Life Review as a Way to Enhance Personal Growth in Midlife: A Case Study


  • E. T. Bohlmeijer
  • G. J. Westerhof


Life review may not only be beneficial for people in the last stages of their lives but for middle-aged people as well. Memories are the building blocks of life stories as imaginative and creative productions that each of us constructs and reconstructs as we move through our adult years. When peoples’ narratives are stagnated and, consequently, their self-development, life review may be helpful in reconstructing meaningful life-stories that enable people to cope with negative life-events and to find new meaning in their lives. In this paper an intervention which aims at enhancing personal growth in midlife by revising one’s life-story is described. Nomothetic research has shown the efficacy of the intervention. Considering the need of more idiographic research within the domain of reminiscence and life review, a case study of a middle-aged woman who participated in the intervention is presented. The paper ends with a tentative description of the effective components of life review within a narrative therapeutic framework.






Special Section: Perspectives on Reminiscence and Life Review