Reminiscence therapy is used to treat depression in older people. It involves the person reviewing the significant events of their life, both positive and negative. Reminiscence therapy is done with the guidance of a therapist, and can be done individually or in a group setting.
The theory behind reminiscence therapy is that a person will naturally reflect back on their experiences as they approach the end of their life. People who do not do this are thought at risk of developing despair and depression.
There is a small amount of evidence to show that reminiscence therapy is helpful for depression in older people. It has been found to be more effective than receiving no treatment. It has also been found to be more effective than placebo (dummy) pills. Reminiscence therapy has been found to be about as effective as cognitive behavioural therapy in older people.
Reminiscence therapy is not as widely available as other types of therapy. It may be available from some organisations that provide services to older people.
There is some evidence that reminiscence therapy is effective for treating for depression in older people, but more research is needed.
Last reviewed and updated: 1 December 2016