The Wounded Healer

This post is dedicated to my late mentor Todd Burley.

During my early years in graduate school the faculty encouraged us to engage in our own self-exploration and therapy. I knew this was a good idea. I even tried to find a therapist, but I ran into one big problem. The more I knew about the therapeutic process the more difficult it was to find someone who could really cut through my personal bullshit. I am an over intellectualized perpetual self-reflector and your run of the mill therapeutic interventions were not enough to give me the challenge and direction I needed. As I have continued to hone my own skills the more difficult it has been to find someone astute enough to help me heal. Other healers around me expressed the same frustrations and concerns.


This all changed when I discovered the process oriented emotion-focused magic of Gestalt therapy. I started my Gestalt training in 2007. Soon I was on a mission be become a “therapy ninja”, which is what I teasingly called my mentor, Todd Burley.  I fell in love with my training community at Gestalt Associates Training Los Angeles (GATLA). I marveled at how nourishing my connections with others could be. I struggled with setting boundaries and finding my self-support. I was over-the-moon about this amazing community of healers who not only wanted me to be my authentic self but would accept nothing less! I started to resolve issues from my past in a way that felt deep and permanent. I am so grateful for the gift I have been given, because healers need healing too.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

Therapists, yoga instructors, professors, medical practitioners, and many more healers all need their own safe restorative space. I often hear this message that yes we should be engaging in self-care but we also have to have it figured out and together at all times. I think that is ridiculous. I believe Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says it best: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” I would add to this quote that beautiful healers don’t just happen. We are often drawn to supporting others because of the dark places we have faced or are facing. I believe the wounded healer can be a great asset. However, I think we are best when we allow others to help us with our wounds.


I see a therapist every week and have for quite some time. I have an acupuncturist that I love and who supports my balance. I go hiking at least once a week to reconnect with myself and nature. I find that allowing others to support my mind, body and soul is transformative and a skill I continue to cultivate. What about you? How are you accessing your own support and spaces for restoration? If you are finding yourself in depths or are needing a space to engage in some self-care, Thrive SLO is here for you. Email or call today to schedule a consultation. You deserve to have just as much support as you give to others.


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