This is a twelve-week cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) group program designed primarily to improve maternal mood. Each session lasts approximately 1.5 hours. Women learn coping strategies to help manage their moods. Nine of the sessions help mothers develop the following:
- Understanding and managing moods
- Pleasant activities, how can I find the time?
- Relaxation on the run
- Assertiveness and self-esteem, telling others what I think and how I feel.
- Unrealistic expectations of parenting, influences from the past
- My internal dialogue, the missing link
- Developing a more helpful thinking style
- Challenging my internal critic
- In addition, three couples’ sessions are held, usually in the evenings. These provide information and support for partners as well as an opportunity for them to become involved in the therapeutic process.
We typically include 5-8 women in a group. We have found this to be an optimal number to allow the time and opportunity for everyone to be heard, while also having enough women in the group to provide a sense of mutual support.
This program has been evaluated in PIRI’s randomised trials and has found to be highly effective. Women who have completed the ‘Getting Ahead of Postnatal Depression Program’ report gaining a sense of support and understanding from other women in the group. In addition to learning coping strategies to help deal with anxiety and depression, women often report that through the group process their experiences have been validated, they feel less isolated, which has also served to alleviate their sense of distress at a difficult time.
This program is currently run through the Austin Perinatal Mental health Clinic. To make a referral please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on (03) 9496 4496 to find out more.