Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Is Counseling for Me?

Infertility isn't easy. No one claims it is, but we don't talk enough about just how hard it can be on a person. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. As you deal with it, you ask yourself: Sure, I’m dealing with infertility, but do I really need counseling?

No, counseling certainly isn’t a requirement. Many women and men navigate the murky and tumultuous waters of infertility on their own, often with the support of others. But some of us need more. We might hesitate to seek extra help because of the stigma attached to therapy and mental health issues. Many of my clients have started our sessions with statements such as “I thought counseling was for crazy people.” It’s time to reframe this idea.

The Utah Infertility Resource Center is opening its doors to women and men who would like to try one-on-one counseling. Offering mental health services to those dealing with infertility has been part of our mission from the beginning.

Counseling is for anyone who notices that their thoughts and feelings about infertility are negatively impacting their day-to-day life. Perhaps that means you find it difficult to focus at work. You may notice thoughts are constantly leading back to, “when will I become a parent? Will it ever happen?” Perhaps when you’re with friends and the topic turns to children and parenting, you feel yourself squirming in your seat and a knot rises in your throat. You may start avoiding those friends. Maybe you are irritable and angry with your partner or you can’t get out of that “funk.” The friend you’ve typically relied on just doesn’t understand infertility.

Maybe a peer support group is more your style. Being around women who have walked the same path is incredibly validating. You might be thinking—a support group? Do we hold hands and stuff? Not typically. Honestly, when you sit in a room with women and notice all of their heads are nodding as you tell your story, it feels like home.

Perhaps you’re willing to give therapy a try, but you wonder about the cost. UIRC offers a sliding fee scale, which means we review your income and the amount of money you’ve spent on infertility treatment or other family building paths. Then we agree on the amount you’ll pay to see a counselor.

If you’re on the fence, give us a call or send us an email. We can answer your questions and help you determine whether therapy is for you. We know how it feels. All of us at UIRC have experienced infertility and we’d love to help you find a way back to your old self again.

Click here to make an appointment.

Post written by Whitney Barrell, LCSW

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