• Brandon C. Yarns


Psychotherapy is a treatment in which interaction with a trained therapist based on a particular psychological framework is the therapeutic action. Although severely underutilized, psychotherapy is often preferred to pharmacotherapy among older adults and has been shown to benefit older adults with depression, subthreshold depressive symptoms, chronic grief, anxiety, insomnia, mood, and behavioral symptoms of dementia and for the prevention of depression. In order to increase utilization, psychotherapy may be performed in many settings with older adults, including specialty mental health clinics and primary care practices, through tele-psychotherapy, or in the patient’s home. Cognitive-behavior therapies, brief psychodynamic psychotherapy, problem-solving therapy, interpersonal therapy, and reminiscence and life review therapies all have favorable evidence for the treatment of older adults with various conditions. However, no studies have been able to parse differences in efficacy between any of these treatments for any psychiatric condition in older adults. Thus, individual patient preference, phase of life, and other considerations such as physical limitations should determine how to proceed when conducting psychotherapy with older adults in clinical practice.


Psychotherapy Psychology Emotions Mental health Older adults 



Dr. Yarns was supported by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations through the VA National Clinician Scholars Program.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry/Mental HealthVA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare SystemLos AngelesUSA

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