ERIC Number: ED262330
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug-23
Reference Count: 0
Past versus Future Orientation in Psychotherapy for the Elderly.
Any attempt to discuss psychotherapy with the elderly must be cognizant of the broad spectrum of personality style, life experience, and health status that exists among older adults. This diversity holds true in the specific realm of time perspective as well. Older clients may bring to psychotherapy an active engagement with the present, a past-orientation with disruption, or obedience to external time. Time perspective research has indicated that the elderly as well as younger adults are most likely to be directing their thoughts to the near future. This finding suggests that elderly clients who exhibit a loss of subjective futurity (immersion in the past for prolonged periods) are not characteristic of older adults and may be experiencing problems in time orientation. In many clinical instances, anxiety and despair have disrupted the functional link that connects subjective past, present, and future. The individual is unable to conceive of his life as a whole. It is helpful for therapists to understand the specific way a client has organized himself with respect to time, how this pattern may have become disrupted, and how therapy can help restore the sense of continuity from who one has been to who one is now and who one will yet become. (Three brief case histories illustrate the various time orientations discussed.) (NRB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (93rd, Los Angeles, CA, August 23-27, 1985).