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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: December 2014

4 - Healer


The only work that ultimately brings any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.

Marianne Williamson

The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.


In this chapter, I explore the healing function of the intellectual shaman. As intellectuals within the management domain, their purview goes beyond the individual patient (or, sometimes, local system) that is the focus of the traditional shaman and even the psychotherapist. Healing is generally considered to be the central role of the shaman.,, Jeanne Achterberg calls shamans the ‘master healer[s] of the imaginary realms,’ and this insight is supported by many other observers.,,, As Frost and Egri point out in their seminal paper on organization development specialists as shamans, shamans also play important roles in mediating different realities – or spanning boundaries or realms of various sorts, which I call connecting, and in gathering information and then making sense of that information for others in the sensemaking process, which will be explored in Chapters 5 and 6.

As noted earlier, shamans are found in virtually all human cultures, historically as well as today, though their identities in modern society may be less central and overtly visible than in some more traditional societies.,, Fundamentally, those individuals who take this path of healing, connecting, and sensemaking, and its associated risks and trials, can emerge with visibility and impact, whether in intellectual life, as with the management academy, or in other realms. In this process, it is the healing role that takes center stage.