Past Training Programs (Courses) Related to Healing:
Training programs in the healing arts:
Stories of Transformation; Story as Transformation.
No guidelines, algorithms, or principles exist for sudden, dramatic transformations in the lives of individuals, communities, or cultures. These are discontinuous, sudden, radically altering events. The outcomes are unpredictable. We may be able to predict when transformation is about to occur, but its directions are outside of our grasp. Hardy studied 3000 stories of spiritual transformation in the UK, cataloging the preceding event, but came no closer to understanding the nature of transformation. In this course,, we will consider stories as a source of wisdom for how to transform. Aboriginal culture is replete with stories of spiritual and other transformations, the repetition of which, installs in the listener an intuitive sense for how to proceed and the belief that sudden transformation, even against all odds, is possible. We will consider stories, both from aboriginal culture and from other world cultures, about transformations in which amazing cures and healings occurred. We will ask if there are any similarities about these stories, and will wonder if the similarity is the ability of the story to replicate itself by inspiring further transformation in listeners.
All people’s stories are unique in content which is specific to the person telling the story (it was his or her narrative), but common themes or plots can be identified. The more powerful and life-changing the spiritual transformation was, the more likely the person was to report healing and/or curing. Healing is the restoration of peacefulness and a sense of well-being; curing results in the absence of disease. The exception to this is the powerful spiritual transformations that occurred during the dying process. Common themes included people becoming more present-centered; feeling higher quality in their relationships; feeling more connected to God, Creator, Nature, or Higher Power; feeling more peaceful; feeling more accepting of death and change; having a greater sense of meaning and purpose, to name the most common. Stories across the centuries reveal that these are common effects of the search for the sacred and for spiritual connectedness which spirituality promises. While individuals are unique in the details of their spiritual transformations, the quest and the benefits may be universal and appear to be associated with health benefits.
Narrative Studies and Indigenous Healing.
A movement in psychology and medicine is arising, inspired by Jerome Bruner and Theordore Sarbin, that sees lives as stories and people as storytellers. In this perspective, we make sense of experience through ordering it into stories which have plots, characters, time sequence, and implicit morals or values that are conveyed through the ending (the moral of the story). Our stories are enacted in social situations and come alive through their performance for and with others who modify our stories through their response to these stories. This movement has allowed European-based psychology to connect to the world's indigenous cultures, since these cultures think in a similar vein -- that lives are stories enacted in the world. Within indigenous cultures (including the Native cultures of North America), identity is contained in the shared stories that lie in the repository of lived relationships. We are, in short, what emerges through our networks of relationships. In this course, we will consider the relevance of this approach for mental health. We will discuss the use of narrative therapy with aboriginal people in Canada and the United States and will compare this approach to what traditional elders of those cultures do. We will explore the use of narrative to give psychotic people a way to structure experience as has been done in the Finnish Psychosis Project and by the use of narrative groups on locked inpatient psychiatry units. We will explore the broad techniques of a narrative approach and how it can be implemented into pre-existing settings and practices and will look to the future of narrative in our field.
1. Participants will be able to describe the similarities between indigenous healing approaches and narrative therapy.
2. Participants will be able to list some of the elements common to good stories.
3. Participants will be able to describe three techniques that are used by narrative therapists.
Narrative Medicine: An approach to integrative indigenous healing and conventional medical practice.
Within the narrative movement, a storied approach to understand human behavior has emerged. Narrative medicine represents a storied approach to the understanding of health and disease that is, at once, more recognizable to traditional healers from around the world, and at the same time, available to the conventional scientifically trained medical practitioner who has taken histories and written case reports, and understands the value in the story of a person-illness-family-culture. We will review narratives from people who have worked with indigenous healers in North America and who have experienced a range of results from no apparent change in the course of an illness to recovery from cancer when the conventional physicians predicted that this was impossible. These stories are supported by stories obtained from family members, friends, the healers themselves, and the conventional physicians about the person and the illness experience. The ensemble of stories reveals that dramatic healing is relatively unpredictable but emerges in association with sudden and profound shifts within people, often called transformations. Spiritual transformations are especially important in predicting the likelihood that an encounter with traditional healing will have more beneficial physical impact than not. Yet, the finding is decidedly non-linear. Some people have especially profound spiritual transformations and die from their illness. Consideration of these stories suggests that our usual linear framework needs to be abandoned when we ask questions about individual healing. The conventional notions of odds ratios and relative risk become meaningless. We are forced to move toward a view of the world that is more in line with both the wisdom of traditional healers and the view of quantum physicists – that we are connected to each other in ways that cannot be dismissed, that the actions of the one affect the many and vice versa, that we are entangled with factors that affect health and disease in ways that defy conventional adjustment for confounding or effect modification, and that the questions of who heals, who lives, and who dies require a storied approach to understanding phenomena that we currently are still struggling to find words to describe. Among these stories of illness transformation, it appears more likely that people will have beneficial physical results when they become present-centered, when they believe the story they tell about their healing wholeheartedly, when they surround themselves with a community of believers, when they adopt practices that they continue on a daily basis associated with maintenance of their good results, when they accept the possibility of death and refuse to participate in denial or whitewashing, and when they experience dramatic shifts in the quality of their lives, relationships, and spirituality.
