Heal Your Way

Menopause and Counselling -a time for reflection

Changing the conversation about Menopause and how counselling and EFT can help

The average age for natural Menopause in the UK is between 45 and 55 years old as this is the time when most women’s oestrogen levels decline. These hormonal changes can trigger a range of unsettling symptoms which can start  around the early 40s, this is known as peri-menopause. These symptoms can go on for many years before your periods finally stop. Menopause is defined as one year after your last period. Given that half the population will pass through these stages it is important to try and understand the psychological impact of women’s experiences as they navigate this journey. Since women’s health is often swept under the carpet it is vital that we begin to normalise the conversation around the menopause. This could pave the way for more awareness and also help us to prepare for some of the changes that Menopause signals. Hopefully we will also start to see some much needed improvement in Menopause health care with a groundswell of support and campaigns working to change the conversation about Menopause.

Early Menopause


Whilst most women will experience natural menopause in their 40s or 50s there are also medical reasons for early onset menopause and what is known as surgical menopause following a hysterectomy or other medical procedure. This means women can enter menopause at a young age or before they are ready to give up their fertility. A lack of information, education and follow-up support means that many women suffer through the psychological impact of these life events alone, sometimes experiencing anxiety and depression. Simply prescribing anti-depressants or HRT on its own does not always offer a  meaningful understanding of the complex emotions triggered by the premature onset of hormonal changes and losing your fertility. The psychological impact of this cannot be underestimated.  If you need counselling or therapy to help with this seek support. 


Menopause and The Workplace

The workplace is where many women will often feel the negative impact of their symptoms. Studies around the globe have shone a spotlight on women’s perspectives on managing menopause during their career trajectories. There is evidence that many women hide their symptoms for fear of being sidelined. Also, stigma associated with Menopause can get in the way of openly discussing any difficult symptoms with colleagues or managers. All these factors can contribute to poor mental health around this time and this can impact on your decision to move out of work especially if you feel you are not coping. Being provided with the necessary support in the workplace is essential to ensuring that women stay on track with their careers and are not forced to leave their jobs.                     


Menopause and Your Mental Health

You may feel your wellbeing is compromised when faced with hormonal changes that can affect your memory, mood, fatigue levels and concentration. What are some of the symptoms that impact on women’s mental health?

  • Low sex drive impacting on personal relationships and breakdown in communication
  • Anxiety, low mood, depression, irritability
  • Poor sleep patterns and hot flushes
  • Reduced concentration, poor memory
  • Vaginal and urinary symptoms can have a very negative impact on intimate relationships, especially if the subject is not openly talked about.
  • As hormones fluctuate we see an overall change in women’s self-esteem, self-confidence and general mental wellbeing. This needs to be recognised and addressed.  Counsellors and therapists specialising in menopause can help support you. 

Menopause Resources


Educating ourselves about what is out there is one step closer to articulating what support we might need and we can also take the necessary steps to ensure we get the proper care we deserve. Too often women have suffered in silence simply by not having access to the right information.

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is an effective medical treatment for peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. There has been quite a bit of negative publicity about HRT over the past two decades which has focused on the health risks associated with HRT, this has meant many women either stopped taking HRT or refused to start. But recent social media campaigns and television programmes, such as Channel 4’s documentary presented by Davina McCall, have placed a spotlight on the widespread misinformation and lack of adequate education about HRT – treatments have come a long way since the more traditional medications and are in fact very safe for most women.
  • It is worth taking a look at resources such as My Menopause Doctor for more information on the types of safe HRT available in the UK.  Many women have reported presenting with menopausal symptoms to their GPs and then being prescribed anti-depressants but found them to be ineffectual in the long term, especially if menopausal symptoms persist and continue untreated. The medical profession has historically provided limited training to GPs about the menopause which has meant symptoms have not been properly diagnosed nor has the correct treatment been given. This is being currently reviewed and addressed by  the medical profession.
  • There are many offerings of wellbeing advice, podcasts, women’s support groups and guidance being initiated by women around the globe which are often promoted via social media, for instance #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign.
  • Self-help courses  focusing on meditation, yoga, nutrition, breath work and positive thinking take a holistic approach towards the physical, mental and emotional aspects of Menopause. These practices build towards Menopause being a transformative process. Menopause does not have to only be negative, it can be the beginning of a new stage which can prompt a healthier lifestyle and self-reflection.
  • Healthy eating and diets are known to help some women manage their symptoms, for example food rich in phytoestrogens (soybeans, tofu, flaxseeds) have a similar chemical structure to oestrogen.
  • Talking about Menopause with our friends and family can help us feel that we are not alone. Menopause focused social media groups are also a good way of joining in the conversation and getting support.
  • Cold and open water swimming have been found to ease some symptoms of Menopause and are thought to release the body’s stress hormones, the fight or flight response – as a result people talk about feeling “euphoric”. Some women report it can have a real impact on brain fog, bone and joint ache and energy levels contributing to your overall wellbeing.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can be an effective tool for reducing some of the physical symptoms and anxiety associated with Menopause. With CBT the focus is on training yourself to reframe  thoughts or shift  thinking patterns, this way you can see a change in how you experience things – this has the added benefit of lowering  anxiety levels by reducing negative thoughts. You can request CBT through your GP.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

