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The 33 Fundamental Methods by which People Grow

-- An Integral Theory for Growth Professionals --

Hugh & Amalia Kaye Martin


The Processes of personal growth did not begin with psychoanalysis, or gestalt therapy, or group process, or bodywork. They did not even begin with meditation, or yoga, or vision quests. Since the dawn of humanity, our innate drive toward self-regulation, self-improvement, self-actualization, and self-transcendence has inspired us to develop numerous methods of personal evolution. Taken together, all these methods are called Processes.

The Processes represent all the techniques, therapies, practices, programs, activities, explorations, studies, and focused experiences that move us along the Growth Continuum. Processes are the practical means by which personal growth takes place. They are the ‘moment of truth’ where theory meets practice. They are the final test of validity for any theory that attempts to explain human behavior. The Processes of growth are the crown jewel of human development studies.

Despite the importance of Processes, little study has been directed toward surveying, describing, and explaining them in a comprehensive and integral fashion. Individual Processes – therapies, educational programs, child-rearing techniques, and the like – have been examined in detail. Surveys and summaries have catalogued clinical techniques encyclopedia-fashion. Popular journalists have described their odysseys of self-discovery through a variety of Processes—mystic meditation, dream therapy, psychic healing, body awareness, and the like. Growth retreats like Esalen Institute offer broad menus of Process-oriented growth experiences smorgasbord-style. However, none of these studies, compilations, and programs have adequately coordinated and synthesized the various Processes into a comprehensive system of human growth. Even the prolific Ken Wilber has devoted relatively few pages toward the actual implementation of growth – and his recommendations are significantly incomplete.

  • For an outline of the various resources and studies on Processes, including those of Ken Wilber, see Resources for Study in the Appendix of Tables.
  • For a discussion of Processes from the perspective of Ken Wilber and other contemporary authorities, see our companion article, The Processes According to Wilber [in preparation as of June 2007].

As we examine theories of human development from a practical point of view, we are faced with a variety of questions: How do we implement growth –encourage it, inspire it, cause it to take place? What are the methods by which people grow? What are their benefits? When are they most effective? How do we access and coordinate them? How do we apply them in ways that really work? This article endeavors to answer such questions by presenting a truly comprehensive and integral outline of growth Processes – one that is sound both theoretically and practically. The article consists of four sections, some divided into several parts:

  • Section 1. Introduction. Preliminary information you will need to understand and explore the Processes.
    • The Whole Life Model. Our fundamental theory of human development from which concepts like Processes and Growth Continuum are derived.
    • Why Growth is Important. Reasons why we should dedicate our lives to personal growth.
    • The Growth Continuum. The eight parameters, or Dimensions, that define human growth.
    • The Growth Facilitator. The role of the Facilitator – the person who assists or implements the Participant's growth. Why the Parent is featured as the original and primary Facilitator.
  • Section 2. The Processes of Growth. An outline and explanation of all 33 Processes, categorized by Theme. Each Process is described – along with its related Modalities and examples from three different Stages of life.
  • Section 3. Conclusion. Guidelines for implementing the Processes in real life.
  • Section 4. Appendices.
    • Tables. Two Tables that describe the Processes and their affect on various Dimensions of the Growth Continuum.
    • Exercise. The Processes: Applying them in your life
    • Resources for Study. Books and other resources useful for understanding and experiencing the Processes.
    • Credits. Acknowledgment of sources for graphics.
    • Biographical Background. Background and qualifications of the authors.

Since no one can be an expert on such a vast array of fields, this study is offered not as a definitive answer – but as an invitation to focused inquiry and spirited discussion. Please send your comments, questions, and proposed modifications to the addresses shown at the beginning of this paper.


The framework for our investigation is called the Whole Life Model – since it addresses the ‘whole person’ over a ‘whole lifetime.’ The Whole Life Model (WLM) is derived in large part from the Integral Psychology of philosopher Ken Wilber – generally recognized as the most profound, comprehensive, influential, and popular integral theorist of our day. Key terms are Capitalized; the first appearance of such terms is bolded. Elaborations on each Process are provided through two Tables in the Appendix of this article – which are referenced by bullets and links, as appropriate.

The Whole Life Model addresses some of life’s ultimate questions. What does a well-lived life consist of? What does a fully mature, enlightened, and fulfilled human being look like? How can we map out the span of a lifetime? What are the paths and milestones on life’s journey? Who and what can guide us along the way? What vehicles can carry us toward our destination? What is the ultimate meaning of our quest?

Specifically, the Whole Life Model addresses the six key questions regarding human growth:

  • Realms. What are the major domains, or Realms, in which human growth takes place?
    • Answer: There is one external Realm (our everyday Life) and three internal Realms (Body, Psyche, and Spirit).

  • Passages. What is the sequence of steps, or Passages, through which growth takes place?
    • Answer: Growth proceeds through a series of Stages and Transitions (Passages) according to a Fundamental Developmental Sequence (FDS) – of which the Chakra system is a condensed version.

  • Participants. Who is participating in the growing?
    • Answer: There are two types of Participants – Individual and Collective. The Individual Participant is the Self. Collective Participants include every human group from couples to cultures.

  • Progressions. How does growth progress from one stage to the next?
    • Answer: Progression occurs through Stage Growth and Transition Growth, with the primary mechanism being the four-step Transition Cycle.

  • Impediments. What obstacles, or Impediments, can cause the growth process to go wrong?
    • Answer: Every pattern and cycle of growth described in the previous four questions has its own potential Impediments.

