Carl Jung, a founding father of psychology best known for his his theory of the Collective Unconscious, first used the term wounded healer in 1951. Jung believed that disease of the soul could be the best possible form of training for a healer. In a book published days before his death, Jung wrote that only a wounded physician could heal effectively. In so doing, Jung drew upon the myth of Chiron, making it one of the most fundamental archetypes of human history and modern medicine.
Legend has it that Chiron was the wisest of the centaurs. He happened to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time when his buddy Hercules accidentally struck him with a poisoned arrow. Chiron’s wound never healed and he was forced to live with this pain. Being immortal, not even death could be his relief.
Chiron was a silver lining type of guy though, and found ways to work around his wound. In learning to live with, and accept, his pain, he was able to teach others how to accept theirs and became a powerful healer.
The myth of Chiron teaches us that no matter how great our suffering we are responsible for healing ourselves and in doing so we can serve others. This is the foundation of my life and work. As a therapist, I was warned against self disclosing to clients but in my 13+ years practicing I’ve found the opposite to be true. Sharing about my personal struggles and triumphs is my greatest asset because human connection is the foundation of spirituality and healing.
This inspired my new daily column in Thrive Global where I interview renowned physicians, psychologists, therapists and healers about their path from pain to purpose. It’s time to humanize the face of health care and you can help by following here.
Recently I had the honor of sharing my wounded healer journey with Voyage LA magazine and on Cosmic rockstar, Ambi Kavanagh’s podcast, Alchemy with Ambi. From the depths of depression, anxiety and addiction I’ve risen - resilient, embodied and with fierce faith that I’m exactly where I'm meant to be. I still struggle sometimes but have become fiercely adept at navigating the terrain of change and you can too.
In honor of our wounds,
P.S. It's easy to love the light, share this with a friend and show them you love their darkness too.