Celebrating the Wounded Healer Psychotherapist : Pain, Post-Traumatic Growth and Self-Disclosure book cover
1st Edition

Celebrating the Wounded Healer Psychotherapist
Pain, Post-Traumatic Growth and Self-Disclosure

ISBN 9781138926738
Published October 18, 2016 by Routledge
226 Pages

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Book Description

Why would someone decide to become a psychotherapist? It is well-known within the field that psychoanalysts and psychotherapists are often drawn to their future professions as a result of early traumatic experiences and being helped by their own psychoanalytic treatment. While dedicating their lives to relieving emotional suffering without being judgmental, they fear compromising their reputations if they publicly acknowledge such suffering in themselves. This phenomenon is nearly universal among those in the helping professions, yet there are few books dedicated to the issue. 

In this innovative book, Farber and a distinguished range of contributors examine how the role of the ‘wounded healer’ was instrumental in the formulation of psychoanalysis, and how using their own woundedness can help clinicians work more effectively with their patients, and advance theory in a more informed manner.

Celebrating the Wounded Healer Psychotherapist will be of interest to psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists, graduate students in clinical disciplines including psychology, social work, ministry/chaplaincy and nursing, as well as the general public.

Table of Contents

PART 1: THE WOUNDED AND WOUNDING HEALER Introduction 1: Looking for a Psychotherapist 2: The Concept of the Wounded Healer 3: The Psychotherapist's Occupational Hazards 4: The Hero's Journey 5: The Overt and Covert Freud  6: The Wounding Healer Psychotherapist and the Self-wounding Healer PART 2: THE WOUNDED HEALERS SPEAK 7: This Wounded Healer Says Warp up the Loom  8: Feet of Clay  9: Madame Johnson  10: Facing the Demons 11: Silent Broken Memories  12: Open the Curtains and Let in the Light 13: Healing as the Hero's Journey 14: My Hand on her Shoulder 15: The Monsters Inside 16: Wounded Healer, Healing Wounder 17: Wounded Healer/Wounded Earth

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Sharon Klayman Farber, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, clinical social worker, author, teacher, and independent scholar. She maintains a private practice in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, treating children, adolescents, and adults.


'Dr. Sharon Farber’s new book condenses a great deal of information that is vital to all of us who practice psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Her unique focus is on the way so many of us are "wounded healers," the way we utilize our own history of wounds — abuse, abandonment, mis-attunement, violence, narrative distortions — to recognize and heal the wounds of our patients. She also shows how some become "wounding healers," how what we do with patients can become a repetition of what was done to us. Jung was one of the first to describe the wounded healer and Freud a major example of someone who, in avoiding his own history of loss and neglect, became a wounding healer. One of Farber’s central points is that one’s own therapy or analysis is crucial in using one’s history in effective ways.

The book is filled with case examples that illustrate these themes, including ten chapters written by other therapists, each with a specific focus that enriches and expands the major points. Overall, the book is scholarly and well researched, clearly and compellingly written, with evocative imagery that brings the material alive.' - Louis Breger, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus, California Institute of Technology; author of Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision. 

'When asked what makes a great psychologist, Jung responded, "Someone who has to spend his life in a mental hospital, the only question whether as a patient or doctor." Sharon Farber’s work explores how wounds we undergo can make us more sensitive to others. Her focus is on people who became therapists, partly as a way of healing themselves by helping others. The idea that a psychotherapist suffers injuries shared by many is neither idealized nor debunked. What matters is the creative response to what one must go through and the value this has for therapeutic work.' - Michael Eigen, PhD. Author of Faith and Contact With the Depths.

'In this comprehensive and insightful book, Sharon Farber succeeds in humanizing therapists, outing them as ‘wounded healers’ in a way that opens an otherwise intimidating door for both clients and the professionals themselves. From therapists to shamani to religious gurus, she asks the question: Is the wound an eye that sees?  Does it cultivate compassion or a badge that feeds the therapists’ narcissism? Anyone considering psychotherapy either as a client or as a profession would do well to read this cautionary book so that they may be better equipped to tell the difference.' - Andrea Celenza, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; author of Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Supervisory and Academic Contexts and Erotic Revelations: Clinical Applications and Perverse Scenarios. (www.andreacelenza.com)

‘Finally, a book that explores—even celebrates-- the psychotherapist’s humanity, sensitivity and imperfections, in all their vibrant forms. By challenging the myth of the fully healed healer, Sharon K. Farber pulls away the protective veil behind which psychotherapists have often felt forced to hide their wounds. In doing so, she reveals the vulnerability that all human beings share and that often compels one to become a psychotherapist. Farber and the other authors in this vital collection show us how the wounds that bind are often the very same ones that heal.’ - Steven Kuchuck, LCSW, Editor, Clinical Implications of the Psychoanalyst’s Life Experience: When the Personal Becomes Professional

Celebrating the Wounded Healer Psychotherapist is a great example of how scholarly work can be blended with personal experience to make text more readable for larger and more diverse audiences.  I found the personal accounts of the wounded healers—who might also be called "wounded heroes" for the ways in which they survived their struggles and helped others--especially interesting and evocative.’ Lee Gutkind, Editor, Creative Nonfiction Magazine.