Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

Hero’s Journey

"Hero's Journey," by David Kopacz.


Suffering and wounds (visible and invisible) can provide opportunities for patients to gain wisdom and healing.

This painting grew out of my work with veterans, using the framework of the hero’s journey for transforming suffering and creating new narratives. I developed a Hero’s Journey class for veterans to work on the acculturation process from military to civilian life. We used narrative, poetry, writing, film, and a final art project for veterans to build their own bridge between these worlds. Joseph Campbell’s framework of the Hero’s (or Heroine’s) Journey is based on the principles of separation from the known world, initiation into a new world, and a return to the old world, but now with the individual being transformed. We worked with suffering and wounds as gifts that veterans could find wisdom from as they return to the civilian world.

For the first class, I made this painting (click on the link for a higher resolution image) as my own art project. Each section represents a different step on the journey and has quotations from Joseph Campbell in black ink.

I’m currently creating an adaptation of the Hero’s Journey as the Healer’s Journey, working with burnout as the abyss or dark night of the soul in the process of growing as healers.


"Hero's Journey," by David Kopacz.
“Hero’s Journey,” by David Kopacz.







This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.