  • Processes. By what methods, or Processes, can effective growth be accomplished?
    • Answer: Over the centuries, at least 33 Processes have emerged which enable us to grow and develop – along with numerous specific Modalities within each Process.

As shown above, Processes is the sixth and culminating question of the Whole Life Model. This explains the crucial importance of Processes to the theory of human development.

  • For a full explanation of the Whole Life Model, see our companion article, The Whole Life Model of Human Development [in preparation as of June 2007].

The Processes are ways to implement and encourage personal growth. But why is growth so important? What difference does it make? Why make the effort? – especially since it can seem so much easier to just stay the same. Growth offers several significant benefits:

  • Aliveness. If we are growing, life is more fun and more interesting. We feel more alive, more engaged, more aware, more present, more exhilarated by each moment.
  • Health. If we are more alive, we are more energetic and more flowing. If our bodies feel better and function better, it’s likely we’ll be healthier and live longer.
  • Significance. If we are growing, we are more likely to be on the cutting edge of change. As a catalyst to those around us, we are more likely to impact and influence the course of society – to be a greater force for good.
  • Authentic nature. As we look around us, all living things are growing and changing. Trees spread their branches. Caterpillars metamorphose into butterflies. Birds build nests and bear young. If we embrace growth, we are more true to our authentic nature as living beings.
  • Fulfillment. As seekers, we yearn to drink deeply of all life has to offer. Growth allows us to live life fully – to satisfy that inner longing for rich experience and profound meaning.
  • Inevitability. If we are seekers at heart, we can’t remain static even if we want to. We may crave stability and security, but it slips from our grasp – as we are swept along in the swirling, tumbling current. If our life will be in flux anyway, why not embrace and enjoy the flow?

The Processes are all the methods and techniques that move us along the Growth Continuum. The Growth Continuum is a field of eight Dimensions which describes the various ways human growth can take place. The eight Dimensions are as follows:

  • Stage growth. We grow as we move through the various Stages of human development.
  • Transition growth. We grow as we Transition from one Stage to the next.
  • Realm growth. We grow simultaneously in four different Realms of human consciousness.
  • Arena growth. We grow differentially within the various Arenas of each Realm.
  • Participant growth. We grow individually within our Selves, but also collectively – as members of groups.
  • Vector and direction growth. We grow in four Vectors, or Quadrants – but also in two Directions along those Vectors.
  • Therapeutic growth. As basically healthy people, we grow by actualizing our human potential. But as people with our normal share of problems, we grow by resolving those problems.
  • Coordination growth. We grow by coordinating all the other Dimensions of growth into balanced, harmonious whole.

For details on the Growth Continuum and the evidence that supports it, see our companion articles The Growth Continuum and Arrays of Light – both posted on Integral

Different Processes contribute to growth in different ways. That is, different Processes impact different Stages and Dimensions of the Growth Continuum. For instance, as one might expect, Spirit Practices (Process 31) has its primary influence on the Realm of Spirit Passages – while Life Experiences (Process 7) has its main impact on the Realm of Life Passages. Sensory Experience (Process 5) has its greatest impact on the early Stages of life – while Technologies (Process 18) has its main effect much later.


In examining the Growth Continuum, we must consider not only the Processes, but the Facilitator – not only the mechanisms that promote growth, but the people (professional and otherwise) who implement those mechanisms. A Growth Facilitator is a person who assists, supports, implements, orchestrates, inspires, or catalyzes the growth process. The Growth Facilitator enables the Participant to move along the Growth Continuum.

Growth Facilitators may be the obvious practitioners who help people grow –therapists, counselors, coaches, and the like. However, Facilitators may also be any people who provide impetus for growth – teachers, educators, social workers, social activists, religious counselors, even managers and bosses.

Among all these, the original and primary Growth Facilitator (both for better, and sometimes for worse) is the Parent.[2] The Parent has the greatest impact, the greatest opportunity, the greatest authority, the greatest motivation to promote growth in their offspring. Parenting (in its optimal form) can be seen as ‘nature’s way’ to provide every person on the face of the earth with their own personal Growth Facilitator. The Parent (again, in the optimal form) is the most important Facilitator for the following reasons:

  • Most opportunity. The Parent comes in continuous contact with the child from conception to maturity.
  • Most authority. The parent is empowered by custom and law to exert decisive influence over their child’s upbringing.
  • Greatest motivation. Biological bonding gives the Parent the greatest interest in and concern for their child.
  • Greatest identification. Because of genetic, familial, and cultural similarities, the Parent is best-positioned to identify with, understand, and appreciate the needs, emotions, and motivations of his/her offspring.
  • Greatest influence. What is done by Parents – both positive and negative – in the early years of life has by far the greatest influence on the child’s later course of development.
  • Greatest converse effect. If parenting is not done well, almost no amount of therapy or spiritual practice can fully overcome the handicaps created.
  • Ultimate foundation. Parenting is the foundation upon which all subsequent growth facilitation is based. Whether the parenting is good or bad, it is the starting point at which any additional therapy or self-actualization begins.
  • Broadest applicability. Virtually every Processes used to implement growth in adults was first used (in some form) by parents to raise their children. Thus, any parental child-raising Process is applicable (in some advanced form) to adult growth.
  • Greatest opportunity for adult growth. Once people become adults, perhaps their best opportunity for further growth is to become parents themselves. By raising their own children in ways they themselves should have been raised, parents can re-live the experience of childhood – correcting past mistakes of their own parents in the process. According to this perspective, Parenting may be our best opportunity to live life over again – and get it right.[3]

For all these reasons, parenting has been chosen in this article as the source for all examples and Applications of the Processes. For the purpose of illustration, our examples are drawn from the ‘fictional’ life of a ‘hypothetical’ family named the ‘Stewarts’ – consisting of a husband and wife (‘Sean’ and ‘Mary Kate’) and five children: two older daughters (‘Jane’ and ‘Lizzie’), two sons in the middle years (‘Dean’ and ‘Sal’), and a younger daughter (‘Annie’). In the course of the paper, we show how each Process appears first in the early years of childhood, then presents itself in different forms as the child matures, and finally evolves into the sophisticated Processes we use to implement growth in adults.


