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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, March 15, 2011 More Indigenous Similarities Despite Differences -- Day 6 of the Australian Journey (729 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 Saturday, March 12, 2011 The Narrative Interview: Day 3 of the Australian Journey (716 views)
Today finds us on Day 3 of our Australian cross-cultural journey. Our focus today is on the narrative interview. How would we interview people if our focus was to elicit their story instead of making a conventional DSM diagnosis. I interview a woman who has been suffering for 12 years and who has finally been offered an antidepressant medication. I show how her suffering can be rendered intelligible through narrative.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 12, 2011 Rescue: When is it Unethical? (711 views)
An under explored ethical area is that of what Michael Ortiz Hill, in his marvelous new book, The Craft of Compassion, has called professional narcissism. This is when we need our clients to get well for our own needs. Of course, we want to think that we are effective and can help people, but the more we think this way and the less we think of dialogical resolution where each contributes to the outcome, the more harm we do.
SHARE Friday, March 5, 2010 Tapping Creation Stories For Healing and Energy (705 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...
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, November 7, 2010 Narrative Interviewing and Behavioral Change (677 views)
In this article, I talk about the importance of finding the stories behind behaviors that are adverse to health. Health behavior is not rational, but is guided by stories that people have about how life should be lived. Many times they do not realize what these stories are, since they are from their earlier years and are so ingrained as to be outside awareness. I show how changing story allows people to change diet.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, July 26, 2010 Why can't the sundance feeling last all year long? (658 views)
I reflect on my experience of coming out of sundance, which is always a powerful, personally transformative experience for me and those others with whom I dance. Because of its deep embodiedness, sundance is simultaneously mental, physical, spiritual and communal. This and the prayers brought to sundance and the examples provided by the dancers of transcending our physical limits, explains in part the amazing healings seen.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, August 1, 2010 Walking with Dementia (642 views)
Unexpectedly I find myself visiting a friend for the weekend who is helping his mother place his father into a long-term care facility. My friend's father has vascular dementia, the result of a series of strokes, each one of which rendering him progressively less capable. Nevertheless, we have a marvelous walk in which he demonstrates the unassailable curiousity of human beings for describing the motivations of others.
SHARE Tuesday, January 18, 2011 Clinic Restructuring (630 views)
I work part-time in a community mental health center in New York. Recently New York's Office of Mental Health has restructured clinical services. I write about what that has meant for quality of care, which inevitably goes down. I argue that this is inevitable in a "fee-for-service" system. I argue that the alternative is to pay physicians to care for panels of people and to do the best job as they see fit for these people.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, February 10, 2011 The Larger Stories of Education (618 views)
Art and play are important in psychology and psychology education. I use the opportunity of attending the National Council of Schools of Professional Psychology annual meeting to speculate about the future of psychology education and to ponder the effects of for-profit institutions on education. I suggest that for-profit education can only be mediocre because real education aspires to creativity and for-profit standardizes.
SHARE Friday, July 2, 2010 Community -- Why is it hard? (610 views)
Belonging to community has huge benefits. It's hard because true community includes annoying and irritating people who don't agree with us. It includes people who sometimes act bizarre or socially inappropriately. It doesn't exclude and it minimizes power imbalances. Having true community takes work, because it's easier to be anonymous and let other people be in charge. But the effort pays off, and it's worth it.
SHARE Sunday, May 23, 2010 Who's in Charge Anyway? (581 views)
To what degree do we control our lives? Advocates of The Secret claim we have complete power to create whatever we wish. A more realistic world view is that of the Lakota who believe we are thrown into a universe of vast forces and influences over which we have no control. Within that context, we do what we can. I believe we need a philosophy that recognizes our embeddedness in a world that we didn't create and our capacit