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Presentation of the Hero’s Journey in thePresentation of the Hero’s Journey in the
Care of Veterans with PTSD andCare of V...
Joseph CampbellJoseph Campbell
•1904 – 1988
•Mythologist (Jungian
influence)
•He created the composite
portrait of the Her...
Campbell claims that myth hasCampbell claims that myth has
four functionsfour functions
•Cosmological
− shows us the shape...
Monomyth, the arche-storyMonomyth, the arche-story
•Archetypical, for this very reason it applies to
all of us (not only t...
Who can be a Hero?Who can be a Hero?
The central character of the Monomyth
can be not only The Warrior, but:
•The Healer, ...
• Person able to battle
past his personal and
local limitations
• Goes on journey to
become “reborn” or
transcendent and t...
Conventional beginning:Conventional beginning:
the Hero at homethe Hero at home
•Mundane background: „Dorothy this is (yet...
Happily Ever BeforeHappily Ever Before
I. DepartureI. Departure
Wheater, Tim - Heart Land - 01 - The Warrior's Return.wav
Call to adventureCall to adventure
Call to adventure 1Call to adventure 1
•A herald or announcer appears
•Often (but not always) someone dark, loathly,
terri...
Call to adventure 2Call to adventure 2
•The Hero is challenged by the Unknown
•The chosenness manifests itself
•The spirit...
•The choice (limited though) is a central issue
in the Hero’s Journey
•Commonly heard in movies with a weak
plot: “I (we) ...
• Many heroes at first refuse the adventureMany heroes at first refuse the adventure
• Eventually the Hero accepts the Cal...
The dilemmaThe dilemma
Accepting the Call may lead hereAccepting the Call may lead here
The outcome of refusing the CallTh...
The crisisThe crisis
•The Hero hesitates due to false commitments, lack of
self-esteem, or simply to the unease of leaving...
Supernatural aidSupernatural aid
•The first entity showing up after the
Hero steps on the path
•Usually (but not always) m...
Allies, sidekicks,Allies, sidekicks,
fallen onesfallen ones
•Not to be confused with the supernatural aid
•Allies can be H...
Crossing of the first threshold 1Crossing of the first threshold 1
•This is the point where the Hero
actually leaves the k...
Crossing of the first threshold 2Crossing of the first threshold 2
•The Threshold is a boundary between
the ordinary and e...
Threshold guardiansThreshold guardians
• At the Threshold, the Hero will not be
permitted to pass without effort. S/he mus...
The belly of the whale 1The belly of the whale 1
• Crossing the threshold is a form of
self-annihilation. The Hero is
swal...
The belly of the whale 2The belly of the whale 2
The dark night of the soulThe dark night of the soul
•This stage is often...
II. InitiationII. Initiation
((Rite of PassageRite of Passage))
Wheater, Tim - Heart Land - 03 - The Inner Battle.wav
The road of trials 1The road of trials 1
•Through a series of tests
and tribulations the Hero
gets to the breaking point o...
The road of trials 2The road of trials 2
•The trials fall into two categories of hero deeds:
–The Physical Deed (the Hero ...
Initiation ceremonyInitiation ceremony
•“White people are fools sending men into battle
without initiation!” (anonymous Na...
In lack of proper initiationIn lack of proper initiation
•“What doesn't kill you makes you stronger”
is not true if it com...
Further on the road of trialsFurther on the road of trials
1. Meeting with the Goddess
2. The Temptation (frequently with
...
The unhealable woundThe unhealable wound
•The hero may suffer a wound that will never heal
This may occur in his main figh...
Apotheosis, the Ultimate BoonApotheosis, the Ultimate Boon
•The Hero overcomes Death
•S/he has gained knowledge, skills, s...
III. ReturnIII. Return
Final steps in the return
Rescue from Without
Just as the HERO may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest,
oft...
Common motives of the ReturnCommon motives of the Return
•Can be refused (like in the case of the Call)
•Can be as adventu...
Breaking points 1Breaking points 1
Points where the veteran has left the path
resulting in substance use and PTSD:
•Not no...
Breaking points 2Breaking points 2
•Failed or painful Return due to rejection by the
society (e.g., after the Vietnam War)...
Therapeutic conclusions 1Therapeutic conclusions 1
•Putting the victim role behind eliminates a huge
roadblock in the way ...
Therapeutic conclusions 2Therapeutic conclusions 2
•The patient has to face the Dark Father (Darth Vader), which
means tha...
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The Veteran's Journey

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Joseph Campbell's monomyth the Heros' Journey applied in the care of returning veterans suffering of substance use and/or PTSD.
Viewing the downloaded file in Slideshow is recommended for listening the embedded music. Relevant steps for veterans are highlighted in different color and traumatic events on the path are in italics.

