Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, such as postpartum depression, are one of the most common complications of pregnancy and childbirth. As many as 20% of women will experience one. Miscarriage is equally common, ending as many as a quarter of pregnancies. These experiences have significant emotional impact for women and families in the childbearing years. If you are a mental health professional, it's very likely you'll treat clients who face one or more of these mental health challenges and will need specialized treatment to cope and move forward.

Seleni is one of only a few organizations in the United States offering specialized training in treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), and it's the only training that includes in-depth instruction on treating perinatal loss. “Mental health professionals are not receiving this information in their graduate programs,” says Seleni senior psychologist Christiane Manzella, PhD.

That is why we created our Maternal Mental Health intensive. These online and in-person trainings offer providers an opportunity to get a complete picture of mental health in the family building years and to learn evidence-based best practices to support their clients through these common—but uniquely challenging—times. “These trainings broaden clinicians understanding and scope of practice,” says Manzella.

Seleni’s evidence-based, in-depth curriculum utilizes the most current theoretical and research findings in lectures, case studies, and role-play techniques. We cover the critical steps to treating these common conditions and pay special attention to factors that may influence how patients experience PMADs, grief and loss. These include considerations for ART/Third Party Reproduction, minority and low-income patients, LGBTQ+ patients, fathers, immigrants, and young parents.

One of the hallmarks of Seleni’s training is attention to the personal experiences of clinicians and how that can inform their practice. We include activities to help clinicians become more aware of their personal thoughts, feelings, and attitudes, which can make treatment more effective, bolster confidence, and prevent burnout. Participants often share their gratitude for that approach, says Manzella. “They are grateful for the information, but they are also appreciative that as trainers we are open, personable and vulnerable.”

Manzella is honored to have the opportunity to help clinicians deepen their skills and broaden their practice. "Leading the training is deeply rewarding personally and professionally. I'm given the opportunity to make a real difference by guiding and supporting clinicians as they learn effective ways to help their clients and provide treatment that can reduce suffering and enhance well-being for women, men, and families."

Manzella notes that one important take away is that people leave the training “much more prepared to dive into the world of caring for new parents.” Among the skills participants gain is the ability to “work with normative perinatal distress as well as to discern when a problem is developing and how to compassionately address that,” says Manzella.

That was the experience of Venus Mahmoodi, PhD, who now works at Seleni. “Something that I was able to learn at Seleni was working with patients from the perspective of attachment,” says Mahmoodi. “That is something I didn’t get from any of my training anywhere else.” In one of her early supervision sessions with Manzella, Mahmoodi says that she was feeling overwhelmed by meeting with a patient who had experienced a significant perinatal loss. “It was remarkable to see how much she could help me understand how the loss affected the patient and how the loss affected me,” says Mahmoodi. “Very few places have that level of understanding and clinical skill, and it was eye-opening for me.

Learn more about our Online Maternal Mental Health Intensive Trainings covering Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders and Perinatal Loss & Grief, and how you can be a part of fully supporting the emotional health of women, families and generations to come.