What is an Archetype, anyways?

Monica Faberman
3 min readFeb 15, 2021

How Archetypes Can Deepen Understanding of Ourselves and Others

Latin: Arche (beginning, origin) + type (pattern, model)

  • Inherited or emerging pattern
  • Source code
  • Root of understanding behavior

Storytelling has always been a part of humanity. Even before the written word, stories were told with songs, poems, word of mouth, and visual art. Stories help us learn from the past, connect in shared experience, inspire with hope and awe, or simply provide an escape into a new world. The stories we watch and listen to resonate with us for a reason.

Think of a story you love: your favorite movie, book, or a person you admire. At the root of all lives and events are archetypal patterns: the caretaker, the child, the trickster, the hero, the lover, the creator, the destroyer, the revolutionary, the healer …just to name a few.

These archetypes resonate with us because they are a part of us.

We recognize these patterns in ourselves. Archetypal story lines evoke belonging, inspiration, and raw emotion today just as much as they did thousands of years ago.

On the surface, it may seem as though archetypes are meant to separate or categorize. Let me be clear: archetype is not stereotype. It is not a label, it is not a category. It is not a means to compare, exclude, or separate ourselves from others. Archetypes bring us together because they show us that we all relate a common theme. Archetypes, unlike stereotypes, are also malleable; they have a growth trajectory and are constantly evolving. They are here for us to learn from, and not get stuck in.

A true archetype is universally inclusive.

In order for a pattern to be a true archetype, it must apply to all humans, in all cultures, throughout all history. This seems like a tall order, especially in a society built on individualism, comparison, and otherness. However, once you start to recognize these patterns, you will realize there are more threads that pull us all together than keep us apart.

Archetypes unite humans across time and space.

You may be thinking: Ok, ok I get that archetypes are epic and universal and all that, but how is that supposed to help me, today?

SO glad you asked…

Identifying our archetypes allows for us to see ourselves more clearly. By shining a light on these patterns, we can tap into our unconscious, and discover the beliefs, assumptions, strengths, and shadows that influence our lives from above and below the surface.

By working with archetypes you will:

  • Learn how to step into authentic leadership by owning your strengths
  • Recognize and compassionately navigate out of self-destructive or self-limiting territory
  • Deepen relationships by understanding the root of our commonalities and our differences

Wow, ok well that sounds cool. And powerful. So where do I start?

I work with the CultureTalk framework to identify:

  1. Archetypal patterns in an individual
  2. Archetypes present in a group, team, or company

If you are interested in hearing more, or discovering how the 12 foundational CultureTalk archetypes show up in you or your team, let’s have a conversation!



Monica Faberman

I help small business owners find, hire, and develop their team so that they can spend more time in their zone of genius.