Kelly Akehurst, Mental Health Counselor, is a mom of two and a survivor of postpartum anxiety and depression. Her passion for working with moms came after she had her two children and realized how important support in a variety of ways is for moms. She is enthusiastic about staying up to date on parenting tips and ways to help parents during difficult transition.
We are fortunate to have Kelly share some crucial information about when Mom’s could use some extra help!
Kelly received my master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut. She also has specialized post graduate training in maternal health through Postpartum Support International.
Can you please describe how a maternal health psychotherapist differs from a psychotherapist and what are the advantages of speaking to a maternal health psychotherapist?
A maternal health psychotherapist is a specialty in the mental health field that focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of mothers.
The transition to motherhood is exciting and often a more difficult adjustment than expected. What are 5 of the most common reasons patients seek your assistance?
- New moms needing additional support and guidance during this new phase of life
- Parenting tips and strategies for children of all ages
- Anxiety and depressive symptoms during pregnancy & the postpartum period
- Moms in life transitions including starting a new job, going back to work after maternity and those who have moved and are new to the area
- Relationship issues
You mentioned that all moms need support from time to time. What are the different phases of motherhood that you can help a patient work through?
- Preconception & planning for children
- Processing difficult births and working through birth trauma
- Postpartum struggles
- Stress and anxiety related to parenting toddlers
- Relationship dynamics
- Life transitions during motherhood
- Work-life balance
How do you work with clients to help them address their concerns?
Our work together focuses on both the serious issues related to the struggles of motherhood as well as the funny parts of motherhood. I take an individualized and holistic approach to working on the issues that moms need additional support with. I offer parenting tips and coping skills to deal with the daily stress of being a mom.
I believe in normalizing a lot of the daily struggles of parenting. As parents, we all get stressed and frustrated. During our work together, we often find ourselves talking about skills that help cope with stress. We also find ourselves laughing about things like the two hours it takes to get ready to leave the house with a baby and by the time you are ready you have to change a diaper, the toddler meltdowns that happen in public and the regular struggles around morning and nighttime routines.
We also tend to focus a lot on expectations and ways to cope with expectations in parenthood, relationship and work. I truly believe it takes a village to raise children and that all moms need support. I often give additional resources for mothers.
I love to incorporate values-based work, cognitive behavioral approaches, interpersonal frameworks, and positive psychology into my work. I help provide skills to increase awareness of problematic patterns that lead to feeling ‘stuck’ and negatively impact daily life including relationships, career, identity, health, self-esteem and work life balance.
Do you have any advice for Moms on some simple day to day strategies to help them feel positive around their parenting?
Take time for yourself every day! You can’t pour from an empty cup. We all need to recharge and connecting with ourselves and doing something we enjoy every day that fills up our cup helps ourselves as well as our family members. I recommend making a list of activities that you enjoy doing in different lengths of time (ie 10 minute mediation, having a cup of tea, listening to your favorite song, getting your nails done, going on a walk, going to the gym, watching a movie or doing your favorite hobby).