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Life review

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Life review is an element in many psychotherapy approaches, in which people recount and reevaluate their personal life history and in so doing reframe their present difficulties in a way that enables them to make therapeutic changes to their thoughts, feelings or behavior.

The review, partly spoken about in therapy sessions, but also worked upon in between, may focus on early memories and early experiences, drawing on the capacity for autobiographical memory. Defence mechanisms may play a role in shaping the recall of life experiences but the development of such narratives can form an important stimulus for clinical dialogue. Generally the recalled material is interpreted by the therapist in the light of their psychological theories and a fresh understanding of the significance of the past is mutually negotiated, throwing fresh light on present problems and providing a rationale for change.

In gerontology the act of reminiscence can have an role in helping older adults maintain a sense of identity and continuity with important clinical benefits.


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