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Radical Listening Healing Conversations

For everyone.

Radical listening is a first step toward healing the destructive divides that afflict our country and world. This intensive training brings together leaders in psychology, medicine, the humanities, and the creative arts to inspire us to take radical action in the face of rising racism, sexism, and nationalism.

Focusing on the importance of listening in creating the society we want, this program highlights many levels of listening, from personal listening skills to mediated listening and the public sphere. Activities in this program include

  • Plenary group presentations
  • Small group work
  • Writing for discovery
  • Outdoor walking/listening
  • Dyads that move us more deeply toward curiosity, exposure, and growing knowledge of self and other.

Listening across great divides allows us to understand and empathize with others. When we understand the foundation of another’s beliefs by receiving their accounts of themselves, things begin to shift on both sides. The facilitators of this training—all leaders in narrative methods of healing and communicating—include a psychiatrist, psychologist, novelist, philosopher, cinema scholar, literary scholar, physician, and public health activist.

Several groups committed to the rise of radical listening toward social justice are coming together to offer this unique program. Columbia University’s Program in Narrative Medicine’s healing through stories, Carol Gilligan’s Listening Guides, Narrative 4’s story exchange for empathy, and Narativ’s storytelling have combined to create a different approach to polarization. Come discover new ways to achieve peace and healing as you learn the art of radical listening.

Note Through the generosity of a donor, Columbia has established a modest fund to support half-tuition for up to 10 participants who would require financial assistance to attend this program. Participants who need to be included in the scholarship pool should send their names and email addresses to Kimberly La Force at kcl2134@cumc.columbia.edu by May 15, 2018. Ten participants will be chosen by lottery from that list. They will receive half tuition reimbursement directly from Columbia Narrative Medicine.

Program at a Glance

Yoga Experience
Suitable For
Program Theme
All Self-Discovery and Psychology


Rita Charon, MD, PhD, is a general internist and literary scholar who originated the field of narrative medicine.

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Paul Browde, MD, is a psychiatrist, storyteller, and couples’ guide. After medical school in South Africa he trained as an actor at the Drama Studio London. Paul cofounded Narativ Inc., which teaches the art of listening and storytelling.

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Lisa Consiglio is executive director and cofounder of Narrative 4, an organization of authors, educators, and students that uses the power of personal stories to build empathy and spark collaborative, global change.

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Brett Davidson is director of the Media and Narratives Division of the Open Society Public Health Program, where his work focuses on changing long-held social narratives that impact public health.

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Carol Gilligan, PhD, is the author of In a Different Voice, described by Harvard University Press as “the little book that started a revolution.”

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Deepu Gowda, MD, MPH, MS is an associate professor of medicine and the course director of foundations of clinical medicine at the Columbia University, a course that introduces medical students to the physical examination, the medical interview, and clinical reasoning.

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Nellie Hermann, creative director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, has published two novels, The Cure for Grief and The Season of Migration.

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Craig Irvine, PhD, is academic director of the master’s program in narrative medicine and a founder and academic director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University.

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Maura Spiegel is a founding member of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, where she has been teaching literature and film for more than 20 years.

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