Storying Sheffield

Narrative Masterclass 2017

“In my own words”: Narrative history in psychiatry

Facilitators: Chrissy Bonham; Kay Aitch; Brendan Stone; Mike Hunter; Helen Crimlisk 

This Narrative Masterclass for medical students and people living with mental health difficulties is based on Storying Sheffield methodologies. The class focuses on the concept of narrative inquiry as a tool in “recovery” within mental distress/ ill-health.  The class is designed and led by people with lived experience of mental distress/illness.

Medical students learn how to take a ‘history’ of a patient, but narrative inquiry goes beyond this – seeing all of us as human beings who give meaning to our lives through stories – both those we tell about ourselves, and those which are told about us by others. When we experience mental ill-health our identity can become overwhelmed by an externally imposed diagnosis, along with negative representations of mental illness in society. We may then find ourselves inhabiting a new story about who we are, with this characterised by deficits and difficulties. In addition, mental distress/ illness is often portrayed as centred on individuals, while downplaying societal, cultural and other contextual factors. In this class we will look at ‘re­storying’ techniques focussing on using the power of story to understand the contexts in which our distress happens, resisting negative portrayals of the self, and creating a new story which is comfortable for us to live within.

In the class, medical students study alongside long term mental health service users. All participants explore aspects of their own personal narrative using storying methods. Sessions are led by Chrissy and Kay both of 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, Dr Helen Crimlisk, and Dr Mike Hunter will also contribute to sessions, and expand on research work with Storying and ‘recovery’. Participants work towards creating presentations based upon the narratives they have chosen to share (which do not have to be mental health related). These 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 and published.

Masterclass weekly reading

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


Mon 27 March 3-5
Mon 3 April 3-5
Mon 10 April 3-5
Mon 24 Apr 3-5
Mon 8 May 3-5
Mon 15 May 3-5

If you have experience of living with mental health difficulties and would like to participate in the class, or would like more information, please get in touch with Brendan Stone: / 0114 222 8495

2016 Masterclass Gallery