Perimenopause & Menopause Wellbeing Clinic

"So many women I've talked to see menopause as an ending. But I've discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else. It's your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time and talent."

Oprah Winfrey

 

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Menopause is a biological event in all women’s lives. Some women transition from perimenopause to menopause naturally while others, due to health issues, are introduced to it earlier. The transition from the reproductive to non-reproductive years will happen to all women,  however, the symptoms and emotional burden will be experienced differently.

Menopause is an umbrella term, which encompasses perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Menopause means the end of the menses and reproductive life of a woman and can last from 7 to 10 years (between the ages of 45 and 55). Some women can become menopausal even earlier, in their 30s (or even younger). This is called premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency. Some menopausal changes can also be brought about by treatments for cancer, including chemotherapy, ovarian ablation and hormone therapy.

The perimenopause phase is where most of the symptoms take place due to hormonal changes. Around the 40s the levels of oestrogen and progesterone begins to fluctuate and decline. This hormonal imbalance affects menstrual periods, it is not regular, affecting women physically and psychologically.

It is best practice to consult your GP and rule out some conditions that can mimic perimenopause, such as nutritional deficiencies, thyroid disorders, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia. In UK, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that a woman over 45 years old, could be diagnosed as perimenopausal if she presents with symptoms. A blood test is important to rule out other disorders but is not necessary to diagnose perimenopause.

Perimenopause Symptoms

As women get older the hormonal changes and the ability to conceive diminishes; for some women this can be devastating and for all women the transition is a personal experience, not just a medical condition, but rather an event that affects their life in its entirety.

The most common symptoms are hot flushes and sweats, tiredness, fatigue, lack of concentration, brain fog, sleep disturbances, insomnia, mood swings, depression, anxiety, forgetfulness, discomfort during sex, loss of libido, urinary frequency, or urgency.

These symptoms have a significant impact on women’s health and wellbeing and can affect their work and their relationships. Usually at this ‘mid-life phase’ women are often fulfilling many demands, such as caring for school-age children, elderly parents, and attending to their career. The impact of life demands and biological change lead to excessive levels of stress. The most common symptoms reported as affecting women at work are fatigue (40.3%), Hot flushes (35.1%), Focus and concentration (34.3%), Anxiety and worry (31.9%) and insomnia (29.5%).

In ShootingStar Perimenopause & Menopause Clinic, you can avail of:

Coaching Psychology can support you in managing the impact of menopause symptoms. It is a holistic approach focusing on lifestyle and behaviour change. The British Menopause Society states that a healthy lifestyle can minimize the impact of menopausal symptoms. Many women feel that is time for them to re-evaluate the way they treat their bodies and reconnect to values, aspirations, and purpose in life.

  • Diet:
    The decrease in hormone levels, mainly oestrogen, can increase the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. It is important to keep a healthy diet that can prevent disease and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Exercise:
    Regular exercise helps to convert stress into positive energy, while guarding against heart disease. It is also positively affects weight control, anxiety and depression and self-esteem.

  • Sleep:
    Poor sleep becomes more common in perimenopausal women not only in association with the menopausal transition but also in relation to aging. Sleep is very important for regulating other areas such as diet, weight gain, mood swings and brain fog.

  • Manage Stress:
    Staying calm and positive helps to regulate emotions, aiding confidence and resilience.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy aims to give you the coping skills necessary to manage perimenopause and menopause symptoms. It is an evidence-based treatment that can be attended individually or in group. This treatment effectively reduces the impact of hot flushes and night sweats, it is recommended for women that experience natural menopause or menopause symptom following breast cancer treatments for example. CBT for anxiety and stress focuses on the links between physical symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. The way we think about symptoms in certain situations tends to affect how we feel and what we do, and these reactions can in turn increase the intensity of bodily reactions.

  • 6 X 1.5 hour session

  • Practical skills and strategies

  • Psychoeducational material

  • Between session practice

  • Symptom and coping skills diary

Coaching Psychology

– Mind & Body Clinic

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become”
Carl Gustav Jung

 

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Adopting healthy behaviour is a well-known factor in preventing illness and decreasing mortality. Coaching psychology addresses habit change and the formation of new habits. For example, eating and drinking habits, substance abuse, and addictive behaviours are examples of behavioural health disorders. You don’t need to have a disorder to benefit from treatment. Many patients have to change their diet, exercise, or reduce stress because of a medical diagnosis and medical rehabilitation. In both cases, changing a habit is difficult and some people need help from a psychotherapeutic & psychological perspective. Achieving adherence to a new habit is difficult because of comorbidities such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Thus, change - to be meaningful, needs to address the inner world.

