Women’s Health Psychology
For some women, adjustment to lifespan developmental changes or gender-specific health concerns can by quite challenging and may involve problems with mood functioning (e.g., depression, anxiety, or mood-related psychosis), pain management, adherence to medical regimen, etc. Psychological treatment is often warranted when a woman dealing with gendered health issues has problems coping with them or develops a secondary psychological disorder (e.g., postpartum depression, post-birth traumatic stress, complicated grief subsequent to neonatal loss, or chronic pelvic pain, etc.).
Consultation is provided regarding diagnosis and treatment of (a) mood disorder secondary to miscarriage or a medically-based or voluntary termination of pregnancy, (b) perinatal mood disorder (within pregnancy to the sixth-month postpartum timeframe), (c) miscarriage or birth-related posttraumatic stress disorder,(d) complicated grief secondary to stillbirth or neonatal loss, and (e) mood and adjustment issues related to chronic pelvic pain (e.g., endometriosis, vulvodynia, vaginismus, dyspareunia, interstitial cystitis, etc.).
Integrative therapy is provided, drawn from cognitive behaviour, interpersonal process, acceptance and commitment, mindfulness-based and psychoeducational treatment approaches. Psychological treatment is provided, primarily in an individual therapy format although group therapy format may be available on a limited basis based on sufficient number of appropriate individuals and their availability to attend a designated day and time.
Description of services and treatment
Research has shown that both individual and group therapy are effective treatments for women with psychological disorders that are secondary to the lifespan developmental and gender-specific health problems identified above. Psychological treatment service of 8-12 sessions is offered on an individual therapy basis and in the event of group therapy, treatment will involve a 10-week group format with 6-10 members per group.
Dr. Carrie Lionberg, C. Psych.
Primary site: Women’s Hospital – HSC
Groups may not be available in a given year. Individual format may require a waiting time of 2 to 6 weeks for postpartum women, 1 to 3 months for pregnant women, and 4 to 6 months for women referred for psychological treatment regarding chronic pelvic pain.
Referrals from psychologists, physicians (family practitioners, ob/gyn., psychiatrists), midwives, public health nurses and nurse practitioners.
Links to other resources
Canadian Psychological Association fact sheets on the effectiveness of psychological treatments, chronic pain, mood disorders and postpartum depression: