Reminiscence Therapy is the use of stimuli to help patients who suffer from dementia and depression. Therapists or caregivers may use music, film and pictures to initiate memories in patients who are experiencing symptoms associated with Alzheimer's. Although treatment is only a short term method it is helpful in recalling upon memories, family members, friends and spouses. Ultimately, the therapy focuses on a recollection of the past and helps to familiarize patients with people and events that may be forgotten as a result of dementia. This therapy is effective in treating interpersonal skills and the inner self of the patient. It provides them with a sense of belonging and purpose. Treatment is used commonly in residential care facilities and can be utilized between family members or elders suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Reminiscence Therapy reduces the amount of pain that is associated with a self image being that counseling relays intimacy and provides them with satisfactory emotions related to memories.

Goals of Reminiscence Therapy

Reminiscence Therapy revolves around providing patients with the purpose and comfort that they are in need of when dealing with Alzheimer's symptoms. By assessing the elderly and working with their caregivers, therapists will help to promote wellbeing and serenity by speaking to them about past experiences and relationships. Using photographs and other personal belongings the sessions will improve the patient's feelings and encourage them to exercise their memory. It is one of the more popular psychosocial counseling treatments because it can also be used by family care-givers and medical staff. Evidence supports that it is effective in improving the happiness of those who suffer from dementia.

When is Reminiscence Therapy Used?

Treatment is used on patients who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Elderly will develop this condition and memories that they were fond of will begin to fleet. The loss begins in the area of the brain called the hypothalamus which is responsible for storing memories. When that portion of the brain has been damaged it leads to the loss of long-term memories. This condition is responsible for the behavior and symptoms that are associated with aging. The patient may require extra care on the behalf of family members or caregivers. Reminiscence Therapy is used on those with progressive memory disorders and patients who benefit from close interaction with loved ones, medical staff or counselors.

How Reminiscence Therapy Works

The caregiver will get in touch with the patient's memories that are still available in some areas of the hypothalamus. Therapy will continue to make attempts in comforting the patient and helping them participate in daily activities by improving their mood and cognitive functioning. The person who is doing the interacting will begin the session by discussing and sharing memories with the patient. This rekindles emotions and in turn sparks long term memories. The interaction is either performed in a private session or in a group depending on what the patient prefers. Interaction is often done in an approach that is less formal so that the patient eases into the conversation and memories. During Reminiscence Therapy there isn't a need to evaluate and review the patient because their condition has already been confirmed. This is strictly to provide them with short term relief and daily satisfaction by interacting with them and helping them remember who they are. The session conductor will make the interaction enjoyable without any aggression or irritability. The conversation is never forced although suggestions or props may be used to begin a conversation and help the patient remember and connect with their past or current loved ones.

It's common that music is used for stimulation purposes because it helps the patient reminisce. A song might help trigger a memory or relive an event. The session is solely for the purpose of exercising the mechanisms within the brain which can initiate positive emotions and also improve the overall mood of the client. There is a definite connection between memories and music which allows the brain to correspond almost immediately.

There are two forms of Reminiscence Therapy: Integrative and instrumental. These are used for symptoms that are associated with Dementia but are implemented toward the client in a different manner. The Integrative treatment provides the patient with more self esteem and can help improve their mood by reducing the onset of depression. The Instrumental treatment will increase the therapeutic feelings that are associated with those who are already familiar with their own memories, but would like to improve the way that they are connecting with them.


Reminiscence therapy. (2011). Retrieved from

What is reminiscence therapy?. (n.d.). Retrieved from Your Health/Therapy Information Leaflets/L141-09ReminiscenceTherapy.pdf

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