Narrative Medicine: restoring story and dialogue to health care
A narrative approach coupled with social constructionism allows us to view medicine from other vantage points, most productively those of indigenous cultures and their healing systems. From these vantage points we can consider what has been lost from medicine in its rush to become scientific. These contrasts show the extensive information lost when all people are considered in accordance with an anatomically based diagnosis related to individual organs. This unstoried approach to diagnosis and treatment ignores the person of the illness and the community/context in which the illness arose. When we question people more deeply, we discover that everyone has a story to explain their illness. This story is more or less shared by family members and may or may not relate to the medicine's official story of the illness. Nevertheless, within these stories lie radical possibilities for restoring balance and harmony, an indigenous concept of healing which is largely neglected by medicine. People's stories about their illness contain the seeds for stories about their healing. What we do with these seeds can make all the difference for healing and transcendence and sometimes even for curing disease.
Narrative Diagnosis: Alternatives to DSM for Medicine and Psychology
Typically medicine and psychology are guided by constructs codified by the DSM IV. In this course we explore how a narrative approach to describing human suffering is closer to actual brain physiology and function than DSM and more readily yields solutions that are unique to the individual with a higher likelihood of success.
1. Participants will describe 4 elements of a narrative.
2. Participants will describe the relation of narrative to storage of memory.
3. Participants will describe 3 ways in which narratives generate treatment palns.
I. History of DSM
II. History of the narrative movement in the humanities and leading into psychology.
III. Relation of narrative movement to inidgenous psychologies.
IV. Relation of narratives to brain storage of memory.
V. Examples of narratives and how they lead to treatment plans.
VI. Comparison of narratives and categories (DSM).
The Power of Trickster: Coyote, Raven, Rabbit, and more.
Coyote is the modern world’s most famous trickster, though his colleagues run through every culture, from Maui in Hawai’i, to Raven in the Northwest of North America, to rabbit in Southeast North America and Southeast Asia, and more. Coyote will help us to understand the power and importance of Trickster, especially since (S)he was present from the beginning of creation. Coyote features prominently in sacred, creation stories as a character providing survival advice to the people as well as helping to set up the rules. Outside of Coyote’s sacred roles, (s)he has a collection of trickster stories, which, as one elder put it, are not about Coyote, but are about topics that are otherwise difficult to discuss. Trickster stories allow access to taboo topics. They include humorous behavior but they are not humorous per se. Europeans often focus upon Trickster instead of seeing the topics that Trickster allows us to discuss. More importantly, Trickster is the impetus for transformation and change, and has the job of protecting people from man-eating monsters and more importantly, from themselves. Trickster’s job is to monitor the people and to intervene when they become complacent and secure; in other words, stuck in their ways.
Following these considerations of Trickster (Coyote), we will explore how Coyote works within our own lives and stories. What are the times when we have been tricked for our own good? How did that feel? Who tricked us? Was it cosmic or spiritual forces, or was it our friends?
Native Healing and Narrative Psychiatry
Native elders teach that our identity arises from all the stories that have been or ever will be told about us. In these traditions, mind is assembled from the music of stories. How would we heal mental illness (and even physical disease) from this perspective? What if we could uplift our stories and change what others expect from us? Could that make us well?
Narrative Psychiatry draws from the world’s indigenous traditions and more modern depth psychologies (like those of Laing and Jung) to understand psychiatric problems as arising from stories of suffering, absorbed and enacted by the person. It understands that people cannot exist outside of community and that telling your story to an audience who cares can make you well. In this course we, will explore how changing story changes illness.
