Where Shamanism and Psychology Meet

by Jeannette M. Gagan, Ph.D.

What happens when you combine the studies of psychology and shamanism? Are the two practices divergent...or are there some commonalties? Author, teacher, licensed psychologist and student of shamanism Jeannette Gagan answers with a resounding “yes” in her brilliant book, Journeying.

Dr. Gagan has crafted her book to lead the reader, in a logical order and with easy-to-understand language, through the nature and history of both fields. Then we learn some of the approaches of understanding and healing.

In chapters 3 and 4, Journeying gets down to it...the place where shamanism and psychology intersect, the mending of emotional wounding. Inadequate bonding, neglect, abuse, aggression, anger and violence are some of the conditions we learn about, and the healing brought to bear.

In the final pages, Journeying offers the bridge that brings shamanism and psychology together...that reflects the bond between the alchemy of shamanic healing and the science of psychology. “Shamanic cultures, I found, understand the debilitating effects of trauma and strive to restore wholeness to distressed individuals” writes Dr. Gagan. And, after all, isn’t that a prime purpose of psychology, too?

This reviewer is no psychologist nor shaman, but can see and feel the logic and rightness of grand ideas when expressed in a well-written book. Indicative of that is, “Shamans search for lost pieces of soul and return them to members of their community. Psychologists investigate the workings of the mind and strive to validate their methodological approaches. Shamanism has soul to give to psychology. Psychology has science to give to shamanism”.

Journeying has insight, love, learning and practical experience to give us. Thank you, Jeannette Gagan, for making the connection!

Richard Fuller

Senior Editor

Pertinent Info: 177 PP, 6 x 9, Issue date, 1998, Cost, $16.00, ISBN 0-9642088-0-6. Available at many fine bookstores, or contact Rio Chama Publications, P.O. Box 4276, Santa Fe, NM, 87502. PH/FAX 505-983-2084


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