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Older Adults Section

The Older Adults section was formed in 1994, by a small group of interested clinicians. Some of these were psychiatrists specialising in services for the over 65 age range; others were psychoanalytic therapists who had experience in treating older adults. The founding chairman was Dr Ruth Porter. The broad aim of the Section is to bring together previously somewhat disparate workers in the field, and foster increased knowledge and expertise in psychoanalytic thinking as applied to patients in later life. NHS Services for the elderly, although accepting of the multidisciplinary ethos have been relatively deprived of a psychoanalytic approach. Fortunately this position is changing, and such services are beginning to appreciate the potential value of psychoanalytic thinking as applied to individual patients, staff and the service as a whole. During the first five years of its existence the Older Adults Section, through the conference committee of the APP, has organised two successful multidisciplinary conferences open to professionals wishing to increase their theoretical knowledge and clinical skills. In 1998 members of the Section ran a series of four evening lectures and workshops at St Bartholomew's Hospital, based on various themes relating to difficulties in clinical work within elderly mental health services.

Committee members

Please note the list below is to be updated. If you wish to contact the committee please email Dr Sandra Evans at

The Older Adults subcommittee comprises individuals from psychiatry, psychology and music therapy. It meets approximately four times yearly.

Sandra Evans - Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry

Mark Ardern -Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry, St Charles Hospital

Jane GarnerSecretary - Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry,Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 8JL

Sian Critchley, - Robbins Clinical Psychologist, Oxleas NHS Trust, Eltham, London SE9 5DL

Rachel Darnley-Smith - Head Music Therapist and Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, St Anns Hospital, London N15

Sue Isaacs Elmhurst - Retired Child Psychoanalyst, London NW3

Carol Martin - Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, The University of Leeds

Ruth Porter - Retired Medical Psychotherapist, Cheltenham

David Richards - BPC registered Psychotherapist


The section collaborated with the Squiggle Foundation to put on a one day conference in September last year entitled "Winnicott & Ageing".

The conference demonstrated through presentations from the APP Older Adults Section and from Squiggle, the strong impact of early relationships on individuals even in very late life.  The meeting was very lively, well-attended and successful. Further joint meetings are being planned.

Our next venture is another book negotiated with Routledge which is an edited volume of theory and practice of psychoanalytic approaches to dementia and its care.

Educational: 21/22 February 2000 (Jointly with the Tavistock Centre, London NW3) conference entitled: "Room to Manoeuvre: depression and dementia. Current trends in psychodynamic thinking". 2/3 April 2001 (Jointly with the Tavistock Centre, London NW3) conference entitled: "Looking into later life: Psychodynamic Perspective on Observation and Therapeutic Interventions".

Clinical: Although members cannot provide individual supervision of practitioners, it is possible, by arrangement, for members to contribute to workshops organised externally. Conference organisers should approach either individuals or contact the chairman or secretary.

Liaison: The Older Adults Section maintains links with other professional organisations including:

    The Old Age Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists
    The psychologists Special Interest Group for the Elderly
    The Institute of Group Analysis
    The Tavistock Centre

Initial contact to the committee

Dr Sandra Evans, Chair:

Dr Jane Garner, Secretary: