was featured in the television show, “Surviving Motherhood”, produced by The Learning Channel (TLC production). She also had the privilege of serving on two advisory panels for the development of postpartum training modules, with Danya International PPD research project and the National Institute of Mental Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). As a member of Postpartum Support, International, a non-profit organization with volunteer coordinators in each state in the U.S. and 26 countries around the world, Karen and her associates at The Postpartum Stress Center are continuously in touch with the needs of the postpartum community as well as with current research and state-of-the-art interventions. She instructs a post-graduate 12-hr intensive course on PMAD assessment, treatment and advanced clinical practice, which attracts clinicians from around the world.

“…Women are rarely informed about the range of emotions that can develop after the birth of their baby. When they experience difficulty, they are often silenced by well-intentioned healthcare providers or family members: “all mothers experience this”, or “this is normal,” or “you’ll feel better if you get out of the house,” or “find a hobby.” This advice doesn’t work. In fact, it can make her feel worse, misunderstood and isolated. As her usual coping skills diminish, and her feelings of shame and guilt abound, her depression deepens. It is this scenario that has compelled me to do the work I do. To reassure Mothers that they are they not alone, that there is help available and contrary to what they may think, they do NOT have to continue to feel hopeless and sad. We live in a society that does not make it easy to admit that being a mother sometimes doesn’t feel so good. Sometimes, it’s hard, it’s exhausting, it’s overwhelming and it’s just not always what we feel like doing. And even in the absence of a clinical depression, motherhood can challenge a woman in a way she has not previously known. Women need a private place they can go to talk, to cry, to be angry, to be by themselves, to rediscover who they are, what they need and how they can get it. A place where they are safe to disclose their most secret and painful thoughts. A place where they no longer have to prove how strong they are, how perfect they are, how in control they are. A place where they can reclaim their lost self and find the courage to explore where they are and where they would like to go from this point forward. The Postpartum Stress Center offers them this opportunity.”


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