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Title: Dignity therapy : a Scottish feasibility study
Author: Matthews, Audrey
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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Dignity therapy, which has recently been developed to reduce psychosocial and spiritual distress in terminally ill patients, has stimulated substantial interest worldwide. This study aimed to explore the experiences of specialist palliative care patients in Scotland undertaking dignity therapy and to establish whether or not they would recommend it to fellow patients. Eight patients (seven female and one male) participated in the Dignity Psychotherapy Question Protocol (DPQP) followed by a semi-structured research interview. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, before being analysed using a grounded theory approach to develop a provisional framework. The findings suggest that patients perceived dignity therapy in a predominantly positive light. They considered the patient-researcher rapport, in terms of listening and compassion, to be especially helpful and to have facilitated the therapeutic encounter. The analysis also identified four beneficial components of this therapy: a) looking back; b) sharing their memories; c) getting things off their chest; and d) putting their story on paper. Based on their experiences, the majority of patients reported that they would recommend this intervention to fellow patients. Whilst several of the benefits of dignity therapy reported by patients correspond to findings of previous dignity therapy studies, many also fit with benefits reported in the literature from other life review processes. Consequently, it is unclear if dignity therapy is unique as claimed. It is also unclear which features of the rapport were attributable to therapist-specific factors and which may be credited to the intervention itself. Results suggest dignity therapy is feasible for patients with advanced illness and may even benefit those without observable psychological distress. Nevertheless, given the small sample studied, further research is needed to corroborate these findings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available