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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.
SHARE Tuesday, February 28, 2012 Day 6 of the Australian Journey 2012 (2260 views)
Today is Day 6 of the 2012 Cultural Exchange Adventure in Australia. It was also the first day of culture camp at Boole Poole with the aboriginal coop. The driving rain prevented our crew from Northern Australia from doing much outside. We had planned a sweat lodge ceremony but that was cancelled also due to the rain. So instead, while we tried to stay dry, I interviewed the new doctor at the Coop.
SHARE Monday, February 27, 2012 Day 5 of the Australian Journey 2012 (12119 views)
I describe the fifth day of our journey for cross-cultural exchange. Today was primarily a day of our teaching. The days vary from receiving mostly to giving mostly. We focused on the importance for everyone, regardless of ethnicity or indigenous status to participate in ceremony in such a way as to feel closer to the spiritual dimension and to celebrate what's good and positive about one's life instead of tales of misdeeds.
SHARE Sunday, February 26, 2012 Day 1: Australia 2012 (2838 views)
This article begins my 2012 Australian journey. I briefly describe my presentation for the day and then go to the meat of what I learned, which is about aboriginal health and disparity statistics in Australia today. Generally, as anyone can imagine, aboriginal people are in terrible shape in Australia -- to my surprise, worse than their counterparts in the USA and Canada. We know the sad state of Indians in the US.
SHARE Sunday, February 26, 2012 Day 2 of the Australian Journey 2012 (2665 views)
Day 2 of the Australian Journey for 2012 finds me in Melbourne at the International Hearing Voices conference, attended by aboriginal and non-aboriginal people alike. I present the highlights of the conference including aspects of my keynote address. The conference is unique in that it is organized hy voice hearers and not professionals who treat voice hearers. It is also unique in being upbeat, positive, and full of hope.
SHARE Sunday, February 26, 2012 Day 3 of the Australian Journey 2012 (1689 views)
This is Day 3 of the Australian Journey. It's also the second day of the Hearing Voices International Conference in Melbourne in which aboriginal elders and their wisdom for managing voices (and giving the voices full ontological status as potential beings) were showcased. I write about some of the techniques I demonstrated in my workshop for managing voices including guided imagery, dialogue, and theatre.
SHARE Sunday, February 26, 2012 Day 4 of the Australian Journey 2012 (2295 views)
Day 4 of the Australian Journey finds us in Warburton with Auntie Jennie, an aboriginal elder from Queensland. I discuss the workshop we did together and explore further the concepts that integrate indigenous theories of mind and mental health with the Hearing Voices movement, showing that its founders were thinking indigenously as they approached voices, which appears much more effective than the biomedical approach.
SHARE Thursday, February 23, 2012 Medical Writing: the Healing Power of Narrative (3717 views)
This article represents the start of my annual trek to Australia to work with an aboriginal cooperative in Southeastern Australia. The goal is to help them to incorporate their culture into their health care and other human services through cultural exchange with aboriginal North Americans, aboriginal people from the North of Australia where culture is less disrupted, and others from the area. More to come of my 2 weeks!
SHARE Thursday, February 2, 2012 On the Nature of Afflictions (2571 views)
In this article I wonder about what illness has to offer us. What is the nature of affliction. Is it a thing or is it a doorway, an invitation to make meaning. All illnesses offer us this opportunity.
SHARE Monday, January 9, 2012 Reflections after a Hypnosis Workshop (3301 views)
I describe some reflections after co-teaching a hypnosis workshop. Particularly, we look at a person whose story is too large, as big even as the whole United States. How do we work with someone whose story is that large. I describe ways to extract smaller stories, short stories from the large novel, stories that can work within an hour time frame, the usual length of time for mental health or hypnosis encounters.
SHARE Friday, January 6, 2012 Mind, body, and unexplained symptoms (2534 views)
I describe a woman with a "mystery illness" who has defied the efforts of conventional physicians to diagnose her. She has also been unsuccessful at gaining help from alternative medical practitioners. I show how inflammation is an integrative process which can affect a variety of organs and can be provoked by stress, including the stress of worrying too much. We we can change the underlying process, we can reduce it.
