Reflections on Using Biographical Approaches in End-of-Life Care: Dignity Therapy as Example Academic Article uri icon


  • The therapeutic potential of nonpharmacologic interventions using biographical approaches at the end of life (EoL) is being increasingly recognized, but less attention is paid to processes impeding realization of this potential. In this article, Swedish and Australian researchers reflect on and problematize experiences using one biographical approach, dignity therapy (DT), in EoL care in Sweden. We use this as an example, focusing on critical examination of the process of applying DT in practice, examining frictions experienced in recruiting participants, collecting the data, and creating a biography. We discuss issues regarding agency, which became evident in the recruitment process and choices made about participation, and the power differentials manifested in the interactive process of eliciting stories and crafting them into a final product. We also raise salient questions about how research and practice with biographical approaches in EoL care might better build on and further existing knowledge to better reflect the complexities of everyday life.

publication date

  • 2015