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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 Tuesday, November 23, 2010 Why Learn Neuroscience? (1457 views)
A student asked me why she needed to know neuroscience. Here is my answer. I argue that science is the new story with which we must contend. If we do not know the contemporary stories of science, they will be used against us. The actual stories being told today about the brain are quite uplifting, full of hope. They include neuroplasticity and epigenetics. If we know these stories we can fight against bad neuroscience.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 5, 2011 Thoughts after Sundance 2011 (1457 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.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 7, 2011 Reflections upon transitioning to private practice (1419 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 Friday, April 16, 2010 Psychology and Health Care Reform (1415 views)
A lunch meeting with Dr. Martin Johnson, a Honolulu psychologist, taught me much about how mental health coverage will change under health care reform. Insurance companies will have to provide mental health coverage on par with their coverage of medical conditions. But, who will be credentialed to provide these services? remains a question. Credentialing could limit access to services by limiting the numbers of providers.
SHARE Monday, April 4, 2011 Adolescent Addictions and Las Vegas (1386 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.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 21, 2011 Beyond Narrative Therapy: Day 11 of the Australian Journey (1373 views)
On Day 11, we engaged in dialogue about the narrative therapy of Michael White, which is what most people in Australia and the United States index, when we say narrative practices, and the narrative practices of indigenous people. While we deeply respect Michael White's contributions to psychology and humanity, we present him as one branch on a tree of narrative in which indigenous people live in the trunk and the roots.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 4, 2011 Sundance No. 2, 2011 (1354 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 Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Still More Similar Than Different -- Day 7 of the Australian Journey (1299 views)
Today finds us in Day 7 of our Australian Cross-Cultural Mental Health Journey. They lessons of these week have been very consistent -- indigenous from anywhere in the world is more similar than different. An elder proposed an answer for this. He said, "When you listen to the spirits and to nature and show respect, you get the same guidance 'cause spirits talk to each other. They know how the world should go!"
SHARE Wednesday, March 23, 2011 Narrative and Science: Day 13 of the Australian Journey (1242 views)
Today was our last full day in Australia and the occasion for a lecture and series of discussions at the University of Melbourne's Center for International Mental Health and School of Population Health. We explored the bridges between science and the indigenous world view of narrative. Particularly we were impressed with how neuroscience is completely supporting indigenous knowledge about narrative and its importance!
SHARE Saturday, March 19, 2011 Approaches to Trauma in the Indigenous Community -- Day 10 of the Australian Journey (1233 views)
Today is Day 10 of the Australian Cross-Cultural Mental Health Journey. Today we talked about trauma in aboriginal communities and how to address that trauma. We collaboratively arrived at some ideas to propose. We agreed that narrativizing is necessary. We need to hear the stories of woundedness that people have to tell and to celebrate their resistance to abuse and to focus more on the resistance than on being a victim.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 17, 2011 Narrativizing is the first step at becoming indigenous friendly -- Day 8 (1232 views)
On Day 8, we asked how do we transform health care to become more indigenous friendly, whether it's mental health care of general medical care. The answer that jumped out was to implement narrative practice. Indigenous cultures are virtually uniformly cultures of story in which stories matter greatly. Being heard means having the opportunity to tell one's stories. "Treatment" begins by hearing and acknowledging stories.
SHARE Tuesday, March 22, 2011 The Power of Community: Day 12 of the Australian Journey (1178 views)
Day 12 of our Australian Journey for cross-cultural exchange in mental health was a low-key day of exchanges about healing in community. We explored the concept that healing cannot occur so easily without involvement of the entire community. Those people to whom we are accountable must agree to allow us to change, or we will not change. We must be invited by the important others in our life to perform a different story.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 12, 2011 Imaging and doing are not as different as they sound (1158 views)
Contemporary neuroscience has shown us that imagining an act and performing an act are virtually the same. We can strength our muscles almost as much by imagining exercising as by exercising. If mind is so powerful, why aren't we harnessing it for the good. I fear that mostly we allow it to run for the bad, imagining ourselves in any number of dire straights and illnesses, instead of imagining ourselves hale as we should.
SHARE Friday, March 18, 2011 Implementing Narrative Practices: Day 9 in Australia (1119 views)
The highlight of Day 9 in our Australian cross-cultural mental health journey was a workshop for indigenous mental health and human service providers on how to make their services more indigenous friendly. This involves, of course, conscious decolonization of our clinical practices. We talked about the need to become more narrative, to listen longer and more deeply to the stories people tell us and to hear stories of others.
SHARE Saturday, March 12, 2011 Eqalitarian Healing: or What can we Learn from Vygotsky (1099 views)
Vygotskyan ideas are useful to explain a concept my colleagues and I are developing for egalitarian healing. We are working to undermine the expert professional/defective client model and to put those who help people and those who are helped on a more equal footing. Vygotskyan theory helps us understand how to do this. Vygotsky describes a More Knowledgeable Other concept in which this Other can teach learner missing skills
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 16, 2010 More Indian Than Thou (1065 views)
More Indian Than Thou is a current artefact of blood quantum discussion. It disenfranchises many, and seems to contain some of the same political aspects as our oppressors. This article addresses the question of Indian identity. Can a person be an Indian without being enrolled in a tribe. Can a person claim Native American heritage without tribal enrollment and endorsement? What are the politics of "Indianness"?
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 9, 2010 NICABM and MInd-Body Medicine (1051 views)
I reflect upon the contributions of the National Institute for the Clinical Advancement of Mind-Body Medicine toward furthering the field. At their upcoming conference this December, prominent are newer ideas of neuroplasticity and chronic pain. Through the understanding that pain circuitry in the brain are remodeled by the experience of pain so as to make people feel more pain, we can refute old ideas of pain.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, March 11, 2011 Suicide and Mental Health: Australia Journey Day 2 (1011 views)
Lewis and Coyote Institute are on Day 2 of an Australian journey which is a cross-cultural exchange about ideas for mind and mental health. Today we focused upon suicide which elders told us was rare in Australia prior to European contact, but now, all to common. We focused upon suicide as a modern non-indigenous template for the communication of suffering which sometimes backfires leading to accidental death.
SHARE Sunday, September 19, 2010 Explanatory Plurarlism (923 views)
I ask the question, what if all knowledge existed in the form of stories and all stories were true? If we practiced in this manner, as advocated by Uncle Albert, an aboriginal elder, how would we act? The notion of explanatory pleuralism argues that explanatory stories on any particular level do not have to relate to any other level of explanation; rather they must correspond to the level of which they are explaining.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 14, 2011 Indigenous People are more Similar than Different -- Day 5 of the Australian Journey (890 views)
Today is Day 5 of our Australian cross-cultural mental health adventure. We traveled from Melbourne to an aboriginal owned island which has ancient sites and is in the Gippsland Lakes. The take home message for the day came from a Gunnai-Kurnai aboriginal man at the end of the day, who said, "Indigenous people are more similar all over the world than they are different." He had the final word for the day, which is so true.