Graduate Certificate: Finding Ourselves in Fairytales: A Narrative Psychological Approach

May 18th – December 7th, 2024

8 Monthly Online Classes with Sharon Blackie | Offered Live via Zoom

Program Description

What you will receive
  • 8 Live Webinar Sessions with Q & A
  • 8 Links to Pre-recorded Learning Sessions with Sharon Blackie
  • Learning Resource Guide
  • Graduate Certificate
  • 8 CECs*
  Course Description: We are storytelling animals, hard-wired for story. From childhood onwards, we perceive and make sense of the world through the stories we find – or the stories which find us. They are the stars we navigate by. Fairy tales are especially potent in this respect, and they help us to reimagine ourselves, because at the heart of them is transformation. They foster a belief in the possibility of change, so that we come to see that there are other ways of imagining the world and our place in it – and of living more intensely, and more richly, in a world that is often filled with challenge, and sorrow. This program offers an archetypal approach to understanding and working with fairy tales. In her 1970 book, The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, Marie-Louise von Franz describes fairy tales as ‘the purest and simplest expression of the collective unconscious psychic process … representing the archetypes in their simplest, barest and most concise form.’ We’ll use the Fairy-tale Heroine’s Journey as a framework for exploring the archetypal feminine in fairy tales and the ways in which these stories can illuminate the process of individuation. We’ll be guided by ideas and practices from the field of narrative psychology, which holds that the past is not fixed and irreversible but is based on our interpretation of who we are and what has happened to us. In this program we’ll excavate fairy tales to interrogate our self-narratives, identify problem-saturated stories and externalize them, and then learn to rewrite them so that we can more fully participate in the process of our own becoming. There are many therapeutic applications for this kind of narrative work, and so we’ll work with fairy tales which illuminate sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction, terminal illness and bereavement. We’ll also identify stories which can illuminate specific stages of life, such as menarche, motherhood, midlife, menopause and elderhood. This program will be suitable both for clinicians and for individuals who are interested in deepening their personal work with fairy tales and the many forms of storytelling.   This Course is ideal if:
  • You work in mental health or are a student or practitioner of depth psychology, and have an interest in learning how to use narrative psychological methodology in your practice.
  • You’d like to deepen your work by learning to identify the archetypal and narrative elements in fairy tales which illuminate the process of individuation.
  • You’re interested in exploring mythic and archetypal patterns in your own life by working with fairy tales and narrative psychology techniques.
  • You’re looking to connect with the many faces of the archetypal feminine in fairy tales.
No previous knowledge or qualifications will be required to register.   Course Overview: Module 1, May Live Zoom session Saturday May 18 An Introduction to Narrative Psychology This introductory module provides an overview of theories about narrative, and about self and identity. We’ll examine narrative approaches to therapy and personal development, learn about narrative techniques, and focus in on what it means to move from a problem-saturated story to a functional one. We’ll begin to focus in on folklore and fairy tales, their origins and functions. Learning objectives:
  • Identify narrative approaches to life stories
  • Explain the origins and functions of fairy tales
  Module 2, June Live Zoom session Saturday June 15 Working with Fairy Tales Fairy tales are more than a window into the human unconscious; when they’re brought into consciousness, they’re blueprints for transformation. In this module, we’ll take a deep dive into the structure and content of fairy tales, learning to identify their narrative elements and archetypal patterns. Learning objectives:
  • Identify the psychological processes which might be reflected in fairy tales
  • Catalog narrative elements and archetypal patterns in a sample fairy tale
  Module 3, July Live Zoom session Saturday July 13 The Fairy-tale Heroine’s Journey: Separation This Module will introduce you to the structure of the Fairy-Tale Heroine’s Journey as a framework for exploring the archetypal in fairy tales, and understanding the ways in which they illuminate the process of individuation. Using a range of fairy tales as examples, we’ll explore key elements in the first part of the journey: leaving home, separation from the mother, and separation from the father. Learning objectives:
  • Acquire knowledge of a variety of frameworks which illuminate a woman’s journey through life
  • Identify the challenges you have faced in separating from parental influences
  Module 4, August Live Zoom session Saturday August 10 The Fairy-tale Heroine’s Journey: Initiation We’ll delve into the second stage of the Fairy-tale Heroine’s Journey: the initiatory passage through the dark forest and other places of tasking and testing. We’ll encounter allies and antagonists, and explore the gifts and tools which can be used by the Fairy-tale Heroine to navigate her journey. We’ll reflect on the process of initiation as a period of death and rebirth. Learning objectives:
