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Katherine Biddle (left) and Steven T. Licardi (right) check out the “Healthstorian”, a vintage camper equppied with recording equipment that we will use to visit community hospitals across SW Virginia.

Restor(y)ing the Essential Soul: Creative Storytelling for Healing

Collaborator with Steven T. Licardi, Bryan “Harvest Blaque” Hancock of Soul Sessions, and Katherine S. Biddle

This project is on pause through Fall 2022 due to departmental changes. 

Burnout among healthcare staff has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and has been linked to health cost and mortality. Challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbate this issue. Preliminary evidence indicates that practitioners engaging in improvisational, arts-based interventions experience wide-ranging benefits, including profound states of interpersonal connection. Engagement in a group-based creative process facilitates the development of key relational and creative capacities necessary for healthcare professionals to adapt to the complexities of their work and provide effective clinical care.

Restor(y)ing the Essential Soul is a pilot program facilitating healing and connection through storytelling. We will explore the power of storytelling to heal ourselves, one another, and our community.

The pilot project includes three phases: 1. The facilitation of arts-based workshops for Carilion Clinic healthcare workers across SW Virginia, 2. Storytelling with participating healthcare workers at their sites of practice, and 3. Curation and sharing of these experiences within Carilion, at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM), and with the broader communities served by Carilion. This initiative is a collaboration between the Dr. Robert L. A. Keeley Healing Arts Program at Carilion and the VTCSOM.