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An Essay on Women, Despair, and Healing: A Personal Narrative

Cowling, W. Richard III RN, PhD, APRN-BC, AHN-BC

doi: 10.1097/01.ANS.0000334288.27096.79

Much of my career has focused on knowing and understanding human wholeness, developing praxis approaches for life patterning and healing, and inquiring into the lives of the women who have been abused as children and live with despair. Sensing the desire of people to share their stories to understand their despair and being discontented with fragmenting and dehumanizing approaches to practice and research, I sought an alternative path. This article describes the personal and professional journey that led me into the lives of women, the discoveries and revelations that emerged, and an appreciation of unimagined potentials for healing. It also confirmed the need for nursing to examine its underlying assumptions of healing.

School of Nursing, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro.

Corresponding Author: W. Richard Cowling, III, RN, PhD, APRN-BC, AHN-BC, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Greensboro 27402 (

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.