A therapeutic intervention with my elderly group

Person-centred psychotherapy is essentially based on a trust that each person has the inner strength and capacity to find their own answers and directions in their life (Rogers, 2003). Differing from psychodynamic psychotherapy in that the focus is not on psychological development and transformation of defences, a reason why maybe it works with the elderly population.

IMG_4967CThe elderly have less opportunity to take a new pathway and according to Erikson’s (1959) stages of development, remain active throughout life and may be stimulated by certain conditions. The psychosocial task of the eighth stage of life is one of ego-integrity or ego-despair. Those women in the group who have ego-integrity would see their lives as the only lives they could have had. Those with ego-despair will be despairing and unhappy (Bloch, 2006: 336).

Therefore, being contained within the group (Bion, 1961) can alleviate this despair and anxiety by offering the support, caring and containing that the child needs to survive physically and emotionally (Winnicott, 1971).

In (DMPT) cohesion exists through the movement with people being brought closer together through dances of synchronicity and stretching, reaching, pushing exercises in circles, which encourage visual and verbal communication. This physical closeness through the sharing of a common rhythm is an important preparation for contact through touch (Schmais, 1985: 30).

Discussing the importance of group cohesiveness, (Yalom, 2005: 56) comments that the affective sharing of one’s inner world followed by acceptance by others is of paramount importance. Negative beliefs of being unacceptable or unlovable are challenged.

The group were invited to share their experience at the end of the session and I remember (Amanda) a pseudonym, saying:

“This is my home” (Clinical notes: 21.02.12)

Moreover, shedding silent tears with us all. Another woman just reached out to initiate a circle of holding hands where upon we all were present with our presence.


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