Visualizing shamanic healing stories

Material Information

Visualizing shamanic healing stories
Mullin, Kate
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
ix, 70 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm +

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Committee Chair:
Otanez, Marty
Committee Co-Chair:
Brett, John
Committee Members:
Scandlyn, Jean


Subjects / Keywords:
Shamanism -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Shamans -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Healing -- Folklore -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Alternative medicine -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Alternative medicine ( fast )
Healing ( fast )
Shamanism ( fast )
Shamans ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
Folklore. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Folklore ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 65-70).
General Note:
Accompanied by a DVD that contains two videos: Video 1. Core shamanic stories -- video 2. Video storytelling.
General Note:
Department of Sociology
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kate Mullin.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
757719192 ( OCLC )
LD1193.L43 2011m M84 ( lcc )

Full Text
Kate Mullin
B.A. Bowdoin College, 2005
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of the Arts

This thesis for the Master of the Arts
degree by
Kate Mullin
has been approved
Jean Scandlyn

Mullin, Kate (M.A. Medical Anthropology)
Visualizing Shamanic Healing Stories
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Marty Otanez
This study examines the digital narratives of four Colorado individuals reflecting on a
core shamanic healing experience. Core shamanism is a complementary health care
practice that focuses on healing the soul. The project contributes to the development
of photovoice and other participatory visual methodologies by utilizing video for co-
analysis and individual self-reflection, while illuminating marginalized health care
experiences in the US. Mullin obtained each two-hour digital narrative and, in
collaboration with participants, co-analyzed the digital data in summer 2010. Two
companion videos, Core Shamanic Stories (8 minutes) and Video Storytelling (7
minutes), were produced to visually depict the narrative themes and the project
methodology. Core Shamanic Stories illuminates how the core shamanic session
offered healing to participants, allowing them to make sense of themselves and past
experiences in a new, positive way. Video Storytelling shows how the play-back
capacity of video may deepen a narrators previous therapeutic experience, by
enhancing a narrators reflection on self and the illness-healing experience. Visual
narrative is a powerful tool for understanding how individuals make meaning of a
core shamanic experience, and should be further explored for its potential therapeutic
This abstract accurately represents the candidates th

It is with deep gratitude that I dedicate my thesis to the four project participants, who
offered intimate stories of their sacred healing journeys. Their courage to heal and
share their video stories will, without a doubt, inspire healing in others.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the four participants as well as Roxanne
Roberts and Jim Haggins of Sacred Hoop Ministry for making this project possible. I
would also like to give many thanks to Marty Otanez, John Brett, and Jean Scandlyn
for their guidance and support.

Figures................................................................... viii
1. INTRODUCTION................................................................ 1
2. CORE SHAMANIC HEALING AND VISUAL NARRATIVE.................................. 5
A Brief Introduction to Core Shamanism............................. 5
Narrative Theory and Patient Stories............................... 8
3. METHODOLOGY................................................................ 15
Immediate Self Change............................................. 21
Self-Change Over Time............................................. 24
A New Self Experience Through New Information................. 28
6. REFLECTION ON THE VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS................................. 39
7. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS........................................... 41
A. Typical Sequence of Events During Core Shamanic Healing Session........ 45
B. Interview Guide........................................................ 47
C. Coding Table for Core Shamanic Stones.................................. 48
D. Coding Table for Video Storytelling.................................... 49
E. Participant Viewing Reflection......................................... 50
F. Transcription of Core Shamanic Stories................................. 51
G. Transcription of Video Storytelling.................................... 54
H. Viewing Guide for Core Shamanic Stories................................ 57
I. Viewing Guide for Video Storytelling................................... 60

J. COM IRB Continuing Review Approval...................................... 63
K. COMIRB Protocol Approval............................................... 64
BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................................. 65

3.1 Still photograph of Pam during story viewing.....................16
4.1 Video image of Robert from Core Shamanic Stories...................21
4.2 Video image of Jenn from Core Shamanic Stories.....................29
5.1 Video image of Robert sharing war stories..........................34
5.2 Video image of Pam talking about her son...........................35
5.3 Still photograph of Robert during story viewing..................37

As soon as I stood up, 1 had an inner strength in me that I have not felt before. A
strength that just couldnt go away. I knew something had shifted, something had
changed. And 1 went home that night and I slept. I slept for eight or nine hours.
- Robert', Desert Storm veteran,
describing his core shamanic session
Colorado, 2010
In Western culture, narrative is a cohesive device for bringing structure and
continuity to the self, and past, present, future life experience (Ochs and Capp 1996;
Becker 1994; Ewing 1990). Anthropologists, psychologists, and literary theorists
recognize narrative as a therapeutic, self-reflective tool (Ochs and Capp 1996;
Mattingly 1994; Reismann 1991). Early in the discipline, medical anthropologists
such as Arthur Kleinman (1988), utilized narrative as a theoretical and
methodological tool for examining how individuals make meaning of, and position
the self within, illness experiences. In Illness Narratives, Kleinman (1988) asserts that
personal narrative captures the fluid and complex meanings of illness and suffering.
The illness narrative, he posits, is a story that the patient tells, and significant others
retell to give coherence to the distinctive events and long-term course of suffering
(Kleinman 1988:49). This project seeks to build on the legacy of narrative in applied
medical anthropology, by understanding how video captures an individuals narrative
of a complementary and alternative healthcare experience while potentially 1 2
1 All participant names have been changed to pseudonyms to protect their identities.
2 Critical medical anthropologists problematize the term complementary and alternative,
which participates in a dominant Western biomedical discourse by implying the healthcare
practices within this category are merely complements to the biomedical system (Sharma

enhancing the previous therapeutic experience when the individual views her video
narrative. Visual narrative is a video-recorded semi-structured interview. Medical
anthropologists have insufficiently explored the applied benefits of visual narrative;
video narratives not only capture a persons meaning-making, but also may provide
therapeutic benefit to the narrator when watched, and benefit to the community by
increasing awareness of complementary and alternative healthcare practices, such as
core shamanism.
This analysis serves as a companion piece to Core Shamanic Stories (8 minutes) and
Video Storytelling (7 minutes)3, videos produced in partial fulfillment of my Masters
thesis. In summer 2010, I video-interviewed four Colorado individuals who have
experienced a core shamanism healing session. Core shamanic healing is a
complementary and alternative healing modality in the US and other Western
countries that focuses on spiritual healing. Core Shamanic Stories and Video
Storytelling highlight the narrative meaning-making and video storytelling processes
involved in the multi-phase pilot project conducted in summer 2010. The project
seeks to develop applied visual medical anthropology by understanding how four
Colorado individuals make meaning of a core shamanic healing experience. It
explores how a narrators viewing of her narrative could enhance a potential
therapeutic experience from her core shamanic session. The videos were produced as
resources to share with academics, therapeutic practitioners, and community
members, visual narratives potential to illuminate individual perspectives on
complementary and alternative healing experiences. The videos, with accompanying
viewing guides4, are intended to initiate academic and clinical dialogue on the
1993). Yet, it is one of the more widely and recognized ways of referring to non-biomedical
healthcare practices in the US, thus, I will use it to refer to the practice of core shamanism.
3 Complete transcripts of the final videos are included in Appendices F and G.
4 Viewing guides are included in Appendices H and I.

potential of video storytelling to enhance individuals previous therapeutic5
experiences. As a companion text, this paper intends to situate the films in
interdisciplinary narrative literature, while describing the methodological process of
the project and production of the films.
After attending spiritually focused community workshops in 2008, led by core
shamanic practitioners, Roxanne Roberts and Jim Haggins at Sacred Hoop Ministry
in Woodland Park, Colorado, I became interested in individuals therapeutic
experiences with spiritual healing. I experienced a profound therapeutic core
shamanic session with Roberts and Haggins. After learning about core shamanic
practice in 2006, and personally exploring other complementary and alternative
healthcare modalities, I was drawn to this spiritual modality as a tool for addressing
my own unresolved trauma from childhood. The sense of empowerment and clarity I
received after my session inspired me to explore how others understand this unique
healing modality. In summer 2010,1 video recorded narratives of four adult Colorado
residents, who have experienced a core shamanic healing session at Sacred Hoop
Ministry. In the first interview, each individual described her core shamanic healing
experience. In a second interview, each participant and I co-viewed the narrative, to
determine if there was a positive impact on the narrator when she viewed herself
narrating. As seen in the video Core Shamanic Stories, the individuals narratives
illuminate how the core shamanic session offered a new, positive way to experience
the self. The session provided physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or psychological
healing for individuals, allowing them to perceive themselves or past experiences in a
positive way. Participants narratives capture how individuals immediately
experienced the self in a new way after the session, and how they also came to
5 As 1 am not trained as a clinical therapist, this project does not make any claims to the
actual therapeutic benefit of video-recorded narrative. It does, however, seek to explore the
potential of video narrative to enhance previous therapeutic experiences.

experience the self in a new way over time, unfolding in a process. The stories
illustrate that a critical aspect of a change in self-experience and perception was due
to new information that was received during a core shamanic session, allowing
individuals to make new meaning out of past experiences or old ways of viewing the
self. Telling and watching their narratives served as a way to remind participants of
the positive impact of the core shamanic session; to see themselves as an outsider
may by viewing their narrative content, body gestures, facial expressions, tone of
voice, and emotions. The video viewing process allowed two participants to visually
experience the change that they had narrated that core shamanism had brought them.
As anthropologists have demonstrated, narrative allows us to tell who we have been
and create who we are (Ochs and Capp 1996; Mattingly 1994). The narrators from
this project illuminate that visual narrative may assist in solidifying a new sense of
self through the visual experience. Visual narration reveals how individuals
understand a healthcare experience, while offering a potential therapeutic benefit to

A Brief Introduction to Core Shamanism
Although an examination of core shamanic healing, or the efficacy of core
shamanism as a healthcare modality, is not the question I seek to answer, the project
intends to contribute to medical anthropological discourse on the contemporary
shamanic practice. Despite the history of anthropological examination of shamanic
practice, medical anthropologists have yet to comprehensively examine the
therapeutic practice of contemporary shamanic healing in the US. The majority of
literature on contemporary shamanism is found in the New Age/Self-help movement,
psychology, and religious studies genres, with a lack of contribution from medical
anthropology and anthropology. I use a narrative perspective to understand the
healthcare practice through situated knowledges of individuals core shamanic
experiences. I hope to contribute to the ongoing shift towards examining Western
complementary and alternative practices through qualitative methods, which capture
the fluidity in the mind-body-spirit experiences of non-biomedical healthcare
practices (Sharma 1993; Sharma 1999; Scheper-Hughes and Lock 1987; Adler 1999).
A narrative framework offers a rich understanding of trauma and healing through the
meaning and interpretation that narrators assign to these experiences.
Since the early twentieth century, when anthropologist Berthold Laufer (1917)
attempted to identify the origin of the word shaman, anthropologists have sought to
understand shamanic practice in cultures of Asia (Kendall 1996; Thomas and
Humphrey 1996; Shirkogoroff 1935; Tsing 1992; Holmberg 1989), North America
(Malinowski 1945; Schleisier 1987; Williams 1986; Jilek 1982), Latin America
(Tedlock 1981, Madsen 1955), South America (Whitehead and Wright 2004; Hamer

