Psychological Therapies with Older People

Book Cover:Psychological TherapiesEdited by Jason Hepple, Jane Pearce and Philip Wilkinson.
ISBN 1 58391 137 5

Sigmund Freud thought that the minds of older people were too rigid to benefit from psychoanalysis, and while other, very eminent, therapist have disagreed, this suggestion has influenced attitudes to older people and therapy to this day. The number of older people who use therapy in this country today is remarkably low. Current thinking seems to subscribe to Freud’s view: older people don’t want to change, have no time in which to change, are going to die soon anyway. For a take-away portion of ageism, look no further; old people simply aren’t worth talking to.

Psychological Therapies with Older People is a brilliant collection of essays, which blows all this out of the water. From psychodynamic therapy, to cognitive behavioural therapy, to systemic therapy, contributors hammer home the message; older people want to change, they are receptive to therapy and therapeutic interventions can be successful in later life. In the light of this text, reliance on medication and containment, as a response to mental illness in older people, has to be seen as institutional ageism.

Well written and easily accessible, with gripping case studies, this is a book that demands change, and one that deserves to be read.

Rachel Wooler is an outreach worker, Alzheimer’s Society.

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