Over the course of centuries, humankind has developed at least 33 different Processes of growth. These Processes fall into seven distinct Themes of emphasis – ranging from very fundamental to very sophisticated:

  • Foundational. Processes that are fundamental to all other Processes of growth (four Processes).
  • Physical world. Processes that engage us with material reality (four Processes).
  • Socio-cultural. Processes that engage us with groups of people – from pairs to whole cultures (seven Processes).
  • Formal investigation. Processes that engage our thinking and reasoning powers (six Processes).
  • Self-expression. Processes that enable us to express our inward reality in outward form (five Processes).
  • Conscious development. Processes specifically designed to promote growth, resolve problems, and attain enlightenment (five Processes).
  • Comprehensive. Processes that combine and integrate many growth Processes (two Processes).

Within each general Process, several Modalities have emerged—particular techniques through which growth may be implemented. Each Modality in turn has many specific Applications – strategies or situations where these techniques can be applied in real life.

  • For a detailed exposition of all 33 Processes, including numerous Modalities and recommended Applications for three Stages of life, see Table B1, The Processes of Growth in the Appendix of Tables.
  • For a worksheet exercise showing how you can explore the impact of Processes in your own life, see Exercise A1: The Processes—Applying Them to Your Life in the Appendix of Tables.
  • For a comparison of these Processes with those advocated by Ken Wilber and other contemporary authorities, see our companion article, The Processes According to Wilber [in preparation as of June 2007].
  • For a more experiential and expressive portrayal of each Process, see our companion article, The Processes in Real Life [in preparation as of June 2007].

The Processes enumerated below may appear to be just a collection of life activities. However, it is not the overt purpose of an activity, but its effect that qualifies it as a Process. For instance, a teenager may get a job for the purpose of earning cash for his first car. However, from a growth perspective, working in the outside world is an example of a Process called Enterprise – because it has the effect of build maturity, responsibility, and self-confidence.

By the same token, a number of Modalities and Processes below are academic subjects, such as literature, philosophy, astronomy, logic, and the like. Our interest here is not in their content, but in their effect on human development. For instance, at a practical level, the telescope is merely a device for viewing distant objects. From the perspective of human development, however, the telescope is an example of a Process called Technologies – since it transforms our conception of our place in the universe. Similar reasoning applies to other Modalities of a commonplace or practical nature – such as pets, baby slings, tinker toys, and bikes. These all have simple real-world functions or uses, but their effect on the psychological growth of a child can be profound. After our definition of each Process, therefore, we describe its effect on growth.

In the Table below, we outline all 33 Processes, show some representative Modalities, and give examples of Applications from three Stages of life – younger childhood, older childhood, and adulthood. The Themes and their corresponding Processes are arranged from the simplest and most basic to the most complex and evolved. To get maximum benefit, please read Table from bottom-to-top, beginning with Process #1. The Processes are as follows:

Process number


[Please read this Table from bottom-to-top, beginning with Process #1.]




Comprehensive Processes are combinations of many growth Processes.  They enable us to focus attention on our growth simultaneously from many related perspectives.  Comprehensive Processes create a profound sense of connectedness, a comprehensive viewpoint encompassing the full range of life's possibilities, and an attitude that no dream is impossible.


Integral Programs

Integral Processes are comprehensive programs or systems that integrate numerous diverse-but-related Processes – along with the eight Dimensions of the Growth Continuum—into a unified system of personal development. Whereas Holistic (#32) is a kind of smorgasbord, Integral is a unified meal containing all the essential nutrients.  Integral offers an immersion experience where all the Processes and Dimensions are experienced as part of one ongoing flow of development.  Integral Processes produce a profound sense of unity and order, a deep authenticity and groundedness, and a comprehensive appreciation of life's meaning and purpose.

{     Modalities: Integral psychology, Spiral Dynamics, Whole Life Counseling, healthy family life Psychobiologic Processes are techniques and programs that use Natural Medicine techniques (#2) to achieve psychological (as well as physiological) balance.   They address inherited and acquired body chemistry issues that are at the root of many problems that appear psychological..

Ø      Younger children: "From the moment of conception, most children are immersed in the original integral program – the family."

Ø      Older children: "When every activity of a backpacking experience is subsumed under the single objective of human growth, the experience is transformed from Holistic to Integral."

Ø       Adults: "In the medieval period, the Church provided a comprehensive program for our personal salvation.  Is Integral University a modern version of the medieval Church?"


Holistic Activities

Holistic Processes are comprehensive activities or situations that offer the experience of numerous diverse-but-related Processes.  They provide opportunities for undistracted immersion in these Processes over an extended period of time.  Holistic Processes produce an appreciation of life's abundance, a recognition of life's enormous possibilities, and a glimpse of the potential unity of all human experience.

{     Modalities: Summer camps, Scouts, drama productions, liberal arts colleges, growth retreats, backpacking.

