Wounded Healer, Wounded Teacher: Questions for Self-Reflection

L0004642 Japanese model figures: doctor and patient Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Doctor and Patient. A doctor feeling the pulse of a woman patient; both seated on their heels, side by side. Carved ivory netsuke, Japanese. Published:  -  Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

All of us bear wounds of some kind – be it a sense of pervasive unworthiness, a lack of self-esteem, disconnection, abuse, trauma, etc. Some choose to suppress these wounds and the experiences that shape then – and carry on life as usual, others choose to acknowledge it, and seek healing. Some throw themselves into a committed path of healing, seeking to master the wound with knowledge of techniques that they then teach others. The majority of spiritual workers, teachers and trainers fall into that category.

All of these paths are equally valid, neither is more elevated than the other – except that the path of not-doing-anything-about-it, has a different set of karmic consequences.

And whilst the wounded healer archetype is one that we have come to accept as part our spiritual discourse, and our understanding of those who come to service … we need to spend a little more time thinking about just what that entails.

Everyone brings their perspective onto what they teach – that includes their joys, their strengths, their weaknesses – and yes, their wounds. And as we mature into our roles as facilitators (those of you who are on this path) – one of the big lessons is to acknowledge how we work with our own wounds first.

It’s a fairly important thing to do for a wide range of reasons – to be true to ty self – to ensure the lack of energetic spillover – to be able to provide your clients with the best possible service. Shamanic practitioners, or those who delve into another person’s energy field directly, have a greater reason to take this to heart.

Here’s a metaphor that might help, albeit a little bloody:

Imagine you’ve got a cut in your arm, and that the wound is still bleeding. For some, it’s a trickle, for others, it’s an arterial spray.

You see someone with a similar wound, something you think you can help fix. You’ve learnt how, and go in with your needle and thread. But you’re still bleeding.

It ain’t a pretty picture, but, at an energetic level, that is what tends to happen. Scary, I know…

It would be best to let yourself heal first, allow the stitches to hold together your own wounds, then have them removed. Once those initial stages of healing are done, then, my friends, you’d be in a much better place to work with others.

And no, that’s not selfish. That’s not turning a blind eye to another person’s suffering.

By working on you first, you’re actually practicing self-compassion. You’re allowing yourself to emerge as a kind of healer/teacher/practitioner that is safe for your clients to work with.

Questions to ask yourselves:

Do your wounds come out in the facilitations that you do? Energetically, verbally, etc.?

How do they shape the kind of facilitator that you’ve become?

Do you hide your wounds as part of our public persona? That’s not the same as baring your soul to everyone, but do you pretend they never existed?

Do you acknowledge your wounds as part of your story – at an intellectual, but not at an emotional level?

Do you believe that having a title, a piece of paper-based certification or a following is enough proof that ‘you’re done’ with those wounds?

Do you mask those wounds, vulnerabilities and experiences because you’d like to seem more ‘integrated’, able to be a better facilitator? How so?

Do you seek to heal your clients as a proxy to healing yourself? (It just doesn’t work that way, my friends … )

At the end of the day, irrespective of the roles, titles, degrees and training that we may have, we’re all facilitating one another, just by virtue of being. The onus is on us to be critically self-reflective when we do so with greater public presence and when we seek to be seen in a certain way by others.

Whilst these are unpopular questions, they are necessary ones. It helps to be able to see your reflection in the mirror of another whom you trust, one who can give you honest feedback.

Bairavee Balasubramaniam

Image: Japanese model figures; doctor and patient Wellcome L0004642.jpg – See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Post © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015. All rights reserved

6 Comments on “Wounded Healer, Wounded Teacher: Questions for Self-Reflection

  1. Pingback: Lorilyn Hurley – swifties {the love list}

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: