Wellbeing in Menopause
Navigating the Menopause with Michelle
Michelle Webster is a experienced psychotherapist with a special interest in the menopause. She is a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, EMDR Therapist and Occupational Therapist and has helped clients to improve their mental health and wellbeing over the last 28 years.
She is the clinical lead and director of Feel Well Therapy, a Psychological Therapy Service that provides specialist therapy from its base in Norfolk and online across the UK. She is married, with 2 teenagers and elderly parents.
Her interest in menopause started 5 years ago through her own experiences of perimenopause and from talking to her clients and then subsequent training and reading. Working as a Psychotherapist over many years she recognises that as a woman transitions through the menopause, this is also a time of considerable stress in their life’s with competing demands of children or teenagers, elderly parents, financial pressures and stressful jobs.
As one of her clients said ‘its bigger than the menopause’.
‘The onset of perimenopause can be hard to recognise, too often we put it down to stress or leading a busy life and we try and carry on as normal. It’s only when our symptoms start to significantly impact on our health, home life, work or relationships that we might stop or be forced to stop and question what’s going on’.
In more recent years social media influencers and clinicians such as Dr Louise Newson and the Menopause Charity, are starting to make women more informed about the menopause ‘but women are often still unsure about how the menopause might be affecting them and struggling to navigate this time in their life’s’.
Over half the population in the UK, 33million women will experience the menopause.
Of women will get menopausal symptoms.
Of women will leave their jobs due to the menopause.
Of women suffer from brain fog
Of women are affected by vaginal dryness
I can help you with this.
Whether you’re a woman navigating the menopause with ease but wanting to improve your wellbeing, or someone who is struggling day to day with a range of menopause symptoms then please get in touch.
As women we don’t need to just put up with the distressing symptoms of the menopause. There are things that we can do to reduce or alleviate our menopause symptoms and changes that we can make to reduce life stressors or improve our ability to cope with them.
CBT for Menopause
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a evidence based treatment and recommended to alleviate symptoms of the menopause and symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness and compassion focused therapies are also likley to be very helpful treatments .
As a CBT therapist with a wealth of experience, who also incorporates mindfulness and compassion focused approaches, Michelle can help you to make changes to reduce your menopause symptoms, reduce stress, and improve your mental health and day to day functioning.
In doing so you can start to find your old self again or better still maybe find a better version of you that prioritises your needs alongside others and has better skills to face life’s challenges.
How might we work together in sessions
Following a comprehensive assessment of your psychological wellbeing and menopause symptoms we will develop a individual therapy plan that is focused on your goals .
Examples of what we might focus on :
Understanding your symptoms
Taking time to consider and discuss treatment options that are recommended for the menopause.
Learning to talk to your partner
Working alongside your medical practitioner who oversees your health and medication needs.
CBT for the management of hot flushes, insomnia, low mood, anxiety, anger.
Mindfulness and breathing skills.
Identifying stressors and learning ways to manage these , this may include:
Developing more helpful ways of thinking
Changing unhelpful behaviours
Developing communication or assertiveness skills.
Re evaluating your life , your interests and purpose and making changes according to your values
Improving self care – looking at obstacles to eating a balance diet, exercising and making positive changes.
Treatment of underlying mental health issues/ trauma if relevant.
Michelle's own Menopause Journey so far
I am happy to share my own menopause experience and journey during therapy with my clients.
I think I first started to think about a diagnosis of Perimenopause when I was 47 years . I started to experience, night sweats and generalised anxiety but put it down to the warm weather and the fact that work was busy. I became very heat sensitive and normal situations like going for a curry , sitting in a waiting room, could tip me into a panic. I remember worrying about how my body would react in situations.
I think it was around this time that there started to be more media coverage about the menopause. Like many women I vaguely knew what it was, but I had never heard of perimenopause.
I soon realised that many symptoms that I had been experiencing since aged 45 where part of perimenopause. That joint pain, tinnitus, dizziness, major sleep issues, feelings of anxiety and anger could all be explained.
CBT for the menopause and psychological wellbeing
Equipped with my list of symptoms and having read the latest NICE guidelines Overview | Menopause: diagnosis and management | Guidance | NICEI went to see my GP. I was lucky in that she was understanding and was equally informed and we agreed a treatment plan.
For me HRT and testosterone (private prescription) has been a life changer, but I appreciate for some women this is not an option or they prefer not to take it. I’ve also given myself a bit of an MOT and re evaluated my life, trying to address stressors, and improve my self care. This has also undoubtedly helped.
Like most women managing day to day life can remain a challenge, but over the last 18 months I have regained a sense of being me again. The roller coaster of menopause symptoms has stopped with it more like a snail ride now !!
With my wealth of knowledge as a psychotherapist and life experience of perimenopause I can help other women that may be negotiating this time of their life.
We also work with employers that are looking to support their employees who may be struggling with peri menopause or menopause symptoms. Contact us for more details .
Please contact Michelle via our contact link if you would like to find out more or to arrange a Wellbeing in Menopause assessment.