Prompts, practices and procedures to shift, shape and share through written art.

Our growing library of letters written to diagnostic labels, named deficits, identified difficulties, and supposed differences employs the use of a particular technique rooted in narrative medicine and commonly called “externalization”. The general idea is that it is easier to engage – and to renegotiate a relationship – with a problem that exists outside of you, than it is to change a specific condition or trait that presumably makes you, you.

While this shift in language may seem subtle, the exercises and opportunities for engagement in externalizing conversations offered here have tremendous power and potential for each of us individually and as a collective.

For more information on the use of narrative prompts, practices and procedures for independent reflection and/or project-publication, take a peek at the below-listed invitations before choosing-your-own-adventure in writing-to-heal.

Letter Composition

When you are the problem, the remedy requires that you change who you are – or else; which implies that you are somehow bad or inadequate resulting in blame and shame. But, when the problem is seen as separate and not equal, you’re given permission to investigate, to assess and renegotiate your relationship with it and, consequently, life. Engage in externalizing conversation with a perceived problem by writing a letter and adding it to our collective library.


Your time is likely in-demand and a letter may feel too lofty a goal. If you’ve got a grievance to air, bone to pick or (even) a milestone to celebrate with a problem that’s been plaguing you, try externalizing it with a post-it note instead!

Dear Diagnosis Labels, photo showing medical bracelet over file folders


Can we agree that labels are – in fact – limited and limiting? Useful – yes – when looking to identify and qualify in the outward sense, but the very same words become a liability when we allow them to define our inner beliefs and self-identity. Don’t let your labels limit your ability to explore, think and express – take your power back with this interactive tool, which we’ve come to call ‘The Label Re-Maker’.