Ed Tick on the Warrior Archetype for Military & First Responders


Ed Tick, Ph.D. and John Becknell Ph.D. discuss why they use the archetypal image of the “warrior” in their work with Military, Veterans, and First Responders. Tick and Becknell 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 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, Ed Tick and John 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 to the psychological self as a result.



is an internationally recognized educator, author and expert on the military, veterans, PTSD, Vietnam, and the psychology, spirituality and history of global trauma, warrior traditions, and military-related issues. For four decades he has conducted trainings, retreats and workshops across the country and overseas at major Department of Defense and Veteran Administration facilities and at colleges, universities, hospitals, health care and community centers across the country, and overseas. Ed co-founded the nonprofit Soldier’s Heart, Inc. with his partner Kate Dahlstedt and for 13 years served as its director. He now consults internationally on these issues.

In addition to War and the Soul, Ed is the author of the books Sacred Mountain, The Practice of Dream Healing, Wild Beasts and Wandering Souls, and Warrior’s Return, as well as the poetry collections The Bull Awakening and The Golden Tortoise.