I'm here in Washington, D.C., at the American Psychiatric Association's 161st annual convention. What a trip! I now realize that anything besides drugs is considered alternative medicine. I do remember when family therapy and community therapy was considered ordinary. Now it is alternative. Doing anything besides prescribing drugs is alternative.
It is so interesting to speculate upon their story, their world view -- materialist, yes. Contextualist, no. Almost solipsistic in their sense that everything arises from genes in brain and nothing is environmental determined. It's fundamentalist in the sense that it insists upon a view despite contradictory evidence that the brain develops and is shaped and formed by a social environment. In its materialism, it is infinitely afraid of magic. If you believe in magic or spirits, you are crazy.
So here's the next course I am teaching at Johnson State University in Vermont:
Syllabus: Multi-cultural Traditional Healing
Johnson State University, Summer 2008
Instructor: Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Coyote Healing: Miracles from Native Medicine
By Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Contributor: Larry Dossey, M.D.
Published 2007Inner Traditions
Medical / AlternativeMedicine
Distills the basic principles used by Native American healers to create miracles. Explores the power of miracles in both traditional Native American healing and modern scientific medicine. Cites numerous cases in which people whose conditions were deemed hopeless were miraculously healed. Enables readers to start their own healing journey through the exploration of purpose, meaning, and acceptance. By the author of "Coyote Medicine". Native American healers expect miracles and prepare in all possible ways for them to occur. In modern medicine, miraculous recoveries are discarded from studies as anomalous cases that will taint the otherwise orderly results. Yet this small group of ?miracle? patients has much to teach us about healing and survival. "Coyote Healing "distills the common elements in miracle cures to help people start their own healing journey. Looking at 100 cases of individuals who experienced miracle cures, Dr. Mehl-Madrona reveals what he learned from both his own practice and the interviews he conducted with survivors about the common features of their path back to wellness. Survivors found purpose and meaning in their life-threatening illness; peaceful acceptance was key to their healing. "Coyote Healing "also tells of another kind of miracle: finding faith, hope, and serenity even when a cure seems impossible.
Papers to be posted on the class web site about Eurasian healing/shamanism, translated by Andrei Vinogradov.
Preview this book
By Uwe P. Gielen, Jefferson M. Fish, Juris G. Draguns
Contributor Uwe P. Gielen, Jefferson M. Fish, Juris G. Draguns
Emotional, as well as physical distress, is a heritage from our hominid ancestors; it has been experienced by every group of human beings since our emergence as a species. And every known culture has developed systems of conceptualization and intervention for addressing it. The editors have brought together leading psychologists, psychiatrists, anthropologists, and others to consider the interaction of psychosocial, biological, and cultural variables as they influence the assessment of health and illness and the course of therapy. The volume includes broadly conceived theoretical and survey chapters; detailed descriptions of specific healing traditions in Asia, the Americas, Africa, and the Arab world. TheHandbook of Culture, Therapy, and Healingis a unique resource, containing information about Western therapies practiced in non-Western cultures, non-Western therapies practiced both in their own context and in the West.
Friday, July 25th: Overview of North American traditional healing practices. We will follow the basic structure of Coyote Healing to explore how traditional Northern Plains North American healers work. We will look at stories of miracles and how they happen. We will explore the concept of the medicine wheel and each of the four directions. The experiential component of the time will focus on a guided imagery around the medicine wheel, exploring our four inner directions.
Saturday, July 26th: We will explore Eurasian shamanism and its relationship to other shamanic practices. Our text will be an unpublished manuscript written by Russian anthropologists and ethnographers and translated by Andrei Vinogradov who will be joining us for our online discussions after the weekend. In the morning, we will look at what happened to shamans under the Soviet system and how things changed when the Soviet Union collapsed. We will see how this influenced contemporary shamanism today. We will look at the similarities of shamanic practices across regions and the range of shamanic practices that are possible – sucking, feathering, fanning, blowing, smoking, etc. We will cross a range of Eurasian practices based upon the reading and will explore what is common and what is unique about traditional healing in a range of Northern Eurasian regions.
Sunday, July 27th: We will consider the following topics:
Culture and the Origins of Psychopathology
psychopathology, cultural evolution, Pongids
The Role of Culture in Definitions Interpretations
African American, asthma, Medical Anthropology
A Biopsychosocial Perspective on Crosscultural Healing
placebo effect, Psychoneuroimmunology, classical conditioning
The Role of Culture in the Treatment of Culturally Diverse Populations
African Americans, Young Rivers, Asian Americans
Culturally Oriented Psychotherapy with Refugees
refugees, Asian, mental health
The Role of Dance in a Navajo Healing Ceremonial
labanotation, Navajo Nation, Navajo Music
The Therapeutic Aspects of Salish Spirit Dance Ceremonials
Coast Salish, British Columbia, Spiritualist healers
A Gendered Exploration in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, mental health professionals, Spiritist
Theories and Methods
qigong, acupuncture, Taoist
A Criteriabased Metaanalysis
qigong, alternative medicine, hypertension
Psychoanalysis and Buddhism
Transpersonal Psychology, Tibetan Buddhism, contemplative disciplines
Morita therapy, Taijin Kyofusho, Naikan therapy
Indian Conceptions of Mental Health Healing and the Individual
Ayurvedic, dharma, moksha
Problems of Insight
Angola, Yoruba, Babalawo
Native Healing in ArabIslamic Societies
Qur'an, jinn, dhikr
The online discussion group will continue until the end of the term and will involve discussion of the above topics. Students will be required to post one long and 5 short posts each week. A long post consists of a full computer screen. A short post is responsive and of any length.
The written requirement for the course is to create a document worthy of posting upon the class website. Students will dialogue with the instructor about quality until a mutually satisfactory document (or movie, or slide show, or multi-media presentation arises).
Students are also required to keep a diary or a blog about how their reactions to the reading and how it changes them or their concepts and what they have learned.