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Articles    H3'ed 3/18/13

Day 7 of Australia 2013: Hearing Voices and Mind Mapping

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"Society says that," he said.   "My parents say that."

 

"Buddha wouldn't say that," I said.   "Jesus wouldn't say that."   Neither would Snoopy or Garfield.   Maybe we could turn that voice into two characters: Parents and SOCIETY.   He agreed that would work.   We continued to identify the characters behind other voices in his head.   When we had done enough of that, I suggested we needed to recruit some additional characters to help him oppose Society and to oppose Bullies, which was another character that had appeared.   "Who could stand up to Society?" I asked.   At first he was puzzled, so I suggested some possibilities, including Jesus, Martin Luther King, Superman, Batman, Buddha.   None connected.   We continued the dialogue and he suddenly mentioned a combination of Thoth and Osiris.   They could stand up to Society.   We tried that on and it worked, so we invited those Egyptian gods to join the characters in his head.   That felt good to him.   "Could they stand up to Bullies?" I asked.

 

"No," he said.   "They're too busy standing up to Society and to my parents.

 

"Then we need another character," I said.   "Who could stand up to bullies?   Do you need a superhero -- Superman, Batman, Green Lantern,"."   I continued to make suggestions.   Quinn interrupted me.

 

"Green Lantern," he said.   "Green Lantern feels right."   Quinn explained that Green Lantern was his favorite childhood comic book hero.   Also, Green Lantern gets his power from an alien source that represents truth and love and justice.   Green Lantern was just right.

 

"I asked him if Green Lantern could make him feel better."   He enthusiastically agreed.   So we had added two characters to the menagerie of Quinn's mind who weren't there before whom he could call on to oppose the characters that had the "bad voices".   He said this gave him a big sense of relief.   I talked about the idea of forming coalitions among the characters in our minds to oppose the "bad voices".   Some of the workers were surprised that one could do this.   "I think of it as bringing in better stories," I said.   "Of course we're allowed to bring better stories into the mix.

 

Then we broke for lunch.   In the afternoon, we talked more about Native American culture and practice, including the emphasis of the role of community in healing.   We talked about the importance of telling positive stories about aboriginal people and communities to counter-act the prevailing Australian stories that aboriginal people were just drug users, drunks, and domestic abusers.   We talked about the concepts of culture as medicine, as replacing bad stories with good stories (or at least better stories).   That led into the experience of smaller group talking circles, concluding with a closing exercise with suggestions for everyone to feel peaceful and to go home and have a wonderful, restful evening.   That was the end of our time with Hearing Voices Victoria.

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Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and (more...)
 
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