In 2015, I was one of seven seniors selected to present a talk at the Gallatin Senior Symposium. The event showcases a select group of seniors who present live talks that share ideas at the heart of their academic passions. 

Developed from my individualized major at Gallatin, my talk - entitled Narrative Healing - is a critical examination of narrative’s place in psychology. A narrative approach to psychology privileges personal stories, and supplements traditional models of practice with lived experience, in order to provide a more holistic picture of those living with various forms of mental difference.

The talk starts and ends with the story of my sister, Sarah, who inspires all of my pursuits in this area. Sarah has learning disabilities and a bipolar diagnosis. I grew up watching the control of Sarah’s life fall under the jurisdiction of doctors, therapists, and even judges when she was deemed incapacitated by the court many years ago. Her voice is silenced by a system that perpetuates a singular model of medical practice, but tends to ignore those affected by mental difference.

A synthesis of theory and personal experience, this talk espouses that valuing the stories of those living with mental difference has the potential to heal in unprecedented ways.