Clarissa Pinkola Estés is an award-winning poet, certified Jungian psychoanalyst, and cantadora (keeper of the old stories in the Latina tradition). Her books include “Women Who Run with the Wolves,” a compendium of family tales and psychological applications to the inner soul and creative lives of women. Translated in 32 foreign languages, this work has been hailed as a classic, a seminal work on the nature of women.
Born in Indiana and of Latino 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 the war. Estés was the first of her family to graduate from grade school. Later, as a divorced welfare mother, she strove to go to college with a baby on her back while holding four minimum wage jobs. She studied at Red Rocks Community College and graduated from Loretto Heights College. She received her doctorate from The Union Graduate School and a post-doctoral diploma from the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Psychoanalysts. She has been in clinical practice in Denver for 36 years.
As a specialist in post-trauma recovery, through Young Audiences and La Sociedad de Guadalupe, Estés served Columbine High School and its community for four 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 safehouse for battered women in Colorado 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. One of her forthcoming books from Texas A&M University Press is “La Curandera: Healing in Two Worlds.”