Life presents many spaces where one’s dignity can be diminished. When you listen to someone share their story, you are giving them the opportunity to regain dignity.
Dignity and self-respect are two aspects of personal character that mean more to an individual than almost anything else. It has been shown that the thing that hospital patients care about far more than hospital mortality rates is being treated with dignity and respect (Page, 2004).
In fact, there is a form of patient storytelling, typically used at end-of-life, called Dignity Therapy that is designed to provide a patient with the opportunity to share their story one last time, because even beyond the indignities of getting older and being a part of the healthcare system, the greatest indignity is to not be given the opportunity to share your story before you die. The storytelling involved in Dignity Therapy provides a safe environment to review one’s life and experience the most meaningful moments again, bringing a sense of renewed dignity and self-respect.
What They Really Really Want by Ben Page
Learning From Dying Patients During Their Final Days: Life Reflections Gleaned From Dignity Therapy by Thomas Hack, Susan McClement, Harvey Chochinov, Beverley Cann, Thomas Hassard, Linda Kristjanson & Mike Harlos
Dignity Therapy: Final Words For Final Days by Harvey Chochinov
Come back in the weeks to come to read more bite-sized posts about why storytelling is impactful to your life in the “Brief Benefits of Storytelling” series!