Moving through the life stages of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle and old age is an inevitable physical process. It is accompanied by psychological changes and cultural expectations. Some people navigate these transitions apparently effortlessly but others find it is a time of crisis and anxiety. When life is not working out as expected it is often a time people seek help from a counsellor: writers try to capture the feelings, experiences and dilemmas peculiar to that life stage.
Using the work of Jung, Erikson and Yalom, we will explore why these changes are particularly joyful or problematic. We will look at how the necessity to find meaning in life becomes more urgent as people age. There is a wealth of literature from Shakespeare to modern writers to draw on and we will look at the interface between these two disciplines of psychotherapy and literature.
Although a range of literature will be included, the day will mainly focus on poetry as it is more easily accessed in a single day course. All the life stages will be reflected on, but we will focus in particular on adolescence and middle age.