In Greek medicine there were two archetypal themes: Hippocrates under the patronage of the sky-god Zeus and Asclepius under the patronage of the earth-god Chiron, half human and half horse. Another way of seeing this manifestation is to see the bi-polar nature of the healing archetype with Zeus and Chiron being the two pure forms. Modern medicine including modern psychology has followed the path of Hippocrates and has done so in such a single-minded manner that it has totally excluded Asclepius.
My contention is, following Jung, that an over reliance on consciousness as expressed only in our thoughts, tell us that we are out-of-touch. What consciousness refuses to acknowledge, the body always manifests. In the words of an important book, The body keeps the score! The over reliance on the sky-god, on just empirical medicine, has led to the treatment model at the expense of a touching, a being-in-touch model.
The temple of Asclepius, the earth-god, has been abandoned in favour of the physician’s clinic. Through symbolism, through the life of the soul, Jung brought his sensuousness/sensibility into his clinical work. He could see, hear, smell the other. The Jungian scholar, Ginette Paris, writes:
“Just as the body needs warmth, nourishment, and protection, the psyche needs an atmosphere where the heart finds its niche, its nest, and its rest. This is usually called ‘tenderness’. Without the capacity of humans to provide tender care to each other, the human race would have become extinct. … A culture that separates people into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ generates the kind of acute anxiety that is a rising phenomenon in all advanced cultures.” G. Paris, Wisdom of the Psyche, p.121
My example of the wounded healer archetype comes from the Biblical story in the Book of Genesis. The focus of the story is Jacob wrestling in a hand-to-hand struggle with an angel. This embodied encounter is touch, big-time. While this workshop references the practice of psychotherapy the theme and content are equally applicable to ever-day life. An aim of the day is to maximise interaction, so, plenty of time for discussion.