Books reviewed by James Woodward

Reminiscence Therapy

Reminiscence Theatre, Making Theatre from MemoriesReminiscence Theatre, Making Theatre from Memories
Pam Schweitzer, November 2006, 272 pages, ISBN 10:1 84310 430 X ISBN 13: 978 1 84310 430 8, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Illustr pb, £19.99

All of us need the opportunity to tell our stories, to think aloud and to reflect on our experience.  In particular, there is a growing literature around reminiscence therapy with older people, and this excellent book adds real insight to our understanding of the nature, practice and therapeutic effects of reminiscence theatre.  The author is particularly strong when drawing on real life case studies.  I shall be using the practical guide on the process of taking oral history and what possibilities might emerge as an individual engages with another person’s life history.

The book outlines five components of key significance: artistic development throughout creating theatre from memories; cultural development, by creating reminiscence theatre in multi-cultural contexts; educational development through the inter-generational sharing and enactment and memories; psycho-social development through older people by reliving and reshaping past experiences; and health care, by using improvised reminiscence drama therapeutically with people and their carers.

There well may be some interesting spiritual implications for those using in faith communities in the use of memory and experience.

This book is a marvellous treasure chest of experience and will enrich any reader.

James Woodward