Narrative Medicine teaches warriors the skills of radical listening and close reading of text to enhance the telling of one’s own story. Initially developed by Columbia University as a way to teach medical doctors, surgeons, and other health care professionals how to listen for narrative instead of looking for symptoms, Narrative Medicine has been utilized by diverse groups seeking a deeper level of self expression. Adopted by TRR in 2017, Narrative Medicine offers warriors opportunities for reflection, creative expression and self-empowerment which complements the work done though other therapeutic modalities. Since writing is a process of discovery, no writing experience or level of skill is required.
Writing their own trauma narrative helps warriors to integrate the dissociated parts of their psyche and their trauma experience, creating new healing neural pathways lined with their own words. In addition, keeping a written record of events and emotions offers a kind of external memory bank and coping tool for warriors with brain injury, allowing them to make more consistent and confident clinical progress toward healing. As warriors write their way home, they can also choose when and if they share parts of their narrative with others in their home or in wider circles of support, reducing their isolation. Whether shared or kept private, narrative writing helps veterans to reclaim the words, truths, stories, and strengths that had been stripped away by the winds of war.
Conducted in group sessions during the program, Narrative Medicine facilitates the building of community.
Here are some groups using the power of the written word with military veterans ~