Reader Story: Patrick, Prospect Park Hospital

In a quiet moment after the session he said he was ‘thankful’ for being reminded that he was ‘still able to feel’.

Patrick* attended 11 Shared Reading sessions. At first, he could not always concentrate sufficiently to follow the pages; sometimes he had to leave part way through, to return a little while later. An assistant psychologist described him as ‘impenetrable’ when he first arrived on the ward.

Gradually, he seemed more at ease, relaxing into the group, never saying very much but becoming more absorbed in the stories and poems that were read aloud.

In his penultimate session in the group, he responded quite dramatically to reading an extract from My Left Foot and Walt Whitman’s poem, A Noiseless Patient Spider. He was moved to tears by each of these texts and spoke very openly to the group about the emotion that had been evoked by the words of both pieces.

In a quiet moment after the session he said he was ‘thankful’ for being reminded that he was ‘still able to feel’.

It was a powerful reaction and one which felt dependent upon those first weeks in the group, as if they had somehow provided a sort of accrued experience which had led to a deeper level of response, one which was just waiting to happen. Patrick was discharged a few weeks later.


*Please note that all Reader Stories are anonymised

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