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Geriatric Rehabilitation Psychology

The Geriatric and Rehabilitation Psychology Service at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, provides psychological services to individuals, their families, and groups in the acute rehabilitation program at Rush and on an outpatient basis.

Our team is devoted to assisting people through the challenges of recovering from and/or adjusting to illnesses or injuries such as stroke, MS, Parkinson’s disease, orthopaedic and spinal cord injuries, and cancer.

We provide comprehensive psychological assessment and treatments based on the best available science.

We primarily serve the following people:

  • Older adults (generally over the age of 60)
  • Adults (including those younger than 60) coping with chronic illness and disability or recovering from an acute illness or injury
  • Family caregivers

Jay M. Behel, PhD is the Director of the Sections of Geriatric and Rehabilitation Psychology and Psychosocial Oncology at RUMC. He also acts as Assistant Dean of Academic Development in Rush Medical College.  He received his Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) from Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Auburn University. He completed a Health Psychology residency and Rehabilitation Psychology fellowship at RUMC. Dr. Behel’s clinical interests include post-stroke depression, adjustment to chronic illness and sexual health.  His scholarly interests include patient self-management and physician communication.
Susan K. Buehler, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at RUMC. She also has a joint appointment with the Department of Medicine. Dr. Buehler completed her doctoral training at the San Diego State University / University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology in the Behavioral Medicine specialty track. She then went on to complete her internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Buehler’s research interests include physiological mechanisms linking stress to cardiovascular disease, elder abuse, aging, dementia caregiving, and stress/coping. Her clinical interests include rehabilitation psychology, coping with chronic illness, brief cognitive behavioral interventions, and caregiver interventions.
Dr. Erin Emery is an assistant professor of Geriatric and Rehabilitation Psychology at Rush University Medical Center.  She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University.  She then completed her internship at Harvard Medical School/VA Boston and her fellowship in Clinical Geropsychology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.  She is past-President of the Society for Clinical Geropsychology, within the American Psychological Association.  She is the chair of the trans-organizational Post-licensure and e-learning Committee for both the Society for Clinical Geropsychology and the Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs (CoPGTP), spearheading a national effort to provide online interdisciplinary geriatric mental health training.  Together with Ms. Robyn Golden, Dr. Emery developed and directs the BRIGHTEN program, an interdisciplinary “virtual” team assessment and treatment of depression and anxiety through primary and specialty care clinics for underserved older adults, along with training psychologists and social workers to provide mental health services for older adults.  BRIGHTEN won the 2010 Innovative Geropsychology Training Program Award from CoPGTP.  Dr. Emery and co- principal investigator Dr. Steven Rothschild are also conducting a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-funded randomized controlled trial of BRIGHTEN for minority older adults with cardiometabolic risk factors in primary care as part of the Rush Center for Urban Health Equity.  Dr. Emery is co-investigator on a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) study of wellness in African American churches and their clergy.

We provide comprehensive psychological assessments and treatments for issues including (but not limited to):

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Coping with illness or hospitalization
  • Behavioral pain management
  • Grief
  • Changes in levels of independence
  • Family caregiving
  • Adherence to treatment


Evidence-based treatments that we use include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based grief therapy, acceptance-based approaches, and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT).

Accreditation and Recognition

Geriatric and Rehabilitation Psychology
710 S. Paulina Street
Suite 732
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: 312-942-3153
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