Mental Balance and
Strength - a Success Factor
In a study conducted by the University of Heidelberg, half of the physicians surveyed consider that psychological support is required in couples with an unfulfilled wish for children. While sharing this view, we would like to draw particular attention to the differing needs of the couples concerned. Everyone is looking for or needs something different. Therefore, we recommend the following three experts who have special knowledge and experience in mental coaching, psychological counseling or couple therapy, respectively.
1. Psychological Counseling
Emotional assistance by Mag. Karl-Heinz Brandt may be based either on individual or couple counseling and includes the learning of psychological tools such as, for instance, relaxation techniques and self-hypnosis.
Learn how we can help you
- with tips for coping with stress, e.g. during the treatment and in the period following embryo transfer
- by supporting and accompanying you during the "sensitive phases" of your treatment
- with advice about how to balance your sex life with the IVF process
- by discussing fundamental considerations such as moral concerns, limitations of medical treatment or if there is disagreement over some points of principle between you and your partner
- by providing assistance and guidelines, should the desire to have children finally remain unfulfilled
Already from an early age onwards, we as humans have ample experience with hopes and wishes. We also know what it feels like when we realize that a wish may never come true. The Christmas or birthday present we had longed for when we were children - and which we did not get: Many bitter tears were shed! So much the worse if a person we have been longing for fails to "appear". For instance, imagine a child hoping to finally see his dad or mum again – but whose wish is turned down. Children might lose confidence in the reliability of close friends/relatives, not only for some time but perhaps for their entire lifetime. As grown-ups, we know just how painful it can be to feel rejected by a person who is important to us. This could, for instance, be the case when we are looking forward to talking to this person, sharing our joy, anger, enthusiasm or grief with them – but are then turned down by them. These examples clearly show how much effort and energy we put in our wishes. Am I still the master of my desire or am I obsessed with my wish, thus making a fool of myself? Unlike other living creatures, where offspring and survival of the species are genetically determined, we human beings are free to choose whether or not to have children. Once a couple has decided to start a family, they will put their heart and soul into realizing their dream, especially when they experience difficulties in conceiving. A series of scientific studies and personal reports published in book form have focused on the effect such an unfulfilled wish may have on a couple. By now there are numerous reports dealing with the matter from a psychological point of view. In this respect, reference is often made to concepts such as "severe emotional stress" or "roller coaster of emotions". The onset of menstrual bleeding after a failed IVF attempt and the waiting time following embryo transfer are perceived as particularly burdensome by many patients. But also the IVF treatment itself and how it can be integrated in daily life in order not to interfere with their jobs challenges the couple to a greater or lesser extent. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that according to a study carried out by the University of Heidelberg, 50% of the physicians in the survey considered it necessary for infertile couples to get psychological counseling. But why is it that only one third of the interviewed couples do wish to receive psychological support? The main reasons for this are:
- fear of being unfairly labelled as mentally ill and
- fear that psychological counseling could give raise to additional emotional distress
Moreover, some people believe that psychological assistance comes with high costs. It is therefore essential that psychologists provide more information about their services and the costs associated with them. Like this, many couples would feel encouraged to deal with their desire under professional guidance, while being conscious of their emotional abilities and strengths. Hardly anyone knows that exercises from hypnotherapy may open up new access to the power and energy contained in one's desire for children. This approach enables the couples to deal with their desire in a more relaxed and calmer frame of mind - instead of getting dragged down. Many people do not know that psychological counseling typically comprises no more than 3 – 5 hours. It had been known for some time that some relaxation techniques may significantly contribute towards alleviating stress in infertile couples. This holds especially true for the female partner, as was confirmed again by recent studies. The use of exercises from hypnotherapy has even led to increased pregnancy rates! Against this background, one thing is for sure: By seeking psychological assistance in dealing with their desire to have children, couples can contribute significantly towards the realization of their goal.
During psychological counseling of infertile couples a variety of different issues can be addressed. Based on many years of experience and close cooperation with the IVF Centers Prof. Zech, we have developed the idea of "brief consulting". This approach is derived from hypnotherapy and is especially suitable for cases where the woman/couple wish to receive psychological support, but lack of time and opportunity make lengthy consultations impossible. When meeting couples here at the Bregenz-based IVF Center after the woman has undergone egg retrieval or embryo transfer, this "condensed" form of psychological consultation is highly appreciated by many couples, with a view to supporting their medical treatment. This also offers them the opportunity to learn more about the psychological services available in connection with fertility treatment.
