A local clinical psychologist who specializes in helping men transition into fatherhood now faces the added challenge of guiding new dads during a global pandemic.
“In the era of coronavirus, there’s this kind of unseen threat out there that I think most dads don’t fundamentally feel prepared to protect and provide their new family against,” said Daniel B. Singley, a Carmel Valley resident since 2008, whose work focuses on paternal perinatal mental health.
Singely, who has a private practice in Sorrento Valley, has had to adapt his services due to social distancing and other public health orders in effect to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. He’s hosted new fathers via Facebook live videos, in addition to the work he’s done with the nonprofit Postpartum Support International. For the latter, he leads conference calls, each one with about 10 expecting dads, that focus on resources available to them.
New fathers, he added, are also restricted from seeing friends, family, clergy members or others who can offer insight into the challenges they face with their new families.
“We don’t really think about the interpersonal, the social support needs of new dads because we think more about moms and postpartum depression and isolation,” Singley said. “The reality is all parents need it. And we aren’t really socialized to think about men as needing that kind of support.”
According to a 2019 study in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, postpartum symptoms in men could include irritability, restricted emotions, and depression.
Singley said his career dates back to his time as an intern with UC San Diego, when he had a three-week old baby at home.
“Having the father part of my identity becoming so important to me and starting to link that to my awareness of the need to focus more on men, I just saw there’s nothing out there for these guys. I was a brand new dad and I felt viscerally there were no resources for me to address the needs I was becoming aware of.”
He asked himself: “How can we give the dads some resources that are helpful?”
Singley has been teaching classes for new and expecting fathers through Scripps Hospital for more than 10 years. In his private practice, he works with men and couples, in addition to running men’s groups.
For more information about Singley and the resources he offers, visit menexcel.com.