Tools of Integration for Health Care: Contemplative Writing & Social Theory Workshops
In the Tools of Integration for Health Care workshops, participants will explore embodiment, narrative, trauma, and creativity, and how feminist social theory about these topics can support the work of health care practitioners. Co-taught with award-winning writer Jenny Blair, MD, these workshops are intended for those who are interested in how the humanities can inform patient care. Workshop topics are in dialogue with key questions and concepts from narrative medicine. Activities include close reading, contemplative writing practices, training in social theory, and discussions of patient care and clinician wellness.
Workshop #1: Healing the Structures of Disconnection
In the foundational workshop, Healing the Structures of Disconnection, we explore how people disconnect from the knowledge their body holds. We consider how the mind-body split not only permeates Western medicine, but also contributes to racial, class, and gender norms and inequalities. We consider the implications for both practitioners and patients. Contemplative writing practices in this workshop help us become aware of how it feels to live in systems that split the mind and the body, as well as to help us figure out how to intervene.
Workshop #2: Trauma Studies, Social Theory, and Patient Care
In Workshop #2, Trauma Studies, Social Theory, and Patient Care, we explore trauma studies, while taking into account relevant social theory research at the intersection of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Our goal is to consider both the possibilities and the limits of trauma studies as applied to patient care and social inequalities. Contemplative writing exercises help us consider how trauma theory’s insights about narrative help us listen in deeper ways to our patients’ stories as well as to our own.
Workshop #3: Honoring Creativity as a Practice of Wellness
The third and final workshop in the series, Honoring Creativity as a Practice of Wellness, considers how creative practices can benefit both practitioners and patients. In many traditions of both mental health and feminist social theory, creative practice is thought to heal the mind-body split, as well as to express bodily knowledge that doesn’t yet have language. We’ll explore how creativity serves individual wellness, even as we think carefully about what “wellness” means and how the idea of wellness fits into larger systems. Honoring creativity helps both practitioners and patients align with inner knowledge, agency, resilience, and ancestral and community ties.
Co-Facilitator: Jenny Blair, MD
Jenny Blair, MD, is a journalist, writer, and editor in New York. Educated at the Yale School of Medicine, she trained in emergency medicine at the University of Chicago, where she earned teaching and humanitarian awards. As an emergency physician, she cared for patients in Chicago, the Northeast, and Haiti; she also led medical-student workshops in Vermont and taught physicians in Indonesia. Her writing has appeared in multiple outlets, including New Scientist, Discover, the Austin Monitor, and the Hartford Courant, for which her column twice won a National Headliner Award. She has spoken at Stanford University and Oakland University and appeared on Good Morning America and Talk of The Nation. Her interests include graphic narrative, improv comedy, and permaculture.