Life Review as Narrative Truth


Life review is a progressive return to consciousness of memories and unresolved past conflicts for reevaluation and resolution.

each life stage has its own chapter in the history

a life review based on the things learned and experienced.

Narrative vs Truth


psychoanalytic theories (Schafer, Kenneth Burke, Lacan, N. Abraham)

Sherwood and Spence have pointed to its central importance and have shown the ways in which the psychoanalytic dialogue seeks to uncover the analysand’s efforts to maintain a certain kind of narrative discontinuity. To remember, then is precisely not to recall events as isolated; it is to become capable of forming meaningful narrative sequences. (Connerton)

In Narrative Truth and Historical Truth, Donald Spence suggests that psychoanalytic narratives should be thought of more as construction than as reconstruction …– in short that narrative truth replace historical truth. The test of this truth is a therapeutic one, and Spence notes that Freud came to take the position that “an assured conviction of the truth of the construction … achieves the same therapeutic result as a recaptured memory . Spence compares this construction to an artistic and rhetorical product.

George Kelly scripted characters for his patients to portray… Construct altenativeism.

Butler (1963) proposes the concept of life review. He defines it as follows:

A naturally occurring, universal mental process characterized by the progressive return to consciousness of past experience, and particularly, the resurgence of unresolved conflicts; simultaneously, and normally, these revived experiences and conflicts can be surveyed and reintegrated . . . prompted by the realization of approaching dissolution and death, and the inability to maintain one’s sense of personal invulnerability (p. 66).

The final stage of Erikson’s (1982) theory is later adulthood (age 60 years and older). The crisis represented by this last life stage is integrity versus despair. Erikson (1982) proposes that this stage begins when the individual experiences a sense of mortality. This may be in response to retirement, the death of a spouse or close friends, or may simply result from changing social roles. No matter what the cause, this sense of mortality precipitates the final life crisis. The final life crisis manifests itself as a review of the individual1s life-career.

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