How can life stories be used to make care more personal?
Stories play a major role in (mental) health care in all sorts of ways. People come to the care provider with a story, they exchange stories during the care and then in retrospect also have a story to tell about the care itself. We aim to investigate the role played by narratives and thus reinforce it. For this purpose we are investigating the possibilities for using life stories in diagnostics. Similarly, we are carrying out research into therapy stories as a means of evaluating the processes and outcomes of therapy. Finally, we are employing narrative-psychological research methods to study the relationship between professionals and clients and in the implementation of innovative care scenarios.
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What do life stories teach us about the impact of technological developments?
Technology plays an increasingly large role in society and in mental health care. In the Dutch Life Story Lab the relationship between stories and technology is explored in a variety of ways.
Stories about technology
Narrative methods offer a unique approach to researching the use and acceptance of new technologies. They can provide insight, for example, into the question of how far therapists and clients accept new media as part of the psychological treatment process, and the degree to which this affects their mutual communication.
Technology and identity
New technologies pose important questions in relation to identity formation. What does it mean for the individual identity to live in a society in which technological innovation plays an increasingly greater role? Does technology, such as the rise of social media, change the process of identity formation? To what extent does the identity of a person change as a result of new biomedical technology, such as a robotic leg or neurological implant? These are questions to be investigated in the Dutch Life Story Lab in the years to come.
Technological innovations in narrative methods
We are conducting research into the use of the Internet and video recordings to collect narrative data and into the use of advanced statistical methods and text mining for the classification and analysis of life stories.
How can interventions based on life stories promote mental health?
Knowledge of the relationship between life stories and mental health is applied in developing interventions, such as "the stories we live by" and "precious memories". With this approach we focus on specific target groups, such as people with depressive complaints or serious illnesses. We employ a range of methodologies, including group interventions, guided self-help and e-mental health (online therapy). The research is directed toward collating further evidence for the efficacy of methods based on life stories. In addition to reduction of symptoms, key here are the promotion of well-being, sense of purpose, resilience and quality of life.
The focus lies increasingly on analysing the narrative processes which produce efficacy. In using this approach we address questions such as for whom, at what moment, and in what way narrative interventions are most effective.