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Rx Narrative: Story As Medicine #dotmed14

December 8, 2014

On Wednesday, December 10 at 1pm ET, Marie Ennis-O’Connor (@JBBC) hosts #hcsmca on narrative, medicine, and social media. Topics include:

  • T1 What role does story play in medicine?
  • T2 How has social media changed the way we share our illness stories?
  • T3 What is the future of storytelling in healthcare?

“Story becomes the ground that patients and healthcare professionals travel together.” @​JBaruchMD

Read the Dec 10-14 hcsmca transcript.

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer


Last Friday I had the great pleasure of presenting at DotMED The Creative Medicine Conference, on the role of story in medicine.  I spoke about how healthcare is at heart a narrative activity and how attending to the stories of illness can become a bridge to build empathy and compassion in healthcare.  Below is a slide-deck of my talk and I’ve highlighted some key points. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Why Stories Matter

Stories have existed in our culture from the beginning of time; they transcend time, culture, and place. As my fellow conference speaker,  Dr Louise Aronson has said, we use stories to derive meaning from experience and to pass along knowledge, values, and wisdom.

Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal that your brain is in fact hardwired to respond to story.  Your brain on story is different from your brain when it is receiving…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Hunt, Robert permalink
    December 9, 2014 11:47 am

    Hi Colleen: I always enjoy reading your blogs and appreciate it when you repost the blogs of others. This one is particularly powerful. I think in part because it invites all of us to reimagine how we might engage others. To reimagine is to revisit the stories from our own lives and the stories we have heard from others with the clear intention of hearing something anew. The idea of hearing each other into understanding is a very different place to begin and/or sustain a relationship that is health giving. Stories invite us to stop, listen, be with….. always ‘lurking’ with the intent of being at one with others in the moment.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. January 15, 2015 10:17 am

    Thank you Bob. I love the picture you paint here. Indeed the tradition of oral storytelling relies on gather stories to tell, not only focussing on one’s own story. It’s what connects us.


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