The Treatment of the Geriatric Patient: A Humanistic Approach

Publication Date



Master of Arts (MA)

Committee or Advisor Chair

Arthur T. Stillman, M.D.

Committee Members

Glenn Whitlock, Ph.D.

Frank Blume, Ph.D.


psychology, geriatrics, humanistic, patient treatment, transpersonal psychology, elder care


Developmental Psychology | Geriatrics | Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychology | Transpersonal Psychology


The focus of psychtherapeutic treatment with the geriatric patient in the South Florida area has been severely neglected. The problem which has been researched in the context of this paper involves an investigation designed to substantiate the ability in the elderly patient to advent change by the institution and intervention of psychotherapeutic techniques (supportive, reeducative and reconstructive) on an individual and group basis and by the proper use of medication, mainly the drug Doxepin. Specifically, the author has systematically examined in detail essentially three basic models for intervention (i.e. drug therapy; psychology and a combination of drug therapy and psychotherapy), in an attempt to discover, discern and document expected and predicted possible differences in the relative clinical effectiveness and therapeutic outcome referent to each of these. More directly, the author has critically examined and forcefully challenged the notion that confusional states, depression, agitation and fears in the elderly patient are not treatable and reversable.

In order to develop a theoretical and empirical framework, in which to objectively examine this particular issue, selected clinical materials within the field of geropsychiatry - psychology, pyschotherapeutic research methodology (which have proliferated at a rapid rather and have appeared in the recent psychological literature), have been reviewed with a view towards looking at the "non-functional" geriatric patient and via implementation of medication and/or psychotherapeutic intervention returning the patient to a "functional" state of psychological health.

The author has been concerned with those elderly patients who have in some measure elected to escape and become "non-functional" by creating confusion, depression, agitation, and/or paranoia.

Additionally, financial consciderations, Medicare, Medicaid participation, physiological and psychological aspects of aging and physician resistance and bias have been discussed.

The approach of the writer can be thought of as both dynamic and analytic - and indeed, reality and humanistically based.


Department: Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology

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