Burnout and the wounded healer: A Jungian perspective

By Lisbeth von Benedek

The author suggests that personal and/or archetypal wounds underlie the painful burn out syndrome, professional exhaustion, which concerns many therapists. Taken by an irrepressible ambition, they can, by identifying with the figure of the hero, surpass their limits in an unconscious desire of omnipotence. Under the impact of the therapeutic child, his parent’s savior, the therapists can also be under the influence of the archetype of the wounded healer, portrayed by the figure of Chiron who, according to the Greek myths, possessed exceptional healing gifts while suffering from a painful wound. To put an end to his suffering, Zeus agrees to free him from his status of immortality, thus renouncing his almighty power. Likewise, when within the transferential relationship, the therapist is suffering from a common wound, he must have the wisdom to surrender his “super-human” position of power, thus activating the inner healer in the patient.

Go to the article on Cairn-int.info