Dr. Karyne Messina





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Psychotherapy | Testing | Psychoanalysis | The College Edge | Career Counseling | Coaching | Couples and Family Counseling | Mother/Baby Interventions | Custody Evaluations

Many feelings accompany becoming a mother or father for the first time or when a new child is brought into the family. People often idealize this time in a parent's life and think it is a wondrous time filled with magical moments. While this is frequently the case, some new primary caretakers, are overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, depressed or overly anxious about the new arrival.

During such periods, a mother or father, whether part of a couple or a single parent can loss focus on th new baby. At other times, due to the temperament of a particular infant, a mother or father may not be attuned to the baby's needs.

When a new parent is depressed, whether it is from post-partum blues or for other reasons, one might not be able to focus on the needs of the child. In other cases, when there are sleeping issues or nursing and other feeding problems that arise with a new baby, parents can feel panicky or responsible which can be accompanied by feelings of guilt. These situations can cause a person to experience a sense of total isolation. The feelings, which are totally understandable, can exacerbate the problem because infants can intuit the stress of a parent. Without talking with a professional who can help alleviate or reduce these feelings or symptoms, longer-term issues can develop for mothers, fathers and the baby who has just entered a world of the unknown wherein e or she needs an emotionally available adult to help him or her understand and navigate through a myriad of new people, places and things that are initially totally foreign to a new born.

In some situations, it only takes a short period of time for a new parent to get their baring’s and feel on course once again. At other times, it may take a bit longer to feel strong and secure enough with a new baby.

Dr. Messina can help. In addition to her expertise in psychology, human development and experience working with children of all ages, she is a founding faculty member of the Washington School of Psychiatry's Observational Studies Program (formerly known as the Infant Observation Program). In this role she has taught many students infant observation and has helped mothers and fathers develop a better sense of understanding of infants and young children. She will be happy to help you through these wonderful yet also challenging experiences.

She also has worked with a parent or parents who have additional issues with which to deal when a new baby is adopted. Same-sex couples sometimes have other issues they face when a new child enters their lives. Dr. Messina also has effectively assisted new parents who face dilemmas that arise in these triadic situations as well.