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Tribute to a Friend: Dr. Jeanne Achterberg

by Marilyn Schlitz

A few days ago, on March 7, 2012, Jeanne Achterberg, PhD passed on to the next phase of her spirit journey. Jeanne was a dear friend for decades. Her work with IONS was foundational; she and Dr. Carl Simonton received one of the first IONS grants for her pioneering clinical research on psychoneuroimmunology—then an emerging new field. She helped map the inner mechanisms of the healing response, always eager to understand the links between body, mind and spirit. Her fascination with cross-cultural perspectives on healing led her to a life of integration between cultures, psychology, and science.

Jeanne was a faculty member for 11 years at Southwestern Medical School. For many years, she served as a Professor of Psychology at Saybrook Institute, San Francisco. In the early 90’s, she co-chaired the mind/body interventions ad hoc advisory panel and the Research Technologies Conference of the Office of Alternative Medicine, and was a member of the Advisory Board, Unconventional Cancer Treatments Study Group, Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress. She authored over 100 papers and five books. Imagery in Healing is critically acclaimed as a classic in the field of mind/body studies, and Woman as Healer is described as a ground breaking work, surveying the activities of women from prehistoric times to the present. Rituals of Healing is a primer on the use of creative therapies for health and medicine, and won the Book of the Year Award from the American Nursing Association. Her most recent book, Lightning at the Gate, relates the story of her personal healing journey. Her own fight with cancer gave her special insights into the distinctions between healing and curing. 



Jeanne was always in the vanguard. She was a beautiful, courageous, visionary, and spirited woman. She was a devoted ally. A gifted mentor. A trusted colleague. While I fully expect her friends to feel her spirit soaring about in nature, she will be missed in this earthly incarnation. I feel a deep hole in my heart.

You can hear a recording of Jeanne speaking about "Medicine as Spiritual Practice" on this website.

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  • Anonymous Icon

    sanna Mar 20, 2012

    I am deeply saddened by Jeanne's death. I studied with her in the 1990's and have read most of her books and recently listened to Intentional Healing. She was a true mentor to me. I will miss her guidance. Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt

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