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The Wounded Healer: Boundaries in the Client/Therapist Relationship

by Anon(more info)

listed in clinical practice, originally published in issue 125 - July 2006

Examining the ethics of keeping safe boundaries in the relationship between therapist and client is not an issue that seems to be widely discussed. This article has been written to hopefully encourage those entrusted with the care of vulnerable clients to look at how their behaviour may cross the boundaries of ethical conduct. Some therapy training programmes have a code of conduct taught to students, some do not. Many training programmes seem to naturally presume that the therapist will behave with compassion, discretion and maintain an ethical code of conduct in dealing with clients. In reality, the situation is often very different, with human need and frailty often being paramount. I have heard a saying that people often become healers because they need healing themselves. The wounded healers of this world frequently attract the most wounded of patients to them, and end up wounding those patients even more.

Who is the Wounded Healer?

So who is a wounded healer? Many people who have become therapists do so, because they genuinely want to help others; many come to train in a particular therapy because they have worked through healing themselves and feel they are in a position to help others. However, when we begin to help others, the healing of others naturally brings up unfinished business within ourselves. Unless we are fully aware of this, we can end up projecting our problems onto the already traumatized patient, sometimes in a very subtle way.

Addressing Painful Issues

When I gave birth to my second child after a normal pregnancy, I was cared for in labour by a very domineering, seemingly angry midwife. The birth was easy, but I haemorrhaged badly afterwards, and I always felt that it was because the midwife had emotionally upset me when I was at my most vulnerable. Several years later I discovered that she had been having fertility treatment for years. Such a woman was not a fit person to be a midwife, as she had so many agendas, which were projected onto the women in her care. As a trained midwife myself, I later came to work with midwives, helping them address painful issues within themselves, which hindered a good patient/midwife relationship.

What has this to with healers? Well, I believe that any agendas lying unanswered within a person may surface when treating a client. I have been on the receiving end recently of such a situation. My husband and I had been living abroad for years, and drifting apart because of my husband's frequent and lengthy trips to his business in England. Our youngest son was suffering greatly, but when my husband came home, neither my son nor I could connect with him. He was depressed, irritable and stressed. He started visiting a therapist working with a deep inner healing process, who we thought might help both of us, through my husband. The distance between us was made worse by his 'mother issues'. I trusted the process for my husband and trusted the therapist – like I trusted that midwife!

An Abuse of Trust

This therapist started inviting my husband for dinners and then they started going to restaurants, before or after therapy sessions. When I realized what was going on, I wrote to her about it and it took three letters before she replied to me. When she did, she accused me of making a scapegoat of her, and she said "you were abroad, your husband was in England. We went out for dinners and at no time were the dinners about him and me!'' She even went away with my husband to see his astrologer. Obviously he has needed to take responsibility for what he did, and understand why, but why did someone who was in a position of trust, caring for a very vulnerable client who only wanted to come closer to his wife and family, do what she did? She probably, even now, doesn't even know why herself, but this socializing was a symptom of a very deep unanswered need within her. Maybe she took advantage of my husband because she fell in love with him or because she was lonely – he certainly was when he was away from me. Through our strong love, my perseverance and his commitment to his healing process, our long-standing marriage was saved. Other people coming to that situation could be totally misled by such a destructive therapist/client relationship. When the therapist shows no boundaries, ethics or compassion, such a relationship cannot help the client find healing. Once boundaries are crossed in the way that they were with my husband, the healing transmission stops, and the therapist is no longer a clear channel for healing. The woman concerned is under review now by her association as a therapist. One hopes that she can heal herself more in order to be able to truly help others in the future, and not take advantage of a client's vulnerability.

Beginning the Healing Journey

My husband took a long time to heal from the effects of what happened to him. He now realizes that another energetic issue caused further distress to him when he was desperately seeking help. This concerned the unseen entities which had attached themselves to his body and auric field at a time when he was very vulnerable. He was being supposedly 'helped' by a therapist who was needy herself. A transformational soul healer, who helped both of us, removed many entities from my husband which were also attacking me and causing me much distress too. These entities, described on several occasions by Rudolf Steiner during his lifetime, attach themselves to people who are in a depressed and vulnerable situation.[1] They cause a further deterioration in the person's ability to think rationally, to act with truth and compassion and to connect with God within themselves and to ask for help. In fact, the whole purpose of these malevolent entities is to disrupt the progress of human evolution. They feed on the energy of people who are unhappy, on those persons living an untruthful ego-centred life, and on people who dull the mind with alcohol, drugs, materialistic thinking and too much sex, particularly in secretive and inappropriate relationships. Chanting the name of God regardless of spiritual path can help cope with this problem as can flower essence.[2] Chanting purifies the body and mind and any practice that does this should be engaged in by a therapist before meeting her client. Meditations and space clearing of the therapy room are also important.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would say that all healers' first and foremost duty is to their patients, and to act with the utmost humility, compassion and ethics, understanding that their skills do not come from themselves, but from God. Then they have a duty to themselves to keep body and mind as pure as possible through right nutrition, right thoughts and right actions.

Maybe it seems a tall order, but when many lives are at stake, it is a necessary order. The world needs powerful healers who are in control of themselves and know who they are.

I pray that all healers and therapists everywhere may find that power and be the best they can be for those souls who need their help.

References

1. World Ether, Elemental Beings, Kingdoms of Nature. Texts from Rudolph Steiner's Spiritual Science. Compiled and with commentary by Ernst Hagemann.
2. Flower essences. Available from International Flower Essence Repertoire. Achamore House, Isle of Gigha, Argyll, Scotland PA417AD.

Further Reading:

1. Pettit Sabina. Energy Medicine: Healing from the Kingdom of Nature.
2. The Divine Mystery Fort: Teachings of Sri Sai Kaleshwara of Penakonda. Volume 1. www.kaleshwara.org. Five elements healing.
3. Tiwari Maya. Secrets of Healing: The Complete Ayurveda Guide to Healing through Pancha Karma, Seasonal Therapies, Diets, Herbal Remedies and Memory. Lotus Press. 1995.
4. Linn Denise. Sacred Space.
5. Cousens Gabriel MD. Spiritual Nutrition: Six Foundations for Spiritual Life and the Awakening of Kundalini.
6. Rosen Peter. The Luminous Life: How to Shine Like the Sun. www.roaringlionpublishing.com

About the Author

The author of this article wishes to remain anonymous in order to protect the client, therapist and the essence of the healing discipline spoken of herein.

Comments:

  1. barbara said..

    What you have said has resonnated with me. I thank you for being so honest. I am shifting away from my old patterns and looking into healing/therapy for myself in order to live a more authentic life. Once again, thank you for pointing out some of the dangers in a theraputic relationship.


  2. John D. said..

    You had me hanging on your every word until you started talking about "unseen entities" and 'auric fields.'

    To read people still espousing such things in the 21st century is not only staggering, but extraordinarily unfortunate.

    What a shame that there are still parts of the human psyche that are living in caves and hiding in terror from things that go bump in the night.

    So sad.


  3. claire said..

    Thank you. More information about entity attachment problems can be found in the book "The Unquiet Dead: A Psychologist Treats Spirit Possession," by Dr. Edith Fiore.


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About Anon

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