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J Palliat Care. 2004 Autumn;20(3):134-42.

Dignity and psychotherapeutic considerations in end-of-life care.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


The basic tenets of palliative care are frequently subsumed under the goal of helping patients to die with dignity. Our research group has studied the issue of dignity, with dying patients serving as the primary informants. This paper reviews some of our findings, including an overview of the Dignity Model that derives from our empirical work. Furthermore, this paper summarizes various psychotherapeutic approaches which have been considered for this vulnerable patient population. Finally, we provide the rationale based on the Dignity Model for a psychotherapeutic intervention we have coined Dignity Therapy. This brief, individualized therapeutic approach has been informed by our dignity work, and specifically designed for application in patients nearing death.

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