The Wounded Healer
From Compassion Fatigue to Interconnectedness
with Cathy Skipper and Florian Birkmayer MD
RARE LIVE IN-PERSON Weekend of April 29-30 Portland ME
ARE YOU FEELING
- Burn Out?
- Compassion Fatigue?
- Secondary/provider trauma?
- Frustrated because you wish the work with your clients would go deeper?
- Your work with your clients is going in circles and not getting to the underlying issues ?
- Your work/life balance is off?
- There are unknown issues holding you back from being the best version of yourself?
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
The way forward is changing your perspective and making your own healing journey your first priority — from this true healing will ripple out to others effortlessly.
It’s no secret many practitioners have burn out and are drowning under the pressure and responsibility of trying to help their clients. If you’re not putting your own wounded healer’s journey first, these feelings of frustration and overload will not go away.
Putting other people’s healing before your own will never help you create a successful, effective and sustainable healing practice.
DATE AND TIME
We will be teaching this class live in-person in Portland ME (Maine) the weekend of April 29-30.
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE AND SIGN UP
Being THE HEALER YOU WANT TO BE requires that you look at things differently, make your continued healing journey a priority, and approach life from the wounded healer’s perspective.
Knowing that “The wounded healer IS the archetype of the Self and is at the bottom of all genuine healing procedures.” (as Marie Luise von Franz said) has helped us to
- Grow a successful, multi-modality practice that really helps many people without leaving us exhausted.
- Do the work that fullfills our soul’s purpose
- Have time and energy for life, hobbies, exercise and family and above all feel a sense of belonging to ourselves and to our lives.
- Help others from a deep sense of our own inner healing journey rather than from book knowledge and other people’s techniques.
- Feel secure in the unique and authentic modalities that we offer that come from our own healing and experiences.
How we do this:
We never forget C. G. Jung’s words:
‘The analyst must go on learning endlessly…it is his own hurt that gives the measure of his power to heal. This, and nothing else, is the meaning of the Greek myth of the wounded physician.”
Like Jung, we believe that it is our own healing soul journey that is the most important and it is through this journey that we are able to help others. A practitioner, therapist or doctor that has not examined and brought to light his own wounds will project them onto the client who will thereby be stuck in the patient role forever.
We embrace our own suffering and darkness in order to become whole, in other words to ‘individuate’.
We see our wound as an initiation that brings us a deeper sense of self, wisdom, compassion and understanding. There is a gift in the wound, which is the mythic sense of our life.
IF WE REPRESS OUR OWN WOUNDS THEY INFLUENCE OUR LIVES AS SHADOW ASPECTS THAT WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER
This is why we wanted to offer an introductory class to this important subject. A class where we will open doors for you to finally honor your own journey. You will learn to navigate the shadow and practice looking inwards, focusing on the self instead of putting all the emphasis on the outer world. As things change internally so they do externally.
Because, as Jung said, “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
EMBRACE THE ONGOING, DYNAMIC, MULTI-LAYERED EXPERIENCE OF THE WOUNDED HEALER THAT IS CONTINUOUSLY SHOWING US MORE AND MORE ABOUT OURSELVES.
Even when we’ve transcended the original wounding, we honour its gift and thus the wounds of others.
I, Cathy, am wounded. My wound is central to who I am. I have always taught and worked with clients through the filter of my ownexperience, which is my wound. My wound is what enables me to feel and understand the emotions underlying the problems in our clients’ lives. It brings me closer to the client. Through the resonance of the client’s woundedness with my own, I search for the way forward for the client. My wound is the wellspring from which my professional work takes its source. My intuitive wisdom and understanding of the client’s difficulties and needs comes from my own wound. Working with my own wound is at the core of my personality and my life. Without this, I could not be there for our clients and students.
My wound also shows me the themes that need excavating personally, with clients and collectively. My core wound and I have been intimate since I was a child. The theme is transgenerational and historical
trauma. As I reach a place further along in my own healing journey, I realize that this theme resonates with the collective. My wound led me on the journey of my life. It led me to a place where I have reconnected with what was broken. I now taste the gift of my wound, which is the sense of belonging that I had been separated from.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” (T. S. Elliot)
This core wound stems from the trauma and thread of my maternal bloodline and is also part of a larger historical trauma. In the microcosm, it helps me work on this major theme with clients and students and in the macrocosm it resonates with the collective healing needed on the planet at the moment. My wound is the gift from which I find my place in my life through my personal myth, in my work as a healer and in the collective as a conscious being.
I, Florian gained a much deeper understanding of being a Wounded Healer several years ago, when my soul demanded that I stop working as a psychiatrist. While I loved providing for my clients in my private practice and was devoted to them, no matter what, I was getting close to burn-out.
I had thought about the need and desire to stop being a psychiatrist for a while, but there were many egoic reasons why it was difficult. It was hard to ‘abandon’ my clients and say goodbye to them. My identity was excessively wrapped up in my professional persona.
Earlier that summer, while on vacation, I had a profound revelatory experience with the book “The Alchemy of Healing” by Edward Whitmont MD, a Jungian and homeopath. I had heard of the book and been intrigued by it for some time. One of the uncanny ‘winks from the universe’ that this was important to me was that I learned that Edward Whitmont had received his MD from the University of Vienna in 1936, almost the same year as my grandfather Walter Birkmayer. I wondered if they knew each other.
I had tried to start this book several times earlier, but the first few chapters were impenetrable to me and I never succeeded in getting into it. On this vacation in June 2015, having brought along the book
on a hunch, I decided that, since I had struggled to read the book, and might never actually read it fully, I wasn’t going to ruin anything by reading the last chapter first—a fateful decision.
This last chapter is about the Healer. In my memory I had distilled the experience down to a single paragraph, but in re-reading the chapter now it is full of potent statements, that spoke to my soul. My ego/intellect was a helpless bystander as I read the following:
“… in projecting upon the patient the unresolved problematic of his own helpless or sick child, the one who still needs to be cared for and loved or to rebel against authority, the healer may unconsciously
try to treat unacceptable parts of himself in the patient. … Projectively seeing one’s own despair in the other aggravates that person’s existing pathology and often induces hopelessness in the
other.” (Whitmont, op. cit.)
This passage terrified me more than the scariest movie I had ever seen. It felt like a cold surgical mirror from which there was no escape had been held up to me. My desire to always be there for my patients, no matter what, was due to my own wound from childhood neglect and I was keeping my clients trapped in the client role, unconscious of their own inner healer. In the instant I read that passage, I knew I had to close my practice and commit to working on myself continuously. This knowledge came from deep inside me. I finally heard my soul and through it a much deeper earth wisdom. I had to die to that role.
Whitmont goes on to say “Thus the healing force impersonated by and mediated by the healer and his initiator inflicts illness and death and, paradoxically, … itself suffers illness and death, in the service
of consciousness and transformation.” (op. cit.)
Having read this chapter, I knew I had to stop working as a psychiatrist. My sense of myself, my place in the world, even my sense of the whole world, was crumbling. It was a psychological death process, that I would now identify with the mortificatio stage of alchemy. Without this realization that happened not just intellectually but in my entire being, I would not have been able to grow into the work that Cathy and I are doing.
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If you have any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to answer them.
(+1) 505 808 0740