July 6, 2023

The Power of Words and Narratives to Help Patients Heal

An interview with palliative care expert Danielle Chammas, MD

The June 2, 2023, issue of JAMA featured an intriguing article by Danielle Chammas, MD, about “the stories we tell ourselves.” In this interview, Chammas shares more details on how clinicians influence the stories of their patients' lives and how we can use the power of language to help patients alter their narratives so they can heal. Chammas believes clinicians can simultaneously honor their patients’ narratives while also helping them process, integrate, and accept their circumstances.

About the Expert

Danielle Chammas, MD is a palliative care physician and psychiatrist who works in the University of California - San Francisco (UCSF) Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Symptom Management Clinic. She completed her medical school, General Adult Psychiatry residency, chief resident year, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship all at UCSF. In addition to providing clinical care, Chammas pursues professional and scholarly interests, including the intersection of psychiatry and palliative care, the psychological dimensions of life-limiting illness, therapeutic communication, medical education, clinician wellness, and medical humanities.

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