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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: January 2020

Chapter 2 - Indications for Psychotherapy in Adults in Later Life

from Part 1 - Introduction to Psychotherapy in Later Life


Since its inception more than 100 years ago, theories and techniques of psychotherapy have experienced tremendous growth and diversification. There has been a gradual increase in our knowledge of aging as well as in our experience conducting psychotherapy with older adults. Although the core principles of psychotherapy are mostly similar to those pertaining to younger people, certain challenges and themes are unique to this population. These include a diverse range of living environments as well as an increasing need for social integration, adjusting to functional and cognitive decline, accessing services, caregiving, navigating transitions, and managing acute and chronic conditions. An increasing number of older adults are seeking treatment for a broad array of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, personality disorders, cognitive impairment, chronic pain, and substance use. Depending on the patient and the presenting problem, psychotherapy can be used as either a primary or an adjunctive method of treatment.

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