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Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2013 Feb;46(2):120-6. doi: 10.1007/s00391-012-0469-1.

[Psychotherapy of depression in old age].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Schwerpunktpraxis seelische Störungen im Alter, Droste-Hülshoff-Str. 11, 22609, Hamburg, Deutschland. c.waechtler@gmx.de


Depression in old age is common and also dangerous due to somatic comorbidity and suicide; however, it is often not recognized and not adequately treated. Psychotherapy is almost never offered to the elderly. However, clinical experience, single-case studies and some controlled trials show effectiveness--at least to the age of 75. The psychotherapist must be aware of unusual transference and countertransference between a younger therapist and elderly patient. Psychotherapy in old age requires some modifications, especially concerning special interest in biography and history, strong empathy, "container function", and focusing. In the future, psychotherapy for the elderly should be both investigated and educated more. In addition, it is hoped that psychotherapists offer to treat elderly people with depression and that more older patients accept this professional help.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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