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Document Type

Article

Abstract

Taking a humanistic and existential counselling stance, this brief review of heroism and the heroic experience begins by discussing the utility and structure of Joseph Campbell’s (1949) monomythic narrative of the hero’s journey, whilst considering the Jungian conceptualisation of the archetype and the collective unconscious. With their shared assumptions about transformation and growth, modern psychology and the therapeutic practice of counselling and psychotherapy are reviewed in terms of their utilisation of the hero-journey as a developmental metaphor for clients, particularly in trauma recovery. It is also suggested that, as a metaphor for transformation, Campbell’s hero-narrative may also have the potential to assist practitioners and clients to gain a clearer understanding of the inherently chaotic process and journey through psychosis. The article concludes with an overview of heroism science which includes a discussion on this emerging field’s claim, as a ‘deviant interdisciplinary’, to have the capacity to bring together disparate areas of academic endeavour. The division between humanistic and positive psychologies is given as an example of such disparity, and the potential for heroism science to play a role in bridging this particular gap is examined.

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