Ø      Younger children: "When Annie attends Ranch Camp, she's immerse in a whole world that addresses her physical, emotional, spiritual, and life needs."

Ø      Older children: "When Sean attended Swarthmore College, academics was just part of being educated as a whole person."

Ø       Adults: "At her month-long Esalen retreat, Lizzie is experiencing everything from group process, to yoga, to African dance – all the while earning her keep by harvesting veggies from the lush, organic garden."




Conscious Development Processes are techniques, practices, and programs designed specifically to resolve psychological problems, promote personal growth, and achieve spiritual enlightenment.  They enable us to work on our own development with conscious intention and purpose.  Such Processes are particularly helpful for deep-seated problems not easily resolved (and elevated states of consciousness not easily achieved) through the other, non-intentional Processes described thus far.


Spiritual Practices

Spiritual Processes are techniques and programs that use structured spiritual practices to achieve higher States of consciousness, and/or a connection with the Divine.  They provide a regular, systematic method for grounding oneself in enduring values, rising above daily concerns, experiencing profound contentment, and connecting with universal forces.

{     Modalities:  Family worship, prayer, Zen meditation, Tibetan chants, yoga, study of sacred scripture.

Ø      Younger children: "Little children know intuitively there is a God, because he has visited them since the moment of their conception."

Ø      Older children: "Teenagers should be encouraged to examine and question their faith – so it becomes theirs, not some adult interpretation."

Ø       Adults: "We all need to believe in something (or some One) bigger than ourselves."


Psycho-biologic Techniques

Psychobiologic Processes are techniques and programs that use Natural Medicine techniques (#2) to achieve psychological (as well as physiological) balance.   They address inherited and acquired body chemistry issues that are at the root of many problems that appear psychological.

{     Modalities: Homeopathic psychology, vibrational medicine, epigenetics.

Ø      Younger children: "For preemies like Annie and Lizzie, a constitutional like pulsatilla can help support and restore the trust, faith, and confidence that reside in a non-traumatic birth.

Ø      Older children: "Once Dean was treated for the ancestral, chemical exposure passed down through his DNA, his lungs cleared, his torpor vanished, and his thinking became sharp."

Ø       Adults: "When Mary Kate takes a Bach Flower remedy like Wild Rose or Sweet Chestnut, she can visualize the serenity that will result—and move toward that optimal condition by intention."



Psychotherapy Processes are sophisticated techniques and programs designed to resolve mental difficulties, promote psychological well-being, and develop one's potential.  They can increase self-awareness, dissolve blocks, promote the developmental flow, and provide satisfaction and fulfillment.

{     Modalities: Gestalt therapy, Jungian work, transactional analysis, group process, growth retreat internship. 

Ø      Younger children: "When our little ones feel good about who they are and what they do, they have little to repress.  Hopefully, they will have few neuroses that need resolving later in life."

Ø      Older children: "When Dean spent a month in Esalen's internship program, they marveled how mature and insightful he was for a mere teenager."

Ø       Adults: "Eric Berne's Transactional Analysis helps explain why fathers and their teenage daughters play the explosive 'game' of Uproar."



Inner-directed explorations of our thoughts, imaginings, emotions, and physical feelings.  They connect us with our inner world – although not necessarily to express it (#26) or to change from it (#29). They promote self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-knowledge—a conscious familiarity with our inner landscape.

{     Modalities: Diaries, journaling, blogs, dreams, psychoanalysis.

Ø      Younger children: "When the kids at school made fun of Annie's braces, she shared her feelings with Mary Kate.  Mary Kate gave her sympathy and comfort, as well as a clearer perspective on why some kids act mean."

Ø      Older children: "Every night, Dean works in his big, leather-bound diary.  He emerges from his room purged and content."

Ø       Adults: "Lizzie shares her tumultuous dreams of battles and panicky flight with Mary Kate – who understands, because she herself has lived through such dreams, and come out whole."


Body Therapies

Body Therapy Processs are sophisticated physical techniques that add a therapeutic dimension to Physical Activity (#6). They mobilize and align bodily energy patterns, dissolve physical blocks, release repressed trauma, and promote balance and wholeness.  They improve grounding, perceived body image, and boundaries.  They restore aliveness by opening all areas to oxygen and blood flow. They alleviate of physical discomfort, disentangle us from old attitudes and behavior patterns, and help us recover emotional responsiveness and spontaneity.

{     Modalities: Chiropractic, acupuncture, Reichian therapy, massage.

Ø      Younger children: "After Sal's difficult birth, cranial-sacral work loosened the plates of his skull, restored cranial flow, and allowed him to relax."

Ø      Older children: "Dean knows his body well enough to ask for an adjustment when he needs it.  Afterwards, his neck is no longer stiff – but he also feels mentally invigorated and more optimistic."

Ø       Adults: "When she gets clogged, Mary Kate gets acupuncture to clear her head and help her think straight again."




Self-expression Processes are activities that express our inner reality in an outwardly-perceivable form.  They enable us to understand and appreciate ourselves, to manifest our special gifts in tangible form, and to convey our inner qualities to others.


Expressive Arts

Expressive Arts Processes are activities that express our inner world of thought, emotions, and fantasy through tangible, observable media.  They help us to connect with our inner nature, to reclaim alienated parts of ourselves (our shadow side), to convey our inner self to others, and to communicate insights and convictions that are beyond words.

{     Modalities: Finger-painting, rock band, drama production, Romantic poetry, vision painting, ensemble singing, psycho-drama.

