What is distinct about the last third of life, about women, that makes psychotherapy different? In this diverse collection, the psychological meanings and challenges of the last third of life are explored, as the capacity of the psyche expands, sense of time changes, and some questions take on new vibrance and urgency. Some chapters shine their light on women therapy clients - on their precarious sociocultural predicament in a sexist/ageist time and place, on intrapsychic changes that follow from changing bodies, relationships, involvements and emergent needs of the self. Other chapters enter the largely unexplored territory of changes in the therapy process itself - where some decide against therapy altogether, while others describe a rich revision of familiar elements of therapy, greater authentic presence, a changed standpoint on the power of the therapeutic relationship.
Standing inside the ``last third'' and looking back on their own lives, several women psychotherapists offer a rare window into their private experience across time and their perspectives on the challenges and the gifts that they, and other women, may realize in the last third of their lives as they consider who they have become, who they are, and who they can be.
This book was based on a special issue of Women and Therapy.
Valory Mitchell is Professor at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant University, San Francisco. She has been coordinator of the school's Gender Studies Emphasis Area, and Director of its Institute for the Psychology of Women. She is a Fellow at the Rockway Institute, and has a private psychotherapy practice in Berkeley. Since 1978 she has been part of a longitudinal study of the lives and development of 100 women, through UC Berkeley's Institute for Personality and Social Research, with her mentor Ravenna Helson. She is 62, and has a nineteen-year-old daughter in art school.
1. Foreword: The Long View Valory Mitchell 2. Less Time Ahead, More Behind: Being a Psychotherapist in the Last Third of Life Susan H. Sands 3. On Becoming an Elder: An Immigrant Latina Therapist Narrative Yvette G. Flores 4. The Therapist at 60, The Patient at 60: Challenges for Psychotherapy Emily Loeb 5. Aging With My Clients Saralie Pennington 6. Finding My Professional Voice: AWoman of Color's Professional Journey Harriet Curtis-Boles 7. Leaving Analysis and Moving Beyond Pain Helene Moglen and Sheila Namir 8. "Be Kind, for Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Great Battle" Laura Mason 9. Losing Certainty and Finding Voice: One Therapist's Reflections on Doing Therapy in the Last Third of Life Judith V. Jordan 10. Framing Lives: Therapy with Women of a ``Certain Age'' Mary M. Gergen 11. Reflections on Aging, Psychotherapy, and Spiritual Practice Arlene Bermann 12. Unforeseen and Transformative: New Dimensions in the Third Quarter of My Life Amity Pierce Buxton 13. The Therapist's Illness As an Opportunity in the Clinical Hour Sandrah Henry 14. Who Am I Now? Using Life Span Theories in Psychotherapy in Late Adulthood Valory Mitchell