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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) SHARE Thursday, January 24, 2013 NIMH and its Biologic Emphasis (2195 views)
I respond to Dr. Thomas Insel's blog about his views of the top ten advances for mental health for 2012. What saddens me is that all of these advances are heavily biological and that biological medicine hasn't really succeeded very well in improving our mental health. While these advances are very interesting, I argue that what we need is more understanding of how our social relationships form our brains and behavior.
SHARE Monday, December 10, 2012 Pain, Part 2 (8922 views)
I continue to reflect upon chronic pain, beginning with some comments from my colleague, Peter Blum, who is a hypnotherapist and all around healer-guy in Woodstock, NY, and then leading into some brain science that shows that our brains are changed by the experience of pain and begin to link all kinds of unrelated experiences to that pain so that pain becomes multiply determined by more than just the sensations.
SHARE Monday, December 3, 2012 Chronic Pain and Opiates (3931 views)
I describe my struggle with prescribing opiates for people in chronic pain. My observation has been that my patients on opiates don't seem to be in any less pain than my patients not on opiates, and sometimes they are more grumpy. I explore the literature and learn that prolonged opiate use sensitizes people to feel more pain and that it can also act as a neurotoxin producing neuropathic-like pain, so perhaps not a good idea
SHARE Saturday, August 11, 2012 Healing Camp Day 1: Introduction to the Concept (2662 views)
In this article, I write about our invention -- Healing Camp. For the next seven days, I am going to describe what we do and how we do it so that others can (hopefully) replicate it. The concept is simple, that people from all levels of training and walks of life can come together and be healing for each other. We will be doing a similar but shorter event in Hartford, CT, the weekend of August 17th. Check Sukhasala website.
SHARE Wednesday, August 1, 2012 The Inflammatory Theory of Depression (9074 views)
In this article, I describe a way of thinking about depression that makes sense of how we collapse from too much stress and from unremitting anxiety and misery. In this theory, eventually life overwhelms our capacity to resist inflammation and it runs away. From August 16th through the 19th, catch me in Hartford, Connecticut, to further discuss these ideas. For details, see
SHARE Monday, July 23, 2012 The High Cost of Medically Unexplained Symptoms (3436 views)
I write about how the search for the diagnosis for medically unexplained symptoms is an important aspect of what is bankrupting our health care system. We have to solve this problem for manage costs no matter what health care system we have. I acknowledge that some diseases are missed and that some diseases are yet to be found, but suggest that we are much better at findings serious and life threatening illnesses than before.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, July 12, 2012 Health Care Costs and Schizophrenia (2768 views)
I reflect on the cost of care for people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia. I muse about a moving lecture by Eleanor Longdon, PhD, who was once a schizophrenic and now is a clinical psychologist. She spoke about her own process at the Hearing Voices Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Eleanor echoed my observations, that the way we manage people who hear voices and suffer this kind of distress is costly and ineffective.
SHARE Sunday, May 20, 2012 Narrative Concepts (10673 views)
I attempt to say what a narrative is. It is a telling of something to someone by someone. It may reflect the basic means by which our brains work, the result of a co-evolution of brain and story to allow us to recall the myriad of details necessary for negotiating a social life with the 500 people whom we are capable of knowing. Its shortest form consists of two action clauses that can be sequenced and one orienting clause.
SHARE Sunday, May 20, 2012 More about Single Payer (3548 views)
In this article, I continue my musings about single-payer health systems. I share my experiences of working within the Canadian health care system as a physician (family medicine and psychiatry). I describe the back logs we did have and how we got around them, the lack of utilization review, how I could hospitalize anyone at anytime so long as there was a bed open, and how no one pushed me to discharge patients too early.
SHARE Monday, April 30, 2012 Single Payer Health (8592 views)
In this article, I look at possible difficulties of implementing single payer health care in the United States. We review studies that show that the difference in health care costs between the U.S. and Canada are due almost entirely to administrative costs. We look at the administrative inefficiencies that already exist in the U.S. and amply them to start a single-payer system, supporting local control of health care.
