The Wounded Healer
In Process Coaching we are the Healer when we come to the aid of a part of ourselves. And interestingly there is a shadow aspect to the Healer. The 'Wounded Healer' is a powerful archetype in the healing arts. Carl Jung uncovered this archetype in himself and traced it back seven millennia to the ancient Greek myths of Chiron, the wounded centaur, and his student Asclepius, who later became the god of medicine and healing.
The archetype is probably older than this, however. Many shamanic traditions have held that a healer must first be wounded themselves before they can be truly effective in helping another heal. When we have known pain and suffering ourselves, we can relate well with another's wounding, and feel a deep desire to heal. Process Coaching is like shamanism in this way, however rather than an external shaman doing the healing, we are the one who heals our own inner wounds.
Healing happens when we give unconditional love to the hurt, scared and angry parts of ourselves. The Healer identity is necessary to deliver the potent healing medicine of real love to the feeling parts that are triggered. However, this can only happen when we are actually the self-parental Healer, and therefore resourceful enough to fully love the parts of self that have been experiencing pain.
Ironically, one of the most common experiences we have when identified as the Healer is to become wounded; we get triggered and lose ourselves in an imprint. One moment we are resourceful and self-parental, going about our life in love and harmony, and then suddenly we're triggered. Something happens 'to' us, and in an instant of shock our resourceful state slips away and a painful state takes over.
The Healer is wounded and becomes temporarily disabled. 'I am' the Healer and I have just been triggered. With identity being flexible, the 'I am' quickly shifts to a hurt part of self. Now 'I am' hurt. A typical exclamation at times like these could be, "Oh (expletive), not again!" Or, "What's wrong with me!" Or, "I can't believe I did that!? Judgments may also come rushing in to make the pain even worse, "Stupid," "Worthless," "I'll never be able to..."' The rush to judge or blame ourselves is a powerful clue that we are wounded and not the loving Healer.
So who heals the Healer? The answer of course is the real Healer. By definition, the real Healer is resourceful, non-imprinted and in complete acceptance of whatever is happening. This means that the wounded Healer is a fragment like any other hurt part of self that needs help.
Becoming disabled like this is not wrong or bad, in fact it's good. Painful experiences are one of the ways the Universe wakes us up to an opportunity to evolve and heal. And if there had not been a lost part of self that was already wounded, this experience of pain couldn't have happened. The present circumstance is triggering a reenactment of an older, much deeper trauma. An old wound is being reopened and the healing of the deeper trauma is now possible.
As we feel into our wounds with love and compassion, they let us know about what has been in our shadow. We then have the opportunity to reclaim these parts of self by loving them back into wholeness with the rest of us. And in this way the Healer persona evolves into an ever more resourceful Healer. The more we heal, the more we learn and the more quickly we evolve toward wholeness.
The most important part of the following practice is to realize that you have just been triggered, and therefore you are no longer the real Healer. An easy way to discover this is to realize that right now you don't fully accept what is happening in the moment. Another important element of the practice is to remember that the Healer's Creed is still true: "The Universe is good and operating correctly at all times." And I now have an opportunity to become more of who I truly am.
The Wounded Healer Practice
The first step in healing is simply to have the awareness that you are triggered and falling into an imprint. It only takes a few seconds to regain the Healer identity if awareness of being triggered comes quickly enough, before a story can develop and a victim identity becomes established. And even if this awareness didn't come quickly enough to reestablish yourself as the Healer right away, this practice can still be done at any time after the triggering event.
Here are the steps:
1. Experience that you've just been triggered. (To experiment with this without being triggered, or to practice it after the fact, remember a triggering event that happened recently.) In Observer Position, look back and see that the trigger was experienced by the person you just were, and see that this is only a part of your whole self.
2. Do a deep denial release and/or judgment release, if necessary.
3. As the observer, look back on the event and realize that in that situation you were doing the best you could. Also see that there was some unconsciousness on your part. And most importantly, see that what you just experienced was supposed to happen. Yes, even at that moment, the Universe was good and operating correctly!
4. Say to yourself, "This was supposed to happen." Right now you don't have to know why it was supposed to happen, you are simply trusting that there was a good purpose, and that more will be revealed eventually.
5. From a high observer position, again look back at yourself at the moment of the experience and take loving Spirit's point of view. See yourself as a learner who is evolving, and remember that experiences like these are part of the learning process.
6. Now open your heart as the Healer and channel unconditional love to this recent part of yourself. Feel compassion for that part of you that was trying so hard and was as unconscious as you were at the time. And besides, this event was supposed to happen.
7. Once you have regained your true identity as the real Healer and you are no longer identified as a hurt part of yourself or as a disabled healer, you can find the place in your body where you felt the initial trigger.
8. Feel into the energy of the feeling in your body, and use Deep Practice, Loving LIfe Force Energy, or any of the other Process Coaching tools to bring unconditional loving acceptance to the part that had been triggered.