Discussion on Children and Older Adults

Week 14 Discussion: Discussion on Children and Older Adults

Presentation on Therapeutic Techniques for Children and Older Adults

James O’Hara, Karen Watson, Carinna Wilmot, Emily Ziniel

Regis College

 Presentation on Therapeutic Techniques for Children and Older Adults


This discussion will focus on therapeutic techniques that can be used for children and older adults. The first technique consists of behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy focuses on the way that behaviors are learned through associations with positive or negative effects associated with the behaviors, and how it is thus possible to form new associations and thus change problematic behaviors (Gotter, 2016). This is an appropriate approach for children because children may not yet have developed the self-critical faculties required to reflect on their own beliefs, which is the foundation of popular interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Likewise, older adults may also be more set in their ways and thus responsive to direct consequences of their behaviors rather than overarching criticisms of their broader worldviews. There are some ethical concerns associated with behavioral therapy, due to the fact that the process of re-forming positive and negative associations could be seen by some as inherently manipulative (Graham, 2019). Care must thus be taken in order to have the full consent of subjects and/or guardians.

            A second approach that would be appropriate for children and older adults consists of family therapy. Family therapy begins from the basic premise that most people are embedded within family networks that contribute a great deal to their emotional states as well as to the resources at their disposal (LoBiondo-Wood, 2008). This is especially important for children, given that children are by definition embedded in relations with their families or guardians. it could also be very important for older adults insofar as they may no longer be working and may thus find themselves dependent once again on their family networks as they retire and enter into the elderly phase of their lifecycles. For example, in some situations, elder abuse may be a problem that needs to be addressed through the implementation of family therapy (National Institute on Aging, 2019).

Discussion Prompts

1.         There are some ethical disputes about behavioral therapy, due to the fact that behaviorism was developed through research on animals and seems to suggest that humans can be easily manipulated. What do you think about this, and what safeguards do you think should be put into place in order to ensure that behavioral therapy is ethical?

2.         To what extent does the family shape the individual, and to what extent does the individual shape the family. You are welcome to draw on personal experiences in order to more effectively reflect on and respond to this prompt.

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