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Adapting psychotherapy for older patients with Parkinson's disease

  • Bob Knight (a1) (a2), Nadeeka N. W. Dissanayaka (a2) (a3) (a4) and Nancy A. Pachana (a2)



Emotional distress associated with Parkinson's disease (PD) increases disease burden and decreases functioning. The literature supports the benefits of psychological interventions for amelioration of emotional distress in persons with PD. The objective of this study is to apply the Contextual Adult Lifespan Theory for Adapting Psychotherapy (CALTAP) to enhancing psychological treatment for persons with PD.


This paper uses case examples to demonstrate the usefulness of the CALTAP model in helping patients and clinicians separate disease symptoms from the aging process. The examples also illustrate how working in this way can be beneficial in reducing emotional distress in persons with PD.


CALTAP contributes to helping persons with PD and persons treating them understand the effects of the disease, separate disease effects from aging processes, and think through the influences of social context, cohort effects, and cultural differences.


The CALTAP model can guide adaptations to psychological interventions for emotional distress in PD and potentially improve their effects.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Nancy A. Pachana, PhD, FASSA Professor, School of Psychology, Director of Clinical Training Programs Co-Director, UQ Ageing Mind Initiative, The University of Queensland Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia. Phone: +61-7-3365-6832; Email:


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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
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