• Michele J. Karel
  • Gregory A. Hinrichsen
Reference work entry


Geropsychology is a growing area of practice within professional psychology. Due to the demographic imperative of an aging population, increasing numbers of psychologists will find themselves working with older adults, their families, and related care systems. They will seek to develop increased competence for work with this historically underserved yet rewarding and challenging clinical population. This chapter reviews the knowledge base and skill competencies for professional geropsychology practice, as defined in the Pikes Peak Model for Training in Professional Geropsychology. Foundational competencies (e.g., ethical issues, diversity, relationships) and functional assessment, intervention, and consultation competencies are defined and elaborated as applied to an older adult population. The chapter includes an overview of common late life clinical problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, dementia, alcohol and substance abuse), strategies for evaluation and efficacy of psychological interventions (e.g., for depression, anxiety, caregiver distress, behavioral problems in dementia, sleep problems), and settings of care for geropsychology practice (e.g., primary, long-term, and end-of-life care). The importance of interdisciplinary care and consultation skills is emphasized. Basic versus expert competencies for geropsychology practice are delineated; basic competencies are important for any psychologist working with older adults while expert competencies are important for psychologists who will serve as geropsychology educators, supervisors, and leaders. Essential components of a geropsychology training program are reviewed, while emphasizing that there are multiple developmental pathways to geropsychology competence. Resources for further information and education in the field are provided.


Mental Health Service American Psychological Association Older Adult Professional Psychology Skill Competency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele J. Karel
    • 1
  • Gregory A. Hinrichsen
    • 2
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolBrocktonUSA
  2. 2.Albert Einstein College of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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