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Date of Award


Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

J. W. Bartee, PhD

Second Advisor

J. Garwood, PhD


A survey of the literature on geriatric couples counseling reveals a limited amount of material, however, with the strong suggestion that this is a growing need with a promising future for research and practice. As of yet, there are no research publications focusing on geriatric same-sex couples, a need yet unfulfilled. The bulk of the available literature deals with a problem-solving, immediate resolution of symptom approach. Some literature acknowledges the existence of the elderly in long-term relationships, with severe problems, but without much direction regarding how to address these problems. The conclusion of this research is twofold: 1) that initial work with geriatric same-sex couples should begin; and 2) that conjoint couples counseling with the elderly is able to successfully address characterological issues when utilizing an object-relations, self-psychology theoretical perspective and therapeutic relationship based on these theoretical considerations.