Communication & Medicine, Vol 11, No 3 (2014)

Improving doctor–patient communication through an autobiographical narrative theory

Chiara Fioretti, Andrea Smorti
Issued Date: 27 Apr 2016


This paper examines patient–physician communication, and in particular what each partner in this delicate relationship requests from the other, in the light of current research in cognitive studies relating to autobiographical memory and narrative. It explains that narratives are the result of a co-construction and sharing process between a storyteller and a listener – in this context, the patient and the physician, who work together on the story of the anamnesis. It further stresses the need for a robust and considered connection between patient-centred practices and theoretical constructs of narrative as it relates to the social development of autobiographical memory. Through an analysis of current evidence on doctor–patient communication and narratives of illness, a model of ‘narrative-based medicine’ (NBM) is proposed.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v11i3.20369


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