How do we heal psychiatric problems? Can drugs heal or do they suppress? If we work without drugs, what should we do? Does madness work its way toward resolution if left to proceed without interference and in a supportive, loving environment? Can bipolar disorder resolve through human connectivity? How does this relate to traditional herbs and practices like yoga, meditation, vision questing, and the like?
1. Participants will be able to list three elements of a story and apply these elements to the understanding of three stories in which they are characters.
2. Participants will be able to describe three characteristics of a narrative approach to psychotherapy.
Coyote Therapy: The Healing Power of Story
I. We will take an indigenous point of view to wonder what psychology has lost in its rush to become scientific and evidence-based.
a. These contrasts show the extensive information lost when all people are considered in accordance with an anatomically based diagnosis related to individual organs.
b. An unstoried approach to diagnosis and treatment ignores the person of the illness and the community/context in which the illness arose.
c. When we question people more deeply, we discover that everyone has a story to explain their illness.
d. This story is more or less shared by family members and may or may not relate to the medicine's official story of the illness.
e. Nevertheless, within these stories lie radical possibilities for restoring balance and harmony, an indigenous concept of healing which is largely neglected by psychology.
f. People's stories about their illness contain the seeds for stories about their healing.
g. What we do with these seeds can make all the difference for healing and transcendence and sometimes even for curing disease.
II. Typically psychology is guided by constructs codified by the DSM IV.
a. A narrative approach to describing human suffering is more close to actual brain physiology and function than DSM IV and more readily yields solutions that are unique to the individual and have higher likelihood of success.
b. Examples of narratives and how they lead to treatment plans.
c. Comparison of narratives and categories (DSM).
III. Examples of Narrative or Coyote Therapies
a. Stories of healing and bipolar disorder.
b. Stories of healing and psychotic disorders
c. Healing anxiety and depression.
IV. How to use story therapeutically.
a. The use of traditional stories
b. The use of popular culture stories.
c. The use of proxy characters from stories or art.
V, Why did I call it Coyote therapy?
1. Mehl-Madrona L. (2007). Narrative Medicine: the use of history and story in the healing process. Rochester, VT: Bear and Company/InnerTraditions.
2. Charone R. (2006). Narrative Medicine, New York: Columbia University Press..
3. Ranzijn R, McConnochie K, Clarke C, Nolan W. (2006). Benchmarking the inclusion of Australian Indigenous content in undergraduate psychology. Australian Community Psychologist, 18(1): 23-27.
4. White, M, Epston M. (2000). Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. Dulwich: Dulwich Press.
1. Participants will be able to describe three differences between common practices regarding ancestors in typical aboriginal cultures and in mainstream Western academic society.
2. Participants will be able to describe the reincarnational beliefs of three indigenous societies and state how these beliefs differ from those of Buddhism.
The Language of Healing: Hypnosis and Physical Illness
In the beginning was the Word, powerful enough to create the world. With voice, tonality, phrasing, and words we can change our body reality, transforming sickness to health, despair to hope, and misery to happiness. Words have served healers, doctors, priests and shamans from time immemorial. In this course we will learn the art of speaking the language of healing. We will consider how words affect attitudes, change beliefs, and nurture faith. Through our words, deep inner resources for self-love are kindled which become physiological changes. Our words flow with pictures of mountain streams, armies of blood cells, and the eternal peace of the soul. What words do we choose? How do we breathe these words? How do we learn to speak the poetry of the spirit? With this attitude, we will flow between the analytic side of hypnosis technique and the experiential side of storytelling and poetry, striking a balance that will aid in the restoration of wellness for ourselves and our clients. We will aim at professional development through personal experience, combining self-healing opportunities with consideration of technique and method.
Coyote Wisdom: The Healing Power of Story and Dialogue
We will explore Native American spirituality and healing practices along with the power of traditional stories to hold and transmit wisdom. Story provides a code that we decipher for our personal lives as we discover its hidden messages and gifts. Native American healers invoke a richness of dialogue—with Nature, spirits, other people, and the body. This dialogue occurs through ceremony and ritual, imagery, bodywork, and conversation. We will discover how to enrich these dialogues and tell stories about where the conversations took us.
The course will include
- The valuable insights of Native American healing practices
- Native views of Anglo-American culture
- Stories that inspire and heal
- Talking circles to facilitate dialogue and thoughtful listening
- Imagery as a means for dialogue with spirits, body, and realms that defy words
- Cherokee bodywork to reanimate the body and draw spirit into affected tissues.
Together we will develop rituals that build upon the dialogue of the group and create personal ceremonies to take home.
