Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Dementia-Etiology, Dementia-Treatment, Psychotherapy for older people, Psychotherapist and patient, Social work with older people, Trigger events


This qualitative study was undertaken in order to determine what clinicians perceive to be trigger events that influence dementia onset and if these events are used in the therapeutic process. This study asked the following research questions: What is your experience as a clinician working with elders who have dementia? As a clinician, what is your understanding of trigger events? How do you incorporate the knowledge of triggers into your therapeutic process? Tell me about the types of events that you have found that trigger elderly onset of dementia: medical? Trauma? Etc? What specific techniques have you found helpful in working with elders with sudden onset of dementia? Participants were recruited by the snowball data collection technique by contacting a professional network of clinicians in person and by e-mail and telephone. Thirteen participants completed a face-to-face or telephone interview. The findings of the research showed that clinicians shared a basic knowledge of trigger events to dementia including emotional trigger events. However, clinicians reported a different understanding of the way in which these events trigger dementia than this researcher originally hypothesized. Clinicians do report using the knowledge of trigger events in therapy as a way to discern coping skills and identify areas to address.




iii, 52 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 47-48)