Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Giordano, Francesca G.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Educators--Attitudes; Older people--Education--Public opinion


This dissertation presents findings of a qualitative study that examined counselors, social workers, and psychologists’ beliefs, perceptions and experiences on aging and how they provided services to older adults 65 years and older. The 13 in-depth interviews were carried out to examine their experiences of providing services to meet their older clients’ mental health needs. This study supports the review of existing literature on what is already known about aging and providing services by mental health practitioners working with older adults. O f the results, 29 themes emerged showing how the practitioners helped and empowered their older clients to learn and deal with their problems effectively. In addition, practitioners encouraged their older clients to alter and modify their daily lifestyle to function and cope with problems. Other themes such as death and dying, endof- life ethical issues, suicide, complexity of managed care, issues with family members, a need for better training, and a host of other presenting concerns that come with aging and working with older adults are discussed. Overall, the findings suggest that there were more similarities than differences between the three practitioners’ perceptions and experiences on aging, in how they provided services working with older adults. A discussion of the study, in regards to how the nature of the study changed between the three groups is noted. Areas for future research were addressed including implications that recommend mental health practitioners to be prepared to meet the upcoming needs and services of older adults.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [274]-304).


xiii, 317 pages




Northern Illinois University

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