The authors' intention is to initiate the process of applying Gestalt therapy theory, practice, and research to the psychological needs of our rapidly growing elderly population. They present the rationale and ideas for Gestalt therapists to consider in providing psychotherapy services to geriatric patients, particularly those in nursing homes. Discussion of current demographics on aging and the discriminatory problems of stereotyping and ageism provide the ground for elder psychotherapy. Developmental needs and psychological problems inherent in the "coming of age" are addressed from a Gestalt perspective. The final stage of life is particularly amenable to the principles of Gestalt therapy as it is when patients are coping with issues of self-absorption, unfinished business, loss of control, living in the past, unresolved polarities, and closure.

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