What to Do When there is Nothing to Do: The psychotherapeutic value of Meaning Therapy in the treatment of late life depression

J. H. Morgan


Psychotherapeutic treatment with the goal of cure, of course, is the standard within the healing professions but when we are dealing with late life depression where there is no hope for longevity, the agenda necessarily must shift from cure to care, from treatment with the goal of renewed healthy living to a focus upon the palliative aspects of a limited prognosis. Here, then, the clinician is faced with the challenge of existential intervention with an emphasis upon the “moment” rather than the future. The encroachment of ennui upon the elderly, particularly and especially those who have been actively engaged in a full life of service such as the clergy, physicians, teachers, and attorneys, can be a traumatic and debilitating experience.When hope for the future is not being sought but rather an effective and celebrative address to the existential realities confronting the elderly patient who is facing decline and death, the quest for those “happy moments” conjured in the patient’s memory constitute a promising field of treatment.Geriatric logotherapy is uniquely constructed to do just that.


geriatric logotherapy; late life depression; end of life ennui

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/hcs.2013.126


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