Kapitel 18

Woolfe, R., Strawbridge, S., Douglas, B. & Dryden, W. (2009). Handbook of Counselling Psychology, 3.ed. London: SAGE.  Del I, II og IV.


People in the middle age has a lot of issues regarding continuity and change like to pass from being young to being old. The middle age is defined as a period med heightened sensitivity to ones position in a complex social environment, where the re-finding of the self is a predominant theme. It is determined by a lot of things and is conditioned by cultural and experience circumstances.

Tension occurs in the self when the young self looks back to the childhood and youth while the mature self looks forward to the future.

Sherman suggests that you make decisions on four dimensions of the self; the comparative self, the reflected self, the retrospective self and the mature self.

Neugarten describes the middle age as a time where you go from counting “time since birth” to counting “time left to live”.

The middle aged are in a tension between working demands and nurturing the younger and older generation. This can lead to stress.

Middle aged is in a tension between continuity and discontinuity of identity in the shape of a productive aging in the work setting, the competition on work and the need for a more individual self. The counselling psychologists role is to create a balance between these factors.

In the middle age the parenting and upbringing stops when the children and parents creates an adult-adult relation. I this period the parents can look back on their job as parents and evaluate their effort from the result that their kids is, with benefits and cons. Also the relationship to their own parents changes from authority to friendship.

The counselling psychologist must assess if the relational network can tolerate the anxiety of renegotiated power and limits through this period that raises powerful emotions of autonomy and dependence.

In the middle age the sex roles changes with the women as active in the society and the men as the nurturing part. This can create problems in the relationship, often financial problems, problems with the children and sexual problems. The counselling psychologists role is to go from unsecure to secure attachment. There should be an renegotiation of roles and relations.

Therapeutic approaches:

– King’s psychoanalytic approach; watches the middle age as a repetition of the oedipale problems. As the therapist is younger than the client, the client can have difficulty trusting the therapist and this should be worked with in therapy. In addition to this there are many different opportunities for transference; child-parent, parent-child, friend/lover relation and grandparents experiences. The therapy can be especially threatening in the middle age since the changes is expressed as counter transference reflected in sexual, biological and role changes – compared to the rest of life.

– Jung, individuation and masquerade; the middle aged is seen as standing on the top of a mountain and can both look back and forward. Now the inner self can come out from persona or the social masque, but the middle aged knows that death as waiting and hides behind a masquerade. The therapist must investigate their own attitudes to social and personal aging the create a safe environment. One should investigate the use of masquerade to protect the developing individuation as well as the context for expressing the parts of the individuated self.

– McAdams, narrative approach to middle age; a telling, myth about the clients life where every loose ends will be tied. Conflicting selves will be acknowledged and accepted and the need for a good ending arises. The middle aged considers ways of passing something on to the next generation, their generativity.

Medicalising and the discovery of an andropause put the middle aged facing sexual demands of the youth and is a solution rather than having the middle aged focusing on the challenges that the psychological integration has.

Middle aged tries to avoid aging and identifies with the youth and this is a core contradiction to the psycho-social function in middle age, as they don’t pass on learning to the younger generation or accept the future.

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