© 2016

Psychodynamic Perspectives on Aging and Illness


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 43-67
  3. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 69-89
  4. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 109-136
  5. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 137-154
  6. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 155-170
  7. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 189-204
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 205-209

About this book


This timely update of the bedrock text reflects what we now know—and are still finding out—about the benefits of psychodynamic psychotherapy for older adults facing chronic conditions. Expanding on the original, the author balances the physical and experiential factors affecting patients’ physical illnesses and related emotional distress while situating core psychodynamic constructs in the context of illness and aging. Special attention is paid to technique, giving therapists practical guidance on dealing with transference and countertransference issues, working with patients in cognitive decline, and navigating complexities of age, class, and culture. The book also reviews the current evidence on how and why psychodynamic therapy helps medical patients with coping, adapting, and healing. 

Included in the coverage: 

  • Technology, idealization, and unconscious dynamics in the culture of medicine.
  • Narcissistic aspects of aging and illness.
  • Grey areas: when illness may be particularly impacted by psychological variables.
  • Cognitive changes and implications for the therapeutic encounter.
The influence of psychological factors and relationships on medical illness.
  • Hope and grief: the introduction of an emotional language.
  • The Second Edition of Psychodynamic Perspectives on Aging and Illness skillfully follows its predecessor as a powerful, plain-spoken mentor to therapists working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and outpatient practice.


    Psychodynamic perspectives on aging Psychodynamic perspectives on illness psychotherapy with older adults psychotherapy with medically ill adults culture of medicine trauma of medical illness medical relationships aging and illness aggression cognitive impairment in the ellderly child abuse and maltreatment

    Authors and affiliations

    1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

    About the authors

    Tamara McClintock Greenberg, PsyD, MS is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, where she supervises psychiatry residents.  She has worked with medical and aging patients for the last twenty years in hospitals, long-term care facilities and in her outpatient practice.  Dr. Greenberg is the author of four books and a number of contributed chapters, which have encompassed both academic and popular press writing.  She has written for Psychology Today online, Psych Central and The Huffington Post.  She has been a speaker to audiences and the media on topics such as aging, illness, the stresses associated with caretaking, grief, the trauma of illness, coping with aging, women’s issues and the application of psychodynamic ideas for people struggling with health problems and those that try to help them.  A major focus of her writing has been on how loved ones and patients can deal with doctors and the medical system in a more empowered way, while being mindful of the difficult and unique stressors physicians and medical staff face in this ever-complicated medical landscape.  Dr. Greenberg lives with her husband and two pugs in San Francisco.

    Bibliographic information

    Industry Sectors
    Health & Hospitals


    “This book explains how psychodynamic theory can help with an understanding of older adults with chronic illnesses and teaches therapeutic techniques to help them work through challenges and provide hope and healing. … graduate students in psychology and social work would get great benefit as well. … The book ends with a discussion about the importance of providing hope in the midst of grief. This readable book contains helpful case vignettes.” (Gary B. Kaniuk, Doody's Book Reviews, May, 2016)