If you’re looking for support and guidance on how to implement healthy behaviours in your daily life, individual or groups sessions are a great way to acquire and/or share learning experiences. They support you in integrating body and mind techniques, and in acquiring the skills to support adherence to healthy behaviours such as increasing physical exercise, reducing stress, eating healthier, promoting resilience and self-efficacy.

Mental and physical health are connected, you cannot have one without the other. My unique set of skills allows you to explore mental & psychological difficulties that block you from reaching a healthier life and your full potential. When you decided that you need to live a fulfilled life, with authenticity and congruence I will support you to implement the changes you want to make. These sessions are trauma-informed, address cognitive patterns, and promote behaviour activation.

Coaching Psychology chronic disease self-management is informed by Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and Dr. Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing.

Trauma Informed Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis

"As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…the critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage”

Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

 

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Trauma Informed Psychotherapy:

Trauma is a personal experience which impacts the way a person relates to themself and others. Trauma can be many different things, there is no one set type of trauma or one way that people experience or respond to traumatic events. The same event can impact differently on people; the experience is unique and the burden of trauma is lived in many different ways.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) defines trauma as: “Exposure to actual or threatened events involving death, serious injury, or sexual violation in one (or more) of the following ways:

  1. Directly experiencing the events.
  2. Witnessing the events in person as they occur to others.
  3. Learning that the events occurred to a close family member or friend.
  4. Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to adverse details of the events."

Complex trauma usually develops in the formative childhood years, however it is not restricted to this developmental phase. Adverse Childhood Experiences can take the form of:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • Family member or caretaker mental illness
  • Family member or caretaker substance abuse
  • Witnessing violence against the mother/caregiver
  • Having a relative sent to jail or prison
  • Losing a parent due to separation, divorce, or death
  • Racism and bullying

Living with the impact of trauma can be described as being like a boat in open sea without an anchor. This image tries to convey the experience of not being supported, being unsure of the basic requirements for feeling secure and empowered. This image also tries to convey the deep fear and shame that most trauma survivors experience. It is as if something fundamental is missing to them, and the fear that any storm will lead them stray.  Traumatic events are very real to the body, affecting the nervous system and making it difficult to find safety, containment and regulation. The nervous system get stuck in the fright, flight or frozen mode, which can manifest as anxiety, anger, depression, disassociation, restlessness, hopelessness, panic or hyperactivity.

Trauma-informed psychotherapy  involves respecting your traumatic experience and its impact on your behaviour and mental health. It will take care to avoid triggering or re-traumatizing you during psychotherapeutic treatment. It is theoretically informed by Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Object Relations. The structure of the sessions provides:

  1. Physical and emotional safety. I will take steps to ensure that you feel both physically and emotionally safe during sessions.
  2. Collaboration. My aim is to empower you by providing psycho-education, explore options and promote self-efficacy so you can actively care for your emotional and physical needs.
  3. Transparency.  I am open and honest with you about psychotherapy limitations, duty of care and limits of confidentially.
  4. Competency. My approach is evidence-based and I am always up to date with research and training in both treatment delivery and psychometric assessment.

Lacanian Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is the analysis of the unconscious. It is not a psychotherapeutic tool to address any diagnostic criteria.

To endeavour in psychoanalytic treatment is to wander about and open a dialogue to that which is unknown to the subject.

It is not about my depression or anxiety symptoms; it is not about addiction, compulsion, or refusal but what within oneself that created the need or the ‘perfect storm’ in which the symptom was born and raised.

Lacanian Psychoanalysis is concerned with the roots of our desire and how it play out when we refuse or gorge on that which attract us.  It is interested in the place of the other in our lives, the other as society, as master, the other intertwined in our relationships, because when it goes astray it always looks like the same person and the same mistake.

Psychoanalysis is not concerned with what happened in the past per se, but, rather with that past which keeps repeating in the present like a persistent presence and automaton-like behaviour. It favours analysis of dreams over the recounting of the day or the blaming of others. It listens to the slip of the tongue and mindless talking, it listens to that which appears senseless. Because the psychoanalytic ears are there to hear the unconscious as it manifests through the gaps of consciousness. Lacanian psychoanalysis is the craft of listening to how language carries us, defines us, and yet, it leaves something irrevocably amiss.

Who has never asked “why does this keep happing to me? Why do they keep doing this to me?” Who has never for an instant felt or thought “what is my role in my misfortune?” This is a psychoanalytic question; it is a place of uneasiness and is anxiety provoking.

One is suitable for psychoanalytic treatment if one has a psychoanalytic question, has been referred, is studying psychoanalysis or has been in analysis before.