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An Empirical Perspective on the Psychotherapist’s Age and Experience

Volume 18, 2021, Nr. 2

Elisabeth Hahn, Michaela Rohr & Paula Usemann:

An Empirical Perspective on the Psychotherapist’s Age and Experience (Abstract)

What is the implication of belonging to the group of mature therapists? To answer this question the broadly based empirical data of the German »EmoPer-Project« was looked into. The focus lay on aspects of the »golden ager« therapists’ daily routine, their dominant traits of character, their emotional competence and style of therapy as well as their subjective wellbeing and health status. Compared to their younger colleagues, psychotherapists of 60 years and older reported a higher level of job satisfaction and less work stress, which they attributed to an increase command of productive therapy work styles. In accordance with current theoretical models of therapeutic competences, this seems to be caused by personality factors (such as openness for experience) as well as specific empathy skills, which both tend to evolve in the process of aging and thus again reflect on the therapeutic work styles. Furthermore, the data mirrors the profession’s increasing feminisation and the trend towards behavior therapy, thus allowing a glimpse into the changing world of ageing and future generations of therapists.