Introducing the Hero Complex and the Mythic Iconic Pathway of Problem Gambling

  • Gary Nixon
  • Jason Solowoniuk


Early research into the motivations behind problem gambling reflected separate paradigms of thought splitting our understanding of the gambler into divergent categories. However, over the past 25 years, problem gambling is now best understood to arise from biological, environmental, social, and psychological processes, and is now encapsulated under the biopsychosocial model. While, the biopsychosocial model brings a great degree of understanding regarding the etiology and process becoming a problem gambler, it is clear that further research is needed to improve theoretical perspectives that identify causal trajectories that underlie gambling related problems amongst sub-groups of problem gamblers. One line of research that has gone understudied with respect to exploring such causal paths is the Mythic Iconic Pathway of problem gambling. Such a pathway conceptualizes gambling pathology as a life-world phenomenon that arises within an individual who filters perceptions of the self and world through a hero’s complex. Thus, this paper will outline the Mythic Iconic Pathway, including its phenomenological processes, and describe the key therapeutic insights and implications to consider when adopting such a novel approach toward understanding and treating the problem gambler.


Problem gambling Biopsychosocial Mythic Icon Hero’s journey 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health SciencesUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada

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