PUBLICATIONS on the Hero’s Journey

Publications on the Hero’s Journey


Journal of Humanistic Psychology.  Volume 59. Issue 4. First published April 26 2016. p 522-539.

Clients present to therapy when significant life problems occur. The Hero’s Journey is a map of change which informs the client of where they are in the change process, what to expect, and what is required of them to progress their story and resolve their life problem.

The Hero’s Journey is emphatic in that addressing significant problems, personal change is a necessity.

This paper details Campbell’s three phases of the Hero’s Journey and identifies how a client can use this mudmap to navigate the trials and challenges of the change process. The Hero’s Journey informs clients that in addressing their significant life problem, new polar-opposite skills will be required. Such polar-opposite skills can only be learned through facing a series of increasingly more difficult trials. The Hero’s Journey also informs client-heroes that with trials, they will also experience rewards, such as increased connection and more their authentic self. As Campbell noted, the essential nature of the Hero’s Journey is the adventure of problem solving but only through personal transformation.

hero's journey


JOURNAL OF GENIUS AND EMINENCE, 2(2), 70-78, 2017  Issue Copyright 2017 International Center for Studies in Creativity  Article Copyright 2017, Clive Williams   ISSN: 2334-1130 print/2334-1149 online (in press)

This paper proposes the Hero’s Journey as a pathway to psychological creativity.

The Hero’s Journey reveals, in story form, the efforts of a hero to resolve a significant problem following a change in life circumstances. This problem lies beyond the scope of the hero’s current understanding, skill set and experience. In order to address the problem, the hero therefore begins what Campbell refers to as ‘the creative act’ of ‘sticking one’s neck out’, undergoing a Hero’s Journey.

Invariably the journey involves foreign trials, requiring the hero to tap into unknown inner potentials. Invariably trials become more complex, pushing the hero to move beyond their perceived limits. Eventually, all heroes will experience at least two trials which either subjectively or literally, will seem like life and death challenges, signalling the death of no longer useful aspects of the self and the integration of their newfound potential. Transformed heroes are able to innovate and create in their everyday lives, providing an elixir for those around them.

hero's journey
There can be no wellbeing without struggle and then achievement


Chapter 5 in Heroism Science and Wellbeing edited by Scott Alison, Olivia Efthimiou and Zeno Franco: Heroism and Wellbeing in the 21st Century: Applied and Emerging Perspectives (2018, Routledge)

This chapter proposes that the application of the Hero’s Journey (Campbell 1993) to the life of a ‘real’ individuals for improved wellbeing. 

The Hero’s Journey is the recurring story of personal change required to address a significant life problem that facilitates the development of increased wellbeing. As Campbell says, undertaking a Hero’s Journey helps the individual discover a way of living that is in accord with his or her own inner values and interests (Campbell 1993, 2004), leading to increased connection with others and a new awareness of ‘self’—in short, increased wellbeing. Further, Campbell proposes, life is a series of Hero’s Journeys; thus, with each journey, the wellbeing of the individual is further developed ‘from birth through maturity through senility to death’ (Campbell 2004, 9).


Vogler’s widely used and highly acclaimed book for writers outlining Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, its stages and archetypal characters.  Though aimed at writers, the book is also a clear and accessible document to understanding and recognising the Hero’s Journey in everyday life.

‘I came looking for the design principles of storytelling, but on the road I found something more: a set of principles for living. I came to believe that the Hero’s Journey is nothing less than a handbook for life, a complete instruction manual in the art of being human.’ Christopher Vogler, 1992 p xiii.

Hero's Journey