An Inside Look at the Mind/Body Workshop
Mind/Body workshop was a valuable experience on many levels. We began the day with a tasty breakfast and coffee while we introduced ourselves and spoke briefly about our own experiences trying to conceive. PFC instructors Peggy and Allison presented the research on the stress/infertility connection, and spoke about the isolating nature of infertility. Because the topic of infertility is not openly discussed in social situations, the person or couple going through treatment often lacks social support. Next, we were introduced to relaxation techniques, which Allison and Peggy call “Minis” because they are short and easy to incorporate into daily life. We lay on yoga mats in a darkened room and slowly counted our breaths, letting go of the tension in our arms and legs. We were led through some basic tai chi moves, and then ended with a guided relaxation that put me immediately to sleep. After a delicious lunch the discussion moved to the cognitive distortions that frequently emerge during stressful periods and cause people to magnify their problems. Peggy and Allison led us through some cognitive restructuring steps, which can help identify a true thought versus a magnified and distorted fear. Questioning negative thought patterns is a difficult but extremely helpful way to take some of the blame off of myself and ease the level of stress I was feeling. Hearing that others had the exact same thought patterns as I did was also extremely reassuring and made me feel as though I was not alone in my challenging journey. The next part of the day was my favorite. We learned a variety of yoga postures that can easily be done in a desk chair or in front of a computer. My co-workers may think I look funny, but I have been contorting myself at my desk ever since, and found that it truly does relieve the physical stress of staring at a computer all day, and provides me with a nice mental break before I start a new task. After another guided relaxation session, which again left me in a deep sleep, we convened as a group to review the day. Peggy asked us to think about what brings us joy, and how we incorporate those things into our lives. As I looked around the room, most people were smiling as they wrote down the things that bring them joy – everything from pets, partners and family to bubble baths, traveling, and good food. As we finished the day with questions, answers and good-byes I left feeling refreshed from my mini-naps and excited to have some tangible skills to utilize whenever I find myself too stressed to relax. From our very first discussions over breakfast to our final activity, I felt the isolation of my own stressed out perspective melting away. I'm grateful that I attended the Mind/Body workshop, both for the feeling of community and the concrete relaxation skills I came away with. The Mind/Body Workshop was an invaluable experience. I came away feeling like I had: - Gained tangible relaxation and yoga skills that I can use in my daily life.
- Decreased feelings of isolation and anxiety.
- Finished the day feeling calm, centered and ready for my journey to parenthood!
Erika Linden Infertility can cause extreme feelings of stress and isolation. From diagnosis to treatment, the stress of infertility can affect every area of life including marriage, job, and family relationships. Pacific Fertility Center's Mind/Body Workshop is designed to address the emotional and physical strain caused by infertility treatment and the far-reaching effects it has on one's life. These workshops are run by Pacific Fertility Center's Peggy Orlin, MFT and Allison Chamberlain, RN, who were both trained by Alice Domar, PhD, a Harvard Medical School expert and pioneer in the subject of the mind/body connection to fertility. The next Mind/Body Workshop will be held on September 8th. Please call 888-834-3095 for class information, fees and your registration form. This one-day workshop is a loving and supportive environment in which you can gain self-awareness and practice techniques that will give you strength as you travel on your journey. - Allison Chamberlaine, Mind/Body Instructor and Clinical Coordinator The workshop provides people with a safe space to learn relaxation techniques and to connect with others that know how difficult the infertility experience can be. - Peggy Orlin, Mind/Body Instructor and Marriage and Family Therapist