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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)





Nothing is more quintessentially human than our capacity to remember and reflect. We understand ourselves as individuals and members of society by the events and happenings of our lives. Recall of the past allows for a sense of personal and collective continuity, as well as an opportunity to bring new perspective to the present and future.

As dynamic beings, we are constantly adapting to life's challenges and striving for immediate and longer-term goals. Such adaptation and striving occurs against the backdrop reality of death, the natural endpoint for bodily existence. With advancing age, many of us feel compelled to understand the threads of our life story, to place past triumphs and failures into perspective, and to leave something tangible for our families and communities.

Sponsored by the Gerontology Graduate Program, the UMSL Life Review Project is part of larger national and international trends to honor older adults and their life stories, whether personally and/or historically significant. The Project educates students in Life Review techniques (including the creation of edited "keepsake" videos) and supports life review activities in the greater St. Louis community. This website describes the project, various initiatives, and ways you can get involved.

Tom Meuser, PhD
Clinical Psychologist
Director, Gerontology Graduate Program
Coordinator, UMSL Life Review Project