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Original Compositions: Therapeutic Life Review with Advanced Cancer Patients

Kerry Irish, LCSW, OSW-C
Recorded on December 6, 2017

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About this Live Interactive Webinar

Existential suffering is a significant concern for individuals with advanced cancer and is considered one of the most important factors that contribute to decreased quality of life among those nearing end of life (Tang et al., 2016). Therapeutic life review, while historically used primarily as an effective intervention to treat depression in the elderly, is now emerging as a promising approach to mitigate existential suffering and improving quality of life among cancer patients who are approaching end of life (Wang, Chow, & Chan, 2017). Distinct from reminiscence therapy, therapeutic life review involves a structured approach that elicits reflection on both the positive and the difficult aspects of life and facilitates a greater sense of meaning and significance as one approaches death.

This webinar will incorporate information on the rationale for and benefits of this intervention, and will provide information for both traditional and novel techniques and application. Didactic instruction, case examples and experiential learning opportunities will be included.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the presentation, the participant will be able to:

  • Define therapeutic life review and how this differs from reminiscence therapy.
  • Describe the therapeutic value of life review therapy in work with patients with advanced cancer as supported by the literature.
  • Identify how this intervention can be incorporated into work with advanced cancer patients in diverse care settings.


Kerry Cox Irish, LCSW, OSW-C,  has worked in oncology and hospice-care settings since 1995 and was intimately involved in the creation & development of the Dempsey Center (a free-standing cancer support center in Maine). She currently serves as a psychotherapist and the Psychosocial Services Manager for the Center. Kerry has her Master’s degree in social work and is also an ordained interfaith/interspiritual minister. She has advanced certifications in oncology social work and interactive guided imagery. She has published numerous articles and presented at national conferences on a variety of psychosocial oncology care-related topics. Kerry is a longtime, active member of AOSW, serving on multiple committees and on the Board of Directors. She is the 2016 recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Quality of Life Award, which honors individuals whose contributions through education, direct service, publications and presentations reflect a commitment to quality of life for all cancer survivors. Kerry specializes in working with people who are impacted by advanced cancer (either as patients or caregivers), and is currently writing a book about finding meaning and hope when illness is advanced.

Continuing Education Credits

Level - Intermediate
Participants will earn 1.5 CE credits upon successful completion of a quiz and a post-webinar evaluation.

Course Designation
This course has been approved for 1.5 Clinical continuing education clock hours.