1991; Greene 1998; Sharon 1987; Taussig 1980), Africa (Lewis-Williams 1987;
Janzen 1992) and Europe (Jakobsen 1999). Classical anthropology has interpreted
shamanic practice through the lens of functionalism (Malinoswki 1945), symbolism
(Turner 1969), and structuralism (Levi-Strauss 1962). Literature of the late twentieth
century contextualized the cultural phenomenon in the socio-political history of the
state, revealing the fluidity of shamanism (Kendall 1996; Thomas and Humphrey
Emerging with the New Age movement in the early 1970s in Western countries
like the US, England, and Australia, core shamanism is a neoshamanic practice, and
complementary and alternative therapy that was adapted to the cultural reality of
Western society (Jakobsen 1999:162). Anthropologist Michael Hamer developed
core shamanism, a core practice of shamanistic traditions based on his cross-
cultural experiences and studies of shamanic practice. At the heart of this practice, is
what Hamer defines as a shamans ability to journey into non-ordinary realities and
with the help of spirit guides, to initiate a healing for self, community or client
(Hatch-McGuire 2007:17). Entering into a trance or altered state of consciousness,
the core shamanic practitioners use this practice as a way to exclusively facilitate
healing, as opposed to other shamanic traditions that may use the practice for black
magic (Jakobsen 1999).
When describing their therapeutic practice to clients, core shamanic practitioners,
Roberts and Haggins of Sacred Hoop Ministry in Colorado, describe shamanic
healing as a way to address spiritual illness, which may also heal emotional,
psychological, and physical illness or dis-ease.6 Central to core shamanic healing is
the concept of soul loss. Sandra Ingerman, a psychotherapist and student of
6 Visit Sacred Hoop Ministrys website for more information on their services

Michael Hamer, defines the soul as a persons essence, and soul loss is a loss of the
crucial parts of ourselves that provide us with life and vitality (1991:4). Ingerman
posits that part of the human soul leaves the body under severe stress, and that under
these circumstances, counseling is not efficacious (Hatch-McGuire 2007). Ingerman
(1991), practicing as a psychotherapist for years before training in core shamanism,
found that her clients who had severe trauma often were never able to feel completely
whole or joyful. Ingerman, in her book Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented
Self{ 1991), presents professional experiences from core shamanic practitioners
indicating that clients who experience a shamanic healing session report less feelings
of emptiness or issues of disassociation. The missing part [of the soul] returned, so
the client can deal with what happened, finish the issue and move on (Hatch-
McGuire 2007:28).7
Practitioners acknowledge that the process of integrating a newly returned soul piece
or essence back into an individuals sense of herself is central to a core shamanic
soul retrieval. The integration of the soul piece begins during the healing session, and
continues for an indefinite time period after the session, called the Welcome Home
phase. During this time, individuals are expected to sleep and eat well, and
incorporate art projects, journaling, talk therapy, and other forms of self-reflection
and therapy, as necessary.
Ingerman (2011) estimates that over 10,000 individuals experienced a core shamanic
healing session in the US in 2010. Approximately 45% of the newly-trained core
shamanic practitioners are counselors seeking to integrate this spiritual healing
practice into a traditional counseling setting. With such growing numbers of clients
7 See Appendix A for the typical sequence of events during a core shamanic healing session
at Sacred Hoop Ministry.

and practitioners, core shamanism is an area of alternative healthcare that has been
overlooked by medical anthropologists for too long.
Narrative Theory and Patient Stories
This thesis seeks to develop medical and cultural anthropological narrative theory and
practice, by using visual narrative to understand how individuals make meaning of a
core shamanic healing experience and the evolving self. As cultural anthropologists
have demonstrated, narrative serves as a meaning-making and structural device in the
West (Ochs and Capp 1996; Becker 1994). Medical anthropologists have employed
narrative to capture patient stories of suffering, trauma, and healing. In Illness
Narratives (1988), Kleinman calls for medical anthropologists to utilize narrative to
examine the meaning-rich illness experience of patients and families, expressing the
need for a patient-centered biomedical model, which patient-centered stories
facilitate. Becker (1994), Mattingly (1998), and Adler (1998) have taken up
Kleinmans early call, demonstrating the value of narrative in understanding how
individuals make meaning of healthcare experiences.
Narrative studies have shown the usefulness of narrative in providing narrators with a
sense of cohesion to life experiences and the self, particularly in times of conflict,
such as suffering or illness. In studying couples struggling with infertility, Becker
(1994) shows how Western narrative can offer metaphor that provides cohesion and
sense-making to the discontinuities in life that occur. She posits that in the West, an
individuals life is viewed as an orderly project where coherency and cohesion are
valued. Moreover, Becker states that in the US, continuity is mediated primarily
through individual selves ... rather than through external social structures
(1994:402). Therefore, when a sense of discontinuity or fracture occurs to ones
continuous life path or sense of whole self, metaphorical devices in narrative

(e.g., life perceived as a journey) are tools for creating meaning to the discontinuity
and reframing the life path cultural model to fit with actual lived experience. The
metaphor that narrators employ, then, is a mediator for change.
Just as Becker asserts that life-as-an-orderly-projecf is a cultural construct in the
US, Ewing (1990) discusses that, so too, is the American concept of an overarching
cohesive self (259). It is a necessary construction, she asserts, for the cohesive self
offers individuals a framework for their ongoing experience, and a way to bring
continuity to otherwise disjointed or contradictory behaviors, emotions, and thoughts
(265). In discussing the notion of the self, I use anthropologists Ochs and Capps
definition of the self: the experience of being in the world (1996:22). The authors
definition allows for a way to discuss the self that does not assume wholeness, but
can still be used to illuminate how individuals discuss US cultural constructs of
wholeness, fracture and integration. Moreover, when the self is defined as the
experience of being in the world, we see how the meaning-making device of
narrative allows individuals to newly craft a narrators experiences of the self in the
past, present, or possible future, based on new experiences of being in the world. As
Ochs and Capp (1996) emphasize, it is this chronological aspect of Western narrative
that offers a tool for providing order to otherwise contradictory, fractured, or
alienated selves. Finally, narrative is a therapeutic tool that enables self-reflection,
creation, and expression of the evolving self. Narrating can provide insight into
oneself, and creates us at the moment [the narrative] is being created (Ochs and
Capp 1996:28).
Similarly, narrative studies in medical anthropology demonstrate the value in using a
narrative framework, as narration shows how people change over time. Mattingly
(1994) examines how occupational therapists and patients co-create, and re-make
possible selves and life stories in therapy sessions, revealing how narrative time is

marked by change or by the attempt at change. It is characterized by an effort at
transformation (1994:18). In her discussion, Mattingly specifically analyzes the on-
going process of co-creation of a patients story that occurs in therapy sessions; yet
her statement reflects how Western narrative structure fundamentally shows change
or transformation, often when a narrator weaves together who she used to be, in
relation to who she is now, or may be.
Narrative enables integration of a narrators multiple experiences of being in the
world (Ochs and Capp 1996). Integration of the self is vital for individuals whose
distinct experiences of being in the world may be in conflict with one another (Ewing
1996), or in conflict with the cultural model of the way one should be, or how ones
life should unfold (Becker 1994). Core shamanic healing foregrounds integration of
the self, through returning an individuals missing soul part. Narrative, then, is a
framework for understanding the process of how, with the Western constructs of
wholeness of the self and continuity of life, one may make sense of herself and her
core shamanic session.
Additionally, a narrative framework can capture an individuals series of life
moments and perceptions of self prior to the core shamanic healing experience, the
healing session, and the experiences after the therapeutic session. Storying ones
life across time is central to the traditional life story approach, where a narrators
discussion of her life course reveals significant themes or patterns within ones lived
experience (Atkinson 1998). The life story narrative framework emphasizes that
personal identity is dependent on mutual relation between lived experience on the
one hand, and stories in which this experience is articulated on the other hand
(Josselson and Lieblich 1993). A focused life story, then, can illuminate and
contextualize pivotal or life-changing experiences, such as a spiritual healing.

In this project, I am interested in exploring how visual narrative may develop the
narrative framework, specifically within an applied setting. In general, with the
exception of Levine (2003) and Rich and Chalfen (1999), medical anthropologists
have insufficiently capitalized on video narrative as a tool for capturing stories,
empowering narrators, and publicly disseminating stories to educate community
members. As anthropologists (Rich and Chalfen 1999) and psychologists (Berger
1973) have demonstrated, video recording an individuals narrative has potential to
enhance the inherent self-reflective quality of narrative, when a narrator views her
video. Applied visual anthropologist, Sarah Pink (2007) illustrates that a unique
quality of video recording is its ability to capture an individuals body language,
emotion, and changes in voice. Moreover, the play-back quality of video facilitates
co-analysis by the narrator and the investigator. As medical anthropologists Michael
Rich and Richard Chalfen show in their use of video diaries with asthmatic children,
video narrative is an effective therapeutic and clinical tool. The children who
participated found therapeutic value in recording their digital diaries, and claimed the
process provided a sense of empowerment over their illness (Rich and Chalfen 1999).
Although medical anthropologists are only beginning to incorporate video narrative,
photovoice and photo novella are applied visual methods that anthropologists and
other health researchers have used frequently. Photovoice is a community-based
participatory research method that uses still photographs to elicit or create meaning of
an individuals cultural experience (Catalini and Minkler 2009). Researchers direct
participants to capture still photographs related to the theme under investigation.
After taking a pre-determined number of photographs, participants return to the
investigator and/or group setting and share their photographs, narrating the meaning
and symbolism of the photo through written narrative or discussion. The sharing of
the photographs initiates discussion of personal or communal health-related
experiences (Catalini and Minkler 2009; Rhodes, et al 2009; Duffy 2008).

Participants of photo voice research have reported a sense of community and
therapeutic value from sharing their experiences in this medium (Duffy 2008;
Schwartz, et al 2007; Mamary and McCright 2007). Unlike narrative prompted by
still images, video recorded narrative allows the participant to first make meaning of
an experience, and then view herself in the act of meaning-making.
Digital storytelling is another form of visual narrative, growing as a methodology in
social science research. Digital storytelling is a process and methodology that has
great promise for applied medical anthropology as it is a unique way to capture
healthcare stories. The Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS), a not-for-profit
organization that consults and partners with US and international community-based
organizations, created various digital storytelling models.8 Typically, digital stories
are 2-3 minute personal stories that combine still photographs, video, music, and
narration. They are first-person narratives that address universal themes like access to
healthcare, trauma, and healing. Researchers and community advocates have adopted
and adapted CDSs storytelling model, implementing digital storytelling in order to
educate healthcare providers, consumers, policy-makers, and funders on issues related
to healthcare and ways to improve health services. Columbia Universitys Mailman
Center for Public Health, and other public health research institutes, have joined with
community-based organizations, such as Harlem Health Promotion Center, to train
community members in creating their own digital stories on teenage pregnancy and
HIV/AIDS, among other health-related issues. The Patient Voices Programme,
initially in conjunction with the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, is a digital
storytelling program that facilitates the production of stories related to health and
social services in order to improve the patients healthcare experience. Through the
8 I have trained and currently work as a paid facilitator for the Center for Digital Storytelling.
I have found the model to be a powerful, expressive tool for community members, and I
continue to explore how researchers and community can best adapt the model to local
community and individual needs.

