Women Growing Older: Relationships, Work, Health, and Spirituality

Lorraine Mangione, PhD and her colleague Roz Forti, LICSW, PhD recently published Beyond midlife and before retirement: A short-term women’s group in International Journal of Group Psychotherapy.

One of the things this journal now does since it is published by Taylor and Francis is give free access to a limited number of articles. If you are interested in the topic, please feel free to click on the link below the abstract, and depending on the number of people who have accessed the article, a copy may be available for you.

As women move into the second half of life and towards retirement, they may experience many changes and transitions, including in health, relationships, career choices, and spirituality. Some of those changes can be distressing, such as serious health problems for themselves or their families, increased isolation, multiple losses of important people, feelings of uselessness and lack of a meaningful role, and growing questions or struggles around spirituality. Time is often seen as moving faster and increasingly limited. This short-term group offers an opportunity for women to reflect upon issues of identity, values, choices, desires, and hopes regarding relationships, work and other activities, spirituality, and health to create new visions. We describe an integrated theoretical framework that includes existentialism, mindfulness, adult development, object relations, attachment, and relational cultural therapy. We discuss the group’s underlying assumptions in terms of its short-term and semi-structured nature and its format, and suggest exercises, with examples highlighting important learning and/or group interaction. Finally, we address the need for more intensive psychotherapy, outliers, ensuring participation, and our own responses.


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