Reminiscence with People Living with Dementia

A Personal Reflection on its Potential to Do Harm


  • Lorna H. Murray NHS



dementia, reminiscence, relationship, care, well-being, harmful memories


This article reflects on “reminiscence” in dementia care from a personal perspective. It warns of the potential for harm when people who may have lived through painful experiences are encouraged to remember their early life. The author recommends that reminiscence should always take place as a shared activity within caring relationships and advises caution in using it as a therapeutic tool or intervention.

Author Biography

  • Lorna H. Murray, NHS

    Lorna H. Murray is a retired NHS Mental Health Chaplain currently involved with community well-being, suicide prevention and rural well being programmes. Lorna has interests in faith and well-being, faith and culture, pastoral care and social justice.


Killick, John, and Kate Allan (2001) Communication and the Care of People with Dementia. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Lartey, Emmanuel Y. (1997) In Living Colour: an Intercultural Approach to Pastoral Care and Counselling. London: Cassell.

MacKinlay, Elizabeth, and Corinne Trevitt (2012) Finding Meaning in the Experience of Dementia: the Place of Spiritual Reminiscence Work. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications.

Swinton, John (2012) Dementia: Living in the Memories of God. Grand Rapids, MI, Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans.

Woods B., A. Spector, C. Jones, M. Orrell and S. Davies (2005) “Reminiscence Therapy for Dementia”. Cochrane Database of Systematic. Reviews. (April) 18(2): CD001120. https:/



How to Cite

Murray, L. (2016). Reminiscence with People Living with Dementia: A Personal Reflection on its Potential to Do Harm. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 4(2), 158-167.