When working as a psychologist specializing in pregnancy and childbirth, I recommended gathering ten birth stories from friends and acquaintances--those stories pretty much prepared an individual better than any book. I've always loved stories, and now my primary vocation is to elicit and honor one's story and the resulting inner authority and development.
Even while practicing straightforward primary care, patients/clients wanted to tell their stories--they brought in journal entries, biographies--one even wrote a screenplay of her life and asked me to read it. These spontaneous healing impulses were part of my inspiration to become a coach, and to mine stories with ever more appreciation.
Yes, a specialty called narrative medicine exists--usually a master's degree that can be combined with other medical degrees. Kudos, I support narrative medicine. Unfortunately, narrative medicine was lacking in my medical training and institutions. If narrative medicine becomes incorporated into mainstream medicine in my lifetime, I will be glad--I will dance a jig! For now, I practice, support, and endorse story-telling from the fringe--until narrative medicine has its heyday.
"Biography work" is learning one's story and depicting it--with words, story-telling, even graphic pictures; knowing where one has been can often illuminate where one wants to go.