Seniors and Psychotherapy
Therapy that works; a therapist who cares.
Etan Ben-Ami, LCSW
Lynbrook, NY 11563
Late evening appointments available
Skype sessions available in New York
Medicare & AARP Supplemental accepted
NYS Empire Plan & ValueOptions accepted
Maturity and Its Challenges
Most psychotherapists work with seniors as if they had the same needs as middle-aged patients. It's not true. Seniors face different stressors and frequently need help coping with them.
These include adapting to retirement or the retirement of a spouse, financial issues, changing roles in the lives of adult children, grandparenting, relocation, loss of friends and family, disability and health challenges, and the possibility of becoming a caregiver for a spouse with a health problem.
Most people adapt well, drawing on their wealth of life experience to carry them through. However, depression, anxiety, and adjustment problems can and do surface. Lifelong emotional problems often worsen in the process.
Traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy took the view that patients' senior years were a time of decline and sadness. Depression was seen as a natural reaction, and seniors were thought to have great difficulty changing. Many therapists today maintain this prejudiced view.
I practice from a more modern perspective: that seniors face more challenges than younger people, but they come to those challenges with greater skill and perspective. Seniors have the ability to adapt, change, and improve.
Many therapists attempt to apply a 'one size fits all' form of therapy to work with seniors. Frequently, they consider their patients beyond help if it fails. Rehashing childhood traumas isn't likely to help a mature person cope with the stresses of senior living.
Although medications can be useful in treating psychotherapy resistant depression or anxiety, they don't have to be the first and only choice. When medications are used, they should be used in combination with psychotherapy. Psychotherapy alone does work for most patients.
I consider work with seniors to be one of my specialties. My practice has always been 30-50% seniors. This is a much higher percentage of seniors than in most psychotherapy practices.
I practice short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy. Most people improve and terminate within six months. I stay abreast of the professional literature and research advances in geriatric psychotherapy.
Medicare & AARP
I participate with Medicare. Medicare pays for 55% of the cost of therapy up to 50 sessions a year. At current rates, that means your copay (out of pocket) is $33.67. There is also the usual Medicare annual deductible.
Both AARP Supplemental and the Federal Court retirees' Blue Cross plan will also cover you completely. Most of the other plans are less generous. GHI, Empire Blue Cross, and the NY State Employees Empire Plan will probably not reimburse your copay.
The current patchwork system of coverage is confusing for most people. I will do my best to help you obtain reimbursement for you.