Staff Spotlight: Emily Hill

Staff Spotlight: Emily Hill

Emily Hill

Wellness Outreach Manager
Independent Communications Consultant

I live in Stillwater, Minnesota
I grew up in Winneconne, Wisconsin until I graduated high school and moved to Madison, Wisconsin for college (Go Badgers!)

Areas of specialty/role within the practice:
Communication outreach, networking with corporations and women’s organizations, and Emotional Intelligence facilitation.

Favorite place:
The beach

Ideal meal:

Tip for self care:
Prioritize rest

What do I love about my job:
Helping others

“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.”
― Albert Einstein

Find out more about Emily and her consultant work at


2020Mom Forum Live MPLS Webcast – Perinatal Psychosis & Bipolar Disorder and Infant Mental Health

2020Mom Forum Live MPLS Webcast – Perinatal Psychosis & Bipolar Disorder and Infant Mental Health

The Postpartum Counseling Center will be an alternative host site for the Annual

2020Mom Forum Live Webcast
February 9th, 10:30am – 2:30am
Lake Calhoun Executive Center
3033 Excelsior Blvd, Conference Rm
Minneapolis, MN 55416

FREE to attend
$50 for CEUs/CMEs


Sign in & Welcome

Live Webcast Begins

Dyane Harwood: A Personal Story

Katherine Wisner: Bipolar & Maternal Mental Health, Research in Review


Roseanne Clark: Infant Mental Health

Panel Discussion




Dr. Katherine Wisner’s main focus is research related to the psychiatric treatment of women of childbearing age. She

Katherine Wisner, M.D.

is internationally recognized as an expert in the treatment of mood disorders in women, with particular expertise in pregnancy and the postpartum period. She has been the principal investigator on multiple National Institute of Mental Health- and foundation-funded research projects including the impact of medication use during pregnancy for Unipolar and Bipolar Disorders, a Randomized Controlled Trial of Estradiol for Postpartum Depression, Screening for Postpartum Disorders, and the efficacy of bright light treatment for patients with bipolar disorder. Other areas of interest in include mood disorders in the premenstrual and perimenopause periods, post-bariatric surgery, complex medical-psychiatric diagnostic assessment and treatment-refractory mood disorders.

Dr. Wisner is board-certified in general and child and adolescent psychiatry. Her memberships in scientific societies include the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, the Teratology Society, and the North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Roseanne Clark, PhD.

Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the Co-founder and Co-Director of the Capstone Certificate Program, Dr. Roseanne Clark developed and was director of the Parent-Infant and Early Childhood Clinic in the UW Department of Psychiatry for over 25 years and has provided teaching and supervision on the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of mental health disturbances in infancy and early childhood and early parent-child relationships to psychiatry and pediatric residents and practicum students, interns and post-doctoral fellows in clinical, counseling and school psychology. She is a licensed psychologist and has received Endorsement as an Infant Mental Health Mentor (IV). Dr. Clark developed the widely used Parent-Child Early Relational Assessment (PCERA), and the Mother-Infant Therapy Group Approach for Postpartum Depression (M-ITG), was a major contributor to the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Development Disorders of infancy and Early Childhood (DC: 0-3) and to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Practice Parameters for the Psychiatric Assessment Infants and Toddlers. For over 35 years, Dr. Clark’s research and numerous articles have focused on screening, evaluation and treatment of postpartum depression and infant and early childhood mental health, maternal employment and early parent-child relationships at-risk. She provides consultation to childcare and home visiting programs and is invited to speak, teach and consult nationally and internationally. Dr. Clark has translated the results of her research and the evidence based evaluation and treatment protocols she has developed into community based interventions for underserved women, their infants and families including collaborating with community partners in Dane County to develop the Early Childhood Initiative (ECI), a comprehensive home visitation program for families with infants and young children affected by poverty. Dr. Clark has been committed to conducting research to inform policy and practice and has been asked to serve on state and national scientific advisory committees including the Wisconsin Governor’s Early Intervention Coordinating Council, the Lt. Governor’s Task Force on Women and Depression, the Department of Health Services Maternal-Child Health Advisory Committee, the Wisconsin Task Force on Perinatal Mood Disorders, the National Institute of Mental Health Roundtable on Perinatal Depression and the NIMH Workgroup on Assessment of Infant/Toddler Mental Health. Dr. Clark has been Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on numerous NIH funded studies including a randomized clinical trial examining the efficacy of a mother-infant relational approach for women experiencing major depression in the postpartum period and another investigating the validity of screening and assessment measures of social-emotional functioning in infants and young children. She is currently partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families on the integration of the Mother-Infant Therapy Group to address postpartum depression and mother-infant relationships in Wisconsin Home Visiting Programs. In 2012, Dr. Clark was awarded the University of Wisconsin Van Hise Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award for Outreach. Dr. Clark provides academic oversight and direction for the Capstone Certificate Program as well as teaching, academic advising and reflective consultation for students and reflective mentoring for program faculty.

Dyane Harwood will be telling her story about suffering from bi-polar disorder in the postpartum period.

Dyane Harwood- Survivor, Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, and author

Dyane is the author of “Birth of a New Brain—Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder.” She has written about her experience with onset of bipolar disorder in the postpartum period. She founded the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), Santa Cruz County, CA Chapter and has facilitated support groups for moms with maternal mental health disorders for the past nine years.