digital storytelling model, a narrators empowerment or self-reflection may emerge
when she tells and publicly shows her piece. The video recorded narrative in this
project, however, places primacy on the individual narrator telling a healthcare story,
and then viewing herself. As discussed below, there are different therapeutic benefits
that may arise with this distinction in the methodology.
Psychologists have shown how video recording a patients talk therapy session can
provide unique feedback for a patient by allowing him to see himself from an
outsiders perspective (Berger 1973). Psychologists Johnson and Alderson (2008)
have also incorporated film into a recent pilot study, which asked current therapy
clients to produce films related to the issues that brought them to therapy. The
researchers analyzed the therapeutic value of film making for participants (Johnson
and Alderson 2008). Johnson and Alderson (2008) showed that filmmaking can
change an individuals perspective of the self. Moreover, video acted as a catalyst for
discussion in future therapy sessions, allowing the emotional issues previously
discussed in therapy to be explored in a different way. Developing the framework of
these studies, this project explores how an individuals experience of watching herself
as an outsider, in the act of meaning-making, may enhance her previous therapeutic
experience, or shift her understanding of herself.
Moreover, video storytelling lends itself to storying and re-storying, the practice
of telling ones story several times, which is often used in traditional therapeutic
settings and acknowledged as therapeutic benefit of the life story approach (Atkinson
1998). Telling ones story several times provides opportunity to create new and
possibly liberating narratives (Atkinson 1998:13). Unlike a one-time narrative
telling, a layered process of storytelling with video may offer narrators a new avenue
for re-storying. The process of reflecting on the storytelling and then viewing the

video story, may allow narrators to re-story their lived experiences, simply through
these additional phases of reflection.
Researchers have demonstrated that video narrative easily can be disseminated and
archived for public education and community change. Rich and Chalfen (1999)
screened the childrens video diaries for the doctors and nurses who worked in direct
contact with the children and their families. The diaries were used to increase
awareness of healthcare practices that were or were not implemented in the home,
allowing practitioners to provide better care and instruction for their acute asthma
patients. Similarly, with South African based Steps for the Future, anthropologist
Susan Levine demonstrated how community-based participatory video can encourage
community members to speak to each other about HIV/AIDs. Levines research has
shown how community-based media, including personal video narratives, creates
necessary dialogue around a highly stigmatized healthcare reality (Levine 2003). The
Steps project has inspired viewers of the narratives to get tested for HIV, raising
awareness in rural townships of how to live with the illness. Through the production
of Core Shamanic Stories and Video Storytelling I hope to lay groundwork for
possible future studies that may analyze how visual narrative can increase community
awareness and education on complementary and alternative healthcare practices in the
US such as core shamanism.

In this project I conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with four Colorado
individuals who have experienced a shamanic healing session. I recruited participants
in conjunction with Roxanne Roberts and Jim Haggins, holistic healthcare
practitioners, ministers, shamanic practitioners, and co-founders of Woodland Park,
Colorados community-based organization Sacred Hoop Ministry. Sacred Hoop
received Colorado non-profit status in October 2007 and functions as a community
gathering and healing center, where individuals meet for events and receive
individualized healing services from Roberts and Haggins.
Having personally experienced a core shamanic session with Roberts and Haggins,
and knowing that Sacred Hoop sees an average of 60 clients per year for a shamanic
healing session, I chose to partner with the practitioners for the process of recruiting
participants. Depending on the recruiting process and the willingness of the
participants, I hoped the participants and Sacred Hoop could use the video project as
an educational tool. Roberts and Haggins facilitated the selection of participants by
informing past clients, via email, of the aims of the project, and encouraging
interested participants to contact me by phone or email. The first four individuals who
agreed with the parameters of the project (e.g., being video recorded) and whose
schedules aligned with the projects were asked to participate. I chose to cap the study
at four individuals, as the intensive multi-phase process allows for a sufficient in-
depth analysis of individuals perceptions of the session and personal change. A 49-
year-old man and a 69-year-old woman from Woodland Park, a 48-year-old woman

from Colorado Springs, and a 29-year-old woman from Boulder, Colorado
I conducted this multi-phase project in summer 2010. The first phase was the
storytelling, in which individuals shared with me their core shamanic healing
stories. I met with a participant (at a quiet location of his choice) for an in-depth,
semi-structured filmed interview. Themes of the discussion included reasons for
choosing core shamanic healing, experiences of the session, perceived efficacy or
inefficacy of the session, other therapies used before or after the core shamanic
session, and whether he shares his healing session experience with friends and family.
I referred to an interview guide when necessary, to ensure that each participant
included these key themes in her narrative.91 encouraged participants to share as
much as they felt comfortable, and share the story in as much depth as possible. I
asked clarifying questions, as necessary, and video recorded the interview, stopping
once, during a natural pause
in the narrative to shift the
camera position.
At the completion of each
initial interview, I captured
broil (i.e., action shots)
footage of each participant,
to include in the final short
videos. Using a laptop
computer, I obtained and
logged footage onto an external hard-drive in Final Cut Pro, video production
9 Please see Appendix B for interview guide
Figure 3.1: Still photograph of Pam during story

software program. In total, I captured 5 hours and 15 minutes of narrative footage,
with each narrative averaging at 1 hour and 20 minutes. I viewed and open-coded the
video interview, in preparation for follow-up questions in the second interview.
Approximately two weeks after the initial in-depth interview, I again met with each
participant at his chosen location, for the reflection on storytelling and story
viewing phases. I conducted a semi-structured interview with the participant, asking
him to reflect on the narration process, to understand if the act of narrating evoked
any new insights or self-reflections about himself or the experience associated with
the core shamanic session. Then, viewing the film together on my laptop computer,
the participant and I watched the raw, uncut video-recorded narrative, as seen in
Figure 1. Before viewing, I encouraged each participant to pause the video as
reflections or insights emerged that he wanted to share. I prompted each participant to
not only listen to the narrative told, but also attend to his body gestures, emotions, and
changes in voice. I also paused the video at times to ask clarifying questions about the
narrative. While many participant insights were clear as to what visual or auditory cue
(i.e., narrative content, body gestures, facial expressions, etc.) offered self-insight, in
the future, more strategic and consistent follow-up through probing questions, will
develop the analysis of this phase in the process.
After watching the digital narrative, as a final step in the story viewing, I conducted
a semi-structured interview, allowing the participant to reflect on the viewing process.
I asked if any new reflections or insights arose with the experience, or if there were
any narrative themes that appeared. At this time, I shared the themes and patterns
from the open coding phase of analysis. This discussion, lasting about a half hour
with each participant, allowed for co-interpretation of major themes of the narrative,
enabling the narrators personal analysis to inform my formal analysis.

During these two phases, I took notes of a participants reflections and comments
during the viewing, which I later transcribed. Although I considered video recording
the reflection on storytelling and story viewing, I felt that filming might be too
invasive for participants; watching oneself share intimate experiences of trauma and
healing is, for most, a new and potentially vulnerable experience, in and of itself. In
future research, however, audio-recording may be a possible solution for capturing
these intimate reflection phases.
After I transcribed the interviews in full, I completed a second phase of detailed open
coding of both narrative content and structure for each initial storytelling, as well as
the reflection on storytelling interview and the story viewing reflections. I then
aggregated the codes that appeared in each interview, coding the interviews a third
time to see how themes appeared across the four cases. Although there were many
themes that were distinct to each narrative, the third coding phase allowed me to
examine the over-arching sense making that emerged in all narratives. The coding
process informed the production of both videos, which highlight central themes of the
narrators meaning-making as well as the video storytelling process.10
The video production had to mediate academic needs by incorporating theory, while
producing a video that would be accessible to non-academic, community-based
viewers. I wanted the final product to reflect the actual interview process of four
distinct narratives, preserving the structural integrity of each narrative. Using the
coded transcriptions, I chose sections of each participants narrative that captured the
over-arching meaning-making themes, and captured the projects process. While
doing this, I intended to preserve a narratives structural integrity by using only
narrative excerpts in the order of which the individual narrated them (i.e., if I used
10 See Appendices C and D for coding tables

two clips with an original time stamp of 10:50 and 35:40,1 would ensure that the
clips were included in the video in that chronological order).
From November 2010 to February 2011,1 completed five drafts of one 10-minute
video, that integrated both meaning-making and the video storytelling process
together. In February 2011,1 sent each participant a DVD copy of the draft with a
viewing reflection guide11. I asked for in-put and constructive feedback about the
video, how they felt they were portrayed, as well as the project process, itself. I
received all four short survey forms, and incorporated participant suggestions where
possible (i.e., audio and text adjustments could be incorporated, but making the video
longer could not due to personal time constraints). I also disseminated a draft of the
video to practitioners Roxanne Roberts, Jim Haggins, and Sandra Ingerman for
feedback on how core shamanism is discussed in the video, as well as psychologists,
academic colleagues, and non-academic, non-healthcare practitioners in the
community, for input. I also received feedback from colleagues at the 2011 annual
Society for Applied Anthropology conference in Seattle while presenting on the panel
Digital Storytelling and Theory Video-making as Ethnography.
After reviewing all feedback and realizing that the video lacked emphasis on the
projects process, 1 re-structured the 10-minute piece into two short videos, Core
Shamanic Stories and Video Storytelling. These pieces separately reflect on the
meaning-making and storytelling process. The intent of Core Shamanic Stories is to
illustrate how each participant expresses a new way of experiencing the self, due to
the core shamanic session. It offers a brief glimpse into the individuals healing
experience through their meaning-making. As a short video, it can be used as a
presentation resource for practitioners Roberts and Haggins, or participants who wish
11 See Appendix E for Participant Viewing Reflection

to share and educate the public on their core shamanic experience. Due to viewer
interest on the practice of core shamanism, in Core Shamanic Stories 1 added a brief
introduction to the typical sequence of events during a core shamanic session, in the
words of the participants. The intention of the second video, Video Storytelling is to
briefly illustrate the methodology of video storytelling, by tracing two participants
through the projects process. The intended audience for this film is researchers or
practitioners of therapeutic modalities who may find benefit in using this
methodological framework in applied research or in a therapeutic setting. With the
completion of the films, each participant received a DVD copy of the video project to
use and share at will. Due to participant excitement, Sacred Hoop Ministry intends to
post the videos on its website.

Core Shamanic Healing reflects how narrators discuss core shamanism as offering a
new way of experiencing the self a new way of being in the world. Participants
discuss how the core shamanic session facilitated a positive perception of the self
both immediately and over time. This positive change may be a different
understanding of ones role in life, or as transformational as an ability to sleep and
psychologically heal from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Each narrative
also reflects the critical aspect of making sense of the core shamanic experience;
this sense-making is a way to understand and incorporate the new information (e.g.,
remembering repressed traumatic experiences, or receiving spiritual guidance) that
participants received about themselves during or after the healing session. As
storytellers shared their stories of how they make sense of self and experience, they
also made themselves anew through their telling.
Immediate Self-Change
While each participant reflected on how
experiencing the self immediately,
Roberts narrative illuminates an
immediate, profound, and lasting
change in his experience of being in
the world.
Robert is a 49-year-old Desert Storm
veteran who lives in Woodland Park,
the session offered a new way of
Figure 4.1: Video image of Robert from Core
Shamanic Stories

Colorado. He is a husband, father, and grandfather. Robert narrates how he
experienced an instantaneous change in himself due to the session three years ago. In
his original narrative, he expressed how his struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD), left him feeling like something shifted something had changed
inside of [him], and things werent right. In discussing his return home after
combat in the uncut narrative, he explained, 1 didnt recognize home. I didnt feel
comfortable. I didnt feel like 1 belonged there. Wanting to be left alone and
figure out his feelings he wrestled with anger, detachment, depression, and
memories of war that traveled with [him] and [he] had to live with. As seen in
Core Shamanic Stories, Robert discusses his drinking, and his inability to sleep after
returning home, commenting that he started out getting 1.5 to 2 hours of sleep every
night because he didnt want for his eyes to be closed...mulling through and
thinking of things (3:00).
After learning about the tradition of shamanic healing with Native American warriors,
Robert had a soul retrieval session with Roberts and Haggins. In his videotaped
interviews with me, and as seen in Core Shamanic Stories, Robert describes how his
session left him feeling that he had a strength that couldnt be broken, and how he
walked out of [the session] a new person inside. He tells how he drove down the
hill after the session and slept that night for eight or nine hours. He loves sleeping
now (3:25). Narrative structure illuminates Roberts immediate change from a man
who was unable to sleep, and struggling with symptoms of PTSD to a man whose
life was saved from the inside out. By chronologically comparing who he was
before the session, to who he is now, Robert makes meaning of the healing,
expressing how the soul retrieval allowed him to experience being in the world in a
new, and positive way.

