Coaching for the third age -the Re-attiring play of voices

Jen Gash

At our last meeting in April we explored the subject of coaching those in the third age – at the point of elderdom – or whatever we might call it. This followed a different route from the usual, with my offering up myself as a client to the group – and offering an audio play / drama for participants to deal with as they wished.

What i heard from you at the close of the session was that the play served as a very different type of device to carry the inquiry and the learning – and that it was good to have some thoughtful pre work of a different kind. They said that my stepping into a vulnerable space, and offering myself up as client  provided an opportunity to work with a living case study, with the client present.

The spilling out of ‘confessions’ into the play had an unexpectedly  cathartic effect for me – and also had the same effect for some others who were coat tailing on the stories, and parallel processing.   It was clear that my issues and challenges not unique to me, but true for others not just in third age but also others in transition or who have clients in transition.  

We all felt that there was enough juice in this session to warrant a further session on the same subject, not just as a contribution to ‘help the aged’ but also for others facing similar life and career transitions.

some of the provocations that arose from this session included

Provocations and challenges 

  • Letting go – is more complex than it seems
  • Addressing underlying melancholy – which is of course human and allowable 
  • Okay to stay with the trouble 
  • Allow the song in your heart to be out there in the world  
  • Allow the need for mourning 
  • The psychodynamics of grieving, and of survival and adaption – and the need for courage in the face of that. 
  • The inevitable reaching back to youth.
  • Making peace, seeking a place of peace  
  • Is there a slowing .. but is that not a good byproduct of ageing? 
  • Cloaks and gowns are fine and grand but they can also hide things. Are robes about power and control? 
  •  End of career? Or is that word a bedfellow of the R WORD – indicating a finite termination.
  • Is retirement a construct that we could retire?  There are at least five ages, and we can work until 100 should we wish 
here is the play itself in all its glory – I am told that playing it while cleaning behind the fridge works well

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