The Center for Narrative Practice believes that critical, skilled attention to narrative, stories and storytelling, in all of its forms, should be recognized as a part of all disciplines and fields. We believe that creativity can be learned, and practiced, and can change the way people communicate, teach, and learn. Through narrative practice, we aim to aid the world in becoming a more humane, accepting, and moral place, and to aid individuals in becoming more engaged participants in their lives and careers.

Our programs are designed for
professionals and students in:

Arts Administration
Collective Trauma
Community Organizing
Conflict Resolution
Creative Arts
Critical Studies
Human Rights

Medical Humanities
Mental Health
Narrative Medicine
Oral History
Public Health
Social Justice
Social Policy
Social Work
Substance Abuse



The Center for Narrative Practice provides deep critical training in how stories work, both personally and culturally, and the ability to apply this knowledge to everyday life by using narrative practice, the creative arts, and the study of story as a bridge towards deeper connections in interdisciplinary and inter-professional education.

The training and education the Center offers is for professionals, scholars, students, and all those interested in the applications of narrative and creativity in their respective fields. Through low-residency and online programs, workshops, and partnerships with other academic institutions and organizations, the Center broadens the applications for narrative and creative skills locally and internationally.


What is a Story
Context | Complexity | Creativity 

What Stories Can Do
Social Analysis and Activism | Conflict Resolution | Eliciting Stories from the Margins | Narrative Ethics
Promote Engagement | DeStigmatization | Active Listening | Self Care

What I Can Do with Stories
Human Rights | Individual and Collective Trauma Work | Disability Studies | Social Work | Law | Chaplaincy
Creative Representation | Narrative Medicine | Research


The team behind the Center is at the forefront of developing methods to understand, research, and teach narrative and creativity. At the core of these methods is the practice of creativity and use of the imagination; the study and creation of literary work, film, theater, graphic novels, and other arts are fundamental threads in all of the tools we have developed, and the application of creativity is common throughout our methods.

Close Reading 
The act of reading something carefully--whether a poem, novel, short story, memoir or a painting, sonata, play--and attending to all aspects of its dimensionality (form, voice, temporality, diction, movement, space, etc.) teaches us to pay closer attention to all aspects of our world, and reveals the ways that attentive looking and listening can engage the complexity of human expression. 

Reflective and Creative Writing 
This is writing with an eye toward discovery of new meanings and new forms; writing as a tool for expansion of the mind and spirit, and discovery of uncovered aspects of self and connections to colleagues. We will provide training through the discussion of writing in the language of text and constructive criticism. 

Critical Theory
Narrative is our primary device for making sense of social action. The “Narrative Turn” in critical thinking takes as its starting point the fact that individuals, institutions, nations and cultures construct their identities by locating themselves within plotted stories. What’s more, drawing forth and attending to stories that have no place among the repertoire of “legitimate” narratives--those of the vulnerable or silenced-- require narrative skill.


Narrative Intervention
In a situation where people are struggling due to perceived ownership of certain deeply held beliefs or concepts related to work environments, the use of narrative, stories that no one “owns,” can allow new elements to be seen and persons to re-connect and loosen their grip on whatever issues are affecting them.


Arthur Frank, Ph.D - Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Calgary

[Letting Stories Breathe; The Wounded Storyteller]

Vivian Heller, Ph.D - Author and Educator, Bard College
[Joyce, Decadence, and Emancipation; The City Beneath Us]

Craig Irvine, Ph.D - Philosopher and Educator, Columbia University
[The Other Side of Silence: Levinas, Medicine, and Literature]

Jack Saul, Ph.D - Director, International Trauma Studies Program

[Collective Trauma, Collective Healing: Promoting Community Resilience in the Aftermath of Disaster]

Maura Spiegel, Ph.D - Literature/Film Scholar, Columbia University
[Co-founder of the Program in Narrative Medicine]

Rachel Adams, Ph.D - Disability Studies, Columbia University

[Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery]

Chris Adrian, M.D., M.Div., M.F.A. - Pediatric Oncologist and Author, Columbia University

[The Children's Hospital; The Great Night; A Better Angel]

Joanne Braxton, Ph.D, M.Div - Chaplain and Scholar, Braxton Institute

[Black Women Writing Autobiography: A Tradition Within a Tradition]

Ricky Byrd - Founder, Clean Getaway; Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee
[Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts]

Bryan Doerries, M.F.A. - Theater of War

[The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today]

Paul Lazar - Co-Director, Big Dance Theater
[Silence of the Lambs; Lorenzo's Oil; Philadelphia; Snowpiercer]

David Leventhal - Dance for PD, Mark Morris Dance Group

[The Hard Nut; L'Allegro; il Penseroso ed il Moderato]

Pamela Quinn - Educator and Dancer
[NYU’s Edmond J. Safra Parkinson Program; Brooklyn Parkinson Group]

Benjamin Schwartz, M.D. - Staff Cartoonist, New Yorker Magazine
[Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University]

David Small, M.F.A - Graphic Novelist
[Stitches; The Gardener; One Cool Friend]

Betsy Sparrow, Ph.D - Social Psychologist

[Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips]


braxton web.jpg


CNP 2015 Class.jpg

Inaugural Certificate Class - August 28, 2015 - Boston

Shannon Wooden, Ph.D - Missouri State University


Center for Narrative Practice is a registered 501c3 non-profit corporation

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