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Helping Relationships With Older Adults

Helping Relationships With Older Adults
From Theory to Practice

July 2016 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
“A definite read for students in counseling programs for improving the lives of older adults!”

–Amy Gray-Graves, Webster University

Helping Relationships with Older Adults: From Theory to Practice examines the fundamental theoretical perspectives of the aging process with an emphasis on the healthy aspects of aging. Taking a comprehensive approach, the text addresses various therapeutic methods as it highlights the strengths and resiliency of the older population. Exercises and case studies demonstrate key concepts and promote skill development by allowing students to experience the various challenges in the lives of older clients. 

Helping Relationships with Older Adults: From Theory to Practice is part of the Counseling and Professional Identity Series. To learn more about each text in the Series, please visit

Section I. Overview of the Aging Process, Aging Theories, Positive Aging, and the Helping Process
Chapter 1: Introduction
Biological Theories Associated With Aging  
Physical Changes That Accompany Aging  
Cognitive Changes That Accompany Aging  
Chapter 2: Historical Perspectives and Changing Attitudes Toward Older Adults
Perceptions of Growing Older and Societal Influences  
Historical Aspects of Aging  
Aging of the Baby Boomer Generation  
Aging and Mental Health  
Rethinking the Value of Aging  
Chapter 3: Characteristics of Positive Older Adults and the Helping Process
Successful Aging and Mental Wellness  
Positive Aging Characteristics  
Counseling Older Adults  
Attributes of Successful Practitioners  
Part II. Common Issues and Problematic Behaviors Experienced by Older Adults
Chapter 4: Health Challenges That Impact the Well-Being of Older Adults
Impact of Age-Related Diseases on Activities of Daily Living  
Cardiovascular Diseases  
Vision Disorders  
Cerebrovascular Disease  
Chapter 5: Challenging Conditions Experienced by Older Adults
Alzheimer’s Disease  
Substance Abuse  
Elder Abuse  
Chapter 6: Family Issues and Support Systems
Support Systems  
Chapter 7: Loss and Its Effect on Older Adults
Dying and Death  
Chapter 8: Opportunities in Later Life
Psychosocial Theories Related to Engagement  
Part III: Professional Practice in Working With Older Clients
Chapter 9: Skills, Attitudes, and Knowledge of Effective Practitioners
Counselor Preparation and Development  
Strategies to Use in Counseling Older Adults  
Chapter 10: Professional Practice With Goals for Older Adults
Psychosocial Interventions  
Stages of the Helping Relationship  
Issues Brought to the Helping Relationship  
Dealing With Uncertainty  
Terminal Illness  
Death and Dying  
Chapter 11: Therapeutic Approaches and Appropriateness for Older Clients
Problem Solving Therapy  
Brief Dynamic Therapy  
Behavioral Therapy  
Cognitive Therapy  
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy  
Integrative Approach  
Strengths-Based Approach  
Reminiscence Therapy and Life Review  
Family Systems Approach  
Reality Orientation  
Chapter 12: Future Trends
Positive Aging  
Health Care  
Employment and Retirement  
Counseling Considerations  

“A definite read for students in Counseling programs and improving the lives of older adults!”

Amy Gray-Graves
Webster University

“All textbooks that focus on the older adult population must provide students with a solid background in theory, research, and practice with a focus on the biological, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of adult development. This textbook goes further with its emphasis on the multiple pathways of development that characterize “successful aging” from a strengths perspective.”

Nancy A. Orel
Bowling Green State University

“This is an exciting perspective on counseling older adults across the wide lifespan that is aging. Considering the range from age 60 to 100 is 40 years it is little wonder that there are so many complex needs in this age range. Williams addresses these issues with clear case studies, and excellent resources that summarize the needs and skills required for working with this wide age range. The text is an excellent foundation text, but could also be used by an advanced professional. The topics of sexuality, spirituality, and physical and emotional challenges are reviewed. Attention to diverse populations within the elder community is also not neglected. The ethnic, socio economic and disability issues related to diversity are addressed. The reader will find a rich compilation of resources that can evoke further discussion, develop necessary skills, and help the student become a skilled counselor with a population desperately in need of skilled workers in this area.”

Polly McMahon
Spokane Falls Community College

“A thoroughly researched and very readable text for teaching and learning the basics for working with the elderly in a variety of contexts.”

Tim Chandler
Hardin-Simmons University

Helping Relationships with Older Adults: From Theory to Practice provides readers with current and up to date information that is necessary to help and support older adults who face the challenges of aging in today’s society.”

Kyle O’Brien
Gateway Community College
Key features


  • Exercises and case examples promote the development of essential skills for working with older adults.
  • Coverage of the natural aging process and the changes that occur prepare helping professionals to work effectively with older clients.
  • Discussion of challenges unique to older adults and how to appropriately address them stimulates critical thinking.
  • The most recent, evidence–based, therapeutic approaches in practice with older adults enhance specialization.  

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

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