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Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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Clarissa Pinkola Estés (born 27 January 1945) is an American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst. Similar to William Carlos Williams and other poets who also worked in the health or other professions in tandem, Estés is a poet who uses her poems throughout her psychoanalytic books, spokenword audios, and stage performances as expressive therapy for others. She is also a post-trauma recovery specialist and psychoanalyst who has practiced clinically for 41 years. Her doctorate, from the Union Institute & University, is in ethno-clinical psychology, the study of social and psychological patterns of cultural and tribal groups. She often speaks as “distinguished visiting scholar” and “diversity scholar” at universities, most recently to young engineers at Colorado School of Mines. She is the author of many books on the life of the soul, and her work is published in 32 languages, most recently Persian, Turkish, Han Chinese, and Serbian. Her book Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of The Wild Woman Archetype was on the New York Times Best Seller list for 145 weeks.

As a post-trauma specialist, Estés began her work in the 1960s at Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Hospital in Hines, Illinois. There she worked with WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam War soldiers who were living with quadraplegia, incapacitated by loss of, either/or, both arms and legs. She has worked at other facilities caring for severely injured “cast-away” children, “shell-shocked” war veterans (now called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and their families. Her teaching of writing in prisons began in the early 1970s at the Men’s Penitentiary in Colorado; the Federal Women’s Prison at Dublin, California, and in other “locked institutions” throughout the southwest of the United States.

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