SHARE Monday, April 9, 2012 The Debate Over Obamacare (7631 views)
I offer my views on health care financing. I suggest that we have reached a point as a society in which we are not willing to let people die in hospital waiting rooms who do not have insurance. We even have laws that require hospitals to care for whoever appears regardless of ability to pay even if we do not have any means to remunerate those hospitals. It's time to wake up to the reality that this kind of reality costs.
SHARE Monday, March 26, 2012 Problem Based Learning (3242 views)
Problem-based learning has become the norm for much of medical education, yet other disciplines are slower to adopt it. I muse about how to integrate PBL (as if is called) into the on-line psychology teaching environment and consider student objections. This essay was prompted by the comments of two students who were strongly opposed to PBL and gave me the opportunity to reflect upon its strengths and weaknesses.
SHARE Tuesday, March 6, 2012 Day 14 of the Australian Journey 2012 (1763 views)
Today is the end of the Australian cross cultural adventure. I fly back to the U.S. today and resume ordinary life. I write about the people I met whom I appreciate and what I learned and where we might go next.
SHARE Sunday, March 4, 2012 Day 11 of the Australian Journey 2012 (2524 views)
Today is Day 11 of the Australian cultural exchange adventure for 2012. We interacted with Mission Australia in Sydney and were deeply impressed with their services for young people and for homeless adults. They have managed to integrate shelter with education and skills training so that homeless people become able to transition into the work force. One person told us, "I came here a prostitute, and I left an artist."
SHARE Sunday, March 4, 2012 Day 12 of the Australian Journey (13198 views)
Day 12 of the Australian cross cultural exchange journey consisted in our leading an inipi ceremony (sweat lodge) for people associated with Mission Australia. We also learned much about some very exciting projects being conducted by Mission Australia, including the Michael Project, which is an intensive effort to assist homeless people in Sydney, and the Catalyst-Clemente Project, which provides education for disadvantaged.
SHARE Sunday, March 4, 2012 Day 13 of the Australian Journey 2012 (2637 views)
Today is Day 13 of the Australian Cultural Exchange Journey for 2012. After a quick morning run, we went to Mission Australia's Youth Forum 2012. We met Nancy Ingram, an elder from the area who attended Harvard University and knew about Vermont. I have a talk about the importance of heroism for adolescents and finding ways for them to be heroic or to save face when they feel they have not been heroic.
SHARE Friday, March 2, 2012 Day 10 of the Australian Journey 2012 (2643 views)
Today was Day 10 of the journey and was a day for reflection and preparation for the Sydney portion of our trip. We reflected upon what culture camp had meant for people and confirmed that we would come again next year. Then we flew to Sydney and ate a marvelous fish dinner.
SHARE Wednesday, February 29, 2012 Day 7 of the Australian Journey 2012 (1894 views)
Today is Day 7 of the Australian journey 2012. We are on Boole Poole in the Lake District of Gippsland. Our sweat lodge ceremony had been rained out the day before, so we prepared to do the ceremony as soon as the rain stopped which happened around 8am. I've written about sweat lodge before, as have others, most notably Bucko, author of The Lakota Sweat Lodge. It was a wonderful experience and then we hear crocodile tales.
SHARE Wednesday, February 29, 2012 Day 8 of the Australian Journey 2012 (2023 views)
This is Day 8 of the Australian cross cultural adventure. Today we went to the heart of the community where the elders from the Northern Territories demonstrated some of their ceremonies and procedures to the community. That included the burning ceremony for healing pain, the smoking ceremony for purification, and spear throwing. On the way back to the island, I interviewed a patient advocate from Western Australia.
SHARE Wednesday, February 29, 2012 Day 9 of the Australian Journey 2012 (1832 views)
Today is Day 9 of the Australian Cultural Exchange Journey for 2012. Related to the constant, driving rain, we mostly talked today We talked about the health care system to which we wished to move and how to get there, especially through changing the socialization of students and giving them new stories about what to expect from others.