Psychodynamic Perspectives on Aging and Illness

  • Authors
  • Tamara Greenberg

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 37-57
  3. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 59-74
  4. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 75-93
  5. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 95-106
  6. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 107-119
  7. Tamara McClintock Greenberg
    Pages 135-146
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 147-150

About this book


"In Psychodynamic Perspectives on Aging and Illness, Tamara McClintock Greenberg provides the medical and psychological community with an exceptionally incisive and truly groundbreaking tour de force. Dr. Greenberg has illuminated the factors implicated in health and illness with a clear and concise perspective culled from the best of contemporary psychoanalytic psychology in a manner not previously accomplished. This work will be valued by all who come into contact with illness, suffering, pain, aging and death. With clearly elucidated concepts, vivid clinical examples and the benefit of her own personal narrative, the book is both compelling and educative. For those who work in medical settings, especially in health psychology and consultation liaison psychiatry, this text presents the definitive study of the nature of the experience of caring for sick people in our society. It will be required reading for a long time to come."
-Marilyn S. Jacobs, Ph.D., ABPP, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

More than ever, the aging process is recognized as carrying a special set of emotional challenges–especially when acute or chronic medical conditions are involved. In this light, Psychodynamic Perspectives on Aging and Illness presents a fresh, contemporary application of psychodynamic theory, addressing the complex issues surrounding declining health. Informed by the spectrum of psychodynamic thought from self, relational, and classical theories, this forward looking volume offers more modern interpretations of theory, and techniques for working with a growing, complicated, but surprisingly resilient population. It illuminates how to enhance the therapeutic relationship in key areas such as addressing body- and self-image issues, approach sensitive topics, and understand the disconnect that can occur between medical patients and the often impersonal, technology-driven health care system. At the same time, the author cogently argues for pluralism in a therapeutic approach that is frequently threatened by forces both within and outside the field. Among the topics covered:

  • Medical illness as trauma.
  • Idealization and the culture of medicine.
  • Normative and pathological narcissism in the ill and/or aging patient.
  • Noncompliant and self-destructive behaviors.
  • Transference and countertransference issues.
  • Psychotherapy with cognitively impaired adults.
  • Grief, loss, and hope.

Expanding on what we know and candid about what we don’t, Psychodynamic Perspectives on Aging and Illness offers mental health researchers and practitioners an insightful framework for improving the lives of older patients.


Emotion aging alexythimia bodily functioning illness narcissism paranoid states physiology psychoanalysis psychoanalytic theory

Bibliographic information