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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Retirement Counseling: Case Study

Joel is a 65-year-old man who recently retired from an executive position in a large corporation. Although he says he looked forward to retirement, he never developed any interests or relationships outside of work. He complains of feeling "tired" and "bored." His wife, Joan, has always been a homemaker. Now that Joel is home during the day, he tries to show her ways to be more efficient in doing the household chores. Joan describes frustration with his "supervision," and the difficulty of finding time for herself or her friends when Joel is underfoot all day.
Follow these steps to participate in this discussion:
Describe two benefits of providing individual psychotherapy to Joel and to his wife.
Identify the themes with which you hypothesize Joel is struggling.
What would be the benefits of Joel attending group therapy for retired men?
How would intergenerational couple's therapy benefit Joel and Joan?

My Answer:
Subject: Week 8: Counseling Retired 65-Year-Old Joel and his wife Joan by Tony Astro Topic: u08d1 Case Analysis
Author: Tony Astro Date: November 30, 2008 8:17 AM

Joel is suffering from a mild depression brought about by a change of pace from previous 9-5 drudgery of being an executive “supervising” his employees in a large corporation into a slow and less pressure lifestyle. Not all and sundry reacts the same way to retirement, some will be looking forward to see a chance to relax or relief from the stress of working in a large corporation, particularly those who don’t have many perks and excitement of an executive.

For men, retirement is a concern that can affect the very essence of their lives. A large number of men derive an almost singleminded identity from their work. Many develop no diversified interests outside their employment and are caught up in a narrow definition of who they are and what they are worth as people. Work and life become so interconnected that the loss of a job can eliminate the reason for living (Butler, Lewis, & Sunderland, 1998).

Now what Joel needs is to refocus out of his previous lifestyle to his new life and to “seize the day” of being at home enjoying other activities other than “supervising” as the executive boss of Joan so Joan can find more time for herself. Counselors need to help Joel reevaluate his transition through individual psychotherapy. Joel and Joan must first admit to the counselor of having some type of psychological concern and intends an answer. The counselor will conduct an individual therapy for the first session through narrative or life review.

Davis and Degges-White use the term life reviews as a naturally occurring process in which individuals share their stories through written or oral means. Individuals depend on language to make sense of mental images and on constructed symbols to communicate ideas and intents to others (Davis and Degges-White, 2008).

A narrative or life review counseling would be a very appropriate technique to know and bring out questions and answers individually like:
1. What are the things you miss being an executive? (Question for Joel)
2. Is there any activities you have done in the past 5 years that helped you not to feel depressed? (Joel)
3. When and how did you feel that Joel don’t understand you or you feel like he supervises you like one of his employees? (Joan)
4. Have you tried doing something fun together since you (Joel) retired? (Both)

Counselor would also propose to have Joel and Joan try to write down their daily events either through a journal for their own exclusive readings. Have them individually review anything they write and observe themselves and get back to the counselor for a follow-up.

Davis and Degges-White continues on their studies: Comparing participants' earlier writings with their later writings and asking participants whether they thought the life review activities improved their ability to view themselves gave a more comprehensive perception.

Davis and Degges continues in their research: Overall, the participants viewed the activity as one that provided personal analysis rather than pure description of past activities or relationships. They generally believed, they did deepen their understanding of themselves, and they felt that looking back did provide opportunity to find connections (i.e., self-actualization). Their comments revealed that the experience encouraged them to undertake a personal search for meaning (Davis and Degges-White, 2008).

Joel and Joan is going through a transition and together, they should be counseled as a couple and also within a group of an adult who is going through similar circumstances as they are who has an impact in their individuality.

Adults continuously experience transitions. Adults’ reactions to transitions depend on the type of transition, the context in which it occurs, and its impact on their lives. A transition has no end point; rather, a transition is a process over time that includes phases of assimilation and continuous appraisal as people move in, through, and out of it (Goodman 2006).

Transition counseling through individual and group is a process that they both must go through formal counseling. Also would advise Joel and Joan to have activities together and join a group like the Association of Retired Americans and other local community group of seniors or couple. This will keep Joel’s mind out of his previous lifestyle and transitioning both of them towards being a normal couple and they may see this through other people in a group including inter-generational.

In groups, clients have opportunities to hear about a variety of sources of support and coping strategies used by others. When we ask adults what has helped them survive, we most often hear about a sense of humor, support from special people, and faith (Goodman 2006).

Butler, R. N., Lewis, M. I., & Sunderland, T. (1998). Aging and mental health: Positive psychosocial and biomedical approaches (5th ed.). Austin: Pro-Ed, Inc.

Davis, N. and Degges-White, S. (2008, Fall2008). Catalysts for Developing Productive Life Reviews: A Multiple Case Study. Adultspan: Theory Research & Practice, 7(2), 69-79. Retrieved November 24, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.

Goodman, Jane. Counseling Adults in Transition : Linking Practice with Theory (3rd Edition). New York, NY, USA: Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated, 2006. p 53 and p 250

Last edited on: November 30, 2008 8:24 AM
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