Menopause in psychotherapy: a thematic analysis
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Menopause is the natural and unavoidable ending of a woman’s procreative capability. An inter-play of biological, psychological, social and cultural influences is thought to shape each woman’s understanding and experience of menopause. There are relatively few psychotherapeutic studies on menopause in comparison to other significant life transitions, and even fewer that address what happens in therapy between the client and therapist when either or both are transitioning through menopause. This study examines menopause in the context of psychotherapy. A thematic analysis of eleven pieces of data, i.e. literature, revealed five themes of; silence; loss and fear of loss; challenges of relational interplay; disentangling of tensions; and renewed sense of self – and the core conceptual theme of impotency/potency. The discussion of the findings highlighted the relevance of menopause as a topic for therapeutic exploration, and synthesizes for clinicians understandings of how menopause may manifest in psychotherapy. The discussion also describes matters that may need to be considered and worked through when either a menopausal client and/or a menopausal therapist are engaged in a therapeutic relationship and how menopause might influence the psychotherapy.