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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, June 22, 2010 Why do we need Stories? (859 views)
Making up story is what are brains do best. In fact, the default mode of the brain is to idly invent what if and if only stories to so that we can run simulations of our social world. We are designed to fill in gaps in our perception. We must reject much environmental information in order to maintain a stable world map.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 29, 2010 Integrative Mental Health and Health Care Reform (841 views)
A recent conference in Arizona on Integrative Mental Health highlighted how poorly our current mental health care system is working. The conference was full of passion for changing our system and for incorporating nutrition, exercise, yoga, and psychotherapy into our work to improve effectiveness. More time with people is necessary and health care reform needs to reimburse that time. Indigenous mental health ideas show us...
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 13, 2011 Intergenerational and Historical Trauma: Day 4 of the Australia Journey (771 views)
We continue our Australian cross-cultural mental health journey for day 4. Today's topic was intergenerational and historic trauma. In an inter-faith context we talked about the need for the suppressed stories to be told. We talked about epigenetics, which is the way in which the trauma of the ancestors are genetically transmitted across as many as four generations, if not more. We discussed the need to tell these stories.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, August 15, 2010 Psychiatrists in Community Mental Health (714 views)
This article explores the role of the psychiatrist in community mental health. I find myself working in this setting and realizing that almost everyone sees my role as the writing of prescriptions. Medication has become the core of community mental health with twice monthly, 25 minute "therapy" visits. I ask how psychiatrists working in such settings can push back. How can we reclaim psychiatry as the medicine of the soul?
SHARE Wednesday, June 2, 2010 Modern Day Shamanism (686 views)
Summary: The word "shamanism" has become very popular. But what does it mean and why do traditional North American deplore this word. Traditional healers are accountable to their communities. Others in the anonymous society must face regulation and must prove that they are more beneficial than harmful. The word shaman is no doubt here to stay, but there is an advantage to resisting it in that it brings to attention the di
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 1, 2010 Cancer and Coyote Magic in Woodstock (672 views)
I reflect upon the stories people create to explain their cancer and how some of these stories can be used to make them suffer even further. I wrote about Sarah, a woman with lung cancer who attended a workshop I co-led with my friend, Peter Blum. Sarah suffered enormously from believing that if she did everything "right", she would get well and her cancer would go away. It wasn't. Therefore, she was bad. What do we do?
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 18, 2011 What we can learn from Tucson and why not to overreact! (649 views)
The recent tragedy in Tucson has led some commentators to demand more inpatient beds, easier commitment laws, and forced treatment with medication. I argue that none of this would have stopped Mr. Loughner, since he had not come to anyone's attention yet. We need to refrain from overreacting and further stigmatizing the mentally ill, who are, by and large, not violent, and we need to think about ways to reach out more.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, April 9, 2010 Crossroads (638 views)
This weekend I attended a conference called Crossroads in Topanga Canyon, California. We met together to think about bringing healing circles and talking circles to ever corner and intersection in America. We experienced a healing circle together, which inspired us to think more about what it would mean for health care if all of us to belonged to one. Health care costs will only soar unless people begin to take ca
SHARE Thursday, February 11, 2010 The Miracle of Peacefulness (635 views)
Unfortunately, miracles cannot be guaranteed or produced on demand. What is more certain is our ability to cultivate a sense of peacefulness and meaning even in the face of illness. This is miraculous in itself given today's world and medical culture. So many people sit namelessly, faceless and alone on nursing home floors, passing the time before death.
SHARE Saturday, September 4, 2010 Ethics for Mental Health (631 views)
The history of the mental health industry involves the management of people who are socially unacceptable, who are defined as excessively different from the rest of us, who live at the extremes of emotions and behaviors. How we treat these people depends upon the stories we carry about how they came to be the way they are. Contemporary stories are impoverished and lead to mistreatment of those who suffer.
SHARE Tuesday, April 27, 2010 Using Creation Stories In Healing (627 views)
Creation stories are important, because the final story about how you or I got well must be compatible with the story about how we got sick, or the treatment will never work. In my studies of remarkable healings, I found that every person had a plausible story (to them) for how their illness occurred and how they got well
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Health Care and Alternative Health in France (619 views)
I recently had the opportunity to speak at a conference in Paris, France. The conference was about what we call CAM, or Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in the United States, and particularly about the basis for some CAM practices in advanced physics. I had a chance to get an idea about the French health care system as well as check out new research on homeopathy
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 30, 2010 More on the Politics of Indian Identity (618 views)
Based upon comment on last weeks, "More Indian than Thou" essay, I continue my musings about the politics of Indian identity. I explore the fundamentalist response which argues that pure bloods are more Indian than mixed bloods and that non-status Indians have no business reading about, participating in, or even being interested in aboriginal culture. I argue that this would, in fact, allow the U.S. government to succeed.
SHARE Thursday, July 8, 2010 One Road, Many Branches (613 views)
This article builds upon my past two weeks of talking about Indian identity. It is written on the sundance grounds as I prepare for purification and for this season's sundance. I talk about the way that the drug and alcohol treatment movement brought ceremony and ritual into the lives of both Indians and non-Indians. People discovered the power of the Red Road. Ethnic boundaries disappeared in the welcome for all people.
SHARE Wednesday, June 2, 2010 Reflections on the American Psychiaatric Association's annual meeting (588 views)
This past week we attended the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. The high point was the amazing food that New Orleans offers. Besides that, we dialogue about the myths that psychiatry has created that now need to be changed. These myths include the idea that a perfect pill exists to make people feel "normal" and that a pill exists that can change unpleasant affect in happiness
SHARE Friday, March 5, 2010 Tapping Creation Stories For Healing and Energy (585 views)
Creation stories are ubiquitous in life. Our families tell us stories of our birth. Cultures also tell stories about their own creation, and people tell stories about how they got sick and how they got well. The story about how an illness arose is particularly powerful and has multiple versions. People's own stories about how they got sick may or may not parallel the official medical story...
SHARE Thursday, March 10, 2011 Coyotes and Reclaiming Indigenous Knowledge (585 views)
Three of us from Coyote Institute have journeyed to Australia to consult with a local aboriginal group on how to incorporate local culture into their health care and other services. This is the first in a series of daily blogs about the trip. I begin by wondering about coyote as a symbolic muse, an animal who lives at the margin and is currently expanding its territory. We discuss templates for the expression of pain.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 15, 2011 More Indigenous Similarities Despite Differences -- Day 6 of the Australian Journey (584 views)
This is Day 6 of the Australian cross-cultural mental health exchange journey. Today we all experienced a form of healing used in the Northern Territories called "burning". They correct usage appears to be, "I burned her and she got well." One doesn't actually get burned, but palm bark is ceremonially placed in the area of an injury or sickness after having been made warm in a fire, accompanied by touch therapy and prayer.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, April 22, 2010 Learning from Native North America for Health Care (578 views)
The traditional healing of North America is slowly findings its way into conventional clinical settings. Not everyone (Native and non-Native) agree with its entry there. Some people believe that traditional healing should be restricted to Native people and kept away from Non-Natives. Others believe it should be openly shared with all. Even knowing what is a traditional healer is a debated question. Some people call themse