2017 PHA End-of-Year Giving Campaign

2017 PHA End-of-Year Giving Campaign

Bright Beginnings Young Parent Program

The Postpartum Counseling Center believes in FamilyWise services:

Bright Beginnings Young Parent Program
Parent Mentoring Program
Teen Parenting Groups

These services offer pregnant and parenting teens and young adults the opportunity to increase parenting skills, social skills, independent living skills and pregnancy prevention as well as awareness of physical, chemical and mental health.

More information:


What Every Provider Type Should Know and Do For Maternal Mental Health

What Every Provider Type Should Know and Do For Maternal Mental Health

The following provider core competencies for maternal mental health were developed and published this year, 2017, by the California Task Force on Maternal Mental Health Care. The competencies were developed to address the need for baseline knowledge and skills among various provider types treating perinatal women with the aim of improving detection and treatment.

Community Health Workers, Lactation Consultants, Doulas, Home Visitors, Childbirth Educators, Peer Support Leaders, etc. Core Competencies:

– Understand signs and symptoms of the range of MMH disorders and which factors place a woman at high-risk

– Develop knowledge about the valid screening tools for depression and anxiety. Understand where to locate these screening tools and how to select and use them

– Understand recommended frequency of screening during pregnancy and postpartum and suggested ‘cutoff’ scores to identify who may have potential anxiety or depression

– Be familiar with and follow agency protocols for different types healthcare workers involved in addressing MMH, which include prevention and treatment resources and referral pathways

– Understand that trouble breastfeeding can be a risk factor for anxiety and depression; and some agents used to help increase breast milk supply may trigger anxiety

Ob/Gyn, Nurse-Midwife, Primary Care Physician, and PCP Extender/Prescriber Core Competencies:

– Understand signs and symptoms of the range of MMH disorders and which factors place a woman at high-risk for an MMH disorder

– Develop knowledge about the valid screening tools for depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder; where to locate; how to select and use; and when to screen for bipolar disorders

– Recognize the recommended frequency of screening during pregnancy and postpartum

– Understand how to interpret screening results

– Demonstrate ability to assess for safety including suicidality and postpartum psychosis which includes an increased risk of suicide and infanticide

– Develop knowledge of the menu of prevention/treatment options (drug and non-drug treatments including non-clinical alternative practices)

– Recognize which medications are safe to start or continue in pregnancy or while breastfeeding; when multiple medications are being utilized or when multiple medications may be needed, seek a specialized reproductive mental health consultation

– Develop knowledge of how to counsel women with existing psychiatric illness who are planning pregnancies and taking medication

– Learn about and refer to the local network of MMH services

– Understand that trouble breastfeeding can be a risk factor for anxiety and depression, and some agents used to help increase breast milk supply may trigger anxiety

Nursing (Registered Nurses, Public Health Nurses, and Advanced Practice Nurses) Core Competencies:

– Understand signs and symptoms of the range of MMH disorders

– Be able to apply the nursing process of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation for a patient population that may be experiencing a wide range of MMH disorders

– Recognize factors that place a woman at high risk for an MMH disorder and be able to intervene within the specific nursing role

– Be familiar with validated screening tools for depression and anxiety and follow agency protocols in the selection and use of such tools

– Develop and implement care plans using screening results and following agency protocols on screening and interventions

– Be familiar with the menu of prevention/treatment options (drug and non-drug treatments including non-clinical alternative practices) and referral pathways

– Recognize when patient should be seen by an MD

– Recognize and refer to the local network of MMH services available in community

– Recognize that breastfeeding challenges can be a risk factor for anxiety and depression; be familiar with resources to support a mother’s decision to continue or discontinue breastfeeding, especially when medications are involved (i.e., psychotropics, antibiotics, and/or agents used to increase or decrease milk supply)

Non-MD, Behavioral Health Providers Core Competencies:

– Understand signs and symptoms of the range of MMH disorders and which factors place a woman at high-risk for an MMH disorder

– Develop knowledge about the valid screening tools for depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder; where to locate; how to select and use; and when to screen for bipolar disorders

– Understand how to interpret screening results

– Develop knowledge of the menu of prevention/treatment options (drug and non-drug treatments including non-clinical alternative practices)

– Practice MMH evidence-based psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, etc.)

– Recognize when to refer to psychiatry and which psychiatrist is appropriate

– Demonstrate ability to appropriately counsel women with psychiatric illness who are planning pregnancies and taking medication

– Recognize and refer to the local network of MMH services available in community

– Understand that trouble breastfeeding is a risk factor for anxiety and depression; certain medications used to treat mental health disorders are safe for use while breastfeeding; other agents used to help increase breast milk supply may trigger anxiety; and certain medications are safe to continue while breastfeeding while specialized psychiatric consultation is sought

General Psychiatrists Core Competencies:

– Understand signs and symptoms of the range of MMH disorders, including postpartum psychosis and which factors place a woman at high-risk for an MMH disorder

– Develop knowledge about the valid screening tools for depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder; where to locate; how to select and use; and when to screen for bipolar disorders

– Demonstrate competence in assessing for safety, particularly suicide and infanticide, and instituting appropriate acute treatment in pregnant and newly postpartum women

– Understand how a differential diagnosis (distinguishing of a particular disease or condition from others that present similar symptoms) differs for pregnant and postpartum women versus the general population

– Develop knowledge of the menu of prevention/treatment options (drug and non-drug treatments including non-clinical alternative practices)

– Recognize the importance of social support and appropriate psychotherapy and how to develop a plan for assisting patients in accessing these resources

– Demonstrate competency in counseling women on the risks of untreated relapse versus the risks of potential medication use in pregnancy and lactation

