Why therapy for older adults and seniors?

You go along in life thinking that you know who you are. Things are moving along fine. Then you hit your 50’s, 60’s or 70’s and everything starts to change. The shift may be subtle or sudden, but the effect is tectonic. You are no longer the person you used to be.

  • Who am I now?

  • How do I want to live my life?

  • How can I deal with the aging, illness and the death of my friends and family?

  • How can I deal with the idea of my own mortality?

  • What gives me meaning and joy?

Older adults and seniors have special needs in therapy, very different from someone in their 30’s or 40’s. Some things that younger people are still struggling with they have already figured out. At the same time, they are facing a whole new world as they move into late their middle age and senior years.

Aging is a time of change

For many, the middle years were structured and orderly. Their lives seem to be defined by external forces; launching a career, making a living, creating a family, building a life.

But, aging asks us to look beyond some of those traditional constraints.

  • Who am I if I’m no longer working?

  • Who am I if the kids are grown and gone?

  • Who am I if I can’t drive and live in a retirement home?

The purpose of Counseling for Older Adults is to help you find answer to these questions. And to find a sense of meaning and purpose in the life you have today. The goal of psychotherapy is to help you feel connected and engaged with your life as it is today. To feel greater meaning and more joy in your life.

Is it depression or a legitimate sorrow?

Depression is a very common diagnosis for older adults, and many times it is appropriate. But, I believe that many therapists and psychiatrists over diagnose depression, and overlook legitimate feelings of sadness or sorrow.

Aging changes your life forever. And, no matter how good life is today, there is still a sense of sorrow at what has been lost. This is not pathological, it is realistic.

The goal of psychotherapy

In our culture we’re taught to ignore these losses and soldier on. But, when we ignore the pain, the loss just stays with us. The goal of Counseling for Older Adults is to recognize these losses, honor them, and greive them. As your therapist, my job is to help you move through this process so that you can move forward in your life. In my view, the purpose of therapy is to help you feel more engaged and connected to the life you have today. And through that connection you can find greater meaning and joy.

“People don't like getting older, but they do like changing. Staying the same is a kind of death.”

Tommy Wallach, Thanks for the Trouble