CBT for Menopause Symptoms – Understanding and using a biospychosocial approach

Dr Melanie Smith, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Physical Health

Wednesday, 12 October 2022


The taboo around menopause is reducing thanks to increased media coverage. This coverage however using a primarily biomedical understanding to symptoms and treatment. Menopause is a natural event that takes place within a broader psychosocial context and women’s experiences will vary considerably. Common symptoms including vasomotor symptoms (hot flushes and night sweats), insomnia and fatigue are time limited but for 16-40% have a significant impact on quality of life and wellbeing. Research demonstrates that symptom experience is influenced by psychosocial factors including stress and cognitive behavioural responses to symptoms and therefore a biopsychosocial understanding can inform treatments. This is important for women who are unable to take hormonal therapies due to concurrent or historical health issues, or for women who wish to seek alternative non-hormonal strategies. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a biopsychosocial approach to menopausal symptoms that aims to equip women with information to normalise their menopause and strategies to manage troublesome symptoms which has demonstrated effectiveness in gold standard randomised controlled trials and is endorsed by the British Menopause Society and the North American Menopause Society.

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/2hrs of CPD.


s online course will introduce the evidence and rationale of a biopsychosocial approach to menopause symptom management within a clinical health psychology context. The cognitive model of hot flushes and night sweats that underpins the manualised intervention will be introduced prior to delegates running through the content of the manualised intervention encompassing psychoeducation and normalisation of menopause, understanding symptoms within a breast cancer population, stress and menopause symptoms, managing hot flushes, night sweats and improving sleep.

Learning Objectives

Understanding the role of a biopsychosocial approach to menopause symptoms
Understanding psycho- sociocultural factors that influence women’s experience of menopause
Developing theory to practice links of the cognitive model of hot flushes and night sweats
Understanding the role of mood within the menopause
Running through key components of a cognitive behavioural intervention for menopause symptoms to include hot flushes, night sweats, and sleep.

Training Modalities

Didactic content delivery, group discussions and case studies, polls, experiential components and video.

Key References

Ayers, B., Smith, M., Hellier, J., Mann, E. & Hunter, M. S. (2012) Effectiveness of group and self-help cognitive behavior therapy in reducing problematic menopausal hot flushes and night sweats (MENOS 2): a randomized controlled trial MENOPAUSE. 19, 7, 749-759
Hickey, M., Hunter, M. S., Santoro, N., & Ussher, J. (2022). Normalising menopause. BMJ, 377.
Hunter, M and Smith, M (2021) Living Well Through the Menopause: An evidence based cognitive behavioural guide. little, brown book group.
Hunter M and Smith M (2020). Managing Hot Flushes and Night Sweats; A cognitive behavioural self help guide. 2nd edition. Routledge Taylor Francis. East Sussex and New York.
Hunter, M.S. and Smith M (2014). Managing Hot Flushes and Night Sweats with Group CBT: An evidence based treatment manual for health professionals. Routledge Taylor Francis. East Sussex and New York.
Mann, E., Smith, M. J., Hellier, J., Balabanovic, J. A., Hamed, H., Grunfeld, E. A. & Hunter, M. S. Mar (2012) Cognitive behavioural treatment for women who have menopausal symptoms after breast cancer treatment (MENOS 1): a randomised controlled trial The Lancet Oncology. 13, 3, p. 309 – 318

About the presenter

Dr Melanie Smith is a Principal Clinical Health Psychologist who has been working in the physical health field since completing her Clinical Psychology Doctorate at the University of Manchester in 2006. She was lead therapist on the MENOS 1 and 2 RCTs which delivered and evaluated the effectiveness of CBT for menopause symptoms in breast cancer and well women populations. She has continued to work with women on a 1:1 basis as well as delivering training in a biopsychosocial approach to menopause to a range of healthcare professionals in conjunction with the British Menopause Society, as well as specialist breast care nurse teams. Melanie has co-authored 3 books on CBT for menopause symptoms with Professor Myra Hunter. Melanie also works within an NHS interdisciplinary chronic pain service and provides support to the MSK service at Salford Royal Hospital.

Who should attend

The course is suitable for anyone working psychologically with women experiencing menopause symptoms as part of a normal life span or following breast cancer intervention.