urban balance counseling in evanston

Women in Transition: How to Grow in the Quarter-Life Phase of Life

Are you a woman between the ages of 22-32 feeling like your life isn’t coming together as planned?

Then you may be experiencing a “Quarter-Life” crisis – and you aren’t alone.

The term “quarter-life crisis” refers to an individual’s uncertainty and doubt about life plans. Higher education and delayed marriage trends have created a new phase of life for young adults – a transitional period in which self-exploration and identity are the priority.

This 8-week group is designed for women in their early-twenties to early-thirties who wish to explore issues related to their work or career, personal identity, spirituality, intimate relationships, and relationships with friends and family. The group provides a safe space to share experiences, relate to others, and better understand the reality of this time of life. Led by UB staff therapist Leslie Holley, LPC and Alyssa Yeo, Clinical Intern

The group will meet every Thursday, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., for 8 weeks (start date TBD – tentatively scheduled for late-March or early-April) * It is recommended participants commit to attending all 8 group sessions to receive the maximum benefit

Where: Urban Balance, 180 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 410 Chicago, IL 60601

Cost: $25.00 per session

For more information or to sign up, contact  Alyssa Yeo.

http://www.yelp.com/events/chicago-women-in-transition-how-to-grow-in-the-quarter-life-phase-of-life

over 70 therapists in 6 counseling locations in chicago area

You’re Expecting…What Exactly? UB Pre-Baby Workshop May 3rd

Join Urban Balance therapists, Bridget Levy, LCPC and Cori Robin, LCSW for a Pre-Baby Workshop and learn how to:

  •    Prepare and strengthen your alliance with your partner to navigate your new family
  •    Identify 10 most common challenges/pitfalls couples may face when children arrive
  •    Discover and pinpoint potential areas for growth in your current relationship
  •    Set realistic and shared expectations for your relationship within your new family

http://www.yelp.com/events/chicago-pre-baby-workshop

chicago therapist in evanston, northbrook, libertyville

Invite God to Join Your Next Counseling Session

Spirituality is a source of support for many as they move through their life on the road to wellness.

by UB’s Joyce Marter, LCPC:

Spirituality is not religion. For some, spirituality is accessed through religion, but this is not true for all. Spirituality can be defined as a sense of peace and serenity, as well as a connectedness with others, with nature and with the world around us. It can be whatever helps us feel grounded, anchored, and supported.

When some people talk about spirituality, they might incorporate belief systems about God. For others, they might understand spirituality through their own higher power, connectedness with the universe, nature, or community.

If you are open to the idea that we are mind, body and spirit, you might reflect on your current spiritual life. Some people access their spirituality through religion or prayer, while others may practice meditation, deep breathing, yoga and mindfulness. Still others connect spiritually with nature through gardening, hiking or running outdoors. Some people find music or art to be a spiritual expression. Others even find spiritual connection through their relationships, volunteer work or anything that is meaningful to them on a deeper level.

Spiritual practices can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and be a resource during the process of recovery from addiction. They can be integral in stress management, and in providing reassurance and support that we are not alone and perhaps are all part of a greater plan or system. Spirituality can be useful in dealing with cultural challenges of disconnection from others due to technology, a focus on the material, and a desire to be in control of our lives. It can be a way to focus on the present and let go of that which is beyond our control (past and future.)

Our spiritual beliefs are relevant to our psychology, as they often shed light on our understanding of life, the purpose or meaning of our personal journey, and of death. These beliefs can largely shape and mold us into who were are and how we choose to live our lives. Some people are raised in a cultural or religious background that has influenced their adult life. As adults, some of us embrace the teachings we had growing up, while others may choose to find their own spiritual path that more closely resonates with their authentic self.

Some people may wish to explore their spirituality while in psychotherapy while some may not. This is something the therapists at Urban Balance very much respect as we each have our own personal and unique sense of spirituality and our own journey in life.

counseling services in Chicago dowtown, near north, and north side

Burnout? How to Extinguish It Before It Gets Dangerous

“Burnout is an undeniable sign that something important in your life is not working…”

Definition of Burnout

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.

