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In Greek mythology, the centaur ‘Chiron’ was known as the ‘Wounded Healer’. Chiron was poisoned by one of Hercules' arrows, but because he was not able to heal himself he suffered thereafter from an incurable wound.
The Psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, developed this phenomenon by stating that "a good half of every treatment that probes at all deeply consists in the doctor's examining himself...it is his own hurt that gives a measure of his power to heal. This, and nothing else, is the meaning of the Greek myth of the wounded physician."
Latterly, the term ‘Wounded Healer’ has expanded from Jung’s original concept to cover the study of any professional healer who has been wounded, including counsellors, psychotherapists, doctors and nurses.
Alison Barr, director of The Green Rooms, is active in counselling and psychotherapy research. Alison believes that specialised research is crucial to the development of the profession, and, to ensure that clients are being offered the best possible support and intervention.
Alison has published research titled, ‘An Investigation into the extent to which Psychological Wounds inspire Counsellors and Psychotherapists to become Wounded Healers, the significance of these Wounds on their Career Choice, the causes of these Wounds and the overall significance of Demographic Factors’.
Alison presented this paper at the 2006 COSCA Research Dialogue, and received an enthusiastic reception. You can download the research paper and presentation handouts below.
At the Green Rooms we believe that research such as this is important, as it allows us to understand the impact psychological wounds can have. The research may also be useful for counsellors and psychotherapists by encouraging them to further examine their own reasons for pursuing a therapeutic career.