– Understand which medications are safe to continue in pregnancy or while breastfeeding versus which medications need to be changed immediately

– Demonstrate ability to appropriately counsel women with psychiatric illness who are planning pregnancies and will need treatment, whether pharmacological or not

– Demonstrate ability to appropriately counsel women of childbearing age on methods of birth control, their effects on psychotropic medication or symptoms, and where to go for family planning

– Develop knowledge of when to seek specialized consultation from a reproductive psychiatrist

– Recognize and refer to the local network of MMH services available in community

– Understand that trouble breastfeeding can be a risk factor for anxiety and depression; and some agents used to help increase breast milk supply may trigger anxiety

Reproductive Psychiatrists Core Competencies:

All competencies required of general psychiatrists plus:

– Demonstrate ability to manage complex medication regimens in pregnancy

– Provide pre-pregnancy and postpartum consultation to MDs, for women with severe mental illness and those on complex medication regimens

– Serve as a resource through expert consultation with a team of providers, including prenatal care, pediatric, social service, and other behavioral health providers

Reprinted from


Baby Blues and the Postpartum Period

Baby Blues and the Postpartum Period

Taken from: Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health
Reproductive Psychiatry Resource & Information Center

During the postpartum period, about 85% of women experience some type of mood disturbance. For most the symptoms are mild and short-lived; however, 10 to 15% of women develop more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety. Postpartum psychiatric illness is typically divided into three categories: (1) postpartum blues (2) postpartum depression and (3) postpartum psychosis. It may be useful to conceptualize these disorders as existing along a continuum, where postpartum blues is the mildest and postpartum psychosis the most severe form of postpartum psychiatric illness.

Postpartum Blues

It appears that about 50 to 85% of women experience postpartum blues during the first few weeks after delivery. Given how common this type of mood disturbance is, it may be more accurate to consider the blues as a normal experience following childbirth rather than a psychiatric illness. Rather than feelings of sadness, women with the blues more commonly report mood lability, tearfulness, anxiety or irritability. These symptoms typically peak on the fourth or fifth day after delivery and may last for a few hours or a few days, remitting spontaneously within two weeks of delivery. While these symptoms are unpredictable and often unsettling, they do not interfere with a woman’s ability to function. No specific treatment is required; however, it should be noted that sometimes the blues heralds the development of a more significant mood disorder, particularly in women who have a history of depression. If symptoms of depression persist for longer than two weeks, the patient should be evaluated to rule out a more serious mood disorder.

Postpartum Depression

PPD typically emerges over the first two to three postpartum months but may occur at any point after delivery. Some women actually note the onset of milder depressive symptoms during pregnancy. Postpartum depression is clinically indistinguishable from depression occurring at other times during a woman’s life. The symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Depressed or sad mood
  • Tearfulness
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness or incompetence
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Change in appetite
  • Poor concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts

Significant anxiety symptoms may also occur. Generalized anxiety is common, but some women also develop panic attacks or hypochondriasis. Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder has also been reported, where women report disturbing and intrusive thoughts of harming their infant. Especially with milder cases, it may be difficult to detect postpartum depression because many of the symptoms used to diagnose depression (i.e., sleep and appetite disturbance, fatigue) also occur in postpartum women in the absence of depression. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is a 10-item questionnaire that may be used to identify women who have PPD. On this scale, a score of 12 or greater or an affirmative answer on question 10 (presence of suicidal thoughts) raise concern and indicate a need for more thorough evaluation.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is the most severe form of postpartum psychiatric illness. It is a rare event that occurs in approximately 1 to 2 per 1000 women after childbirth. Its presentation is often dramatic, with onset of symptoms as early as the first 48 to 72 hours after delivery. The majority of women with puerperal psychosis develop symptoms within the first two postpartum weeks.

It appears that in most cases, postpartum psychosis represents an episode of bipolar illness; the symptoms of puerperal psychosis most closely resemble those of a rapidly evolving manic (or mixed) episode. The earliest signs are restlessness, irritability, and insomnia. Women with this disorder exhibit a rapidly shifting depressed or elated mood, disorientation or confusion, and erratic or disorganized behavior. Delusional beliefs are common and often center on the infant. Auditory hallucinations that instruct the mother to harm herself or her infant may also occur. Risk for infanticide, as well as suicide, is significant in this population.

Depression and Obsessive Compulsive Symptoms During the Postpartum Period

Despite several studies which have begun to demonstrate that maternal anxiety during pregnancy can negatively affect offspring neurodevelopment, little attention has been given to postpartum maternal anxiety both by clinicians and researchers. This may be because of the clinical overlap between depression and anxiety symptoms.  Routine postpartum screening generally includes assessing symptoms of depression but anxiety disorders are often masked. Educating clinicians about postpartum anxiety can be very helpful for patients.

Recent studies show pregnancy and childbirth are frequently associated with the onset of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), one type of anxiety disorder. Some women do not have OCD but are bothered by obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Miller and colleagues aimed to shed light on postpartum depression and anxiety, with and without obsessions, in their two recent studies (Miller, Hoxha, Wisner, & Gossett, 2015a2015b).

