Counseling Older Adults

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Barbara Alexander, LCSW, BCD, president of On Good Authority, interviews three experts who work with older adults. Bob Knight, PhD, discusses methods of assessing older adults and explains how to complete a therapeutic life review. He also summarizes how the treatment of the older adult differs from that of the younger adult.

Mary Ann Wolinsky, MSW, outlines how retirement and illness can force older couples to work through of lifetime marital conflicts, and Nancy Osgood, PhD, presents methods of assessing and identifying early signs of suicide in the elderly.

Target audience: Psychologists, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers, addiction counselors, nurses

This CE course is designated as intermediate.

You can access the audio to these interviews via your computer's MP3 player and/or read the text of the interviews.


  • Print Version / Test Preview
  • Part 1: Treatment of the Elderly
  • Part 2: Counseling Older Adults and Older Couples
  • Part 3: Elderly Suicide
  • Part 4: Audio Versions of Interviews
  • CE Test
  • Evaluation

Author Bio

Subject Matter Experts:

Dr. Bob Knight is the Merle H. Bensinger Professor of Gerontology and Psychology at the Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California. In that position, he serves as Director of the Tingstad Older Adult Counseling Center and Co-Director of the Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center. Prior to joining the faculty at U.S.C., Dr. Knight managed the senior services program at Ventura County, California, Mental Health Services. He has published extensively in mental health and aging, including Psychotherapy with Older Adults and Older Adults in Psychotherapy: Case Histories. He is the senior editor of Mental Health Services for Older Adults: Implications for Training and Practice in Geropsychology and co-edited A Guide to Psychotherapy and Aging: Effective Clinical Interventions in a Life-Stage Context. In 1997 he served as the President of Section 2, Division 12 (Clinical Geropsychology), of the American Psychological Association.

Mary Ann Wolinsky, MSW, is a clinical social worker in private practice in Houston, Texas. For six years she was the coordinator of services to older persons at a local family service agency. During that time Ms. Wolinsky worked extensively with older individuals and couples. As a result of her work with this clientele, Ms. Wolinsky has published articles in professional journals on counseling with older people and their families, and she has published a book on the subject entitled, A Heart of Wisdom, Marital Counseling With Older and Elderly Couples. She presents workshops and provides in-service training to community and professional groups and has served as Vice-President of Development on the Houston Board of the Alzheimer's' Association. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, Houston, Task Force on Aging.

Dr. Nancy Osgood is professor of gerontology and sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia, where she has been teaching and doing research for the past fourteen years. From 1989 to 1992, Dr. Osgood was director of an AOA-funded statewide model detection and prevention program for geriatric alcoholism in Virginia. Her anti-drug efforts were well recognized in the state by Governor Douglas Wilder, who declared the third week of November as Substance Abuse Awareness Week for Elder Virginians and who continued the project begun by Dr. Osgood for two additional years using state funds to complete the work. Dr. Osgood is an internationally sought after speaker and has authored and co-authored numerous articles, book chapters, and books on the topic of suicide in the elderly, substance abuse and aging, retirement housing for the elderly, recreation leisure and the elderly, and creative arts in aging.

Dr. Osgood is the author of a book on elderly suicide entitled, Suicide In Later Life, Recognizing the Warning Signs. In August of 1984, Dr. Osgood was one of a thousand women invited by President Ronald Regan to the White House to celebrate the Proclamation of Women's Equality Day. In 1995 Dr. Osgood co-authored with Helen Wood and Iris Parm a book entitled, Alcoholism and Aging: An Annotated Bibliography and Review.


Barbara Alexander, LCSW, BCD, is a graduate of the Smith College School for Social Work and the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Program of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. After working for 13 years in child psychiatric settings and 30 years in private practice, she is now founder and president of On Good Authority, and an expert interviewer.

CE Approvals

At Health is an APA-Approved Sponsor At Health, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. At Health, LLC maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

At Health is an NBCC-Approved SponsorAt Health, LLC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6949. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. At Health, LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

At Health, LLC is an approved provider of continuing education through the co-sponsorship of At Health, LLC, and Amedco, LLC.  Amedco, #1346, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Amedco maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 6/24/2016 to 6/24/2019.

At Health is an Approved Sponsor of the California Board of NursingAt Health, LLC is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN), Provider # CEP 17059. California Licensed Vocational Nurses and California Psychiatric Technicians can take online courses by California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN) approved providers, such as At Health, LLC, to fulfill their CE requirements.

At Health is an Approved Sponsor of the Texas State Board of ExaminersAt Health, LLC is an approved provider of the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners, provider #7566.

At Health, LLC is an approved provider of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, provider #908.

At Health, LLC is an approved provider of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, provider # 3303.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social work in Arkansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, master's level psychologists, licensed clinical psychotherapists, and alcohol and other drug abuse counselors in Kansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for mental health practice and for social work in Nebraska.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for psychologists, pastoral psychotherapists, clinical social workers, clinical mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and alcohol and drug abuse counselors in New Hampshire.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marital and family therapists, and clinical pastoral therapists in Tennessee. is approved as a continuing education provider by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) Provider #148460.

Other jurisdictions may accept trainings offered by At Health, LLC for your continuing education requirements. Restrictions may apply. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit.”


Page last modified or reviewed by on Jul 10, 2018.

Learning Objectives

Upon completing this program, participants should be able to:

  • Describe how the treatment of older adults differs from the treatment of younger adults;
  • Discuss methods of assessing older adults;
  • Explain how issues such as retirement and illness affect older adults; and
  • Identify some of the early signs of suicide in the elderly.

126 reviews for Counseling Older Adults

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