You may be on the road to burnout if:

  • Every day is a bad day.
  • Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy.
  • You’re exhausted all the time.
  • The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
  • You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated

Physical signs and symptoms of burnout

Feeling tired and drained most of the time

Lowered immunity, feeling sick a lot

Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches

Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout

Sense of failure and self-doubt

Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated

Detachment, feeling alone in the world

Loss of motivation

Increasingly cynical and negative outlook

Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

Withdrawing from responsibilities

Isolating yourself from others

Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done

Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope

Taking out your frustrations on others

Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early

Burnout prevention tips

Start the day with a relaxing ritual. Rather jumping out of bed as soon as you wake up, spend at least fifteen minutes meditating, writing in your journal, doing gentle stretches, or reading something that inspires you.

Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits. When you eat right, engage in regular physical activity, and get plenty of rest, you have the energy and resilience to deal with life’s hassles and demands.

Set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do.

Take a daily break from technology. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone, and stop checking email.

Nourish your creative side. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favorite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work.

Sometimes it’s too late to prevent burnout – you’re already past the breaking point. If that’s the case, it’s important to take your burnout very seriously.

Burnout recovery strategy #1: Slow down

When you’ve reached the end stage of burnout, adjusting your attitude or looking after your health isn’t going to solve the problem. You need to force yourself to slow down or take a break. Cut back whatever commitments and activities you can. Give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal.

Burnout recovery strategy #2: Get support

When you’re burned out, the natural tendency is to protect what little energy you have left by isolating yourself. But your friends and family are more important than ever during difficult times. Turn to your loved ones for support. Simply sharing your feelings with another person can relieve some of the burden.

Burnout recovery strategy #3: Reevaluate your goals and priorities

Burnout is an undeniable sign that something important in your life is not working. Take time to think about your hopes, goals, and dreams. Are you neglecting something that is truly important to you? Burnout can be an opportunity to rediscover what really makes you happy and to change course accordingly.

counseling in Chicago and North Shore

Threw Your Stress Ball Out The Window? Here’s How to Better Manage Stress.

In today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, stress has become a fact of life. Stress can cause people to feel overwhelmed or pushed to the limit. The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey found that one-third of people in the U.S. report experiencing extreme levels of stress. While low to moderate levels of stress can be good for you when managed in healthy ways, extreme stress takes both an emotional and physical toll on the individual.

With the consequences of poorly managed stress range from fatigue to heart disease and obesity, it is important to know how to recognize high stress levels and take action to handle it in healthy ways. Being able to control stress is a learned behavior, and stress can be effectively managed by taking small steps toward changing unhealthy behaviors.

The APA offers the following tips on how to manage your stress:

Understand how you experience stress. Everyone experiences stress differently. How do you know when you are stressed? How are your thoughts or behaviors different from times when you do not feel stressed?

Identify your sources of stress. What events or situations trigger stressful feelings? Are they related to your children, family, health, financial decisions, work, relationships or something else?

Learn your own stress signals. People experience stress in different ways. You may have a hard time concentrating or making decisions, feel angry, irritable or out of control, or experience headaches, muscle tension or a lack of energy. Gauge your stress signals.

Recognize how you deal with stress. Determine if you are using unhealthy behaviors (such as smoking, drinking alcohol and over/under eating) to cope. Is this a routine behavior, or is it specific to certain events or situations? Do you make unhealthy choices as a result of feeling rushed and overwhelmed?

Find healthy ways to manage stress. Consider healthy, stress-reducing activities such as meditation, exercising or talking things out with friends or family. Keep in mind that unhealthy behaviors develop over time and can be difficult to change. Don’t take on too much at once. Focus on changing only one behavior at a time.

Take care of yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and engage in regular physical activity. Ensure you have a healthy mind and body through activities like yoga, taking a short walk, going to the gym or playing sports that will enhance both your physical and mental health. Take regular vacations or other breaks from work. No matter how hectic life gets, make time for yourself — even if it’s just simple things like reading a good book or listening to your favorite music.

