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Reply To: Campbell on Personal Mythology


Good question, Aaron.

I saw this post a couple days ago, but this is the first chance I’ve had to reply (you may have noticed by now that discussions in Conversations of a Higher Order unfold at a much more leisurely pace then over social media, where a Facebook post, no matter the depth and profundity of the comments it generates, tends to scroll off the screen and into the ether within a few hours, or a day or two at most, never to be seen again; here in COHO it’s not unusual for individuals to take a day or two, or even a week or two or more, to digest a post and let thoughts simmer a bit before seeing what bubbles up to the surface and posting a reply – nor do we shy away from longer posts).

There does seem more than a little resonance between narrative therapy and Campbell’s conceptualization of personal mythology, especially in the initial stage of the therapeutic process (can’t change the story until one knows what story has been playing out in our lives – definite overlap between that and discovering one’s personal myth).

My sense is that “personalized myth,” as opposed to “personal myth,” is an ego choice – more of a want or desire than necessarily an act grounded in self-reflection, whereas changing one’s story under the aegis of narrative therapy is, like finding one’s personal myth, ground in the dictum “Know Thyself.”

Just for my own benefit, I find myself conceiving the difference between discovering one’s personal myth and employing narrative therapy as analogous to the difference between traditional dreamwork and lucid dreaming: similar dynamics at work, albeit with a different inflection.