Published in: Healthcare
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The Veteran's Journey

  1. 1. Presentation of the Hero’s Journey in thePresentation of the Hero’s Journey in the Care of Veterans with PTSD andCare of Veterans with PTSD and Substance Use DisorderSubstance Use Disorder after Joseph Campbellafter Joseph Campbell by Ede Frecska, M.D.* andby Ede Frecska, M.D.* and with the help of veteranswith the help of veterans at the Northport VAMC, NYat the Northport VAMC, NY *former Medical Director of the*former Medical Director of the Substance Abuse Services, Northport VAMCSubstance Abuse Services, Northport VAMC PTSD Treatment Program, Gainesville VAMCPTSD Treatment Program, Gainesville VAMC
  2. 2. Joseph CampbellJoseph Campbell •1904 – 1988 •Mythologist (Jungian influence) •He created the composite portrait of the Hero and defined the concept from ordinary humans to mythical deities •The Hero’s Journey is the Monomyth, the eternally returning arche-story with specific stages •It is a path what the Hero has to follow and complete •If not, s/he falls
  3. 3. Campbell claims that myth hasCampbell claims that myth has four functionsfour functions •Cosmological − shows us the shape of the universe with us within •Social − supports and validates (codifies) the social order •Pedagogical − provides life model, sets example for human deeds •Mystical − helps to realize what a wonder the universe is, what a wonder we are Do we have it? Do we need it?
  4. 4. Monomyth, the arche-storyMonomyth, the arche-story •Archetypical, for this very reason it applies to all of us (not only to those demigods) •It is the core of every story (from the Epic of Gilgamesh through Odyssey to the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars) •Its elements can be discovered in movies or stories about ordinary people (e.g., The Old Man and the Sea; Rain Man; O Brother, Where Art Thou?) •Basic pattern: 1. Departure 2. Initiation (Rite of Passage) 3. Return
  5. 5. Who can be a Hero?Who can be a Hero? The central character of the Monomyth can be not only The Warrior, but: •The Healer, The Prophet, The King (Queen), The Bard, The Wanderer (Drifter), The Sage, The Jester, The Martyr, or The Youngest Son •Anyone, who sets on the path, leaves comfort and conformity, gets skills and knowledge what will be used for the benefit of the community In general: anyone, who is able to transcend his/her personal and provincial limits for good.
  6. 6. • Person able to battle past his personal and local limitations • Goes on journey to become “reborn” or transcendent and then returns to share knowledge with others Who is a Hero?Who is a Hero?
  7. 7. Conventional beginning:Conventional beginning: the Hero at homethe Hero at home •Mundane background: „Dorothy this is (yet) Kansas!” •Frequently the Hero is a commoner (King Arthur), s/he is the third one, has an arduous life (Cinderella) or – on the contrary – lives Happily Ever Before •Nevertheless, the Hero may exhibit the signs of “The Chosen One” (miraculous birth, astrological constellations, extra bones) •Occasionally the Hero’s early life is hyperconventional, bound to more taboos (like in the case of an Inuit shaman’s apprentice)
  8. 8. Happily Ever BeforeHappily Ever Before
  9. 9. I. DepartureI. Departure Wheater, Tim - Heart Land - 01 - The Warrior's Return.wav
  10. 10. Call to adventureCall to adventure
  11. 11. Call to adventure 1Call to adventure 1 •A herald or announcer appears •Often (but not always) someone dark, loathly, terrifying, and/or unordinary •The Call promises both treasure/reward and danger/difficulty •The Call requires travel. The hero must journey to a distant land, forest, or kingdom somewhere underground, beneath the waves, above the sky, on a secret island, atop a lofty mountain – even into a profound dream state. •The hero must leave his/her comfort zone
  12. 12. Call to adventure 2Call to adventure 2 •The Hero is challenged by the Unknown •The chosenness manifests itself •The spirit world divulges its choice (on the shaman’s path) •It may occur in form of tragedy, with trauma (Hercules, Luke Skywalker) or not (King Arthur legend) •Crisis situation (initiation sickness), the Hero’s life will be difficult either way Many veterans with Native American ancestry have heard about the Call
  13. 13. •The choice (limited though) is a central issue in the Hero’s Journey •Commonly heard in movies with a weak plot: “I (we) ha(d)ve no choice!” •The Hero’s Journey is not predetermined, the supernatural control is just part of the test. •The Call can be refused (but not without consequences) Choice and the HeroChoice and the Hero
