What is Narrative Medicine?
The effective care of the sick requires singular knowledge of the patient, competence and commitment of the physician, and a sturdy bond of trust between the two. Despite the many sociocultural and professional factors that can divide doctors and patients and the impact of political and economic pressures on health care as a whole, effective medical practice needs to replace hurried and impersonal care with careful listening and attention. Narrative medicine is one cost-effective and evidence-based method to equip health care professionals with the skills needed to respond to the challenge. By fortifying clinical practice with the ability to recognize, absorb, interpret, and be moved by stories of illness, narrative training enables practitioners to comprehend patients’ experiences and understand what they themselves undergo as clinicians.

Workshop description

This intensive weekend workshop offers rigorous skill-building in narrative competence. Participants will learn effective techniques for attentive listening, adopting others’ perspectives, accurate representation and reflective reasoning. Small group seminars offer first-hand experience in close-reading, reflective writing, and autobiographical exercises. Participants will receive a packet of readings prior to the weekend that will include seminar articles in the filed of narrative medicine by leading educators. The target audience is health care professionals and scholars interested in narrative medicine.

Those who attended the June 2016 Mainz workshop or a Columbia Narrative Medicine workshop are very welcome; they will find that the plenary talks and the small groups differ, and returning participants will focus on methods of facilitation and address issues such as how to pick texts and how to write prompts.


Participants will

  • develop narrative competence to nourish effective
    patient-clinician relationships
  • learn narrative communication strategies for patient-centered and life-framed practice
  • build habits of reflective practice that nurture clinical communities
  • acquire pedagogic skills to teach methods of narrative medicine
  • replace isolation with affiliation, cultivate enduring collegial alliances, and reveal meaning in clinical practice

Returning participants will further develop methods of facilitation and application for their professional areas.