Journal of Clinical Geropsychology

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 239–249 | Cite as

Life-Review Technique in the Treatment of PTSD in Elderly Patients: Rationale and Three Single Case Studies

  • Andreas Maercker


Persons exposed to traumatic events in childhood and adolescence may suffer from the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) well into old age. The aim of this paper is to introduce a structured life-review technique for the treatment of elderly PTSD patients. This technique centers on the discussion and evaluation of each consecutive stage of life. The therapist encourages the patient to reminisce on both positive and negative experiences; positive coping experiences are reinforced. A single session on the traumatic event is integrated into the discussion of the stages of life, which are dealt with in chronological order. In the following, 3 case studies (e.g., survivors of the 1945 Dresden bombing) are presented. Psychometric measures (PTSS-10, IES-R) for the case studies are reported. Finally, the potential and limitations of the pilot study and the new approach are discussed.

posttraumatic stress disorder older adults life review cognitive therapy 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Maercker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology IIUniversïty of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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