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StoryWell.com article

When Is a Story Archetypal?

Kesstan Blandin, PhD is the Vice President of Research and Development at the Center for the Applications of Psychological Type in Gainesville, FL. Previous to this, Dr. Blandin was a research psychologist specializing in dementia at the Dartmouth Centers for Health & Aging at Dartmouth College.
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We know the facts - we are currently one of 7 billion people on the planet and in the greater scheme of humanity and the cosmos we will live and die anonymously - but this is not how you and I live. You are striving, battling, and loving through an epic drama. Each time you triumph, each time you fail, you gain the wisdom of living for the first time, as every hero has done through time. Every one of us senses our mysterious potential, often ambiguous and vague, yet emotionally compelling in its lure towards who we can be. We sense as well that the hard facts of life do not provide access to this level of potential, but where to turn for guidance?

StoryWell is the symbol of that mysterious well of human potential, where our possibilities live. The PMAI® assessment and system is designed as a key to access that symbolic, imaginative realm through the archetypal stories we are living. Archetypal stories are the deep level of our personal life story amplified through imagination, leading us to discover the universal drama that is the sum of our everyday attitudes, behaviors, and patterns.

In my hometown, a young man was in an accident that paralyzed him, making him a paraplegic. After an initial struggle and resistance lasting several years, he met an older man, also a paraplegic, who listened to him deeply, knew his pain, and guided him towards cultivating faith in his life, confidence in himself, and hope for his future. The young man started to play competitive sports for people in wheelchairs and eventually went to the Paralympics, winning medals. He met a woman, fell in love, got married and had children. He built a career serving others who have suffered paralysis and disabling injuries to transcend their grief and anger to create lives of meaning and fulfillment. Years later, as an older man, he was honored for his lifetime of service to people who have struggled with the difficult fate of paralysis.


These are the narrative facts of an actual life story. It is moving, but it's not the archetypal story. The archetypal story is one of a Hero who is first marked through a Fate of great adversity. His Hero's journey involves developing the courage of an archetypal Warrior who battles the hard plotlines of fate. The later stage of his journey—where the Hero returns to others the boon and gifts from his struggle—is the manifestation of the archetypal Caregiver, fostered with the guidance of a benevolent and wise older man, who serves through nurturing the hero in others who need his help.

Story is an archetype, but not all stories are archetypal. The archetypal story is the level of your life that captures the eternal drama of human life. StoryWell provides you with a set of tools to reveal your archetypal stories through the twelve PMAI® archetypes. These heroic archetypes reveal and amplify the imaginative, dramatic, and meaningful aspects our lives—the embodied attitudes, behaviors, and patterns that create our story.



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Warrior Archetype
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