SHARE Saturday, December 31, 2011 The Narrative Paradigm and the New Year (4185 views)
I write about my enthusiasm for the narrative paradigm for psychotherapy as we enter into 2012. Within this paradigm, we understand that we don't necessarily know the reasons for our actions, but rather we look for the stories that create the roles that guide us to do what we do. We find that people mostly know what needs to change in their lives but have stories that stop them from making those changes.
SHARE Sunday, December 4, 2011 Reflections on Teaching Statistics Again (4953 views)
I have the role of being the statistics teacher for a graduate psychology program in which students don't like statistics. I discover my hidden assumptions about students which may be relevant to life and to psychotherapy also. I reflect upon our attitudes toward math in North America and how different that is from Asian cultures. I reflect upon some students' resistance to problem-based learning and what that means.
SHARE Sunday, October 2, 2011 Excerpt from Coyote Wisdom Chapter 10 (4753 views)
This excerpt tells the story of my work with Tiffany, a young woman with cancer who was from the Christian faith and how we used Meister Eckhart as a way to bridge my Native American philosophies with Christianity to create a healing dialogue throughout the course of her cancer. this seems like an important story to me because it shows how we can create healing (meaning and purpose) even when the patient dies.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 7, 2011 Reflections upon transitioning to private practice (2736 views)
Just over 2 months ago I left the public mental health sector in New York to transition into private practice in Vermont. This article reflects upon those two months of changes and wonders what we can learn from the type of care available in Vermont compared to New York and from New York's apparent discrimination against paying private practitioners in favor of community mental health centers.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 4, 2011 Sundance No. 2, 2011 (2479 views)
Barbara and I write this following our second sundance of the season. In this article we contemplate the idea of the sundance as an embodied metaphorical struggle in which the suffering and deprivation encountered are physical metaphors for the suffering of life. The mindset we use to embrace uncertainty matters in everyday life. We do best when we abandon the idea that we can know what is going to happen next.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 4, 2011 Accountability (8949 views)
This essay is about accountability. In the community mental health center where I have been working, most of the patients lack any sense of self-agency or accountability. Most see themselves as helpless victims of diseases over which they have no influence. They expect me to provide them with a drug that will regulate their moods and emotions and make them feel normal again. What does it take to restore a sense of agency?
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 5, 2011 Thoughts after Sundance 2011 (2809 views)
I reflect upon Sundance 2011 and what I have learned. I realize that Sundance is about love and compassion and following this red road that leads to these directions. Sundance gives us an opportunity to rise to become spiritual warriors, to find all the benefits and none of the detriments of battle, to create a community of fellow warriors within which we can feel strong, and to transcend our natural limits to become more.
SHARE Sunday, April 24, 2011 Sweat Lodge, Prayer, and Community (5366 views)
Prayer and community have been stripped away from contemporary health care. Both are sorely needed. I talk about the sweat lodge ceremony as being a laboratory for exposing mainstream healthcare practitioners to the perspective on health and the world of Native American people and show how it produces the kind of connectedness and sense of belonging that we desperately need and which is associated with greater health.
SHARE Monday, April 4, 2011 Adolescent Addictions and Las Vegas (2981 views)
This weekend I attended an addictions and mental health conference focused upon adolescents in Las Vegas, Nevada. What an appropriate venue! I spoke about narrative practices in relation to addictions -- how we have to counter the dominant stories about magical potions and find other heroic stories that work equally well.
SHARE Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Nanglyala Mental Health Center (4752 views)
I write about the composite mental health center I have created in previous essays which comes from my and others' experiences working in mental health in New York State. I call it Nanglyala Mental Health Center, in honor of the Russian word for Valhalla, which one can't use, for it actually exists. I propose a thought experiment in changing the culture at NMHC, which I hope someone somewhere will be inspired to do.