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“Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Older Adults”: Nancy Pachana discusses her latest book

In this informative interview, Dr. Nancy Pachana discusses the new book on Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Older Adults she has just released with her co-editors Victor Molinari, Larry W. Thompson, and Dolores Gallagher-Thompson. She talks about the importance of Geropsychology in today’s cultural landscape, including the role of an aging population, and how COVID-19 has put pressure on the mental well-being of older adults. Watch the video for the full interview.

Value of the book and the field

The book is valuable for clinical geropsychologists because it covers current treatment of topics of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment, while also including in-depth cases studies to demonstrate these topics.

Having a text which offers in-depth coverage of a topic of older adult mental health is especially invaluable for young clinicians. Older adult mental health assessment and treatment is often briefly touched on during training so having a resource which dives deeper into these topics is really required in the field now, especially given the aging of the population.

However, there’s always a balance between trying to include a great breadth of topics alongside trying to focus on key clinical topics, which what went the choices in the current text. Therefore, the book offers really key basic topics such as assessment and treatment across a range of clinical settings, as well as more specialized topics.

Importance of diversity

It is crucial to discuss diversity and cultural issues throughout the book as you will meet people who are not like yourself, when practicing in a clinical setting. Many people will come from a variety of backgrounds and so the book tries to demonstrate the breadth of issues that clinicians will face. There are a range of cultural diversity and inclusion issues shown in the case examples and through the literature cited, in order to package this up to give clinicians good tools for today’s practice.

COVID-19 among older people

COVID-19 has had a bad impact on people across a range of ages, but it has had some particularly bad impacts on older people. Older adults, particularly in institutional settings have had to deal with a great deal of isolation from loved ones. Older adults with multiple medical issues have been at increased risk of death from COVID-19, which has really hit this population hard. However, research has also shown that older adults have been resilient in the face of impacts of the pandemic and have drawn on prior coping skills. We as clinicians need to remember to draw on these strengths of older people to get through this particular era in history.

Click here to watch the full interview

About the authors

Dr. Nancy Pachana

Dr. Nancy A. Pachana is a clinical geropsychologist and professor at The University of Queensland, Australia. She has an international reputation in geriatric mental health, particularly late-life anxiety and driving in later life, and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2014. She has a passion for expanding research, teaching, international collaboration and early career scientist-practitioner support on mental health issues in later life.

Dr. Victor Molinari

Dr. Victor Molinari is a clinical geropsychologist and professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa Florida, USA. He is Past President of the American Board of Geropsychology (ABGERO). His research interests include professional competencies in geropsychology, serious mental illness in older adults, caregiving training for those with dementia, mental health in older adults, reminiscence interventions, and personality disorder in older adults.

Dr. Larry Thompson

Dr. Larry Thompson is a clinical geropsychologist and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is also a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia. He has served on the council of the FDA and research review panels for the National Institutes of Health. His research and teaching focus on development of cognitivebehavior therapy interventions for treatment of late-life depression and related disorders.

Dr. Dolores Gallagher-Thompson

Dr. Dolores Gallagher-Thompson is a clinical geropsychologist and Professor Emerita at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is a partner in the Family Caregiving Institute of Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, a co-founder of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and co-initiator of a Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Alzheimer’s Association, and is an Honorar y Professor at The University of Queensland. Her research and clinical practice focus on diversity, depression, and caregivers’ mental health.