As therapy becomes more widely accepted in American culture, seniors are more open to seeking psychological help, The New York Times reported. It’s really all about being healthy. From a senior’s perspective, why not try to work out difficult issues that have been burdening you for years, especially when the stigma once associated with counseling has lessened dramatically? From a therapist’s perspective, the idea that a people in their 70s or 80s are stuck in their thinking has been rejected within the professional community. It also doesn’t hurt that Medicare pays for psychiatric assessments and therapy.
In a companion piece in the Times, seniors give firsthand accounts of the health benefits they’ve received from therapy — from dealing with the death of a spouse to making new friends. We’ve gathered a few of their selected quotes below.
Therapy has unlocked a lot of things that I never thought would have unfolded for me at this time in my life. I have learned to be more open with myself and others about who I am and what I am, and I’ve learned that I’m a fabulous person, which I did not know till now. […] I was brought up in a very protected society and discussing things was not an option. So having someone that actually discussed things with me to death was extremely helpful. –Judita Grosz, 69
No individual doesn’t have problems. Some problems are monumental and some are very small, but aging is in itself a problem. You can’t do the things you used to do. You can’t go where you wanted. People look at you differently. What psychiatry does is help you go through the problems and adjust your thinking. –Marvin Tolkin, 86
The first time I went to a therapist was about, well I think it must have been 20 years ago. My husband was sick. I did not understand his illness. I needed to get some help. I had to understand what was happening so I went to a therapist. […] Should seniors consider therapy? Of course they should. They’re reluctant to go. They’re afraid of it. I don’t know why, but they’re afraid. –Miriam Zatinsky, 87
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