9.) KP: How does your approach differ from other therapists that provide fertility counseling and coaching? I know that may be a hard question to answer.
Diane: I think that a lot of folks that are in this particular niche have had their own challenges with infertility. I don’t know exactly how they employ the different tools with clients, but I would say that for me, that deep sense of knowing about what that experience is like from an emotional perspective and also just the logistics of it all.
I think that my particular style is a plus. I tend to be interactive and collaborative and very empathic. I strive to build mutual trust and a very safe and non-judgmental environment.
I try to approach things with my own personal practices. I have been practicing meditation and yoga for twenty years now. I can’t believe it’s been that long, but it’s true! The compassion, the loving kindness, helping people to be more gentle with themselves and more forgiving. When people are struggling with infertility, they often blame themselves, saying “I waited too long, what was I thinking?” “My body is a failure!” So, just helping them to be really compassionate with themselves, to forgive themselves for any choices they have made in the past that seems to be connected with their current problem. Also, employing some of these practical tools that can help people during this particularly difficult period and also beyond. These are tools that they can use for the rest of their lives.
KP: In many respects, these clients you are seeing are going through a “crisis” so having practical tools that they can really hang onto and use right away can be so helpful. You are helping them with the internal pieces – the relaxation tools and self-compassion, for instance – and also providing them with some external guidance that you can be so helpful and provide a great deal of relief.
Diane: For clients, just knowing that there’s somebody they can talk to who really gets it, who understands every intricacy of their story. It just seems to be such a relief for people who can come in and talk about these things. For many patients, nobody in their life really understands what they’re going through, even their own partner sometimes doesn’t understand all of the frustration and challenges of dealing with infertility. Plus, partners grieve very differently.
KP: The importance of being understood and heard has almost, unfortunately, become cliché these days, but the fact remains that there tremendous power in that: really being understood and heard is quite healing. You having not only your professional expertise to draw on, but you’re able to relate on a personal level which, needless to say, is huge in terms of understanding.