More than two millennia ago, the Greek philosopher Socrates famously declared, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Henry David Thoreau said much the same thing in Walden: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately . . . and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

As this website demonstrates, that centuries-old insight has motivated modern medical research into reflective skills long associated with the humanities and social sciences. The result is a symbiotic blend of perspectives and knowledge that transcends academic silos in search of a deeper understanding of what constitutes, and fosters, a meaningful human life.

Hosted by the University of Delaware as a public service, Reflective Healing offers free resources for physicians and other health professionals, patients and caregivers, students preparing for careers in health care, and the public.

Its author is Joan DelFattore, Ph.D., a UD professor emerita who’s been offering reflective writing workshops at the Christiana Care Health System in Delaware since 2013. Like those workshops, Reflective Healing draws on the research-based medical humanities/narrative medicine model that’s now a common feature of medical education throughout the U.S. The website briefly explains how reflective writing, thoughtful reading, and storytelling can enhance one’s quality of life as well as communication with others. It also provides dozens of links to videos, podcasts, websites, books, medical and psychological research, databases, and other resources.


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