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Psychiatry that recognizes the essential role of community in creating a new story of mental health • Provides a critique of conventional psychiatry and a look at what mental health care could be • Includes stories used in the author’s healing practice that draw from traditional cultures around the world 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 10 to 20 percent of these patients commit suicide. 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.
Narrative psychiatry empowers patients to shape their lives through story. Rather than focusing only on finding the source of the problem, in this collaborative clinical approach psychiatrists also help patients diagnose and develop their sources of strength. By encouraging the patient to explore their personal narrative through questioning and story-telling, the clinician helps the patient participate in and discover the ways in which they construct meaning, how they view themselves, what their values are, and who it is exactly that they want to be. These revelations in turn inform clinical decision-making about what it is that ails them, how they'd like to treat it, and what recovery might look like. The Art of Narrative Psychiatry is the first comprehensive description of narrative psychiatry in action. Engaging and accessible, it demonstrates how to help patients cultivate their personal sources of strength and meaning as resources for recovery. Illustrated with vivid case reports and in-depth accounts of therapeutic conversations, the book offers psychiatrists and psychotherapists detailed guidance in the theory and practice of this collaborative approach. Drawing inspiration from narrative therapy, post-modern philosophy, humanistic medicine, and social justice movements - and replete with ways to more fully manifest the intentions of the mental health recovery model - this engaging new book shows how to draw on the standard psychiatric toolbox while also maintaining focus on the patient's vision of the world and illuminating their skills and strengths. Written by a pioneer in the field, The Art of Narrative Psychiatry describes a breadth of nuanced, powerful narrative practices, including externalizing problems, listening for what is absent but implicit, facilitating re-authoring conversations, fostering communities of support, and creating therapeutic documents. The Art of Narrative Psychiatry addresses mental health challenges that range from mild to severe, including anxiety, depression, despair, anorexia/bulimia, perfectionism, OCD, trauma, psychosis, and loss. True to form, the author narrates her own experience throughout, sharing her internal thoughts and decision-making processes as she listens to patients. The Art of Narrative Psychiatry is necessary reading for any professional seeking to empower their patients and become a better, more compassionate clinician.
A guide to retelling your personal, family, and cultural stories to transform your life, your relationships, and the world • Applies the latest neuroscience research on memory, brain mapping, and brain plasticity to the field of narrative therapy • Details mind-mapping and narrative therapy techniques that use story to change behavior patterns in ourselves, our relationships, and our communities • Explores how narrative therapy can help replace dysfunctional cultural stories with ones that build healthier relationships with each other and the planet We are born into a world of stories that quickly shapes our behavior and development without our conscious awareness. By retelling our personal, family, and cultural narratives we can transform the patterns of our own lives as well as the patterns that shape our communities and the larger social worlds in which we interact. Applying the latest neuroscience research on memory, brain mapping, and brain plasticity to the field of narrative therapy, Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy explain how the brain is specialized in the art of story-making and story-telling. They detail mind-mapping and narrative therapy techniques that use story to change behavior patterns in ourselves, our relationships, and our communities. They explore studies that reveal how memory works through story, how the brain recalls things in narrative rather than lists, and how our stories modify our physiology and facilitate health or disease. Drawing on their decades of experience in narrative therapy, the authors examine the art of helping people to change their story, providing brain-mapping practices to discover your inner storyteller and test if the stories you are living are functional or dysfunctional, healing or destructive. They explain how to create new characters and new stories, ones that excite you, help you connect with yourself, and deepen your intimate connections with others. Detailing how shared stories and language form culture, the authors also explore how narrative therapy can help replace dysfunctional cultural stories with those that offer templates for healthier relationships with each other and the planet.
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Healing Stories: Narrative in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy is an original attempt to draw together widespread contributions to a narrative approach in psychiatry and psychotherapy and is a substantial contribution towards the reintegration of these two disciplines. Within the integrative framework of narratives, diverse perspectives and voices are offered by established and respected story-tellers, who collectively demonstrate the accessibility, utility, and potency of narrative as a bridge between psychiatry and psychotherapy and contribute to the rekindling of an ancient paradigm, the restoration of meaning and the art of healing through working with an awareness of the stories we live in and by.
Diabolically funny and subversively philosophical, Italian novelist Giacomo Sartori’s I Am God is the diary of the Almighty’s existential crisis that erupts when he falls in love with a human. I am God. Have been forever, will be forever. Forever, mind you, with the razor-sharp glint of a diamond, and without any counterpart in the languages of men. So begins God’s diary of the existential crisis that ensues when, inexplicably, he falls in love with a human. And not just any human, but a geneticist and fanatical atheist who’s certain she can improve upon the magnificent creation she doesn’t even give him the credit for. It’s frustrating, for a god. God has infinitely bigger things to occupy his celestial attentions. Yet he can’t tear his eyes (so to speak) from the geneticist who’s unsettlingly avid when it comes to science, sex, and Sicilian cannoli. Whatever happens, he must safeguard his transcendental dignity. So he watches—disinterestedly, of course—as the handsome climatologist who has his sights set on her keeps having strange accidents. And as the lanky geneticist becomes hell-bent on infiltrating the Vatican’s secret files, for reasons of her own…. A sly critique of the hypocrisy and hubris that underlie faith in religion, science, and macho careerism, I Am God takes us on a hilarious and provocative romp through the Big Questions with the universe’s supreme storyteller.

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