COUNSELING FOR FATHERS
Do you feel like a different person and have trouble recognizing yourself?
Feeling smothered under the pressure to succeed in your career now that you are a father?
Afraid you may lose your job because you are not sleeping well and are irritable and short at work?
Don’t feel connected to your new child like you thought you would?
Or feel disconnected from your partner?
Concerned about how to support your partner emotionally during this time?
Feeling sad, lonely, or even depressed? Confused about what your new role as a father is all about?
Do you feel like you have little to no energy left or lack enthusiasm for the things you used to enjoy?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you could be experiencing depression, which does occur to men shortly after they welcome a new baby, just like it does for new moms. Being a parent is hard, for both parents! There is help for dads too!
YES. DADS GET DEPRESSED TOO.
It even has its own term – paternal postpartum depression (PPD). But most have never heard this term as it is not talked about as much as postpartum depression in women. Roughly 1 in 4 (25%) new dads experience paternal postpartum depression in the first year following the birth of a child. While depression for new moms is likely to develop early during the postpartum weeks and months, for new dads, it could take longer to develop or to be identified in dads. We know from research that 1 in 5 fathers experience an episode of depression before their child’s 12th birthday. The risk of developing depression is also increased by 68% during your child’s first five years of life.
HOW DO MEN EXPERIENCE POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
The way in which men experience postpartum depression is a bit different from how women typical experience it. Men are more likely to be irritable, easily angered, stressed out from work, and potentially turning to alcohol or gambling to cope. Other typical symptoms of depression are also likely to be present, such as loss of interest in usual activities or sex, feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness, and impairment in sleep when the baby is sleeping.
THE WHOLE FAMILY IS IMPACTED.
Fathers tend to feel overwhelming pressure when they have children to perform at work and provide for their families. They also feel they need to be there to support their partner as she adjusts to her role as a mother. For many men, their primary social support is their partner. When your primary social support is consumed most hours of the day caring for a newborn, it is natural to feel left out, overshadowed or forgotten.
Fathers are also at an increased risk of developing paternal postpartum depression when the mother is also experiencing depression. When both parents are experiencing postpartum depression (also known as dual postpartum depression), there is a strong negative impact of the overall familial unit. Research indicates that babies are less likely to be breastfed and less likely to be put to sleep on their backs when a family is experiencing dual postpartum depression. Verbal developmental delays in children has also been associated with untreated dual postpartum depression.
Untreated paternal postpartum depression can also have an impact on the bond you build with your child and it is associated with increased incidents of spanking and an increase in diagnoses of emotional issues, hyperactivity disorders and social problems in the child in elementary school.
Whether you as a father are experiencing depression or you are simply unsure of how to support your partner who may have postpartum depression herself, counseling is a very effective way to get help as a new parent. The unfortunate situation, however, is that most dads are unable to see that they are depressed or are unwilling to get help if they recognize there is an issue.
Our culture has taught men that they are supposed to be the problem solvers but also tells them they should solve it on their own. Men tend towards trying to figure a problem out on their own first before turning to outside help. But postpartum depression is nothing to mess around with.
COUNSELING CAN HELP SAD DADS.
Depression can have an impact on your work performance, your relationship with your partner, and your bonding and attachment with your child. Depression is not something anyone can ever prepare for and it comes out of left field.
In our work together, you will find that you have someone in your corner backing you as you work through the mixed bag of emotions you are feeling. You will find unconditional support that validates and supports you where you are as a father. We will also work to help you find ways to not only help yourself, but also understand what your partner may be experiencing and how you can best help her as well. Many couples struggle in their relationship during this time and intimacy feels like it is last on the list, particularly if both are feeling the effects of depression. Our work together will focus on how to communicate your emotions effectively with your partner and how to maintain intimacy in your relationship.
We will focus on helping you take back control of your emotions and the situation and help you to find peace with the present. We will explore how to take care of yourself and your relationship during this time of transition. You will gain tools to help you cope with upsetting emotions and help seeing situations from a different perspective. You will learn to feel more in control of your emotions, rather than feeling like your emotions are controlling you.
As a licensed professional who is also a parent, you will find that I bring my real self and experiences into therapy. I understand what it is to go through this time in your life. I am very thankful that I have my training from graduate school to rely on as I navigate parenthood because, lets face it, parenting is hard. I continue to use these tools as I make various parenting decisions. It is now my humble calling to help disseminate these tools to parents to help them too feel confident and able.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and lost as you welcome a new baby into your family, I am here to help. You will find the support and validation you have not found from your usual support system. Counseling can help you survive this time in your life and embrace your future with open arms. Sometimes, all we need is a little help picking ourselves up and then we are off to the races again.
I SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIGURE THIS OUT ON MY OWN.
It is impossible to have the answers to everything all the time. We are, after all, simply human. The postpartum period is tough for both the mother and the father. You are experiencing a level of stress unlike anything you have ever experienced before. I will work with you in a solution-focused manner to help you learn the skills you have not been taught, helping you learn to surmount depression with patience and perseverance. I want to help you feel better as soon as possible.
HOW CAN A WOMAN RELATE TO ME AS A FATHER?
It is important that you choose to work with a therapist that you feel understands you fully and that you feel you can work with regarding your concerns. For some, that may be a therapist of the same gender, however, others find they relate better with a therapist of the opposite gender. I can assure you that I understand how difficult it is for fathers to transition into their new role and the techniques and strategies I teach apply to both men and women.
I’M STILL NOT SURE IF THERAPY WILL HELP ME.
I HAVE SO LITTLE FREE TIME.
Time is one of the single most limiting factors that stop people from getting help when they are feeling down. That is why I decided to offer shorter, 30-minute session times. After the initial evaluation session and an additional 1-2 getting to know each other session (which are standard 45-55 minutes), we can discuss if 30-minute sessions would be appropriate.
I also work to keep treatment brief, focused, and only as often as is clinically necessary. Once we determine you are finding the relief you have been searching for, we can discuss how to maintain these gains and can begin spacing out sessions to a couple of times a month.
I AM A VERY PRIVATE PERSON AND FIND IT HARD TO OPEN UP.
So am I. I get that it can be incredibly difficult to talk to a stranger about things you find hard to tell even your closest friend or partner. We will go at your pace and only talk about what is top of mind for you. This is your counseling after all and it will focus on helping you achieve your goals. You may even find that it is easier to open up once we have met in person. Many people tell me that I am easy to talk to.