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Dear Mary: Am I too old for therapy?


Stock photo: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

Stock photo: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

Stock photo: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

Mary, could I ask at what age do you consider therapy to be helpful, especially when it is sought for the first time?

I am the child of a single mother, born in the 1950s, kept but never wanted. I was passed from one relative to another - in fact anyone who would have me or take me. My mother went on to marry and have other children but I was never acknowledged within the family.

Now in my latter years I realise just how much I have been affected throughout my life - even up to the present day. A friend has suggested I go into therapy but I question what help it can be at this late stage in my life.

I would be interested to hear your opinion in your column on this matter.

Also, how does one go about finding a good therapist as there are so many frauds out there today.

A Your letter is at the other end of the spectrum from the first letter I have answered today. The previous correspondent wanted to have children badly and as a result has three much-loved children, whereas you have always been made to feel unwanted and unacknowledged. This is incredibly sad and has affected you greatly.

Therapy can be undertaken, with great success, at any age. You need to work through all the hurt you have experienced up until now in the safety and security of a counselling room. You have already spoken about it to your friend, which I'm sure helped you, but now you need professional guidance to come to terms with how you were treated. It is imperative that you seek out a fully qualified therapist, and the safest way to do that is to contact the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (www.iacp.ie) to find somebody in your area who can be of help to you. I'm sure you will ultimately be very glad that you took the counselling route.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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