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Christine Downing – „Only the Wounded Healer Heals”

Dr. Christine Downing, core faculty in Pacifica’s Mythological Studies program, presents her lecture (October 15, 1993): „Only the Wounded Healer Heals” to the San Diego Friends of Jung exploring the archetype of the wounded healer.

From Dr. Downing’s paper on this subject:

That woundedness, illness, suffering are prerequisitve for taking on the role of healer is a truth recognized in the myths and rituals of traditional cultures throughout the world. It underlines the shamanic vision of the healer in Siberia, North America, Africa and Australia. Everywhere we learn that initiation into healing comes through falling radically ill of a disease that often cannot be diagnosed and for which there seems to be no cure. Recovery comes only when the patients recognize the illness as a call, only when they agree to become healers.

„Only the Wounded Healer Heals: The Testimony of Greek Mythology”, Christine Downing. Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 73, No. 4 (Winter 1990), pp. 551-573


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christine downingChristine Downing

She (1931) is a scholar of religion, mythology, depth psychology and feminist studies. Unusual for a woman of her generation, she married while attending college and was the first married woman graduate from Swarthmore.  She wrote her dissertation on Martin Buber and was the first woman upon whom Drew University bestowed a doctorate. She began her exemplary teaching career at Rutgers University in 1963. In  1974 she moved to California to teach at San Diego State University where she remained for eighteen years, ten of which she served as chair of the Department of Religious Studies.  In 1974, when Dr. Downing became  the first woman president of the American Academy of Religion, she gave her presidential address on „Sigmund Freud and the Mythological Tradition,” a presentation which marked an important early public expression of her life-long scholarly emphasis on Freud.

During her years in San Diego, Dr. Downing also served as a core faculty member at the California School of Professional Psychology.  This assignment led her to return to school to pursue a master’s degree in family therapy.  In 1994 she was asked to assist in the development of the curriculum for the newly established Mythological Studies program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, the program that is now at the center of her professional life.

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One Response to Christine Downing – „Only the Wounded Healer Heals”

  1. […] Dr. Christine Downing, presents her lecture (October 15, 1993): "Only the Wounded Healer Heals" exploring the archetype of the wounded healer.  […]

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