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Archive for the ‘infertility support group’ tag

Long Island IVF’s Complete Mind Body Program

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

December 27th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

 

image courtesy of david Castillo dominici/freedigital photos.net


Since many may still be reeling from the emotions and stress of the holidays, it’s a good time to remind you of Long Island IVF’s many supportive counselors on staff, and to call your attention to the Mind Body Program and its benefits.

Bina Benisch is a Registered Professional Nurse and a psychotherapist with an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. She did her Mind Body Medicine training at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Bina is the support group coordinator, patient advocate, and stress management psychotherapist for Long Island IVF, working with both female and male patients. Her groups are wildly popular, and she always has room for more.

Bina explains the Long Island IVF Mind Body Program and its benefits for those couples trying to conceive:

 

Life changes.  You’ve had your intentions, your hopes, and your dreams of where life would take you.  What you may not have envisioned is suddenly being a member of the population that struggles with infertility.  Being diagnosed with infertility – for any reason – “unexplained,” male factor, or female factor, can feel like a lonely, isolating experience for many reasons.  The fact is that most women never expected to be in this position, and this is often one of the most stressful times in a woman’s life.  Feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and anger can be overwhelming during infertility.  Often, anger masks the feelings of loss experienced month after month of trying to conceive without success. Infertility impacts on one’s marriage, self-esteem, sexual relationship, family, friends, job, and financial security. 

Our Mind Body Program provides a space where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support.  I have been told by women who have participated in the Mind Body Support Group that they experience a huge relief by connecting with other women who really “get it,” who understand these unique feelings. During the sessions, I take part of the time to teach Mind Body methods to elicit the relaxation response (emotional and physiological relaxation).  In this way, you can learn to practice these methods on your own on a daily basis

 

 

In our Mind Body support group, patients experience the opportunity to share information, feelings, or their own personal stories. You may be surprised to see how your support can help others or you may be relieved to hear others experiencing the same type of thoughts and feelings as you experience. Often, the supportive nature of this group, and the connection that develops between members, fosters a healing process.
Feelings of isolation, anger, and stress are slowly relieved. Our Mind Body program focuses on symptom reduction and developing a sense of control over one’s life by utilizing Mind Body strategies and interventions which elicit the relaxation response. The relaxation response is actually a physical state that counteracts the stress response. You can think of it as the physiological opposite of the body’s stress response. We cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time.

Therefore when a person elicits the relaxation response, the body’s stress response is halted, stress hormones diminish.  It is important to understand fertility holistically. Your mind and body work together, not separately. Therefore your thoughts have a direct effect on your physiology. When you are experiencing stress, your brain releases stress hormones. These stress hormones function in many ways. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, has been documented to interfere with the release of the reproductive hormones, GnRH (gonadatropin releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, severe enough stress can completely inhibit the reproductive system. Cortisol levels have also been linked to very early pregnancy loss. For this reason, it has been found extremely helpful when treating infertility, to include mind body strategies which help to alleviate the stress responses which may inhibit fertility.

All mind body methods ultimately cause the breathing to become deeper and slower. This causes stress responses such as heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood pressure to decrease. The way in which you are taught to elicit the relaxation response is through methods such as: breath focus, guided visual imagery, muscle relaxation and learned mindfulness, and meditation. Awareness of the mind body connection allows us to use our minds to make changes in our physiology. This holistic treatment – combining bio-medical science with mind body medicine deals with the treatment of the whole individual rather than looking only at the physical aspect.  The fact is, body and mind work together.

Let’s not forget the men. Men often feel uncertain about the ‘right’ way to support their partners, and don’t realize how they themselves are affected. We now offer our “Just For Guys Group.” In sharing how infertility affects the men, their relationships, and each man’s deepest sense of self, these men gain insight, and experience support during what can be an isolating and difficult time.

We invite and encourage you to take advantage of this unique area of support provided by The Mind Body Program at Long Island IVF.

photos credit: David Castillo Dominici

 

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Infertility and Twisted Thoughts

By Tracey Minella

June 7th, 2013 at 9:52 pm

 

image courtesy of freedigital photos.net

Do you ever wonder if other infertile women think the way you do? I’m talking about those really crazy, twisted thoughts we sometimes feel. The ones we don’t speak out loud.

You know the ones.

The thoughts that would prompt a knowing nod (or howls of laughter) from other infertiles…and condemnation from the rest of society. 

On your lowest days, could you relate to any of these scenarios (tongue-in-cheek, of course!):

·         Tell me you haven’t imagined peeling the stick figure families off those minivans? Would you spare the pets or just leave the couple standing alone?

·         Do you always call out to the mother when you see a kid’s “binky” go missing in a public place? Or do you sometimes let the inattentive mom learn a lesson?

·         Ever bought a sort of ugly baby outfit…or a Diaper genie… for a baby or shower gift because the thought of 235+ dirty diapers crammed into the nursery corner would bring you a shred of comfort during an unbearably painful event?

·         Have you ever been in such a bad mood that, instead of mustering a smile, you actually kind of “stared down” a baby when its mom wasn’t looking…and it cried? And you didn’t feel guilty?

·         Ever want to (or actually) “unfriend” someone on Facebook for posting too many pregnancy updates, maternity photos, or baby pictures?

If you related to any of the above scenarios…or have your own list…it doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. Occasional jealous or angry thoughts are common when you’re infertile.

But if the ache of empty arms or the depression and frustration of infertility is significantly interfering with your ability to get through your daily responsibilities, you may need a little help coping. Consider an infertility support group led by peers or professionals.

Anyone interested in Long Island IVF’s professionally-run support groups and counseling sessions should contact Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N. at binabenisch@gmail.com. Bina counsels both women and men in separate support groups as they navigate their infertility journeys. All are welcome to join, even if you are not yet a Long Island IVF patient. You can read more about Long Island IVF’s Mind-Body Program and counseling services here. http://bit.ly/16Kn5go

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Did you ever think any of the above thoughts? Or do you have others to share? Have you tried Bina’s support groups, and if so, what did you think?

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles and http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Younger_Women_g57-Young_Girl_Thinking_p54803.html

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