A prospective cohort study of 461 women was performed to examine the phenomenology and the most common obsessive and compulsive symptoms present in postpartum women without a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Of the 461 women included, 11.2% screened positive for OCD at 2 weeks postpartum, while 37.5% reported experiencing subclinical obsessions or compulsions. Both at 2 and 6 weeks, among the women who screened negative for OCD, the most commonly reported obsessions were aggression and contamination, and the most common compulsions were cleaning/washing, checking. Women with compulsions, with aggressive, religious and somatic obsessions and obsessions with symmetry were more likely to screen positive for OCD . Miller and colleagues’ data also showed that women with subclinical obsessions or compulsions were much more likely to be experiencing depression, as nearly 25% of these women also screened positive for depression.

In a secondary analysis of their prospective cohort study, Miller and colleagues examined the clinical course of postpartum anxiety and they confirmed the clinical overlap between postpartum anxiety and depression. A large number of women with postpartum depression had anxiety symptoms and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in the immediate postpartum period. At 2 weeks postpartum 19.9% of women with depression were more likely to experience comorbid state-trait anxiety, compared to 1.3% women who screened negative for depression. At both at 2 and 6 weeks postpartum, women with depression were more likely to report obsessions and compulsions compared to women without depression. While state-trait anxiety symptoms tended to resolve with time, obsessive-compulsive symptoms persisted. By 6 months postpartum, there were no differences in anxiety symptoms in women with and without depression, but the difference in obsessive-compulsive symptoms persisted (p=0.017). All this means severe distress for women and therapeutic implications for clinicians.

Given the potential adverse effects of untreated mood and anxiety symptoms on both the mother and child, careful screening and early recognition of anxiety symptoms during the postpartum period is recommended.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

The postpartum period is characterized by a rapid shift in the hormonal environment. Within the first 48 hours after delivery, estrogen and progesterone concentrations fall dramatically. As these gonadal steroids modulate neurotransmitter systems involved in the regulation of mood, many investigators have proposed a role for these hormonal shirts in the emergence of postpartum affective illness. While it appears that there is no consistent correlation between serum levels of estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, or thyroid hormones and the occurrence of postpartum mood disturbance, some investigators hypothesize that there is a subgroup of women who are particularly sensitive to the hormonal changes that take place after delivery. This population of women may be more vulnerable to PPD and to other hormonally driven mood disturbances, such as those occurring during the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle or during the perimenopause.

Other factors may play a role in the etiology of PPD. One of the most consistent findings is that among women who report marital dissatisfaction and/or inadequate social supports, postpartum depressive illness is more common. Several investigators have also demonstrated that stressful life events occurring either during pregnancy or near the time of delivery appear to increase the likelihood of postpartum depression.

While all of these factors may act together to cause PPD, the emergence of this disorder probably reflects an underlying vulnerability to affective illness. Women with histories of major depression or bipolar disorder are more vulnerable to PPD, and women who develop PPD will often go on to have recurrent episodes of depression unrelated to pregnancy or childbirth.

Who is at Risk for Postpartum Depression?

All women are vulnerable to postpartum depression, regardless of age, marital status, education level, or socioeconomic status. While it is impossible to predict who will develop PPD, certain risk factors for PPD have been identified, including:

  • Previous episode of PPD
  • Depression during pregnancy
  • History of depression or bipolar disorder
  • Recent stressful life events
  • Inadequate social supports
  • Marital problem

Click here to read a MGH 2005 blog post on risk factors for PPD.

Click here to read about obesity linked to postpartum risk.


Miller ES, Hoxha D, Wisner KL, Gossett DR.The impact of perinatal depression on the evolution of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2015

Miller ES, Hoxha D, Wisner KL, Gossett DR. Obsessions and compulsions in postpartum women without obsessive compulsive disorder. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2015


What Does Islam Say About Postpartum Depression?

What Does Islam Say About Postpartum Depression?

Reprinted from by Katherine Stone (2/3/2011)

I found myself asking that question when I read a heartbreaking comment from Amina, a Muslim mother who had postpartum depression, on a piece I had written about postpartum depression and different religious faiths.

I’m Muslim and had postpartum two years ago with my 4th child. Never had it before then. I remember when I told the Sheik’s(kinda like pastor’s) wife that I needed help. They made me feel so small, like I wasn’t a practicing Muslim, and said stuff like “You don’t need those pills.” or “They are just going to make things worse.” or “It’s all in your head. You just need to pray more, pray harder”. It was like saying you’re not a believer in God because you have this issue. I was devastated. I went looking for support and was dragged down even more. I even bought a book from their library and in the book it blamed “the devil or spirits ” and insisted I needed to pray more, or pray certain prayers. Thing was I prayed and prayed and prayed til I could barely move or speak. Did everything I was told to and it didn’t help at all. I never went back to that mosque after that day. It felt like they made things worse on me. I felt like I was being told I’m not a “real” Muslim or a true “believer” or I was simply “weak”.

This happens so often. Women made to feel horrible by people in their religious communities. This is something I cannot abide. Postpartum depression or anxiety (or antenatal depression or anxiety) are not moral failings. Period.

I reached out to my buddy HK to see if she was aware of what the Islamic position on PPD is, and she, being the awesome person she is, found the following for me from Ask The Scholar. It’s not specifically about postpartum depression, but it does provide an Islamic perspective on mental health issues:

Question: What does Islam say about mental disorders/illnesses? Is it due to the effect of jinn (demons) or Satan? What is the Islamic treatment for mental disorders?

Answer: It is indeed very unfortunate that some Muslims today cling to folklore that was not even accepted by those Muslims who came before us.

Even a casual glance at Islamic history reveals that, while much of Europe in the Medieval Period viewed mental illness as demon-related, Muslim scholars of the time, including Ibn Sina (known in the West as Avicenna – the founder of Modern Medicine), rejected such notions and viewed mental disorders as conditions that were physiologically based.

