The Life Course: Perspectives from Literature and Psychotherapy


Moving through the life stages of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle and old age is an inevitable physical process. It is accompanied by psychological changes and cultural expectations. Some people navigate these transitions apparently effortlessly but others find it is a time of crisis and anxiety. When life is not working out as expected it is often a time people seek help from a counsellor: writers try to capture the feelings, experiences and dilemmas peculiar to that life stage.

Using the work of Jung, Erikson and Yalom, we will explore why these changes are particularly joyful or problematic.  We will look at how the necessity to find meaning in life becomes more urgent as people age.  There is a wealth of literature from Shakespeare to modern writers to draw on and we will look at the interface between these two disciplines of psychotherapy and literature.

Although a range of literature will be included, the day will mainly focus on poetry as it is more easily accessed in a single day course. All the life stages will be reflected on, but we will focus in particular on adolescence and middle age. 

Programme details


Concept of the life course: psychological and cultural factors

Tea/coffee break

Focus on adolescence: literature and psychology’s contribution

Lunch break

Middle age: the need to find meaning in life

Tea/coffee break

Review of the life course

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition fee (includes tea/coffee) £85.00
Baguette £6.10


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Ms Diana Hedges


Diana is the author of Poetry, Therapy and Emotional Life, a culmination of her interest in the relationship between psychotherapy and literature.  She holds a degree in English Literature and is a trained counsellor.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.