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Narrating People

Understanding The Story Behind An Illness

Our Concept

It has been shown that medical practice benefits enormously from medical narratives (stories). After all, behind each patient is first and foremost a person with their own needs and demands.

By capturing individual anonymized narratives, we can develop a better understanding of how you, as an individual, but also as part of society, perceive and experience illness and medical treatments. 

These insights, in turn, can be fed back into the health care system to further strengthen an individualized medical practice. 

Our Team

Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee
Project Lead
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

My name is Mita Banerjee, and I am a professor of American Studies (Cultural Studies) at the Obama Institute, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. In my research, I look at stories (narratives) and their influence on medical everyday life of patients and practitioners alike.

My name is Amina A. Touzos, and I am a Ph.D. candidate with Prof. Dr. Banerjee at the Obama Institute, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. My research deals with the representation of disabilities and psychosomatic illnesses in various literary formats.

Amina A. Touzos
Project Staff Member
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz


Prof. Dr. Ulrike Bingel
Project Cooperation
CRC 1280, Project A11
University Duisburg-Essen

My name is Ulrike Bingel, and I work at the CRC 1280 in research project A11 at University Duisburg-Essen. In my research, I look at the acquisition, extinction learning, and reinstatement of pain-related fear as well as their underlying neural mechanisms in patients with chronic back pain and healthy control subjects.

My name is Katharina Schmidt, and I am working together with Prof. Dr. Ulrike Bingel in project A11 at the CRC 1280, University Duisburg-Essen. My research deals with learning mechanisms in the context of pain, with a focus on extinction learning in healthy test participants as well as patients with chronic back pain.

Dr. Katharina Schmidt
Project Cooperation
CRC 1280, Project A11
University Duisburg-Essen


Jun.-Prof. Dr. Marcella Woud
Project Cooperation
CRC 1280, Project A13
Georg-August-University Göttigen

My name is Marcella Woud and I work in the CRC 1280 in the research project A13 at the Georg-August-University Göttingen. My research focuses on exposure therapy and examines fear extinction in the context of anxiety disorders. I am interested in the underlying psychophysiological and neural mechanisms of dysfunctional cognitive processes.

My name is Beray Macit and I work together with Jun.-Prof. Dr. Marrcella Woud in the research project A13 of the CRC 1280 at Ruhr-University Bochum. I am working on the identification of novel interventions to strengthen fear extinction and improve exposure-based therapies in fearful individuals.

M. Sc. Beray Macit
Project Cooperation
CRC 1280, Project A13
Ruhr-University Bochum

We are interested in your story

You are a patient with the Essener Rückenschmerz-Zentrum or the FBZ Bochum? We are interested in how you tell your medical story. In personal and protected one-on-one meetings, you can tell us your story – however you like and aside from external influences. 
This is about your illness journey, as well as your various treatment experiences and any expectations you may have.

What to expect?

We meet with you on two dates for personal one-on-one meetings.

The first time during your therapy stay.
The second time 1-3 months after the end of your therapy stay.

The interviews are going to be between 30 and 45 minutes. During this time, you will have the opportunity to tell your story undisturbed, and to answer a few questions from our side.
Please allow approximately one hour for the entire process. The interviews will take place independently of your treatment appointments.

All interviews will take place at the University Hospital Essen,
Hufelandstraße 55,
45147 or at the FBZ Bochum located in the Bochumer Fenster, Massenbergstraße 9-13, 44787 Bochum.

Are you interested in our research?

Then fill out the contact form, write us an email or give us a call.

Amina A. Touzos
06131 39-30386

Are there any disadvantages for me?
No. If you decide to participate in the study all your data will stay protected and anonymous. As the study will take place independently, none of your data will be shared with the physicians or therapists who are treating you. You will not be disadvantaged in any way during or after your therapy stay.

Privacy Notice

All your personal data will be pseudonymized for collection and processing at the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, RUB. Here, a randomized personal code will be generated which cannot be traced back to your name. According to the General Data Protection Regulation (ger. DS-GVO) you have the following rights:

•  Information on the processing of personal data (Art 15)

•  Withdrawal of given consent (Art 7) 

•  Correction (Art 16)

•  Deletion (Art 17)

•  Limitation of Processing (Art 18)

If you have any further questions, you can always contact RUB’s data privacy commissioners, as well as the Bureau for Data Privacy. In case of RUB, the state’s Bureau for Data Privacy and Freedom of Information can provide your with additional information (ldi.nrw.de). 

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