As a writer and educator, I have four decades of experience using the Hero’s Journey in education, counseling and personal transformation. Over those years, the Hero’s Journey has grown from being simply a heuristic for studying myth and fantasy into the focal point and passion of my life.
I have written extensively on the Hero’s Journey and related topics and am the co-author of the award-winning teaching guide The Hero’s Journey: A Guide to Literature and Life. I also earned a master’s degree in existential and transpersonal psychology, with a focus on the transformational process that drives the journey’s stages and process.
I have presented at dozens of workshops and conferences, including state language arts conferences in California and Oregon. In 2007, he was a featured speaker at the 30th Anniversary celebration of Star Wars. I have had the opportunity to consult on a variety of projects using the Hero’s Journey in counseling and therapy, intervention and rehabilitation programs. In 2010 and 2011 he was a consultant for the University of California, San Francisco, on the “Warrior’s Journey,” an on-line re-entry programs for returning combat veterans.
In my exploration of the journey pattern, I have done extensive independent research in Eastern philosophy, existentialism, hermeneutics, and phenomenology and their relationship to the Hero’s Journey pattern.
The Hero’s Journey and its real-life applications have been—and continue to be—the driving interests in my life.
(For the story of my exploration of the Hero’s Journey, see My 40-Year Journey into the Hero’s Journey.)
About Harris Communications
Harris Communications was established in fall of 1995 as Ariane Publications, a partnership between Reg Harris and Susan Thompson, English teachers at Vintage High School in Napa, California. They chose the name “Ariane” (the French form for Ariadne) because of its connection with leading people out of their labyrinths. In that first year Mr. Harris and Ms. Thompson coauthored and published the first edition of The Hero’s Journey: A Guide to Literature and Life.
In 1997, Mr Harris launched “Thresholds,” a website devoted to exploring the hero’s journey in language arts education. Ms. Thompson left the partnership in 1998 to pursue other opportunities, and Mr. Harris continued the business as a sole proprietorship. In 2007, he changed the name of business to Harris Communications to encompass both publishing and editing services.
Harris retired from teaching in 2009 and has devoted himself to researching and publishing material on the hero’s journey in teaching, counseling and therapy. Now in its 20th year, Harris Communications is expanding its catalog to include a other hero’s journey teaching guides and resources, and will soon be adding webinars and workshops.
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History of The Hero’s Journey: A Guide to Literature and Life
The first edition of The Hero’s Journey: A Guide to Literature and Life was coauthored in 1995 by Reg Harris and Susan Thompson, language arts teachers at Vintage High School in Napa, California. At that time they had a combined 27 years of experience teaching and using the hero’s journey in the classroom. They published that first edition after finding tremendous interest in the hero’s journey at several of their workshops and presentations, including state language arts conferences in California and Oregon.
The original teacher’s guide was published as a loose-leaf binder. This format allowed teachers to use the material easily in class, and it enabled them to add their own materials each year to customize the guide to their specific needs. Harris and Thompson published the second edition of the guide, a 202-page, 8½x11” paperback, in 1997. The paperback edition proved to be extremely popular, winning the 2002 National Youth Storytelling “Teaching and Coaching” Pegasus Award.
The second edition remained in print for eight years until Harris did a major update in 2005, publishing the guide as a 184-page, spiral bound volume. This third edition trimmed material that teachers were not using and added a great deal of resource information to help teachers enrich both their own knowledge of the hero’s journey and the classroom experience they could give their students.
The current 218-page edition, which was published in October of 2015 as a PDF download, is called The Hero’s Journey: The Path of Transformation. It represents a major revision that balances detailed lesson plans and teaching notes with more than 100 pages of teacher resource material on the rite of passage (which Joseph Campbell called the “nuclear unit” of the hero’s journey), Campbell’s monomyth, a psychologically-based model of the hero’s journey and the Call Refused. This combination gives teachers the materials and background they need to teach the hero’s journey at virtually any level.
Now in its 20th year of publication, the teacher’s guide is being used by schools and counselors in 42 states and 17 countries. The guide’s enduring popularity is a testament not only to its quality and scope, but to the tremendous value the hero’s journey has in education, coaching and counseling.
For detailed information on the current edition of The Hero’s Journey: The Path of Transformation, visit our hero’s journey store.
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