  14. 14. • Many heroes at first refuse the adventureMany heroes at first refuse the adventure • Eventually the Hero accepts the Call, but itEventually the Hero accepts the Call, but it can take some timecan take some time • The benefits of eventually accepting the Call:The benefits of eventually accepting the Call: – The person gains self-awareness and controlThe person gains self-awareness and control – The person gets answers to and competency overThe person gets answers to and competency over the most profound problems faced in lifethe most profound problems faced in life • The consequences of always refusing the Call:The consequences of always refusing the Call: – The person loses the power of affirmative actionThe person loses the power of affirmative action and becomes aand becomes a victimvictim to be savedto be saved – According to Campbell, the person’s “floweringAccording to Campbell, the person’s “flowering world becomes a wasteland of dry stones and hisworld becomes a wasteland of dry stones and his life feels meaningless.”life feels meaningless.” Refusal of the CallRefusal of the Call
  15. 15. The dilemmaThe dilemma Accepting the Call may lead hereAccepting the Call may lead here The outcome of refusing the CallThe outcome of refusing the Call
  16. 16. The crisisThe crisis •The Hero hesitates due to false commitments, lack of self-esteem, or simply to the unease of leaving comfort •S/he tries to ignore the Call or gives wrong response •Hollywood likes the character of the Reluctant Hero •Some story ends here (Daphne, King Minos) with the concluding lesson: One cannot say ney to transcendental forces (to the Spirit World – in the shamanic lore) In other words: One cannot rebuff his/her inner potentials (e.g., spiritual, social, or other intelligence)
  17. 17. Supernatural aidSupernatural aid •The first entity showing up after the Hero steps on the path •Usually (but not always) masculine •Sometimes his presence is not obvious •Typically a wizard, hermit, or shepherd – someone peripheral to the community •Supplies the boons, amulets, and advice that the hero will require to begin In essence: the Hero is never alone! (We neither, regardless how it seems.)
  18. 18. Allies, sidekicks,Allies, sidekicks, fallen onesfallen ones •Not to be confused with the supernatural aid •Allies can be Heroes (fallen exHeroes) of other stories (for example, Gollum)
  19. 19. Crossing of the first threshold 1Crossing of the first threshold 1 •This is the point where the Hero actually leaves the known limits of his/her world and ventures into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules are not known •The Threshold often manifests itself as a physical place, but it does not have to be. Sometimes it is manifested as an actual barrier or boundary, such as a river, bridge, doorway, etc. •The Hero is no longer in the world of common day and is actually on the adventure itself “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”
  20. 20. Crossing of the first threshold 2Crossing of the first threshold 2 •The Threshold is a boundary between the ordinary and extraordinary realm •The real show now begins… •…with being tested by the Threshold Guardian(s)
  21. 21. Threshold guardiansThreshold guardians • At the Threshold, the Hero will not be permitted to pass without effort. S/he must earn the passage across. Threshold Guardians help the worthy to do that, and turn less worthy individuals away from the path • The Threshold Guardian is not necessarily evil, but its agenda initially adversarial to that of the Hero. The job of the Threshold Guardian is to get the Hero to rethink whether or not s/he wishes to proceed on this adventure • Double role: – protection (if the Hero is not ready) – orientation (if the Hero is ready) These archetypal figures are familiar to many Native American veterans.
  22. 22. The belly of the whale 1The belly of the whale 1 • Crossing the threshold is a form of self-annihilation. The Hero is swallowed into the unknown, and would appear to have died • The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the Hero's known world and self. It is actually the point when the Hero is in between worlds and selves. The separation between the old world/self and the potential for a new world/self has been made, or is being fully recognized.
  23. 23. The belly of the whale 2The belly of the whale 2 The dark night of the soulThe dark night of the soul •This stage is often symbolized by something dark, unknown and frightening. Here the rules are different. Entering this abyss the Hero indicates willingness to undergo a metamorphosis, to shred his/her old character for a new one •Shredding the “secular self” comes with calvary, perturbation, and it is not the only abysmal depth (trauma again) on the path. More will follow! The lesson: There is no transformation without perturbation (perturbatio: Jesus’ suffering on the cross). Or: No real change comes from the comfort zone!
