Wounded Healer

This is yet another rambling post – today’s topic being the “Wounded Healer” archetype. Thanks to @matarotwellness for offering a special reading for healers – which segued in my little mind to the wounded healer archetype.

Many Tarot readers also carry the ability to heal within themselves. That is – to heal not only themselves, but others as well. Does this ability to heal carry a dark side to it? One example of the wounded healer goes back to the Greek myth of Chiron,  the Centaur who was wounded by an arrow from Heracles bow. Because he was a god, he did not die. However, he did suffer immeasurable  pain for the rest of his life.

There is another part to this story. Chiron was taught medicine by Artemis and Apollo – because of this, he became known as a legendary healer in ancient Greece. Chiron took the orphaned child of Apollo and a mortal (Coronis) to raise. He instructed the child (Esculapius) in the healing arts. Esculapius went on to become one of the two founders of western medicine.

Jung referred to the term “wounded healer” 1 in his work. He felt that only a wounded physician (healer) could heal effectively, and he connected this to the myth of Chiron.

As healers, we are present to help activate the healing power within our clients. However, we also carry personal wounds that may be healed through our interactions with our clients. As we help facilitate the healing within our clients, they help facilitate our healing.

In some way, I have half an idea that this is why we see the phenomenon of issues in our clients lives/readings often times reflecting issues (wounds) within us that need to be healed.

I am still not thrilled with the thought that I may be a wounded healer! 😉


1. Jung C. Fundamental questions of psychotherapy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1951.


© November 2009 Bonnie Cehovet