Mature Adulthood | Ages 60-70 +
This stage is described as a time when one looks back on life and evaluates it as either fulfilling with the ability to impart wisdom, or one that is unresolved, bitter, regretful and is filled with despair.
At BN Counseling, we can help with:
- The conflicts that induce despair
- Finding ways to experience integrity
- Finding the courage to reflect and process life traumas and losses
- Processing significant social stages in late adulthood are retirement and dealing with grief and bereavement.
- Making peace with one’s self and with others [dead or alive], including God
- Experiencing self-worth by helping someone with empathetic wisdom
Late Adulthood | Age 80 – 90 +
Much of the approach of counseling about this stage are from the teachings of Joan Erikson and Ann Orbach.
Joan Erikson in her book The Life Cycle Completed proposed the concept of gero-transcendence. This psychospiritual theoretical concept proposes a redefinition of the Self in relationship to others. At this stage of life, there is also a questioning and redefinition of what it means to exist.
What good can counseling do?
Erikson suggests that counseling can help with
- Increased feelings of a cosmic communion with the Spirit of the Universe
- Redefinition of the perception of time, space and object
- Redefinition of the perception of life and death and a decrease in the fear of death
- Decreased interest in superfluous social interaction
- Decreased interest in material things
- That clients should go on “becoming” more of themselves
Ann Orbach’s in her book Not Too Late: Psychotherapy and Ageing suggest that the benefits of counseling:
- Help with the harsh reality that life is diminishing and with facing death.
- Help deal with the disappointing decline in physical and mental abilities
- Help clients experience success and that the final years can be lived to the fullest,
- Help clients find harmony with one’s past life in spite of the fear of death,
- Help each client to continue to pursue life-enhancing desires with the acceptance of the limitations of life
- Help clients with more mindfully find satisfaction in the little details of life
From Erikson’s point of view, success in this stage of life is seen when the older person is able to assert the Self by saying, “Don’t take away from me what I have. Let me choose.” It is all about maintaining ones spirited core.
And from Viktor Frankl’s statement, that there is meaning in life, available to everyone, and that life retains its meaning under any condition and until its final moment.
Adapted from Judith Gusky’s article on Why aren’t they screaming? A counselor’s reflection on aging. Judith Gusky is a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania who came to counseling as a midlife career changer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted from Thomas Armstrong, The Human Odyssey: Navigating the Twelve Stages of Life. New York: Sterling, 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/middle.html