Fathers Matter: Family Therapy’s Role in the Treatment of Paternal Peripartum Depression
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- Freitas, C.J. & Fox, C.A. Contemp Fam Ther (2015) 37: 417. doi:10.1007/s10591-015-9347-5
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Peripartum depression is a major health issue for parents and their children. This problem is often thought to be endemic to peripartum mothers, and in some cases have led to fatal outcomes. However fathers may also bear this burden, and paternal peripartum depression is beginning to receive warranted attention. This conceptual paper focuses on peripartum fathers and their experiences in the context of their relationships with their intimate partners, children, and healthcare providers. Family therapists are in a position to provide systemic assessment and approaches to treatment within various environments, a maximal impact platform for fathers and families affected by paternal peripartum depression. This paper will describe how peripartum depression manifests in men and how this problem might be assessed and treated through a systems lens. A multi-disciplinary model will be offered, with special attention given to the role of the family therapist. Clinical considerations and implications for future studies will also be discussed.