WHEN DOES THE WOUNDED HEALER, HEAL? Reflections on Woundology (Part 1)

L0004642 Japanese model figures: doctor and patient


Woundology is basically the idea that we hold onto our wounds because they are comfortable or familiar. We learn the language of the wound, how it works, why it’s there, but remain within the consciousness that feeds and nurtures its existence. Because that is ‘the new normal’ and it brings with it the opportunity for a shared sense of identification.

The term itself was coined by Caroline Myss, from her book ‘Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can’. It’s probably one of the most-needed concepts in our collective engagement with the term ‘healing’ and the ‘wounded healer’ archetype. Highly recommended. This is my take on her work, especially in light of recent observations and awakenings within myself.

Caroline Myss makes the persuasive case – that for some people – the work of healing gets stunted by an over-dependence on the tools that we initially set out to use to heal. She found that her peers felt more at home attending the workshops, going for therapy, courses, sessions – anything that kept that experience of the wound and its need for healing alive. They reacted badly to the idea of moving out of those spaces (at some point) and that they could develop a sense of self, community and kinship not anchored within their wounds.

In other words, they had become attached to the ‘healing process’, rather than the end-state or goal (if you can call it that) of ‘healing’.

But why would someone do that, you might ask? Why would someone become ‘comfortable’ with their wounds and engage a healing journey that never seems to end?

Myss’ argument is that having certain wounds and going on a shared journey of healing makes it possible to relate to others and create shared bonds of identification. The rationale was that if the wounds no longer existed, they would lose such – I’m calling it – ‘families of healing’.

Hence .. the tool becomes a crutch.

It’s a similar kind of dynamic when you see a person who knows they’re in pain, but, at a deep and profound level, does not wish to heal despite what they say on the surface.

In toxic relationships, it’s the same kind of behavior you see when one partner shifts their level of consciousness to something healthier, and the other partner completely loses it. They become angry, accusative, irritable and make the partner searching for something better into the ‘villain’.

The unspoken accusation is this:

How dare you shift the carefully calibrated balance we’ve built up around our wounds?

And let’s face it, some people, friendships & families stay together just keep their wounds alive – not because it’s pleasurable, but because it’s what they know. And so the same goes with an over-dependence on certain spiritual tools, concepts, paradigms and circles. We get attached to those families of healing. We subconsciously begin to fear losing them and forget their original purpose. And in that fear, we forget that human relationships thrive when they have to evolve and discover new ways of being, together.

The question is whether we want bonds that are forged through shared wounds (which is alright in itself as a starting point), and whether those bonds can survive healing out of those wounds (which is the big question). If the recovering self fears losing these ties, it’s going to make sure that it doesn’t have to face that eventuality. If you’re in a relationship where your partner does not want you to heal, he or she is going to feel threatened by your efforts to do so.

So – in other words – Woundology – as a concept – reveals to us how we may be self-sabotaging the healing process, irrespective of (externally) how much efforts we appear to be making. It speaks to those who seek healing from others – and – those who heal others themselves.

As facilitators, it is important for us to question whether our work feeds into our own/others’ needs to ‘keep the wound in place’. Much like the band-aid that provides temporary relief or the palliative that allows us to manage without shifting the roots of things.

Does the work we do actually lead to a shifting of/away from those wounds – be it for ourselves or our clients?
Does the work we do encourage attachments born of the wound, but unable to survive – or evolve through – its transcendence?

I ask myself these questions (of me, and of the clients I work with) before consenting to do a session. If I feel my session will simply keep them in the same vibe/head-space of ‘wanting to heal, but not really’, I decline to conduct the session and explain my reasons for it.

It brings a greater sense of clarity to the focus of the work and the shifting that it facilitates. I highly recommend this moment or practice of reflection to others, should they resonate with it.

Blessings To All,

Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD
The Sky Priestess

PART 2 – Victim Consciousness and Ways of Moving through It

PART 3 – What is the end goal of healing – is there such a thing as ‘transcending the wound’?

5-minute video discussion on ‘Wound-Working and Conscious Spirituality’ –




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© Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015. All rights reserved.


Image: Japanese model figures; doctor and patient Wellcome L0004642.jpg – See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons – digitally altered by author within license permissions.

14 thoughts on “WHEN DOES THE WOUNDED HEALER, HEAL? Reflections on Woundology (Part 1)

      1. True, wounds may be able to heal but if someone’s inner wisdom is not ready in one lifetime, some wounds must be kept and worked within their time. I have major wounds that include surgeries that will not heal completely in this life. Does that mean i do not want to heal? No, It means I am on a journey, healing is a journey and it seems Caroline may not understand this or this article.


      2. If your healing journey is built on your conscious choice, and you’re comfortable with the time it takes – then more power to you ❤ The woundology concept lets people who are not making those choices consciously question whether they can do it differently – as so many simply internalize what others say their healing road must be. In the 'wounded healer' paradigm – it has to take lifetimes, it has to be a long, drawn out process. In my work with clients, I see that there are in fact other alternatives to that way of seeing healing. The physical question is a delicate one, and I'd refer you to Myss' earlier book 'Anatomy of Spirit'. Essentially the point we're both making is that 'healing' does not require the wounds themselves to disappear – it transforms our relationship with them. We begin to shift into a level of consciousness that is not defined by them. The very concept of woundology lets us raise the question of whether we are – in fact – limiting our choices to heal through certain beliefs about what the journey must look like, or how long it should take. I'd invite you to engage with my other pieces on the subject, or her brilliant source material – which if anything – absolutely celebrates the power of individual choice in determining that path – and how, in fact, as you rightly say: Healing Is a Journey. My addition to that is : You Get To Choose What That Looks Like. You raise a rich and beautiful question here and that will be covered in part 2. Thank you for speaking your truth, it is honored for what it is 🙂

        Much Love ❤ ❤ ❤


  1. I really resonated with this. I read Carolyn myss’s work years ago and this seems timely given we are in sagitarrius and with aspects to Chiron

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you read the work of Almaas? He is explaining how when we were borm we where our essence, then our parents (who mostly) lost their connection to their essence could not any longer recognize ours.

    In this expierience as a baby we start to feel ‘wholes’…where your essence was not met. Then we start creating a personality or identification with these wholes, filling them up.

    Growing up we think we actually are this personality. The essence is always still there!

    Psychology and a lot of healing workers then will work with wounds getting to the wholes which were created. AND than we should investigate, which parts of your essence is beneath this whole, what part of your essence was never met before? And so has not yet come to live?

    I think this would add a great value for the actual healing procee and the wounds and wholes are no longer in need for attention…

    With love


  3. I look forward to reading more and thank you so much for putting the energy in writing – I know we are many around who honor this.. It is incredible how the way you work and many like you – you have this way of getting us to question ourselves, our own schema and our own cinema. And I believe – this is exactly what we need – turn within and look at our shit and start cleaning. Thank you Bairavee

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So, so , so insightful. Thank you for sharing of your inquiries and findings in such an articulated way.
    Would you have any tips and/or tools to check on the underlaying truth of choosing healing arts. I am at a crossroad in my life where I am calling forth a new expression and way of bringing a true contribution to the world. Of course the very fact that I am tickled by your words reveals that I have had my dealings with woundedness and healing.
    My point is, would you consider it a slippery slope to go into healing work as a main activity, if you have had a history of wounds.
    Hence my first question are there foolproof ways to self-check on your own motives/agenda/intent?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good day Dr. Bairavee, I am without finding the PART 2 & 3 to WHEN DOES THE WOUNDED HEALER, HEAL? Reflections on Woundology (Part 1)? Are they still available? Thank you!


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