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Psychotherapy and Counselling Can Help in Coping With the Changes of Menopause

Author: Weisim Ho

11th Nov 2013

Psychotherapy and Counselling Can Help in Coping With the Changes of Menopause

Menopause, its Psychological Impact

As a woman approaches the age of menopause, her experience of her first hot flush can be a watershed.  It’s a sign of the beginning of the menopause, and with it, there can be a sense of huge loss – of youth, attractiveness, femininity, and for some an existential crisis where the woman may consciously or unconsciously assess where she is in her life and the future – whether this be with a sense of renewal of the beginning of a new chapter, or a sense of failure and dread and fear of what lies ahead. 

For a woman who has not had children, it can be the final step in the realisation that motherhood is no longer possible.  Even for others who have had children, there may be grief and loss around the end of that part of their lives – the ability to bear and bring life into the world.

Menopause can have a significant impact on relationships within the family too - a loss of libido may signal a loss of a sense of femininity and desirability – and put a certain amount of pressure to the relationship with her partner. 

She may be in between dealing with hormonal teenagers and aging parents – and this may be extremely demanding.  She may be anxious within herself and low in energy.  Having a growing daughter who is becoming a beautiful woman, when she feels her own attractiveness to be passing, can also be difficult.

How Psychotherapy and Counselling Can Help

When a woman experiences symptoms of menopause, it is important that she sees her GP to investigate this and to address it from a physical and medical perspective.  In tandem with this, it is important that she also address what is going on from an emotional and mental health perspective so that she have adequate support as she goes through this process. 

At this time, psychotherapy and counselling can be very useful.  Menopause can manifest in difficulties such as anxiety, depression, difficulties with anger, fatigue, relationship issues and a sense of being overwhelmed. It can also be a time when previous trauma or childhood issues can come to the fore.  

By listening and really understanding what is going on for that woman, a psychotherapist or counsellor can help her to explore the issues she is struggling with, and may help her to reframe her view of what is going on for her. 

This helps to create more space and relief around those issues, and to explore different options in responding.  Psychotherapy and counselling also helps her to find more resources, within herself and to find support from others around her at times when she is feeling low and having difficulties coping.  This can help her feel less overwhelmed and anxious, and to find the coping skills that are right for her.

Finally, psychotherapy may help a woman to have more perspective around the impact of menopause on her life.  A woman who is menopausal is going through an immense change, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Menopause cannot be prevented or stopped so adapting well is important.

Accepting Change

It is also important that the immensity of these changes are recognised by the person undergoing these changes as well as those around her.  She is facing the end of her fertility and the loss of her youth.

However, coming to terms with these changes will empower her to face the future with more acceptance and calm and view this as a transition into another chapter of her life, one that can bring greater personal freedom and its own rewards.

 

 About the Author

Weisim Ho (MIACP) is a fully qualified and accredited psychotherapist and counsellor with private practices on South William Street in Dublin 2, and in Dun Laoghaire.  She can be contacted by phone on 087 6919168 and by email at weisim.ho@gmail.com. 

She is a humanistic and integrative psychotherapist – this means that she engages you as a whole person including your feelings, your thoughts, your physical/somatic experience and your unconscious.  Each client is unique and therefore her approach is different and tailored specifically to the needs of the client. For further details, see www.dawncounselling.ie.

You can also locate other psychotherapists and counsellors around the country on the IACP (Irish Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapist) website at www.iacp.ie.

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