How Can Heal Your Way Help?


Getting proper medical help is an important first step to alleviating any symptoms of  peri-menopause or menopause you may be experiencing. But it’s also important to attend to your emotional wellbeing as you go through this transition phase. With Menopause we are forced to confront the ageing process and this can also be an opportunity for growth by re-evaluating what you want from life moving forward.

Counselling can be useful for exploring some of the difficult emotions and distress you may be experiencing as a result of Menopause. You may feel isolated or unable to share your feelings with family members, your partner or even friends. This can be due to a stigma associated with Menopause or general lack of familiarity with what to expect which can affect every aspect of your functioning. Counselling can help you to regain your physical and mental health as you explore your personal journey through Menopause and try to make the connections between the hormonal changes and some emotional difficulties you are facing.

It might not be that menopausal symptoms are the only issue affecting your ability to function optimally, it may be one part of many stressors in your life you wish to talk about and find coping strategies for. Menopause often coincides with other events common during your 40s and 50s, with children leaving home, parents getting older and requiring more of your input or you may be dealing with the aftermath of divorce. HYW offers integrative and person-centred counselling. This means counselling sessions are tailored to your specific needs and journey in your Menopause transition. 

HYW also offers support and guidance to try and help you recognise when your menopausal symptoms might be having an effect on different aspects of your life. For example, some women report that they feel unhappy that they are moving on from being a younger woman or they feel grief at losing their fertility. If you are experiencing unpleasant symptoms it can also affect how you feel about yourself and sometimes it is hard to distinguish between what are physical or psychological symptoms. You can work together with your counsellor to help you develop coping mechanisms and help to reduce any anxiety you may be experiencing. 

Whilst speaking to your doctor for medical advice should always be the first step if you are experiencing menopausal symptoms, you may also want to seek support from a therapist, coach or a counsellor who specialises in supporting menopausal women.

Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping for Menopause

As a trained EFT practitioner Claire Coker can work with you to manage some of your peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. The advantage of EFT, which is also known as “Tapping” is that you can learn the “Tapping” technique and do this in the comfort of your own home. There is evidence to suggest that the motion of tapping can actually make you feel better by lowering your anxiety levels.

Tapping involves stimulating certain points on the body to unblock the flow of energy. The aim is to release anxiety, freeing you of negative energy. EFT is known to work well in combination with other approaches to alleviate some symptoms such as irritability, inability to focus, anxiety, depressed mood, and tearfulness, as well as many of the physical symptoms that women experience. It is also a helpful technique for emotional reassessment and defining what you want to get out of a new phase in your life. Our physiology is tapped into our emotional state and if we can try and manage some of the symptoms using this technique it has the benefit of improving your overall emotional well-being. This may be particularly useful to anyone who does not wish to take HRT and is looking for alternative non-medical interventions.

Useful Menopause Links:

Menopause researcher Clea Duval

This article was written by Clea Duval

Clea is a MSc Psychology graduate from The Open University. She works collaboratively with psychology and wellbeing practitioners, to provide desk-based research and writing content for blogs and articles focusing on aspects of mental health and social issues. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to discuss these topics further. You can connect with Clea via LinkedIn or email [email protected]

Benefits of EFT

Learn more about EFT in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire by emailing [email protected]