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Relational Rounds

Feb 21, 2019

Jonathan M. Adler, Ph.D. is Chief Academic Officer and Co-Director of Healing Story Sessions for Health Story Collaborative, an amazing organization that champions the use of story and medicine as a tool for connection, healing, and action. Jonathan Adler has a Ph.D. in clinical and personality psychology from Northwestern, he is a clinical psychologist, member of the editorial team of the Journey of Personality and professor at Olin College. His research focuses on how we make sense of challenging experiences in the way that meaning-making impacts our sense of self and psychological well being. Jonathan Adler uses his personal  narrative as a vehicle for studying meaning-making and identity, with a special interest in the experience of illness and healing.


In this outstanding episode, Jonathan Adler deeply shares his passion and knowledge about narrative and how it is intricately involved in every part of human life, even recognizing our ability to tell stories as the most distinctive human adaptation. Jonathan brings light to the fact that people find meaning and identity when telling stories; and how at the same time in the act of narrating, connections are being made among individuals and with society as a whole.


Key takeaways:

[:37] Jonathan Adler’s career briefing

[2:05] How did Jonathan Adler enter this particular space?

[4:15] Science and stories.

[5:21] How do we use stories for healing?

[6:54] Narrative is everywhere.

[7:42] Narrative is the tool we use to make sense of our lives.

[8:00] What has Jonathan Adler learned about himself in this work?

[9:36] Master narratives: What a culture believes is supposed to be narrated.

[10:18] Why U.S. narrative is so focused on redemption?

[13:16] Narrative is the nexus between self and society.

[14:10] Finding compatible narratives.

[15:17] Every political movement has its own narrative.

[17:03] Jonathan Adler’s work with illness.

[19:35] Telling your story is an intervention itself.

[21:35] Many people go into medicine because of the relational aspect with their patients.

[23:31] We need more space for the connections that only stories can provide.

[24:04] How can someone start in storytelling?

[26:02] Stories of people that acquire major disabilities in adulthood.

[28:16] Rapid-fire questions.   


Mentioned in this Episode:

Relational Rounds at Primary Care Progress

Primary Care Progress on Twitter

Elizabeth Metraux on Twitter

Email Jonathan Adler:

Health Story Collaborative