Narrative Healthcare

Poetic Medicine, Expressive Arts, Medical Humanities, Narrative Medicine, and other modalities merge arts and healing, writing and treatment. Laura Hope-Gill explores each of these in courses offered through Lenoir-Rhyne University and in small workshops.

I am currently working with a number of institutions to develop Narrative Healthcare modalities in Western North Carolina.  Narrative Healthcare includes all manner of integrating he Arts into Medical environments and practices to support genuine relationships and experiences shared by patient and healer.
There are things we never say to our doctors, and there are things doctors never say. These unsaid things form a delicate intersection  and dangerous distance in the examining and counseling room. Narrative medicine seeks to close this space by increasing the attention we pay one another and ourselves.   Diagnosis becomes a moment of sacrament as caregivers embrace rather than squander the power found in illness, the power to create a space for solution if solution is possible, to power to accept death if it isn’t.
We also don't tell ourselves the truths about our own health and lives. We can bury our symptoms and even our diagnosis under layers of denial. In doing so we miss the opportunities to learn from illness and disability, and even death. Being resilient does not mean being silent--quite the opposite. Resilience emerges from naming our vulnerabilities and limitations. It is transformative and unpredictable. Writing prepares us to become our own "new, blank pages" upon which the meanings and lessons of change can write.
Witnessing is an art whose value we learn most of all when we witness ourselves by writing our own stories. Once we cease abandoning ourselves, we learn the power of staying present with our wounded self and walking in wholeness. Healing does not mean change or cure. It does mean discovery and deepening, meaning-seeking, and presence with what has happened and what is happening. In our escapes from our bodies' stories, we miss our own. This ceases when we stop to bear witness to our own stories. We then can stand in witness to the stories of others.
 For many, the art of poetry is strange. In a healing context, it is the language for falling apart and coming together in a new way. Poetry is the language of changing, or crisis--those times when what made sense before ceases to make sense, yet all the pieces of the whole are still there, just very differently arranged. Poetry is an act of faith that even when you can't make sense of what is happening, you can do something. At such times, this feeling can save a life.
These and other thoughts comprise our reflections in Narrative Healthcare.
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