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Digital Seminar

The Critical Art of Responding to Postpartum Disorders: Tools for Holding Perinatal Distress

Hilary Waller, MS, LPC
1 Hour 57 Minutes
Jan 20, 2022
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Digital Seminar
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Despite an increase in awareness of maternal mental health, postpartum disorders continue to afflict our clients, many of whom still feel silenced and misunderstood by healthcare providers and perhaps even their closest friends and family members. But with the right kind of presence and precision, therapists responding to the urgent nature of a postpartum crisis are often able to reach these clients and undo the shame and internalized stigma that often exists for suffering mothers. In this session, we’ll explore perinatal expert Karen Kleinman’s mindful, “holding” approach to symptoms, and discover how to:

  • Develop a more nuanced understanding of the perinatal population
  • Differentiate between “normal” perinatal adjustment and symptoms of a mood disorder
  • Use strategies proven to cement treatment participation during crucial months
  • Enhance all-important communication with perinatal clients



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 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.


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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 various PMAD (perinatal mood or anxiety disorder).
  2. Assess the threshold where perinatal emotions and symptoms exceed normal and fit diagnostic criteria.
  3. Devise an application of standard interventions and screening tools to incorporate Karen Kleiman’s The Art of Holding Perinatal Women in Distress™ paradigm.
  4. Demonstrate a communication style that meets the unique needs of perinatal clients in order to improve client engagement and retention.
  5. Determine the reasons for client resistance and ways to use Holding interventions to address and overcome resistance to treatment.


  • Various forms of PMAD (perinatal mood or anxiety disorder)
  • Signs and symptoms of each PMAD (Perinatal Adjustment Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, OCD, Panic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Psychosis)
  • Commonly overlapping symptoms and differential diagnosis
  • Assessing perinatal disorders and common assessment tools
  • Questions and clinical interview strategies to increase clinician understanding of symptoms
  • Applying standard interventions and screening tools to incorporate Karen Kleiman’s The Art of Holding Perinatal Women in Distress™ paradigm
  • Commmunication styles for working with perinatal clients
  • Discussion about nuances of perinatal presentation
  • Resistance to disclosure of perinatal symptoms
  • Examples of how to use Holding points to augment therapeutic alliance
  • Logistical and emotional factors that commonly contribute to resistance in the perinatal period

Target Audience

  • Psychologists
  • Physicians
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Behavioral Health Professionals

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