The term 'monomyth' entered modern parlance when American professor Joseph Campbell published his 1949 book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. By examining various myths from across history, Campbell outlined what has become popularly known as The Hero's Journey: an individual goes out into the world, overcomes a challenge, then returns home having undergone some sort of transformation.
If you've ever read a book or watched a film or listened to a radio play, you'll know that the best ones are always about characters with whom we can identify: we experience anger when they get angry, sadness when they get sad, joy when they triumph over adversity. By relating to those characters, and analysing how they feel, we can apply the lessons they learn to our own, lived experiences. We undergo their transformation with them.
RPG Therapy can, in essence, be summed up as, "The use of stories and storytelling to help clients explore their inner world." These stories can be anything: tales of mighty warriors, powerful wizards, amazing superheroes, or normal people caught up in extraordinary events--anything that captures the client's imagination.
By making use of various creative skills--writing, tabletop role-playing, art, oral storytelling--clients are able to create their very own cast of characters, and through them (and with guidance from the therapist) are able to explore emotions and obstacles that would be too frightening to confront in real life. It's much easier to imagine how Conman the Barbarian might feel in the face of a dragon than to face a dragon ourselves!
Of course, the magic of this approach is that the client gets to decide how and why their characters behave as they do. This means that they will instinctively understand the character's feelings--but it's all right to talk about them, because these are 'someone else''s feelings, not the client's own.
So, for example, when we learn that Conman feels frightened because it turns out a dragon once attacked him when he was a little boy, the young client can acknowledge that it's only natural to be frightened of something that has attacked us: this means that it's O.K. for the client themselves to have felt frightened when a grown-up hit them.
RPG Therapy lets clients experience their own Hero's Journey, their own monomyth, from the safety of the counselling environment. There's no danger, but they can explore how they might react to danger; they can face tough emotions without needing to feel them in the moment; they can learn to accept themselves by accepting their creations.
RPG Therapy is fun, interactive, and immersive, and is ideally suited to children and young people. There's adventure to be had, over the hills and far away. With just a little guidance, clients can follow the journey, and join the transformation.