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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 Narrative Medicine.
(1 comments) Friday, November 18, 2016 Heroes, Joseph Campbell, and Jordan Peterson (4861 views)
The hero's journey begins with the call to adventure. Jordan Peterson writes that life exists within explored and unexplored territory both inside and outside of the mind. A narrative crisis occurs when our story (map of meaning) is inadequate to explain an anomaly. Heroism sets the hero apart from the group. Identification with the hero serves to decrease the unbearable motivational valence of the unknown.
(1 comments) Sunday, September 13, 2015 Suicide Prevention -- Does it Work? (2533 views)
Are psychiatric services successful in preventing suicide or do we actually cause more suicides than would otherwise happen. We create a culture of helplessness in which people expect rescue and do not believe they are in control of their actions. They can attempt suicide thinking they will be saved, but can miscalculate and accidentally die. An Australian man stopped 160 suicides by giving people breakfast. Is this better?
(1 comments) Monday, September 7, 2015 The difficulty of practicing narrative medicine (3844 views)
I look at the stories that people hold about their lives that sometimes work against them. I tell the story of a driven man whom I warned 25 years earlier that he might drop dead if he didn't take a break, and discover that he did, in his fifties. I discuss the problems we face in medicine, how to help people change their stories that are leading them toward illness. This is one of the hallmarks of narrative medicine.
(1 comments) Monday, September 7, 2015 Working to Recover, or Adjusting to Illness? (4543 views)
Existing research is pessimistic about the value of our currently dominant biomedical paradigm for treating mental illness. Long-term antipsychotic use appears to make people worse rather than better. While the research continues to accumulate, practice does not change. Doctors continue to practice as if psychosis comes from lack of medication. People recover without medications. How do we reconcile these two models?
(2 comments) Sunday, February 22, 2015 Can We Reinvent Ourselves? (3251 views)
I ask the question, can we reinvent ourselves? I believe we can by becoming aware of the stories that we have absorbed which tell us how to live our lives. Through our interaction with others, we can modify those stories to become more effective and satisfying. We absorb stories through being born into a family, a place, a culture. We habitually perform those stories because we don't know better.
(1 comments) Sunday, January 18, 2015 Talking to Animals; what's the point? (4205 views)
We reflect on the winter buffalo hunt ceremonies of the Northern Plains and the ways in which humans communicated with animals, negotiating with them to cooperate in being hunted. This leads us to modern day attempts to communicate with animals, including studies from Northern Arizona University that decode the meaning of prairie dog chirps and efforts to talk to the great apes. We ask what is the point? What do learn?
(2 comments) Friday, December 19, 2014 Finding Magic in a Muggle World (3768 views)
What is magic in a muggle world? We recently conducted a workshop to explore that question. First, what arose was the idea our thoughts could influence the future to which we are headed. What if our visualizations could change the direction in which we are headed. What is really magic is the power we have to influence others. We have power to uplift. We have power to give hope when there is none. This is real magic.
(1 comments) Sunday, November 2, 2014 Defining Coyote Psychotherapy (3606 views)
In the recent meetings of the Institute for Psychiatric Services in San Francisco, Barbara Mainguy and I presented material on how we work with psychosis. We are exploring what it is that we do, and we know that it is inspired by indigenous elders, that it is centered on the body, which registers our traumas and stresses, that we are wedded to the idea of story occurring in a social context so that we are embedded with others.
(1 comments) Friday, October 10, 2014 Bringing Magic Back to a Muggle World (3828 views)
We need to bring magic back into our modern, materialistic world. While ultimately magic will have a scientific description, it will probably take place at the quantum level, which few of us can understand. Therefore, we are left to marvel at the way energy moves matter, at how our participation in each others electrical fields of our hearts creates coherence and even health and well-being. We are left to wonder and awe.
(2 comments) Tuesday, May 27, 2014 How we treat is more important than the treatment! (3243 views)
The way we relate to people is more important than what we do in both medicine and psychiatry. Randomized, clinical trials of the drug, citalopram, for geriatric depression, for example, showed that where a patient got treated mattered more than what drug they received. The response rate to citalopram varied from 16% to 82% among 15 hospitals. The time is nigh to improve the human elements in what we do be more helpful.
