“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.”

— MATTHEW 11:28 —

What is Life Review Therapy?

Life review therapy involves adults referring to their past to achieve a sense of peace or empowerment about their lives. While life review therapy isn’t for everyone, there are certain groups of people it may benefit.

This type of therapy can help put life in perspective and even reveal important memories about friends and loved ones.

What are the features of life review therapy?

Life Care Counseling focuses life review therapy around life themes or by looking back on certain time periods. These include childhood, parenthood, becoming a grandparent, or working years.

Other themes might include:

  • education and schooling

  • experiences in aging

  • health

  • literature

  • milestones such as marriage

  • major historical events

  • major turning points

  • music

  • purpose

  • values

Often clients are asked to bring mementos to enhance their life review therapy sessions. These may include such things as:

  • music

  • photos

  • letters

  • family trees

Although the term “life review therapy” is often used interchangeably with the term “reminiscence therapy,” there are some differences:

  • Reminiscence therapy often involves describing a memory itself.

  • Life review therapy is based on discussing what a memory means to you.

The life review therapy approach can also help you deal with difficult memories or unresolved concerns keeping you from feeling at peace.

Who can benefit from life review therapy?

Life review therapy can have several purposes:

  • therapeutic

  • educational

  • informational

The therapeutic benefits are specific to the person reflecting upon their life. The therapy can help with feelings about end-of-life issues and also help illuminate a greater meaning in life.

The following people may especially benefit from life review therapy:

  • people with mild dementia or Alzheimer Disease

  • older adults suffering from depression or anxiety

  • those diagnosed with a terminal condition

  • those who have experienced the loss of a loved one

There can be benefits for families when their loved one participates in life review therapy. The family may learn things they never knew before. Saving these memories through video, audio, or writing can be a treasured piece of family history.

What are the benefits of life review therapy?

Life review therapy is intended to empower older adults and those facing end-of-life issues to find hope, value, and meaning in their lives. It is also used to treat depression in older adults. Life review therapy can promote improved self-esteem. People may not realize the significance of their accomplishments—from raising children to being the first person in their family to earn a college degree. Looking back can help many people feel proud of what they have accomplished.