'In GOOP Health' Summit

TMC’s Medical Director Catherine Birndorf took the stage for an expert (and by many accounts, eye-opening) discussion about PPD and its treatment. We’ve had such an overwhelming online response that we wanted to take a moment to get her take on the experience.

Last weekend I spent time working with the amazing editorial staff at Gwyneth Paltrow’s In GOOP Health Summit, which included doing a podcast and being part of their expert panel, “Mind Games.”

Although I was honored to be invited to participate, I was also concerned, as the purpose of the panel was to showcase different (and opposing) perspectives on women’s mental health. While I consider myself quite open-minded and supportive of patients who want to augment treatment with alternative therapies (as long as they aren’t invasive or harmful) I am a traditionally-trained physician/reproductive psychiatrist who works within evidence-based medical approaches. I was not sure how my views would be received among the other panelists and the crowd, many of whom I feared would be skeptical of Western medicine and medication.

As it turned out, it was very productive and there were no ‘fireworks’. (Although there were some thought-sparking media conversations about it here and here, among others.) Everyone involved was collaborative, showing interest and mutual respect towards others’ views. We all agreed that there are many ways to help women maintain mental wellness and it is for consumers to decide what type of treatment and care is best for them.

As the co-founder and Medical Director of the Motherhood Center, I -- along with the rest of our team -- take a holistic approach to perinatal mental health. In addition to medication management (if required), we focus on various kinds of psychotherapy, including Interpersonal Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as other treatment interventions that include yoga, art therapy, mindfulness, meditation and education. We hope to create a culture where it is okay to seek help for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and we are committed to helping our patients recover and live healthy lives – because we know that with good treatment, everyone can feel better.

-- Catherine Birndorf, MD
Medical Director, The Motherhood Center


Catherine Birndorf, MD is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and obstetrics/gynecology and founding director of the Payne Whitney Women's Program at the New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. She is also the founder of the Women’s Mental Health Consortium, a New York area network of women’s mental health clinicians and researchers. Dr. Birndorf’s area of psychiatric expertise is in reproductive mental health, helping women with emotional distress during times of hormonal change, from menses to menopause. She specializes in treating women before, during and after pregnancy, as well as at other times of transition in their lives.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to find out if it is in fact PPD. Women can feel better with therapy, medication, and -- in more acute situations – participating is a partial hospitalization program. To schedule an evaluation with one of our clinicians at The Motherhood Center today to find out – call 212-335-0034. We are here to help!