Pastoral Care: A Wounded Healer Essay


Discuss about the Pastoral Care for a Wounded Healer.



The concept and acknowledgment of the term “Wounded Healer” was found a thousand years ago by human beings. The theory of this term can be said as the divine concept which got its ultimate expression during the original Holy Week at the times of Jesus Christ. Carl Jung was the first one who undiscovered the archetype Wounded Healer which means that in order to know the wounds and the pain of others and to serve them well with their wounds, the healer must have felt the pain of the wounds himself.[1] Because then only he will be able to identify the suffering of the others and will be able to cure that. Healing happens only when there is unconditional love and the selflessness care provided to the wounds and the one who is wounded. It serves as the best healing medicine for the treatment of the sufferings.

The pastor is the leader who is in charge of the Christian Church, and pastoral care refers to the care of the souls provided by the pastors or leaders. It is one of the ancient traditions of the Church that is attentive to the matters of spiritual growth.[2] Care of the souls and their healing is the pastoral practice and is the significant mission of the Church. It can be defined to involve various aspects of caring for the people of God, and those include teaching, administering communion, preaching, conducting funerals and marriage ceremonies, baptizing, general discipleship, etc. The pastors need to engage with people and guide them in such a way that it will bring the changes needed in the life of the wounded. They should accommodate the process of helping and guiding others so that the wounded can cope up with their suffering and it needs a great deal of wisdom, knowledge, and the emotional energy from the leader. The pastors require bringing the good news and messages of the Gospel to cultures and its people.[3] The most fundamental dimension of any culture is healthy morality and the transformation of the ones who are suffering as it is said that the God has been close to those persons who are broken-hearted and whose spirits are suffering. According to Church’s traditions, no people of God should suffer from loneliness and fear, and it is the duty of the pastors to provide them with ultimate care and love to heal their wounds. The ministry of the Church should follow the directions and the messages of the Gospel as they are the words of the God for the people of the Earth. The New Testament clearly depicts that the Churches seek to look after their people and their members as well as also reach the people who yet don’t know the Gospel. The counseling and training programs provided to people come under pastoral care which should engage in the cure of the soul.[4] The nature of the care of the pastors should emphasize the significance of the nurture and to preach the Gospel which is also known as Evangelization. Evangelization constitutes the essential mission of the Church, and it is a complex process that is made up of different elements which include the inner adherence, and the renewal of the humanity.

The world today has changed a lot since the old times, and there became various changes in the pastoral practices. Today’s world is much more dynamic and highly complex, which develops the need for practitioners to understand the environment more deeply and be responsive to the families and their people and various communities. The pastoral leaders must be highly intellect to identify and understand the vulnerabilities and the critical experiences of people which are life transitioning. A great set of skilled intersection of divine spirituality and mediation is required from the part of the pastorals.[5] In this contemporary world, where everything is highly mortal, and the challenges of human lives have increased to a great extent, the terminology of the wounded healer contributes a lot. As people living in this era face a lot of challenges of loneliness, depression, lack of love and support, and compassion, so the pastoral practitioners have to follow the archetype of the Wounded Healer as this is the need of the society and the people. They should adopt the learned practices and the strategies to conquer the world from their psychological, mental, emotional, as well as relational sufferings to make the world a better place. They should also make people understand the message of the God written in the books.[6] A balanced program of developing skills and understanding of the sufferings of people should be provided, and proper development of training programs of the pastoral practices should be implemented in the contemporary churches. The principle of A Wounded Healer relates to my personal life so much as I, myself had gone through tough emotional time and loneliness at some time in my life, so I get to understand the pain of others better as I already know the feeling of that time when I was in pain. This makes me understand the situation of the other person, and also I know the need of the person at that point of time as what kind of support he/she wants during that phase. I never leave a person alone whom I care at the time of emotional crisis as I know this phase requires compassion and a lot of love.[7]

The tough times of my life have taught me a lot and made me wise enough to understand the suffering of those who are into the same kind of trouble. My own wounds became the gift for the others, and they heal much more rapidly if they get sufficient care and support. The God has made this earth with so much care and love so all humans should also follow his path and share love to one another as this is in favor of the God’s will. Therefore, difficult past or bad experiences should not be the reason for avoiding service. In fact, one should surrender himself or herself to the service of people because sometimes God chooses weak tools to accomplish high results and we are here in the service of God.[8]


Benziman, Galia, Ruth Kannai and Ayesha Ahmad, "The Wounded Healer As Cultural Archetype" (2012) 14 CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture

Campbell, Alistair V., Rediscovering Pastoral Care (Darton, Longman, & Todd., 2nd ed, 1986)

Conchar, Catherine and Julie Repper, "“Walking Wounded Or Wounded Healer?” Does Personal Experience Of Mental Health Problems Help Or Hinder Mental Health Practice? A Review Of The Literature" (2014) 18 Mental Health Social Inclusion

Dunning, Trisha, "Caring For The Wounded Healer—Nurturing The Self" (2006) 10 Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies

Lawrence, Elizabeth, "A Wounded Healer" (2014) 161 Annals of Internal Medicine

MacCulloch, Tony and Mona Shattell, "Reflections Of A “Wounded Healer”" (2009) 30 Issues in Mental Health Nursing

Nolte, S. Philip and Yolanda Dreyer, "The Paradox Of Being A Wounded Healer: Henri J.M. Nouwen’S Contribution To Pastoral Theology" (2010) 66 HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies

Oden, Thomas C., Care Of Souls In The Classic Tradition (Fortress Press, 1st ed, 1984)

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