Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD

Inductee Name

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD

Place of Birth


Date of Birth


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Clarissa Pinkola Estés, mestiza Chicana, is an award-winning poet, certified Jungian psychoanalyst, post-trauma recovery specialist, and cantadora (keeper of the old stories in the Latina tradition). Her books include Women Who Run with the Wolves, a manifesto of family tales and their psychological applications to the inner soul and creative lives of women. Translated into 42 foreign languages, this work has been hailed by Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Wilma Mankiller and others, as a classic, a seminal work on the root nature of women.

Born in the dirtiest steel mill town in the USA, Gary Indiana, and of Mexican/ Native American heritage, Estés was adopted as an older child by immigrant Hungarians who were hard workers but could not read or write, or did so haltingly. As a child, her house was filled with refugees rescued from slave labor and deportee camps during WWII. Estés was the first of her family to graduate from grade school and high school. Later, as a divorced welfare mother, she strove to go to college with a baby on her back while holding minimum wage jobs. She graduated from Red Rocks Community College and from Loretto Heights College with her B.A.. She received her doctorate from The Union Graduate School in ethno-clinical psychology, the study of groups with emphasis on indigenous history. Her post-doctoral diploma certifying her as a psychoanalyst, is from the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Psychoanalysts by charter of Zurich Switzerland. She has been in clinical practice with war veterans and persons who are survivors of massacres and disasters, for 50 years as of 2020.

As a specialist in post-trauma recovery, through Young Audiences and La Sociedad de Guadalupe, Estés served Columbine High School and its community for three years after the massacre. She currently works with 9/11 survivor families on both coasts. She has served two Colorado governors as an appointee to The Colorado State Grievance Board and chaired the board for seven years. She was the co-coordinator of the first safe-house for battered women in Colorado beginning in 1970, and is the founder/director of The Guadalupe Foundation, which supports adult literacy.

Estés’s awards include the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, The President’s Medal for social justice from The Union Institute and University, and The Las Primeras Award (First of Her Kind) from the Mexican American Women’s Foundation, Washington DC. One of her forthcoming books from Texas A&M University Press is “La Curandera: Healing in Two Worlds.” She and another CWHF inductee, Dr. Martha Urioste have both been recognized as exemplary change agents by being granted Honorary Doctorates from Regis University.




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