This kind of forward thinking about mental health by early Muslim scholars is also what led to the creation of the first psychiatric ward in Baghdad, Iraq by al Razi (one of the greatest physicians Islam has ever produced and known in the West as Rhazes). Based on the view that mental disorders were medical conditions, patients in these wards were treated not only humanely and compassionately but also using psychotherapy and drug treatments.

All this should be ample proof that in Islam, mental disorders are considered as illnesses that warrant medical attention and treatment, including medication, if prescribed.

In fact, taking medication and treating ourselves via experts is an important Islamic teaching. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), is reported to have said, “Treat yourself through medications, for God has sent down a cure even as He has sent down the disease.”

All this being said, one should supplement treatment for all illnesses with prayers asking for God’s mercy, cure and healing.

I welcome other perspectives, as I am not a Muslim myself. I have to tell you, though, that I think this perpsective will remain my favorite. To me, it is beautifully supportive and healing.


Staff Spotlight: Rachel Oshan

Staff Spotlight: Rachel Oshan

Rachel Oshan, MSW, LICSW, Independent Practitioner

Hometown: West Union, IA

Areas of specialty/role within the practice: Depression, anxiety, grief and loss, life and role transitions, family of origin issues, pregnancy and postpartum concerns, infertility and perinatal loss, adjustment to parenting concerns, self esteem, and interpersonal relationship concerns.

Favorite place: My favorite place is my family’s cabin in northern Wisconsin. Its peacefulness resonates with me in the most absolute way. As a mother, I now get to enjoy watching my children love this place as much as I do, which brings me so much joy.

Ideal meal: I love trying new foods and would love to make more time to explore cooking things I’ve never made (which would allow for numerous options). However, after a long day, I usually just want to eat pizza.

Tip for self care: It is so hard to remember that we are worth making time for! I have struggled in remembering that making time for myself isn’t selfish, but necessary. We are constantly faced with societal expectations of go, go, go; slowing down is so often seen as a negative. Creating space to acknowledge the necessity of self care allows us to prioritize its importance and gives permission to make time to explore what it means for each of us individually.

What do I love about my job: I feel so lucky to be able to say I love my work. I am passionate about my role as a psychotherapist and I am truly honored to engage in the experience of having others place trust in me, sharing their narratives and allowing me to come alongside them as they explore their path forward.


Stand Up to Stigma

Stand Up to Stigma

Stigma is: prejudiced negative beliefs based on stereotypes of the mentally ill.

What can you do?

Take a stand to transform discrimination of mental illness by facing stigma head on.

4 ways to defeat stigma:

  1. Be supportive.
    It is hard to seek help for anyone who’s struggling just to get through the day. Don’t place blame. Keep it simple and factual: for example, say to yourself, she is learning how to manage a mental illness. Remember that people do get better with treatment.
  2. Stop using degrading language.
    Say the truth and respect the person: She has bipolar disorder. She has depression. Stop using words that are not helpful.
  3. Get the facts.
    Mental illness is common, “about 25% of all U.S. adults have a mental illness.” Show others the dignity and respect that you would like if it happened to you.
  4. Share your own experience of mental health struggle.
    Being open about your own struggles with mental/emotional health “normalizes” mental illness. When you are honest about your experience, it gives others permission & courage to speak up and seek help, too.

If you are struggling:

To get help, contact a trained professional. If you don’t know where to start, please look at Postpartum Support International and the National Institute for Mental Health, NAMI. In the Twin Cities area, contact Psychology and Healing Associates, home of the Postpartum Counseling Center 612-296-3800.



Staff Spotlight: Sara Nuahn

Staff Spotlight:  Sara Nuahn

Sara Nuahn, MSW, LICSW, CBIS, Independent Practitioner

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Areas of specialty/role within the practice: Depression and anxiety, perinatal mental health, pregnancy, late term loss/miscarriage, infertility, communication issues, identify and life transitions, work/life balance, couples support

The book I most often recommend: I just finished The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk. It is an amazing book!

Favorite place: with my kids driving in my car.

Ideal meal: Baked Ziti and Garlic Bread

Tip for Self-Care: Find your fringe space during the day to reconnect to self, breath, and rest.

What do I love about my job: Connecting with others, seeing growth and change, and being real and in the moment.

Sara Nuahn is part of the team at Psychology and Healing Associates and as an independent practitioner, her office is at 600 W 78th St.10 i, Chanhassen, MN 55317. Call us to set up an appointment 612-296-3800.



Present at the Beyond the Baby Blues Conference – DEADLINE EXTENDED to Feb. 17th, 2017

Present at the Beyond the Baby Blues Conference – DEADLINE EXTENDED to Feb. 17th, 2017

Beyond the Baby Blues

Present at the 2017 Beyond the Baby Blues Conference!

