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"I conceive of life review as a naturally occurring, universal mental process characterized by the progressive return to consciousness of past experiences, and, particularly, the resurgence of unresolved conflicts; simultaneously, and normally, these revived experiences and conflicts can be surveyed and reintegrated."

Robert N. Butler, PhD (1963)


Core Values in Life Review

Older adults are able to talk about the "tough stuff" in life and often benefit from this process in ways that may not be immediately apparent. They are rarely hurt by it. As LR practitioners, we must avoid ageist views that limit our focus to positives in the life narrative at the expense of the full story.

In LR, the "power" resides with the reviewer and not the interviewer. While some participate in LR activities to leave something behind (e.g., a written document, a keepsake recording), the process of LR stands alone as its own outcome. The individual leaves enriched whether there's a tangible "product" or not.

Truth in LR is a relative term, as human recall is rarely accurate in a factual sense. All self-understanding is subjective on some level. The effective LR practitioner works to bring understanding of remembrances without worrying about specific facts. The present understanding is always what's most important, regardless of whether it is factually accurate.