Project Title: Narrative, Healthcare and Healing: Narrative in the Clinic and the Classroom.

Project Description:
The last twenty years have seen an explosion in the conscious use of narrative in clinical settings. From the Narrative Medicine movement, to Narrative Therapy, to James Pennebaker’s work on writing and healing, clinicians in medicine, nursing, psychology, speech pathology, counseling, social work, grief work and hospice care are exploring narrative as a way to break down barriers between patient and clinician, strengthen therapeutic alliances that promote patient autonomy and agency, and to enhance outcomes. Beyond the clinic, narrative approaches enrich clinical education, practitioner development and clinician self-care in the increasingly stressful environments of professional training and education.

The “narrative turn” is from its first moment interdisciplinary, as it seeks to use insights from literary theory, philosophy, and criticism to understand practices and discourses of pedagogy, psychotherapy, chronic illness, end-of-life, medicine and public health. On the University of Iowa campus, discussions of narrative in the clinic are taking place in the English Department, Rhetoric, Social Work, Nursing, POROI, Communications Sciences and Disorders, Gender and Women’s Studies, Journalism and the College of Medicine, to name a few.
A working group on Narrative in the Clinic and the Classroom would bring together faculty, clinicians, graduate and professional students from a wide variety of disciplines. The initial benefit to participants will be an opportunity to share work across campus so that each can learn from discussions in other units. There will be an opportunity to develop new, ideally collaborative work, in an interdisciplinary context.


This project is beginning as a Faculty Working Group under the auspices of the University of Iowa's Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. We hope to read out to and collaborate with like-minded faculty and, especially, clinicians throughout the consortium.

Organizer Name: Patrick Dolan Jr.

Organizer's Contact Information: patrick-dolan@uiowa.edu.

Organizer's Departmental and University Affiliation:
Department of Rhetoric, University of Iowa, 52242.