Therapy and Menstruation

As a therapist, I am often weary to ask my patients too many questions during our first visit. I know it is hard enough to open yourself up to someone new, and answer the many questions necessary to get to know someone in a therapeutic context. However, more and more I am starting to realize that I have been neglecting an important piece of many female patent’s reality- their menstrual cycle. 

We often pretend that the “emotions” that come with PMS are really not that important, and those feelings of “craving chocolate” and “crying” for every little thing are just something to laugh at, and push away to the side.  However, these emotions are real, and if they are happening every month then they are indeed an important part of your mental health and should be discussed or at least noted during therapy.  While society might want to just laugh off PMS, I think we, especially those of us working with the mental health field, need to actively ask and about changes in emotional and feelings associated with menstruation and normalize the fact that PMS is a real part of mental health. I encourage all women working with a therapist to feel comfortable discussing any changes in emotions or feelings that happen with your menstrual cycle, as they are indeed nothing to be laughed at, but can be an integral to the therapeutic process.