Like Robert, the other participants in the project each discussed a new way of being,
immediately, due to the session. Pam, a 42-year-old mother from Colorado Springs,
who lost her son to suicide, narrates about her deep depression, and a feeling of just
wanting to give up after the loss of her son. She sought a core shamanic healing to
alleviate this suffering. In her original storytelling, Pams narrative structure
juxtaposes this feeling of depression with the moment immediately after the healing
session when she felt at peace and relaxed, knowing she was here for a reason.
Although Jenn and Rose did not seek the shamanic session for a healing of a specific
issue or to relieve suffering, their uncut narratives demonstrate that the session
brought about a new experience of the self that was different and remarkable from
prior experiences. Jenn, a 29-year-old nursing graduate student from Boulder, and
Rose, a 69-year-old holistic healer and animal communicator from Woodland Park,
both described the immediate sensations. Jenn describes a really strong, strong
energy in [her] entire body... and a shiver, but a really intense shiver. She then
discusses cravings for meat that she began experiencing, after her session. During the
story viewing, Rose expanded on her initial narrative share, expressing in more detail
how she felt an immediate 500 pound weight lifting off the shoulders after a
healing that focused on her relationship to her family. She expresses how she
immediately was able to think about [her] a little more and that she doesnt feel that
she takes on other peoples issues any longer. The narrations illuminate how the
core shamanic session created a positive change for the participants whether
psychologically or emotionally as a new sense of peace, or through physical
sensations or shifts.
Roberts excerpt in Core Shamanic Stories (2:00-4:00) and the others uncut, original
narratives show how the cohesive and chronological narrative structure depicts
experiences of immediate, positive self-change due to the core shamanic session. The
session brought Robert and Pam, both looking for relief from suffering, to a place of

peace. For Pam, this was a new peace of mind through a knowing. Robert had a
dramatic therapeutic experience of psychological and emotional calm and strength
allowing him to sleep, after years of insomnia due to PTSD. Jenn and Roses
narrative structures also illuminate the session as a time of beginning to experience
themselves in a new way, as they discuss out-of-the-ordinary sensations in their
Self-Change Over Time
Although Robert experienced an instantaneous and lasting new way of experiencing
himself due to the session, Jenn, Rose, and Pams original narratives reveal how their
new ways of understanding themselves or life experiences emerged as a process over
time. In the storytelling phase, all participants discussed how the session was the
beginning of a time of incorporating different practices into their lives as a way to
intentionally integrate the soul piece(s) that returned during the session. Core
shamanic practitioners and clients honor this time of intentional integration by calling
it the Welcome Home, in which clients engage in new activities or experiences to
integrate and welcome the returned soul piece(s) back into the sense of self. For
core shamanic clients, the Welcome Home seems to serve as a stripping of ones
old self. In traditional analysis of ritual and rites of passage, this casting away of
previous self-identity occurs in the liminal phase, a time when individuals undergo
initiation and removal from community (Turner 1969). Yet, Welcome Home also
offers a period of beginning to enact the new sense of self. Traditionally, this is
considered the post-ritual aggregation period, where initiates return to community
(Turner 1969). While more examination is needed on the aspect of Welcome Home

in core shamanic healing, the narrators in this project reveal that as this integration
period unfolds over time, a new understanding of the self can emerge.
Jenn and Roses narrative excerpts are highlighted in Core Shamanic Stories as a
reflection of the Welcome Home, and the process of re-conceptualizing the self that
Jenn, Rose, and Pams original narratives illustrate. Jenn has experienced two soul
retrievals. During her first retrieval, a piece of her soul was returned from an
experience when she was a young, shy, and voiceless girl; her retrieval returned and
healed this soul piece. During her story viewing, Jenn paused her narrative to tell me
how over time, she has noticed that she has felt more confident and can
communicate with others when she used to hold back a lot. She has noticed how
she has been able to take on more of a leadership role in her community, and she links
these changes to her first retrieval that repaired her voicelessness and shy qualities.
Similarly, as seen in Core Shamanic Stories Jenns second retrieval returned a soul
piece that was associated with a traumatic sexual experience she had with her uncle as
a young girl (4:05-5:00). She expresses how the experience with her uncle affected
her relationship with her mother, and her own ability to trust herself. She discusses
her integration of this soul piece as a process over time, where she meditated,
practiced yoga, and did therapeutic art projects. Jenn explains that it was during the
Welcome Home, that she came to understand her cravings for meat (see below for
more analysis). Also, in her original narrative, she discusses how she had a healing
conversation with her mother about that trauma, which brought her closure. Again,
during the story viewing, Jenn expanded on the description of her healing, expressing
that before her retrieval, she used to doubt herself, and constantly sought her mothers
approval; she explains that the soul retrieval made her aware of this tendency and
strengthened their relationship. With both retrievals, Jenn illustrates how new ways
of experiencing herself emerged over time; she now has more confidence, more trust

in herself, views herself as a leader, and experiences a new, stronger relationship with
her mother.
Rose, after her retrieval, increased her meditation as a way to intentionally honor the
Welcome Home. As seen in Core Shamanic Stories, she discusses a profound
insight during meditation that she had where she realized what [her] role in life is.
(7:05). Her retrieval brought back a piece of her soul from an experience with her
father when she was a little girl. When she was about two or three, her father had told
her not to talk to her imaginary friends any longer. In her uncut narrative, she
explains that these were not imaginary friends, but that she is able to sense non-
human energy, such as spirits. This childhood incident with her father, she believes,
was the experience that led her to repress her clairvoyance. Her soul retrieval allowed
her to understand why [she] had repressed [her clairvoyance] for so long. In her
post-healing meditation, she realized that it was her responsibility to use this gift,
acting as a liaison between this reality and other realities. The retrieval, and the
process of welcoming her soul part home, allowed Rose to experience a new way
of perceiving her purpose for being.
Finally, Pams storytelling uses the narrative device of metaphor to illustrate how her
new understanding of herself has emerged over time. She compares her process of
self-change to a path. In her original narrative, Pam acknowledges that she wanted
an immediate and complete healing, but she has come to realize that the self-change
she desires is a process and takes time. When describing how she has integrated
other therapies (e.g. nutritional counseling, talk therapy, etc.) into her healing work,
she describes how this whole thing for [her] has been a path. She expresses,
looking back at the process Ive been through since the soul retrieval, I can see there
was progress... it takes time and you have to follow your heart. I am just learning
how to do that. Pams narrative shares how her new way of being in the world, is a

path of learning how to follow her heart, a process that has made [her] strong
somewhere deep down inside. Pams use of the path metaphor offers cohesion; it
shows how she is in the process of re-crafting the discontinuous life experience of
losing her teenage son to suicide, and how the soul retrieval has allowed her to re-
make meaning of this experience that left her with deep grief and depression. Pams
description of her healing as a path and process also serves to weave together the
conflict of experiencing a deep peace... knowing that she was here for a reason
during her soul retrieval, with the conflicting experience of frustration that she did not
arrive at an immediate and complete healing due to the session. By expressing her
healing as a path, Pam reframes these perhaps discontinuous experiences of herself.
Despite the conflict of feeling at peace during the session, but also wanting a
complete healing immediately, Pam also comments how, When I sit down and look
back, like were doing now, I can see there has been progress. She expresses that
this whole process, since the soul retrieval, has made [her] strong, somewhere deep
down inside. Pam illustrates the lasting change the soul retrieval gave her, and the
value in sharing her story to reflect on and remember her path.
Thus, as seen in Pam, Jenn, and Roses narrative meaning-making, their stories
capture how the core shamanic session allowed them to experience a positive self-
change that emerged after their healing session. As Pams narration indicates, the act
of narrating also facilitates the narrators re-crafting of herself into the woman that
she has evolved into because of the soul retrieval.

A New Self Experience Through New Information
Jenn and Roses excerpts in Core Shamanic Stories also highlight how the core
shamanic session awakened them to the trauma or stress of a past experience, or
shared new spiritual guidance with them. This new information from the session
helped each individual make sense of herself in a new way. In each narration,
participants express why this new information makes sense, showing how narrative
is a cohesive device that enables narrators to reframe old ways of being in the world,
based on new information, allowing them to move forward into a potentially new way
of being. As they narrate, they not only show this process, but also create it.
In Core Shamanic Stories, Jenns story shows how the core shamanic session allowed
her to understand how the traumatic sexual experience with her uncle affected her
relationship with her mother, and sense of trusting herself. She expresses that before
the session, she knew [the trauma] had happened, and it wasnt good, but [she]
didnt know how much it had affected [her] (4:50). While she remembered the
childhood experience, the session was a way for her to newly make sense of how this
had affected her understanding of herself and her relationship with her mother. After
her second soul retrieval, she began craving meat. She explains how the cravings
didnt really make sense, but [she] was going with it (5:14). While doing an art
project, she learned about the chakra system, an Eastern conception of energetic
pathways in the body. She realized that the lower two chakras, developed during early
childhood, are related to safety, security, and sexuality; and, that the food associated
with the second chakra is meat. Describing her moment of realization when she read a
book on the chakra system, she says, And so it all made sense all of a sudden. Ive
been craving meat because my second chakra was really getting a lot of healing with
this and my second chakra has to do with family and security and roots and how
youre so rooted in your family and your early experiences (5:50). Here we see how

the core shamanic session reminded Jenn of a significant trauma in her life, allowing
her to give new meaning to the experience with her uncle, by tying it to her lack of
self-trust and relationship with her mother. Yet, as Jenns moment of realization
reflects, it is a medley of healing frameworks, not simply the core shamanic
worldview, that have allowed her to make meaning of her experiences. In conjunction
with her soul retrieval, the chakra system has provided a framework, or metaphor, for
helping Jenn understand and incorporate new experiences with her body (e.g.,
cravings). The narrative captures how integrating healing frameworks has offered
____________________________________________________Jenn a way to perceive
an old experience, in
order to reframe, or
remake, herself with
her new soul part. Her
meaning-making, of her
bodys cravings also
affirms to her that she is
experiencing a healing,
So itjall madeTsense
Figure 4.2: Video image of Jenn
from Core Shamanic Stories
and integrating her returned soul part into her
sense of self. She is not only telling the
experience of how she came to integrate through
sense-making, but also she is actively integrating through the process of narration.
Like Jenn, Roses soul retrieval allowed her to newly understand the childhood
experience with her father. Although she remembered this past experience, before her
core shamanic session, she commented that the retrieval allowed her to give meaning
to why she had repressed her gift for so long. In the video, Rose tells about the
experience when her father told her to stop talking to her imaginary friends. The
retrieval reminded her of the incident and how that, right there, stifled everything

