Clare Healy- Specialist Fertility Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Clare has many years’ experience working with couples and individuals facing fertility difficulties. Clare is a member of the Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), the Irish Fertility Counselling Association (IFCA) and the British Infertility Counselling Association (BICA) where she attends the latest fertility counselling CPD training to support her role as the resident Fertility Counsellor within SIMS IVF & in private practice.
Clare’s approach to therapy is integrative, combining techniques such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Person Centred Therapy. She uses these approaches within the counselling sessions, to help support patients through their IVF and assisted conception experience. Clare meets with all Donor Gamete (egg & sperm) recipients for Implications Counselling. Such counselling is specific to donor use and is about trying to help patients focus on and explore a variety of issues which may directly or indirectly impact on them and their family.
Supporting your optimum emotional & relational well-being throughout fertility treatment.
Sims IVF Fertility Counselling is accessible to couples and individuals who may find the process of fertility treatment challenging. Sessions are optional and can support the individual and couple to gain insight into fertility issues they may be facing.
Prior to attending the clinic or when undergoing the treatment process, individuals and couples have generally gone through a range of thoughts and feelings relating to their experience. This may be in response to their own beliefs or those of others e.g. family and friends. Sims IVF Fertility Counselling provides an Integrative CBT Counselling approach to support the individual in recognising and changing any unhelpful thoughts or beliefs, thereby supporting their emotional and relational experience during fertility treatment. Couples can attend separately or together.
Fertility Counselling aims to enhance couples and individuals’ experience of fertility treatment and support the person in resolving any difficulties that may hinder this.
Unhelpful issues could include:
- Anxiety relating to the treatment
- Anxious thoughts and feelings relating to decision making
- Social isolation relating to disclosure
- Guilt, anger or envy relating to their situation
- Low mood
- Relationship issues
Sims IVF Counselling Provision
Individuals may benefit from different types of counselling at different stages of fertility treatment. The four types of counselling Sims IVF Clinic now offers are listed below.
- Support Counselling (1-3 Sessions)
Support Counselling can offer general support on a short-term counselling basis before, during or after the treatment process. During difficult times, patients may find it beneficial to take time and space to identify and change unhelpful thinking patterns e.g. from “it will never happen for me” to “I am doing all I can to support myself to conceive”, explore and express feelings, and establish coping strategies. Counselling is provided in a confidential and impartial setting within the clinic.
Self-referral – Sims IVF patients book directly with reception
Medical staff referrals – Support Counselling may be recommended
- Therapeutic Counselling
We offer longer term therapeutic counselling on a six session brief-therapy basis to individuals and couples. Therapeutic counselling integrates Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Integrative Counselling to support the patient in overcoming symptoms relating to low mood, stress or anxiety. Therapeutic Counselling can also support the couple in working through areas relating to intimacy or communication within the relationship. Counselling is provided in a confidential setting, providing an atmosphere where it may be easier to talk about such intimate matters. It also supports the individual in establishing self-supporting and accepting beliefs and solution-focused problem solving skills, if required.
Booking procedure: Sims IVF Patients book directly with reception.
- Implications Counselling
Every recipient of sperm or egg donation is required to see the counsellor for Implications Counselling, for a minimum of one session. There can be emotional, relational, financial and social implications relating to becoming a donor recipient and counselling can help to explore these to facilitate the patients in making more confident decisions about their treatment options. Implications Counselling focuses on exploring the thoughts and feelings that may arise specific to sperm or egg donation. Further sessions may be recommended to benefit the patient experience of the donation process.
Booking procedure: Patients on a Sims IVF Donor Programme book their Implications Counselling appointment (1 x session included), directly through reception.
- Assessment Counselling
Where a Sims IVF doctor has concerns about a patient’s emotional or psychological wellbeing, if appropriate, patients will be referred for assessment counselling. This is to assess the patient’s readiness for treatment and awareness of implications of the treatment. There may be some recommendations following this assessment. Patients are not charged for this assessment.
Booking procedure: Doctor referral. Patients book directly through reception.