Is it too late to consider going into therapy once we reach a certain age? As I walked through the gardens on an early spring morning, this was the question going through my mind. I intended to get down to writing this blog, an unfamiliar task, when I got back to my office.
We seem to have heard all year about mental and physical decline as we age so it was refreshing to read Levitin (see below) that the brain retains plasticity or the capacity to learn and change through out life. And if we are not taken down by dementia, brain injury or stroke, we can in fact retain a lively and flexible mind throughout life. We have to do the obvious things like follow a balanced diet, exercise, not give up purposeful activity (work) and maintain a good and diverse social network.
Throughout life, our close friends and family are important to our wellbeing. These relationships take enormous strain in a world where change is the only hope for survival. And they need looking after even if this means we might end a relationship, if we have children developing and sustaining a healthy connection can help our children to adjust to the world with a healthy out look.
Transitional periods, retirement, divorce, bereavement, empty-nest syndrome, can benefit from psychotherapy for one or both partners providing the space for increased awareness of ourselves, an opportunity for gaining insight and change.
Considering the later years are often filled with opportunities for reflection on a life lived there is always plenty material to explore in the therapy room. David Levitin, an American Neuroscientist, sees this period of life as an opportunity to see life afresh. His premise is the brain retains its capacity to change through out life, at its greatest in childhood and old age.
Dorothea Beech is a Group Analyst with many years experience working in the UK and overseas. She worked as A Group Analyst in South Africa as a Lecturer at Cape Town UCT and at Kwa Zulu Natal University in Durban, lecturing on a Masters Program in Group Work. Her MA in Applied research was on Eating disorders. Her interests are in cultural diversity and trans-generational influences on the individual. Thea is available at our Brighton and Hove Practice.
Further reading by Thea Beech
The Unconscious Mind