Maureen Murdock, PhD is a psychotherapist, writing teacher and the author of seven books, including The Heroine’s Journey:Woman’s Quest for Wholeness, a ground-breaking book which revealed a broader understanding of the female psyche on both a personal and cultural level. Murdock is also the author of Unreliable Truth, The Heroine’s Journey Workbook; Fathers’ Daughters; Spinning Inward: Using Guided Imagery with Children and is the editor of an anthology of memoirs written by her writing students entitled Monday Morning Memoirs: Women in the Second Half of Life.
Murdock’s research on myth and memoir culminated in her book, Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory. She teaches memoir writing in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program as well as privately in Santa Barbara, California. Murdock was Chair and core faculty member of the MA Counseling Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara and is adjunct faculty in depth psychology at Sonoma State University. She has been a guest lecturer at The C.G. Jung Institute, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, University of British Columbia, The Naropa Institute, The Omega Institute, The Oasis Center, University of Creation Spirituality, University of Massachusetts, and others. She has been an educational consultant for a number of school districts and she co-created a program in human development for students in the Los Angeles City Schools to deal with conflict resolution and diversity issues after the uprisings in the early 1990s. Maureen Murdock is also a prolific art photographer and her work is widely exhibited.
The following interviews with Maureen give an in-depth view of her work.
On Memoir, with Maureen Murdock
An Interview with Bonnie Bright, Ph.D. for Pacifica Gradaute Institute
Some of the best memoirs you can read are those that are reflective, those which are informed by dreams, myth, and synchronicities, maintains Maureen Murdock, a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist and the author of multiple memoirs and books about memoirs. In other words, there’s a depth psychological perspective that can facilitate, enhance, and deepen the telling of one’s story in a profound way.
Murdock is co-leading a 9-month certificate program on writing memoir at Pacifica Graduate Institute starting in March 2017, along with Dr. Jennifer Selig and Dr. Daphne Dodson, and with the participation of Kelly Carlin who wrote her own memoir about her famous father, in part as a result of her education with Murdock at Pacifica. Recently, I asked Murdock to expound on what it takes to produce a good memoir
Memory and Myth
An Interview in Story Circle Journal: LifeWriters Talk About LifeWriting
The guest presenter at our April 2005 LifeLines Retreat, Maureen Murdock is a psychotherapist, creative writing teacher, and a many-times published author….In our interview, Maureen Murdock talked to me about her recent book and about the role of myth in our life story.
Story Circle Journal: Your book, Unreliable Truth, is part memoir and part essay about the meaning of memoir and the craft of memoir writing. When you started the book, did you set out intending to write it in this way? How did it evolve into the final blend of memoir and essay?
Maureen Murdock: The book actually began as an essay about the similarities between myth and memoir. I had been teaching myth, literature and religious studies for five years at Pacifica Graduate Institute and began to see a parallel between myth and memoir in terms of how we humans try to make meaning out of our lives. Both genres address the basic questions mythology poses: Who am I? Where am I going? Who/what is my tribe? Why am I here? READ MORE…
An interview with Maureen Murdock by B. Lynn Goodwin
June 2004 www.WriterAdvice.com
When Maureen Murdock shares her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, she describes the memories captured in Unreliable Truth. Her book, subtitled On Memoir and Memory, grew beyond the story of her mother’s battles into a guide for writers. It shows that memoir is neither a photograph nor a biography, but an individual’s unique “angle of perception.”
Memoir blends personal perceptions and universal truth. “The secret is to tell your particular life story so that it adds to our collective understanding of what it is to be human,” according to Murdock. In the first section of Unreliable Truth, “To the Best of My Recollection,” she mixes memory and reflection, showing the process she uses to tell her stories.
In the second section, “On Writing Memoir,” Murdock offers tools, techniques, and writing suggestions. I tried some of them when I took her memoir-writing class, and I strongly recommend them. Below she shares her experience and advice.
LG: Tell us about yourself. What is your background? When/how did you discover memoirs and decide to write in that genre?
MM: I have been a psychotherapist for 22 years and I teach creative writing as well as depth psychology in graduate school. Growing up Irish American, I have always been interested in how people tell the stories of their lives and what they choose to tell. The story we tell about ourselves becomes the story we live. I certainly saw that in my father’s life. He’s a great story teller and he believes the stories he tells about himself and they come true! READ MORE…
Maureen Murdock Interviewed by Mary Davis
Published in C.G. Jung Society of Atlanta Quarterly News, Summer 2005
Women are standing, lining the walls, spilling over into the hallway — all of us hungering to learn about ourselves, about the meaning of our life journeys as we gather to listen to Maureen Murdock’s lecture, “The Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness,” at last year’s Mythic Journeys’ Conference in Atlanta. We are not disappointed; we hear an inspiring discussion of the ways our journeys as women, as heroines, are both important and different from men’s journeys. Maureen Murdock is first of all, a very wise woman who articulates the issues facing us as individuals and as a culture. She is also a family therapist who was licensed in 1982, and she is an educational consultant. Murdock was Core Faculty and past Chair of the M.A. Counseling Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and she currently teaches in the Depth Psychology Program at Sonoma State University. READ MORE…