Ø      Younger children: "Eensy, beensy spider crawls up the water spout.  The girls' little fingers trace the ups and downs of a tiny insect beset by bad weather."

Ø      Older children: "When Lizzie swung over the stage on a thin cable crying 'I can fly!' she really was Peter Pan."

Ø       Adults: "When Mary Kate directs the school play, she coaxes and cajoles a great interpretation out of each young performer.  Her work of art is the transformation that takes place in children themselves."


Recorded Experiences

Recorded Experience Processes are activities that capture highlights and representative vignettes of quintessential life moments in permanent form.  They enable us to retain and re-live the high points of our lives, and to integrate fragmented strands of memory -- thereby reviving, illuminating, and perpetuating those experiences and perspectives that make life precious.

{     Modalities: Scrapbooks, photography, collage, videography, sound recording.

Ø      Younger children: "Annie's favorite story is Baby's First Book – with snapshots and hand-written stories from her earliest months, a tiny footprint, and a lock of her hair."

Ø      Older children: "Sal's best family vacation video in the Marble Mountains—set to the pulsing beat of Credence Clearwater—pits Sal against Sean in a battle to determine who is truly the Big Dog."

Ø       Adults: "For Jane's wedding, Sean is composing childhood photos of Jane and her boyfriend into a huge collage – which traces their life journey from infancy until their paths finally meet."


Stories & Literature

Story Processes are story- or literature-based illustrations of instructive life situations.  Along with their literary value, they provide powerful role models, illuminating perspectives, effective strategies, and inspiring themes that we can emulate in our own lives. 

{     Modalities: Bedtime stories, folk tales, family stories, reenactments.  Great plays, novels, poetry.

Ø      Younger children: "After rubbing her fingertips on the sandpaper chin of the picture of Daddy, Lizzie feels the stubbly chin of her real Daddy.  That's her favorite part of Pat the Bunny."

Ø      Older children: "Will Anne (of Green Gables) swallow her prickly pride, and surrender to her love for Gilbert?  It takes the whole series to find out!"

Ø       Adults: "When the Georgia missionary family arrives in Africa, they're clueless on how to survive.  Mary Kate's book club plunges into the Poisonwood Bible."


Humor & Fun

Humor and Fun Processes are entertaining activities that help keep life in perspective.  Humor activities point up absurdity and incongruity of life situations in an amusing way.  Fun is doing things just for pleasure, with no concern for their purpose or significance.  Humor and fun lighten our load, reveal our foibles, reduce false pride, and teach us not to take life too seriously.

{     Modalities: Funny faces, joke books, comedy movies, inside jokes, theme parks.

Ø      Younger children: "As soon as Lizzie was old enough to recognize faces, Sean would bend over and look at Lizzie from between his legs.  For Lizzie, it was hilarious to see a face with the mouth above the eyes, as if talking out of the forehead."

Ø      Older children: "In Sleeper, Woody Allen's robot gets stoned on the Orb, and begins mashing the party guests.  That's probably our family's favorite scene."

Ø       Adults: "The cry of 'Marquis of Queensbury Rules' signals an all-out brawl in the swimming pool – splashing and dunking with no-holds-barred, and anarchy and rule-breaking wherever possible."



Language Processes are the activities that enable us to formulate, articulate, and communicate inchoate thoughts and feelings as coherent verbal patterns.  They create a sense of identity, clarity, and order – along with the ability to connect mentally and emotionally with others. 

{     Modalities: Nursery rhymes, phonetic reading, vocabulary through roots, public speaking, writing, foreign language, word play.

Ø      Younger children: "Baby loves nursery rhymes like Jack Sprat and Pumpkin Eater – but hand-motion rhymes like Patty Cake and Eensy Spider especially delight her."

Ø      Older children: "Dean's Kerouac paper is much improved.  After the third draft, it's clear, tight, and impactful."

Ø       Adults: "By tracking words back to their Greek and Latin roots, we discover what words really mean, and how they're related."



(Processes 16-21)

Formal Investigation Processes are experiences in logic and higher reasoning.  They enable us to engage our mental powers to understand, affect, and utilize both tangible and abstract reality.  They allow us to rise above the world, to view it from a more comprehensive perspective, to live in harmony with it, and to make use of it for our own needs.  They create a sense of stability, congruity, cohesiveness, and empowerment.



Scientific Processes are activities that enable us to formulate and test systematic explanations for real-world phenomena.  Systematic observation, scientific method.  They promote a profound conviction that the world makes sense, that we can grasp and influence it, and that we can progress and evolve far beyond perceived limits.

{     Modalities: Process-oriented science curriculum.  Astronomy, ecology, archeology.

Ø      Younger children: "Anne is learning botany by watching bean sprouts grow under different conditions – sun and shade, wet and dry, sand or clay."

Ø      Older children: "Tomales Bay is just a split in the fault line that's turning Point Reyes into an island.  That's plate tectonics in real life."

Ø       Adults: "According to Discover Magazine, sudden shock can send us into suspended animation—where we can survive for days without detectable heartbeat or brainwave.  Does that mean we'll be able to defer our lives until science solves the problem of aging?"


Planning & Orchestrating

Planning & Orchestrating Processes are the skills of anticipating, planning, and orchestrating the various components of some future event.  They enable us to visualize and actualize any of several alternative futures – thereby imparting a sense of perspective, a freedom from fatalism, and a confidence to act.

{     Modalities: Birthday party, school dance, drama production, project coordination, Day-timer.