Reach out for support. Accepting help from supportive friends and family can improve your ability to manage stress. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist, who can help you better manage stress and change unhealthy behaviors

chicago therapist

One Mind, One Body, One Healthy You

You need to take care of both body and mind for total wellness.

By UB Owner, Joyce Marter, LCPC:

Our minds and bodies are so interconnected that sometimes symptoms of psychological issues show up in our bodies and vice-versa. For this reason, I like to emphasize with my counseling clients that it is important to listen to what our bodies are telling us, and to address both physical and psychological self-care when working toward comprehensive health.

I can personally relate to this issue because after the birth of our daughter, I told my husband that I needed more support. Then the next day, my back went out!  This is an easy example of how emotional issues in our relationships, for example, can manifest as physical symptoms. I see similar issues often at Urban Balance when providing therapy. Clients report a variety of physical symptoms that we later discover to be stemming from emotional issues, such as headaches, digestive problems, back aches or chronic pain. These can be associated with stress, anxiety, depression or relationship issues.

At Urban Balance, we provide counseling and support to help people reduce their physical complaints that may be exacerbated by emotional issues. If these are not being managed effectively, they can cause physical symptoms. Whether in individual and couples counseling sessions, we help clients physical and mental wellness by:

  • Encouraging regular self-care routines through nutrition, sleep & exercise
  • Using cognitive-behavioral therapy to promote positive thinking, which strengthens the immune system and increases overall health
  • Teaching stress management & relaxation techniques
  • Providing assertiveness training & communication skills
  • Practicing anger management & conflict resolution
  • Promoting the creation & maintenance of a positive support network

Additionally, I often refer our clients to alternative therapies like yoga to receive professional care for their physical wellness.

counseling relationship issues chicago

Social Sunburn, Are You Getting Overexposed?

From Crain’s Chicago Business quoting Joyce Marter.

Carrie Lannon used to go out — a lot.

Ms. Lannon, vice-president of strategic partnerships at Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., previously owned a boutique public-relations firm for 13 years. During that time, she attended one or two galas a weekend; hectic workdays sometimes required three wardrobe changes. She paid a part-time assistant just to keep track of her social engagements.

The whirlwind proved exhausting and mentally draining. “When you’re on the social scene — and it is a scene — there’s a lot of giving,” she says.

In January, when she began working at the Merchandise Mart, Ms. Lannon scaled back. She now attends one or two benefits a month and spends only a couple of hours a week on non-profit work, compared with 10 or so in her previous life. The upside: She feels more balanced and has more time for enriching activities such as African drumming lessons.

The downside: Some friends have fallen by the wayside. “You find out who’s been interested in you because of your connections and who genuinely likes and cares about you,” Ms. Lannon, a Chicagoan, says.

When the whole world is becoming more socially connected, it seems heretical, if not plain dumb, to pull back. Yet some people are seeking a break from endless evenings of networking and the incessant social patter of Facebook and Twitter.

Indeed, pulling back socially has pros and cons, says Joyce Marter, a licensed clinical counselor and co-founder of Urban Balance LLC, a Chicago counseling practice. Retreating to avoid other people, or even to avoid the weather as winter approaches, isn’t healthy and can be a sign of depression, she says.

Checking out of the scene also can mean feeling left out, sparking feelings such as, “What’s happening at the party when I’m not there?” Ms. Marter says.

Retreating consciously to regroup, though, can be wise: “It’s all about self-care and wellness,” she says.

After taking a hard look at her schedule and her priorities, Winnetka resident Suzanne Dissette backed off from both real and virtual socializing.

Her job as national accounts manager at Chicago Metallic Corp., a Chicago-based supplier of architectural materials and services, gives her enough social interaction: “I call on architects and designers, kind of a hip crowd,” she says. “I don’t feel I need to get out to see people.” And, she adds, nights on the town are expensive and take time away from her son.

But Ms. Dissette, a single mom, feels as if she’s limiting herself. “I do wonder — if I’m interested in meeting people to date, I should be out, and I’m not,” she says. Not that she has much opportunity these days: Friends don’t call her as much with invitations “because they know I’m going to say no.”