  • Detect the psychological challenges that are faced during initiatory experiences
  • Reveal the initiatory experiences in your own life, and the characters, tools and gifts which have populated them
  Module 5, September Live Zoom session Saturday September 14 The Fairy-tale Heroine’s Journey: Return The Return can be the most challenging part of any life journey, and the easiest to mishandle. In the last section of the Fairy-Tale Heroine’s Journey, we’ll explore the many meanings of home. What is it we’re really looking for, and how can fairy tales help us to uncover it? What do fairy tales, and the journey that heroines take through them, tell us about women’s psychological development and the associated challenges we face? We’ll also look at how we can apply the Fairy-tale Heroine’s Journey to our own lives. Learning objectives:
  • Integrate the various stages and challenges of the Fairy-Tale Heroine’s Journey into your own story
  • Identify what the Return means for you
  Module 6, October Live Zoom session Saturday October 12 Seeing life through the lens of a fairy tale In this Module, we’ll work with ways of reimagining and subverting fairy tales. We’ll explore fairy-tale retellings, and techniques for changing the story. You’ll learn how to write your own life as a fairy tale, working with the narrative elements and archetypal patterns we’ve uncovered in the program so far. Learning objectives:
  • Take a fairy tale of your choice and reimagine it
  • Write your own life story as a fairy tale
  Module 7, November Live Zoom session Saturday November 9 Issue-based narrative psychology There are many applications for this kind of narrative work. We’ll look at specific fairy tales which illuminate a range of issues, including sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction and bereavement. We’ll identify stories which can illuminate specific stages of life, such as menarche, motherhood, midlife, menopause and elderhood. We’ll consider how fairy tales might be used for the benefit of children. Learning objectives:
  • Establish strategies for introducing story material into your work
  • Select appropriate stories to mirror psychological experiences that you are facing or working with in your practice
  Module 8, December Live Zoom session Saturday December 7 Other Ways to Work with Fairy Tales In our final session, we’ll explore a range of ways of working with fairy tales. You’ll learn how to create your own inner imaginarium, and we’ll explore dreamwork and active imagination, letter-writing and journaling, fairy tales and the expressive arts, and how to tell a story and work with story circles. Learning objectives:
  • Draw up a plan for using these techniques to deepen your understanding of your life story
  • Acquire techniques for telling stories in informal settings
  By the End of This Course You Will Be Able To:
  • Acquire an understanding of narrative psychology ideas and methodologies
  • Use narrative techniques in your work and everyday life
  • Identify the ways in which fairy tales can illuminate the process of individuation and foster understanding of psychological patterns and processes
  • Identify archetypal patterns and characters in fairy tales
  • Develop methods and resources for connecting with the archetypal feminine in fairy tales
  • Apply the Fairy-Tale Heroine’s Journey framework to the transformative events and encounters in your life story
  • Write your own life as a fairy tale, working with a range of narrative element and archetypal patterns
  Recommended reading Michele L Crossley, Introducing Narrative Psychology. Oxford University Press (2000) Dan P McAdams, The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self. Guilford Press (1993) Maureen Murdock, The Heroine’s Journey. Shambhala (1990) Maria Tatar, The Heroine with 1001 Faces. WW Norton (2022) Marie von Frantz, The Interpretation of Fairy Tales (Shambhala, 1996); Archetypal Patterns in Fairy Tales (Inner City Books, 1997); The Feminine in Fairy Tales (Shambhala, 2001) Murray Stein & Lionel Corbett (eds), Psyche’s Stories (three vols) Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Vintage Books (1976) Sharon Blackie, ‘The Mythic Imagination’ in The Enchanted Life. September; House of Anansi (2018) Sharon Blackie, Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women. September (2019)  

Program Details

Dates Saturdays, beginning May 18; 8:00–09:30 AM PST/11:00 – 12:30 EST/16.00–17.30 UTC  Live session dates:
  • Saturday May, 18
  • Saturday June, 15
  • Saturday July, 13
  • Saturday August, 10
  • Saturday September, 14
  • Saturday October, 12
  • Saturday November, 9
  • Saturday December, 7
Registration $695.00   – Pacifica Student Rate $895.00   – Pacifica Alumni, Full Time Students, & Senior Rate $1095.00 – General Rate $30.00 – Continuing Education Credit (CECs) Fee You have the option of putting down a 50% deposit when registering for the program and paying the remaining balance in installments of your choice until August 23, 2024. You can select this on the registration form. Limited scholarship and reduced tuition opportunities are available for this program. Please email to request a Financial Assistance Application. Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs. All of the live Zoom sessions will be recorded and made available to everyone registered for the program. If you watch the recordings and keep up with the online discussion forum you will qualify for the certificate of completion. Live attendance to the Zoom sessions is not necessary unless you are looking to obtain Continuing Education Credits.