In September, Terri and I will host our first online course, STAGES Essentials for Psychotherapy and Coaching. As a practicing psychotherapist and early adopter of the STAGES model, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my experience of applying STAGES to my practice, which I began about three years ago. Although I’m continually discovering more ways to use the model for the benefit of my clients, there are five areas where the model has has the most impact.
1. Clear Identification of the Underlying Parameters of Development
Instead of just categorizing development, STAGES identifies how the parameters within which each developmental level operates. These parameters can be considered the developmental drivers. They are the engine of development. By understanding the underlying driver or engine of development we are able to address the core issues troubling our clients without sorting through hours of stories. Within a few statements of our clients problems we can often identify which underlying drivers are not functioning well and we can address that dysfunction directly. As a result, instead of having to address each story independently, by addressing the common underlying driver that brings these stories into existence for our clients, all the story issues clear up with one clear, efficient intervention.
2. The Three Questions
By utilizing just three questions, we can identify the developmental level of our client in the moment. While our clients may score at different levels on an actual test, it is the therapeutic moment in which we operate with our clients. By being able to identify our clients developmental level in the moment we are able to target our interventions precisely and accurately for more effective and efficient results.
3. Identify “Shadow Crashes”
Because we can identify our clients developmental level in the moment, we are more able to identify “shadow crashes,” those times where shadow issues take over and drop our clients developmental level in the moment. With STAGES we can track this in the moment and adjust our interventions to match our clients needs.
4. Identify Common Threads
The way Stages is organized allows us to track not only developmental level changes, but which drivers seem to be the common thread of all these shadow problems. For example, with a specific client, I may assess my client to be operating at 4.0 (Green Pluralist) but not being able to function with 4.5 (Teal, Strategist) capacities. I also notice that when shadow issues present, they drop to 2.0, Rule Oriented. and to 1.0 Impulsive. We see our client dropping down the .0 channel which indicates they are held at those levels. We see an absence of .5 dynamics. This lets us know the .5 skills are in short supply all the way up and down the developmental spectrum. .5 skills are the active, agentive aspects of our life. By targeting and enhancing the capacity for agency, the entire developmental spectrum strengthens in our client.
5. Target the Weak Link in the Client’s Developmental Driver Set
As a result of this last dynamic, as we target the weak link in our clients developmental driver set, they often not only heal the past wounds, but they accelerate into the next developmental level, raising their perspective and advancing their development. For example, in the hypothetical client in the paragraph above, when we skillfully target and address the agency weakness, the internal world of our client becomes more confident and they often effortlessly spring into 4.5 (Strategist, Teal) developmental capacities. Without STAGES, they may be struggling for years trying to get into the next developmental level capacities. With STAGES, it often happens naturally and without struggle just by addressing the weak link in the developmental driver pattern. We effectively go from shadow to spirit in one clean clear intervention.
There are many more great aspects of STAGES, but I hope this gives you a sense of how the model offers very unique and powerful tools for improving our practice and helping our clients. Please click here for more information about our upcoming course, STAGES Essentials for Psychotherapy and Coaching, including a free Intro Session on August 24.