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How Stories Heal

Writing our Way to Meaning and Wholeness in the Academy


Robert J. Nash and Sydnee Viray

It is time for academics to embrace the fact that nothing is more appealing to readers – especially to our students – than personal stories with meaning-making implications that can touch all lives. No matter the age or stage in life, the personal or collective identity, everyone deals with meaning-making issues that challenge them – and others – throughout their lifetimes. And everyone we know finds that when encouraged to write their stories in the academy, they find meaning, wholeness, and healing.
How Stories Heal illustrates the value of personal narrative writing. Referring to this type of writing as the «turn to the subjective I» or to «me-search research», this is a book about Scholarly Personal Narrative (SPN) writing, actually written in an SPN style. This book will satisfy a huge need in higher education and scholarship, particularly for students who are writing undergraduate and graduate theses and doctoral dissertations; and also for junior and senior faculty who are looking to construct alternative forms of scholarship for publication.
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for How Stories Heal

“Founder of the revolutionary SPN method Robert J. Nash has created a detailed guide on how to bear witness to our lives by writing our own scholarly stories. His belief that the world of academe has suffered from depersonalization—and that higher learning more effectively takes place when students and teachers are able to explore and communicate their unique experiences as they relate to the human experience in its entirety—has led to the development of this postmodern system of academic writing. Sydnee Viray shares Nash’s conviction that by writing our stories using SPN, we can create existential meaning for our lives. Her involvement not only adds a feminine perspective, but a second clear voice which highlights non-judgment and compassion.

A radical departure from the dusty tomes typically associated with higher education, as well as the soulless material students are traditionally taught to write, SPN gives students, instead, the tools to thoroughly explicate their lives, share what they have learned, and apply that learning to universal philosophy. As a dedicated writer of my own stories, I hear from people every day who struggle with the ‘how’ of telling theirs. SPN offers us the chance to articulate our own idiosyncratic struggles, release pain, and find peace and passion throughout the process.”

—Erica Leibrandt, featured writer for Elephant Journal,YA 200 yoga instructor, and memoirist

“It’s high time we honored our personal stories not as peripheral to but as pillars...

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