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The wounded healer is an archetype that suggests that a healer's own wounds can carry curative power for clients. This article reviews past research regarding the construct of the wounded healer. The unique benefits that a psychotherapist's personal struggles might have on work with clients are explored, as well as the potential vulnerability of some wounded healers with respect to stability of recovery, difficulty managing countertransference, compassion fatigue, and/or professional impairment. The review also explores psychologists' perceptions of and responses to wounded healers and examines factors relating to social stigma and self-stigma that may influence wounded healers' comfort in disclosing their wounds. We propose that the relative absence of dialogue in the field regarding wounded healers encourages secrecy and shame among the wounded, thereby preventing access to support and guidance and discouraging timely intervention when needed. We explore the complexities of navigating disclosure of wounds, given the atmosphere of silence and stigma. We suggest that the mental health field move toward an approach of greater openness and support regarding the wounded healer, and provide recommendations for cultivating the safety necessary to promote resilience and posttraumatic growth. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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... Additionally, some counselors-in-training may pursue a career as a helping professional with a history of their own emotional wounds. Carl Jung conceptualized wounded healers as those who have been wounded but who have also gone through the process of recovery and healing (Streeter, 2017;Zerubavel & O'Dougherty Wright, 2012). ...
... These counselors may have an enhanced sense of empathy and vulnerability with clients that could aid the therapeutic relationship, having gone through the healing process themselves (Zerubavel & O'Dougherty Wright, 2012). However, counselors who still suffer from their wounds may experience personal distress that adversely impacts their 89 Stevens, Williams, & Dowd clinical work. ...
... More recently, the British Psychological Society (2019) reported that 40% of NHS psychotherapists informed feeling depressed. Although psychologists appear to take good care of their psychological well-being, as evidenced by their greater use of mental health services compared to the general population (Digiuni et al., 2013), many internalize these beliefs and assume that disclosing their psychological and emotional needs could cast doubts about their professionalism ('t Lam et al., 2018), to the extent of hiding this information to protect their reputation and credibility (Sawyer, 2011;Zerubavel & Wright, 2012). The barriers psychologists face when disclosing their lived experiences of mental health difficulties have recently been exposed by the British Psychological Society (2020) in a statement report in which adverse personal experiences and mental health issues are acknowledged as an asset for clinical practice. ...
... The experience of psychological issues or traumas in professionals has been explored under the denomination of the "wounded healer" (Gelso & Hayes, 2007). Zerubavel & Wright, 2012 pointed out that, because of the positive effects of these professionals on the therapeutic process (e.g., a deeper understanding of the client, greater empathy, and patience), the history of trauma could have a protective effect through its relationship with PTG. Consequently, to better understand the effects of providing psychological services, it seems necessary to devote more room for its positive effects along with the negative ones, as both dimensions seem to concur. ...
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Over the past decades, a growing interest has emerged toward understanding the impact that the exposure to human suffering produces in mental health professionals, leading to the identification of three constructs: vicarious traumatization (VT), compassion fatigue (CF), and secondary trauma (ST). However, little is known about how these conditions affect psychologists. A systematic review and a meta-analysis were conducted to examine the evidence about the effects of occupational exposure to trauma and suffering in studies that included psychologists among their samples. Fifty-two studies were included comprising 10,233 participants. Overall, the results showed that most professionals did not experience relevant distress due to their work, yet some of them developed clinically significant symptoms (i.e., PTSD). However, solid conclusions could not be drawn due to the numerous methodological difficulties found in this research field (i.e., group heterogeneity, lack of comparison groups, and conceptual overlap). Thus, it is necessary to further investigate this topic with scientific rigor to understand these stressors and develop evidence-based interventions.
... Dit kan leiden tot over-identificatie, overbetrokkenheid en/of projectie van eigen gevoelens op de patiënt, verstoringen van het klinisch oordeel en onvoldoende erkende en gehanteerde tegenoverdracht, met ongepaste zelfonthulling en overschrijding van professionele grenzen. In het slechtste geval gaan de thema's van de therapeut de therapeutische agenda te sterk bepalen (Zerubavel & Wright, 2012;Farber e.a., 2005;Conchar & Repper, 2014;Telepak, 2010). ...
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ARTIKEL Als de chirurg in eigen vingers snijdt… anno 2020 Over de kwetsbaarheid en de beroepsrisico's van psychotherapeuten . Myriam Van Gael Samenvatting In de literatuur en in onderzoek wordt gesuggereerd dat psychotherapeuten vaak een meer problematische familiale achtergrond hebben dan mensen in andere beroepen. Hun beroepskeuze wordt beïnvloed door de kwetsbaarheden die hiervan het gevolg zijn. Als gewonde genezers worden zij in hun werk bovendien geconfronteerd met situaties die risico's inhouden voor hun lichamelijke en geestelijke gezondheid. Zij ondervinden dan ook niet zelden psychologische, familiale en sociale moeilijkheden en/of problemen die direct verbonden zijn met hun werk zoals therapist distress en therapist impairment. Omwille van innerlijke en externe factoren zijn zij geneigd hieraan voorbij te gaan. Dit verhoogt de risico's voor henzelf en voor hun patiënten. Er is meer aandacht nodig voor zelfzorg en voor een professioneel klimaat dat zelfzorg van psychotherapeuten ondersteunt. Aandacht voor professionele ontwikkeling kan een sterk antidotum zijn tegen burnout en distress. When the surgeon cuts his own hand …. On vulnerability of and occupational risks for psychotherapists Abstract Literature and research suggest that psychotherapists have more problematic family backgrounds than other professionals. Their choice of career bears the marks of their own psychological vulnerabilities. As wounded healers they are confronted in their work by situations which add to this risk for their psychological health and wellbeing. As a result, they often experience psychological and social difficulties and/or personal problems and problems in their family lives associated with their work like therapist distress and therapist impairment. Personal and external factors contribute to their tendency to ignore or minimize their problems. Therapists must attend to their own self-care. There is also a need for a professional climate that supports self-care. Attention for the professional development of psychotherapists is a strong antidote against burnout and distress.
... Unresolved issues and conflicts are universal and psychotherapists bring their own histories and sensitivities into the therapeutic relationship (Hayes et al., 2018). A high proportion of therapists report childhood experiences of trauma and neglect (Barnett, 2007;Nikcěvićet al., 2007;Simpson et al., 2019;Wise et al., 2012) and this duality is reflected in Jung's "wounded healer" archetype (Zerubavel & Wright, 2012). Though therapists' experiences of childhood adversity can be a resource (e.g., increased capacity for empathy), the resulting beliefs and interpersonal behavior can interfere with therapy (Barnett, 2007;Simpson et al., 2019). ...
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