8. Dignity Therapy

  1. Maggie Watson4,5,6 and
  2. David W. Kissane7,8
  1. Harvey Max Chochinov1,2 and
  2. Nancy A. McKeen3

Published Online: 20 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470975176.ch8

Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care

Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care

How to Cite

Max Chochinov, H. and McKeen, N. A. (2011) Dignity Therapy, in Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care (eds M. Watson and D. W. Kissane), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470975176.ch8

Editor Information

  1. 4

    The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PT, UK

  2. 5

    Institute of Cancer Research, London, WCIE 6BT, UK

  3. 6

    Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, WCIE 6BT, UK

  4. 7

    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA

  5. 8

    Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Cancer Care Manitoba, 3017 - 675 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3E 0V9, Canada

  2. 2

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba, 3017 - 675 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3E 0V9, Canada

  3. 3

    University of Manitoba, St. Boniface General Hospital, 8006 - 409 Tache Blvd, St. Boniface, Manitoba R2H 2A6, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 3 JUN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470660034

Online ISBN: 9780470975176

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Keywords:

  • dignity therapy;
  • generativity;
  • psychosocial oncology;
  • existential concerns;
  • end-of-life;
  • dignity conserving care;
  • psychotherapy;
  • life story;
  • model of dignity

Summary

Dignity Therapy is a novel psychotherapeutic intervention designed to address existential and psychosocial distress in people who are terminally ill. It aims to improve their quality of life by guiding them through an interview, which invites them to share memories and express their thoughts, feelings and values; talk about their life accomplishments, their hopes and dreams for loved ones and how they wish to be remembered. This therapeutic interview results in the creation of a generativity document, which the patient is given to bequeath to friends or family. For dying patients, this can promote dignity conserving care by enhancing spiritual and psychological well-being, mitigating suffering and engendering meaning and hope. For family survivors, Dignity Therapy can help ease bereavement, by providing a document that expresses the feelings and thoughts of their departed loved one.