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Lewis Mehl-Madrona 
Coyote Institute 


Thursday May 17, 2012 at 7:30 PM EDT
Thursday August 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM EDT

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PO Box 578
Brattleboro, VT 05302

Driving Directions 

Narrative Medicine and Psychology 

Narrative Medicine and Psychology: Part of Coyote Institute's Narrative Practices Certificate Program

Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD; Barbara Mainguy, MFA, MA; Amy Vail, PsyD; Magili Chapman-Quinn, DO; Robert Crocker, MD                        

Cost: $395, for credit seekers; $295, audit; Scholarships available.



   1. Understand the importance of listening to and hearing the patient’s story
   2. Learn both direct and indirect ways facilitate the telling of the story
   3. Learn to nurture and enhance clinical communication
   4. Be able to utilize narrative skills in practice
   5. Be able to teach narrative medicine skills


    * Answer questions posted on line, about the readings and the movies.
    * Answer two questions and respond to the answers of two other learners.

Evaluation of learning and credit is based upon satisfactory answering of these questions.  A paper or creative work must be completed and submitted.

Course Description and Objectives

Narrative Medicine is an area increasing in importance in health care. What does it mean? Medicine often forgets the importance of listening to the patient’s story. There is great power in listening attentively, reflecting on what is communicated in life stories of illness and suffering. This technique helps the patient see his or her illness and problems from a different perspective. Narrative medicine helps the patient  hear and understand his or her own story, and how illness has become part of the story and the identity. Doctors, nurses, social workers, and other therapists can improve the effectiveness of the care they provide.
Course participants will:

   1. Enhance their skills for listening, reflecting ,and discussing with patients and colleagues
   2. Understand the relationships between illness and personal lives; the importance of uncovering the emotional, sociocultural, psychological and political components that often are the deepest roots of illness.
   3. Develop an enriched understanding of empathy.

All health care professionals and trainees in medicine, nursing, dentistry, social work, psychology are invited to join. We also welcome scholars in other fields. This course integrates material from literature, psychology and anthropology. Examples will be drawn from the United States, Canada, and beyond.

This course will be a journey of discovery and excitement. How do stories move us?  How do patient stories affect us?  How do  they change our practice?  How do they affect who we are as healers?  How do they affect how we feel about our work?


Students will need to attend one discussion group per week.  They will be able to choose between attending the live lecture or listening to it online.

Thursdays, 7:30pm-9:00pm EST
Dr. Mehl-Madrona

Mondays, 7:30pm-9:00pm PST and EST
Dr. Amy Vail (PST)
Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Barbara Mainguy (EST)


Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D., Healing the Mind through the Power of Story:The Promise of Narrative Psychiatry
Publisher: Bear and Company, Rochester, Vermont

Thomas King, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (Indigenous Americas)
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (June 13, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0816646279

Leslie Marmon Silko, Storyteller
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Arcade Publishing (April 28, 1989)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 155970005X
ISBN-13: 978-1559700054

Cruickshank, J., Sidney, A, Smith, K., Ned, A. (2008). Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Elders. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

King, Thomas. A Short History of Indians in Canada. HarperCollins Publishers; First Edition edition (2005). ISBN-10: 0002007029 ISBN-13: 978-0002007023 Available at

FILMS: Listed under each individual unit.


Lieblich, A., McAdams, D., Josselson, R. (2004). Healing Plots: The Narrative Basis of Psychotherapy. Washington: APA

Mattingly, C. (1998). Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots: The Narrative Structure of Experience Cambridge Studies in Medical Anthropology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Course Outline

Week 1: Introduction to the Course. We will discuss Chapters 1 and 2 of Narrative Psychiatry. First third of the Thomas King novel.

Week 2: We will discuss Chapters 3 and 4 Narrative Psychiatry. Be 2/3’s done with the King novel.

Week 3: We will discuss Chapters 5 and 6 of Narrative Psychiatry. Finish reading King’s novel.  We will watch Travellers and Magicians for details.  Trailer at  Available on Netflix.

Week 4: We will discuss Chapters 7 and 8 from Narrative Psychiatry. Read the first third of Leslie Silko’s book.

Week 5: We will discuss chapters 9 and 10 from Narrative Psychiatry. Read the second third of Leslie Silko’s book. Watch Rashomon, or on netflix.

Week 6: We will discuss Chapters 11 and 12 from Narrative Psychiatry.  Finish Leslie Silko’s book.

Week 7: Finish Narrative Psychiatry. Watch Smoke Signals, available at, or on Netflix.

Week 8: Cruickshank, Intro Material.  Watch Walk on Water, available on Netflix or through amazon at

Week 9: Cruickshank, First Elder. Watch Prisoner of the Mountains, available on Netflix or through amazon at

Week 10: Cruickshank, Second Elder.  Watch Black Robe, available on Netflix or through Amazon at

Week 11: Cruickshank, Third Elder, Catch up on films and novels.

Week 12: Cruickshank, Concluding Material.  Catch up on films and novels.