[with clairvoyance] that [she] could have experienced (6:42). In her uncut narrative
Rose shared, It was the soul retrieval that explained why I had repressed [my
clairvoyance] for so long. In a meditation, after the healing session, Rose realized
that her purpose in life is to use her clairvoyance to be a liaison, helping others to
understand that the world we see, the world we live in is only one reality (7:19).
Like Jenns story, Roses narrative shows how the core shamanic session enabled her
to re-make her meaning of a past experience, in light of her present sense of self; she
is able to understand why she disconnected from her unique ability for so long.
However, she also shows how her integration process allowed her to see herself as a
liaison- a new way of perceiving herself that emerged from her ability to understand
her childhood experience anew.
Although not shown in Core Shamanic Stories, Robert and Pam also received
informative spiritual guidance during the core shamanic session that allowed them to
understand themselves in a new way. During Roberts soul retrieval, a spirit guide,
the cobra, was retrieved for his assistance. In his uncut narration, he explains why it
makes sense that the cobra was retrieved for him. Robert expresses how he went
home after the retrieval and did research on the cobra, realizing that it is an animal
who protects its nest and will only strike if attacked; it has the most venom, but is not
the most venomous. During storytelling, he said, Thats kind of- the cobra must
have been with me for awhile because I didnt like conflict, but Ill strike hard and
fast if I need to. The session also gave Pam new information about herself, enabling
her to newly reflect on past experiences. During her retrieval she was told that the
energetic cords in her body were not fully connected, and needed healing. In her
original narrative, she expresses that this information makes sense because she often
has a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, with a feeling that she has left her
physical body. She believes that not being fully connected energetically could explain
why she has felt so ungrounded. While the cobra and energetic cords may serve as

metaphors, they show how the session allowed both Robert and Pam a new
framework for understanding previous experiences of the self.
When participants shared their stories they demonstrated how the core shamanic
session offered a new, positive way for them to experience being in the world. As
seen in Core Shamanic Stories, the narratives capture how individuals immediately
experienced self-change, like Robert; and, how new perceptions of the self emerged
over time, as seen with Jenn and Rose. Moreover, as Jenn and Roses stories
illuminate, part of experiencing the self in a different, positive way, is directly linked
to the core shamanic session providing information about a trauma, or spiritual
guidance, allowing participants to reframe the way they understand themselves.

Researchers have demonstrated that narrative has therapeutic value, offering self-
insight (Ochs and Capp 1996; Mattingly 1994), and when a person watches herself
narrate, she can gain an outsider perspective of herself (Berger 1973), feeling
personal empowerment (Rich and Chaflen 1999). Video Storytelling follows two
storytellers, Robert and Pam, through the three project phases, storytelling,
reflecting on storytelling, and story viewing, to highlight the layered narrative
process. Through these case studies, the video reveals the self-reflection that emerged
for narrators as they narrated, reflected on the narration, and viewed the uncut, raw
narrative. Video Storytelling shows how narrators self-insight on past experiences, or
the self, occurred in layers as they participated in the multi-phase process. The
reflection on storytelling revealed that the narration process served as a reminder to
most participants of the power of their core shamanic session; and, each narrator
was able to see himself as an outsider may, when he watched his narration during
story viewing. Pams video excerpt, however, illuminates how she was also able to
visually experience the personal change that she initially narrated about. This
indicates that visual narrative, when watched by the narrator, may enhance the new,
positive experience of herself, initiated by a previous therapeutic experience. Robert
and Pam offer a window into the storytelling process, illustrating how an individuals
new experience of being in the world, initiated by the core shamanic session, did not
have an end point, but rather continues to evolve or unfold, as a narrator shares her
story, reflects on her storytelling, and then watches herself make meaning. Finally,
Video Storytelling also seeks to demonstrate the narrators personal use of the video
project, revealing the potential community use for visual healing stories.

Video Storytelling begins by highlighting the storytelling phase of the project that
occurred in the initial open-ended interview. Excerpts from Robert and Pams
narratives briefly reveal the process of meaning-making for viewers, and
contextualize the two storytellers. As discussed in the previous analysis, these story
excerpts reflect the self-change that both Robert and Pam experienced due to the core
shamanic healing. Video Storytelling then moves to the second phase within the
project, the narrators reflection on storytelling, which occurred immediately before
the co-viewing. I asked each participant to reflect on the experience of narrating and
if any new insights emerged. Although Rose did not have any new reflections due to
her narrating experience, Jenn, Robert, and Pam stated that the storytelling experience
reminded them how significant the core shamanic session was to them and their
healing process. Jenn said that narrating made her yearn to get back into her
journeying practice.13 As highlighted in Video Storytelling, Robert stated, it
reminded me how powerful the soul retrieval is... this hit me on a deeper level when I
was talking about it (3:47). He explained that when he tells his wartime stories, it
has a calming and releasing factor (3:43). Pam commented that when she narrated,
she was reminded to keep going and that she is ok (3:55). The participants
comments show how the narration process affirmed previous therapeutic experiences
and, for Robert and Pam, may have had a therapeutic effect, as they were calmed
and reminded to keep going. This reflects other research findings that have shown
the act of narrating to be a therapeutic experience (Ochs and Capp 1999).
Video Storytelling then moves onto the last phase of the project, the story viewing.
Here individuals and I co-viewed their original narratives, pausing at times to discuss,
and reflect on the viewing experience, as seen in Figure 6. When participants viewed
the narration they had more specific insight into themselves, and the core shamanic
13 "Journeying is a spiritual practice where individuals enter into a trance state to connect
with the power animals or guides. It is similar to meditation.

session. All of the participants comments reflect how the video allowed them to see
themselves in a different way, by visually experiencing their narrative themes,
emotions, body gesture, facial expression, and change in voice. For Pam and Rose,
watching the narrative solidified the new sense of self that the core shamanic session
initiated; they visually experienced how they had newly made meaning of themselves.
As depicted in Video Storytelling, when Robert watched his narrative he became
emotional as he discussed his wartime experiences (4:15-4:56). In his original
narrative, and as seen in the video, he
paused and teared-up as he talked
about the loyalty that he received from
other soldiers, during a potential
suicide mission and in a land-mine
scare in the Desert Storm war.
After viewing, he commented that he
.. ... . . . Figure 5.1: Video image of Robert sharing war
could see which stories are hard for him
to share still, explaining that these are
also stories that he hasnt shared with anyone. In this phase, Robert expressed that the
process of sharing and watching the narration is good healing and therapeutic.
The experience of hearing his wartime stories (a consistent narrative theme) and
watching himself emote and pause during storytelling, enabled Robert to newly
understand the past experiences that are still challenging to discuss. Although Robert
recognizes that healing is still needed around certain wartime experiences, his
emotional release and acknowledgement of the therapeutic quality of the process
illuminate how video storytelling may offer opportunities for liberating narratives
to emerge for Robert in the future. As telling his story helps him to calm and

release, perhaps watching his narrative has made it easier for him to eventually share
the challenging war stories.
Pams story viewing experience demonstrates how she was able to see herself not
only in a new way, but also in the new way she had narrated in the storytelling phase.
In her narrative, Pam discusses how the soul retrieval made her strong, somewhere
deep down inside (5:01). As shown in Video Storytelling, when she watched herself
talk about the last time she saw her son before he committed suicide, she commented
on how she can see herself getting stronger which surprised her because thats
not always how she feels inside (5:13). When Pam watched herself she was literally
able to see her new way of being in the world that was initiated by the soul retrieval -
a woman with deep strength. Although she did not express this realization as
associated with any particular body language, emotion, or theme, she did emphasize
that it was the visual of seeing
herself that brought her to this
recognition. Pams video storytelling
process illustrates how video might
have allowed her to arrive at a new
understanding of self, simply through
the visual realization that she has
enacted her liberated sense of herself,
embodying a strong woman.
Similar to Pams viewing experience, during the story viewing phase, Rose also
visually saw her new way of perceiving herself, initiated from the core shamanic
session. During the co-viewing, Rose frequently stopped the narrative to comment on
her body gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice, playfully noting what they
Figure 5.2: Video image of Pam talking
about her son

may mean about the experience or person she was discussing at that point in her
story. At the end of the co-viewing she commented how fun the process was, and that
she realized how great she is. She said, Im a totally different person than I feel
like I am. When she watched herself, she realized that she has been instilled with
something to make her good at what she does. This reflects back to her narrative,
in which she said that the soul retrieval allowed her to realize what her role or
purpose in life is. By watching her body language, she was able to visually experience
why she is a good liaison between the worlds- the aspect of her soul retrieval that
was the most significant in allowing her to have a new way of interpreting her
Although Jenn did not discuss any specific narrative themes, body language, or
emotional responses that stuck out to her during the story viewing, she commented
that viewing the uncut narrative allowed her to become more comfortable watching
[herself] talk about [herself], which is something that [she] usually has trouble with.
Interestingly, the theme of self-confidence also emerged in her meaning-making, as
she told about the soul piece that returned from when she was a young, shy and
voiceless girl. Her comment about becoming more comfortable watching herself talk
about herself reflects back to this aspect of her new way of being in the world, where
she discusses becoming more comfortable talking in front of people, and is seen as a
leader in her community. Here, we see how watching herself may have helped to
further integrate this new sense of self, as a woman who is comfortable having a
The co-viewing phase with each participant reflects the profound potential of visual
narrative to enhance a previous therapeutic experience, as video can uniquely capture
how an individual makes new meaning of herself, and watching the video can affirm
that meaning-making for the narrator. By seeing narrative themes, body gesture,

facial expressions, and emotions, an
individual might, perhaps, integrate her
new self-perception on a deeper level.
Moreover, this three-phase process
allowed the meaning-making to emerge
in layers, allowing it to evolve beyond
a single moment in time. This
evolution is significant, as new
narrative details surfaced when the
narrators reflected on the storytelling
and then viewed their stories. The multi-phase process enabled narrators to expand on
their original meaning-making, arriving at new self-insight. The layers of video
storytelling reveal the restorying possibility of this methodology. The individuals
show how video can reflect back the liberating narratives that they are, perhaps,
already crafting and enacting for themselves, after the core shamanic session. More
research should be conducted, however, in order to examine the role that visual
narrative can play in therapeutic and post-therapeutic settings, and under what
circumstances participants receive the most benefit from this applied methodology.
Finally, Video Storytelling concludes with a brief explanation of how Robert and Pam
are using the video project, Core Shamanic Stories and Video Storytelling, to share
their experiences with others. This aspect of the video reflects information received
from the participant evaluations of the video and project process, sent to each
individual with the initial draft video. Participants commented that they enjoyed the
process and were satisfied with the rough draft video, but all commented that the
video was too short. As reflected by Pams excerpt in the video, each person
expressed that she would gladly share the final draft video with friends, family, or
other community members as an educational tool and way to tell the story of a core
Figure 5.3: Still photograph of Robert during
story viewing

shamanic experience. Robert remarked on his interest in making a longer video,
focusing on his personal story. As reflected in the video, his comments discuss his use
of the video to share with other veterans as an educational tool for alternative healing.
Jenn expressed how watching the draft video encouraged her to journey again and
Pam commented that the project has been a part of her healing. These reflections
show the potential that visual healthcare stories can offer to participants and
community members.

