Achterberg, Jeanne

(1942– )
   One of a number of scholars who popularized a psychological approach to shamanism in the 1980s, focusing especially on the “inner” work of the shaman in effecting healing. Her volume Imagery in Healing: Shamanism and Modern Medicine (1985) details techniques including “guided imagery,” such as the visualization of the immune system fighting against illness, and presents evidence for the efficacy of the imagination in promoting health and “wellness.” In the vein of the “Mind Body Spirit” movement, Achterberg suggests that there is a necessary connection between the mind and the body and that human imagination is a powerful healing tool in its own right. While the power of the imaginal might be recognized, such psychologizing neglects many indigenous facets of shamanisms, from intimate relationships with other-than-human-persons (outside “the mind”) to the sorcery of dark shamans. Woman as Healer (1991) develops Achterberg’s interest in the way in which women have tended to be marginalized as healers by their male counterparts in some societies. While she argues that women persecuted during the medieval European witch trials were shamans, interpretations of these trials tend to tell us more about our modern prejudices (à la Margaret Murray) than about medieval sensibilities. After being diagnosed with cancer, Achterberg rejected Western medicine in favor of a holistic approach to healing, relying on social support webs, guided imagery, and the communal power of prayer (transpersonal medicine). Achterberg is professor of psychology and director of research at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, is a faculty member of the Saybrook Institute, and has been associate professor and director of research in rehabilitation science at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas.

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bibliography —    As the scope of the dictionary entries and extent of this bibliography make clear, there is a huge range of literature on shamans, from introductory works, general discussions on such topics as definition, and culture specific ethnographic… …   Historical dictionary of shamanism

  • Efficacy of prayer — Measuring the efficacy of prayer has been attempted in various studies since Francis Galton first addressed the subject (partly as satire) in 1872.Francis Galton, [ Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy… …   Wikipedia

  • Walsh, Roger N. —    Professor of psychiatry and behavior at the University of California at Irvine, whose research interests in transpersonal psychology involve the psychology of religion, Asian religion, and shamanism. In his volume The Spirit of Shamanism… …   Historical dictionary of shamanism

  • Transpersonal psychology — is a school of psychology that studies the transpersonal, self transcendent or spiritual aspects of the human experience. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology describes transpersonal psychology as the study of humanity’s highest potential, and …   Wikipedia

  • Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center — Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, a San Francisco, California based distance learning institution (originally founded in 1971 as the Humanistic Psychology Institute, and later dubbed Saybrook Institute), is geared to providing a… …   Wikipedia

  • Women —    In some cultures, only men can serve as shamans, while in others, shamanism is almost entirely women’s business, and in still others, the role is open to anyone elected by otherworld persons or spirits. Similarly, women or men or both can be… …   Historical dictionary of shamanism

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.