Walking the Medicine Wheel: Healing Ptsd
Publisher: Millichap Books/Pointer Oak
ISBN 10: 1937462323
ISBN 13: 978-1937462321
"Best book available for real PTSD healing! PTSD is attacked and defeated by using old wisdom and new mythologies together. Healing PTSD is now a possibility! Reading this book will give the veterans, their families and those who treat them both a new tool for healing . Old wisdom made new for today's warriors! -- William McDonald Jr. "Vietnam Veteran, Minister, Founder of The Military Writer's Society of America; Author of Warrior: A Spiritual Odyssey and Alchemy of a Warrior's Heart."
From the Author
At first I thought that Joseph would write some chapters of the book and I would write some chapters and then we would write some chapters together. However, that is not the way that Joseph works. In many ways I went through my own initiation and cultural transformation as I became acculturated to Joseph's view of PTSD and healing. I spent hours on the phone with Joseph and many days visiting him and have tried to capture his words and visions as best I could in this book, supplementing it with quotes from his past books. Joseph also created a number of art pieces, some specifically for this book and he graciously offered many other paintings that he has made over the years.
My previous book, Re-humanizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice, and the Culture of Medicine focused on the dehumanizing aspects of contemporary medicine for both clinicians and patients. I sought to find a holistic framework that we could use to create a "counter-curriculum of re-humanization" within ourselves as clinicians so that we could transform the way that we work with patients and to influence the culture of medicine through a "compassion revolution." I have long been interested in trauma and its effects on personal identity, relationships and culture. The first research project I worked on as a medical student, with Deb Klamen and Linda Grossman was on the traumatic aspects of medical training, "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Resident Physicians Related to Their Internship," Academic Psychiatry, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Fall 1995): 142-149.
In this book with Joseph, we focus on trauma, specifically for returning veterans. Much of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be understood as the conditioning of the nervous system to function in a combat-ready mode. This nervous system conditioning is part and parcel of the acculturation process that occurs as civilians go through boot camp and become warriors. Upon returning home, the nervous system conditioning persists and the acculturation process is challenging. We know that people who have spent time immersed in another culture often experience "reverse culture shock" on returning home.
As I sought a holistic framework in my first book for re-humanizing medicine, in this book with Joseph we use another holistic framework - the medicine wheel - which is an organizing framework that can help us bring together within ourselves and society experiences that are difficult to go through. Joseph teaches us about the medicine wheel from his own personal visions and experiences. The medicine wheel consists of four external directions: the north, the south, the east, and the west. It also has four internal directions: the spiritual, the emotional, the mental, and the physical. Walking the medicine wheel means that we seek to experience all of these aspects of our being in order to be whole people, or as Joseph calls it "Becoming a True Human." We can use the medicine wheel to re-orient ourselves when we become lost in the outer or inner landscapes of our lives. Trauma is one way that we can become disoriented, but Joseph teaches that disorientation and even pain are necessary and that when we approach our pain intentionally we can use it in a transformative way to guide us through the initiation of who we were into who we are becoming. A large part of healing from trauma comes through changing our orientation toward pain and the role it plays in our lives.
As Joseph teaches us in the beginning of his book, Sound: Native Teachings + Visionary Art, "Enter this book of my teachings as if you were climbing down into a kiva for a sacred ceremony. Do not come to be instructed. Come to be initiated," (Rael, 3). The path of the medicine wheel that we offer in this book should be approached in the same way - as an initiation which is a transition between roles and cultures.
Joseph and I have greatly enjoyed the process of writing this book, so much so that we have already started on our next book together, Becoming Medicine. In this next book we will travel to the center of the medicine wheel, into the center of the heart, in order to learn more about what it means to become a healer and a visionary.
From the Inside Flap
Walking the Medicine Wheel takes up an ancient task and joins the healers and teachers of the ages in using both ancient and modern wisdom to address some of the most pressing and painful issues of our day. We are given a perennial philosophy, instruction in how to use the medicine wheel, guidance in life-restoring and trauma healing ceremonies and rituals, references to teachers both ancient and modern, personal stories of the healers as well as many they have tended, and ultimately a vision for restoring warriors to their full spirituality and functioning through deep earth- and tradition-based spirituality.
Warriors have always needed a spiritual path for their restoration, homecoming and healing. It is both immoral and tragic that in our modern era we have not provided this path home. Walking the Medicine Wheel is a wise, compassionate, beautiful and practical guidebook that helps restore these ancient ways for modern times and guides our wounded warriors toward becoming true elder warriors of spirit for us all.
Edward Tick, Ph.D.
Author: War and the Soul and Warrior's Return
Co-founder and Director, Soldier's Heart, Inc.
From the Back Cover
Psychiatrist and holistic & integrative physician,David Kopacz, and Native American Visionary, Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow), create a healing path to help our veterans suffering trauma and PTSD come home. Even when out of the war zone, combat-readiness persists in the veterans' nervous system. This book uses the circular pathway of the medicine wheel to re-train that nervous system.
Rather than viewing trauma, obstacles and disappointments as negatives, the medicine wheel offers a way of transforming these events into an initiation into the new role of warrior-citizen.
Best book available for real PTSD healing! Old wisdom made new for today's warriors
I highly recommend this thoughtful book to anyone struggling with PTSD or interested in helping those with PTSD.
This is a particularly wise book . . . a "must read" because its insights are applicable to every person's journey in life.