Although everyone reminisces, the deliberate use of reminiscence for therapeutic goals is a recent phenomenon. Prior to the 1950s, individuals were encouraged to avoid reminiscing, as retrospective reflections were believed to indicate poor mental health (e.g., senility) and to hinder a focus on current solutions. However, since Robert Butler’s suggestions in the 1960s that memories, conversations, and reflections about the past can be extremely helpful, not only for maintaining mental health but also for enhancing one’s capacity to address current problems, therapists and researchers have become curious about the use of reminiscence as therapy. There are now dozens of clinical trials showing that reminiscence therapy is an effective intervention for improving mood in older adults. Such therapy is employed across aged care and community settings ...

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