Novel psychotherapies examined an innovative intrusion, dignity therapy, designed to address psychosocial and existential anguish among incurably ill patients. Dignity therapy invites patients to discuss issues that they would most want remembered. Sessions are transcribed and edited, with a returned final version that they can bequeath to a friend or family member. The objective of this study was to establish the feasibility of dignity therapy and determine its impact on various measures of psychosocial and existential distress.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
Mortally ill inpatients and those receiving homespun analgesic care services in Winnipeg, Canada, and Perth, Australia, were probed to complete pre- and post-intervention measures of sense of dignity, depression, suffering, and hopelessness; sense of purpose, sense of meaning, desire for death, will to live, and suicidality; and a post-intervention satisfaction survey. Dignity therapy illustrates promise as a novel therapeutic mediation for suffering and distress at the end of life.