Should you wish to take advantage of the expert advice by Mag. Brandt, either before or after the individual treatment steps at our IVF center in Bregenz, please turn to one of our Medical Service staff members or call our Infocenter to inform us about your wishes. The services rendered shall be invoiced separately from the contributions incurred in the context of medical treatment.
2. Mental Coaching
You've dared to take the next step on your path to the desired child - or you are still considering taking this next step and seek help from a specialist in the field of reproductive medicine. You can rely on our skilled team of specialists, and you are always in the very best hands at the IVF Centers Prof. Zech. We are committed to do our utmost to assist and support you both in medical and human terms. It is therefore of particular importance to our team that you feel comfortable at all times and that you receive as much individual attention as possible. Mental coaching is a supplementary opportunity to accompany and support your medical treatment in a manner that is tailored to your personal needs and circumstances.
This coaching consists of 3-4 sessions (a total of 5 hours) during which you receive emotional, personal and individual assistance. The therapy sessions take place at the premises of Ms Caroline Festini in Bregenz, either before or during the course of the medical treatment. The program that is adapted to the length of your stay in Bregenz (3 sessions of altogether 5 hours) may cover a wide range of matters that concern the involuntary childlessness and the negative impact it may have on your well-being and quality of life. In particular, the "mental package" covers the following areas which are, among others, highly suitable for achieving success when it comes to stress management and promoting relaxation:
- dealing with stress and tension, expectations and fears
- playing an active role in the promotion of your mental well-being
- exerting a positive influence on your perception and assessment of situations and experiences
- making full use of your resources
- reflecting on your personal goals and wishes
- definition of "success" and "happiness" – free yourself from the never-ending pressure
- relaxation and enjoyment during this intense and very special period of your life
It is, of course, also possible to undergo a longer-term coaching process in Bregenz. Caroline Festini would gladly guide you on your way towards embracing reality as it is - be it to prepare the IVF treatment, to accompany you during the therapy cycle or as follow-up assistance. You are welcome to directly contact Caroline Festini to learn more about mental coaching concepts. Please get in touch with us in due time to arrange the mental coaching for your desired dates in order to accompany and support your treatment. The aforementioned services shall be invoiced separately from the medical treatments.
3. Fertifit Training Program
Strengthen your couple relationship and master this challenging situation together! The training program Fertifit is suitable for all couples dealing with issues relating to infertility and IVF treatment. The causes for involuntary childlessness are irrelevant in this regard (hormonal disorders, recurrent miscarriage etc.). Nor is it of importance whether the couple takes advantage of any other treatments (IVF, inseminations etc.). The training program Fertifit is comprised of individual modules of which the effectiveness has been proven by scientific studies. The training program requires 5 to a maximum of 8 therapy sessions and is offered by the "Klaus-Grawe-Institute for Psychological Therapy" in Zurich.
The Fertifit Training Program strengthens your couple relationship and helps you
- to listen mutually and to speak together,
- share your feelings and thoughts,
- be more relaxed and stress resistant,
- shape your life in a creative and meaningful way,
- better understand the current situation and find explanations for your own behavior,
- master personal challenges or crises in a better way
The training program Fertifit was developed within the framework of a research project (in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Nina Heinrichs, Braunschweig University of Technology) and consists solely of modules of which the effectiveness has been studied and verified scientifically. Evidence-based training programs have proven to be effective and are thus very promising.
Sequence of the training
It is important that the training program meets your needs as a couple! Following a thorough analysis, we will draw up a program that is specifically tailored to your situation:
- careful clarification: 2 modules, 1 session (about 2.5h)
- strengthening your couple relationship (incl. communications training): 5 modules, 2-3 sessions (à 2h‘)
- 5 training modules (stress management & serenity, supporting thoughts, coping with emotions, quality of life, understanding of one's own patterns): 5 modules, 2-3 sessions, in line with needs
- Prophylaxis & Integration: 2 modules, 1 session
The training program Fertifit consists of 8-13 modules, depending on the couple's needs. The modules may be completed in 5-7 sessions. The training can also be offered in the evening or on Saturdays. Having established contact, appointments can be arranged on an individual basis. The aforementioned services shall be invoiced separately from the medical treatments.
Mag. Karl-Heinz Brandt
Lic.phil. Misa Yamanaka
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