Parting the veils of silence
: a woman’s quest for meaning through the life transition of menopause

  • Rashon Chowdhury

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)

Abstract

This dissertation chronicles my quest for meaning through the life transition of menopause. In my British culture, menopause is medicalised and attention is not paid to the psychological issues that this great rite of passage can bring (Herzig, 2012; Nosek et. al. 2012; Chrisler, 2013, 2011, 2006). The complexities that some women (including myself) face during menopause are examined, together with the affordances and constraints of doing personal research. As an integrative transpersonal psychotherapist trained in different modalities that also includes holding a spiritual perspective, I often see women as clients who have difficulties navigating their transitions. The issues they present are not just physical; menopause also brings psychological challenges to be addressed and often a search for deeper meaning.
The importance of other cultural attitudes to menopause are discussed, where it is seen as a positive time in a woman’s life, honouring her life experience and wisdom (Shinoda Bolen, 2015; Boice, 2007; Alleger, 2004). In search of a deeper engagement with the transition on a psychological and spiritual level I engaged in two shamanic retreats based on Native American Indian traditions, a Sufi silent alchemical retreat, an advanced diploma in psychotherapy and a solitary retreat into woodland. Key themes that emerged from the research were: issues with negative self-identity; loss and grief; different cultural spiritual lenses; the need for radical self-care; the transformation of self through examination of archetypes and symbols; the significance of celebrating menopause through ritual and ceremony; and the value of being in groups which brought support and the means to share experiences.
The research highlights the importance of attending to women’s psychological and spiritual needs during menopause. This study is my contribution to the field of psychotherapy and counselling, to enable myself and other professionals to view this important transition in a different way and part the veils of silence which surround it in my culture.
Date of Award23 Jan 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorSheila M Trahar (Supervisor) & Malcolm Reed (Supervisor)

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