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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Kathleen E. Sherrell, PsyD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: The author provides an overview of scientific gerontology for therapeutic interventions with the elderly. He uses sound research findings and proceeds to give concrete clinical examples in connecting theory and practice.
Purpose: The author defines the need for therapists to view the elderly as unique and complex. Therefore, although they are at a similar place in the life span, their issues in therapy are even more varied than younger people, since they bring so much more expertise about life in general.
Audience: A wide audience can learn from this book. Even though professionals in the field may not be exposed to anything totally new, the author presents innovative ideas about old topics. He also writes clearly enough to be understood by students and those with little experience working with the elderly.
Features: The author successfully dismantles the myth that therapeutic work with the elderly is primarily a way to help them deal with all their losses. Although he emphasizes that therapists need to be comfortable with aging and death, he also reminds them that many elderly persons come to therapy to find new meaning in their present life and get help in dealing with family, lovers, and numerous other problems.
Assessment: The author presents an excellent overview of working in therapy with the elderly. He reminds therapists that they need to be comfortable with loss, death, and disability as well as be open to learning new things from their clients. Because the book covers such a large topical area, there is some superficiality and oversimplification, particularly in the chapter on assessment and on the topic of transference and countertransference. Despite these shortcomings, the book is meaty, and I recommend it for professionals in the field of gerontology as well as newcomers with little prior knowledge.