At the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley, we offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for women and couples dealing with Infertility Stress, Depression and Anxiety. Our approach is practical, goal-oriented, compassionate, and scientifically-based while focusing on your individual needs. We are located on the border of San Jose and Saratoga by Westgate Mall and serve the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino and Campbell.
What is Infertility Stress and Anxiety?
For women who have difficulty conceiving, life can feel like a roller coaster – frequent ups and downs and a confusing mix of emotions. Because infertility is a complex, often ongoing medical problem, you may find yourself vacillating between feelings of optimism, hopefulness, despair, disappointment, jealousy, and depression. Many women blame themselves for infertility and fall into patterns of chastising themselves for past for behaviors or for waiting too long to have children. If you are experiencing significant anxiety, worry or depression or are noticing new problems in your relationship due to infertility, then Cognitive Behavior Therapy may be able to help.
Symptoms of Infertility Stress and Anxiety
- Depressed or irritable mood for most of the day
- Anger outbursts or irritability
- Withdrawal from family and friends and other social interactions
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Feelings of shame, guilt and inadequacy
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Coping with stress with unhealthy behaviors such as excessive smoking, drinking or eating
- Spending an excessive time on the internet researching infertility and other concerns
Cognitive Behavioral Model of Infertility Stress and Anxiety
Unfortunately, stress and infertility often seem to go hand in hand, as infertility results in stress and that stress has a negative impact on fertility, creating a vicious cycle for women trying to conceive. From a CBT perspective, stress and anxiety are maintained by the fear of uncertainty and desire to avoid negative emotional experiences. You may not want to face your fears about infertility head on and thus use worry as a distraction tool. Unfortunately, the worry process itself creates anxiety on top of your original emotions and perpetuates the anxiety cycle. You may engage in excessive behaviors to reduce your worry such as searching the internet for information on fertility, excessive pregnancy tests, or restricting your diet and activities beyond what your doctor recommends. While these “safety behaviors” may relieve anxiety in the short-term, over time they perpetuate the anxiety cycle and can make your stress and anxiety more intense.
Cognitive Behavior Treatment of Infertility Stress and Anxiety
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps women struggling with infertility stress to respond more effectively to inherent stressors, as well as to modify negative and unrealistic thoughts and interpretations. CBT may not change your ability to conceive but can improve your relationships, help you see situations differently and open up to new ideas about motherhood and how to create a family.
CBT typically includes a combination of the following.
- Education: Learn about the cognitive, physical, and behavioral components of worry, and the difference between helpful and unhelpful worry.
- Self-Monitoring: Track the details of your worry episodes (triggers, thoughts, action responses, and frequency, intensity, duration of anxiety and worry) to identify your worry patterns and guide the treatment plan.
- Relaxation: Diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, yoga and other relaxation exercises can help relieve some of the physical symptoms that accompany infertility stress. Over time, regular practice of relaxation exercises can bring down your baseline state of anxiety so, when you do become physically aroused, it doesn’t feel as intense or out of control.
- Cognitive Strategies: Identify and change the thinking patterns that are maintaining your anxiety cycle, evaluate situations more realistically, solve day-to-day problems, tolerate uncertainty and decrease your use of worry to control negative outcomes.
- Behavioral Strategies: In a planned and gradual manner, start confronting your fears about infertility to learn to be less afraid of these situations and to fully experience your emotions. By exposing yourself to your fears without avoiding or escaping from them, you will, paradoxically, gain more control over them and it will decrease your anxiety over time.
How to Get Help for Infertility Stress and Anxiety
The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley is located at 1475 Saratoga Avenue on the border of San Jose and Saratoga by Westgate Mall. With our convenient location between highways 85 and 280, we serve the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Cupertino and Campbell, CA. Contact us at (408) 384-8404 for more information on how we can help you manage your Infertility Stress and Anxiety.
Serving the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Santa Clara, CA
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