Narrative Medicine

By Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD


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Though common sense, cultural traditions, and even modern medical training support the notion that doctors gain their most valuable knowledge from taking patient histories – from listening to their patients tell the story of their illness and health – dependence upon technology and the economic bottom line of modern medicine do not often allow for this to happen. Native Americans and other indigenous people have incorporated the patient’s narrative, into their healing process with profound efficacy for thousands of years. Narrative Medicine shows how this ancient healing tradition can be put to use in the modern healthcare with great effect. Utilizing narrative and teaching patients how to create a dialogue with their disease allows them, as well as their doctors, to better understand their relationships with self, family and their extended community. This process of telling and listening can help uncover disharmonies that may underlie and perpetuate the disease process and thus present new avenues for treatment, healing and recovery. Dr. Mehl-Madrona convincingly asserts in Narrative Medicine that it is through an individual’s narrative that disease is both revealed and perpetuated, and can be released and treated. Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD and certified in family practice, geriatrics, and psychiatry, is the author of several books on the use of story-telling and Native American traditions in medicine, including the bestselling Coyote Medicine. In his latest book, Narrative Medicine, Dr. Mehl-Madrona seeks to reinvent modern medicine by shifting the focus of the healthcare system back to patient’s voice and story. 324 pages

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