Researchers in the Netherlands studied 202 middle-aged and older adults who had moderate depressive symptoms. The therapy involved a structured review of the participant’s life, a focus on coping with past negative experiences and conflicts, retrieving positive memories, and finding positive meaning to life. The patients were encouraged to develop alternative life stories. Life review therapy was significantly superior to treatment as usual in reducing depressive symptoms posttreatment and at 3 months follow-up; improvement persisted at 9 months follow-up. This intervention, with its focus on integrating past experiences, meaning, values, and self-efficacy, is a promising treatment for early, mild-to-moderate depression in middle-aged and older adults.
— Deborah Cowley, MD
Published in Journal Watch Psychiatry November 7, 2011