Ø      Younger children: "Before we took Lizzie to her first school, we showed her the classroom, introduced her to her teacher, explained what to expect, and promised when we would pick her up."

Ø      Older children: "Sal has to plan out all his chores and homework, so he'll be free on the weekend for band practice and a sleep-over."

Ø       Adults: "Before we travel to the Northeast, we'll plan how to hit all the sights – historic battlefields, Cape Cod plays, Penobscot Bay islands – without exhausting ourselves, and still staying within budget."


Logic & Reasoning

Logic & Reasoning Processes are the explicit skills of developing formally-reasoned explanations and arguments.  These skills produce a profound sense of confidence, competence, and empowerment by enabling us to create unified wholes from apparently disparate information.

{     Modalities: Common sense, critical thinking, formal logic, debate.

Ø      Younger children: "If you go to bed early tonight, we'll be able to take off earlier tomorrow morning for a fun day at the beach."

Ø      Older children: "How do we know global warming is created by human emissions – not just sunspots, or natural cycles of heating and cooling?"

Ø       Adults: "What part of this Iraq speech is a valid argument for going to war – and what part is a ploy for justifying a horrendous blunder?"



Technology Processes are activities that explain, examine, demonstrate, operate, or discuss the implications of, any practical device or mechanism.  They promote a sense of competence and empowerment, an expanded perspective, a mobilization of creative energy, and an optimism that one can function beyond perceived limits.

{     Modalities:  Cell phone, home appliances, telescope, printing press, automobile.

Ø      Younger children: "One of baby's favorite toys is the Busy Box – with lots of buttons, levers, and gears – all making interesting sounds and visual effects."

Ø      Older children: "When teenage Sal cleaned an infected hard drive by re-installing Windows, he felt proud, empowered, and relieved."

Ø       Adults: "If we want to keep pace with modern times, we've got to learn a whole new set of technologies – like cell phones, and Ipods, and internet."



Explanation Processes are activities that point out, discuss, clarify, give reasons for, or place in context any phenomena we may encounter.  The full spectrum from casual curiosity to focused inquiry.  May lack the formal rigor of Science (#21) or Logic (#19). These activities instill a sense of curiosity, a spirit of inquiry, and a conviction that the world makes sense.

{     Modalities: Casual curiosity, critical thinking, current events, philosophy.

Ø      Younger children: "Whenever little Annie asks where stars come from, and why cats stay up at night, we support her curiosity, and try to answer as best we can."

Ø      Older children: "When we watch the Discovery Channel, we find out why the dinosaurs died out."

Ø       Adults: "The Whole Life Model helps explain why we act the way we do at different Stages of life – and what we can do to keep ourselves on track."


Structuring & Order

Structuring & Order Processes are activities that promote a sense of order, and develop the capacity to structure increasingly-complex wholes.  They enable us to coordinate, interpret, and make sense out of the multiplicity and diversity around us.  They engender a sense of stability, of tangible relationship, of empowerment.

{     Modalities: Building blocks, Lego, puzzles, Sim City, family building project, clean-up time.

Ø      Younger children: "Sal builds his blocks into higher and more complex structures each day – pushing the limit until they all come tumbling down."

Ø      Older children: "Now that the kids have assembled a 16-foot, canvas-and-beam yurt, they use it as a bedroom and music studio."

Ø       Adults: "Dean is apprenticing with a contractor, where he's learning to build a house from scratch – carpentry, plumbing, electrical, the whole works."




Socio-cultural Processes are experiences with groups, ranging from pairs to whole cultures.  They enable us to relate better to others, to function more effectively in society, and to appreciate our place in the larger pattern of culture.


Archetype & Myth

Archetype & Myth Processes are myths, legends, or creative works that describe and illustrate foundational and archetypal features of a culture – including heroic characters and values.  They allow us to identify with that culture, to emulate those heroes, and to take pride in their virtues and achievements. 

{     Modalities: American colonial history, Bible stories, classic epics, Asian and American Indian myths, geneology, modern social movements.

Ø      Younger children: "From their earliest years, the children love to hear stories about Odysseus, Moses, and Robin Hood."

Ø      Older children: "After the boys read Howard Pyle's King Arthur, they don shields and helmets for jousts and swordfights in the woods."

Ø       Adults: "We try to elevate the humdrum routine of daily life with a sense of purpose and destiny.  We create a family legend, where we ourselves are heroes."



Acculturation Processes are experiences that expose us to and initiate us into the cultural practices and traditions of our broader community.  They also expose us to—and allow us to participate in—alternative practices and ceremonies from other cultures.  Acculturation Processes encourage flexibility, multiple-perspective thinking, and emotional generosity.

{     Modalities: Playgroups, sports teams, summer camp, foreign travel.

Ø      Younger children: "When traveling, we like to visit local ethnic churches – Mexican, black, Hawaiian --because their faith is so natural and spontaneous."

Ø      Older children: "After high school graduation, Dean toured Europe on a shoe-string -– using money he'd earned himself during the school year."

Ø       Adults: "When our youngest was only one year old, we exchanged homes with a family in France – living in their home, making friends with their neighbors, and driving their camper van to remote corners of the country."



Service Processes are activities that emphasize unconditional giving and sharing.  They allow us to express love, appreciation, and generosity without expectation of benefit – and to give back to society for all the blessings we ourselves have received.  They create a feeling of satisfaction, self-worth, and significance.

{     Modalities: Sharing toys, service projects, volunteer work, community service.

Ø      Younger children: "Each Christmas, our kids must go through their toys, and donate half of them to children less fortunate than themselves."

