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Moss, E. (1991). Wounded Healer. Brit. J. Psychother., 7(4):432.

(1991). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 7(4):432


Wounded Healer

Edward Moss

I found Nathan Field's Post-Platonic Dialogue about Dr W- in your Winter issue (Vol. 7(2), pp. 141-147) both penetrating and moving. Dr W-, who in the practice of his profession ‘was a lover in the truest sense’, appeared differently to each of his patients. His guiding spirit was finally identified as that of the wounded healer, Chiron. This made me wonder whether a deeper identification might not be with a different wounded healer, of whom Eliot wrote, in reference to dying and the redemption of the Cross:

The wounded surgeon plies the steel

That questions the distempered part;

The sharp compassion of the healer's art

Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Another wounded healer with his own ‘thorn in the flesh’ who shared this identification was Paul; and significantly Paul once said that he was made all things to all men. As Kipling put it in the poem At His Execution:

I have forgot or foregone

The self men call their own

(Being made all things to all men) So that I might save some …

Kipling ends his poem with the line ‘Restore me my self again!’ But this does not quite strike the right note for Paul, the psychologist of the old false self and the new true self, conformed to Christ and so set free. It was the new self that he wanted. He made explicit his own guiding spirit: ‘not I, but Christ in me’.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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