Narrative Perspectives for Health and Healing in the Work Place
Regardless of our life’s purpose and activities, health is important. Current research suggests that physicians today address only 15% of the determinants of health. These other determinants lie within areas not typically addressed by physicians and are crucial for wellbeing.
Work is an important part of health. We spend most of our waking hours at work. We have more time with our co-workers than our families. Feelings of social injustice and powerless in the workplace have been linked to the occurrence and speed of progression of heart disease. Stress-related conditions are primarily work-related, including the injuries occurring when people are stressed and less cautious in their safety protocols.
Illness matters to company, even in countries where the public bears the brunt of costs for sickness care. Absenteeism is costly. Loss of key personnel is difficult to compensate. Costs rise with more workmen’s compensation claims. Lawsuits can occur.
We will explore how the culture of the workplace creates stories that become a local culture of practice and knowledge. We will explore the role of leadership and workers in implementing, maintaining, and evolving that story and will see how the story is associated with feelings of powerlessness or empowerment. We will link this to our own personal health and disease. We will use lessons from indigenous cultures to see how stories evolve and achieve power. We will apply these methods of inquiry to our own personal health (or disease). We will ask how company and personal stories can be changed to achieve better health in the workplace. We will explore the role of meaning and purpose in health and disease and the need for people to find meaning and purpose through their daily work activities, to feel part of a community, and to feel valued.
- Understand the concepts of story, plot, narrative, meaning, value, and how these inter-relate.
- Be able to enunciate their own personal story, describe what its plot is, discuss the strategies through which the plot unfolds, say what gives them meaning and purpose, and relate this to their own personal health.
- Be able to state the company’s story, describing its creation, vitalization and re-vitalization, and relate this to the workers’ experience of meaning and purpose in the workplace, of valuation, and of belongingness, exploring how these factors can increase or decrease health, absenteeism, injuries, and workmen’s compensation claims.
- We will explore how to collaborative re-author personal and company stories to pursue greater health, wellness, meaning, and functionality in our personal lives and at work.
- We will consider how these developing stories compare to traditional stories, classical themes from literature and movies, and popular cultural stories.
- We will practice how to develop a plot line or theme that shows us where the story will travel as it is enacted and to explore how to change story to maximize the movement toward health and wellness.
Participants will learn about the power of personal and corporate stories for health and disease.
Coyote Wisdom: Bridging Cultures, Bridging Practices, Creating Healing
I. Introduction to ways of conceptualizing health and disease.
a. Native American healing, narrative medicine, and conventional medicine. What are the stories we construct about why we are sick and how we get well?
b. How would we practice medicine and healing if we integrated traditional Native American healing philosophy and practice?
II. Introduction to Ceremony, its construction and enactment.
III. The heroic journey from sickness to health. How do we get on that path?
IV. The mystery of spiritual transformation. What are the codes that help us learn how to do this?
IV. Elements of ceremony and ritual, stories associated with ceremony and ritual; why do we do ceremony.
V. Incorporating ceremony and ritual into medical practice.
Attendees will learn about the underlying philosophy of indigenous healing practices, particularly Native North American, and how this compares and contrasts with allopathic medicine. This awareness can be used to create bridges between the two world views, specifically to allow integration for improved patient care. Native culture functions through story and attendees will learn how stories work to teach principles of healing. We will review seven principles of healing developed by a focus group of Native healers and will seek relevance to participants' work context. We will explore the role of ceremony in creating coherent community and healing and will review how Native culture uses community as a healing force, which is largely missing from allopathic medicine. The healing power of stories is contained in the new art of narrative medicine and narrative psychology. These new arts have the potential of bridging the Native and the non-Native worlds and give providers tools for communication and respect for Native patients.
Stories: Talking Cures, Ancient Wisdom, and Creator of Ritual and Ceremony
In this course we will explore stories – traditional, contemporary, and our own. We will view traditional Native American stories as repositories of wisdom for the modern age. We will look at what the characters of these stories have to teach us about ourselves and our relationships. We will look at the messages that our ancestors send us through time within these stories. We will look at the plots that are repetitive in our lives and in our culture. We will see how stories set the stage for ceremony and ritual as a way of enacting these stories.
Following this we will work on the stories of ourselves. What stories would we prefer to tell about ourselves? What stories do others tell about us? What are the sources of these stories and how do they define us and provide us with an identity? How are they related to our health or to states of disease?
From here we will enact a traditional Native American ritual that is storied and will participate in one culture’s set of stories about nature, spirit, mind, body, and the world. We will sing and pray together and experience shared healing within Lewis’ cultural origins.
