Awakening the Hero / Heroine in Others

Before using this material in developing others professionally, you first should apply it in your own life and read the Publications section of this website relevant to the way you are using it. And if credentialing or licensing is required for any of those applications, it is essential that you meet these requirements. If you can participate in one of my workshops or other events or those offered by my colleagues, I would strongly advise you to do so to deepen your knowledge before working with others. However, this work poses no danger. Even if you are just learning about your heroic journey and archetypal allies, it is fine to share what you know with others—but just be sure not to use the material to put them in a box or to criticize or put them down in any way. It is up to them to validate the archetypes that are active in their lives based on their self-knowledge.

The following two passages were written by my colleagues Hugh Marr and Patricia Adson, and are indented for clarity of attribution.

Archetypes in Psychotherapy

We see our lives and our world through the lens of our stories. Stories are how we relate, and stories are how we remember. We have listened to stories or story elements from the womb, and we have told stories since the age of three. As people, we have expressed our needs, our hopes, and our fears for untold eons in our stories. The universal stories and their elements are woven into the fabric of who we are. And many of the elements of our stories—like the characters and the plots—are both ancient and universal; they are, in a word, archetypal.

Psychotherapy is a process for helping people to transform their stories. And because those seminal stories that map our lives are formed in relationship, they must be healed in relationship. The therapeutic bond can be a healing crucible.

When people seek therapeutic help, it is for a problematic story they live. Perhaps a character is disowned or hurtful; perhaps a plot is sad, or even tragic; or perhaps, through trauma, the story itself has been shattered into disconnected psychic shards.

All stories are simultaneously personal and universal. An archetypal understanding can contextualize our stories, helping us to see them from another vantage point. I am reminded of Maggie, a creative woman given to periodic depression. Far more disturbing to her than the depression was the shame and weakness she felt for having the depression. That is, until she re-encountered the archetypal story of Persephone and began to understand how the vibrancy and creativity of spring is made possible by the gestation and the underworld of winter.

Sometimes other archetypes can be called forth as healing resources, and the addition of such resources changes the storyline. Joe grew up with an absent father and a mother who felt burdened by having a child. His anxiety and timidity began to heal only when he was able to access an inner Caregiver who could soothe the neglected Little Joe.

As therapists, we hugely extend our healing capacity by welcoming the ancient, the universal, the numinous—the archetypal. We move from making repairs to healing (from old English, “to make whole”) by tapping the archetypal legacy—a legacy that was ancient even before the dawn of agriculture. As a therapist, in taking and reflecting on the PMAI you take a further step in inviting your own healing potential.

Hugh Marr, Ph.D.

Depth Coaching: Applications of the 12 Archetype System to Coaching

In the Ego stage the coach and the client deal with issues of emotional and physical self-care and self-compassion, setting goals, recognizing boundaries and limits, and dealing with authority by having the client learn to be her own parent.

After acquainting the client with her Ego archetypes, the Depth Coach will guide the client’s journey to identity and individuation as she fights her Dragons, finds her gifts, and identifies her purpose in life. The coach will do this using the concepts of the Soul archetypes—The Seeker, The Lover, The Destroyer, and The Creator. In this stage, the coach and client will deal with issues such as discovering passion and creativity, letting go of things that no longer support one’s own journey, and finding purpose and meaning in life.

Having taken the Soul Journey, the client (Hero) returns to the community to share her gifts and enter a state of interdependence. Here the Ego and Soul archetypes combine to form the Self archetypes (The Ruler, The Sage, The Magician, and The Jester) and we deal with issues of governance and responsibility, learning new things and discarding outmoded ones, adapting and embracing change, shedding light on the shadow, and embracing joy.

Patricia Adson, Ph.D.

If you are an individual at a crossroads and need direction and a compass and a map to get to where you want to go, I strongly recommend working with a depth psychology-oriented psychotherapist or coach in applying the perspectives described on this website, and the books and other resources available through it, to your life and work. See also Dr. Adson’s books on using these models in psychotherapy and coaching: Depth Coaching and Finding Your Own True North & Helping Others Find Direction In Life. 

Executive Coaching

Executive coaching can employ all the strategies of life coaching. However, with executive coaching, it is not enough to work with the archetypes of the client in relationship to his or her personal goals. Executives and others in workplace coaching need to balance their own archetypally desired motivations with those of the culture of the organization. Therefore, the resources in The Heroic Organization and Archetypal Branding sections of this website also are relevant for this purpose.

Check out Publications, News, and Blogs for additional assistance in realizing your heroic potential.