At Reproductive Associates of Delaware, we understand that infertility can be a very isolating disease to face. It is important to know you are not alone. The purpose of the Make a Difference series is to highlight the dedicated organizations and individuals in the community available to help you on your journey.
Alisha McCanney, LCSW
Our patient community is filled with extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. As an experienced Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Delaware, Alisha McCanney has had the opportunity to work with many different populations. It wasn’t until she personally faced a reproductive health issue that Alisha noticed a gap in reproductive mental health resources.
We had the opportunity to meet with Alisha to gather insight from her personal infertility journey and learn more about Willow Counseling Services in Dover, Delaware.
Tell us about Willow Counseling’s mission and the services you provide.
Alisha: Willow Counseling Services is focused on providing the highest quality of therapy delivered with trust, thoughtfulness and empathy. We offer individual as well as group counseling to meet the needs of our patients. Through advocacy, providing resources and offering therapeutic support we strive to help those struggling with:
- assisted reproduction such as IVF or IUI
- reproductive health issues such as endometriosis or PCOS
- pregnancy loss or complication
- traumatic birth
- adjustment to parenthood
- premature birth
- postpartum depression and anxiety
What inspired you to provide this resource and open Willow Counseling Services?
Alisha: Throughout my career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker I have had the opportunity to work with different populations, but only noticed a gap in reproductive mental health when I was the one in need of support. After I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I quickly joined a club that no one ever wants to be a part of…The Infertility Club. Almost immediately I began to realize how many others surrounding me were in this club that no one ever really talked about. I started speaking with women I barely knew who shared some of the most difficult moments of their lives with me as well as their frustrations with the lack of mental health supports. I then decided to start the journey of opening a practice where women could stop suffering in silence and seek the support that is critical in addressing their behavioral health wellness. My experiences have shaped the way I approach therapy as well as the way Willow Counseling Services operates.
What advice do you give someone who isn’t sure if counseling may be right for them?
Alisha: I understand that people cannot fathom scheduling another appointment or delay reaching out for help because they are hopeful that the next month, they will become pregnant and life will finally go as planned. I know this because I was once that exact person. Putting off seeking help is completely normal as mental health is often the last to be addressed. The best advice I can give is to reach out and speak with a clinician over the phone to discuss your current situation and concerns regarding counseling. At Willow Counseling Services we are always happy and willing to provide phone consultations to address any of your concerns. Patients often tell me that they wished they would have sought counseling sooner in their journey.
What are some things that make Willow Counseling unique?
Alisha: While a therapist does not always need personal experience to be able to help someone going through a difficult situation, we believe that if you have not experienced infertility you may not fully understand the complexity of everything from the emotions of walking past the baby aisle at Target to assisted reproduction treatment protocols. At Willow Counseling Services the clinician has firsthand knowledge of how much infertility impacts everyday life. We will never tell you that in order to get pregnant you just need to “relax”!
Another aspect that makes Willow Counseling Service unique is our ability to accept most major insurance plans. We work with each patient individually to ensure that attending counseling sessions does not become an additional financial burden.
What was the hardest part of your fertility treatment?
Alisha: The hardest part of my fertility treatment was all of the waiting. People tell you to take it a day at a time, but I found myself taking it a month at a time. I was always counting down till the next phone call, appointment, pregnancy test and even when my period would arrive. Some of the most trying times came after I waited months and months just to get another negative pregnancy test and to start the waiting all over again.
What advice do you have for women facing infertility challenges?
Alisha: Take it easy on yourself! As much as you want to show support to family and friends it is important that you address your own needs. I often see women simply enduring pain from having to attend ANOTHER baby shower because they did not want to disappoint loved ones. It is important during these times that you put yourself first. Saying no to attending baby showers, family gatherings or other events is ok.
Can you tell us something people might not know about Alisha?
Alisha: People say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but I think that statement comes from those who have never owned a dog! I am a huge dog lover and feel that my Old English Sheepdog has helped me through some of the toughest parts of my infertility journey.
For more information about Alisha and Willow Counseling Services, call 302-313-1072 or visit: www.willowcounselingservicesde.com
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"Dr. McGuirk is a very holistic doctor. She doesn’t just treat the fertility issues. She also points out personal health ideas (juicing, whole 30) to help heal/treat the whole patient. She is honest and open. Be open minded and trust in her process. This is a marathon, not a sprint! Dr. McGuirk will be with you the whole way."
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Newark, DE 19713
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