chapter  5
24 Pages

The Supportive Psychotherapies

There are credentials that a therapist must possess in order to work with the elderly as a supportive psychotherapist. Functioning as a selfobject in any therapeutic encounter with any patient group is experienced by some therapists as deviating from the generally accepted model of the therapist in the psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic arenas as a blank screen onto which the patient projects his or her unconscious complexes. Therapists, of course, differ widely in their self-makeup and so differ widely in their abilities to "be" a selfobject figure, that is, to function as a mirroring caretaker or selfobject leader in supportive therapy. Other factors, such as the therapist's fatigue, intrapsychic cohesiveness, and transference onto the patient (the therapist's own need to derive comfort from the patient), are all impediments to the difficult work of becoming a supportive psychotherapist.