The Use of Narrative in the Doctor-Patient Encounter

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

This article considers the value of narrative in the doctor-patient relationship. The goal of storytelling as a therapeutic enterprise for both doctor and patient is examined. Special attention is paid to the physician’s role as narrative facilitator, and the article suggests guidelines for fulfilling this function in a way that is respectful and potentially transformative. The article concludes by offering some possibilities for evaluative criteria to be used in determining the trustworthiness of a given narrative exposition.

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