ERIC Number: ED265424
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Helplessness, Pseudohelplessness and Psychotherapy.
Teitelman, Jodi L.; Priddy J. Michael
Learned helplessness often precedes depression. The elderly are more likely than the general population to be faced with uncontrollable events which may bring on learned helplessness. Intervention by gerontological counselors has been useful in reducing effects of helplessness. With pseudohelplessness, persons act helpless in order to control another person's behavior. It is important for counselors to enhance their clients' perceptions of personal control. The counselor can engender the feeling of promotion of choice and predictability. The counselor should explain psychotherapeutic goals to the client at the beginning of therapy. Counselors must eliminate any helplessness-engendering stereotypes about the elderly that they may have, or risk damaging the counselor/client relationship. Attributional counseling can be effective in helping clients identify problems within their control. Psychotherapy may seem overwhelming to the truly helpless client, who may be assisted early in therapy by planned successes in relatively undemanding situations. Clients should be helped to set realistic goals and modify unrealistic expectations. By the counselor's effective communication, the client should feel personal control of the therapy. Although the clinical needs of nursing home residents must be met, residents' independence should be encouraged. The paper includes a five-page list of references and an appendix providing a brief description of counseling techniques that have proven effective with older clients. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America (38th, New Orleans, LA, November 22-26, 1985).