  24. 24. II. InitiationII. Initiation ((Rite of PassageRite of Passage)) Wheater, Tim - Heart Land - 03 - The Inner Battle.wav
  25. 25. The road of trials 1The road of trials 1 •Through a series of tests and tribulations the Hero gets to the breaking point of his physical tolerance. He must bow and submit to the absolutely intolerable (but not to human authorities*) •At the end the Hero will be changed forever: s/he becomes initiated * A common mistake of the old- fashioned boot camps
  26. 26. The road of trials 2The road of trials 2 •The trials fall into two categories of hero deeds: –The Physical Deed (the Hero performs a courageous act in battle or save lives) –The Spiritual Deed (the Hero learns to experience the supernormal range of human spiritual life and then comes back with a message)
  27. 27. Initiation ceremonyInitiation ceremony •“White people are fools sending men into battle without initiation!” (anonymous Native American) •The more warrior-like a tribe is, the harder is their initiation trial •According to this author the essence of initiation (Lakota Sun Dance, for example) is to expose the novice to all possible physical and mental stresses within a ritualistic context and with certain social support (acceptance, “tough love”) in the background •The result is “inoculation” against physical-mental stress, endurance in hunt and combat
  28. 28. In lack of proper initiationIn lack of proper initiation •“What doesn't kill you makes you stronger” is not true if it comes with social rejection, humiliation, and destroys human dignity* Lack of social support reverses the process and sensitizes to PTSD! * A common mistake of the old-fashioned boot camps
  29. 29. Further on the road of trialsFurther on the road of trials 1. Meeting with the Goddess 2. The Temptation (frequently with woman as Temptress) 3. Atonement with the Father 4. Journey to (harrowing of) Hell 5. Apotheosis 6. The Ultimate Boon 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
  30. 30. The unhealable woundThe unhealable wound •The hero may suffer a wound that will never heal This may occur in his main fight, but could happen anywhere in the story •The wound may be emotional or psychological •This is a basic motif during the Healer’s journey
  31. 31. Apotheosis, the Ultimate BoonApotheosis, the Ultimate Boon •The Hero overcomes Death •S/he has gained knowledge, skills, spiritual power during the process •This is what s/he brings back on the way of Return. •The reward may be tangible as well (Indiana Jones)
  32. 32. III. ReturnIII. Return
  33. 33. Final steps in the return Rescue from Without Just as the HERO may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, often times he or she must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life, especially if the HERO has been wounded or weakened by the experience. Or perhaps the HERO doesn't realize that it is time to return, that he can return, or that others need his boon. The Crossing of the Return Threshold The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world. This is usually extremely difficult. Master of the Two Worlds In myth, this step is usually represented by a transcendental HERO like Jesus or Buddha. For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between the material and spiritual. The person has become comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds.
  34. 34. Common motives of the ReturnCommon motives of the Return •Can be refused (like in the case of the Call) •Can be as adventurous (magic flight) and arduous like the Road of Trials (for example, Shawshank Redemption) •Like before, the Hero may need the help of the Supernatural Aid or must offer sacrifice (a slice from the Hero’s thigh to feed the Griffith like in the tale of the Son of the White Horse) •On Return the Hero gets confronted with the rejection of the conventional world (e.g., the older brothers try to whack him) •S/he must “re-enter … where men who are fractions imagine themselves to be complete” (Campbell) •S/he is master of two worlds (the mythical and the ordinary): “powerful in insight, calm and free in action” (Campbell) •Fruiting of the (transformed) soul – in Christian mysticism •Freedom from the fear of death means freedom to live
  35. 35. Breaking points 1Breaking points 1 Points where the veteran has left the path resulting in substance use and PTSD: •Not noticing, ignoring, wrongly answering the Call (this is not his/her fault, an err of culture) •Drug use as response to the initiation crisis •Assuming lack of choice •Wrong choice at crossroads •Inadequate initiation (again a cultural error) •Assumption of loneliness, ignoring helping hands •Unresolved issues with father
  36. 36. Breaking points 2Breaking points 2 •Failed or painful Return due to rejection by the society (e.g., after the Vietnam War) •Too fast reintegration “as if nothing has happened” (the Return took 20 years for Odysseus and 2 months for WWII veterans, not a couple of days as later) •Stratification of returning service members (WWII, Korean war, Vietnam era, OEF/OIF)* •Feeling victimized by the Trauma, which is inherent in the Hero’s Journey, very important for his/her development; most of all, it can take ANY form *This was not in practice on the Great Plains (i.e., neither Pawnee war veterans nor Comanche war veterans, etc.)
  37. 37. Therapeutic conclusions 1Therapeutic conclusions 1 •Putting the victim role behind eliminates a huge roadblock in the way of healing and may promote post- traumatic growth •A spiritual approach (like one presented here) can significantly help in reframing the trauma: regardless how unbelievable it may sound, but it had to happen, it was designed and ordered above in service of the Hero •Abstinence is just an intermediate goal, the real goal is the Return (supporting family, sponsoring mates, etc.) •The Return is a complex and long process (the main lesson of the Odyssey, which is the saga of the returning warrior) •The therapy in essence is helping the fallen Hero in
  38. 38. Therapeutic conclusions 2Therapeutic conclusions 2 •The patient has to face the Dark Father (Darth Vader), which means that we have to accept our roots and make peace with our past (if not, only we lose) •A returning veteran cannot be reintegrated “as if nothing has happened”, and it is not “entitlement” if s/he is protesting against the short cuts •Veterans of different wars and eras should have to be helped in fathering the younger ones •We have to find and cultivate the mythology of our culture •There is a strong need for proper initiation •The fallacy of Western psychotherapies: most of them is reluctant to leave the comfort zone •The power of tribal (shamanic) medicine: the knowledge of using suffering in service of healing

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