Selena Shelley, MA, LMHC, CD, LCCE
Psychotherapist & Trainer
A parent who feels empowered during their pregnancy and birth will often bond better with their baby, experience fewer perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and move into parenthood with increased confidence and strength. For someone who is a sexual abuse, sexual assault, or birth trauma survivor, this can be even more important... the ability to feel empowered during pregnancy and birth can help heal deep wounds from their 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 learned a lot from my clients about perinatal healthcare 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, LMFT, coauthors of the book When Survivors Give Birth, and I now specialize in working with childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, and birth trauma survivors before, during, and after their birth.
Although addressing a history of abuse or trauma may not be what you envision doing during your pregnancy or postpartum time, for a trauma survivor to use this transformative time in their life to heal and prevent further traumatization can be life-altering.
The survivor consultation is designed to help a trauma survivor process and prepare for their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period by reflecting on their past (although there is no need to go into specific detail about previous abuse or trauma) and focus on what they need 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.
Everyone needs something different from their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience in order to heal, so I individualize each consultation to meet a client where they are at. As a general guideline we will discuss the most common perinatal triggers, as outlined in the book When Survivors Give Birth; I 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 lessen the potential for retriggering and ultimately allow someone to heal old wounds and move into parenthood with a new sense of self.
Survivor consultations can be facilitated via telehealth, unless you are local to the Seattle area and would prefer to meet in person. A full 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 delve into each of the potential perinatal triggers and work on coping strategies and birth planning.
My rate for each two-hour consultation is $300. This includes the two-hours we spend in session and the brainstorming/birth planning notes that I will send you after our consultation. 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 to schedule a consultation.