The Wisdom of Mythic Stories

for Adult Identity Transitions

Home Study Course

The Home Study Course is presented at the introductory level. The lectures review the familiar tale of The Wizard of Oz for significant metaphors and psychological insights. If you have previously taken this as an in-person course, you will find about a third of the content is new material.

The audio materials are available by download or mail (on a flashdrive or CD).

Register online or call the Center at 805-687-7171

Course Description

This self-paced course shows how to explore a classic tale for greater understanding of the inner life. We focus on how mythic stories reflect psychological dynamics.

The course is not just for psychotherapists. It is open to all those interested in archetypal perspectives. The lectures require no background in mythology, narrative theory, or Jungian psychology.

Mythic patterns in stories reflect a broad range of human concerns. This is a course on drawing emotional insights from such wisdom tales. The training deepens awareness of the significant role stories play in intellectual, emotional, and social development.

Timed Schedule of the Course

  • Introduction to Underlying Patterns in Mythic Stories - 22 minutes

  • The initiatory journey as symbolic life map - 67 minutes

  • Story Patterns as reflecting Developmental Stages - 42 minutes

  • Unconscious Dynamics in the Mythic Imagination - 60 minutes

  • Deepening the therapeutic relationship - 44 minutes

  • Clinical work with personal mythologies - 59 minutes

  • Readings on psychological symbolism in stories - 40 minutes

  • Completing post-test and evaluation - 26 minutes

Audio lectures: 5 hours. Course Total: 6 hours.

Learning Objectives

  • Identifying psychological issues reflected in timeless stories.

  • Applying narratives to life-stage transition difficulties.

  • Use tensions between characters to illustrate integration of competing goals.

  • Discern the shaping influence of stories.

  • Employ methods of engaging the imagination to claim emotional resources.

  • Recognize how identity crises can be calls for renewal.

Home Study Course

The Home Study Course offers the following credits:

Psychology, LMFT, LCSW, LPCC, Ed Psych, NBCC, Nursing : 6 CE hours

APA approval and other credit-hour details are listed on the Registration Page under Provider Details

This course can be started at any time.


The course involves reading journal articles. These are provided with the course materials. The seminar requires no advance preparation. However, participants are provided with a recommended additional reading list.


  1. Listen to the audio lectures. They are numbered. Be sure to listen to them in numbered order.

  2. The audio course is available by download or mail (on a flashdrive or CD). The mp3 format should play in any computer. The disk will not work in most CD players. The flash drive version should play on any tablet. Most car audio systems with CD players are able to play the disk version. If you know how to move mp3 files from your computer to a smart phone, they should play fine on any smart phone.

  3. Read the journal articles. They are in the documents file on the disc. There are additional items included for your reference.

  4. The following instructions apply only to those seeking CE credit:

  5. Complete the two-page home-study exam (post-test). A printed copy is in the packet, an electronic copy is in the documents file.

  6. Fill out the two-page course evaluation. A printed copy is in the packet, an electronic copy is in the documents file

  7. Submit the exam and evaluation by email attachment (center @, fax (805 687-5750), or mail to: Center for Story and Symbol, 310 West Quinto Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105


Instructor: Jonathan Young, PhD is a psychologist (PSY10231) who consults with organizational leaders and creative artists, especially filmmakers. As a professor, he created and chaired the doctoral level department of mythological studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. His books and articles focus on personal mythology. His background includes assisting mythologist Joseph Campbell at seminars and serving as founding curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library.

Toto looking out of Dorothy's basket from the Wizard of OZ

Selections from the Reading List

Aron, Elaine N. (1996) The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive when the World Overwhelms You. New York: Broadway Books

Campbell, Joseph (2013) Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine (Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) (Safron Elsabeth Rossi, Editor) Novato, CA: New World Library

Campbell, Joseph (1995) Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion. New York: Harper Collins

Estés, Clarissa Pinkola (1993) The Gift of Story: A Wise Tale About What is EnoughThe Gift of Story, (audiotape), Boulder, CO: Sounds True Recordings

Estés, Clarissa Pinkola (2013) Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother's Immaculate Love for the Wild SoulLouisville, CO: Sounds True Books

Feinstein, David and Krippner, Stanley (2009) Personal Mythology: Using Ritual, Dreams, and Imagination to Discover Your Inner Story. (Revised 3rd Edition) Santa Rosa, CA: Energy Psychology Press

Hillman, James (1998) Healing Fiction. Spring Publications

Hollis, James (1996) Swamplands of the Soul: New Life in Dismal Places. Toronto: Inner City Books

Johnson, Robert A. (1986) Inner Work. New York: HarperCollins

Keen, Sam and Valley-Fox, Anne (1989) Your Mythic Journey: Finding Meaning in Your Life Through Writing and Storytelling (Inner Work Book). New York: Inner Work Book

Larsen, Stephen (1990) The Mythic Imagination: The Quest for Meaning through Personal Mythology. Manchester, VT: Inner Traditions International

Le Grice, Keiron. (2013) The Rebirth of the Hero: Mythology as a Guide to Spiritual Transformation (Muswell Hill Press). Muswell Hill Press

Pearson, Carol S. (1991) Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World. New York: Harper San Fransisco

Whyte, David (2001) Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity New York: Doubleday

Whyte, David (2010) The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship. New York: Riverhead

Whyte, David (2002) The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America. New York: Doubleday

Young, Jonathan (1996) Saga - Best New Writings on Mythology Vol. 1. Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press

Young, Jonathan (2000) Saga - Best New Writings on Mythology Vol. 2. Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press

The house being taken up by a twister, still from The Wizard of OZ

How to Register

The Center currently offers one home-study course, The Wisdom of Mythic Stories. The course may be taken for CE credit or non-credit.

  • Home Study courses for CE credit: $95.

  • Home Study courses, non-credit: $45.

Register online or call the Center at 805-687-7171