There is no one single form of psychodynamic psychotherapy with older people (Gatz et al., 1998; Karel & Hinrichsen, 2000; Knight, 1996). While the view of Freud that people over the age of 50 are uneducable has in many ways prevented psychodynamic approaches from being applied to the treatment of depression in older adults, as Steuer (1982) points out, not all the early pioneers of psychodynamic theory held such ageist attitudes. Eriksson and Jung considered analysis a very worthwhile exercise for older people. Jung saw the purpose of later life as individuation or integrating previously unacknowledged or unconscious aspects of the psyche (Steuer, 1982). There are a number of commonalities among the various forms of psychodynamic psychotherapy, such as an emphasis on the role of unresolved developmental issues for the later development of psychopathology or difficulties in coping, and an emphasis on the curative aspects of a corrective emotional relationship between patient and therapist (Nordhus & Nielson, 1999). In many descriptions of psychodynamic psychotherapy with older people, transference and countertransference are considered especially important (Karel & Hinrichsen, 2000; Nordhus & Neilson, 1999; Steuer, 1982).
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