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Women's Mental Health

Whether at work, at home, in our hospitals and medical clinics, or in community organizations, women face unique challenges that can have a significant effect on mental health and psychological well-being. Spark + Pivot is a woman-led practice that will always take an intersectional-feminist* approach to its therapies. What this means is that your therapy space and time will be centered on you as the expert of your life and healing. No assumptions will be made about your goals, culture, work, spirituality, beliefs, trauma, or gender or sexual identity - and the power dynamic will be purposefully lowered so that you feel safe, valued, and partnered in your therapeutic process. For that reason, all of those topics (and more) will be sensitively discussed when you are ready, as they likely play a role in your mental health history, how you experience the world, and what healing might look like for you. 

*Feminist therapies are very effective for people of all gender identities as they explore the effects that problematic systems have on individuals. This perspective demands the therapist co-create treatment plans with each unique client instead of prescribing a one-size-fits-all approach that may set unfair goals and expectations. 

Neurodiveregent Women

I work with neurodivergent women who are ready to feel relief and want meaningful change in their lives. My mission is to help you achieve your goals - not to train you to act more neurotypically. 

 

My clients ask for help getting unstuck from negative cycles in their families and in their lives. Many share that they have trauma they need to process after trying to deal with it on their own. Some want to make major changes in their career, and do not know where to begin. My female ND clients tend to feel misunderstood, broken, and exhausted from trying to navigate life without the playbook it seems everyone else got.

I create an affirming environment where masking can be minimized. As much as possible, we will adjust the office environment to be suitable for your comfort (dimmed lights, windows opened or closed, blankets, etc).

  • I encourage stimming in session, and provide fidget toys and coloring books for those who prefer to stim that way.

  • We will also discuss eye contact and other social communication preferences to ensure you are able to focus on the work you want to do in therapy instead of how to interpret social cues. 

Trauma, PTSD, and Complex PTSD

About Trauma

Trauma is an emotional response to distressing events any time during the lifespan, creating ripple effects that can be felt later in life and even in future generations. Research has found that trauma leads to increased risk of mental health disorders as well as medical issues (cardiovascular events, migraines, chronic illness, and more). Often times, women who carry shame, guilt, an intense sense of obligation, or chronic fear are processing trauma or childhood events that they may or may not even remember because it has a significant effect on our brains and nervous systems.

 

Therapy is an effective way to heal and reverse the impact of these effects so that you can minimize the impact of triggers and feel more connected to your sense of safety and calm. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) are two conditions that can develop as a result of experiencing trauma. It's important to understand these conditions, their symptoms, and how they specifically impact women.

 

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. These events can include but are not limited to:

  • Physical or sexual assault

  • Combat experiences

  • Natural disasters

  • Serious accidents

  • Childhood abuse or neglect

Symptoms of PTSD can vary widely but commonly include:

  • Flashbacks or intrusive memories of the traumatic event

  • Avoidance of reminders of the trauma

  • Negative changes in mood or thinking

  • Heightened reactions, including being easily startled or feeling tense

Complex PTSD in Women

Complex PTSD (C-PTSD), while not yet officially recognized as a distinct diagnosis in all mental health classification systems, is often used to describe a pattern of symptoms that can develop after prolonged and repeated trauma, particularly in situations where there is no escape or perceived threat to one’s life or safety. Women may be more likely to experience C-PTSD due to:

  • Chronic interpersonal trauma: Such as ongoing childhood abuse, intimate partner violence, or human trafficking.

  • Impact on identity: Trauma that occurs during critical periods of development can severely impact a woman’s sense of self, trust in others, and ability to form healthy relationships.

  • Social and cultural factors: Women may face unique societal pressures or discrimination that exacerbate trauma and complicate recovery.

Treatment and Support

Recovering from trauma and managing PTSD or C-PTSD often requires professional support. Treatment options may include:

  • Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and trauma-focused therapy can be effective.

  • Medication: Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may help manage symptoms.

  • Support groups: Connecting with others who have experienced similar trauma can provide validation and a sense of community.

  • Self-care: Techniques such as mindfulness, exercise, and relaxation exercises can complement formal treatment.

 

Empowering Women through Understanding

Educating oneself and others about women’s trauma, PTSD, and C-PTSD is crucial in creating a supportive environment where survivors can heal and thrive. It's important to recognize that recovery is a journey that looks different for everyone, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma-related symptoms, please call or email us. With the right support and resources, it is possible to heal from trauma and regain a sense of safety and control in life.

Resources

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Provides information and support for individuals living with mental health conditions.

  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): Offers resources and support for survivors of sexual violence.

By understanding the complexities of trauma and its impact on women, we can better support survivors and work towards a more empathetic and inclusive society.

Perinatal Mental Health

We offer mental health screening and counseling to clients needing support as they try to conceive (TTC) and in the pregnancy and postpartum periods. 

 

Megan identifies as a loss mom, having suffered 3 first trimester miscarriages and 1 stillbirth (her son, Theo). She has also navigated the challenges of medically-managed and high-risk pregnancies and a traumatic birth / NICU experience. She has 3 living daughters, and has first-hand knowledge of the long-term impact complicated pregnancies and loss can have on individual and family mental health.

 

She credits her family, integrated care team (EMDR Therapist, Ob/Gyn, MFM, Fertility Specialist), and clinical supervisor for being at the point she is in her healing now, where she is emotionally and clinically prepared to help women who are navigating similar challenges. From this experience, Megan knows how important taking a systemic approach to therapy is, so you can expect that we will explore the role that family, friends, work, religion all play in the journey; and that collaboration may be sought with your medical team if you need / would like. 

 

Fertility and perinatal loss circumstances that have a documented risk of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychosis that deserve specialized mental health support:

Life Transitions

As we age, we gain more experience - but also gain different experience. Even if you anticipated and felt prepared for a change (such as a new job or sending a kid to college), moving through the practical steps of that change can bring stress, self-doubt, and difficult emotions. For transitions that you may not have been able to anticipate (like receiving a new diagnosis, breaking up with your partner, supporting a child or parent through a difficult time), you may be experiencing a high degree of stress and a myriad of emotions, while also feeling disoriented and a bit confused. 

By understanding the developmental stages that women encounter, and the typical challenges and opportunities at each stage, we are able to normalize many of the feelings you are having so that you do not feel so lonely or misunderstood. Additionally, by understanding the unique intersectional factors that make you you, we can create a personalized therapeutic experience and develop goals that make sense for your specific life changes. 

Schedule a Consultation

If you are ready to make change and would like to speak with Megan, please schedule a free 15-minute consult.

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