Facebook, which Ms. Dissette joined last year to be part of “the latest new thing,” began to irritate her more than entertain her. One friend in particular “was on all day long with stay-at-home mom stuff,” she says.

The last straw came when another friend posted, “I’m so lucky that my kids are cute.”

“It’s so arrogant and bragging,” Ms. Dissette says. “I don’t have time to participate in that.”

Jim Fannin, a Burr Ridge-based life coach, advises clients to use Facebook and Twitter, but to boost business, not their social lives. “It is a brilliant way to communicate,” he says. “But to just have social babble . . . what a waste of time that is.”

He adds that a Tweet or Facebook posting that’s irritating, or simply resonates the wrong way, can wreck a good day in a split second. “It contributes too many negative thoughts,” he says.

FACEBOOK GETS UGLY

That’s exactly why David Rivera, 55, an obstetrician/gynecologist who lives in Lombard, stepped back from Facebook. His complaint: inflammatory postings during an online health care debate.

The debate among his virtual friends “was getting ugly,” with posters calling each other “idiot” and other names. The “lack of civility” among supposed friends galled Dr. Rivera. “It started to spill over into my real, personal life,” he adds. “It was better to just forget it.”

Besides, he says, “I haven’t found it all that useful.”

Dr. Rivera hasn’t completely cut his online connections. He checks Facebook two or three times a week, mostly to keep up with his 15-year-old nephew.

Debbie Maisel Levin blames “oversharing” for her transformation from Facebook junkie to someone who checks the site on her BlackBerry only when she has nothing else to do.

Ms. Levin, who lives in Chicago, found out about a friend’s engagement before it was announced. “She called three or four friends, looked on her Facebook page and somebody said, ‘Congratulations, I hear you got engaged,’ ” recalls Ms. Levin, 31, marketing director for Spotlight Marketing Inc., a Chicago-based branded entertainment and product placement agency. “She was very frustrated.”

Ms. Levin never extends Facebook “friend” invitations to colleagues and rarely posts anything personal. “I wouldn’t post a picture of me doing a keg stand,” she says jokingly. “I don’t see a reason to do that. . . . There’s definitely a line you don’t have to blur.”

As for Twitter? Ms. Levin, who calls the site “an exhibitionist’s playground,” isn’t a member. “I don’t need to know you’re in the parking lot and somebody stole your spot,” she says. “That’s maybe something you should keep to yourself.”

Kendell Renee Kelly loved promoting her business — and her every move — on Twitter. But a break-in at her home made her more privacy-conscious. Photo: Lisa Predko

Chicago resident Kendell Renee Kelly had a more frightening reason to cut down on Twitter: a burglary.

Ms. Kelly, 30, joined Twitter in July 2008, and quickly amassed about 2,600 followers. She Tweeted vigorously, sending 30 to 50 messages a day to tell her followers where she was, with whom, and what she was doing.

It was good for business, says Ms. Kelly, an intellectual property and entertainment attorney and proprietor of Nalakelly.com, an online pet-goods store. She had fun, too: “I was so hardcore, enjoying the transparency and the marketing and the branding.”

VAGUE POSTINGS

But in June, while Ms. Kelly was on a business trip, her house was broken into. Burglars took everything they could haul away, including her dining-room chairs. Ms. Kelly suspects that the intruders used her Twitter postings, coupled with some savvy Googling, to figure out where she lived (the police, she says, “don’t really have an opinion” about whether that contributed to the crime).

Ms. Kelly still Tweets — she says she must to promote her businesses — but posts only 10 or so times a day, and only with the barest of details. She’s ordered friends to be as vague in their postings about her: “That’s not the most comforting, relationship-building thing you can do,” she admits.

As a result, she’s lost friends, both virtual and real. “It’s like reality TV,” Ms. Kelly says. “If you don’t give people the story, you lose them.” She’s also lost a great source of comfort, especially in hard times. Twitter posts about bad news used to draw hundreds of sympathetic responses, “people saying they were praying for me or thinking about me,” she says. “Not being able to receive that is a hollow feeling.”

Scaling back on both Facebook and Twitter has given Zachary Crantz quite a different feeling — one of relief.

