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Lecture “BODIES, STORIES, AND SELVES: HOW NARRATIVE SAVES LIVES” | Rita Charon | 29 October | Auditorium Champalimaud Foundation
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Date: 29 October 2015, 5 p.m. - 6.30 p.m.
Venue:
Auditorium Champalimaud Foundation
Organization:
ULICES

Followed by book launch of Creative Dialogues: Narrative and Medicine | 6.30 p.m. - 7.30 p.m.

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ABSTRACT: Narratives of illness are told from many perspectives. They often conflict. As our narrative skills improve through training in narrative medicine, we see more and more clearly the fractured nature of these stories. What the body tells can conflict with what the patient tells. What the doctor hears is often at odds with what the patient says.

This talk will describe some ways of thinking about these linguistic and epistemological dilemmas. First, I will give examples from clinical and literary texts in which meanings failed to cross the divide between doctor and patient. These are routine occurrences in health care, so routine that they fail to attract our attention. Next, I will share with you in some detail a narrative clinical situation from my practice in which a patient and I co-constructed an explanation of a very complex set of circumstances in the patient’s care. Then, drawing on psychoanalytic concepts of transference and transitional objects, I will propose some means of making sense of the chronic failures to comprehend that plague the ordinary practice of health care.

I will close with some grounds for hope—again through the agency of narrative means—whereby the clinician and the patient need not be on opposite sides of a gulf of meaning.

 
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University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES)