Reminiscence therapy

Reminiscence therapy

Reminiscence therapy is a relatively low cost therapy usually used to counsel and support older people, and is a useful intervention in work with brain-injured patients. This form of therapeutic intervention respects the life and experiences of the individual and often helps the patient to maintain good mental health.

Often utilised in residential and nursing care settings, reminiscence therapy is also to be found in none-acute hospitals in the United Kingdom, especially those specialising in medical care for the elderly. The therapy takes place in a safe and warm environment where the participants are guided by a trained person to reflect on a variety of aspects relating to their lives. This may be themed and centre on one period in time such as 1939-1945, or, it may be wider and reflect a guided discussion through an issue such as 'employment'. The group often determine the content of the debate and the leader of the group uses their skills in ensuring that all participants are respected and have their opportunity to take part.

The therapist may use music, photographs, replica documents, drama and sensory gardens to stimulate debate and discussion for the participants. Such materials are now easily available, often low cost and may draw on materials and personal strengths supplied by the participants themselves.

Reminiscence therapy is a useful tool in supporting very frail and confused people to integrate into new living arrangements whilst respecting them and their life history. Participants are often very knowledgable and the group becomes a participative learning experience.

Research into this form of therapy has slowed down after an initial period of enthusiasm, with more research being required, especially in relation to black and ethnic minority groups in the United Kingdom.


*Woods, B, Spector A, Jones C, et al. Reminiscence therapy for dementia. In: The Cochrane Library: Issue 2, 2006. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
*Department of Health (2001) National service framework for older people
*How To Help Reminiscing Go Well - Principles of good practice in Reminiscence work. Bernie Arigho
*Friedhoff A, Consensus Development Conference Statement: Diagnosis and treatment of depression in late life. In Diagnosis and treatment of Depression in Late Life. Schneider LS et al (eds). Washington DC, American Psychiatric Press, pp 491–511, 1994
*Alice Chong MSc, City University , Hong Kong.Reminiscence Group for Chinese Older People A Cultural Consideration.
*Directgov disabled people - UK govt information [ ]
*Older People in rural areas. []

External links

* [ Ageless Fellowship. A Reminiscence Therapy group in Norfolk, England.]

* [ NNAB. Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind. An Organisation in Norfolk, England, using reminiscence therapy]

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