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The Healing Power of Storytelling

Using Personal Narrative to Navigate Illness, Trauma, and Loss
Paperback Book
North Atlantic Books
February, 2022
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Publisher’s Description: 

Reframe your story--and reclaim your life--through the transformative practice of writing and storytelling.

When Harvard-trained physician Dr. Annie Brewster was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001, she realized firsthand that the medical system to which shed devoted her entire career was failing patients. The experience was dehumanizing. Her doctors werent listening. And the confusion, fear, and shame she felt around her diagnosis was preventing her from truly healing, claiming her story, and living her fullest, richest life.

The fact is, doctors can give you a life-changing diagnosis, but theyre not equipped to help you deal with the inner fallout: the confusion, anxiety, trauma, and dread that comes after I have some bad news. Here, Dr. Brewster shows how writing your own unique healing story can help you process what comes next--to come to terms, create new ways to thrive, and even reclaim your personal power amid fear, change, and uncertainty.

Dr. Brewster and journalist Rachel Zimmerman each share their own personal stories, acting as expert guides as you move forward on your healing journey. With exercises, reflections, writing prompts, and stories from other real patients, Dr. Brewster and Zimmerman show how you can:

Process the difficult emotions that come with life-changing diagnosis

Move beyond being the hero of your own story to become the author of your own story

Craft your narrative and share it in whatever medium speaks to you: music, audio, art, or writing

Integrate a traumatic health event into a new and evolving identity

Use applied storytelling techniques to strengthen connections between you and your loved ones (and even your care providers)

Cultivate resilience to move forward amid uncertainty and fear

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