Narrative medicine has proven benefit for healing and clinical outcomes. This data is based on the class Sandra Marinella taught at Integrative Health at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix for two years.
Background: Narrative Medicine has proven benefit for healing and clinical outcomes. Very little data exists on the use of writing for healing in the clinical setting.
Objective: To determine whether clinical wellness workshops focused on the instruction of writing for healing was feasible, satisfying, and perceived to impact stress, pain, mood, and well-being.
Methods: Writing For Healing workshops were held on a monthly basis. Participants were by self selection and without charge. Subsequent to participation, subjects were surveyed based on their satisfaction and perceived clinical benefit.
Results: Over a 2 year period, 199 participants completed 130 to surveys. Survey responses showed the majority were very satisfied with the experience and found it very beneficial for their stress, mood, and general wellness. 50% found it very beneficial for pain.
Conclusions: Conducting a Writing to Heal workshop inside a Medical Center is found to be feasible, with high satisfaction, and with patient perceived clinical benefit.
Determine the feasibility of Writing to Heal workshops inside an academic medical center
Quantify patient satisfaction with Writing to Heal experience
Assess whether Writing to Heal – regardless of whether clinical symptoms/status directly addressed – was perceived by participants to impact Stress, Pain, Mood, and General Wellbeing
Open invitation was provided to attend Writing to Heal workshops at the Integrative Medicine center at Mayo Clinic, Arizona via emails, flyers, and social media posts
90 minutes, no charge
Professional writing teacher and author
Sessions consisted of:
Education of the impact of writing
Shared writing and reflection
Participants could attend multiple sessions which were similar but not identical
Survey provided immediately following session
Over a 2 year period, 199 participants attended 23 workshops
Satisfaction: Very satisfied 96.1%, Somewhat satisfied 3.1%, Somewhat dissatisfied 0.8%, Very dissatisfied 0%
Very beneficial for Stress 77.5%, Pain 50.4%, Mood 82.4%, General feeling of wellness 83.1%
Some benefit for Stress 15.5%, Pain 18.3%, Mood 13%, General feeling of wellness 16.2%
How satisfied were you with the wellness class you received at Mayo Clinic?
DISCUSSIONS / CONCLUSIONS
Writing for Healing workshops are feasible with:
High level of participation and satisfaction
Low cost, require minimal resources
May have clinical impact on stress, pain, mood, and general wellbeing
More research is needed to determine extent of clinical impact as this study was not designed to answer this question
Marinella S. The Story You Need to Tell. New World Library, 2017.
Pennebaker JW. Opening Up. William Morrow and Co. 1990
Pennebaker, JW Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8, 162–166. 1997