Memoir for Healing & Self-Understanding

Another Morning: Voices of Truth and Hope from Mothers with Cancer by Linda Blachman.
A book inspiring seriously ill parents to leave stories and messages for their survivors.

Coyote Wisdom: The Power of Story in Healing by Lewis Mehl-Madrona
An in-depth look at the therapeutic and transformative powers of storytelling in Native American and other cultures. The author explores how to create a healing state of mind using stories.

Fearless Confessions: A Writer�s Guide to Memoir by Sue Williams Silverman.
Silverman encourages writers to transform their life story into words that matter � finding the courage to speak truth about issues on which others might prefer silence.

Living to Tell the Tale: A Guide to Writing Memoir by Jane Taylor McDonnell.
How to write "crisis memoirs," finding "our own meaningfulness, even in the midst of sadness and disappointment."

Narrative Medicine by Rita Charon.
The doctor's job is to listen and by hearing the patient's story to know the patient more fully than numbers on a chart can convey.

Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions by James W. Pennebaker
In controlled clinical research funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, psychologist James W. Pennebaker sheds new light on the powerful mind/body connection. This book presents evidence that personal self-disclosure is not only good for our emotional health, but boosts our physical health as well.

The Beneficial Effects of Life Story and Legacy Activities article by Pat McNees
Journal of Geriatric Care Management. You can also access the journal article (  pdf 61.9 KB)

The Healing Art of Storytelling by Richard Stone.
A classic guide to understanding the storylines of our lives.

The Illness Narratives by Arthur Kleinman
Based on twenty years of clinical experience studying and treating chronic illness, a Harvard psychiatrist and anthropologist argues that diagnosing illness is an art tragically neglected by modern medical training, and presents a compelling case for bridging the gap between patient and doctor.

The Power of Memoir: How to Write Your Healing Story by Linda Joy Myers.
Step-by-step memoir writing, with goal of healing from emotional pain.

The Story of Your Life: Becoming the Author of Your Experience by Mandy Aftel.
Aftel asks you to reflect on three major life plots (love, mastery, and loss), provoking reflection on things like How Money Complicates the Love Plot, How Children Complicate the Marriage Subplot, and How Escape Complicates the Mastery Plot. He suggests that trite or destructive story lines can be crafted into a new narrative of courage, fulfillment, and imagination.

The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics by Arthur Frank.
Frank recounts a stirring collection of illness stories, ranging from the well-known--Gilda Radner's battle with ovarian cancer--to the private testimonials of people with cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, and disabilties. Their stories are more than accounts of personal suffering: they abound with moral choices and point to a social ethic.

Vertigo: A Memoir (The Cross-Cultural Memoir Series) by Louise DeSalvo
Controversial scholar-critic Louise DeSalvo breaks the traditional silence around life for an Italian American girl coming of age, sifting through painful memories of childhood incest, a sister�s suicide, and more. Another resource by this author is Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives.

Writing and Healing: �The Best Therapy I�ve Had� article by Sharon Lippincott
How a memoir writing class helped recovery from a brain injury.

Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives by Louise DeSalvo.
DeSalvo shows how anyone can use writing as a way to heal the emotional and physical wounds that are an inevitable part of life, yet she warns that the wrong kind of writing can be damaging. DeSalvo recommends writing five pages a week, uncensored, in spare moments, reporting every detail, to speed healing -- and sharing with other empathetic writers, to sharpen narrative.