PsychotherapyHELP Newsletter

by Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D. MFT 


"Coaching Seniors: Ramping Up the Golden Years"



Sharon's conversation is rolling on and seems to have no end. She is completely overwhelming and taxing her listener. Every time the listener wants to get a word in, Sharon shuts off her ears and finds a way to just roll on and on, not seeming to care what the other person is thinking or feeling. Is this a pleasant conversation, a meaningful exchange, a fulfilling mutual experience? I doubt it. Sharon might be exhibiting and displaying a problem endemic to some senior citizens. Why is her conversation so self-centered and monopolistic?

Sharon seems to have an enormous need to be heard, noticed, paid attention to, as if to affirm her existence. Does she have an underlying fear of nonexistence, death or existential meaninglessness?

The preceding questions are only a few of the concerns when coaching senior citizens on how to live meaningful and even ecstatic lives.

So, how do you explain Sharon's excessive need to be heard, acknowledged and unconsciously brag about her accomplishments and her value as a person?

Here comes Tom! He predates the baby boomers and occupies a position amongst the beat generation. He finds himself complaining (kvetching) just about everything and everybody. Who is this man? He was once tremendously successful and considered a very pleasant person. Now, he is concerned about his memory and his place in society. He feels pressured to make more money and be able to support his working wife, who now brings in most of the money. He frantically searches out new projects to bring meaning to his life and finds that the world he once shined in, no longer seeks out and cherishes his talents and skills.

Brenda doesn't want anybody to see pictures of herself. She can no longer bask in the beauty of her former svelte self. She is now amongst the many single and unattached seniors group who still seek love and companionship. She has a very negative self-image of herself as an older person. She hates old-age.

Question: So, where are we going with this?

Dr. Paul: Everybody, sooner or later, will accomplish old-age and senior status. Guess what? A whole new set of challenges and possibilities emerge and only a knowledge of the process can equip someone to elevate to peak ecstatic golden years Paradise.

Question: Are you nuts!? What do you mean peak ecstatic golden years Paradise?

Dr. Paul: Through the coaching phenomena, I can set up a mental framework for older people to reconstruct their later lives. This transformation occurs from the inside out and includes helping individuals to develop a clear and powerful sense of meaning and purpose in the face of physical, financial and relationship decline.

Question: What do you consider the first aspect of that mental framework?

Dr. Paul: Right now! I want you to focus on the idea of creating and possessing a very powerful positive attitude. If you fix this into your brain, it will serve to deflect negativity from your thinking and help you awaken every morning determined to have an ecstatic day.

Question: Can you give me an example of this?

Dr. Paul: Yes! Sit on the edge of the bed in the morning and through will and intention declare that you are going to have a positively ecstatic day. Then, if you're so inclined, reinforce it with a powerful transcendent prayer, mantra or affirmation.

Question: Why should I survive?

Dr. Paul: You are still capable of discovering and creating existential high-powered meaning through inner and spiritual resources in your life. This is a way of transcending personal loss and devastation in your old-age. Your life and your existence has meaning and purpose. Will yourself to get on with it. Our society devalues frailty and sickness and rewards vitality and productivity. Stop grumbling and climb out of your spiritual malaise. Clear your mind of the confusion concerning the meaning and purpose of your life. Don't engage in meaningless activities, even though you may be experiencing diminishment physically, mentally and financially.

Question: Can you give me an example of how a successful ager reports positive meanings in life and death?

Dr. Paul: "I want to live a life of total value, commitment, dedication and contribution to the well-being of everything and everyone around me and beyond." "I am still very ambitious and excited about facing new challenges and developing new projects for the betterment of humankind."

These people have a strong zest for life and a definitive sense of purpose and meaning. They only engage in happy activities that have purpose and serve altruistic needs. They also understand and pursue the intrinsic capability of transcendence to higher levels of consciousness. They entertain a positive view of the afterlife, spirituality and eternal life. Some seniors relish in the experience of living fully one day at a time and being grateful for what they have. It is their attitude that is healthy.

Question: What are some other aspects of aging that I should know about?

Dr. Paul: Your experiences must be meaningful, satisfying and pleasant. Engaging in boring one-sided undemocratic conversation is a waste of time. Great conversations are a blend of self-expression and equal listening. I know people who are great listeners and when they have to listen to someone rolling on and on, they feel they're being used and that the other person has no interest in what they have to say. To be a good and meaningful conversationalist requires equal expressing and listening skills. Secondly, seek out and engage in satisfying and pleasant experiences. Don't let the bummers get you down! Recognize what events, experiences and people that you feel has the most meaningful, pleasant and satisfying effect on you. People are more afraid of the incompleteness of their lives. Make good use of your time and accomplish something that is significant and worthwhile. Find a cause that's worth dying for. If you are creative, seek new challenges. There are so many exciting projects available, that you will find life to be too short to complete all of them.

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Questions about Therapy and Coaching?


If it's therapy you are seeking, go to PsychotherapyHELP and check out my therapy links and information on Coaching. Therapy and Coaching are designed and structured for each individual client. I do not fit a client into any model ... your therapy is designed for you and your situation alone.  Coaching can give you direction and support in all areas in your life, plus motivate you to make the changes that you've been dreaming of. One phone call is all it takes... we're here to answer your questions.


Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy our newsletter. Please feel free to explore my web site at PsychotherapyHELP at You find articles to download, information on therapy and coaching, and links to an abundance of resources.


Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D. MFT



voice: 818-882-7404