Our culture reinforces the goal of having a child if not achieved in a given amount of time can cause emotional strains and sometimes even depression and deep inferiority complex. The psychological and emotional impacts of infertility are often neglected. An in-depth intervention and analysis are required to undercover the psychosocial issues underlying during the stages of treatment of infertility. Counseling plays a vital role to overcome the challenging situation which can drain couple’s emotional energy.
The counseling can vary from the nature of the case. Patient-centered care counseling focuses more on enhancing knowledge and digging deeper into the issue by understanding the scenario and then making some decisions collectively. While infertility counseling can cover the aspects of patient-centered care as well as support and crisis handling mechanisms. If the issue is too deep then the couple is undergone through psychotherapy which is long term in duration and includes therapy and crisis management techniques. Gender discussions, IVF treatment methodology and mental health issues and the stigma attached to this sensitive issue all these matters are handled during the counseling sessions.
Effective emotional management is the essential ingredient during the whole process which can be better achieved by seeking help from mental health professionals and infertility counselors. The counselors will create a culture of patient-centered care. Discussions and joint decision making can make the road to this treatment less draining.
The infertility counselor addresses the issues empathetically and with the right understanding resolves the sexual difficulties which arise between the couple. The first stage of counseling may be somewhat uncomfortable for some couples. The counselor will ask for permission to discuss the couple’s sexual life in order to educate them and give suggestions about the couple’s concerns, questions that ascend in the minds regarding the myths. The counselors will help the couple to develop a coping style that can positively influence the quality of the lives. If the couples are undergoing some complex issues which are difficult to resolve through counseling then they may be referred to a couple or sex therapist. The study of individual self-psychology will also be beneficial in order to dig deeper the root cause of internal conflicts during the IVF treatments
Cultural socialization patterns are really important to consider during the sessions and this is the duty of counselors. Many women from the individualist cultures are unwillingly ready to put aside their careers to start a family in order to confirm the gender and socio-cultural roles assigned to them. When in such situation infertility issues arise or they are going through IVF treatment then the internalized beliefs are really significant to cater as they provide a road map to the underlying issues rather than generalizing the cultural influences. Besides that, the counselor should also allow the individuals to express their views on culture and religion as in some cases this can create meaning in the infertility discussion experience. This multi-cultural approach will give a sincere understanding of the culturally based social issues which are triggers of stress.
The avoidant coping mechanism which most couples use causes more stress rather than minimizing it. Women are less likely to meet such women who have young children or attend any such type of social gathering. Man, on the other hand using the unhealthy coping mechanism of distancing themselves from the situation and shield their emotions to avoid getting hurt. The coping mechanism of the partners can have a huge impact on marital stress. The counseling will help to develop meaning-based coping strategies to deprecate the distress and depression.
Another common scenario that arises during the counseling is of the emotional trap in which the couple is stuck. In case if the women are undergoing the pain of infertility, the other partner uses the strategy of problem-solving indirectly avoiding the pain from which she is suffering. Sometimes these problem-solving strategies do not work. As a result of which emotional distance is created and frustration and bitterness arise. Sometimes fixing the problem does not solve the problem instead It complicates the process. The real solution is to let her experience the depth of her pain and validate her emotions rather than asking her to take action to overcome this scenario. In this way she will feel understood, supported and being acknowledged. Infertility counselors create this deeper understanding to develop meaningful connections between the couple rather than the traditional interactions in which interpersonal distances expand.
In a nutshell, mental health professionals can guide and educate the couple to alleviate stress and improve the scenario from which the couple is undergoing by developing self-administered screening tests and channelizing the negative emotions and feelings. They will help the couple to individually adapt the self-healing and self-improving methods not depending and putting the emotional burden on one partner and also maintaining the deeper connection between the couple to gracefully handle the challenging road of infertility and IVF treatment.