Past Trauma in Late Life

European Perspectives on Therapeutic Work with Older People
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In the professional and practice literature on working with older people, little attention has been given to the potential impact of trauma experienced in childhood and early adult life. This book looks at the effect of trauma on behaviour, which is often mistakenly viewed as part of the pathology of old age. The contributors pay particular attention to the impact of the Holocaust and of the war experience of civilians and combatants, as well as individual trauma.

The authors call for sensitivity on the part of professionals and carers to the possibility of early trauma as a causal factor in distress in older people. The book encourages all those providing services to prepare themselves and their clients for a journey through what is often painful territory: the material contained in this volume will help both specialist and non-specialist practitioners to map a more certain course towards a coherent approach to therapeutic intervention and the care and support of many people still suffering from the consequences of earlier traumatic experiences.
  • Published: Mar 01 1997
  • Pages: 224
  • 233 x 157mm
  • ISBN: 9781853024467
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Press Reviews

  • European Journal of Social Work

    A group of seventeen professionals from five European countries came together in this book to share their experience of older people whose earlier lives included trauma resulting from war, persecution, family and sexual violence, or human or natural disasters. Little attention has so far been given to these people by the generality of social workers, psychologists, general practitioners, nurses, and residential and day-care staff. The book is helpful in drawing our attention to this situation. It is neither an academic text, nor a practice handbook. Rather the book is designed to provide professional practitioners with a reasonable structure of basic knowledge and practical accounts of direct work with older people - The last chapter written again by Hunt, brings together theory and practice presented in previous chapters of the book. This synthesis aims to formulate an approach to practice that can be useful for all professionals working with older people. It mirrors all the main ideas of this useful book which, as a whole, can be whole-heartedly recommended to practitioners in a whole range of settings.
  • Age and Ageing

    Within 2 days of finishing this book, I encountered two patients affected by massive past trauma, and the staff were clamouring to borrow it. Well worth reading.
  • Dementia Care

    Important and timely... a valuable and thought-provoking book, rich in both anecdotal material and psychodynamic theory. It deserves to be widely read.
  • Oral History

    Mary Marshall and Cherry Rowlings have assembled a powerful collection of well researched pieces of work from people who are established practitioners working with older people. In compiling these different accounts the editors have brought together a useful bibliography which is itself a major contribution. They also demonstrate the careful and well-planned work which is helping survivors of past trauma in their late lives. Oral historians will recognise some of the dilemmas they pose. They may also wonder to what extent through their own research they have unwittingly played a part in allowing difficult experiences to resurface and intrude in late life.
  • Sign Post Reviews

    The final chapter written by Linda Hunt, brings together the professional perspectives from preceding chapters and discusses their implication for practice. With its sensitivity and expertise, this book offers a significant contribution to the literature on working with older people.
  • Oxford Psychotherapy Society

    `This is an excellent book that should become essential reading for all those involved with the care of elderly people. The Editors are to be congratulated on bringing together so many authors from different backgrounds within Europe to tell this story … This is an important book.'
  • Education and Ageing

    `This is a valuable book for counsellors and those in training [and will be] of value to the intended readership - recommended.'
  • Community Practitioner

    This beautifully written and, in parts very moving book provides an opportunity to gain further insight into the past lives of older people and how traumatic events come to the surface. The authors and editors of this excellent publication provide an opportunity for us to progress in our understanding of older people and to improve our work with them. All the contributors are eminent in their field and their contributions are relevant to the range of community nurses who come into contact with older people as grandparents, volunteers, clients, patients and carers.
  • British Journal of Social Work

    This is a unique book. It is the kind of text which prompts the reader to ask, `Why wasn't this written before?' The three editors are prominent authorities in this area, as both well-established researchers and social work practitioners. In this compilation, they have made a notable contribution to our understanding of post-traumatic stress. The readings are also designed to enable the practitioner to tap onto the skills and approaches of European practitioners on both sides of the English channel [and] insights are plentiful in this excellent text. The experience of these practitioners and their working models provide a starting point for further exploration into the best strategy to adopt when dealing with post-traumatic stress in later life.