NAMI Minnesota is currently seeking submissions for our annual Beyond the Baby Blues Conference. This year’s event will take place Wednesday, June 7th at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center.
Beyond the Baby Blues is a full-day conference designed to educate professionals and families about mood disorders and anxiety before, during and after pregnancy.
Kindly review this form for submission format requirements for presentations and proposals.
The submission deadline has been extended to Friday, February 17th.
Below is a list of topics past attendees are interested in learning more about.
Suggested Topics: 
  • Birth trauma, pregnancy after loss, fertility issues, recurrent loss, & coping with grief while trying to get pregnant again.
  • Children’s mental health & behavioral health.
  • Cultural competence, including resources and supports for low-income populations and specific cultural groups, particularly Somali women.
  • Diagnosed mood disorder and family planning, preventative care, breast feeding and medication, attachment with newborn when diagnosed with PMAD.
  • Helping the over 40 first time mom who has taken hormones.
  • Holistic approaches, functional medicine approaches in post-partum care including diet, nutrition, herbs, acupuncture, and others.
  • Practical applications of treatment approaches and techniques.
  • Biology, physiology, hormones and what happens during and after pregnancy as it pertains to the mental health of people of all genders.
  • In-depth diagnostic and treatment presentations.
  • Presentations on OCD/PTSD, including information on dads.
  • Personal stories.
  • Working fathers in relation to PPD and PMAD.
  • Medication management, integrated care, funding, designing a study, sleep disorders and impact on mood and treatment options.
  • NICU, birth trauma.
  • Pregnancy loss, infant loss, infertility, interpersonal psychotherapy, case studies, grief and loss.
  • Home visiting.
  • Same sex couple adoption, births and parenting options.
  • Toxic stress, compassion fatigue and historical trauma.
Event information:
10th Annual Beyond the Baby Blues Conference
Wednesday, June 7th
8:30 AM – 3:00 PM
1890 Buford Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55108
NAMI Minnesota is also seeking sponsors and exhibitors for Beyond the Baby Blues. If you are interested in partnering with NAMI Minnesota for the conference, kindly complete this form. Contact Emily at for more information.


This message was shared from NAMI Minnesota to the PHAWellnes mailing list in the interest of generating great presenters for the Beyond the Baby Blues Conference.



Staff Spotlight: Jennie Laskow

Staff Spotlight:  Jennie Laskow

Jennie Laskow, MA, LPCC, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Areas of specialty/role within the practice: I treat women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders in addition to treating trauma and PTSD. I also have additional training and special interest in treating men and women dealing with trauma associated with a traumatic birth experience or the death of a child. I use EMDR in my practice and wish I could reach more of those suffering with unresolved trauma symptoms. Though EMDR does not eliminate the normal process of grieving, it does treat the trauma symptoms that can leave people feeling stuck in the memories of a tragedy they experienced with flashbacks, nightmares, numbness and/or depression. I love a chance to get the word out that these symptoms are treatable.

Recommended book: The book I most often recommend to women who struggle with body image and have tried to address it by dieting is Big Fat Lies by Glenn Gaesser Ph.D.

Favorite place: I love Grand Marais but am also really happy on the couch, in front of a fire in my living room, hanging out with my boys who are 14 and 12.

Ideal meal: any meal that someone else cooks for me

Dogs or Cats? Dogs, definitely dogs, here is mine


What do I love about my job: I am grateful for the opportunity to work with people in the intimate forum that therapy provides. It is an honor and privilege to join with each client, to build a trusting relationship and provide a safe space for the emotional work that follows. The strong therapeutic relationship provides the setting in which we can explore and treat the issues brought to therapy. I think about therapy as an opportunity to receive support and increase self-awareness, to experience healing from emotional injury, and to work in partnership to decrease suffering.

A quote I love:

“Healing comes from letting there be room for all of ‘this’ to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” – Pema Chodron


Jennie Laskow is part of the team at Psychology and Healing Associates and as an independent practitioner, her office is in Bloomington at the Southtown Office Park, Suite 252. Call us to set up an appointment 612-296-3800.



12 Things Your Therapist* Wants You to Know About Negative, Intrusive, Scary Thoughts

12 Things Your Therapist* Wants You to Know About Negative, Intrusive, Scary Thoughts

By Karen Kleiman, reposted from The Postpartum Stress Center

DISCLAIMER: These points refer to therapists who have been trained to treat perinatal depression and anxiety. If you do not feel like you are in the presence of a therapist you can trust or if you find yourself questioning his or her level of expertise in this area, please find yourself another therapist….

  1.  I know it is hard to talk about the anxiety racing through your mind right now. I know it is difficult to distinguish between what is problematic and what is normal. I can help you figure that out.
  2.  If your thoughts are about suicide, you need to tell me that so I can help keep you safe. If your thoughts are about harm coming to your baby, this is more common than you might know and if you feel too anxious to talk about it now, you might feel better talking about it at a later time.
  3.  Did you know that 91 percent of new mothers report having negative, intrusive, unwanted thoughts about harm coming to their babies?
  4.  You might be surprised to discover that you feel better after you tell me what is worrying you.
  5.  Negative thoughts and images that worry you will not worry me.
  6.  No matter how scary, how intrusive, how overwhelming your thoughts are, I have probably heard worse and nothing you say will alarm me.
  7. Scary thoughts that are really scary are not diagnostically more serious than any other scary thought. The only thing bad about scary thoughts that are anxiety-driven is that they feel so bad to you.
  8. I know it can feel like you are going mad. Your high level of distress is an important indicator that what you are experiencing is anxiety, not psychosis.
  9. Do not let feelings of shame, embarrassment or guilt interfere with what you want to tell me. It will be okay.
  10.  Scary thoughts do not lead to actions.
  11.  Nothing bad will happen if you tell me what you are thinking.
  12.   You will not be judged here.

For additional help, please contact us, The Postpartum Counseling Center at (612) 296-3800.


Webcast Gathering: Postpartum Depression – Hormones & Inflammation

Webcast Gathering: Postpartum Depression – Hormones & Inflammation

Please Join us!