Next we will explore how to construct a shared ceremony that includes all of our stories and aspects or elements of the various cultures and peoples represented in our group. We will use of talking circle format to develop a ceremony and to attach story to the ceremony we are developing. We will define its purpose and meaning and then, after some practice and discussion, will enact this ceremony.
We will conclude with discussions about tasks that can be done following the course to become more conversant with stories, their use in healing, medicine, and psychotherapy; their use in ceremony and ritual; and their use in our personal lives and growth and development. These stories can help us explore the inner landscape of our body, discover the source of illness, draw on the resources of our spirit guides, gain deeper insight into our relationships with others, and help use reduce suffering.
Stories: Talking Cures, Ancient Wisdom, and Creator of Ritual and Ceremony
Medicine itself is a story as is psychology, psychotherapy, and all other academic disciplines. By story, we mean a way of organizing and sequencing information that conveys a meaning and a plot that acts upon characters for an audience. We will explore how this perspective changes how we describe sickness and health and how it might transform our practices. We will also explore how it allows an integration of poetry, music, and theatre into healing practices. We will use traditional and contemporary stories, as well as developing our own stories in a more conscious manner. We will look at what the characters of these stories have to teach us about ourselves and our relationships. We will look at the messages that our ancestors send us through time within these stories. We will look at the plots that are repetitive in our lives and in our culture. We will see how stories set the stage for ceremony and ritual as a way of enacting these stories.
We will consider the stories we would prefer to tell about ourselves? What stories do others tell about us? What are the sources of these stories and how do they define us and provide us with an identity? How are they related to our health or to states of disease?
We will conclude with discussions about tasks that can be done to become more conversant with stories, their use in healing, medicine, and psychotherapy; and their use in our personal lives and growth and development.
How to Perform an Illness
Shakespeare wrote that life is theatre and that we are actors on the stage. The narrative movement suggests that life is a verb and not a noun, a story that is being performed by all involved, upon a stage, and for an audience. Life has plot, temporal sequence, action, and drama. When illness becomes a part of the ongoing life story, it gets organized within the ongoing plot and for the other actors and audience. To understand an illness, we must see it within the larger life story.
A powerful technique for those who are ill is to help them transform the story of their illness into a performance. This workshop offers the opportunity to learn how to do that. We will work with one or two volunteers to develop the story of their illness into a performance. Other participants will serve as co-stars, supporting characters, or audience. We will start with imagery techniques to pull out the key events to be performed. We will use theatre exercises to prepare that performance. The person who is starring in the performance will choose whether to make a solo performance or to recruit others as co-stars or to play supportive roles. He or she will decide whether or not to make masks for actors or not, will pick music and assign musicians to help, and will then perform the story of his illness in 30-40 minutes. Following this performance, we will discuss what we have learned and how this relates to healing.
Coyote Wisdom: Theory & Practice of Narrative Medicine
Stories are powerful sources of meaning that shape and transform our lives. We will explore the healing use of stories and describe how we can integrate this wisdom so as to bridge cultures and practices in order to empower and transform the lives of patients and ourselves.
Participants will be able to:
. • compare and contrast the biomedical story of illness with the patient and family’s stories about how the illness arose, showing how the differences between the two stories are important;
. • give three examples of how culture affects the stories people tell about why they got sick;
. • list at least five elements of a successful story for promoting people’s faith and hope that they can get well;
. • define narrative medicine and describe how it is done;
. • describe five elements of a story used to assist in the dying process.
Imagery and Storytelling
In this course, participants will become more able to use stories for helpful purposes, including inspiring people to believe in the possibility of healing and to believe in their own abilities to change. We will consider traditional stories, the common stories of movies and novels, and the stories we tell about our lives. We will consider how to pick a story for a particular purpose and will review the art of telling it persuasively. We will discuss creation stories, fire stories, heroic journeys, love stories, stories of good and evil, and more. We will also learn about the use of imagery in story telling and about ways to make stories more powerful through imagery.
In this course, participants will learn about the narrative movement in psychology and medicine. We learn how to mindfully listen to a story and how to glean clues from the story for questions to ask to bring the teller’s attention to their hidden resources, strengths, and abilities. We will practice listening to stories, asking questions about stories, and retelling stories to facilitate growth and change. Through role playing we will learn about how to conduct narrative groups with families and unrelated people, and will consider the role of ancestral stories and the ancestors in general in our stories and our healing.