“It can be a huge distraction,” says Mr. Crantz, 25, an account executive in the Chicago office of Ruder Finn Inc., a New York-based public-relations firm.

He used to spend lunch hours and downtime at work checking the sites — until he got bored with them. Facebook in particular “isn’t as unique or cool as it used to be,” he says. “When I say everybody’s mom is using it, I mean that.”

This summer, after an hourlong Facebook session had his girlfriend raising her eyebrows, Mr. Crantz, who lives in Chicago, decided to seek out more real social experiences.

Now, for a mental break at work, he leaves his desk and walks around the office, or stops by a colleague’s desk. If he wants to reach out to a friend, he picks up the phone. He even shut off the Facebook function that sends posts to his personal e-mail inbox.

He’s happier as a result.

“There’s a bit of weight off your shoulders,” Mr. Crantz says, “when you can pull back a little and say, ‘This isn’t that important.’ “

couples counseling chicago

The Ever Present Danger of Social Media to Your Fidelity

How to have a healthy relationship and still enjoy social networking,

UB’s Joyce Marter says keep and eye on your Facebook profile if you want to keep a healthy relationship. Too many times she has seen couples come in for counseling where one of the partners has put up a social networking profile without mentioning it to their partner. Or a controlling partner who has issues with their partner’s Facebook friends. Or a partner in a new relationship getting a lot of information, not all of it positive, from their partner’s social networking page.

And much too commonly in her marriage counseling sessions Marter has seen one partner begin reconnecting secretly with an old romantic partner.

“It’s the ease of which people can find and connect with others,” Marter says. “Say you have just gotten to work after a crazy morning of your kids crying and your partner yelling. Your sexy ex from high school invites you to a friend on Facebook. Do you accept? Do you ignore? This is a person you cared about and had a history with. You want to reconnect, but what communication is okay and what is not when you are in a relationship?”

So begins the multiple shades of gray that those in relationships are confronted with in this age of connectivity via Web 2.0 community sites. Marter says those in relationships need to check themselves before inviting exes, old flames and flirtations back into their life.

“What is appropriate and what is inappropriate communication?” Marter asks. “Even lighthearted terms of endearment – old pet names, ‘xoxo’, etc – can lead to flirtation quickly. Is just being affectionate inappropriate? You also need to consider possible miscommunication between the writer and the reader in terms of the intention.”

Marter says those in relationships need to consider how much is too much communication with an ex. What are the boundaries? Short emails every so often every so often can be healthy especially when kids are involved. But is communicating on a nearly daily basis with an ex via email cheating?

Again Marter mentions the ease with which social networking sites allow people to connect with those from their past. Emotional infidelity can start by simply writing a few sentences and pressing enter.

“An obvious sign of overstepping boundaries,” Marter mentions, “is setting up a secret email account that seeks to conceal a correspondence or certain aspects of identity.”

To guide couples and marriage partners who enjoy social networking and a good relationship, Marter provides these tips:

  • Disclose your social network status
  • Invite your partner to be on Facebook, etc, and be a friend
  • Suggest partner be friends with any of your friends that they know
  • Include at least one pic of their partner in their photos
  • Don’t post overly sexy pics of themselves

“Of course networking is a legitimate social networking activity,” she says. “As is reconnecting with old friends, but I am seeing a lot of negative consequences of partners in couples not realizing until too late that their Facebook friends were affecting their most important relationships.”

Finally, Marter says, don’t get caught in a web of secrecy. As easy as that can be in this Web 2.0 we live in. Healthy relationships require healthy boundaries, respect and trust, and this extends to the new online world as well.

New UB Group Forming For Young Professional Women

A New Group for Women in Their 20′s and Early 30′s – Grow In the Quarter Phase of Life.

 

chicago-therapy-find-ub-therapist-in-chicago Are you a woman between the ages of 22-32 feeling like your life isn’t coming together as planned?

