Psychotherapy in Late Life

  • Caroline Giroux
  • W. Edwin Smith


Older individuals face an increasing complexity of challenges such as physical limitations and changes in roles and environment that can add to latent, unresolved psychological conflicts. Even though physicians often think of biological treatment options first, we need to remember that many psychotherapies have been adapted for older patients and are effective in reducing depression and anxiety, decreasing isolation, and improving function and general well-being. This chapter provides an overview of psychotherapies with an emphasis on the relationship between the patient and the therapist (the alliance), which constitutes a fundamental common factor for all therapies. Two cases will illustrate the evolution of psychotherapeutic encounters with older patients in order to facilitate the mastery of the psychotherapy principles at any training level.


Psychotherapy Older patients Therapist Common factors Relationship Mentalization Mindfulness Cognitive CBT IPT Psychodynamic Reminiscence Schemas Grief Loneliness Anxiety Depression Attachment Role transition System Well-being Flexibility Healing 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of California Davis Medical CenterSacramentoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatrySaint John Regional Hospital, Dalhousie University Memorial UniversitySaint JohnCanada

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