Yesterday, I met with the team of facilitators, whose bios you can find on the Presenters page of this website. I invite you to read them to see just how varied a team we are. A thoracic surgeon, two community-development social workers, two pastors, a nurse manager, a public health general practitioner, a ER physician assistant, and a public health program developer. Those are their titles. When we come together as classmates and colleagues, even after a year since our last gathering, we settle into a friendship and conversation with purpose and joy.
All had never heard of Narrative Medicine or Narrative Healthcare (my term for the mix of Narrative Medicine, Poetic Medicine, and Expressive Writing presented as ways of incorporating writing into clinical practice) when they first contacted or heard about me. I explained it as well as I could. How do you find a language that bridges two languages?
After one close-reading session and one reflective-writing exercise, each one saw the value of Dr. Charon’s method. It sounds so simple. The process is. The effects are anything but. Reading stories and writing reflectively changes us. It complexifies that which we thought we understood, about ourselves, about the world, about our place in it. It makes us more self-aware while providing the means for living in this complexity. When we gather and when we talk about how we will facilitate and guide others in narrative practice, it is with trust and recognition.
We have all walked along the path we are inviting attendees to join us on. We have found the language for the bridge between languages, and we are excited to share it. And we thank Dr. Charon for providing the materials for so building.