Midlife : a comparative study of the challenges experienced by homemakers vs women working outside the home and the role of counselling through this life stage
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BA Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Midlife is a time of significant physical, psychological and social change for a woman. It heralds a phase of conflicting experiences and emotions and can be seen as a time of transformation and growth but also a time of loss. This research aims to explore women's own experience of early midlife and to contrast and compare the issues and challenges that are experienced by women who work in the home and women who have maintained a career outside the home. It ascertains if there is a role for counselling and psychotherapy at this transitional life stage. A quantitative and qualitative approach was used, with the issue of a questionnaire and two focus groups where a themed analysis was made. Participants were women in early midlife. The findings show that there are many facets and diversity within the physical, psychological and sociological parameters of the midlife experience. Themes including physical ageing, ambivalence, loss, and perception of others' attitudes, emerged. It also highlighted the commonalities and contrasts between the two sample groups. Review of current literature and the emerging data enabled an assessment on the relevance of the role counselling plays. This research work shows the diversity of interest and issues associated with midlife. It highlights that further research and discussion is needed in this area to ensure greater awareness and acceptance of this natural evolvement of a woman's life.