I just got back from Edinburgh. Went to the Scottish Storytelling Festival for the chance to meet Joanna Geyer Kordesch, who is researching Science, Medicine and the Arts of Illness with funding from the Wellcome Trust. Sadly she is not very well and was unable to attend her workshops last week. Donald Smith, Director of the Storytelling Centre, led the discussions stating very eloquently that ‘the way we experience the world is closer to imagination than to a realistic science model. In the way that we view the world is very different from that experience.’
The group discussed health and states of mind with some of the group sharing wonderful personal stories.
Kordesch believes that ‘Narrative description is subjective and orientated on the individual’s attempt to understand experience’. To improve the health care system we need to work with each person’s story, treating mind and body as a complete whole. Mental states of illness are about relationships: the individual’s connections to others, our sense of being related to our surrounding environment.
I wish Kordesch a complete recovery and look forward very much to reading the finished paper as she seems to have done a lot of fascinating research into writers and their thoughts on well-being.