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Envisioning Eldership Workshop

December 7, 2019 @ 9:30 am - 5:30 pm

Embracing a Joyous View of Aging and Living – An Existential, Process-Oriented Approach

A Day-Long Workshop Developed & Facilitated by EHI Core Instructor:
Dr. Nader Shabahangi, MFT, RCFE

Date: Saturday, December 7th, 2019

A day dynamic engagement with Nader Shabahangi, PhD, MFT, RCFE!

Integrating existential-humanistic and process-oriented philosophy and methodology with the latest research in gerontology, this workshop helped participants understand the concept and practice of eldership and invite them to reflect on their own beliefs about adulthood and aging.

Participants explored the possibilities for developing new identity constructions and frameworks for conceptualizing aging, as well as meaning and purpose in old age. This new perspective can support not only psychotherapists but also any any person who is interested in more effectively working with elders and themselves. This approach and learning also contributes to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in general.

More than ever, we crave a new definition of aging that borrows from the great thinkers, artists, philosophers and wisdom traditions throughout history. Blending existential, process-oriented psychotherapeutic insights and centuries of philosophical wisdom with modern pragmatism learned from being a CEO of eldercare communities in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a quarter of a century, this workshop seeks a thoughtful map on aging, not a “To Do” list that illuminates yet another reason to fail.

Eldership isn’t a state, but a process. It’s not something to be achieved, but practiced in our own unique journey!

Therapeutic Professionals and General Public Invited!

This workshop was intended to engage the general public and enrich the work of therapeutic professionals. We invited those interested in envisioning a new paradigm of eldership from an existential process-oriented approach and those who work with elders, nurses, care partners, psychologists, therapists, social workers, counselors, all were welcome!


Drawing upon the philosophical roots, literature, and practices of humanistic psychology and philosophy, as well as the latest research in gerontology, this presentation will focus on the creation of positive frameworks of aging, thereby supporting participants in improving therapeutic rapport with older adult clients, in helping clients move towards a meaning-based understanding of the aging process and in understanding and utilizing principles of eldership in clinical practice. Participants will be invited to explore their personal identities, reflecting on their own beliefs on aging, adulthood and elderhood in order to develop new identity constructions as well as adaptive frameworks for conceptualizing aging, meaning and purpose in old age. This new perspective can potentially nourish personal well-being, enlarge the context of psychotherapy practice and contribute to the health of clients’ and clinicians’ inner and outer world.

Learning objectives:

  1. Attendees will be able to list at least 3 reasons for the need to work therapeutically from an eldership perspective.
  2. Attendees will be able to explain at least 3 ways in which humanistic principles inform the concept of “eldership”.
  3. Attendees will be able to summarize the central concept of four-phase conflict resolution and how it is informed by an attitude of eldership.
  4. Attendees will be able to identify 3 ways in which eldership’s inherent focus on a sustainable way of living improves social and psychological health.


December 7, 2019
9:30 am - 5:30 pm
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Existential-Humanistic Institute
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