Professionals all need sophisticated interactional skills. “Conversations Inviting Change” (CIC) is a narrative-based approach to encounters in health and social care that can enrich all professional work.

CIC arises from the simple idea that everyone – whether as a patient, client, learner or colleague – can benefit from telling stories about their experiences, and being skilfully questioned about these.

CIC can be applied in:

  • person-centred consultations with individuals and families
  • supervision, coaching and mentoring
  • team development and facilitation
  • conflict resolution
  • training in reflective practice and professionalism
  • action learning sets and collaborative learning groups
  • leadership and management
  • creating a culture of respect
  • training in equality, diversity and cultural humility

CIC is effective in helping people to move on when they feel stuck, and ideal for difficult or challenging encounters. It is especially effective when professionals need to balance attentiveness to the client’s story with considerations of safety, quality of care, best evidence, or statutory roles.

CIC is based on narrative studies, communication theory and systems thinking. It was first developed at the Tavistock Clinic in London by John Launer and Caroline Lindsey as an approach to healthcare consultations and peer supervision. Since then, it has been introduced to several thousand people in the United Kingdom and abroad through one-day workshops and three-day courses, as well as longer courses for becoming a CIC trainer. It has been taught at Health Education England (formerly the London Deanery) for over ten years for training health professionals in supervision skills.

Who can benefit from training in CIC?

CIC will benefit all health and social care professionals, and their teams and organisations. Course participants have included:

  • doctors from primary and secondary care
  • nurses and health visitors
  • dentists and dental staff
  • social workers
  • counsellors, therapists, psychologists and coaches
  • other mental health professions
  • allied health professionals and paramedics
  • managers and administrators
  • pharmacists and optometrists
  • chaplains
  • health service researchers
  • teachers and educationalists
  • workers from the voluntary and private sectors

We have run courses and given presentations for hospital Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups, GP practices, universities, mental health organisations, nursing and business schools and elsewhere. Our trainers have run workshops and presented at conferences internationally including in Scandinavia, Turkey, Israel, Japan, Israel, the US, Canada and Australia.

Watch this short video introduction to the CIC approach:

Listen to this 15 minute podcast interview about CIC:

How can trained CIC facilitators help your organisation?

CIC facilitators can offer external consultancy and direct help to organisations, covering a wide range of issues including team development and supervision training. Previous projects have involved helping to develop staff as educators (including observation of their workplace teaching), setting up systems of peer supervision, promoting multi-professional collaboration, and delivering strategies to address bullying and undermining.

CIC facilitators, and those accepted for facilitator training, are all highly experienced professionals from the health service, social care, higher education and voluntary sector. CIC trainers are all accredited by the Association of Narrative Practice in Healthcare, an organisation set up in the United Kingdom to promote the use of narrative-based approaches in healthcare settings.

Organisations where courses and workshops in CIC have been delivered and are planned include:

  • Fondazione ISTUD Business School, Milan, Italy
  • Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, London, UK
  • Danish Society for Supervision and Communication Skills, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Swedish Association for Narrative Medicine, Gothenberg, Sweden
  • East Kent Community Education Provider Network, Canterbury, UK
  • University College London Medical School, Faculty of Postgraduate Medical Education
  • Physiotherapy Pain Association, UK
  • Residential course for Scandinavian GP trainers, Kalymnos, Greece
  • Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group
  • San Diego Pain Summit, California, USA

For further information:

To discuss commissioning from CIC trainers visit our contact page here.

Read our articles.

Listen to CIC podcasts.

Watch videos on CIC & Narrative Medicine.