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Odysseus’ Wounded Healer: New Insights on the Therapeutic Value of Veteran Responses to Homer’s Odyssey

Author:

M.B. McLatchey

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, US
About M.B.
Tenured Associate Professor of Classics in the Humanities Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Created an all-veterans course in the Classics (veteran enrollment only) and founded an on-campus initiative called FACULTY-4-VETERANS. See website for details:  http://daytonabeach.erau.edu/military/faculty-4-veterans/index.html
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Abstract

Existing research identifies the value in exposing military veterans to Homer’s Odyssey for the timeless human questions that the epic presents regarding the veteran’s reintegration into civilian society. This paper presents new insights regarding the therapeutic value for military veterans in incorporating journal writing into an undergraduate humanities course—in particular, a course that examines epic classics in literature such as Homer’s Odyssey. Central to the learning outcomes presented here, veterans in this course were encouraged to examine the Odyssey, not as a mirror of their own lives and not necessarily for instructions on how to transition from military to civilian life. Rather than approach the epic as veterans reading about another veteran, they were asked to assume the role of literary scholars examining a literary artifact that is rich in timeless human stories. This scholarly “control” on their interpretive lens liberated veterans to make deeply human connections with the epic’s human questions—rather than singularly military connections. As this paper discusses, one of the most striking features in the journal reflections that veterans produced in this course was a tendency to advise the epic hero, rather than attach to him. Carl Jung identifies this perspective as that of the “wounded healer”: In counseling Odysseus how to face his reentry challenges, the veteran counsels himself; in healing the wounded one, the wounded healer heals himself.

How to Cite: McLatchey, M.B., 2019. Odysseus’ Wounded Healer: New Insights on the Therapeutic Value of Veteran Responses to Homer’s Odyssey. Journal of Veterans Studies, 4(2), pp.153–158. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jvs.v4i2.117
Published on 19 Jun 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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