Dignity Therapy: Final Words for Final Days
- Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Barnsley Hospice, Church Street, Gawber, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK
Dignity Therapy is a psychotherapeutic intervention for people approaching the end of their lives. It provides a supported opportunity for them to record a life story which is edited into a written document for them and their loved ones to keep. It was developed following research into dignity in terminal illness, and is designed to enhance certain aspects of a person's dignity.
The practice of giving an account of one's life, and passing on messages to subsequent generations in oral or written form is an ancient one. Professor Harvey Chochinov identifies this frame in a preface describing the ‘ethical will’ of the Hebrew patriarch, Jacob. He reflects on the value of sharing a life story both to individuals approaching death and …