My name is Karen Gold and I am a social worker, educator, narrative medicine practitioner and writing facilitator. This blog is an exploration of all things narrative that capture my attention and relate to healthcare, communication, social work, ethics, teaching and social science inquiry.
I have been working in healthcare as a clinical social worker and educator for over twenty years and have had a longstanding interest in narrative practices. This goes back to my early days studying English literature at university and my subsequent training as an English teacher. Narrative approaches to healthcare and therapy practice brings me full circle.
In 2013 I completed my PhD (Tilburg University, Netherlands) exploring narrative writing in healthcare. In working towards the PhD, I was part of a unique international transprofessional program at the Taos Institute. I spent three years immersed in reading about constructionist inquiry, arts-based research, autoethnography, personal narrative in professional practice, poetry and narratives by healthcare practitioners and thinking about writing, narrative analysis and relational practices. As part of this process, I did training at The Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University.
My interest is how all of this links to better communication and compassionate care. I’m interested in how narrative helps us understand the experiences of patients, clients and families dealing with illness as well as the experiences of healthcare providers themselves. I’m especially interested in experiences that often go unnoticed or fall in the margins.
Facilitating writing workshops for practitioners and students is a passion of mine. I currently facilitate a clinician writing group at the hospital where I work, and recently trained as a volunteer facilitator for the community-based Toronto Writer’s Collective.
My approach to writing workshops have been shaped by numerous approaches. Consistent with my approach to clinical practice and teaching, I am drawn to strengths-based approaches which create opportunities for reading and writing in a supportive collaborative community.