Ø      Older children: "In a dusty Mexican village over Spring break, Sal organizes games with the local kids and accompanies their singing with his guitar."

Ø       Adults: "When friends in our community are sick or injured, have lost a job or have lost loved ones, Mary Kate and the kids comfort them with a big pot of soup and a basket of fresh breads."



Enterprise Processes are self-originated activities that generate compensation in exchange for goods or services provided.  Going into business for oneself.  Enterprise Processes also include activities that prepare us to operate an enterprise -- competition and sales training, for example.  Enterprise Processes allow us to choose our own work, to regulate our own time and effort, and to take charge of our own future.  They create a sense of independence, security, self-sufficiency, and empowerment.

{     Modalities: Paper route, competitive sports, sales training, family business.

Ø      Younger children: "Our girls made enough selling fruits and nuts grown our property to buy that American Girl doll they've been wanting."

Ø      Older children: "Dean waits tables in a local café – where the quality of his work is reflected in the size of tips he gets.  His salary comes from the restaurant, but his main pay comes from his own relationship with his customers."

Ø       Adults: "Sean quit the prestigious brokerage firm—once he recognized he could make twice the money, have twice the freedom, and provide twice the service, in his own financial business."



Responsibility Processes are reciprocal activities where we are accountable for the performance of duties or tasks – in exchange for certain privileges or benefits.  They allow us to achieve full membership in a group by contributing our fair share.  Responsibility gives us a sense of security, of belonging, of importance and significance.

{     Modalities: Home chores, yard jobs, waitressing, Little League coaching, managing.

Ø      Younger children: "As soon as they're old enough, each child takes on regular chores around the house – taking out trash, washing dishes, doing laundry."

Ø      Older children: "As soon as they can qualify, our kids get regular jobs – child care, yard work, serving tables."

Ø       Adults: "Both Sean and Mary Kate are responsible for maintaining the household and bringing in money."


Habits & Programming

Habits Processes are activities that transform transient actions or skills into standardized, routine patterns of behavior.  Repetition, routines, practice, conditioned response, internalization, self-regulation.  They make mundane tasks more efficient, free attention for more interesting and important concerns, and engender satisfaction in the ordinary activities of life.

{     Modalities: Personal hygiene, pet care, study habits, household maintenance.

Ø      Younger children: "At the beginning of the day, even our littlest kids know to brush their teeth, take a shower, and put on clean clothes that match (sometimes!)."

Ø      Older children: "After school, our kids know to get a snack, and then concentrate on homework – so they will be free to share dinner conversation with the family."

Ø       Adults: "We've learned to recycle waste products that previously just went to the trash."



Skills Processes are activities that teach us how to make something, or to do something.  They promote a sense of competence, confidence, and effectiveness. 

{     Modalities: Walking, reading, riding a bike, driving a car, learning a musical instrument.

Ø      Younger children: "When Jane and Lizzie first learned to ride their little pink bikes, they weaved down windy path at Black Buttes in Oregon's Cascades."

Ø      Older children: "To become a famous rock musician, Sal learns to play the guitar, compose songs, wire a sound system, produce a music video, cut DVDs, and schedule gigs at local clubs."

Ø       Adults: "Even though it wasn't easy, Mary Kate's learned to correspond by email and search Google.  To keep his upper body fit, Sean is learning to kayak down the Russian River."



Physical-world Processes are encounters with material reality.  These experiences enable us to connect our inner mental processes with the external world of our perceptions and actions.  They allow us to perceive the world more accurately, to engage with it more effectively, and to appreciate its intricacy, multiplicity, and beauty.


Natural Environment

Natural Environment Processes are experiences that allow us to observe, study, imitate, appreciate, and  make use of the world of nature.  They allow us to experience and resonate with the rhythms, order, and harmony of all natural processes—and to feel comfortable and confident in the natural part of ourselves.

{     Modalities: Pets, aquarium, garden, camping, bird-watching.

Ø      Younger children: "Our kids delight in baby animals – like kittens, puppies, bunnies, and newborn swallows nesting in the eaves."

Ø      Older children: "On weekends, our family likes to hike the Bear Valley trail – up to the sunny meadow, and then through the alder-shaded canyon to the rocky beach."

Ø       Adults: "In our little backyard garden, we enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air, the feel of rich soil, the invigoration of growing things, and the pleasure of eating ripe tomatoes with fresh basil."


Life Experience

Life Experience Processes are experiences that engage us with the situations and activities of real, everyday life. Real-world exploration, trial-and-error, hard knocks, 'benign neglect.' Such experiences enable us to try things out, to learn by experience, to profit from our successes and mistakes.  They engender groundedness, connection, confidence, and empowerment.

{     Modalities: Exploring cupboards, grocery shopping with Mom, Outward Bound, backpacking.

Ø      Younger children: "Except where necessary for safety, we keep Annie out of the confines of crib, playpen, or high chair – so she can roam and explore at will."

Ø      Older children: "When life situations come up, we let Sal handle them himself – getting his car fixed, collecting a debt, baking cinnamon rolls on Mother's Day."

Ø       Adults: "We consciously involve ourselves in unfamiliar situations, so we don't get in a rut.  We like travel to exotic locations, hiking off the trail, and meeting people outside our social circle."


Physical Activity

Physical Activity Processes are activities that engage the whole body in vigorous, natural movement.  They enable us to experience ourselves as present and real—and engender a sense of groundedness, self-confidence, and effectiveness.

{     Modalities: crawling, walking, team sports, aerobics.

