Psychosocial interventions for individuals with dementia: an integration of theory, therapy, and a clinical understanding of dementia

Clin Psychol Rev. 2000 Aug;20(6):755-82. doi: 10.1016/s0272-7358(99)00062-8.


We reviewed six psychosocial interventions for individuals with dementia. Interventions are described in terms of theoretical basis, how knowledge about dementia is incorporated, techniques, and empirical support. Psychodynamic approaches appear helpful for understanding intrapsychic concerns of demented individuals. Support groups and cognitive/behavioral therapy assist early stage individuals to build coping strategies and reduce distress. Reminiscence and life review provide mild to moderate stage individuals with interpersonal connections. Behavioral approaches and memory training target specific cognitive and behavioral impairments and help to optimize remaining abilities. Reality orientation reflects a similar goal, yet is probably more useful for its interpersonal functions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Memory
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological