Storying Sheffield

“In my own words”: Narrative history in psychiatry


“In my own words”: The narrative history in psychiatry

Facilitators: Chrissy Bonham; Kay Aitch; Brendan Stone; Tim Kendall; Helen Crimlisk; Rachel Warner; Gaelle Slater 

The Narratives Masterclass is based around the work of Professor Brendan Stone from the University of Sheffield who developed the Storying Sheffield project which focuses on the concept of narrative inquiry as a tool in recovery from mental illness. As medical students you will have learnt how to take a ‘history’ of a patient, but narrative inquiry goes beyond this – seeing us as human beings who give meaning to our lives through story (Andrews, Squire & Tambokou, 2008). When a person becomes mentally unwell, their identity can become overtaken by an external diagnosis and a new narrative can be very quickly be constructed which will often become a deficit-based story. In this class we will look at ‘re­storying’ techniques focussing on using the power of story to draw out a more positive identity and recreate a new asset­-based story.

You will work equally alongside several long term mental health service users in a five week storying course. You will explore aspects of your own personal narrative using storying methods which will help you understand how to support someone to find their voice and tell their story. Sessions will be led by Chrissy and Kay who have experience of living with long term mental health conditions. They both work closely with the Storying Sheffield project and regularly deliver recovery workshops. Professor Brendan Stone and Professor Tim Kendall will also contribute to sessions, and expand on research work with Storying and Recovery. We will use creative activities to access narratives we intend to explore. We will work towards creating a presentation based upon the particular narrative you have chosen to share (which does not have to be mental illness related). This may take any form, for example: an audio presentation, a short film, a piece of creative writing, a storyboard, a photographic presentation, or a piece of artwork. The final pieces created in the Masterclass will be uploaded to a website to inspire others and aid further research into this area.

Click here for a short piece on medical education by Helen Crimlisk.
More information about the Masterclass facilitators
Pictures from the 2015 class


Mon 11 April 3-5
Mon 18 Apr 3-5
Mon 25 Apr 3-5
Mon 9 May 3-5
Mon 16 May 3-5

Pre Masterclass preparation
Psychiatry beyond the current paradigm