Counsellors and Psychotherapists: Alarming lack of knowledge about the menopause

85% of counsellors registered with the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) are of menopausal age.

A questionnaire prepared by a psychotherapy student from Nottingham University as part of her dissertation on the menopause revealed that most therapists believe that ‘training in and support with the menopause within the professional is “essential.”’

Yet there is no official training, guidance, or information for therapists on preparing for this profound and daunting life change. This fact was born out during the workshop I recently ran on Sex, Meaning and the Menopause for a well established Wiltshire counselling service.

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Marriage, menopause, and the importance of good communication

Following the article, Will YOUR marriage survive the menopause? (adapted from Sex, Meaning and the Menopause) in last week’s Femail section of the Daily Mail, I received an  email from a distraught reader. He was very concerned about the state of his own marriage.  According to her GP, his wife had gone through the menopause a few months ago, but he recognised many of the symptoms discussed in the article, particularly anger outbursts and ‘behaving like a crazed lunatic’.

‘I love my wife,’ he said, ‘and would do anything to save our marriage and help her.’  He went on to ask how to broach the subject of  couples counselling with her.

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Leaving once-upon-a-time-Mr-Right

I found myself surprisingly disturbed as I listened on BBC i-player to Roisin McAuley’s absorbing BBC Radio 4 documentary, Leaving Mr Wrong (available until Mon, Feb 21st). In fact, it would be fair to say that it really hit me between the eyes how marriage has changed since I was born.

My mother, and most of her generation, would never have dared challenge their husbands. It was socially unacceptable (and therefore unthinkable) to divorce. But as the BBC documentary pointed out, babyboomer wives now seem to be walking away from their long-term partnerships in droves, often leaving their husbands flabbergasted, hurt and lost.

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Why 60 is NOT the new 40 for today’s woman, Thank God.

It’s happened again – another article about how postmenopausal women are really only forty.

Have I missed something? No. I haven’t. I just need to reach for a photograph of me at 40 and then look at one of me now, and sorry. I ain’t the same.

Fair enough for the Western Mail to point out that ‘the sixth decade no longer means shampoo and sets and settling down like your grandmother did.’  And having interviewed over 60 women for my book on Sex, Meaning and the Menopause, I agree that most older women have never had it so good.

Continue reading “Why 60 is NOT the new 40 for today’s woman, Thank God.”

The fixation on sex and the menopause

I’ve just read yet another article (this one from Menopause Relief) about how you can ‘cure’ low libido during and after the menopause.

Why, when evolution at this time of life naturally lowers libido for many of us, is there this fixation and expectation that older women should automatically need and want sex?

Yes. Having thoroughly researched the subject of sex and the menopause for my book, Sex, Meaning and the Menopause, there are plenty of post menopausal women who want an active sex life.  And it’s quite right they should be helped if it becomes difficult. But there are plenty who would be quite happy never to think about it again.

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Woman’s Hour on the menopause made me cross

It’s been just over a month, with Christmas and the New Year thrown in, since Woman’s Hour discussed the latest views on the Menopause and HRT.   The reason why I haven’t commented on this before now is because I wanted time to reflect on what was said, and also to stop feeling cross.

While I understand that the menopause can produce all kinds of unpleasant symptoms, why, oh why, do the media, books and websites about this major life change focus on medical issues, or how to fix it?

Continue reading “Woman’s Hour on the menopause made me cross”

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