Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Clarissa Pinkola Estés (27 January 1945) is an American poet, psychoanalyst and post-trauma specialist who was raised in now nearly vanished oral and ethnic traditions. She is a first-generation American who grew up in a rural village, population 600, near the Great Lakes.

Dr. C.P. Estés’ is a lifelong activist in service of the voiceless; as a post-trauma recovery specialist and psychoanalyst of 48 years clinical practice with the persons traumatized by war, exilos and torture victims; and as a journalist covering stories of human suffering and hope.

Estés is Managing Editor for, a news and political blog where she also writes on issues of culture, soul, and politics. Her columns on issues of social justice, spirituality and culture are archived under her signature title: El Rio Debajo del Rio (“The River Underneath the River”) on the National Catholic Reporter website.

She is controversial for proposing that both assimilation and holding to ethnic traditions are the ways to contribute to a creative culture and to a soul-based civility.

Estés’ Guadalupe Foundation funds literacy projects, including in Queens, New York City, in Madagascar – providing printed local folktales, healthcare and hygiene information for people in their own language. These texts are then used for learning to read and write.

“As artist-in-residence in schools, I find whereas children used to dream bear, wolf, tiger as both friends and foes, and often… now, so so many children are dreaming Machine; gigantic stomping splints and walking piers of glittering mutant metal … . ” – from essay “Wild Wolf/ Wild Soul” in Comeback Wolves, eds G. Wockner, L. Prichett

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