Guiding Autobiography Groups for Older Adults
Exploring the Fabric of Life
Publication Year: 1991
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Download PDF (138.4 KB)
I BELIEVE that at least four great categories of fitness become more and more essential to maintain as we grow older. The first, and the one we are most familiar with, is physical fitness--the bodily strength, resilience, and agility that are stimulated by appropriate exercise. Intellectual fitness, the second category, comes from keeping the mind engaged and...
Download PDF (166.1 KB)
As a guided autobiography group leader, you can create an environment that provides social support and mental stimulation for older adults to review their life stories and share them with others. Using strategies that ensure a positive group experience and sensitize group members to the critical themes around which our lives are patterned, you can help...
1. Strengthening the Fabric of Life
Download PDF (1.1 MB)
YOU CAN HELP older adults build greater understanding and self-worth by leading guided autobiography groups. From the viewpoint of human development, there is little of greater importance to each of us than gaining a perspective on our own life story, to find, clarify, and deepen meaning in the accumulated experience of a lifetime...
2. Leading a Guided Autobiography Group
Download PDF (1.1 MB)
IN GUIDED AUTOBIOGRAPHY, group members are brought together to write and share brief autobiographical life stories of their lives based on assigned themes. The group generally meets ten times for about two hours each time, during which members share nine autobiographical life accounts. Supplemental, optional tasks (as described here and in...
3. The Healing Power of the Group
Download PDF (823.1 KB)
ONCE YOU have planned the guided autobiography group, made the logistical arrangements, and selected and recruited members, it is time to face the crowd. In Chapter 2, we discussed the content and structure of the first meeting. In this chapter, we will discuss the theoretical bases for leading the guided autobiography process in the context...
4. The Importance of Guiding Themes
Download PDF (444.9 KB)
GUIDED AUTOBIOGRAPHY is based on the conviction that certain themes form common threads that run through lives and bind the fabric of human life. The specific themes employed in guided autobiography are the result of years of development and refinement. The initial set of themes and sensitizing questions used in guided autobiography were...
5. Successful Themes and Sensitizing Questions
Download PDF (614.1 KB)
PARTICULARLY for older adults and others in transition, writing and sharing one's autobiography is a big step forward in integrating and developing a sense of direction in one's life. At any age and at any transition phase in life, doing one's autobiography can yield meaning and a sense of acceptance and of peace. Autobiography is not an end in itself...
6. Encouraging Creativity and Divergent Thinking
Download PDF (715.7 KB)
MANY PEOPLE do not view themselves as creative and may therefore be reluctant to experiment in writing their life stories. Yet, these same people can often knit beautiful garments, refinish furniture, or create a garden that far surpasses the average row of flowers. To awaken the creative potential in others may simply require drawing their attention...
7. Mastering Potential Obstacles in the Group Process
Download PDF (559.4 KB)
PROBLEMS may arise in conducting guided autobiography groups, ranging from a specific group member's insensitive behavior to lack of support from the institutional setting. There are many ways to manage these problems, and the best will be based on your own judgment of the situation and your personal style. It is important to recognize...
8. The Next Steps after Guided Autobiography
Download PDF (637.6 KB)
SOME GROUP MEMBERS may have the impression that after having done a guided autobiography there will be nothing else to do. The last word will have been spoken. While completing a guided autobiography may result in a written life story to be copied for friends and relations, it need not be an end. The first trip through one's autobiography is often a process...
9. A Professional's Guide to the Literature, and Implications for Future Research
Download PDF (992.7 KB)
THIS LAST CHAPTER is written for professionals and graduate students interested in the theoretical underpinnings that spawned the development of the guided autobiography process. It is written also to provide those interested in research on autobiography with a professional's guide to the current literature; that is, it is an overview of current thoughts...
Download PDF (335.3 KB)
Download PDF (710.5 KB)
Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 1991
Series Title: Johns Hopkins Series in Contemporary Medicine and Public Health