Who is Dr Clive Williams
I’m a psychologist with a focus (some would say obsession) with how change really happens.
Psychology is the study of change, whether that change is in an organisation, a school, a family or a person. For over 140 years, psychologists have studied hows change occurs, whether that’s how people think or relate, learn or improve.
My own fascination with change began with exploring how to live my life. The life I had was the one I thought I should have. It was the life other people too thought I should be living. Yet it wasn’t providing much joy, excitement or achievement.
So I began examining what is it that makes a worthwhile life? I started with exploring ‘happiness’ but came to the realisation that happiness is only one aspect of a worthwhile life. Much more important is having a sense of purpose, achievement and of course, the experience of being connected to others. It turns out that these aspects of a worthwhile life nearly always involve a sense of challenge, confusion, failure, loss, joy, relief and at times, happiness.
Any life is lived on two entwined but distinct levels: the things that we are required to do in the real world, and managing the thoughts, feelings and symptoms of our own private, internal world. Life in the real world may involve the minutiae of brushing our teeth to giving a presentation at work or setting boundaries with a child. Our internal private life involves dealing with the diverse range emotions that accompany all these real world everyday events.
We may not have any difficult emotion whilst brushing our teeth but we most probably have lots of emotions giving a work presentation or setting boundaries for a challenging child.
These two levels of living require connected but distinct skills. We may have been taught how to create the media presentation for our colleagues on the laptop but did anyone teach us how to identify and manage the diverse array of emotions we walk around with?
What did you learn about emotions? Keep them to yourself? No one is interested? You’re only burdening others? Asking others for help?
Navigating change almost always involves a lot of unpleasant emotions; e.g., anxiety, uncertainty, reluctance. We teach children many of the real world external skills needed to live a life but do we teach how to navigate the diverse range of emotions associated with daily living?
For the past 40 years, I’ve worked in my own personal laboratory working with groups, companies, families and individuals. When they come with a problem, I ask one key question. Do they have the real world AND internal private psychological skills to navigate this change and resolve their problem?
Dr Clive Williams speaks about the Hero’s Journey
Clive’s examination of the Hero’s Journey led him to propose the idea that the Hero’s Journey provides a mudmap for daily living. For the past 25 years, Clive has focused on the application of the Hero’s Journey as a mudmap for change and applying this mudmap with clients dealing with anxiety and mood disorders, addictions, relationship and family problems, and workplace stresses.
Dr Clive Williams has yet to find one situation where the Hero’s Journey could not be used to as a lens through which to view the client’s life and its various stages to assist problem solving and change. These ideas of the Hero’s Journey as a mudmap for living providing strategies for dealing with modern life are articulated in his book A Mudmap for Living.
Dr Clive Williams has presented his ideas at the Hero Roundtables in Geelong Victoria (2015) and Michigan (2016) and Yarram Victoria (2018). Clive has also presented at Bond University Wellness Forum (2016) and both the first and second Heroism Science Conferences at Murdoch University Perth and Richmond University Virginia USA. He has been an invited guest on podcasts the Hero Forge, Bloke Psychology, Mr Perfect and worked with governments and organisations helping them undertake issues of change and problem solving. More recently Clive has become a Director for Blokepedia an organisation focused on the health and wellbeing of men.
“If we want our lives to change, the biggest challenge is looking at how we contribute to the problem. Most of us will spend a lifetime telling the story that we are good guy, the innocent victim and everyone else is the problem and it’s them who should change. Well, you might be successful and do this for your entire life but more likely you’ll have distant relationships and few real friendships. You’ll cut people off or avoid them just so you can remain ‘right’. It’s the recipe for a lonely and argumentative life.” ~ Clive Williams
To find out more about the 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey and which stage you might be at, click here.