Format: Audio MP3 file download $16 - Compact Disc $20
Presenter: Christine Silverstein, PhD
For an estimated 6.7 million women in the US, their dreams of having a baby are dashed by the diagnosis of infertility. The silent stigma of infertility affects every person?s life, involving relationships with partners, family, friends, co-workers, and healthcare providers. Women feel blamed for infertility and are told to ?just relax? and pregnancy will occur. Many women never seek treatment because of shame. Others flock to fertility clinics in the hope of success. Some achieve their goals, but many are left with an empty nest. There is a plethora of evidence in scientific literature that an unfulfilled desire to procreate provokes an intense emotional crisis that is difficult to handle for both patients and staff members, resulting in high treatment discontinuation and high dropout rates for staff. Until recently, mental health professionals (MHP) have been underutilized. In a recent article in Fertility and Sterility, published by the Journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Alice Domar, a mind-body expert in infertility, discussed an integrated collaborative model of mental health counseling for the future that combines stress management for patients and staff, as well as empathy training. For MHP to qualify to work in fertility clinics as psychoeducators and counselors, they must have training in reproductive medicine, as well as mind-body techniques. This workshop is designed to assist MHP in gaining knowledge about reproduction and infertility and how they can integrate hypnosis and CBT into their practices to improve outcomes for their clients within or outside the clinic setting.
The psychological components of fertility treatments have been primarily addressed by MHP, in terms of research interventions and stress relief. However, physicians, nurses, and other members of the team can benefit from inclusion in an integrated, collaborative care model. It is likely that a majority of patients in a fertility clinic are experiencing anxiety and/or depression, posing difficulties for caregivers. Distressed patients are more likely to terminate treatment and give up on themselves. Reactions to such distress may correlate with lower pregnancy outcomes. Often, staff members are the bearers of ?bad news? for failed treatments, and caregivers shoulder the burden. There is no grieving time. Staff members lack the know-how to handle ?difficult? patients. When patients feel ?enough is enough,? staff is unequipped to deal with end-of-treatment counseling. In addition, caregivers experience compassion fatigue, leading to burnout. MHP, including nurses, social workers, and psychologists, are called to be on-site and off-site counselors and can impact care by incorporating proven mind-body techniques into fertility care and by teaching self-administered coping strategies, using hypnosis and CBT with patients and staff members that include stress reduction. As other modalities grapple with how to integrate services into fertility programs, hypnotherapy has an advantage for there is an established framework called the Fertile Body Method. It is a 6-stage process that covers the full gamut of fertility care needs. Developed by a hypnotherapist within a fertility clinic, this method, as described in this workshop, provides a tool for practitioners to attain success in all settings.