John Launer’s Narrative-Based Practice in Health and Social Care outlines a vision of how witnessing narratives, paying attention to them, and developing an ability to question them creatively, can make the person’s emerging story the central focus of health and social care, and of healing.

This text gives an account of the practical application of ideas and skills from contemporary narrative studies to health and social care. Promoting narrative-based practice in everyday encounters with patients and clients, and in supervision, teaching, teamwork and management, it presents “Conversations Inviting Change,” an established narrative-based model of interactional skills.

Underpinned by an account of theory from narrative studies and related fields, including communication theory and systems thinking, it is written for students and practitioners across a broad range of professions in primary and secondary health care and social care.


“Reading John Launer’s Narrative-Based Practice in Health and Social Care: Conversations Inviting Change gave me a powerful surge of hope. John finds words to express our deepest thoughts and visions for a truly respectful and effective health care. His transparent prose brings his reader to experience the clarity and value of narrative practice. Reading John Launer, awakened by his purity of thought, falling under the spell of his idealism, charged by his optimism, I feel myself in the presence of those giants of vision and faithful representers of ‘the other.’ We all gather, with John as host, in the clearing of a narrative path toward wholeness. If you care for the sick, read this book.” – Professor Rita Charon, Columbia University, USA

“[Launer’s] training practices provide a crucial component in the project of humanizing clinical relationships… systematic training in asking patients questions that can help them to clarify their narratives, which in turn clarifies alternatives they might pursue in their lives and sets the most productive course for clinical treatment” – Professor Arthur Frank, University of Calgary, Canada in Journal of Medical Humanities

“This book guides us through the rapids and challenges of how to conduct conversations that lead to meaningful change. John Launer articulates with wonderful simplicity the subtleties of a narrative-based approach which enables people in difficult situations to negotiate and realise new ways of going forward. Given the ubiquity of calls for change and innovation, this book must be everyone’s first port of call to make sure their plans and initiatives benefit from Launer’s transformational approach to narrative communication.” – Professor Rick Iedema, King’s College London, UK

“How can practitioners and patients become more receptive and responsive to each other? Launer’s book addresses this question, and resonates with today’s policy preoccupations; the need to develop relationships between practitioners working with the same patients in the same teams to improve collaborative practice. Narrative-based practice has yet to receive the attention in interprofessional education that it merits. ‘Conversations Inviting Change’ offers a remedy for this that I shall certainly keep to hand.” – Hugh Barr, President, the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education