Reminiscence therapy is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as "the use of life histories - written, oral, or both - to improve psychological well-being. The therapy is often used with older people." This form of therapeutic intervention respects the life and experiences of the individual with the aim to help the patient maintain good mental health. The majority of research on reminiscence therapy has been done with the elderly community, especially those suffering from depression, although a few studies have looked at other elderly samples.
Reminiscence serves different psychological functions, including the taxonomy presented by Webster. Webster's Reminiscence Functions Scale (RFS) includes eight reasons why people reminisce: boredom reduction, bitterness revival, prepare for death, conversation, identity, intimacy maintenance, problem solving, and teach/inform. Psychologists have looked at using reminiscence therapeutically to improve affect and coping skills, although the effectiveness of this therapy has been debated. From more recent data, as outlined below, the therapy appears to have positive and even lasting results within the elderly community.
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