Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 737–740 | Cite as

Teaching Trauma and Narrative: Using Salinger’s For Esmé—with Love and Squalor

  • Jungjin Kim
  • Georgina Hartzell
  • Virginia Dawson
  • Andrew FurmanEmail author
Feature: Educational Case Report

Mental health educators have long been tasked with training psychiatric residents and medical students about the formation and identification of trauma-related disorders and evidence-based ways to treat them. These disorders are all-too-prevalent and command significant clinical and pedagogical attention and resources. We propose a novel way to educate trainees about these phenomena that is psychologically engaging, empirically grounded, and rooted in contemporary practice. Using J.D. Salinger’s short story, For Esmé—with Love and Squalor as a point of departure, residents learn to explore the nature of trauma in ways that are safely distant yet emotionally compelling. In so doing, residents learn to appreciate the impact of narrative to both understand and heal individuals afflicted by trauma.

A Case for Using Narrative Medicine to Understand Trauma

A goal of psychiatric residency education is to gain an understanding of both mind and behavior to provide the best possible care for our...




Compliance with Ethical Standards


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Funding Sources



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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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