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Healing the Mind through the Power of Story: The Promise of Narrative Psychiatry Paperback – June 18, 2010


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Healing the Mind through the Power of Story: The Promise of Narrative Psychiatry + Narrative Medicine: The Use of History and Story in the Healing Process + Coyote Wisdom: The Power of Story in Healing
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bear & Company (June 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159143095X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591430957
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“. . . Healing the Mind Through the Power of Story is an excellent account of a relatively new perspective of mental health treatment. Mehl-Madrona's explanations of the need for alternative treatments to medications and specific treatment goals for patients with serious mental disorders are well presented. The only concerns brought about by this approach to mental health are public opinion and compliance. The world still lives by the promise of a pill as the cure for any disease, and it is still difficult to get people to accept alternatives to that paradigm, especially in psychology.” (American Psychological Association, February 2011)

“This wonderful book is deep, moving, honest, educational, and will open your mind to the power of storytelling to heal and know more intimately the vastness of our beings. As a physician and indigenous healer, Lewis Mehl-Madrona uniquely blends his knowledge of science and the greater mysteries to help us SEE more clearly.” (Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Second Sight)

“Lewis Mehl-Madrona combines an emerging modern understanding of the power of story to change minds and brains with a traditional recognition of the shaping power of story.” (Dr. Brian Boyd, author of On the Origin of Stories)

“This book will revolutionize how we think about psychological healing, giving us new tools to achieve harmony and balance in all aspects of our lives.” (Hyla Cass, M.D., author of 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health)

From the Back Cover

SELF-TRANSFORMATION / PERSONAL GROWTH

“This wonderful book is deep, moving, honest, educational, and will open your mind to the power of storytelling to heal and know more intimately the vastness of our beings. As a physician and indigenous healer, Lewis Mehl-Madrona uniquely blends his knowledge of science and the greater mysteries to help us SEE more clearly.”
--Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Second Sight

“Lewis Mehl-Madrona combines an emerging modern understanding of the power of story to change minds and brains with a traditional recognition of the shaping power of story.”
--Dr. Brian Boyd, author of On the Origin of Stories

“This book will revolutionize how we think about psychological healing, giving us new tools to achieve harmony and balance in all aspects of our lives.”
--Hyla Cass, M.D., author of 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health

Conventional psychiatry is not working. The pharmaceutical industry promises it has cures for everything that ails us, yet a recent study on antidepressants showed there is no difference of success in prescribed pharmaceuticals from placebos when all FDA-reported trials are considered instead of just the trials published in journals. Up to 80 percent of patients with bipolar depression remain symptomatic despite conventional treatment, and the suicide rate for these patients is twenty times greater than the general population.

In Healing the Mind through the Power of Story, Dr. Mehl-Madrona shows what mental health care could be. He explains that within a narrative psychiatry model of mental illness, people are not defective, requiring drugs to “fix” them. What needs “fixing” is the ineffective stories they have internalized and succumbed to about how they should live in the world. Drawing on traditional stories from cultures around the world, Dr. Mehl-Madrona helps his patients re-story their lives. He shows how this innovative approach is actually more compatible with what we are learning about the biology of the brain and genetics than the conventional model of psychiatry. Drawing on wisdom both ancient and new, he demonstrates the power and success of narrative psychiatry to bring forth change and lasting transformation.

LEWIS MEHL-MADRONA, M.D., Ph.D., is certified in psychiatry, family practice, and geriatrics and worked for years in rural emergency medicine. He is the author of several books, including the bestselling Coyote Medicine, is a professor of family medicine at the University of Hawaii School of Medicine and of psychology at Argosy University, and lectures around the world.

