Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 40 (5):511-528 (2015)

Narrative medicine is predicated on the importance of narrative to human life. Although that in itself is not controversial, an extension of this principle that has sprung up in narrative psychiatry—namely, that by coming to imagine a different life story one can become a different person—ought to be. One reason one cannot remake one’s life in the image of a story is that life is not to be mistaken for a story in the first place. The seminal study of psychotherapy, Persuasion and Healing, although recommending that the demoralized absorb more uplifting stories about themselves, appears to recognize some limit to the possibility of modeling life on story. The same study likens therapeutic stories to placebos, but as it happens, placebos themselves have their limits, alleviating symptoms but not curing or “healing.” In order for someone to become a different person through the agency of the placebo effect, it would have to be more robust than it is. The argument that life follows narrative is an ironic one for a discipline devoted to narrative to make, given the salience in the tradition of the novel, from Don Quixote forward, of works that explore the fallacies of that presumption. In keeping with its attention to narrative, this article challenges the use of a short story by Chitra Divakaruni as an illustration of the principles of narrative psychiatry
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/jhv021
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References found in this work BETA

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1983 - University of Notre Dame Press.
After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Samuel Scheffler - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (3):443.
Real Materialism: And Other Essays.Galen Strawson - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
The Narrative Construction of Reality.Jerome Bruner - 1991 - Critical Inquiry 18 (1):1-21.

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Medicine, Morality, and Mortality: The Challenges of Moral Diversity.Mark J. Cherry - 2015 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 40 (5):473-483.

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