A counselling model for postpartum women after distressing birth experiences

Jenny Gamble, Debra K. Creedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e21-e30
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jul 2007
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


Queensland Nursing Council (RAN 0032).


  • Counselling
  • Postpartum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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