Narrative Medicine is story-telling used for healing.
James Pennebaker, a Psychologist at the University of Texas, discovered that when a traumatic event occurs in a persons life, said person is more likely (& most definitely) going to become sick over it if the event is kept secret.
Preaching to the choir, Pennebaker!
He goes on to prescribe a healing regimen: to write for 15-20 minutes per day about the most stressful & traumatic events of your life. Practice this for only 3 days per week and study patients have proven to show dramatic healing results.
Writing has saved my Life. However, my medicine cabinet has just been given a boost thanks to a scholarship awarded by the The Kripalu School nestled in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains to participate in their premier Narrative Medicine Program led by Lisa Weinert.
Here’s a Story:
This Thor was ready & rearing to go, excited to make a break through.
Upon arrival she had the pleasure of being met with herself. Those internal blocks. While everyone else spewed their guts, releasing their most traumatic tales into the spoken realm, This Thor wrestled with Insecurity.
Ultimately realizing a deeply rooted fear of Vulnerability.
On the first day, she listened on as someone else shared a fairy tale version of her own open heart surgery to a crowd of sixty.
That’s one hundred and twenty eyes.
“See them see me.” She said inside.
Being closely examined by a crowd is common place for This Thor. This was an exception however, and even though these eyes could see less of her as a whole, what they peered into was much deeper than she was used to sharing. At first it felt very scary. Then, liberating!
What a relief to have that hidden scar revealed. It cannot haunt me now that all of these eye’s have heard its story told aloud.
In a three minute Empathetic Listening Exercise, she decided upon how she came about her first job out of college. A whimsical tale, one that clearly defines her path as a Professional Bridge Builder instigating a path to the future.
When it was her partner’s turn to share her story to the group his voice shook and important details fell by the way side. There was a rush to the finish line.
This Thor knew not to get upset. But she just couldn’t help it!
After digesting the regurgitated tale she came to realize how the recapped story was a clue, a mirror, reflecting back her own deeply “hidden” feelings from which she had been sharing.
Narrative Medicine suggests writing stories in the third person. Professionals have proven profound healing is enabled when we simply Listen, to another person.
The experience allowed me to Listen to mySelf.
Already enabling course correction.
This Thor is truly grateful for her new story telling tools. And, for her enlightened perspective on her own personal narrative.