This 8-week group is designed for women in their early-twenties to early-thirties who wish to explore issues related to their work or career, personal identity, spirituality, intimate relationships, and relationships with friends and family. The group provides a safe space to share experiences, relate to others, and better understand the reality of this time of life. Led by UB staff therapist Leslie Holley, LPC and Alyssa Yeo, Clinical Intern

The group will meet every Thursday, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., for 8 weeks (start date TBD – tentatively scheduled for late-March or early-April) * It is recommended participants commit to attending all 8 group sessions to receive the maximum benefit

Where: Urban Balance, 180 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 410 Chicago, IL 60601

Cost: $25.00 per session

For more information or to sign up, contact Alyssa Yeo at ayeo@urbanbalance

Women in Transition: How to Grow in the Quarter-Life Phase of Life

More INFO

Postpartum Depression: Spot and Beat the Baby Blues

Postpartum depression seems to be brought on by the changes in hormone levels that occur during and after pregnancy. Any woman can get postpartum depression. Situational factors or stress may trigger or exacerbate PPD.
REMINDER

Are you and your partner expecting?

UB PRE-BABY WORKSHOP – SATURDAY, MAY 3RD

Join Urban Balance therapists, Bridget Levy, LCPC and Cori Robin, LCSW for a Pre-Baby Workshop 

ub-counseling-therapy-fp-9 What is PPD?
 
Postpartum Depression, also known as PPD, is a persistent low mood or anxious state that lasts 2 weeks or more and significantly impairs functioning.  Onset can be any time in 1st year postpartum; many women experience onset during pregnancy (antepartum) or within 6-8 weeks after delivery.Because some degree of fatigue and low mood is expected after the arrival of a baby, it’s unfortunate that PPD sometimes goes undetected and untreated.

The difference between postpartum depression and the more common “baby blues” is that postpartum depression can seriously affect a woman’s well-being and keep her from functioning for a longer period of time. Baby blues typically lift after a few weeks and is a normal period of adjustment.

Postpartum Depression Symptoms include the following:

o        sadness, uncontrollable crying

o        fatigue or total exhaustion

o        trouble concentrating, confusion

o        anxiety

o        feelings of guilt and worthlessness

o        hopelessness

o        disturbances with appetite and sleep

o        Lack of interest in the baby/difficulty bonding with the baby

o        Mood swings

o        And most seriously, sometimes thoughts of harming the baby and/or herself.

There are different types of PPD. Which is the most common?

There are several different postpartum psychiatric disorders.

1.      First, there is Postpartum Depression which affects as many as one in ten women. It is important to note that Postpartum Thyroid Disease is equally as common, and may actually be the underlying cause of the PPD in some women.  Any woman with PPD symptoms should have her thyroid functioning checked to determine the appropriate course of treatment.

2.      There is also Postpartum Anxiety which can manifest as more of generalized anxiety or panic disorder.

3.      Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder affects about 3-5% of new mothers and consists of obsessions (or intrusive thoughts) about some harm coming to the baby or of the mother harming the baby or both and compulsions (or behaviors) the mother does to reduce her fears and obsessions (like cleaning, counting and other rituals).

4.      Postpartum Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD symptoms caused by a real or perceived trauma during delivery or afterwards.

5.      And finally, Postpartum Psychosis which is very severe and involves a break from reality and often requires immediate medical attention.  Symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, paranoia and decreased need for or inability to sleep.

What causes PPD?

Postpartum depression seems to be brought on by the changes in hormone levels that occur during and after pregnancy. Any woman can get postpartum depression in the months after childbirth, miscarriage, or stillbirth.  Situational factors or stress may trigger or exacerbate PPD.

Is there any way to prevent PPD?

·         Pregnant women and their partners can also prepare for the possibility of PPD by talking with their doctors and becoming informed about the symptoms to promote early detection and treatment.

·         If a woman has dealt with depression in the past, they should speak about that with their OB-GYN and connect with a psychiatrist or therapist to make sure support systems are in place to reduce the likelihood or severity of a postpartum mood episode.

·         Risk of PPD can be reduced with support (from a therapist, support group, friends, family, babysitters) and continued psychopharmacological treatment if the woman is already on medication for depression.

Who suffers from PPD? Is it specific to any demographic or race or ethnicity?

