The Narrative Writing experience

As my first 16-week cycle through the “Narrative Group” draws to a close next Monday I’ve been reflecting on what it has meant to me over the past four months.

It has been a powerful experience, both in listening to the stories of others and in sharing some of my own. I have found out that it is one thing to write a story and quite another to read it aloud to a group! All feedback is framed constructively, so that wasn’t the surprise. It was the release of emotions that came from reading out loud which was somewhat unexpected. Of course, given the subject group, and our shared experiences, it was reasonable to expect that there would be emotional occasions but the surprise came as I heard myself read touching stories which had, until then, lived mostly in my head and heart.

Another surprise was that, quite often, HIV was not one of the main characters, i.e. subjects, of our stories. The topics were general enough that we were able to explore our inner selves as deeply as we felt comfortable – HIV or otherwise.

I have already signed up for the next round and look forward to seeing where it takes me.

  • Here’s a reprint of a poster advertising the next group:

    Narrative Group

    A group opportunity for individuals living with HIV/AIDS who share an interest in writing and the discussion of writing.

    Learning how to write your own stories and sharing them with others living with HIV in a confidential setting may foster creative problem-solving and allow you to find a greater sense of meaning as you navigate your illness and its impact on your life.

    Allan Peterkin and Julie Hann provide psychotherapy in the Clinic for HIV Related Concerns (at Mount Sinai Hospital). Both have an interest in how writing and sharing narratives impact health.

    If you are interested in joining this group speak with your therapist or, if you would like more information, please call:

    Allan Peterkin (416)586-3204

    Julie Hann (416)586-4559

    Space is limited to 12 people.

    A time limited group for men and women living with HIV/AIDS.


    Next Session Sept.-Dec. 2004 Monday afternoons 2:00-3:30 pm

    The Clinic for HIV Related Concerns

    Mount Sinai Hospital

    600 University Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X5


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