Can Literature Make A Better Doctor?

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

As I prepare to publish the manuscript that inspired this blog I have been lead to a book and now a broadcast dealing with Narrative Medicine.  The intent of the narrative, as suggested by the interview Can Literature Make a Better Doctor? is to create a space where the healer can read things closely, reflect in writing, and pay attention to story for a more holistic approach of patient care.

This holistic view is what I envision when I think aobut a practice in narrative ecopsychology.  The idea of reading, reflecting, and recognizing the importance of story in the context of the whole earth is what will teach us ‘to better attend to patients, ourselves, and each other.’  Taking the time to get the story of how the voice of the earth presents itself in a situation expands our ‘way of seeing’ because it gives information about the situation, how the person perceives the situation, and how the storyteller chooses to convey the information because the ‘stories we tell are multi-vocal.’

Just as narrative medicine is not about how much time you have so much as how you listen during that time, narrative ecopsychology should also recognize that the person you walk with in this journey of healing wants you to know about their life, who they are, and what they value.  The importance of story is in recognizing that what is in need of healing has a larger context and without the story – without knowing that context – you cannot adequately know which therapies to recommend.

Work Referenced:

http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201106036

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