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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Almost off on my IVHQ adventures!

Almost there.  Within 48 hours (all going well) I will be at Mumbai airport, boarding the two hour Kingfisher flight to Delhi.

I am feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety, but good news!  The EFT tapping seems to have worked.  The prospect of a nine hour flight to India does not fill me with the usual dread (although, of course, I might feel differently as I clip my seatbelt on for take-off).  So a heartfelt thank you to Eva, and keep at it.  There’s lots of nervous folk out there who need your help.

The build up to my departure has been a delightful slowing down, seeing lots of friends, and having a  jolly good clearing out.  There is not a cupboard in the house which has not had me bottom up, hurling things over my shoulder into the charity bag or into another one labelled ‘the dump.’  Some of this stuff has been with me for years, festering in drawers rarely opened and even, shamefully, moving house with me eight years ago.  I guess you can only get rid of things when you’re ready. Continue reading “Almost off on my IVHQ adventures!”

Another Day Talking About Sex, Meaning and the Menopause

This time the workshop took place in Sailsbury with a group of 16 therapists and counsellors. Five (including the only man – thanks again, for being there) were in their fifties and (apart from the male therapist) well into the menopause. Ten were in their forties, and one – a pregnant counsellor who worked with people with learning difficulties – was in her thirties.

Of course, many similar themes emerged to those I wrote about in my previous blog, so I won’t go over old ground.  However, I will outline different issues that this particular group raised.

Again, this was very much a day of exploration.  The day was split  into two sections.  During the morning, we looked at the personal experience of the menopause. In the afternoon, we discussed different ways to improve working with older female clients, couples, and younger women with early onset menopause.

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Fight the Change – yet again

I feel another soapbox rant coming on.  On the train to London I read a left-behind Daily Mail.  ‘Fight the Change’ cried the headline of Life and Style section. For those suffering from dry skin caused by the menopause, new products promise to turn back the clocks.

‘Fortunately,’ said the article, ‘skinscare companies realise there’s a market for high-tech products targeted specifically at postmenopausal skin.

And how!

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Lord Layard’s Action for Happiness, and the wisdom of Carl Jung

Last week was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me.  So, while I applaud Lord Richard Layard’s enthusiasm for launching his Action for Happiness movement this week (inspired by Gretchin Rubin’s Happiness Project), I do wonder whether those in the government pursuing this agenda understand just how complex, contradictory and sometimes dark the pursuit of happiness can be.

In fact, I doubt that many of us are capable of maintaining a constant state of happiness (I hope that’s not what Lord Layard is intending).   For example, today’s BBC news – Two British men shot dead in Florida; Girls behaviour in schools deterioating;  Deadly attack on Afghan ministry; Japanese facing nuclear crisis from crippled Fukushima plant. I haven’t even got to what’s happening in Libya –  shows that human nature is simply not constructed that way. The dark side will out.

Continue reading “Lord Layard’s Action for Happiness, and the wisdom of Carl Jung”

Jacqui Smith, pornography and the menopause

I think Jacqui Smith, whose programme Porn Again was broadcast on BBC 5 Live last night, is brave to talk openly about her husband using pornography.  It’s certainly caused a sensation, and, as some people suggest, whether or not she’s using this as an opportunity to open up a career in journalism isn’t the point.  But pornography being a major issue in society certainly is.  I discovered just how much during my research for Sex, Meaning and the Menopause.

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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.

Continue reading “The fixation on sex and the menopause”

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