Just Listening: Narrative and Deep Illness*

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Practicing therapy with those living in “deep illness” is presented as entering relationships based on storytelling. As an aid to listening to the stories of the ill, three narrative skeletons, each underlying a certain type of story, are described, with the necessity of each type of story emphasized. This essay suggests how just listening to these stories is a professional role, how changes in the ill person’s life can result from storytelling, and how to nurture these changes while still honoring each type of story.

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