The intention of both Core Shamanic Stories and Video Storytelling was to provide
academics and community members with a brief glimpse into how individuals make
new meaning of themselves due to the core shamanic session, and the power of the
video storytelling methodology. Although there are several benefits to the production
of short videos, tensions emerged in the video production of this project, specifically
around the length and its ability to accurately convey the arc of an individuals
original narrative. With limited training in videography, I found it more manageable
to produce shorter films. Capturing enough broil, that is also visually captivating for
viewers and authentic in reflecting a narrators personality, can be challenging and
time-consuming, particularly in addition to an in-depth narrative interview. As a film
gets longer, more footage is needed, and without captivating footage, it can be
challenging to hold audience attention. Also, I felt that for the purpose of a talking
piece at academic and community-based presentations, two 8-minute films could
more easily showcase the potential for video narrative and increase public awareness
of complementary and alternative healthcare practices. Yet, colleagues, clinical
therapists, and participants expressed through feedback that they wished the video
had been longer and they wanted to see more of the stories. This tension of video
length illuminates an important issue that most qualitative researchers encounter
when sifting through raw data: how can short videos best evoke the nuanced and
textured experiences shared in a participants one-hour narrative, which is condensed
into a 3-minute video excerpt? Is there an appropriate role and context for short video
stories? These are important questions to address as researchers move forward in
developing visual healthcare narratives.

In addition to tension around video length, I found difficulty in visually expressing
each narrators full arc of the healing experience, and the depth of the video
storytelling process due to lack of footage. The reflection on storytelling and story
viewing phases were not video recorded, again, due to the concern that video may be
too intrusive for these reflective phases. This was a challenge in the video production,
as crucial aspects of individuals meaning-making and reflection process could not be
directly included in the short videos. In Jenn and Roses story viewing experiences,
for example, more explanations emerged on why they pursued the healing and the
direct benefits they received. Their comments during these phases could have more
fully developed the arc of their narrative excerpts in Core Shamanic Stories.
Similarly, in Video Storytelling, I was unable to include Robert and Pams direct
voice-overs for each phase because I did not record these initially. In the video
production, I resolved this issue by simply narrating a voice-over of their direct
quotes from these phases in the process. In the future, these issues could easily be
resolved if video or audio is used to record all phases of the video storytelling

This project analyzed visual narrative as an applied medical anthropological
framework. Core Shamanic Stories and Video Storytelling reveal how individuals
make sense of a core shamanic healing session, and how the visual storytelling
process may deepen an individuals new, positive understanding of the self, initiated
by a prior therapeutic session. Moreover, the participants excitement with the videos
indicates that visual healing stories may have widespread benefit for individual
storytellers and be useful educational tools for community members who lack
knowledge of complementary and alternative healthcare therapies.
Narrative is a useful cohesive and meaning-making device to reveal how an
individuals core shamanic session initiates a new way of making sense of the self. As
Roberts excerpt highlights, this change in self-experience may occur immediately, as
he discusses his dramatic healing of PTSD and ability to sleep after years of
insomnia. As Jenn and Roses narratives demonstrate, this self-change may occur as a
process that unfolds over an indefinite amount of time, where perceptions of the self
emerge slowly. Yet, all participants reveal how the soul retrieval provided them with
different ways of understanding the self or past experiences; this sense-making of
information received in the soul retrieval is critical for stepping into themselves anew.
Jenn and Roses video excerpts that discuss their post-healing experiences illuminate
how they made sense of sensations in the body, and childhood trauma. Thus, as core
shamanism enables individuals to make new meaning of the self, narrative is a useful
framework for illuminating this therapys transformative and personal wellness

Moreover, as Robert and Pam demonstrate in Video Storytelling, the process of
narrating about a past therapeutic session may be therapeutic, itself. Narrating can
serve as a reminder of the significance of a therapeutic session. Watching their
narratives, participants were able to view the self from an outsider perspective,
increasing self-insight. For Pam and Rose, the story viewing enabled them to visually
experience the new sense of self that they had narrated. The story viewing phase of
this project shows how visual narrative should be examined as an applied method, as
a part of the re-crafting of oneself that often comes with various forms of mind-body-
spirit healing. Applied medical anthropologists should consider using this
methodology as a way to capture holistic healing stories, but also to work in
conjunction with therapeutic practitioners, psychologists, and patients to potentially
enhance an individuals therapy.
Like other applied visual frameworks, a potential area of challenge with visual
narrative may be the time and resource commitment. Yet, more than ever, reliable and
up-to-date video equipment and technology is becoming more affordable, and
creative ways of recording narrative, such as smart phone recordings, may be
innovative collaborative methodologies. While collaboration with participants and the
need for community feedback is time-consuming, what is lost in an expedited process
is gained in meaningful connections with community members and a project that
participants and community-based organizations, like Sacred Hoop, believe is useful
personally and professionally. Furthermore, the personal relationships 1 made with
participants have resulted in deep friendships, likely because of the intimate
experiences and self-reflections they shared with me as well as the profound mutual
respect participants and I share for core shamanic healing. I believe, also, the power
of the video storytelling process, itself, created this lasting rapport, as the individuals

continue to express gratitude, in emails and notes, for the healing process of video
Anthropologists should consider how to develop the participant-researcher
collaboration efforts of the visual narrative process. For example, how may
individuals experience the viewing phase differently, if the researcher is not present?
Developing Johnson and Aldersons approach (2008), how may a participant-
produced film, as a third collaboration phase to the project, enhance the potential
therapeutic benefit of the process for individuals? Perhaps this additional phase could
allow participants to more deeply explore the meaning-making process of the self.
Similarly, a useful examination is what video may capture that an audio-recording
does not. How may these narrators reflections on the self have changed if these
stories were simply audio-recorded and re-played?
Moreover, future research should examine how researchers can effectively measure
the impact of video narratives on audiences, to ascertain the value of video as
educational resources for sharing information about healthcare experiences, or the
value of video healing narratives to inspire audiences to engage in their own personal
healing and self-reflection. By examining screening context, we can understand how
internet viewing versus live, public screenings may affect viewing experience, for
example. As Levine (2003) demonstrates with the Steps project in southern Africa,
when narrators are present at the public screenings, the video screened had more
positive impact on the viewers. By examining screening experiences, we can more
fully understand how applied medical anthropologists can empower individuals and
community-based nonprofits to educate the community on personal change and
healing as related to healthcare experiences.

Finally, healthcare stories that illustrate the trauma-healing process, like Robert, Pam,
Jenn, and Roses, are vital for understanding how individuals make meaning of a
healthcare experience as well as providing patient-centered care (Kleinman 1988).
They offer a powerful tool for educating healthcare practitioners and community
members on the myriad benefits and experiences of a therapeutic practice, whether
biomedical or complementary and alternative. Patient stories, through visual
narrative, are particularly useful for therapeutic modalities such as core shamanism, a
therapy that medical anthropologists are only now beginning to study. Visual
narrative is a powerful tool for understanding how individuals make meaning of a
core shamanic experience, and should be further explored for its potential therapeutic

Appendix A. Typical Sequence of Events During Core Shamanic Healing Session
Exact protocol and practice varies depending on specific practitioner and training.
Each session is unique and different for each client. This outlines a typical
Shamanic session, but according to practitioners Roberts and Haggins of Sacred Hoop
Ministry, the helping spirit guides determine exactly what is done and in what order
to most benefit the client.
Please note: This outline is for context only. In the proposed study the
researcher will not be present during any of these steps, but will discuss the
experience outlined here, with the client in post-healing session interviews.
Pre-Healing Session (via phone, email, or drop-in consultation)
Individual seeking relief from trauma-related suffering (i.e., rape, violence,
abuse, physical accident, invasive surgery, war, etc.) contacts Core Shamanic
Practitioner explains session in detail to individual and determines if
individual is a candidate for the healing modality
Appointment date/time is determined
Practitioner requests that the client does not consume any alcoholic beverages
(or recreational drugs) for 24 hours before and after a Shamanic Healing
Core Shamanism Healing Session (2-3 hour in-person consultation)
Practitioner overviews healing session with client, addressing questions and
Client writes down intentions and hopes for the session (i.e., receive
emotional relief from the trauma that occurred when I was 13 years old).
Practitioners Roberts and Haggins request that clients do not share exact
details of the trauma with them prior to the healing session, so as not to
influence the retrieval/extraction work.
Practitioner reads the clients intentions aloud, calling on all healing guides
and spirits to support and facilitate the session
Client lays down, comfortably resting on blankets, with eyes closed; she is
advised to stay awake during the session.
Practitioner(s) open with a prayer, welcoming helping and compassionate
spirit guides to help them; practitioner(s) set the intention of acting as hollow
bones, allowing helping spirit guides to work through them

If two practitioners are present, one begins to drum, while the other lays down
near the client and merges with her helping spirit; practitioner(s) enter into a
trance state, or altered state of consciousness14
Practitioner (if two, the one laying down) begins to communicate with spirit
guides or power animals.15
Practitioner locates and extracts spiritual intrusions or energy blocks that are
energetically lodged or attached to the client, but do not belong to the client
Practitioner disengages with the merged spirit, laying down next to client,
touching client (i.e. shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip)
Practitioner connects with her compassionate helping spirit guide to retrieve
missing soul parts that are willing to come back and help the client at this
time; upon returning the missing soul parts, the spirit guide explains to the
practitioner why the parts left and what gift they are bringing back to the
Practitioner blows retrieved soul parts and/or power animal into the clients
solar plexus (stomach) and crown of the head
Practitioner(s) play a tone and drum/rattle to seal up the clients energetic
Drumming practitioner then does a heartbeat drumming ceremony at the close
of the healing session.
Practitioner(s) call themselves back from their trance state
Practitioner(s) write down extraction/retrieval experience, sharing this
information and their experiences with the client
Client asks questions, shares emotions and what they experienced during the
session; practitioner(s) counsels client on how to best connect with, honor,
and reintegrate the returned soul parts
Practitioner(s) copy all notes from session and teachings about whatever
power animal came back, giving a copy to the client while retaining a copy for
their files.
Post-Healing Session (within a week of the healing session; via phone)
Practitioner follows-up with the client to check-in and offer more counsel if
needed; client is advised to contact practitioner as needed who is available for
further counsel or can offer other support services to the client
14 An altered state of consciousness is a brain state where the individual is no longer in the
state of beta waves; often one transcends ordinary sensory perceptions and identity with ones
15 A spirit guide, or power animal, is a guide who is always present with an individual;
communicating directly with an individual during the altered state of consciousness, offering
guidance, healing tools, and personal empowerment.

Appendix B. Interview Guide
Meeting One (video recorded interview):
1. About how long ago did you have your shamanic healing session at Sacred
2. As much as you feel comfortable, can you share with me what made you want
to explore and experience a shamanic healing session?
3. What was your shamanic healing session like?
4. What were the following weeks or months like for you after your healing
5. Do you share your healing experience with many people? Why/why not?
Meeting Two (not video recorded):
1. Before we review your digital narrative:
a. What was it like to share your experience the last time we spoke?
b. Have any new reflections our thoughts come up due to you narrating
your experience?
Co-view video narrative, pausing as necessary to reflect on narrative content,
body gestures, facial expressions, emotions, and change in voice. Also pausing to
ask follow-up and clarifying questions.
2. After watching your narrative:
a. Did any new reflections or thoughts come up when you watched your
b. Did any themes emerge for you in the way you talked about your
c. Would it be okay with you if I shared some of the themes that I
noticed in your narrative? [Share these at this time, if the participant
feels comfortable]
d. Do you think youd be likely to share an edited copy of your video
with family and friends? Why/why not?

