The Hero’s Journey: A Case Study

Lynelle Tyler April 26, 2012 0
The Hero’s Journey: A Case Study

In this essay I explore the potential healing power of mythology and its use as a professional coaching tool. The twelve stages of the “Hero’s Journey”, as set forth by Joseph Campbell, will provide the paradigm in which to view a contemporary case study. Joseph Campbell believed that mythology had the power to heal. Campbell was a follower of Carl G. Jung. Followers of Campbell and Jung have captured essential ideologies from both men and termed it, Depth Psychology. For the purpose of this paper, these essential ideologies include the beliefs that the unconscious mind contains an historical record of all human experiences and that the language of the unconscious is rooted in symbols.

A Brief History

“Freud and Jung both felt that myth is grounded in the unconscious” (Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, pg. 58).  Both also believed that it is logical to assume, the mind like the body, contained the history of our evolution. That is, we have inherited essential social information which resonates in us through the use of mythology and makes itself known in our dreams and even in psychotic fantasies.  Our dreams and fantasies have a sort of direct access to the unconscious.  Joseph Campbell tells us that mythology is the language of the unconscious and in myth resides transcendence, healing, and growth. Campbell reveals that mythology plays a profound role in the human psyche. Throughout the ages and across all cultures, myths have guided the stages of life for mankind. Jung believed that the unconscious contained:

Everything of which I know but of which I am not at the moment thinking.  Everything of which I was once conscious but have not forgotten.Everything perceived by my senses but not noted by my conscious mind.Everything which involuntarily without paying attention to it, I feel, think,  remember, want and do. All future things that are taking place in me and will sometime come to conscious. All this is the content of the unconscious. (Jung, The Wisdom of the Dream, Vol.1)

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