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Author: Geoff Mead


In this paper, I share the findings of a heuristically informed self-study exploring the potential of creative dialogues with characters from Homer’s Odyssey to support the development of a healthy narrative identity in late adulthood. Feeling stuck in a persistent dysfunctional narrative, I was interested in trying to access the wisdom of the mundus imaginalis, described as a third realm between mind and matter with its own nonliteral ontological reality, to find new possibilities. The study also drew on dialogical self theory (DST), which suggests that our narrative identity is constituted through ongoing ‘conversations’ between the multiple internal and external voices of a decentred self, rather than the unfolding of a single story. I devised methods (including collage, poetry, and creative dialogues) with the intention of enabling autonomous mythological characters to advise and guide me ‘in their own voices.’ The cumulative effect of these imaginal encounters was both profound and beneficial, helping me shift my narrative identity from that of a life mired in loss and grief to one characterised by gratitude and acceptance. I conclude that creative writing for therapeutic purposes practitioners could use similar methods to benefit others, with the caveat that they require considerable time and commitment.