Monday, July 1, 2013

Robert Atkinson

Robert Atkinson, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized authority in helping people tell their life stories. He is a pioneer in the development of the life story interview methodology and among the first to apply Joseph Campbell’s classic work on the mythological journey of the hero to contemporary personal mythmaking. His two books in these areas have been translated into Japanese, Italian, and Romanian and are widely used in various personal growth and life review settings.

He received his B.A. in philosophy and American Studies from Southampton College of Long Island University, and an M.A. in American Folk Culture from SUNY, Cooperstown. Then his journeys took him to the Hudson River and a series of transformative events, including: sailing on the maiden voyage of the Clearwater with Pete Seeger and his singing crew; attending the Woodstock music festival; living in a cabin in the woods near the Hudson River; visiting Arlo Guthrie at his farm in the Berkshires; having a synchronistic and fateful meeting with Joseph Campbell that became a mentoring relationship; being given a cell in a Franciscan monastery as a guest; and, returning to teach a course at Southampton College, all of which can be read about in his memoir of that period, Remembering 1969: Searching For the Eternal in Changing Times (2008).


He is professor of human development and religious studies, and director of the Life Story Commons at the University of Southern Maine. He is the author, co-author, or editor of eight books, including Latino Voices in New England (2009), an autobiography with Babatunde Olatunji, The Beat of My Drum (2005), The Life Story Interview (1998), and The Gift of Stories (1995). In previous books, he explored life stories from a psychological and cultural perspective. With Mystic Journey (2012), he explores the soul’s story, and the process of soul-making, from a multi-faith, eternal perspective.

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