More About the Author

full bio: Lewis Mehl-Madrona Origins. Coming from indigenous origins, Lewis has been interested throughout his life in the contributions that his culture can make to mainstream society. He grew up on the Kentucky-Tennessee border in the United States, a rural area where, even today, 60% of families have household incomes less than $10,000 per year. What these people do have, however, is a culture rich in story and in healing traditions. When he entered Stanford University School of Medicine in California, in 1973, Lewis realized that his culture had much to offer mainstream society - through its understanding of the power of story and through its understanding of healing and transformation. Training. After graduation from medical school, Lewis completed training programs in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He is American Board Certified in these specialties (with added qualifications in geriatrics) and has taught at several U.S. medical schools, including the University of Arizona and the University of Pittsburgh. In July, 2005, he came to Canada, where is now Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. He received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Psychological Studies Institute in Palo Alto in 1980 and a Master's of Philosophy in Narrative Practices from Massey University in 2007.Writing. Lewis is the author of four books. Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native America (Firestone, New York, 1998) explores his efforts to integrate his aboriginal origins and culture into his medical practice. Coyote Healing: Miracles from Native America (Bear and Company, Rochester, VT, 2003) explores the unexpected healings that occur with traditional aboriginal healers and generates some principles for healing. Coyote Wisdom: The Healing Power of Story (Bear and Company, Rochester, VT, 2005), which tells about how narrative organizes experience and guides the healing process. Narrative Medicine: the use of story and history in the healing process (Bear and Company, Rochester, VT in press) is about how we can see the various systems of healing from diverse cultures around the world (including Western technological medicine) as stories which interface with the stories of the culture to which the healing is being applied. Lewis writes about the need to respect a diversity of stories (cultures) and to match the healing story with the patient's story - in fact, to elicit the patient's story of the illness to understand its creation and maintenance and to use that story to inspire a plausible path to healing. Goals: In all these endeavors, Lewis has brought forth an indigenous perspective to the mainstream world. Stories are associated with "health" or "disease." Lewis has worked with communities and companies using narrative perspectives, including Appreciative Inquiry, to draw forth their stories and to facilitate a collaborative re-authoring of those stories. These approaches have faith that people do know how to solve their own problems, that the stories exist, that local expertise is usually sufficient for solving problems, that outside experts rarely help, and that people need to be empowered to trust their local practices, abilities, and cultures to solve problems that present, whether in community relations (alcohol, drugs, poverty), health and disease, or business. Lewis actively pursues his relationship with indigenous culture - through research programs to treat diabetes with traditional medicines, through attending ceremonies, and through working with Northern Saskatchewan reserves to provide psychiatric services on regular trips to the 60th parallel (almost).

abbreviated bio:

Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD, MPhil, is Director of the Psychopharmacology Program at Argosy University Hawai'i, where he is also Associate Professor of Psychology. He is an adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson State College in Vermont and is Education Director for the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation, also in Vermont, USA. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, Narrative Medicine, and the soon to be released (July 2009), Narrative Psychiatry: healing mind and brain in a social world. Lewis is a graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine, the Psychological Studies Institute in Palo Alto, and Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He is American board certified in family medicine and in psychiatry.

Medicine Wheel Oriented Bio:
Mehl-Madrona's story of searching for his ancestral roots beneath the forest of Christianization, colonization, and assimilation becomes a story of seeking mind, body, spirit, and community integration. The need for a parallel path to biomedicine became apparent in medical school when he learned from the professor of medicine and pharmacology that "life was a relentless progression toward death, disease, and decay. The physician's job is to slow the rate of decline." By the weekend, he had found a Cherokee healer with whom to study. That was 1973 and he hasn't stopped his studying with elders. He will describe the guidance they have given him toward achieving a balance among mind, body, spirit, and community, which represent the four directions of the medicine wheel.

