As people live longer, differences between generations emerge as a significant cultural issue. While extensive research has been undertaken on the impact of cultural and gender differences in the field of counselling, little attention has been given to the impact of significant generational differences between counsellor and client. This study is a qualitative investigation into the rewards and challenges that face counsellors who work with these populations. In-depth data was gathered from qualified, experienced counsellors, and major themes were identified using interpretative phenomenological analysis. While the study concurs with the literature on many of the challenges in work with older clients, the data also suggests significant personal rewards for counsellors. These rewards have not been as well understood or appreciated in previous literature. A major theme identified is the heightened self-awareness and personal insight gained when counsellors work with clients from older generations, and that can help prepare the counsellor for living well in the present and the future. These positive themes can make a valuable contribution to counsellor education, supervision and employment.
Psychotherapy in Australia / Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.12-18