Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Catching Up

I was really surprised to find that I had not done a blog entry since the end of May which was almost 6 weeks ago. I can see that I have a ways to go in this new world of websites, blogs and social networks because it seems as if I just did this last week. I think my age is showing.

In the interim I have been consulting with clients, reading, and finishing a spinning project.

Consults have ranged from aging and two addictions (alcoholism and gambling), end-stage care issues for the family of someone with mental illness; suggestions on how to partner with parents to explore housing options; and the challenge of getting family and healthcare practitioners working together on behalf of an elder.

I love this job!

I will confess to being a perpetual student. I get caught up in reading and reading and reading. Most recently I discovered a biography of Erik Erikson by Lawrence J. Friedman. Much of my M.A. work was on lifecycle development in the second half of life and focused on Erickson’s theories. Of course reading the biography got me interested in rereading some of Erickson’s books, for example, Young Man Luther, Gandhi's Truth and The Life Cycle Completed.

I was excited to discover that there was an extended version of The Life Cycle Completed. I learned from the biography that Joan Erickson was not only a teacher and innovator in her own right---she had also been a close collaborator with her husband from the beginning. They had worked for decades on the development of lifecycle theory. Joan Erikson died at 94 in 1997, three years after Erik who was 92. They continued to rework their theories as they engaged/endured the vicissitudes of their own aging process.

Joan Erickson collected these insights into a Ninth Stage of Development. More about this ninth stage later.

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