Psychotherapy with older adults raises many unique issues. Jungian psychotherapy actually developed first as a form of psychotherapy with older adults, and embodies very important learnings about the second half of life.
Simple but True: It’s Different When You’re Older
Living is simply not the same in the 40s, 50s and 60s as it was in earlier stages of life. Often changes are starting to occur as children are getting older. The priorities that have governed peoples’ lives in the first part of their adulthood are shifting — often substantially and permanently. The things people need to find meaningful life at this stage are fundamentally different than the concerns of people in their 20s.
You Know You Don’t Have All the Answers
By mid life, many people are acutely aware of many unanswered questions in life, which are not going to be easily answered. They realize they aren’t going to “figure it all out” in a neat and tidy way. They need orientation and solid grounding to help deal with the mysteries of life.
What You Decide Counts
Individuals at this stage also realize that decisions and directions taken on the journey now really count. In an earlier stage it might be possible to make and revise key decisions. This gets less and less easy as life goes on. What we decide is fateful. It’s essential to make the right choices for ourselves.
Letting Go of the Superficial
This is linked with identifying and staying with the things that really matter to us. Much in later life can feel distracting and irrelevant, with not enough time for the things of greatest value. It’s important to focus in on what really matters to ourselves personally.
The Undiscovered Self
But to know what really matters to us requires that we know who we are. Our perception of who we are may very well start to change as we move through middle into later life. It’s essential that we connect with our hitherto undiscovered self, if we wish to have the feeling of being grounded in our lives.
Finding What’s Individually Yours
All of this points to a deep need to be aware of who we uniquely are. As we face the challenges of the second half of life, we need to be grounded in that identity. Jungian psychotherapy is especially well-equipped to enable that journey.
What are your key learnings and questions as you move through the second half of your life? I’d love to hear.