Meet With A Therapist: (424) 371-5191

A Pregnant Pause: Expectant and New Fathers’ Group

A special experience just for fathers

Pregnancy is Transformative for Men, Too

APP photo website

Pregnancy is a uniquely transformative time for fathers-to-be. Many fathers experience it as stressful, confusing, and isolating. During this period, men psychologically prepare for the baby and begin attachment (Slade, 2009). They undergo hormonal shifts akin to their partners, including increased prolactin and estradiol and decreased testosterone (Storey et al., 2000). They must also navigate the challenging shift from couplehood into a triad. When done thoughtfully and reflectively, these changes can be unifying and connecting for new families. In fact, research indicates that parents who can imagine their child before birth are more equipped to regulate their emotions and create an environment that is growth promoting for their child (Fonagy, Steele, & Steele, 1991).

Fathers are often included in childbirth classes or didactic parenting seminars but have few outlets to discuss the vivid internal world of expectant fatherhood. Our group aims to create the space for fathers-to-be to make meaning of this important life transition and to psychologically prepare for all that is to come.

JOIN

Call (424) 371-5191 x426 or write to us to request a free 15 minute telephone intake interview. Our group therapists will explain the group and ask about your personal history to determine if APP is right for you.

The Group

A Pregnant Pause: Expectant and New Fathers’ Group meets Wednesdays 7:30-9:00pm. The group is a weekly 90-minute process-oriented psychotherapy group focused on helping expectant fathers reflect on the thoughts, feelings, and curiosities related to the transition into fatherhood. Group discussions will arise organically, but might include:

  1. Hopes, fears, and concerns about becoming a father
  2. The experience of being parented
  3. Changes in the couples’ relationship
  4. Projected impacts on the father’s life and selfhood
  5. Realistic stressors including achieving a life/work balance and the family’s increased financial needs
  6. Defining an active parenting role as the father of a primarily mother-dependent infant

 

Commitment & Cost

New members are invited to begin at the start of each month. An initial commitment of one month’s attendance is required to join the group. Continued participation may then be renewed on a month-to-month basis. This ongoing commitment is intended to promote group safety and bonding by providing a consistent and predictable group of participants.

The cost is $35 per weekly 90-minute group. Participants must pre-pay for the month’s sessions on the first Monday of each month to reserve a spot in the group. Cost per month will range from $140-$175 per month depending on the number of the number of weeks in any given month.

 

 

Our Team & Vision

APP was the collaborative brainchild of two WILA trainees, Kevin Gruenberg and Eli Diamond and Dr. Michele Gomes, WILA’s Executive Director. It was borne out of a shared clinical interest and passion originating during Kevin and Eli’s early clinical training with children, parents, and families. Both recognized that unlike pregnant mothers, expectant fathers have few, if any, supports to help them process the joys and challenges of this period. APP was created to provide a safe and understanding space for Los Angeles fathers.

Kevin Gruenberg, Psy.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Pregnancy was a disruptive time in my life. It forced me to confront aspects of my identity and masculinity, and to think about the father I wanted to be. I yearned to speak to other men about their experience and struggled to find the appropriate context. Simultaneously, my academic research and clinical practice focused on the multiple ways in which parents create social-emotional growth promoting environments for their children. The idea for this group was borne during this period.”

APP is a group experience offered at Wright Institute Los Angeles and is supervised by Michele Gomes, Psy.D.

Elizabeth Diamond, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

I’m excited about the possibilities of this group to foster expansion of the minds of future dads and the enormous promise of connection between group members as well as between fathers and their unborn children. We grow in relationships – with parents, children, partners, therapists and group members. I’m passionate about facilitating, witnessing and experiencing these developments.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is APP's treatment philosophy?

As with all services provided at Wright Institute Los Angeles, APP utilizes a contemporary psychodynamic approach. This means that our therapists work from the inside out to consider how your unconscious and early life experiences influence current functioning, behavior, and the relationships in your life including the relationship you develop with your unborn child.

Is there a commitment requirement/time limit in APP?

New members are invited to begin at the start of each month. An initial commitment of one month’s attendance is required to join the group. Continued participation may then be renewed on a month-to-month basis. This ongoing commitment is intended to promote group safety and bonding by providing a consistent and predictable group of participants.

Can't I just drop in to APP when I'm available?

No. While we understand and appreciate busy schedules, particularly in light of pregnancy, we do not feel APP is as effective as a drop-in group. In order to create an environment that is safe and growth promoting, an initial commitment of one month’s attendance is required to join the group. Continued participation may then be renewed on a month-to-month basis with new members being invited to begin at the start of each month. Unlike childbirth classes or other didactics, this group is focused on sharing the process and experience of impending fatherhood. When a group commitment is made, group members bond and find a deep connection with one another’s shared experiences.

We're newly pregnant, should I wait a while to join APP?

Nope, if you’re an expectant father, it’s never too early (or too late) to join APP. Fathers may start at any point in the pregnancy and are welcome to remain throughout the first year of the baby’s life. Fathers experience feelings, memories, fantasies, and bodily experiences even in the earliest stages of pregnancy.

How much does APP cost?

The cost is $35 per weekly 90-minute group. Participants must pre-pay for the month’s sessions on the first Monday of each month. The cost per month will range from $140-$175 per month depending on the number of weeks in any given month.

Who will be facilitating the APP group?

The therapeutic services offered through APP are conducted by pre-doctoral psychology interns and postgraduate fellows who are studying with and supervised by a highly trained and experienced faculty of clinical psychologists, psychoanalysts, and other mental health professionals.

Where does APP take place?

APP groups take place at our West Los Angeles location which provides a safe, comfortable, and confidential atmosphere. We are conveniently located at 11845 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 505W, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Ample street parking is available nearby.

I’m a clinician and would like to refer to APP. Who do I contact?

We welcome referrals and ideas for potential collaborations. APP is ideal as an adjunctive group therapy experience for expectant fathers you are seeing in individual treatment. Participation in group therapy can reduce isolation and increase relatedness by bringing together individuals struggling with similar issues. We offer a FREE telephone consultation with you or your client. Call (424) 371-5191 x426 and an APP group leader will call you to discuss the goodness of fit of our program for your client.

What is WILA’s mission?

The mission of Wright Institute Los Angeles (WILA) is to keep high quality, long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy available and affordable. WILA is an affordable alternative for those without adequate health insurance benefits or the ability to pay for expensive private treatment. We remain one of the very few settings in Los Angeles where no limits are placed on treatment length or session frequency. Our aim is to help the individuals, couples, and families we serve lead richer, deeper, more fulfilling lives.