What is Perinatal and Postpartum Mental Health?
Perinatal refers to the time a woman conceives a child and up to the child’s first birthday. Postpartum, usually, is more related to the specific time after the birth of the baby. Perinatal and postpartum care of mothers is starting to gain more research and therefore more understanding from society, as well as professionals who work with these women and families. The “mental health” side is gaining more understanding through this research, as it has been shown that about 20% of women experience symptoms that are related to mood and anxiety disorders either perinatal or postpartum.
How do I know if I am experiencing feelings that could be related to perinatal mood & anxiety?
It can often be difficult for women to determine whether they are experiencing depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors, or if what they are experiencing is just part of “being a mom”.
The feeling of being overwhelmed at being a new mom, experiencing ongoing thoughts and fears of something happening to baby or that you might hurt baby or yourself, feeling as though things are “out of control” or that you feel “crazy”, and difficulties sleeping, eating, or caring for yourself and bonding with baby – these all could be signs of a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder.
Through our sessions, we will explore your thoughts together and use different self-evaluations like the Eidenburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and other questionnaires to help determine whether or not what you are feeling and thinking is related more to a mood or anxiety disorder.
How can I, as a partner of someone with postpartum depression/anxiety, help them?
Being a consistent support while also taking care of yourself and your mental health is the most important. It is not easy when a family welcomes a new baby that comes with a lot of responsibilities, while also knowing that the “regular” day-to- day still has to be done. Give yourself, and your wife, the time to heal and to create your “new normal.” Educate yourself on the symptoms of postpartum and encourage your wife to seek help when you start to notice some of these symptoms and behaviors. Getting help earlier will help you both to feel more empowered and back in control sooner.
Do you work with women who aren't pregnant or aren't mothers?
Yes! I work with women who are around 18-45 years old, who are experiencing behavioral and emotions issues related to anxiety disorders, depression and mood disorders, relationship problems, etc. I specialize in helping women work through life transitions as they grow and maneuver through different life stages and may be dealing with self-esteem issues, difficulty with decision-making, impulsivity, and difficulties with focus and concentration to complete tasks.
How do I know if counseling is right for me?
Everyone goes through times in their lives when they experience sadness, grief, confusion or anxiety about their future, the choices they are making, conflict with friends, family, spouse or partner, so it can be hard to know when it’s time to find a professional that can help you with a problem. Counseling is right for everyone, at any time, for any problem. Getting help earlier will help you to avoid needless stress and it will make working through a problem easier. You do not have to be diagnosed with a specific mental health issue to seek counseling. Life can be hard, and counseling can help you by identify and remove the stressors that make it difficult.
What do your counseling sessions look like?
I tailor every session to the individual and the reasons the individual is seeking help. The first session will be about asking your “why” and identifying how long the problem has been going on, what has worked in the past, what are your strengths and what is your ultimate goal for coming to counseling. Sometimes I will use self-report measures that will help us identify sources of your stress or get a more in-depth view of the specific skills you may need to work through the problem or challenge you are facing. From there, each session will entail helping you to identify thoughts or feelings that are either moving you towards your goal or away from it, and how we can keep you on your path to faster healing and improved personal balance.
How long will I need to be in counseling before I start to see results?
It will depend on the person, the challenge or problem you are facing, and the individual’s goals and needs. Some find they only need a few sessions and they are able to work through the issue they are facing, whereas others continue sessions for weeks or months until they have achieved the goal they sought counseling. It will vary from person to person, but the choice is always up to the individual.
Do you accept insurance?
Yes – I am able to bill mental health services with these networks: Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Cigna. Usually your fee is the same co-pay amount as your PCP (Primary Care Physician). However, every insurance plan is different and everyone’s out-of-pocket pay is different as well.
If you don’t have those insurance providers, I would be considered out-of-network.
For private pay rates (see Services & Fees page).
I am always happy to provide a receipt at the end of our sessions for you to use to send to the insurance company for reimbursement as well.
What is the difference between using insurance and private pay?
The biggest difference between using insurance and doing private pay is that when you go through your insurance company, it requires a diagnosis to authorize your treatment.
Sometimes these diagnosis can follow a client through their life and can interfere with getting insured on other plans later in life (i.e. life insurance). Also, insurance will determine the length of your treatment and the therapeutic modalities that can be used in your treatment. Some of the choices that we would usually make together, based on your goals and preferences, would instead have to be determined by your insurance provider.
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SIMPLY JOY WOMEN'S COUNSELING | JENIE CHRISTOPHER, LPC | WOODSTOCK, GA