Survivor Consultations


There’s a great quote by Barbara Katz Rothman that I think especially applies to women with a history of abuse or trauma:  

 

Birth is not only about making babies.  Birth is about making mothers –

strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength

 

We know that a woman who feels empowered during her pregnancy and birth will often bond better with her baby, experience less postpartum depression, and move into motherhood with increased confidence and strength. For a woman who is a childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, or birth trauma survivor, this can be even more important… her ability to feel empowered during pregnancy and birth can also heal deep wounds from her past.  This potential for healing is what brings me to my work with pregnant and postpartum abuse and trauma survivors, and I feel honored to assist my clients in such an important way.


I have spent years as a social worker, birth doula, psychotherapist, and trauma consultant working with pregnant and postpartum survivors, and have learned a lot from my clients about maternity care practices and how they can affect survivors during pregnancy and birth.  I have also completed a training program with Penny Simkin, PT and Phyllis Klaus, MFT, coauthors of the book When Survivors Give Birth.   I now specialize in working with childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, and birth trauma survivors before, during, and after their birth.


I truly believe that although addressing a history of abuse or trauma may not seem like what you envision doing during your pregnancy, for a survivor to use this transformative time in her life to heal and prevent further traumatization can be life-altering for her as a woman and a mother.


The individual consultation is designed to help a trauma survivor prepare for her pregnancy and birth with reflection on her past (although this is not therapy, per se, and there is no need to go  into specific detail about your previous abuse or trauma) and a focus on what she needs to heal in the future.  During a consultation, I utilize my clinical background as a psychotherapist, my practical skills and knowledge as a birth doula, and my training in trauma and recovery to help make this healing possible.  


Each woman needs something different from her birth experience in order to heal, and each consultation is therefore individualized to a woman and her history.  As a general guideline:  we will discuss the most common maternity triggers, as defined in the book When Survivors Give BirthI will help you get clarity on which ones are the most triggering/anxiety producing  for you;  and we will strategize which coping mechanisms will be beneficial to you during your pregnancy and birth.  While childbirth can often retrigger previous abuse or trauma, it is amazing how being aware of potential triggers, and learning how to prevent or work with them, can allow women to heal old wounds and move into motherhood with a new sense of self.

 

These survivor consultations take place on Skype, unless you are local to the Seattle area and would prefer to meet in person.  An individual consultation is usually split into two 2-hour sessions, although some clients benefit from three or four sessions.  Having a minimum of two sessions allows us time to discuss any parts of your history that you want to disclose,  delve into each of the maternity care practices, and work on coping strategies and birth planning.  For a client who wants more support before or after their consultation, I offer psychotherapy sessions that (unlike the consultations) do not have a specific direction or purpose; they are your time to process through whatever is coming up for you.

 

My rate for each two-hour session is $250.  I offer a sliding-scale for clients who otherwise would not be able to engage in this important work.  Please Contact Me for additional information, or click on the button below to book your consultation.