Anyone can suffer – any race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.  However, there is higher prevalence of PPD in low-income women because they typically have increased stressors and less support.

What are the risk factors for PPD?

·         a personal or family history of depression, PPD or mental illness

·         stressful events during the past year

·         short intervals between pregnancies

·         problems in your relationship

·         a poor support system

·         financial problems or low income

·         trauma or abuse

·         if the pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted

·         if the baby has health issues or is colicky

·         And finally, women who have had IVF due to hormone issues

Are all types of PPD curable?

Yes, with appropriate treatment recovery is possible for all postpartum disorders.

What are the treatments of PPD?

·         A combination of medication and counseling or therapy is the most effective treatment.

·         Many women are reluctant to take antidepressant medication because of fears that it will hurt the baby while “in utero” or during breastfeeding.  Some antidepressants can be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I encourage women to talk with their doctors about any concerns they have about side effects, however, it can be more dangerous to yourself and your child to NOT take medication if you have serious depression or PPD.

·         These women also need support from friends, family, support groups, caregivers, etc.

·         They need to have a healthy lifestyle in terms of sleep, nutrition, and exercise.

·         For women with postpartum thyroid disorder, they will also need to work with their doctor to treat the thyroid issues.

·  &nbsp
;      For severe cases, the woman may need hospitalization

How do therapists at Urban Balance help treat PPD?

At Urban Balance, we create a safe place for a woman to talk with a therapist who specializes in PPD to talk confidentially about her thoughts and feelings without judgment.  Therapists help clients by normalizing and validating feelings and providing information, support and resources.

The research shows that cognitive behavioral therapy is very effective in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Together, we work with a client to identify thoughts, belief systems and behavioral patterns that are negatively impacting their life.  With mothers with PPD, there are often fears that they are a “bad” or inadequate mother that may lead to social isolation, feelings of guilt and anxiety, and low self esteem.  We work to restructure those thoughts into more positive belief systems and more proactive behaviors that empower the mother to take good care of herself and receive positive support.

Therapy does not have to cost a fortune.  Most insurance plans cover therapy and there UB also offers services at a sliding fee scale.

If someone suffers from PPD during one pregnancy will she experience it again after a 2nd baby?

·         No, not necessarily.  Recurrence is about 25-50%.

·         Women can reduce risk by having a plan in place for prevention and support.

·         For women who had PPD with their first pregnancy, we highly recommend the book, “What Am I Thinking? Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression” by Karen Kleiman.

·         Postpartum depression can develop after the birth of any child, not just the first.

How long do the symptoms of PPD last?

·         If treated, symptoms can improve significantly in a few weeks.

·         If untreated, symptoms may last months to years and may become chronic.

How are the children of PPD mothers affected by the illness?

·         If a mother is adequately treated, there will be no difference in

·         her mothering ability when compared to women w/o PPD.

·         However, there are many studies showing that women who suffer from chronic, untreated depression are significantly impaired in their ability to mother. Bonding, attachment and breastfeeding may be impaired.  The children of these mothers will show developmental, psychological, and behavioral problems.

How can families and husbands help if they fear their loved one is suffering from PPD?

·         Be supportive, accepting and non-judgmental.

·          If she is not asking for help herself, but you think she needs it, don’t hesitate to ask a professional for guidance.  It is better to over respond than to under respond.

·         The NorthShore University HealthSystem has an excellent Perinatal Depression Program and their hotline is 866-364-MOMS.  This is available for all people living in the Chicagoland area.  They can help with screening, information, resources, crisis support and connecting you with doctors and therapists who specialize in PPD.

·         For more information about PPD, visit: www.postpartumprogress.com  and www.postpartum.net.

Are there any misconceptions you’d like to clear up about PPD?

·         This is a medical illness, not a weakness or a failure or does not mean a woman is a “bad mother”.  She did not do anything to cause this or bring it upon herself.

·          It is much more common than a lot of people think.

·         This is not just baby blues or adjustment, she cannot just “snap out of it”.

By UB’s Joyce Marter. For more information, please contact info@urbanbalance.com or 888-726-7170.