How Jung's concept of the wounded healer can guide learning and teaching in social work and human services

Newcomb, Michelle, Burton, Judith, Edwards, Niki, & Hazelwood, Zoe (2015) How Jung's concept of the wounded healer can guide learning and teaching in social work and human services. Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education, 17(2), pp. 55-69.

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The concept of the “wounded healer” has been used to explain why those with adverse childhood histories often enter helping professions such as social work and human services (SWHS). Psychotherapist Carl Jung (1875–1961) believed wounded healers developed insight and resilience from their own experiences, enabling transformative interventions to occur with clients. Concerns exist that students with adverse childhood histories in SWHS may display unresolved emotional issues. This journal article explores how Jung’s interpretation of the wounded healer can be critically applied to understanding the learning needs of SWHS students with histories of abuse, neglect or other childhood adversity. The relevance of the wounded healer to SWHS education is explored in three key areas:

  • 1) the increased possibility of the occurrence of countertransference;

  • 2) the potential for vicarious traumatisation and burnout, and;

  • 3) personal and professional resilience displayed by SWHS students with a history of childhood adversity.

The wounded healer metaphor allows for a more nuanced understanding of SWHS students with these histories. It also provides insight into the pedagogical considerations associated with teaching this student cohort.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 91004
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Wounded healer, Social work, Human services, Resilience, HERN
ISSN: 1329-0584
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIAL WORK (160700) > Social Work not elsewhere classified (160799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 04 Dec 2015 01:45
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2015 00:32

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