The Wounded Healer

“Our sorrows and wounds are only healed when we touch them with compassion.”


A wise person once told me that healing is an art, while medicine is a science. Healing deals with issues on the level of the spirit. Now I tend to agree with this. For someone to recover from physical illness, mental illness, or spiritual distress requires the use of multiple disciplines, because if the mind is affected then the patient is also experiencing physical symptoms as well. For those of us who deal with anxiety one example is when someone really worries their heart beat quickens, you perspire, and many suffer from digestive disorders, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Stress can make chronic health conditions worsen, as the body, mind and spirit become further out of balance.

Four years ago, I had the privilege of working with a counselor who was a survivor of sexual trauma herself. Now she is a real life example of the wounded healer. Carol Myss, Ph. D, discusses the wounded healer archetype in relation to the healing process for the healer and the patient. The process of healing yourself can be the biggest challenge that anyone will face in life, because those who are wounded also wound others. It is only by facing both of these sides that one can heal.

It is someone who has experienced trauma themselves who uses their experience to help others towards their own healing. Compassion can only be taught through experience and suffering. It is not a concept that someone can learn from a book, or via a course. Compassion crosses the distance between sympathy and turns it into empathy.

Greek mythology gives us the myth of Chiron who learned knowledge of the healing arts when he was wounded by an arrow poisoned with the blood of the Hydra. His wound led him in the quest for knowledge to heal himself that he eventually taught to others. Mythology teaches us much wisdom through archetypes, like the wounded healer, of how to take the journey towards healing. It is by healing ourselves that we can help others.

When one makes a caring, compassionate connection with a wounded healer who is a brother or a sister through empathy this connection facilitates the healing process. The counselor’s empathy furthered my healing process, so I grew in courage to face issues that I had denied for over ten years. Good therapeutic relationships also teach the counselor how to further their own personal development. I can remember her seeking new tools that would help to challenge me outside of my comfort zone. Now when someone is a caring professional it helps the client to feel  safe in doing this.

Healing as I said works on the level of the soul. It means that the healer makes a soul to soul connection that facilitates the healing process. Healing requires surrendering to a power greater than yourself. Caroline Myss discusses in her YouTube video how your soul must get strong enough, so it will fear nothing. Surrender is the zero point of true faith, and as human beings our egos want to control what our reality will be. Surrender means existing only in the present. It is the realization that the past is done, and the future is not written yet. It require the deepest trust, and faith in something greater than yourself. Now what ever religious or spiritual path the healer is on he or she must surrender to God/Source, or their own healing will not move forward.

Jesus Christ is another example of the wounded healer archetype. He experiences in the New Testament torture, and then death via crucifixion. He prays to God in the Garden of Gethsemane to take the poisoned cup from his lips yet he does surrender to the will of God. Can you imagine knowing that you are going to die and surrendering like that? It’s a difficult concept for most of us to even wrap our heads around. It makes asking for assistance with a mental illness, addiction, or a physical illness to seem like the prayer will be answered. Hillsong, a Christian musical group, wrote a song called Healer that talks about surrender to God when one needs healing.


(c) 2012 Amanda Wilson. all media rights reserved to respective owners


11 thoughts on “The Wounded Healer

  1. Pingback: Crazy May~Healing and Growing Simply « A Moment with Mysti

  2. The Enfant Terrible

    I think that you should follow that path… This is a very well thought out and poignant piece. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. You’re welcome and thanks for reading it. I am still in my own healing process at the moment, but this will probably be part of my path eventually. Any assistance I provide to others right now also transforms me as well. 🙂

  3. “because those who are wounded also wound others…” Thank you for sharing this post – and that is so true, and why I explored in great detail the way the Wounded Healer archetype could have significance for healing the many hurts and wounds of the world, caused so often by our own wounded behavior. You may be interested in my resulting book, Healing this Wounded Earth : with Compassion, Spirit and the Power of Hope. I wanted to bring Wounded Healer into the title but everyone told me it wouldn’t work because no one had heard the term Wounded Healer!! Good luck along your own path to healing – somewhere I have been myself.

  4. Thank you for your comment and for wishing me luck with my own healing. I will be sure to check out the book as it sounds like an interesting read. Archetypes are not something that too many people are familiar with outside of psychology and the study of myth. I first heard the term in a Classical civilization class at university. The way that the wounded tend to wound others can almost spread like a contagion. Perhaps as you are saying it is time to change things to make the world a better place. 🙂

  5. I just posted a blog last night speaking about archetype, yet I did not use the word. I love synchronicities of the universe. Thanks for sharing on Facebook. I just recently had a astrological reading and learned of a YOD in my chart with Chiron. I have always known my pain allows me to feel more deeply with others.

    1. You are very welcome. Where did you find my post on Facebook? I am trying to share more of my writing to connect to others who are interested in spirituality. I don’t know too much about astrology so it’s interesting for me to watch when others do astrological charts. I was an empath from childhood so my experiences have shaped what I write, study and share with others.

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