(1 comments) Sunday, September 1, 2013 Avatars and Hearing Voices Therapy (7427 views)
Recently we've learned about a computer assisted process for dialogue with disembodied, persecutory voices. In this process, developed by Dr. Julian Leff, a psychiatrist at University College, London, voice hearers pick a sound for their voice and a face which becomes an avatar on the computer screen. Then the facilitator helps them to dialogue with the avatar to oppose it. The results are very impressive. Series: Hearing Voices (1 Articles, 7427 views)
Monday, April 22, 2013 To Do and Not To Be (9822 views)
I reflect upon the importance of doing, what is called behavioral activation. In order to change, we need to do things differently, and not just think about doing things differently. Unfortunately, conventional medicine has supported a narrative which tells us that we do not have to make an effort to change our behavior, so people who are depressed or anxious don't believe they need to do anything. We need to change this.
(1 comments) Monday, March 18, 2013 Day 8 of Australia 2013: Bairnsdale (2560 views)
On the next to the last day of our Australian cross-cultural journey we visit our friend Wayne, who's now the Koorie Liaison Officer for AdvanceTAFE, an educational concern in Victoria. Our focus for the workshop that Wayne arranged for us was to consider how to better use culture to address problems in the community. The problems were the usual suspects -- drugs, alcohol, violence, gambling. What happens under colonization
(1 comments) Sunday, March 17, 2013 Day 7 of Australia 2013: Hearing Voices and Mind Mapping (2880 views)
Day 7 found us working with the Prahran Mission's Hearing Voices Victoria about indigenous and narrative approaches to voices. We demonstrated the use of what I call mind mapping with the various voices we hear inside our minds. This technique works for everyone, voice hearers or not, for we all hear talk inside our heads, the question being where we think it's coming from. In mind mapping we identify the talk and talkers.
(2 comments) Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Day 5 of Australia 2013: Indigenous Energy Healing 3 (2842 views)
This third day of our presentations on North American energy medicine was all about energy. We practiced how to move energy through hands on the body, hands above the body, feather fanning, sucking, blowing smoke, drumming, rattling, placing rocks and crystals, and more. We had lunch and then we began our healing free for all. Rocky taught everyone a chant that we sang for three hours. All 49 people got doctored.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Day 6 of Australia 2013: Hearing Voices 1 (2823 views)
Day 6 finds us in Melbourne and back from the bush. I include some pictures from the bush. In Melbourne we are doing a presentation with the Hearing Voices Group of Victoria about indigenous approaches to voices. We started the day by explaining our approach to voices which is to give them full ontological status and dialoging with them to learn why they have come and what they want. We did experiential exercises after.
(1 comments) Monday, March 11, 2013 Day 3 of Australia 2013: Indigenous Energy Medicine (2403 views)
On day 3 of our cross-cultural journey in Australia we are at a camp where we are sharing Native North American concepts of energy medicine, particularly Cherokee bodywork/osteopathy and energy medicine and psychology (aka "doctoring"). We discover again how similar these concepts and practices are to those of indigenous Australia and New Zealand and how all people heal through touching the body and its energy.
(1 comments) Monday, March 11, 2013 Day 4 of Australia 2013: Indigenous Energy Medicine 2 (2513 views)
During the fourth day of our Australian cross-cultural journey we continued to present our form of indigenous (Cherokee) bodywork/osteopathy and energy medicine ("doctoring"). The second day focused on how anyone can feel energy differences in other people and within those areas of energy differences, can find points that need rubbing or holding. We showed how these intuitively discoverable points are the same as TCM.
(1 comments) Saturday, March 9, 2013 Day 1 of Australia 2013: The Autobiographical Narrative (1985 views)
Each year we make a cross-cultural tour to Australia, though one of our Coyote colleagues comes twice a year to make an impact on incorporating culture in health care for aboriginal people. This year we began with a lecture in a writing conference on the topic of the autobiography in which I describe my experience of writing Coyote Medicine. I finish with a description of what has been accomplished in five years of coming.
(1 comments) Saturday, March 9, 2013 Day 2 of Australia 2013: Story is Healing (2071 views)
Today we considered how story can save people's lives. When people are filled with negative stories about being inferior and worthy of humiliation and contempt, they respond accordingly often with substance misuse and violence. The traditional cultural stories of all of our peoples are antidotes to this negativity. By immersing ourselves in our cultural stories, we can turn victimization into recovery and transformation.