Pyschotherapist Pays it Forward

With a community-based philosophy of therapy, Donna Marder, LCSW, is offering free counseling to anyone in Northern Westchester and Putnam who can't afford a copay.

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.”

Jay Bossert March 19, 2013 at 03:17 PM
I'm sooooo glad to hear/read that there are others like me on this Earth that believe help should not be charged for. Granted one still needs to make a living and there is nothing wrong with people paying if they have the means and want to. But personally I rather save one persons life than have all of the money in the world, and I have a feeling she has saved at least dozens more than one. If you believe in God, then it is clear as a sunny day that this woman does The Lord's work. I can only hope that in my life I can help as many as she has. Let us all learn from this, universal love and empathy are much more valuable than any currency I know of. Thank you Donna, and thank you Patch for this feel good article, this really starts the day right. <3


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