Donia Scicluna B Sc. (Psych)
Dip. Gestalt Therapy (GPTIM)
Member of BICA
Below I explore the role that Gestalt therapy can play in helping couples who are experiencing the challenges of childlessness and sub infertility, in their journey towards parenthood or towards accepting childlessness.
In my work, I often face the issue that I never start the journey of infertility with the couple from the beginning. The infertility journey usually starts with the couples consulting a gynaecologist regarding medical treatments. Many couples jump to the conclusion that if they follow the medical regime to the letter they will be successful.
Unfortunately this means that they start their journey of infertility or sub-infertility treatment unsupported since in Malta doctors don’t normally recommend counselling, and there isn’t the service of infertility nurses. This means that unless couples take the initiative themselves they will not be supported from the start of their infertility or sub-infertility treatments, as they should be.
When this happens, by the time they come for therapy they are in a state of panic and crisis. They would have been going from one treatment to another for a couple of years without success. At this stage they would have either been unable to get pregnant or lost their child along the way, and because of the loss they would have built their own boundaries from the rest of the world around them, since they feel that no one understands them. They need their loss to be acknowledged, since for them every unsuccessful treatment is equivalent to a miscarriage.
If you have passed through the experience above, you might be unable to accept the fact that people think that because there was no tangible loss, you should not feel sad. This happened to me and therefore I fully empathize with you. The word ‘Support’ has a very important meaning to us who passed from this experience.
At the start of our therapy session, I will explain and give you the necessary knowledge about the side-effects of the treatments, such as mood-swings. I will help you, the husband; to participate more fully since most of the time you may have felt that it is your wife’s issue. It is important for both of you to acknowledge that you, the wife have developed a new identity due to the medication, and that this situation may be causing turmoil in your relationship.
Once you understand that this is the effect of the treatment, and once you accept hormonal treatment as the third party in your relationship, you will be able to relate to each other while undergoing treatment. You may also opt for individual therapy to deal with gender related infertility issues. This will help each of you understand how you are experiencing infertility issues differently.
Through Gestalt therapy you will be able to come in touch again with your-day-to-day life, since the struggle of getting pregnant may have filled your thinking, and left no space for the present except for when medical treatment is concerned.
I will walk the journey with you and give you my support till the end, whatever choices you make. Other couples have walked this path with me. You will find their experiences under testimonials.