A Guide to Psychotherapy and Aging dispels the common belief that older people respond poorly to psychotherapy. A comprehensive overview of clinical interventions with older adults, backed by research and illustrated with case examples, this volume explores the challenges as well as the rewards of working with the growing elderly population. Experienced clinicians describe how to adapt traditional psychotherapeutic approaches—including behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, psychoanalytic, and family therapy—and apply them to later-life problems.

The chapters of this edited volume combine theory and research with case examples, emphasizing the practical clinical decisions faced when working with older people in either individual or institutional settings. Several chapters build on this therapeutic foundation with detailed discussions of issues unique to therapeutic work with older adults, including assessment, the interface of medical and psychological treatment, interventions in nursing homes, and ethical considerations. Part I of the volume features chapters on specific interventions, and Part II presents chapters covering valuable contextual information needed for working with this population.

This volume will be a welcome addition to the library of clinicians interested in working with elderly clients and a treasured find for graduate students exploring the growing area of geropsychology. In addition, doctors, nurses, and social workers already working within the aging network will find this an excellent sourcebook for their work.

This softcover edition is a re-release of the 1996 hardcover edition.

Table of Contents



Introduction—Psychotherapy and Aging: Multiple Strategies, Positive Outcomes
—Steven H. Zarit and Bob G. Knight

I. Adapting Therapeutic Approaches for the Elderly

  1. Overview of Psychotherapy With the Elderly: The Contextual, Cohort-Based, Maturity–Specific-Challenge Model
    —Bob G. Knight
  2. Behavioral and Cognitive–Behavioral Treatments: An Overview of Social Learning
    —Antonette M. Zeiss and Ann Steffen
  3. Applying Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy to the Psychological Problems of Later Life
    —Dolores Gallagher-Thompson and Larry W. Thompson
  4. Using Interpersonal Psychotherapy With Depressed Elders
    —Mark D. Miller and Rebecca L. Silberman
  5. Modern Psychoanalytic Treatment of the Older Patient
    —Vicki Granet Semel
  6. Family Therapy With Aging Families
    —Sara Honn Qualls
  7. Interventions With Family Caregivers
    —Steven H. Zarit

II. Special Issues for Work With the Elderly

  1. Techniques and Instruments for Assessment of the Elderly
    —Alfred W. Kaszniak
  2. The Medical Context of Psychotherapy With the Elderly
    —William E. Haley
  3. Psychological Interventions in Nursing Homes
    —Catherine Selth Spayd and Michael A. Smyer
  4. Ethical Considerations in the Treatment of Older Adults
    —Judy M. Zarit and Steven H. Zarit


About the Editors