Storytelling can boost mental health

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) specialist clinical psychologist Dr Kate Nurser has conducted the first UK research on how storytelling can help the recovery of people who have experienced mental health challenges. Kate worked with students at CPFT’s Recovery College East on a paper which has just been published by the Mental Health Review Journal.

The students all took part in RCE’s Telling My Story course, which uses the storytelling process to help individuals to make sense of what has happened to them and celebrate who they are. While highly valued by students who have taken part in courses at Recovery Colleges across the country, qualitative research in the area has been limited to two small studies abroad.

Kate – who collaborated with colleagues from the University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – hopes the paper will further the understanding of how the storytelling process can positively impact on those who use it. The findings suggest that storytelling can be a highly meaningful experience and an important part of the individual’s recovery journey. They also point to ways that UK mental health services could make more of the storytelling process. For a copy of the paper, please contact at

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