Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 December 2020
This chapter starts with a discussion of the pervasiveness of adversity, the universality of healing practices, and the thesis that the impulse to heal and care is deeply rooted in human nature. It reviews the historical, anthropological, and contemporary literature on the concepts of “wounded healers” and “creative illnesses.” The chapter briefly describes the structure of the book, and the biographies included. This is followed by a discussion of potential negative effects of traumatic life experiences on therapists and the need for cognizance, as well as resilience and support in transforming vulnerability into empathy and strength. It is proposed that theories and practices of different schools of psychology evolved as ways for their founders and practitioners to solve challenges in their own lives and thus could best be understood and appreciated when seen in that context. This is one of the reasons we should pay attention to these founders’ life stories, providing us with nuances, helping us to avoid simplistic and rigid interpretation of abstract thoughts distilled from real-life experiences.