Reminiscence and Life Story Work - on-line certificate

Esther Gieschen's picture
March 21, 2016 to December 31, 2016
Wisconsin, United States
Subject Fields: 
Health and Health Care, Oral History, Psychology, Social History / Studies, Social Work


 Certificate in Reminiscence and Life Story Work

An online program to prepare you to use the powerful tools of reminiscence and life review to help others tell their stories

  • Enjoy the dynamics of interactive online discussions with other students and your instructors
  • Work at times that fit your schedule to complete weekly assignments
  • Courses run mid-March to mid-October followed by a hands-on capstone project

Preparing you to help others tell their life stories

Since 1996, when James Atlas, editor of the New York Times Magazine proclaimed this to be the “Age of Memoir,” the practice of ordinary people recording their life stories has steadily increased.

Completing the courses and capstone project composing this certificate will prepare you to ethically and confidently engage in the rewarding work of helping others tell their stories.

This certificate has been designed with input from leaders in two professional groups: The International Institute of Reminiscence and Life Review (IIRLR - and the Association of Personal Historians (APH -

It is designed to:

  • Teach the intricacies of doing life story work including the rewards and challenges
  • Provide an interdisciplinary background in the history, theory and research in reminiscence and life review that is fundamental to any type of life story work
  • Introduce the many ways reminiscence, life review and related disciplines are applied in various professional fields to meet widely varying client needs
  • Guide first-hand experiences facilitating reminiscence sessions
  • Prepare for planning a professional practice providing life story services to others
  • Assist in completion of a hands-on project applying learning from course work to real-life clients

Program Format:

The certificate is composed of four modules all offered via an interactive web-based learning platform: three courses and a capstone practicum. Each course module is eight weeks. Course work will include reading assignments from the work of the foremost scholars in the fields of reminiscence and life review and from leading practitioners in the field of personal history and memoir writing.

Estimated time per week for course work is estimated at three to six hours, depending on the student’s academic background. The program is non-credit, but course content is at a college level. The Capstone module requires completion and documentation of a project working with clients. The time allowed for the Capstone will vary by student and project.

Details and registration at (yes, it is a strange address! but it gets you to the registration site with bios of instructors, course descriptions, quotes from past participants, etc.)

Program Fees (discount of 10% available for members of the IIRLR or APH)

$1800 for all three courses and capstone

Optional monthly installments of $459 each totaling $1836

Contact Info: 

Esther Gieschen, Program Manager

Center for Continuing Education, University of Wisconsin - Superior

International Institute for Reminisence and Life Review


Contact Email: