The authors of this volume take as their starting point "striking moments" in their practice with older people, their families and other practitioners. They integrate these with current systemic thinking to offer new perspectives on working with older people in a range of physical health, mental health and social care contexts. This book is practice led and contains a wealth of examples that will be familiar both to practitioners working with older people and to older people themselves and their families. The authors, all experienced clinicians, place an emphasis on how systemic and narrative approaches might relate to these real world dilemmas and point to ways forward in working with older people in a world where social isolation, ageism and discrimination are commonplace.
‘When we work therapeutically with older people, we are constantly reminded that, typically, psychological difficulties are not simply located within an individual. It is the complex web of relationships, social networks and support systems that are the key to understanding and intervention, and it is always an illusion to consider that therapy can be undertaken in a clinic room, for a therapeutic hour, divorced from this web, with any client group. Despite the universal acknowledgement of this truth amongst therapists working with older people, there is a dearth of material to support and underpin the application of systemic approaches in this area. This excellently crafted book fills this gap, demonstrating a practical, respectful approach that can be applied in busy national health service teams, even in an inner-city area. We see how individual practitioners can adopt a systemic approach, without requiring a family therapy team or even a one-way screen! The contributors openly share their mistakes as well as their successes, and model a frank and transparent approach. The case examples are presented vividly and ring true; there is much for every psychological therapist, of whatever theoretical persuasion, to take away and incorporate into practice. It is a book that inspires and challenges in equal measure – a must read for clinical psychologists working with older people.’
- Bob Woods, Professor of Clinical Psychology of Older People, Bangor University, UK
'I absolutely loved this volume. It is mainly directed towards professionals, but the general reader concerned with how older people experience our health services, and particularly our mental health services, would gain hugely from it as well. This is a song of praise for older people and a discursive discussion on what older people give to those who are trying to work with them. It does more than put older people at the centre of the picture - it attempts to combat age discrimination, neglect, and poor practice in a whole variety of fields. The letter from Josh to Ron at the end of the book, marking the end of their sessions together and discussing a way forward, is a wonderful affirmation of the person Ron is and the person he wishes to be to the end of his life. The lack of patronising, the lack of stereotyping, and the full appreciation that older people are as different in their tastes and values as younger people, makes this volume profoundly moving. But it is the love of older people and what they contribute themselves to the professional relationship that sings out. This is a ‘must read’- it shows how services for older people can be both affirming and therapeutic and how older people’s values can shape the way their health professionals interact with them.'
- Baroness Julia Neuberger
Glenda Fredman, Penny Rapaport, Eleanor Martin, Joshua Stott, Eleanor Anderson, Sarah Johnson, Isabelle Ekdawi, Esther Hansen, Alison Milton, Goran Petronic
Notes about the author(s):
Glenda Fredman is consultant clinical psychologist and systemic psychotherapist with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. She is a tutor / trainer with the KCC Foundation, a freelance trainer, and author of Death Talk: Conversations with Children and Families and Transforming Emotion: Conversations in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Eleanor Anderson was a highly specialist systemic psychotherapist in the older adult mental health service at St Charles Hospital, London, where she pioneered systemic approaches for eleven years. Now an older adult herself and semi-retired, she supervises, consults and works voluntarily with the Peace Hospice Bereavement Service in Watford.
Joshua Stott is a clinical psychologist working with older people in Camden and Islington. He is also clinical tutor / joint co-ordinator of the ‘working with older people’ curriculum for the clinical psychology doctorate at University College London.