Telling Stories in a Veterans' Life Review Group: Design, Pilot Study, and Evaluation

Wendy Vincent (2010)

This pilot study, an evaluation of the feasibility and effectiveness of a 10-session Structured Life Review Group for male veterans with combat-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, sought to enhance participants' ego integrity, reduce participants' level of despair, and promote participants' posttraumatic growth. Nine male veterans over 60 participated in one of two identically designed groups. The first session included a discussion about the weekly format, writing assignments, confidentiality, group rules, expectations, and introductions. During the 10 th session, participants read and discussed their thoughts about the group's strengths and areas needed for improvement. The sessions between included eight writing assignments designed to stimulate reflection, alternative thinking, growth, and integration of various aspects of life. These assignments included: (a) childhood, (b) adolescence, (c) benefit-finding related to trauma experience, (d) meaning made from the trauma and advice for younger veterans, (e) adulthood--partnership/family, (f) adulthood--working life, (g) retirement, and (h) integrative summary and evaluation.