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Cancer patients and survivors working to manage their mental health once they hear “you have cancer” can be the loneliest and most difficult aspect of their illness. I believe that reminiscence therapy proved to be a therapy that is central to my long-term survival.
Conventional “standard-of-care” oncology focused exclusively on my physical health. FDA approved “safe and effective” therapies not only didn’t help me but led to a series of long-term and late stage side effects.
Oddly enough, when I reached end-stage myeloma, I ventured into the world of alternative therapies, stumbled on to the Burzynski Research Institute, where antineoplaston therapy put me in complete remission where I am today.
While reaching cancer-free status is a wonderful achievement for any cancer patient, the prospect of a relapse or a treatment-related secondary cancer is forever on your mind. Which brings me to a mind-body therapy that I credit with possibly saving my life- reminiscence therapy.
As fate would have it, my 25th high school reunion happened just as I was sinking into the anxiety and pain that can develop in the years following cancer treatment ends.
While I can’t really explain it, gathering together my 100 plus classmates for our 25th became my sense of purpose leading up to our reunion. Long-story short, our 25th reunion weekend was a successful event which led to dozens of classmates communicating via email and texting in the years following.
I am not a psychologist by any means. However, when I read phrases like “Reminiscence is the act of recollecting past experiences or events…” and when I read about the importance of the “Reminiscence bump” I can’t help but think of the important role that this therapy plays in my ongoing cancer survival.
I have no problem with conventional oncology focusing ONLY on the cancer patient’s physical health. It is critical, however, that patient’s understand this bias and address their mental health.
Are you a cancer patient or survivor? Do you struggle with fear of relapse, anxiety or depression? Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.
Hang in there,
Reminiscence is the act of recollecting past experiences or events. An example of the typical use of reminiscence is when people share their personal stories with others or allows other people to live vicariously through stories of family, friends, and acquaintances while gaining an authentic meaningful relationship with the people.
People have a stronger recollection of memories from their late teens and young adult years. In cognitive psychology this is called the reminiscence bump.
The reminiscence bump is a phenomenon that naturally occurs when elderly people can remember the most about their lives when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years old. Even for patients with dementia, the years during the reminiscence bump remain intact (until their illness has become very advanced) and can be easily recalled with some simple triggers like pictures or songs. (Psychology Today, 2018).
“Meta-analysis results showed that Reminiscence Therapy (RT) can improve overall quality of life of cancer patients of RT group to a certain extent hope . Meta-analysis results showed that the scores on the hope and dignity were significantly increased, and the difference were statistically significant…
Psychosocial care is one of the important approaches for cancer survivors to alleviate negative emotions and psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression.10,11 Psychosocial care commonly includes
There are 3 main types of RT: simple reminiscence, life review, and life review therapy.22
First, RT promotes positive feelings by repeatedly reconstructing life stories with patients, which promotes a positive experience and forms a sense of self-identity, so that their mental health is improved and their anxiety and depression relieved.29,68
Second, accompanying patients and paying attention to them in the process of reminiscence also reduce patients’ loneliness and affect their mood directly…”
“Background: At present, simple reminiscence has been widely used in the field of neurocognitive disorders, life review/life review therapy has been widely used in the field of cancer, and both simple reminiscence and life review/life review therapy are suitable for psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. However, the efficacy of reminiscence in treating cancer-related symptom has not been fully assessed…
“The present study investigated use of life review, a form of reminiscence, on the depression and self-esteem in cancer patients. 15 cancer patients in the experimental group participated in individual reminiscence therapy. 21 patients in the comparison group received no therapy.
All patients were measured on both depression and self-esteem scales during two testing periods. Analysis showed mean depression scores of the cancer patients decreased and mean self-esteem increased significantly after the life-review therapy sessions, while the scores of the comparison group did not change.
Furthermore, patients’ psychological states were improved, and they thought their problems had been addressed. These results suggest reminiscence therapy can be useful for cancer patients.”