Still Growing: The Creative Self in Older Adulthood

By Donald Capps

Bringing together both pastoral awareness and psychoanalytical knowledge, this is a life-affirming study of the growth and creativity of old age.

ISBN: 9780718893910


The later-adult years are commonly viewed as a period in which one struggles to maintain a vestige of the physical, mental, and emotional vitality of one’s earlier years. In Still Growing, however, Donald Capps shows that older adulthood is actually a period of growth and development, and that a central feature of this growth and development is the remarkable creativity of older adults. This creativity is the consequence of the wisdom gained through years of experience but is also due to a newly developed capacity to adapt to unprecedented challenges integral to the aging process.

In Part 1, Capps illustrates the challenges of transitioning to older adulthood from the author’s own experiences, while in Part 2 he draws on material from Erik H. Erikson, Sigmund Freud, and Paul W. Pruyser to account for longevity, adaptability, and creativity in older adults. Finally, in part 3 he focusses on the work of both William James and Walt Disney to fashion a model of creative aging.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 208

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Donald Capps is William Harte Felmeth Professor of Pastoral Theology (Emeritus) and Adjunct Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of The Resourceful Self: And a Child Lead Them (The Lutterworth Press, 2015) and At Home in the World: A Study in Psychoanalysis, Religion, and Art (The Lutterworth Press, 2013). His other books include Striking Out: The Religious Journey of Teenage Boys (2011), Understanding Psychosis (2010) and Living in Limbo: Life in the Midst of Uncertainty (with Nathan Carlin, 2010).


List of Tables

Part 1 – The Transition to Older Adulthood
1. Fired Up and Loaded for Bear
2. A Faithful Reunion

Part 2 – Growth and Development in Older Adulthood
3. The Three Stages of Older Adulthood
4. The Aging Process as Forward Movement
5. The Creativity of Older Adults

Part 3 – The Artistry of Aging
6. Relaxed Bodies, Emancipated Minds, and Dominant Calm
7. Happy Spirits and Grumpy Souls

Epilogue: Aging Horses and Wounded Healers



Endorsements and Reviews

Building on Freud, Erikson, and Pruyser (or pyschoanalytic tradition), Capps explores the overlooked potential for personal growth and creativity in older adulthood. Still Growing is a rare example of a wise and hopeful book. A must-read for everyone over sixty.
Troels Nørager, Aarhus University, Denmark

Relentlessly yet personally and gently honest about aging. There is no escape, yet freedom beckons. Hope, serenity, and creativity become possibilities. Deeply knowledgeable on psychology, spirituality, and the human life cycle, Donald Capps gives solace – no cheap comfort, but rather profound wisdom. He offers it playfully, joyfully, artistically, humorously, gracefully. His fresh perspective on the daunting prospect of becoming an older adult: there are ‘fringe benefits’.
Yolanda Dreyer, University of Pretoria, South Africa

This is a wise book and a mature piece of scholarly reflection that wider clinical sources and theological texts are likely to embrace, to endorse and to develop.
Howard Worsley, in Theology, Vol 119, No 3

Donald Capps (1939-2015) was one of the premier spokespersons for the fields of pastoral counseling and psychology of religion. … Capps closes with Weldon Johnson’s poem on ‘The Creation’ telling us that God still felt lonely for the first five days of creation. … [The author] suggests that perhaps this means that we inhabit is, for us, the underlying inspiration for our own creativity. And maybe it is the older adult who is especially aware that this is so.
Wayne Rollins, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 25, Issue 1