Appendix C. Coding Table for Core Shamanic Stories
Experience of Self Before Session Experience of Self After Session Description of Personal Healing Other Codes
Body felt heavy Body felt light Soul retrieval was a powerful and/or life- changing event Importance of community
Lack of self- confidence Felt surge of energy or temperature change in body Use of other modalities to supplement core shamanic healing (e.g., art, journaling, energetic and chakra healing, meditation, counseling, nutrition guidance, etc.) Conflict of institutionalized religion and spirituality
Lack of trust Felt inner strength Healing is process and/or journey Conflict of biomedical healthcare versus complementary and alternative healthcare practices
Lack of self-love Felt relaxation in body Received information, during the core shamanic session, about the self, makes sense Conflict of others perceptions of core shamanic healing
Felt lonely Increased self-confidence Received information, during the core shamanic session, about past experiences makes sense Legitimization of the core shamanic healing experience
Felt need to be alone Increased self-trust and/or connection to higher self or spirituality Received information, after the core shamanic session, about the self New perspectives gained with core shamanic experience and worldview
Self-repression Increased clarity or wisdom about self
Increased clarity of past experiences that caused personal trauma
Closure and/or healing in a personal relationship

Appendix D. Coding Table for Video Storytelling
Phase 1: Storytelling Phase 2: Reflection on Storytelling Phase 3: Story Viewing Storytellers post- production video use and reflection
See Appendix C Codes for Core Shamanic Stories Importance of talking about healing experience with someone who understands When viewing narrative content When viewing narrative content, body gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and emotions Storytellers reactions during the video viewing Video storytelling has been a part of ones healing
Storytelling was comforting/calming Clarify statements or story excerpts; explaining content further or adding more detail Insight into ones positive self-change (e.g., new personal strength) Cry during story excerpts Intention to show videos to friends and/or family to share personal experience of core shamanism
Storytelling was therapeutic/ releasing Insight on central life values and personal identity (e.g., importance of community) Insight into ones feelings towards a personal relationship Laugh during story excerpts Intention to show final videos to friends and/or family who may personally benefit from this healthcare perspective
Storytelling was a reminder of the value of the core shamanic experience Insight on positive self-change (e.g., has a healthier lifestyle than before) Insight into the aspects of ones story that are still challenging to share Intention to show final videos to community members as an educational tool on the use of core shamanic therapy
Storytelling was a reminder of being ok Insight into how one may be perceived by others (e.g., sad) Watching draft video(s) inspired one to increase spiritual practice
Insight into how one interacts with others (e.g., blocking others out)
Realization that one was able to see oneself for the first time
Insight into ones excitement about core shamanism
Insight into ones self- beauty
Insight into ones personal skills and strengths

Appendix E. Participant Viewing Reflection
Participant Viewing Reflection Name:
After watching the DRAFT video, please answer the following questions, so I can take your
comments into account for the next editing session. Thank you for your time and help!
Contact me at any time with questions, or if you want additional information (Kate Mullin: 207-671-3977).
What is your favorite aspect of the video and why?
What is your least favorite aspect of the video and why?
Is there anything that you would like changed or omitted about how you are
portrayed in the video? If so, can you explain w hy?
Would you show this video to people as a way to teach them about Core Shamanism?
In this project, I wanted to explore collaboration with participants. W hat could 1 do
differently next time to enhance collaboration with storytellers?

Appendix F. Transcription of Core Shamanic Stories
(Jenn) So, a soul retrieval is retrieving a part of the soul that has been damaged or fragmented. So, just like we can have a physical wound, we can have a soul or spiritual wound.
(Text on screen) In 2010, over 10,000 Americans had a core shamanic session.
(Text on screen) Core Shamanic Stories
(Narrator) Core shamanism focuses on healing the soul. The soul is a persons essence. A fractured soul can contribute to illness in the mind, body, or spirit.
(Pam) They set up a sacred circle and its the very center of the yurt, itself. You lay down, and the cover you up. 1 had to cover my eyes with a bandana, and I just had a blanket on. She said, Ok. Just let go. She said, You dont have to think about anything. You dont have to experience anything. Just be comfortable and open your heart.
(Jenn) Jim will drum and then Roxanne will connect with her guides shell rattle. Shell say my name and shell say my intention. She lays down next to me and touches me. And by having her contact with me, it allows her to merge the journey with me. And shell just lay there. And shell experience shell get the information.
(Pam) I think theres a certain prayer, or something, that they do that closes the session.
(Jenn) The actual- the whole thing, takes about forty-five minutes.
(Text on screen) In 2010,1 began a study as medical anthropology graduate student to explore video-recorded story and core shamanism. Robert, Jenn, and Rose each had core shamanic sessions at Sacred Hoop Ministry in Woodland Park, Colorado. Their stories show how core shamanism helped them understand themselves in a new, positive way.

Inside myself I couldnt go back to the daily life. The thoughts
- the things that come around in your head. You sit down and
you think about how many lives you actually have affected. I
started drinking too much way too much. Every night. I
didnt sleep. Ever since pretty much after the war 1 didnt. I
started out, I was getting about 1.5 to 2 hours of sleep every
night. I didnt want for my eyes to be closed. I guess mulling
through and thinking of things.
It sounds very simple, but as soon as I stood up, 1 had an inner
strength in me that 1 have never felt before. A strength that just
couldnt go away. I knew something had shifted, something
had changed. And I walked right out and felt I could pick up a
building. And I went home that night and I slept. I slept for 8 or
9 hours. And I have been sleeping ever since. I love sleeping
now. At the time when I did the soul retrieval I was basically at
a fork in the road. I had to go down the right way or the left
way. And quite honestly, my food was more on the left than it
was on the right. And without that soul retrieval I probably I
know I wouldnt be here today.
So when I was like 11, maybe, my uncle touched me in a
weird, bad, inappropriate way. And nothing else ever
happened. Because I jumped up and got off- I was sitting on
his lap and he was tickling me. And then I jumped up and I
went in the room and I told my mother. And she didnt believe
me. And I was crying, I was so upset. How could she not
believe me? And was I making this up? I felt really
embarrassed. That experience not only made me feel unsafe, it
also made me feel less confident and less secure with my uncle,
but it affected my relationship with my mother. Ya know,
having something like that, that I wasnt even aware of even I
knew it happened and it wasnt good, but I didnt really know
how much it affected me. So that came up in my second soul
retrieval and I got healing there.
One of the biggest things that was different was I was craving
meat. And I dont really eat much meat. And it didnt really
make sense to me. I was just going with it. So then I was
looking at this book about chakras. And I was doing an art
project, and I read in there, with either the first or the second

(Text on
chakra, that meat, in particular is associated with that chakra.
So it all made sense all of a sudden. Ok, Ive been craving meat
because my second chakra was really getting a lot of healing
with this. And my second chakra has to do with security and
family, and my roots, and how youre so rooted in your family
and your early childhood experiences.
Ive been working a long time on becoming who I was really
supposed to be in this life. I always knew I had something
special- an extra sense so to speak. When I had my soul
retrieval, Roxanne explained to me that the reason I had been
hiding it under a bushel all these years is because when I was
about 2 or 3,1 was sitting on the steps with my father and my
father was explaining to me that the people that I see and the
people that I talk to are just in my imagination and that I was
getting to be a big girl now and that I should probably not talk
to them a lot anymore. So that just, right there, stifled
everything that I would have been able to experience.
Somewhere after the soul retrieval I had a meditation, I
suppose. And I learned that I had a very important role to play
in this life. And that was to help- not non-believers, but
skeptics to understand that we have our world, and we have
heaven, and that theres also another world, right outside of our
world that most of us dont see. So, one of my roles it to open
those doors to help people understand. And maybe not
understand or recognize or accept, but have that knowledge.
screen) These stories show that core shamanism, as a complementary
and alternative therapy, is a valuable resource for individuals
who have experienced trauma or stress.

Appendix G. Transcription of Video Storytelling
(Text on screen) In 2010, I began a study as a medical anthropology graduate student to explore video-recorded story and core shamanism. "Robert" and "Pam" both experienced a core shamanic healing session at Sacred Hoop Ministry in Woodland Park, Colorado. Core shamanism focuses on healing the soul, which may fracture during trauma or stress. In two interviews each, Robert and Pam shared their healing stories on video, reflected on storytelling, and watched their videos. This three- phase storytelling process enabled participants to see themselves in a new way.
(Text on screen) Video Storytelling
(Text on screen) Phase 1. Storytelling
(Robert) Its hard to come back to adjust to life. Ya know, you come home to your wife and kids that you love, and thats all youve ever thought about doing. And then you wake up and you realize that this is not home anymore, this is hell. What you think would be hell is our home now. I still remember taking my youngest daughter out to swing on a swing, outside our little apartment our little house that we had there in Germany. And things had changed. What I had wanted to come home to, in my mind, me not the home, but me I didnt recognize it. I didnt feel comfortable, I didnt feel like I belonged there. Big bad army guy, ya know, and you tell the stories and it hurts.
(Robert) I was scared. I was like, I had no idea- we went to the journey groups which was great and I thought that was very spiritual, and I was learning and Im still learning, but I thought, Man that was pretty cool, but this soul retrieval, this is like one-on- one. I didnt understand what it was. I didnt have to do anything, I just laid there. People say, Well it could be in your mind, it could be- I dont care where its at, it works.
(Pam) They say theres levels of grief that you go through. My levels of grief were all over the place. I dont know if thats a model that traditional medicine has set up and they expect you to go through these levels, but I didnt go through it that way. I went

into shock, obviously. I think I was in a really bad place. 1
really just wanted to give up.
(Pam) I expected so much out of it. I just-1 want to be fixed. I want to get rid of the depression, and the guilt, and the shame, and everything. But I also know it takes time. This whole process since the individual journey soul retrieval has made me strong somewhere deep inside. I have felt more connected to whatever is here helping us spiritually.
(Text on screen) Phase 2. Reflecting on Storytelling
(Narrator) Robert said that telling his story was calming. The narration process had a releasing factor and reminded him how powerful his core shamanic session was. Pam told me that the storytelling experience reminded her to keep going and that she is ok.
(Text on screen) Phase 3. Story Viewing
(Narrator) Robert saw himself from an outsiders perspective when he watched his video story. Watching himself cry and pause during storytelling, Robert realized what war stories he still has difficulty sharing.
(Robert) I said, They dont think were coming back. I said, But I think we are, I said, Lets go prove them wrong. And Lacey looked down the line this is a tough one. My second in command basically looked down the line, looked at the guys, they all nodded, and he said, Chief, well follow you anywhere.
(Narrator) Pam said her core shamanic session made her strong, somewhere deep inside. She visually experienced this strength when she watched herself talk about her son. Pam said she realized how strong shes become, even though thats not always how she feels inside.
(Pam) I remember the day that I- the very last day that I saw Aaron. He asked me before I left, he goes, Mom, what do you believe? Where do you think people go when they die? And

I told him, I said, Well in very simple terms, I think that
everything is energy. I think that when a soul decides to leave
the physical body, that soul just kind of integrates into the
earth, the cosmos, and everything. And that energy is very
positive. And he just kind of sat there, and hes looking at me,
and he goes, Thats really cool. He said, I think 1 like that.
Robert is using his video story to share his healing experience
with other veterans. Pam plans to share her video with friends
and family. She feels that telling and watching her story has
been a part of her healing process.

