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Digital Seminar

New Parents, Their Babies, and Scary Thoughts: Effective Interventions for Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety

Hilary Waller, MS, LPC
1 Hour 57 Minutes
Mar 18, 2023
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


I imagined throwing my baby across the room. I think my baby will die. What if I push my baby under the bath water? If a postpartum client disclosed these thoughts to you, how would you respond? The perinatal period is often rife with unsettling distress and disturbing thoughts that are never shared with providers. While research shows that these thoughts are common and non-threatening, many therapists understandably find these symptoms alarming. In this session, you'll learn to assess the nature of scary thoughts, create strategies for intervention, and initiate conversations with new parents that pave the way for critical postpartum care. You’ll also explore how to:

  • Normalize perinatal distress and use psychoeducation to provide immediate relief for perinatal clients
  • Differentiate between “normal” anxious thoughts in the perinatal period and symptoms of a mood disorder, including perinatal OCD or perinatal psychosis
  • Apply strategies for treating anxiety in the perinatal period and reducing panic when caring for an infant alone


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This program is worth 2.0 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Hilary Waller, MS, LPC's Profile

Hilary Waller, MS, LPC Related seminars and products

The Postpartum Stress Center

Hilary Waller, MS, LPC, is a psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. She is the director of education and programming at The Postpartum Stress Center outside of Philadelphia, which was founded by renowned perinatal expert Karen Kleiman and was listed in Philly Magazine as a "Center of Excellence" for Maternal/Fetal Care in 2008. In addition to providing direct care services to individuals, couples and groups at the center, Hilary serves as an instructor with Karen Kleiman, providing a quarterly 12 CE hour postgraduate advanced training for clinicians across the US and abroad who want to specialize in treating the perinatal population. She conducts workshops and trainings for maternal mental healthcare providers as well as non-clinical staff working with the perinatal population. Hilary completed her master's degree in counseling psychology from Holy Family University in 2013. She is deeply honored to support new patients.

Hilary's forthcoming clinical workbook on the treatment of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD), co-authored by perinatal experts Karen Kleiman and Dr. Tonya Cotler, will be published in the fall of 2022 (PESI Publishing).

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Hilary Waller has an independently contracted relationship with The Postpartum Stress Center and is a consultant for FamilyWell, Inc. She receives royalties as a published author. Hilary Waller receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Hilary Waller is a member of the American Counseling Association.


  1. Differentiate between “normal” anxious thoughts in the perinatal period and symptoms of a mood disorder, including perinatal OCD or perinatal psychosis.
  2. Utilize psychoeducational approaches to alleviate distress that exacerbates the emotional impact of unwanted, negative, intrusive thoughts.
  3. Develop treatment goals for anxiety presenting in the perinatal period that consider the nuances of early parenthood (such as helping parents reduce symptoms of panic when they are caring for an infant alone).


  • The difference between “normal” anxious thoughts in the perinatal period and symptoms of a mood disorder, including perinatal OCD or perinatal psychosis
  • Differentiating ego dystonic and ego syntonic intrusive thoughts for differential diagnosis
  • The psychoeducational approaches you can use in the first session to alleviate distress
  • Developing treatment goals for anxiety presenting in the perinatal period
  • Modifying interventions for anxiety to account for individual differences
  • Modifying treatment for non-gestational partners experiencing anxiety in the perinatal period
  • Limitations of research and potential risks

Target Audience

  • Counsellors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Physicians
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioners 
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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