The Healing Road:
Exploring the Work of Professor Harvey R Wasserman, MD

Welcome From Sarah Daniel

Professor Harvey Wasserman MD
Photo by Ben Geoghegan

During the more than 30 years I knew Harvey, first as just an acquaintance, later a friend and then his partner, I was introduced to dozens of sides to his talents and interests. If anybody ever earned the description larger than life, it was Harvey. He was a brilliant creative thinker, a natural athlete, a gifted painter and sculptor, and having been a child prodigy on the violin, he demonstrated his 'musical ear' both in personal activities and in his work in psychotherapy. He was an adventurer who travelled the globe to experience human cultures first hand, and also just for the fun of running wild rivers.

He was also an adventurer in his work. Trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, Harvey lost no time taking up other forms of therapeutic training, including Gestalt work, family therapy, applied kinesiology, bioenergetics, character analysis, Ayurvedic music therapy, Chinese medicine, past-life therapy, hypnotherapy and shamanism. Relentless in pursuit of what could be helpful to his patients, he was also relentless in pursuit of his own inner healing. As soon as he had an insight into himself, his past traumas, his own quirks, he immediately used that insight to help his patients and to teach his students.

Watching Harvey work was a revelation about the possibilities of human communication. His ability to make deep contact with a patient or a workshop participant was so acute, and his effect on the individual so powerful and at the same time benign, that patients, colleagues and students were amazed and often awestruck. His expertise was so impressive that people who observed it tended to disregard something Harvey said repeatedly, which was "This can be taught."

In the wake of Harvey's death two days after his 91st birthday, I began to realize that the best way to celebrate his life is to find out how to learn what he did, and how to teach others. Many of his former patients have used some of his techniques in their lives and their work, whether it be in various kinds of therapy, in the management of people in businesses, and simply in their own lives and with their families. But are there ways to communicate more of Harvey's basic philosophy and his specific use of techniques to more people? Even to people who never saw him work?

I realized at the same time that I am the person best qualified to launch this project. Almost as soon as he met me, Harvey began teaching me his techniques so I could use them on him. So not only have I had experience with him as co-therapist in the early years of The Healing Road Clinic, I have had about 30 years of experience working as his personal therapist, using his own insights and therapeutic tools to help him learn about himself.

Harvey was dedicated to learning what would help people and to applying that as soon as he learned it. He was not a person who would step back, study what he was doing, and write it all down for posterity. There is much to be learned from The Healing Road, from John Wayne and the Fierce Kuga-Kugas and his poetry book, At the Centre of Time. But for a more comprehensive look at what he was doing, what were the various influences on his thinking, and how to apply all that, a different sort of mind and temperament needs to come into the picture.

And that's me. My own background is in the scholarly study of literature, in teaching, and in the challenges of explaining to prospective university students what they could expect to experience at third-level education at a particular institution. Coming to understand complex experience and then communicating it to others is a particular talent of mine.

So here we are at the beginning of this exploration. I will be writing about various topics that I believe will help us get a sense of the philosophical approaches that informed Harvey's work and where he seems to have departed from the thinking of his various teachers. I will also be describing what I believe to be helpful ways to come into harmony with the essence of Harvey's work, so that each of us can find our own centre in the quest to communicate with and to help heal others in our lives - and ourselves as well.

Welcome to the adventure!

Sarah Daniel