Beyond the Biography: Reflective writing for well-being

  • by Kate Bowman
  • March 26, 2024

Beyond the Biography: Reflective writing for well-being.

Presented by Dr Hilton Koppe

As volunteer biographers, we are invited to listen deeply to personal stories. The process of developing a biography is designed to focus on the person whose story we are documenting. It has limited scope to allow us to express our own personal experience. Not all stories are easy to listen to, and it can be difficult to “unhear what has been heard”. Burnout or compassion fatigue may occur if we do not process our responses to what we experience.

This light-hearted and fun workshop aims to help transform challenging situations into meaningful experiences. Participants will experience the use of reflective and expressive writing to reframe some of these challenges, and to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a volunteer biographer.

Bring humility, a sense of curiosity, and a pen. Potentially leave with:

  • A tool for relieving, rather than re-living, life’s challenges.
  • A tool for building compassion.
  • Re-ignition of a (perhaps lost) passion for creativity.

Palliative Care NSW is pleased to invite volunteers engaged in biography and life story writing and managers from these services to attend this reflective writing workshop. The morning session is for both volunteers and managers. The afternoon session is for managers only and will equip them with the tools to run sessions like these with their own team in the future.


9:30 am – 12:30 pm: Main workshop for biography volunteers and managers
1:15 pm – 3:00 pm
:  ‘Train the trainer’ workshop for managers of volunteers only

About the presenter

Hilton Koppe is a writer, educator, podcaster, and doctor living on Bundjalung Land on the east coast of Australia. He is a long-standing member of Dementia Training Australia’s GP education team.

Hilton facilitates reflective writing workshops for doctors and other health professionals with the goal of deepening their compassion, overcoming professional isolation and reducing risk of burnout. The workshops have been adapted for people living with chronic and mental illnesses, as well as enthusiastic amateur writers. Hilton has been invited to present his workshops all the way from Byron Writers Festival to Harvard Medical School.

Hilton’s book, One Curious Doctor: A Memoir of Medicine, Migration and Mortality, explores the personal impact of working as a country doctor. His play, Enduring Witness, is used to facilitate conversations about end-of-life care. Hilton is co-host of Dementia In Practice, a top 100 Great Australian Pod.

Please note these workshops are not open to the general public but are targeted to palliative care volunteer biography services.

Please click here to register.

  • St Vincent's Clinic, 438 Victoria St, Darlinghurst
  • May 9, 2024
  • 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

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Palliative Care New South Wales is the peak body in NSW representing palliative care providers and those with an interest in palliative care. Palliative Care New South Wales is a member of the national peak body Palliative Care Australia.

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