Five Step Approach
“The end goal is a baby. Our mission is to equip you with the emotional resources, stamina, and flexibility to get there.”
At the heart of our program is our five-step proprietary model RE-MAP – a learning pathway that is all about giving you the tools and strength to re-chart your fertility journey. A blend of therapeutic components that have been researched through clinical trials – our RE-MAP program stands to positively influence the chances of conception. Bringing emotional health together with physical well-being, the robust program comprises:
R ROUTINES AND RESEARCH
At a hectic time of doctor’s appointments, blood draws, and timed intercourse, a healthy lifestyle is crucial to maximize your well-being and your fertility. We give you the information, advice and support you need to make healthy choices and informed decisions.
- What lifestyle habits can positively impact fertility? What complimentary treatments make sense? As psychologists, we critically analyze the research on alternative treatments – from acupuncture to reflexology. We examine nutritional and lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise – and separate the effective from the unhelpful.
- We’ll take the recommended practices and put them into an individualized Fertility Health Plan for you to follow, on a daily and weekly basis.
- We teach you principles that have been scientifically proven to increase the upkeep of healthy habits. From ‘monitoring’ to ‘accountability’ you’ll acquire the skills to help you stick to your plan.
E EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE
Build up the emotional muscles to meet the rollercoaster of disappointments and losses that often accompany the infertility journey. Avoidance and suppression of difficult emotions are often natural responses when going through the stress of infertility. But as the saying goes, “what we resist persists”. Through our program you will develop the emotional flexibility to navigate painful situations and build resilience so that you can recover more effectively from challenge (Davids, 2016).
We also use expressive writing to help you re-plot your fertility story. The “story” you tell yourself about your life has a big impact on who you are becoming and what happens next (Manczak et al. 2014 ). In fact, expressive writing is associated with reduced depression in women experiencing infertility (Frederiksen et al., 2017). We help you move from feeling lost and powerless to confidently charting your course.
M MIND-BODY MEDICINE
Infertility, together with the associated time-consuming and expensive medical appointments and the flux of hope and disappointment, can be a hugely stressful time. Research has established that our minds and bodies are interconnected – and studies have shown that high stress is associated with decreased success with fertility treatments. With this in mind, our program teaches mind-body practices that may interrupt this association, practices that have been shown in multiple studies to increase pregnancy rates and reduce psychological distress (Domar et al., 2000, 2011).
- Techniques include mindfulness meditation, relaxation exercises, and self-compassion practices.
- With psychological distress given as the number one reason patients drop out of IVF treatment (Domar, 2004), we equip you with the skills you need to stay committed.
Successful pregnancy rates after one IVF cycle are estimated at approximately 30% (varies by age) but reach more than 65% for couples who have undergone 6 cycles (Smith et al., 2015, JAMA).
- To help minimize conflict and disconnection with your partner, we teach you a set of practices to help you both enjoy increased compassion and understanding.
As the first step in our treatment program, we conduct an ‘audit’ of your psychosocial and fertility health. This includes:
- Biological: we look at the contribution of lifestyle choices to fertility health, including nutrition, exercise, and naturopathic medicine practices.
- Psychological: we measure mood and thoughts surrounding infertility, including levels of anxiety, depression, and limiting beliefs. We also assess current strategies you use for managing stress and painful emotions.
- Social: we assess the impact of infertility on interpersonal relationships and social functioning, as well as the level of support you enjoy from your partner, family and friends.
Based on these sources of information, we generate a report and work collaboratively with you to set clear, measurable goals, as well as a plan for reaching those goals.
P PSYCHOLOGICAL TOOLS
Research shows that changing our thoughts actually changes the neurocircuitry of our brains (Hanson, 2018) and reduces distress, which is important given the connection between reduced psychological distress and fertility outcomes. We can use advances in our knowledge of neuroscience to shape our neural wiring, so that we strengthen pathways of healthy thinking and emotional processing, rather than reinforcing critical and self-destructive patterns. Consistent with this evidence, RE-MAP teaches cognitive behavioral strategies for coping with the typical negative thought patterns and emotions that can accompany infertility.
• We teach you self-talk strategies to coach yourself through negative moments
• You’ll learn how to ‘reframe’ distorted critical judgments into more balanced compassionate messages
* * Is this the right program for you?
Find out more about our FREE INFORMATION SESSIONS here.