For a webcast gathering: Annual 2020Mom Forum –
Emerging Considerations in Maternal Mental Health

2017 theme:

Postpartum Depression,
Hormones, & Physical Inflammation

February 13th, 2017
10:45am-1:30pm (2.5 CEUs/CMEs)


10:45AM  Welcome

11:00AM  Introduction 2020Mom Forum

11:20AM  A Personal Story

11:30AM  Keynote Presentation:

The Impact of Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy & Their Effect on Postpartum Depression

Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Director, Perinatal Psychiatry Program; Director, Taking Care of You Program

12:45AM  A New Paradigm for Depression in New Mothers:

The Inflammatory Response and its Relation to Physical and Psychological Stress

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, FAPA
Clinical Professor, School of Nursing, University of Hawai’i, Manoa;
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Texas Tech University

Hosted by:

Pregnancy & Postpartum Support MN (PPSM)

– and –

The Postpartum Counseling Center

Summit Executive Suites – Party Room (in back of building)
1500 McAndrews Road West
Burnsville, MN 55337

$45 (includes CEUs/CMEs)
$10 (no CEUs/CMEs)

To Register/Pay:
Use the payment buttons below to pay using PayPal.
You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay with a credit card.
Buy Now Button

Buy Now Button

Make sure to include your email address with your PayPal payment, so that we can email your CEU/CME certificate following the event.


Wanted: A Journey to Surrogacy / Un viaje hacia la subrogación

Wanted: A Journey to Surrogacy / Un viaje hacia la subrogación

We love this bilingual children’s book about different kinds of families. In Wanted: A Journey to Surrogacy / Un viaje hacia la subrogación, by Carolina Robbiano, many types of families are shown. Some have two parents, some have one. Some have parents living in different houses, or two moms, or two dads. Some children live with grandparents and some families have many children; others have none. “Becoming a family through non-traditional means is barely explored in children’s literature,” Robbiano says, “and yet it is an important story for children of such families. It assures them that they are loved and that being different is not only okay but it is certainly the new normal.”

Robbiano, first searched for a book that could tell her own child the truth about how he came into the world to complete her family. Her search for a book that could ease him into the process without making him insecure came up fruitless. So “I just decided to write the book I couldn´t find in the market” says the author. “WANTED… is my tribute of love for my family,” Robbiano says. “Many people were helpful as we went through our surrogacy journey. I wanted to pay it forward by making this work available to others who may find themselves in a similar situation. It’s a small gesture to say, ‘thanks’ and ‘you are not alone.’”


The illustrations, by Francesca Massai, are colorful and imaginative.

Wanted: A Journey to Surrogacy / Un viaje hacia la subrogación offers a simple message about families of all types to help children between the ages of 4 and 8 understand the many versions of parenthood.


Staff Spotlight: Michele Michaelson

Staff Spotlight: Michele Michaelson

Areas of specialty/role within the practice: Marriage and family therapy, couples work, mental health during pregnancy & postpartum period, and perinatal loss and bereavement

The book I most often recommend for couples:  Terrence Real’s How Can I Get Through to You?

Claim to fame recipe: cheeseburgers with grass-fed beef, sesame-seed buns, and grilled onions

No one would guess that: I play the tuba

Your quote for tough days:  If I do nothing today besides hug my children, then I’ve done enough.

What do I love about my job? It’s an honor to have people share their stories with me.  It’s a privilege to be present together in such an honest, real way. It’s life-affirming and beautiful to me to be constantly reminded of our common humanity.

Two of my favorite books ever: Middlemarch by George Eliot and The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Tuba player extraordinaire, Michele Michaelson

Tuba player extraordinaire, Michele Michaelson

Find out more about Michele Michaelson, Psychotherapist, at Psychotherapy and Healing Associates, Ltd.



Infertility and Adoption Family Building Conference

Infertility and Adoption Family Building Conference

Krista Post, MA, LP to Speak at Upcoming Conference

Exploring Paths of Hope: 32nd Annual Infertility & Adoption Family Building Conference, Saturday October 1st 

One in eight U.S. couples of childbearing age has trouble conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy. If you are part of this journey, you want to be a part of RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association, which works to improve the lives of women and men living who face challenges with family building. Their 32nd midwest conference, Exploring Paths of Hope, will help provide the community and information you need to move forward. Krista Post will speak on a couple panels about Donor Egg, Donor Sperm & Embryo Donation and Working Well as a Couple through Infertility/Family Building. Krista Post is the Clinic Director at Psychotherapy and Healing Associates, and the founder of The Infertility Counseling Center.

At the RESOLVE Infertility and Adoption Family Building Conference, you will learn about new treatments, be able to talk directly to doctors and specialists, explore parenting options and network with others experiencing infertility.

At the RESOLVE Infertility and Adoption Family Building Conference, you will learn about new treatments, be able to talk directly to doctors and specialists, explore parenting options and network with others experiencing infertility.


To attend, register here:

Date: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 7:45 AM – 5:15 PM
Address: Normandale Community College, 9700 France Ave South, Bloomington, MN 55431

Please be aware that RESOLVE events are open to everyone in all the various stages of their family building journey. We are sensitive to the emotions of all involved and want to inform you that attendees, volunteers, speakers and exhibitors may include those recently diagnosed, in treatment, expecting, and resolved. Please no children, childcare is not available at this event.

