Chiron, the original wounded healer cont..

Guggenbuhl-Craig (1989: 91) argues that ‘The healer and the patient are two aspects of the same’, with one’s self or ego finding difficult to bear the polarized tension of paradox and dilemma, as the ‘ego loves clarity and tries to eradicate inner ambivalence.’ Given such pressures a mutually collusive relationship may develop between therapist and client, ‘[t]he patient, for instance, can project his own wounds on to the patient’ (ibid: 92). An issue here would be how the therapist’s psyche might become inflated by identification with the chironian archetype. Such an attitude by a therapist would refer to the splitting of the archetype and the closing of the split through power (Guggenbuhl- Craig, 1989). Therapists would no longer be able to see their own wounds, their own potential for illness; clients would become objectified, degraded and therapists elevated with one pole of the archetype repressed or denied (ibid).

In light of the above, the more conscious efforts are directed towards being helpful to others, the more one’s shadow absorbs one’s altruistic potential, with aggressive and destructive urges being emphasised. There is also considerable evidence to suggest that therapists are driven to heal others in an attempt to heal themselves, with therapists engaging in therapeutic work so as to distance themselves from their shadow (Hellman et at, 1986).

Jung (1959a, 1961) uses the term shadow, to describe the dark or destructive unconscious aspects of the personality, the reverse of personal or collective ideals. It appears as a paradox that psychotherapy is subject to a threat from the shadow but also concerned with and examining it. A therapist’s splits between woundedness against strength and potency would allow dark aspects to take over; on the other hand an anxious and uncertain opening to one’s strengths and weaknesses would allow potentials in therapy for a creative interplay between light and darkness.

I will be continuing further on Jungian ideas, ‘The scar of Ulysses’.