San Diego Infertility Support Group
Take a Mind-Body Approach to Infertility Coping
Clinical Social Worker Rachel Rabinor and Naturopathic Doctor Elizabeth
Winter have started a 6-week infertility support group with a special
focus on the mind-body connection for the San Diego community.
The group began when Dr. Winter and Rachel Rabinor, through their own backgrounds
in naturopathic medicine, midwifery, and social work, felt there was an
absence of real-time support for women grappling with the stressful, time-consuming
and emotionally challenging aspects of infertility.
Dr. Rabinor has had her own personal experience with secondary infertility
while Dr. Winter holds a strong belief in the power of integrative medicine.
With these as their launching points, the two began this innovative support
group that honors the mind-body connection and incorporates holistic medicine
techniques such as:
- Clean eating
- A safe, supportive, face-to-face environment.
With the help of Dr. Rabinor and Dr. Winter, we aim to make the IVF process
as stress-free as possible as stress can be a major, if not
the major, inhibitor to successful IVF.
An Integrative Medical Approach to Infertility.
Dr. Winter, as a naturopathic doctor and midwife, is a staunch believer
in focusing on infertility through integrative medicine. “It’s
crucial in terms of preparing the body and supporting the body,”
The program she established with Dr. Rabinor focuses on the mind and body
relationship, addressing one’s mental health and wellbeing along
with nutritional health and lifestyle. “Each woman’s infertility
issue is very specific,” explains Dr. Winter, “and it’s
necessary to provide targeted nutrition and supplements.” Other
topics covered in the support group include how to detox from toxic environmental
exposures, appropriate exercises for health and wellbeing, sleep patterns,
and relationship issues.
What to Expect
Over the course of 6 weeks, the support group meets for an hour and half
a week, focusing on building connections, sharing experiences, practicing
guided meditations and mindfulness techniques in addition to nutrition
and lifestyle factors that can help with overall fertility health. The
group also offers homework to participants so that the skills and information
learned in the once-a-week meeting can be practiced and incorporated into
their daily lives.
This support group is open to women exclusively. Rabinor notes that while
group couple therapy with both men and women is certainly helpful, it
does change the discourse.
“Women in groups with other women communicate differently than in
a mixed gender groups in general and also when dealing with such personal
issues,” Dr. Rabinor explains. The support group is designed to
provide women with a space where they can focus on all the various issues,
emotions, and challenges they face as women trying to have children. It’s
not meant to be exclusionary, only to offer the best support possible.
Developing a Positive, Shame-Free Outlook
Women who have a difficult time conceiving often feel undeserved shame
and stress. Through this support group, Dr. Rabinor hopes to end the kind
of isolation she had felt during her own journey through secondary infertility.
In addition to the social expectation of having children present in some
communities, well-meaning family members and friends can inadvertently
say inappropriate, hurtful things. The support group addresses such scenarios
and provides participants with coping skills and techniques to alleviate
the sting of such remarks or ways to avoid them altogether. While learning
coping skills are crucial to the support group, it also emphasizes the
importance of positive feedback and incorporates some CBT (cognitive behavioral
therapy) skills. In addition to learning how to cope with infertility,
the ultimate goal of the therapy is to help patients live happier, more
To find out more about Rachel Rabinor, LCSW and Dr. Elizabeth Winter, ND,
as well as their San Diego-based Infertility Support Group and Fertility
Workshops, please visit their main websites at: