City Research Online

Older adults’ experience of psychological therapy

McIntosh, Maureen (2013). Older adults’ experience of psychological therapy. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The portfolio examines the older adult experience of psychological therapy.
The research study is from the older adult perspective and it provides a rich narrative and strengthens theory and practice links. This research explored older adult service users’ retrospective accounts of Psychological Therapy within a secondary care service. The aim was to enhance the knowledge base and understanding of what is known about older adults’ subjective experiences of the processes involved when receiving Psychological Therapy. A qualitative methodology was chosen to allow the older adult participants to express their thoughts and feelings using unstructured interviews. The Grounded Theory analysis revealed categories and themes which produced a theory that explains the process of therapy. Nine older adult participants volunteered to take part and a grounded theory analysis of the data yielded a core category of ‘moving towards equanimity’. The category can be understood as contributing to the older adult participants regaining emotional stability, mental calm and balance.
Within the Professional Practice section the case study features the complexity of the therapeutic work with an older adult who experienced depression and insomnia. The case examines the flexibility in the use of the therapeutic model and the core skills required within a strong therapeutic relationship which helped the older adult hold onto hope.
The final part of the portfolio is a critical review about older adults and the therapeutic alliance. The review examines studies that have explored this extensive research area to raise awareness of the factors that influence the development of the alliance with older adults.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
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