Croton psychotherapist Donna Gerard Marder has for many years been offering her services for free or discounted rates, a generosity which has paid off so much she can now be even more generous.
Marder, who now practices out of the Ajna Center for Wellness and Community which moved to her town of Croton in August, said she had been providing counseling and therapy for many years for “next to nothing.” As many of these nonpaying clients became mentally healthier, they would in turn do better at their jobs and start paying her back. Some, Marder said, have even give her money when a death of a relative left them with an inheritance.
Then Sept. 11 happened and Marder assisted innumerable clients in need in downtown Manhattan, again for nothing. The American Red Cross set up a fund specifically for psychotherapy in aftermath of the terrorist attacks and ended up giving Marder over $100,000 compensation for the people she’d seen through the years. When she realized just how many people she must have helped into order to reach this total, Marder said it was “the shock of my life.”
Armed what she sees as something of a karmic windfall, Marder’s only aim is to give back in an even bigger way. “The more the merrier,” she said, hoping to offer her services to as many patients in the Northen Westchester/Putnam region as possible who have insurance but may not be able to handle the deductibles and copays. She is considering the money she’s earned back as a grant fund to “pay it forward.”
Marder will take on patients as young as 2 and a half on up. Her areas of expertise encompasses individual, group, family and play therapy for children, men, women and adolescents. Coaching is available as well for personal and work issues, including executives, conflict resolution and career changes.
Marder is also very interested in group therapy and bringing back the old tradition of the sewing circle and quilting bee.
“My treatment of choice…goes back to the sewing circle and quilting bee of colonial America," Marder said. "Women gathered together, not to sew or quilt, which they could do at home, but to discuss family and personal problems. This is a long community tradition,” she said, noting it's a fitting tradition to revisit for this Women’s History Month.
Those interested in learning more can reach Donna Marder, LCSW at 914-271-4514. For information on the Ajna Center visit their website or call 914-827-0100. The center, located on 18 Old Post Road South, Croton, offers pyschotherapy, reiki, massage, coaching, child enrichment programs and much more.
Ajna owner and founder Tina Triburjo says, “It shouldn’t be a luxury to get help. Her generosity can also help break the cycle – if someone’s kind to you, it gives you hope, which can healing.”