#FamilyBldgConf #Infertility #FamilyBuilding #RESOLVE


Coping Skills for the Intense Emotions of New Motherhood

Coping Skills for the Intense Emotions of New Motherhood

Learn how to manage emotions with DBT skills

New parenthood is a transition time and of course there will be moments of stress and frustration. But for some new moms, stress and frustration lead to harmful or self-destructive behaviors. There is a tried and true set of coping skills for dealing with these stressors: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT. It’s a therapy that teaches coping skills for how to manage intense emotional states.

Dialectical what?

Dialectical simply means taking two opposites, and bringing them together. For example, the balance of acceptance and change. It is one thing to accept yourself in the present moment. In dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), you learn skills to help you change in order to meet your goals. New parents who learn these skills are able to manage intense stress and difficult emotions like hopelessness, guilt, worry, fear, and anger.

A few types of moms benefit from Dialectical Behavior Therapy:

  1. Highly sensitive people, easily overstimulated. Baby’s cries, little messes, overstimulation can lead to a meltdown for highly sensitive adults.
  2. Moms with a history of depression or anxiety. If you’ve had depression or anxiety in the past, you may benefit from learning stress coping skills in DBT.
  3. Anyone who can’t trust their inner feelings, or who don’t know how to listen to their inner voice (including those who were told, “don’t cry” or “you’re not full, keep eating.”)
  4. Those who learned negative coping skills from their own families, for example, substance abuse or lashing out at loved ones.

The DBT coping skills techniques relieve suffering. And with less suffering comes the ability to learn concrete, practical ways to address and change harmful behaviors.

At the Postpartum Counseling Center, we have a unique way of presenting the techniques of DBT especially for moms in a small group led by Lindsey Henke, trained in DBT and postpartum mental health issues. Join our small group to learn these skills: Coping Skills for Moms. Contact us to register and submit your insurance. Our Coping Skills group has open enrollment and is ongoing, Thursdays, 4:30 – 6:00 pm., 4725 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, MN 55416.  More info »

Moms Coping Skills DBT Postpartum Counseling Center Skills

* This group incorporates skills developed by Marsha Linehan, creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT was originally used to treat people with severe mental health & relationship issues. It was soon discovered that this approach is helpful to people experiencing a wide range of issues: managing stress, overwhelming emotions & relationship problems. DBT is an evidence-based approach that anyone can benefit from. For a review of the research on DBT,



Staff Spotlight: Lisa Miles

Staff Spotlight:  Lisa Miles

Lisa Miles, CNM, NP, Adult Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife

Hometown: Born in Lancaster, South Carolina. I returned most summers as a child to visit my fathers family. I was a military brat, I lived overseas as a little girl. When I was nine my family settled in North Dakota.

Areas of specialty/role within the practice:  I’m a nurse midwife and a nurse practitioner in mental health. My specialty the care of women throughout their lifespan with an emphasis on the childbearing years.

The book I most often recommend: It’s really hard to pick one book.

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression is a memoir written by Andrew Solomon  about the pain of depression and its treatment.

Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher  written by a Minneapolis author, this is an amazing account of life with bi-polar illness.

I Stand Here Ironing is a short story  by Tillie Olson. The story is about the guilt that occurs with mothering.

Beloved by Toni Morrison – A fictional account set in the the time of slavery about of the love a mother feels for her children. Morrison won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1993.

Love Medicine is a novel by Louise Erdrich — From the experience of a family of Native Americans in North Dakota the story explores the complexities of parenthood.

Favorite place: Lake Harriet.

Ideal meal: I love a great hamburger with the ”works” and a chocolate malt.

Tip for home care: Music, candles and a bath

What do I love about my job:  Observing women recover from depression and anxiety is the best part of my job.



Softening, Strength and HELP

Softening, Strength and HELP

We’ve heard the saying – yes – that “it takes a village.” We’ve also heard that, sadly, our villages are disconnected, dismantled – spiritually broken by the almighty smart phone…and the news. Oh, the news.

Families, who once dwelled in a one-room prairie house and – then, later – in the same duplex, are now scattered. Grandmas and aunties who used to tend to moms and babies are today’s career women…with active social lives and triathlons to train for.

Things have changed – in some ways for the better and for the sake of progress and equality, while also causing a shift in the way we view the postpartum tradition of taking rest.

We talk often of needing help, calling neighbors, hiring doulas, sparking up the church meal tree. We talk of creating our own village, reclaiming the “lying in” period, doing things right. But for modern mothers, raised in the afterglow and subsequent backlash of feminism, asking for help doesn’t come naturally.

Beyond the actual NEED for both practical and emotional help, ASKING for help is actually a therapeutic process. Even in prayer, in yoga class, to the stock boy in the cereal aisle – to admit that we need help allows us to soften. Paradoxically, to ask for help (knowing that you need it) is a sign of strength.

Softening, strength and HELP were never more important than they are during the postpartum period. Ask for it, hire it, ACCEPT IT (for crying out loud) when it is offered willingly!


Staff Spotlight: Jen Wittes

Staff Spotlight:  Jen Wittes

Hometown:  Los Alamitos, California
Role in the practice:  Writer and editor of blog and newsletter, with a helpful background as a certified postpartum doula.
Favorite Movie:  Love Actually
Favorite Book:  Peter Pan or To Kill a Mockingbird
Claim to Fame recipe:  Either apple crumb pie or tortilla soup.
Dream Vacation:  London or Greece
Go-to for self-care and wellness:  Yoga, yoga, yoga. Laughter, fresh air, cats.
Favorite Quotes:
“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day,
thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Shakespeare.
“Clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose.” – Coach Taylor