Appendix H.
Core Shamanic Stories Viewing Guide Kate Mullin, M.A. Candidate,
Medical Anthropology
University of Colorado Denver
Explores how narrative can illustrate a persons understanding of his core shamanic
Produced as part of my Masters thesis, in medical anthropology, Visualizing
Shamanic Healing Stories, (2010-2011)
Core shamanism is a complementary and alternative healing practice in the US
o Focuses on healing the soul a persons essence that may fracture during
o Over 10,000 Americans had a core shamanic healing session in 2010
Narrative Meaning-Making
Narrative shows how individuals make sense of the changing self, in relation to
trauma and healing
Narrative integrates an individuals conflicting concepts of the self
Western narrative, through metaphor, reveals how one makes sense of discontinuities
in the Western concepts of a whole self or continuous life path
How does narrative reveal the meaning-making of self that occurs with cores

Worked with four individuals who experienced a core shamanic healing session at
Sacred Hoop Ministry in Woodland Park, Colorado
Robert, a 49-year-old Desert Storm veteran; Rose, a 69-year-old intuitive and
animal communicator; Pam, a 48-year-old mother who lost her son to suicide;
Jenn, a 29-year-old nursing graduate student
Multi-phase project, where: individuals told their core shamanic healing stories on
video; reflected on the process of storytelling; and then watched their video healing
Analysis Excerpts
Narrators show how core shamanism offered a new w ay of experiencing the self. This
self-change occurred both immediately and over time.
Robert, 49, Veteran, Woodland Park, Colorado
Inside myself I couldnt go back to the daily life; the thoughts, the things that come
around in your head. I started drinking too much, way too much. I couldn't sleep.
As soon as I stood up, I had an inner strength in me that 1 have not felt before. A
strength that just couldnt go away. I knew something had changed, and I went home
that night and I slept. I slept for eight or nine hours.
Rose, 69, Animal Communicator, Woodland Park, Colorado
Id been working a long time on who I was really supposed to be in this life. I
always knew I had something special- an extra sense so to speak.
After the soul retrieval, I had a meditation and I learned that 1 had a very important
role to play in this life ... to help skeptics understand that we have our world, and we
have heaven, and that theres also another world right outside of our world that most
of us dont see. So one of my roles is to help people understand.
Robert and Rose chronologically compare how they experienced being in the world before
the core shamanic session, to how they came to perceive the self post-session. They express
how core shamanic healing was a catalyst for instant and unfolding self-change.
Narrators show how they received new information about
the self due to the core shamanic session; the new
information allowed them to reframe the self or past
Jenn, 29, Graduate Student, Boulder, Colorado

When I was like 11, maybe, my uncle touched in a weird, bad inappropriate way...
that experience not only made me feel unsafe, it also made me feel less confident and
less secure with my uncle, but it affected my relationship with my mother.
[Before the soul retrieval] 1 knew [the experience with my uncle] happened and it
wasnt good, but I didnt really know how much it affected me. So that came up in
my second soul retrieval, and I got healing there.
Jenn shows how her soul retrieval allowed her to make sense of her lack of self-confidence
and relationship with her mother in a new way; it reminded her of the lasting impact of her
childhood experience with her uncle.
Video healthcare stories can develop the narrative study of complementary and alternative
healthcare practices, and offer educational tools for public dissemination. Medical
anthropologists should develop research on core shamanic practice, to understand the value
and efficacy of this therapeutic model.
For full analysis, methodology and citations please see the full companion text and
videos online at

Appendix I.
Video Storytelling Viewing Guide Kate Mullin, M.A. Candidate,
Medical Anthropology
University of Colorado Denver
Video Storytelling traces two participants through a multi-phase narrative approach, to show
how video may develop narrative framework of applied research. The video illustrates the
three phases of video storytelling, in which individuals told their healing story on video,
reflected on the process of storytelling, and then watched their video stories. This piece
shows the layered process of how participants crafted and viewed the self through visual
Project Background
Produced as part of my Masters thesis in medical anthropology, Visualizing
Shamanic Healing Stories (2010-2011)
Worked with four individuals who experienced a Core Shamanic healing session at
Sacred Hoop Ministry in Woodland Park, Colorado
Robert, a 49-year-old Desert Storm veteran; Rose, a 69-year-old intuitive and
animal communicator; Pam, a 48-year-old mother who lost her son to suicide;
Jenn, a 29-year-old nursing graduate student
Core shamanism is a complementary and alternative healing practice in the US
o Focuses on healing the soul a persons essence that may fracture during
o Over 10,000 Americans had a core shamanic healing session in 2010
Developing Narrative with Video
Video captures an individuals body gestures, facial expressions, emotion, and
change in voice
Video is an effective therapeutic and clinical tool for healthcare patients and
Video enables community dialogue around important health issues
Video allows therapy patients to view themselves as an outsider

Video is a catalyst for therapist-patient discussion in future therapy sessions
How does video-recorded narrative, when viewed by the narrator,
enhance the self-insight inherent to a narrators meaning-making process?
Analysis Excerpts
Phase 1- During storytelling, participants expressed the
of positive self-change, from the core shamanic session.
Pam, 48, Colorado Springs, Colorado
I think I was in a really bad place. I just wanted to give up.
This whole process since the individual journey- the soul retrieval has made me
strong, somewhere deep inside. I have felt more connected to whatever is here
helping us spiritually.
Pam 's story expresses her positive self-change as a process, where she moved from a place of
depression of after the death of her son, to a place ofpersonal strength after her core
shamanic soul retrieval.
Phase 2 When reflecting on the storytelling, participants stated that the storytelling
experience reminded them how significant the core shamanic healing was, reflecting on
the importance of talking about the experience.
Robert, 49, Woodland Park, Colorado
Robert said that telling his story was calming and the narration process had a
releasing factor
He reflected that narrating reminded him how powerful the soul retrieval is and this
hit him on a deeper level when he was talking about it.
Roberts reflection expresses the value of talking about a previous healing experience and the
therapeutic value of storytelling.
Phase 3 When viewing their video stories, participants saw themselves in a new way, as
outsiders may.
Pam, 48, Colorado Springs, Colorado
In her narrative, Pam reflected on how the soul retrieval made her strong somewhere
deep down inside.

As she watched herself discuss the last time she saw her son, Pam stopped the video
and commented that she can see [herself] getting stronger and that was surprising
because it doesnt feel that way inside.
By watching herself discuss her son, Pam visually experienced the strength that she had
gained because of the soul retrieval.
Researchers can develop video storytelling to contribute to applied and community-based
participatory approaches that seek to understand how healthcare therapies alleviate suffering
of trauma. Therapeutic practitioners could develop and adapt this model to enhance
individuals self-reflection and integration of therapeutic experiences.
For full analysis, methodology and citations please see the full companion text and
videos online at

Appendix J. COMIRB Continuing Review Approval
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303.724 1055 (Phonaj
303.724 0990 [Fax'
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Cc'oroco ProvonloR Contor
Certificate of Approval
lot Approved to Enroll Subjects! Recruiting of w subjects will requlr<^Tew_Ogl Investigator:
Effective Data:
Expiration Date:
Expedited Category:
Katnerine Mubin
COMIRB Protocol 10-0253 Continong Review
23-May 2012
Using Digital Narrative to Understand Cora Shamanism Heating
AH COMIRB Approved Investigators most comply with toe following:
For the duration of your protocol ary charge in the experimental desigrveonsent and/or assent form must be approved by the COMIRB
before implementation ot (he changes.
Jse only a copy of the COMtRB signed and dated Consent and/or Assent Form The investigator bears the responsibility for obtaining
*rom all subjects 'infor-ned Consent* as approved by the COMIRB The COMIRB REQUIRES thal the subject be given a copy of the
corsent and/or assent form. Consent and/or assent forms must indude the name and telephone number of the investigator
Provide non-English speaking subjects with a certified translation of the approved Consent and/or Assent Form to the subjects
nrst language.
The investigator atsc bears toe responsibility for informing the COMIRB immediately of any Unanticipated Problems that are
unexpected and related to the study in accordance with COMIRB Policy and Procedures
Obtain COMIRB approval tor all advertisements questionnaires and surveys before use
=edera: regulations require a Continuing Review tc re^ew approval o' this project within a 12-month period from the last approval
dale un-ess otherwise indicated in the review cycle listed oeow II you have a restneied/hign risk protocol, specific details will be
to this letter Non -compliance with Continuing Review will result in the termination of this study
You wiH be sent a Continuing Review reminder 75 days prior to the expiration dale. Any questions regarding this COMIRB action can be
referred to the Coordinator at 303-724-1055 or UCKSC Box F-490
Review Comments:
Approval includes.
CR Form
Attachment F
Attachment P/Protocol
Participant Viewing Rejection
Interview Guide
Practitioners Email Script
Proposed Script for Media Release Form

Appendix K. COM1RB Protocol Approval
Coforteo Miitipt* MstdikitionM Review Soerrt. CB F490
Univwsily o< Coto'Ado. Anecftutz Medical Cemput
13001 e. 17* Place. Burfong 800, Room N3214
Aurora. Colorado 80045
303 724 1085 (Phon|
303 724 0900 (Fax]
uchic.adu/comlrt) [Wab]
oomireOucdanver.aou [fc-Maii]
FWA00005070 [FWA)
Umvaraiiy of Colorado Hoapiiai
Oeover HeeKn Medical Center
Veteran'* Admimatration Metical Cant#'
The Cnitoren'f HoapMa
Univeiarty of Coforedo Denver
Colorado Prevendon Center
Certificate of Approval
Effective Date:
Expiration Date:
Expedited Category:
Katherine Mullin
COM1RB Protocol 10-0253 Initial Application
Using Digital Narrative to Understand Core Shamanism Healing
Ail COMIRB Approved Investigators must comply with the following
a For the duration of your protocol, any change in the experimental design/consent and/or assent form must be approved
by the COMIRB before implementation of the changes
a Use only a copy of the COMIRB signed and dated Consent and/or Assent Form. The investigator bears the responsibility
for obtaining from all subjects "Informed Consent" as approved by the COMIRB. The COMIRB REQUIRES that the
subject be given a copy of the consent and/or assent form. Consent and/or assent forms must include the name and
telephone number of the investigator.
a Provide non-English speaking subjects with a certified translation of the approved Consent and/or Assent Form in the
subject's first language
a The investigator also bears the responsibility for informing the COMIRB immediately of any Unanticipated Problems that
are unexpected and related to the study in accordance with COMIRB Policy and Procedures
a Obtain COMIRB approval for all advertisements, questionnaires and surveys before use
a Federal regulations require a Continuing Review to renew approval of this project within a 12-month period from the last
approval date unless otherwise indicated in the review cycle listed below. If you have a restncted/high risk protocol,
specific details will be outlined in this letter. Non-compliance with Continuing Review will result in the termination of this
You will be sent a Continuing Review reminder 75 days prior to the expiration date. Any questions regarding this COMIRB
action can be referred to the Coordinator at 303-724-1055 or UCHSC Box F-490.
Review Comments:
Approval includes:
Application for Protocol Review, v. 04-19/10
Attachment K Expedited Review
Consent, v. 03/05/10, #1
Media Release Form
Practitioner Recruitment Email Script
Phone Script
(3) Researcher Email Scripts
Interview Guide

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