On Levels of Development (Part 2 of 2)

For those adults who make it to the level of development beyond the fully-formed-adult, everything they find meaningful is up for renegotiation. The people who go beyond the fully-formed-adult are never ultimately satisfied with any single “form” of anything, having long ago become suspicious when people claim that a single-way or best-system will last or will produce maximum impact. They think, “maximum to what end?” They think in huge scales and long timelines (thousands of years). They see the traces of the past thousand years in the everyday, and the tendrils of the next thousand by spotting outliers. Where the fully-formed-adult marshals their focus in order to achieve a goal, the transforming-adult uses the process of goal achievement in order to constantly learn. They accidentally do better because of this, maybe because their focus never becomes obsessive. Continue reading

Trump is an Open Book

Donald Trump is a narcissist with a capital “N.” Many psychological labels have entered the vernacular, which is good and bad; good because more people are being educated about what’s driving our individual and collective behavior, and bad because as we continue to use ever-more-hyperbole to describe mundane events, the meaning of these labels gets watered down. But a Narcissist is not a narcissist. Continue reading

Developmental Epicycling

An “epicycle” is an ancient Greek astronomical term that was used to explain the apparent retrograde motion of planets as see from Earth (they appeared to move backwards sometimes). Everyone assumed that planets had circular orbits, and it would take centuries to learn that they are elliptical. Something similar occurs in human development, where the self engages in behaviors abandoned long ago on it’s way towards new, more complex, and better ways of making sense of itself and the world. I began noticing this in my clients years ago, and the term “developmental epicycling” kept coming to mind, because this apparent regression to old behaviors (“retrograde behaviors”) only makes sense when you realize that it is a natural aspect of growing into a new self. Continue reading

On Levels of Development (Part 1 of 2)

For years people have told me that I should “write about levels the way you talk about them.” And for years I would send them a brief paper written by others. When I would circle back and ask about the paper, most of them persisted in their request that I write about levels the way that I talk about levels. This, then, is my attempt to write about these important developmental mindsets (or levels) as I might discuss them. Continue reading

Integral Bypassing 2

Integral Bypassing is when you falsely believe that you are “2nd Tier” because you have read the books of Ken Wilber or of other integral authors. One easily risks arrested development when engaged in Integral Bypassing, as Wilber discovered when he began getting letters and other forms of feedback (see “One Taste”) that revealed a number of his readers falsely believed that they didn’t need a practice because they were simply reading his books. This was a hope beyond hope; it literally flew in the face of what he was writing about – practice, practice, practice!

With the Integral Theory conference coming up, I thought I would try to participate from afar by tilling some soil to help anyone who shares my perspectives on walking our talk about levels of development. Continue reading

The Source of Our Immunities, Part 2


Immunity-to-Change coaching gives coaches and clients a map of a naturally occurring psychological immune response that is out of whack. Actually, a “psychological inflammation” response is out of time more than place. Just as epigenetics is showing biologists and doctors that hyper-inflammation is actually a “normal” immune response when understood in the context of biological evolution, developmental psychology shows us how much of our behavioral issues are “normal” psychological immune responses when understood in the context of socio-cultural evolution. Continue reading

The Source of Our Immunities, Part 1

Brain & Behavior

As an Immunity to Change coach, I spend a lot of time thinking about how our “psychological immune systems” get in the way of achieving our goals. I began my career in psychology as a biologist – I was studying the structure and function of the brain, in the “decade of the brain” (the 1990’s). Now, in 2012, I realize that I have come full circle, because I am using my knowledge of the brain to help coach my clients. In fact, like many executive and life coaches, I now believe that there is a clear relationship between brain structures and the precise ways that we get in our own way. Continue reading

Integral Life Practice v2.0

The State of States

State experiences sell; developmental transformation does not.

That is my opinion based on the ten years I spent helping to build and run key components of Integral Institute (the Integral Psychotherapy Center; the transformative studies database; the Integral Seminars; Integral University; the Journal of Integral Theory & Practice; publishing a book in the SUNY Press Integral Theory Series; and as an Associate Professor at John F. Kennedy University in the Integral Theory program). Continue reading