Sample Session Extract


Session 1 - Experiencing the “Change of life”


Using photocard sets 1 and 2

Introductions                                    See below                         
Name stickers and felt pens               Give out as people enter the room
Icebreaker                                         See below
Groundrules and confidentiality         See below               
Refreshments – at start or half way through


What you need for this session
Bring a beautiful large single flower and a dried up leaf or flower as in the photo.
Photo sets 1 and 2 from the toolkit (it would prolong their life if they could be laminated)
Folders and handouts
Flipchart or A3 pad and felt pens
Something to stick flip chart page up
Post-it notes for Thorns and Roses evaluation
Small sheets of paper and pens


Aim of the session - to understand what it can feel like for different women to live through the ‘menopause years‘  - usually 45 - 60

Welcome everyone to the group and introduce yourself (and colleague) briefly.

Get the women to talk briefly to the woman sitting next to them about what brought them to the session. Give them 2 minutes each - telling them when to change over. Ask them then to give their name to the whole group and say briefly what brought them to the session, taking it in turns round the group. If you feel this might be too challenging for your group - just ask them to give their names.

Ice breaker
Place one single beautiful flower - a large rose or lily is perfect - and one dried up old leaf or flower where everyone can see them easily. A low table in the middle of the circle of chairs works well.

Ask them to look at them for a minute - and then ask if they see any connections with the menopause which you’re going to think about today. Although some people don’t respond easily to visual images you’ll see on some faces that they see the meaning of the flower and leaf even if they can’t put it into words.

Get any who can articulate it to do so - or explain that we all have to come to terms eventually with the ageing of our bodies even if our minds stay lively and fun!

Because our society’s message is that youth and beauty is good, but ageing and maturity is not valued - we are often struggling with prejudice against older ”menopausal” women from society - and maybe even from ourselves?


Introduction to the session
Explain that the photos you are going to use for the activity are from the “Rollercoasting through the Menopause Years” photo exhibition and were taken in order to help health professionals as well as ordinary people to understand what it feels like to go through the menopause.

The term “menopause years”, not just “menopause”, was used because even if a woman doesn’t have bad menopause symptoms she still has to face all the other challenges of living through the demanding years aged 45 - 60 - as well as the start of gradual ageing.


(See Toolkit for Activity A)

Running Activity B

If two photos seem connected in some way they could choose two.


What do they think the woman is feeling?
Does it remind them of themselves – or someone they know?
Why do they think they chose it?
If the group is not likely to be happy writing go straight on to sharing with another person         

Time 3 mins


Ask them to share with another person what they feel about the photo they have chosen for a few minutes ( preferably someone they don’t already know well )
If any of the things they want to say in the 1-1 situation are not suitable to be shared with the whole group – they need to make that clear to their partner.

Time 7 mins

Time 20 mins

Main points to be learned in Activity B

Check that each idea has been dealt with during the activity or session.

Read out a selection, in these or your own words, as a way of reminding people of the most important points and rounding off the activity or session. Include any new points the group has made which you know to be relevant and accurate.


Time 2 mins