My Address
Coyote Institute -- East, P.O. Box 9309, S. Burlington, VT 05407, USA

Customer Reviews

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Very inspiring for my shamanic practice.
Astrid Johnen
The book is well written with many interesting references.
Shelly Stelzer
Change a person's story and their life changes.
Lynetta Anne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Shelly Stelzer on September 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Do not be intimidated by the title of this book into thinking that it is a book solely for healthcare providers and mental health professionals. This book is for everyone. If you have struggled with mental illness personally, with friends, family members or coworkers this book is an incredible resource and guide. It will not only deepen your understanding of the suffering of those with mental illness but gives practical suggestions and instructions as to how to begin telling a new story.
Through Mehl-Madrona's incredibly gifted storytelling, he weaves his indigenous teachings into the everyday fabric of peoples lives helping them to see themselves and their place in the world in a new way. Through ceremony and the support of healing circles they can create those possibilities as evidenced by the stories contained here. The healthcare system can no longer afford the cost of expensive and ineffective care. Society can no longer and should not tolerate the human cost of lives wasted as disenfranchised people live out their lives in loneliness and hopelessness. The book is well written with many interesting references. The world can only benefit from the wisdom contained in this powerful book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lucy on January 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book went beyond my expectations. I referenced it heavily in writing for my graduate school classes for my psychology and counseling master's degree. It was not only very informational, it was a pleasure to read, and as a counselor I consider Mehl-Madrona a mentor from whom to learn an incredibly vast amount.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Robinson on July 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I began reading Healing the Mind through the Power of Story: the Promise of Narrative Psychiatry, I was immediately impressed by two profound talents of its author. First, Lewis Mehl-Madrona handles past and present medical research data in a way which enlightens rather than overwhelms his readers. That's not easily done. The second skill evident throughout the book was Mehl-Madrona's ability to shed a non-threatening flicker of clean, white candle light in that little room we all have somewhere in the back of our minds...that room where we store away all our lost dreams about humanity and about what should be possible. We want to believe that there is power in community, and most of us strongly suspect that the mental health system has missed the boat, but we have been overwhelmed by the "studies," the pharmaceutical companies' mass advertising campaigns, and the ever-present whisper that if we aren't fully focused on what we want, someone else will beat us to it. America has become largely about competition, to the point that our neighbors, our friends, and even our families can come to be seen more easily as rivals than as our pathway to a better life.

Lewis Mehl-Madrona offers a wonderful balance of new science and traditional indigenous tradition in support of his view that it is precisely our connection to others, and our connection to the stories we hear and create through community, that teaches us how to interact with Life, the Universe, and Everything in a more healthy and productive way. Imagine a country where folks who exhibit signs of mental illness are enveloped lovingly by their communities rather than being turned into outcasts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linda R. Swanson on May 24, 2012
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The power of story is revealled in this remarkable new-old therapy for the mentally ill. It is not only pertinent to those who suffer from disabling neurological disorders but for those of us with our own neurosis. We stand on the shoulders of stories, our own and that of others. We can change our negative programming, in essesnce change our stories and change our lives for the better. A brilliant book of narrative psychology.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lynetta Anne on September 13, 2013
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Having read all of Mehl-Madrona's books, for my money this one is the clear winner.

Mehl-Madrona continues the stories, anecdotes, and reflections that began with his first book, Coyote Medicine. But in this book, his life fades into the background and the healing stories and the science take center stage. I'm familiar with shamanic and energy healing and have good reasons to believe that it works, but as Mehl-Madrona reminds us, the story is crucial. Change a person's story and their life changes. But changing a person's story at the core is a huge undertaking, as those who've attempted it for themselves or others know quite well. Adding the new scientific understanding of the mechanisms is a story that westerners will find familiar and comfortable, and one that will probably make it easier to take to heart. One of the gorgeous qualities of this book is that it makes me question the way we "listen" to the people we encounter daily, and to think about what small things we can change in our daily conversations to support the health and well-being of those around us. You don't need to be a healing professional to find this book thought-provoking and fascinating, only willing to listen with an open mind.

Finally, I'm delighted to hear a medical professional state a truth that is ignored in the medical model: mental illness is often a flawed coping mechanism for an untenable life. Help the individual learn to cope with or leave/improve their circumstances, many of the "mental health issues" will lose prominence. Giving a pill is so much easier than real help, but it doesn't fix the problem, only submerges it in the story of "flawed biology." So mental health issues are, in the western world, considered permanent; while in cultures closer to an indigenous lifestyle, cures happen.

Read the book. A review can only encapsulate a summary, if you've read this much you owe it to yourself to understand Mehl-Madrona's work.
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