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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.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 27, 2014 How we treat is more important than the treatment! (4133 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.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 22, 2015 Can We Reinvent Ourselves? (4103 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.
SHARE Monday, December 3, 2012 Chronic Pain and Opiates (4007 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 Sunday, April 24, 2011 Sweat Lodge, Prayer, and Community (3951 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 Sunday, October 2, 2011 Excerpt from Coyote Wisdom Chapter 10 (3920 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.
SHARE Sunday, May 20, 2012 More about Single Payer (3663 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, July 23, 2012 The High Cost of Medically Unexplained Symptoms (3572 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 Sunday, September 13, 2015 Suicide Prevention -- Does it Work? (3553 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) SHARE Sunday, March 17, 2013 Day 7 of Australia 2013: Hearing Voices and Mind Mapping (3543 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.
SHARE Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Day 6 of Australia 2013: Hearing Voices 1 (3475 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.
SHARE Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Nanglyala Mental Health Center (3421 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.
SHARE Monday, March 26, 2012 Problem Based Learning (3348 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.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Day 5 of Australia 2013: Indigenous Energy Healing 3 (3336 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.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 18, 2013 Day 8 of Australia 2013: Bairnsdale (3169 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
SHARE Sunday, December 4, 2011 Reflections on Teaching Statistics Again (3119 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 Thursday, February 23, 2012 Medical Writing: the Healing Power of Narrative (3040 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!
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 11, 2013 Day 4 of Australia 2013: Indigenous Energy Medicine 2 (2944 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) SHARE Thursday, July 12, 2012 Health Care Costs and Schizophrenia (2847 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.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 11, 2013 Day 3 of Australia 2013: Indigenous Energy Medicine (2803 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.
SHARE Saturday, August 11, 2012 Healing Camp Day 1: Introduction to the Concept (2795 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.