A counselling model for postpartum women after distressing birth experiences
Objective to describe the development and application of a brief counselling intervention for women who have experienced a traumatic birth. Intervention the birthing trauma counselling model reflecting women's need to establish a therapeutic connection with a midwife, talk about their birth experience and have their feelings validated. Gaps in understanding of events need explanation and explicit connections made between the event and subsequent emotions and behaviours. Developing a rational understanding of birthing events and how labour may have been managed differently assists women to revise their assumptions about maternity care and gain a sense of control. Fostering social support, reinforcing positive approaches to coping and exploring solutions to restoring self-confidence and reducing anxiety may help re-establish psychological equilibrium. Discussion and conclusion the counselling intervention is consistent with trauma theory and draws on cognitive behavioural therapy principles. Midwives are well placed to provide counselling support to women experiencing birth-related distress. Further testing of the intervention in the clinical setting with a large sample is required.