The strong presence of women experts in the field of psychology has been a fairly recent phenomenon. Until the 1970s, psychology has largely been a realm of the men, specifically, white men. To cite, of the over a century of the history of the American Psychological Association, only about 10 women have been elected to its presidency and with only two sitting before the 1970s. An even more modern development is the host of contributions being made by ethnic minorities in the field. (Stanovich, 2004, pp. 10-11).
Today, around three fourths of bachelors and doctorate graduates in psychology are women and a few ethnic minority women have made outstanding marks in psychology. One such woman psychologist is Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, an internationally renowned diplomate Jungian psychoanalyst, cantadora (keeper of the old stories in the tradition of the Hispanic Americans), poet and scholar (Faculty Profile, P 1). Born January 27, 1945, Estes was raised in a backwoods village near the Great Lakes along the Canada-United States border in a now-endangered oral and ethnic tradition.
Coming from refugee and immigrant families, she has Mexican mestiza and ethnic Hungarian Magyar descent (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, 2006, P 1). Considering that she came from a group of no-read and no-write families, it is a surprising achievement how she went on to pursue a college degree and completed doctorate in intercultural studies and clinical psychology. More unexpectedly, and pleasantly so, is how she established herself as a psychologist in a field where discrimination against women and especially against minorities had been prevalent.
Presently, approximately less than 20 percent of graduates in doctoral psychology degrees come from Afro-American, Latino, American Indian and Asian minorities (Stanovich, 2004, p. 11). Beyond behavioral science, Estes accomplished much more in her fields of interests that ranged from psychology and women’s studies to poetry, mythology and spiritual development. Many of her works deal with the life of the soul and include the bestseller Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype that has been published in over 30 languages worldwide.
Among her other works are The Gift of Story and the audio work series Theatre of the Imagination. In recognition of her works that “advance psychonalysis”, she became a recipient of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis Gradiva Awards. Estes’ published works are important in advancing and popularizing psychological studies and approaches. Her effective use of literature (poetics, mythos and fairy tales) and psychoanalytic commentary in exploring the nature of the human psyche strengthens the field of psychology by attracting popular interest in psychological analysis and in the field of psychology itself.
In turn, her science enriches her art by making psychoanalysis as a “fertile ground for ideas and new works” (NAAP, “The Gradiva Awards”, P 2). Clarissa Estes other contributions stem from her dedication as a social activist and as a post-trauma specialist. She worked for Columbine High School and the community after the 1999 massacre and also serves today the survivor families of the September 11 attacks (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, 2006, P 1). She is a recipient of other awards for her many lifelong contributions and also served as the head of the C.
G. Jung Center for Education and Research. Estes illustrates today’s changing face of psychology in terms of gender and multi-cultural openness and the richness of talents. The diversity that she and her fellow women and ethnic practitioners contribute to the complex field of psychology is a celebration of the evolution of the human mind and of science itself. References Clarissa Pinkola Estes. (2006, October 31). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:53, December 18, 2006, from http://en. wikipedia.
org/ w/index. php? title=Clarissa_Pinkola_Est%C3%A9s&oldid=84750612. Faculty Profile: Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. (n. d. ). Retrieved 18 Dec. 2006 from the Omega Institute website: http://www. eomega. com/omega/faculty/viewProfile/ 4fa47387cf478f61cb015e487f460c49/. National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. (n. d. ). Awards. Retrieved 18 Dec. 2006 from NAAP website: http://www. naap. org/awards. html. Stanovich, Keith E. (2004). How to Think Straight About Psychology. [Place]: Allyn and Bacon.