Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Angelle Cook


The Hero’s Journey (Campbell, 1949) is a common narrative structure throughout ancient mythology and modern storytelling which describes the transformation of a hero through a journey of trials and represents the experience of psychological healing throughout various cultures. Because of the ancient and common nature of this structure and the psychological importance of personal narrative and storying even from an early age (Boyd, 2018; Klees, 2016), this thesis hypothesizes that a client’s experience throughout psychotherapy will follow the stages of the Hero’s Journey and that invoking this structure within the therapy room, particularly for drama therapists, will empower clients toward change and transformation. This thesis lays out the three stages of the Hero’s Journey (departure, initiation, and return) and key subsections of each stage and draws parallels with client’s progression through drama therapy and dramatic reality. The literature on psychotherapy and narrative supports the empowering structure of the Hero’s Journey and framing client’s experiences in therapy as heroic. For drama therapists, exploring the history of the Hero’s Journey grounds the work of drama therapy in the past and promotes spiritual integration into the therapy room. Though some work has been done to integrate the Hero’s Journey with certain drama therapy interventions (Klees, 2016; Minerson, 2017) the work has been limited in scope. This thesis aims to draw parallels throughout all drama therapy processes in therapy with the Hero’s Journey and to encourage therapists to promote empowerment and transformation in their clients through this narrative structure.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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