This chapter describes my work with a client who spoke to me openly about some challenges of aging. Before introducing her, it will be useful for us to consider some insights about the transition into old age discussed by Lionel Corbett (1987), who begins by reiterating Jung’s view that whereas the first half of life concerns the ego, career, and family development, the second half concerns the pursuit of meaning, wholeness, and the further creation of consciousness.
[There is] the potential for widening of identity, brought about ultimately by reconnecting with more of the latent potential of the Self which was present at birth. . . . [Some people] may depreciate old age and ignore its specific meaning. . . . A major difficulty facing the individual about to move into this period is that there are no adequate social provisions to help with the transition. . . . Successful initiation is essential for spiritual rejuvenation and the attempt to attain a “sanctified mode of being.” When this process is successful, the new status has meaning to the person. . . . Without such cultural sanction and protection the move into old age may exact a heavy emotional toll; the individual may be unable to emerge from 148a state of chronic liminality. . . . When such outside help is lacking, the developmental imperative may come from within.(Corbett, 1987, pp. 372–373)