The scar of Ulysses

This is another great idea, inspired by Greek mythology and Jungian psychology.

Ulysses adventures throughout time and space present a meaningful parable of life’s journey and in addition to Chiron, Ulysses also represents dual and paradoxical archetypal meanings with a main one being the puer-senex (child-elder) dyad; puer referring to open wounds and senex to the scarred ones (Hillman, 1977). Ulysses, whose scars appear as an everlasting sign of his wounds, can also be seen as a particular kind of consciousness (ibid), a particular way of being.

In relation to the therapeutic relationship, a wounded healer does not mean merely expressing empathy or understanding the client’s predicament, which appears too obvious and never enough to heal (ibid). It is argued here that the ‘wounded healer’ is not a person, but a personification presenting a kind of consciousness or a way of being-in-the-world[1], with its free potentials and necessary limitations.

As Hillman (1977) suggests, a wounded consciousness refers to damage and hurt of one’s existence that is localized in different parts of one’s body and soul. ‘Healing comes then not because one is whole, integrated, and all together, but from a consciousness breaking through dismemberment’ (ibid: 117), with the moments of localized consciousness being the healing process. Such dismembered way of being allows for an open dialogue between two people, between client and therapist, through their wounds: ‘my wounds speak to your wounds, yours to mine’ (ibid: 117).

[1] Existentially, one’s Dasein is seen as unified with one’s world, as Heidegger termed it: ‘[t]he compound expression “being-in-the-world” indicates, in the very way we have coined it, that it stands for a unified phenomenon’ (1927b: 53).