Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

CENI: Clinical Ethnographic Narrative Interview

Technology #2018-385

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The purpose of the CENI narrative interview format is to facilitate a participant to connect aspects of life together and to examine these connections from a variety of angles. The CENI helps participants describe their experiences, discover the meaning of them in their lives, and to relate that meaning to healing and recovery based on their emerging self-awareness. The CENI's narrative approach is an engaged process through which unconscious patterns of one's life are brought into consciousness, and can, therefore, become reorganized and integrated.  The CENI uses a  carefully constructed set of non-verbal activities that include a social network, a body map, a lifeline and a card sort. These are discussed with strategic questions that help the participant understand them and their interconnections.  The goal is a structured, safe and facilitative interview process that leads to empowerment and self-awareness, and can promote engagement in healing going forward.


Interviewing research participants; interviewing trauma survivors.


Allows practitioners (who may not be trained in anthropology) to gather important data on how culture influences expression and experience.  The potential therapeutic effect of CENI is still being investigated.