There is a certain kind of transformational process that demands the most and the best of us so that we can respond to traumatic situations, just as military, veterans, and first responders do on a daily basis. From a depth psychological perspective, this kind of transformation can be initiated through a psycho-mythic journey to warriorhood, believe Ed Tick and John Becknell, who offer archetypal and depth psychological frameworks for military, veterans, and first responders, including police officers, sheriff departments, border patrol, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), and dispatchers and other individuals who take emergency calls.
Tick and Becknell consciously engage the term “warrior” to distinguish the archetypal role of those who dedicate themselves to the preservation and protection of society, often in the face of great danger. The Warrior archetype has appeared in mythology and sacred writings for thousands of years, notes Tick, and it has been a dominant archetype and psychological and social role in modern society as well.
While the U.S. military has also turned to the word “warrior” over the past several years as a term meant to bestow honor on anyone who has served in the military or in a war zone, Tick and Becknell contend that warriorhood is a sacred idea that goes beyond the parameters of physical service. Instead, it is a form of initiation going back thousands of years. It requires undertaking a lifelong “warrior’s journey”—a psycho-spiritual passage that allows a warrior to carry the pain and suffering they have observed while in service without falling victim to devastating impact on the psychological self as a result.