The Importance of Self-Compassion in the Perinatal Period

The 2018 International Mental Health Conference is almost upon us again, this year the conference will be held over the 8th – 10th August at the RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

This annual conference is now in its 19th year and continues to be the pinnacle event in the mental health industry. The Conference provides an invaluable opportunity to build relationships and to share knowledge, research and latest policies.

Ms Cindy Cranswick, Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame joins us at the conference to discuss ‘The Importance of Self-Compassion in the Perinatal Period’.


With the increase in the number of women being diagnosed with perinatal anxiety and depression in our society, there is an urgent need to find new ways of prevention and treatment. Although there is a substantial body of recent research providing an insight into the role of self-compassion in psychological wellbeing, there has been no specific research into the role and meaning it plays in the lives of women in the perinatal period. Evidenced by the body of research on self-compassion, self-compassionate people are more likely to cope with major life stressors and transitions with optimism, resilience, emotional intelligence and greater intellectual flexibility.

The transition to motherhood is a major transition and this research offers a greater understanding of the role of self-compassion in the lived experience. The results of this study revealed an overarching Super-ordinate theme of “Casting Shadows over Motherhood” and identified three major themes that had a negative impact on the experience of motherhood; emotional suffering, unmet expectations and unhelpful views of self. The findings provide an insight into the lack of self-compassion that was evident in all of the participant’s experiences of motherhood and identified the potential role that self-compassion can play, in facilitating a more positive psychological experience, for mothers in the perinatal period. The study presents an opportunity for further research into prevention and treatment, of perinatal anxiety and depression, through the use of a therapeutic model based on self-compassion.


Cindy Cranswick is a professional registered Counsellor, Clinical Supervisor and Lecturer. She holds a Bachelor of Counselling and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Cindy has a number of years’ experience in Women’s health and wellbeing issues and has a special interest in PNDA (Perinatal Depression and Anxiety). As part of her Master of Philosophy degree, Cindy researched the “Role and meaning of self-compassion in the perinatal period”. Cindy has a private practice where she offers clinical supervision for allied health professionals and counselling for individuals, couples and families.

For further information on the upcoming 19th International Mental Health Conference and to secure your spot please visit


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Ms Carol Purtell, Clinic Director at Mindspot joins us this August

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