Narrative Medicine in Psychiatry: a Way to Care and Cure

Antonio Virzì, Salvatore Dipasquale, Tiziana Salvatrice Lo Monaco, Giovanni Previti, Sara Ruta


Psychiatry in the last sixty years has undergone a profound evolution characterized by definition of guidelines, development of new pharmacological therapies, new psychiatric rehabilitation programs and mental health institutions. Initially the only treatment, without valid therapies, was taking care of psychiatric patients. In 1978 in Italy asylums were closed by the law 180 and mental health services were reorganized. The difference between to cure, more linked to pharmacological treatment, and to care, linked to various instruments and health services, becomes clearer. Recently narrative medicine has been identified as a versatile way to care and also to help psychiatrists to cure patients. Narrative medicine is based on patients histories, in a different way from psychotherapy, and it allows to see the psychiatric disease from the different points of view: clinicians, health care workers, patients and their relatives. In this article we will review the recent developments and uses of narrative medicine in psychiatry.


Key words: Narrative medicine - Psychiatry - To care - To cure

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