Infertility and Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is a method of treatment traditionally used for coping with depression, particularly for mild and moderate cases. This method is often referred to as "talk therapy" because it involves a patient to be in dialogue with a licensed therapist. As a treatment for many chronic conditions, psychotherapy is often recommended to be used in conjunction with other treatments including medication(s). There are generally two categories of psychotherapies that may be prescribed for a depressed patient: Cognitive behavioral therapy and Psychoanalytic therapy.
Effect of Psychotherapy on Infertility
Reproductive Psychology is based on the principle that each person has a “Reproductive Story” which is defined early in life through observations of our parents, parents’ role modeling and various cultural influences. The importance of this story are strongest when there is dissonance as one faces struggle with their fertility and are ready to begin their reproductive life.
A reproductive story is formed in childhood as we make decisions about the type of parents we want to become. This path includes being like our patients and choosing not be like our parents. A teenage that says “she will always trust her kids” is making a decision that she will be unlike her parents in her own parenting style. We develop our parental identities early in life, playing house with friends or other play interactions or our interaction with our parents1.
We also internalize our memories and perceptions of our relationship with our parents. Through a myriad of childhood experiences, we form our identity and expectations of ourselves as parents. When struggling with infertility, we can feel a dissonance with our reproductive story. The core of Reproductive Psychology is helping people cope with the issues arising from this inner conflict of how its “supposed to be” versus the reality of the current situation.
- Unsung Lullabies, Janet Jaffe,Ph.D., Martha Diamond, Ph.D. David Diamond, Ph.D, 2005