Cognitive Analytic Therapy and Later Life: A New Perspective on Old Age

Cognitive Analytic Therapy and Later Life: A New Perspective on Old Age

Cognitive Analytic Therapy and Later Life: A New Perspective on Old Age

Cognitive Analytic Therapy and Later Life: A New Perspective on Old Age

Synopsis

'Cognitive and Analytic Therapy and Later Life' highlights that any attempt to work psychotherapeutically with older people must take into account the effects of working within a context of institutional ageism. It explores the specialist skills required when working with older people.

Excerpt

Peter Coleman

This is a particularly welcome book outlining the beginnings of a fresh approach not only to working with older people but also to conceptualising the nature of the human life course. The need for new ways of thinking is well illustrated throughout these fascinating and interrelated contributions which the editors have crafted together with much skill.

Negative attitudes and low expectations about later adult life are so entrenched in Western culture that it is only too easy for the best-informed therapists and counsellors to collude with them. Even writing a book about ageing carries dangers of emphasising the old as a distinct and disadvantaged group within human society.

Although vital to lifting our sights to new understandings of what it is to be human, psychology alone can do very little to improve the circumstances of everyday life. Many of the problems older and younger people face are socially and historically conditioned, and therapists need to learn from the perspectives of sociologists, anthropologists, social historians and others working in the field of social sciences and humanities. But too often psychologists have been reluctant to engage in the demanding processes of dialogue, understanding and change required, too self-obsessed and fearful of what they might become through an excessive contact with society, its history and problems.

The concepts Erik Erikson developed to improve understanding of the psychosocial tasks of later adulthood are justly well known. To his lasting credit he emphasised reciprocity across the life course, that both old and young need each other if they are to fiourish. But that the terms which he coined, like generativity and integrity, should be still, after 50 years, the only major conceptual tools available to those seeking to understand the meaning of later life, suggests a frightening level of neglect and avoidance of the subject matter.

This book is one of a number of recent signs of new life in understand

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