Lissanthea Taylor – The power of narrative medicine to understand pain


Young , old, or in-between, people challenged by chronic pain express a desire to understand what is going on. Pain education provides a space to explore their questions, and Hayley has been researching ways to optimise the content and delivery of pain education.


The power of narrative medicine to understand pain

People that recover from persisting pain often credit a better understanding of their pain as a turning point in their journey from suffering to thriving. Learning accurate and helpful information about pain seems to be key to this shift, so why do the research outcomes of pain education as an intervention seem to miss their target?

There’s a missing piece in the skills needed clinically that come from the worlds of literature, poetry and the visual arts.

In this edition of Le Pub Scientifique, physiotherapist Lissanthea Taylor helps you to look at the aims of pain neuroscience education in a new light based on skills derived from narrative medicine and the humanities. You’ll have the opportunity to assess your experience and skills with patient stories and analyse how that is helping or hindering your capacity for delivering person-centred pain education. You will work through developing a personal plan for building skills in listening and witnessing difficult clinical stories, not only to benefit your patients but also for your own health and well-being.

Three points

1. Recognise pain neuroscience education as a psychologically-informed care modality and critique the clinical skills needed to deliver the intervention compared to standard allied health professional education curriculums.

2. Assess the risks of using pain science education as an intervention and measure your own skills and capacity to deliver this intervention in an effective way.

3. Develop a personal development plan to expand your capacity to hear someone’s story and integrate those skills into your clinical practice with people in pain.