At our practice we focus on our ongoing training and skills in working with adults and do not provide direct therapy for children or teens. All psychologists have training in the psycho-social development of children and the types of cognitive and behavioural issues that can impact young people and their families. Some of the team have previously worked with children and teens in schools and various youth services and some have first-hand experience as parents themselves. We bring that training and experience to inform our work with you on the ways that being a parent impact on you and to provide you with information and strategies that you might find helpful.
Parenthood really is the gift that keeps on giving in terms of joy but also stress, worry and sheer hard work. Nothing can really prepare you for the experience of first-time parenthood and many people benefit from support to cope with the adjustment. Sometimes the difficulties adjusting are amplified by challenges with fertility, pregnancy, birth and life in general that happen alongside the arrival of a new baby. For many the parenting stress comes later in a child’s life with the return to paid work, managing toddler behaviour or the confronting emotional rollercoaster of adolescence.
We know so much more about the psychological development of children and there have been great improvements in the advice we give to parents about ways that they can provide the best possible care for their children. Sometimes this wealth of information can lead to a sense of overwhelm and performance pressure to be the perfect parent. Consultation with a psychologist can provide a forum for you to reflect on your parenting experience and help to identify strategies that work for you as a parent and a person beyond the parenting role.
The experience of post-natal depression can impact both mothers and fathers immediately after birth or adoption and at any point in the first year thereafter. It can come on slowly or suddenly and can present in lots of different ways for different people including low mood, anxiety and agitation, sleeplessness, extreme fatigue and physical symptoms that are not otherwise explained. It can be very distressing for the whole family and make it difficult to cope with everyday tasks. At its most extreme, post-natal depression can include symptoms of psychosis. Psychological treatment can include individual therapy for the person and their partners and there are also specialist groups such as playgroups that add to the sense of support and reduce isolation. In NSW we have public and private services where mothers and their babies can receive treatment in a hospital setting when necessary.
In some situations, being a parent can trigger experiences from an adults own early life. There may be cultural or differences between parents that cause confusion or conflict. The experience of parenting can activate distress from a history of trauma in the parents own life. This triggering is an invitation to process the impact of these difficult experiences using trauma-informed therapy to address the legacy for you and your family.