The Primal Wound

A Transpersonal View of Trauma, Addiction, and Growth

By John Firman & Ann Gila

Subjects: Educational Psychology
Series: SUNY series in the Philosophy of Psychology
Paperback : 9780791432945, 296 pages, April 1997
Hardcover : 9780791432938, 296 pages, April 1997

Table of contents



Chapter One: An Addiction/Abuse Workshop

Chapter Two: The Source of Human Spirit

Chapter Three: The Human Spirit

Chapter Four: The Development of Spirit

Chapter Five: The Primal Wound

Chapter Six: The Higher and Lower Unconscious

Chapter Seven: Personalities and Subpersonalities

Chapter Eight: Self-Realization

Chapter Nine: Psychosynthesis Therapy

Chapter Ten: The Psychosynthesis Therapist




Argues that a primal wounding of the human spirit occurs in earliest human life that disrupts fundamental relationships and leads to anxiety, loneliness, and alienation; and shows how this wounding can be redeemed through therapy and through living one's life differently.


To many of us, modern life is a headlong rush to avoid dark feelings that threaten to disrupt our lives at every turn. In order to block the surging tide of this hidden level of experience, we become enthralled with violence, sex, and mass media and addicted to alcohol, drugs, and power, and we compulsively strive for romance, success, and control. All of this, according to the authors, can be traced to the primal wound--a dark specter of isolation, abandonment, and alienation haunting human life.

The primal wound is the result of a violation we all suffer in various ways, beginning in early childhood and continuing throughout life. Because we are treated not as individual, unique human beings but as objects, our intrinsic, authentic sense of self is annihilated. This primal wounding breaks the fundamental relationships that form the fabric of human existence: the relationship to oneself, to other people, to the natural world, and to a sense of transpersonal meaning symbolized in concepts such as the Divine, the Ground of Being, and Ultimate Reality. In this book, Firman and Gila apply object relations theory, self-psychology, transpersonal psychology, and psychosynthesis to the issues of psychological wounding, healing, and growth and show how this wounding can be redeemed through therapy and through changing one's way of living.


"Firman and Gila integrate important material from diverse schools of psychology and then expand it with their personal touch. The Primal Wound presents a scholarly--yet understandable to the educated lay person--description of some of the important dynamics of psychological wounding from a broad perspective, while also going deep into the soul and even exploring our relationship to God. There is little available on this topic and in the area of trauma psychology." -- Charles Whitfield, M.D., author of Memory and Abuse: Remembering and Healing the Wounds of Trauma

"I believe this book's central thesis to be highly provocative and important. Its strength is that it uses the idea of the 'primal wound' as a focus for a diverse collection of ideas from various sectors of the psychological and transpersonal literature. This kind of integrative scholarly work is very valuable. " -- John Suler, author of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Eastern Thought