‘I was impressed with the accessibility of the book, offering a guided tour through the history, context and purposes of reminiscence therapy, the range of applications from promoting social and emotional stimulation to reminiscence as psychotherapy. It also provides a brief overview of its theoretical underpinnings… As a book for health professionals interested in reminiscence work, it is a must for the shelf… most importantly it emphasizes the need for adequate training and supervision for those undertaking this type of work… the authors [also] provide a very good working guide to the assessment process’ - Aging and Health

In this practical and accessible book, leading exponents of reminiscence work describe the purposes and techniques of reminiscence and set out detailed guidelines on how to implement and conduct a wide range of reminiscence activities with different types of client.

Highlighting its tremendous diversity and potential - and its special ability to allow people of all ages and abilities to communicate deeply about their lives - the authors separate out the different aims of reminiscence, which include intellectual or social stimulation, allowing people to leave behind them a cultural legacy, or a means of intergenerational communication. They show clearly how each can be directly beneficial either to clients or their carers, or for improving the culture of the arena in which the activity is being carried out.

Purpose Nine: Reminiscence to re-use Old Skills or Learn New Ones

Purpose nine: Reminiscence to re-use old skills or learn new ones


One of the strongest stereotypes about older people is that they cannot change (which is why Freud argued there was no point in giving them therapy); and that they cannot learn (‘You can't teach an old dog new tricks’). This stereotype is very damaging as it fosters the view that old age is little more than time spent waiting to die, a period during which the person is unable to do anything useful or fulfilling. And, once again, remember that stereotypes are not just in the minds of younger people; they are internalized by many older people who then too believe this pernicious nonsense. ...

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