Ø      Younger children: "Our kids share strenuous physical activity with us ever before they can walk – jogging with us in the stroller, biking in the kiddie seat, hiking in the baby backpack.  From the earliest years, physical activity means fun and adventure."

Ø      Older children: "Although our kids are not great athletes, they play lots of physical sports – basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis—just for the fun of it."

Ø      Adults: "As adults, we like both strenuous and gentle activity.  It keeps us fit, opens our breathing, improves our moods, and engages us with other people."



Sensory Experience

Sensory Processes are activities that engage our five senses.  They give us a strong appreciation of, orientation to, and connection with external reality – along with the capacity to trust our own responses and perceptions.

{     Modalities: Mobiles, sandbox, fingerpainting, Montessori materials, aromatherapy.

Ø      Younger children: "Baby's first sensory experiences are not bars and latches – but festive mobiles, comfy quilts, tinkling music boxes, purring kitties, savory smells, and warm, adoring eyes."

Ø      Older children: "We teach abstract subjects like math using tangible manipulatives like Cuisinere Rods and Montessori materials."

Ø       Adults: "Our home is always a feast of sensory experiences – interesting pictures and wall-hangings; rich, savory smells; and lively ethnic music."



Foundational Processes are the fundamental experiences upon which all future growth is built.  They are basic to our physical health, our emotional well-being, our capacity to relate to others, our ability to engage effectively with the real world, and our capacity to know and express ourselves.


Family Dynamics

Family Dynamics Processes are experiences that promote appreciation of and connection among family members.  They provide a sanctuary of love and comfort, a pattern for future social relationships, and a set of role models for caring and intimate behavior. 

{     Modalities: Family dinner table, family celebrations, group process, intentional communities.

Ø      Younger children: "Every child helps out with the baby – holding, rocking, feeding, changing."

Ø      Older children: "Even our teenagers like to spend time with the family – because they know it will be fun, heart-warming, and respectful of their need for a separate identity."

Ø       Adults: "Our kids carry their understanding and appreciation of the family into adult, family-like situations – such as school life, the workplace, and community involvement."


Nurturing & Bonding

Nurturing and Bonding Processes are activities that satisfy our needs for basic sustenance and intimate connection with loved ones.  They promote stability, security, and self-confidence.  They support the capacity for warm, open, intimate, and caring relationships later in life.

{     Modalities: Breast-feeding, baby slings, cuddling, kiddie backpacks, Watsu massage.

Ø      Younger children: "We always keep our babies physically close – using baby slings, kiddie backpacks, and frequent on-demand holding."

Ø      Older children: "We take our kids with us everywhere – to restaurants, plays, concerts, shopping, weekend outings, vacations.  They rarely behave badly, because they always feel welcome and accepted."

Ø       Adults: "As they grow up, our kids always strive for a stable, intimate, long-term relationship with one lifetime partner."


Natural Medicine

Natural Medicine Processes are treatment practices that prevent illness and restore physical health - by mobilizing the body's natural capacity to regulate and heal itself.  They produce the vigor, clarity, responsiveness, and harmony that support all other Processes.

{     Modalities: Homeopathic remedies, herbs, preventive medicine.

Ø      Younger children: "When Annie was born 12 weeks premature, we gave her chamomile, rescue remedy, and other herbs and homeopathics, to reduce colic, build her resistance, and put her in balance."

Ø      Older children: "If a child gets a headache, we might test him for toxins and give him enzymes to metabolize the contaminants."

Ø       Adults: "Some studies suggest that medical Hormone Replacement Therapy might cause breast cancer.  Mary Kate and the older girls prefer to use natural estrogen and other non-medical supplements to stabilize their female hormones."


Natural Nutrition

Natural Nutrition Processes provide natural, whole foods – containing all the chemical building blocks for physical and mental development, without the toxic residue.

{     Modalities: Natural, whole foods; nutritional supplements.

Ø      Younger children: "When Annie was in the incubator, Mary Kate pumped breast milk, so the baby would receive immunity-building colostrum, and would not have to drink formula."

Ø      Older children: "Our teenagers eat natural, home-cooked dinners, made from scratch."

Ø       Adults: "Where possible, we try to eat local, seasonal, whole, organic foods --while avoiding the temptation to eat junk food, convenience foods, or heavily-processed foods"


Processes are not like recipes in a cookbook—to be whipped up for some special occasion. They are not a grab-bag of tricks performed by a therapist-magician to give us instant happiness or fulfillment. Rather, the Processes are subtle experiences woven into the fabric of life. They are ways of transmuting ordinary daily occurrences into illuminating and transformative life events. Because Processes are so subtle, they must be applied with heightened sensitivity, focused attention, and compassionate understanding. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind, as you apply these Processes to your children, your clients, or yourself:[4]

  • Nourishing, not sterile environments. Create living environments which encourage and support growth experiences – natural settings, special interest alcoves, areas for exploration. The best growth experiences often emerge from rich and inviting surroundings.
  • Focus, not distraction. Avoid the temptations of TV, or comic books, or crass internet sites—by limiting access, or eliminating them altogether. The more time freed from trivial pursuits, the more time available for real growth.
  • Child, not parent. Growth comes from the Child, not the Parent. Your Child is the primary source of objectives, motivation, inspiration, and wisdom for their own growth process. The Parent’s main function is to remove impediments and to help guide the flow.
  • Visualization, not trial-and-error. Have a clear, tangible conception or vision of the Child you are working with – who they are now and what they may become. Apply each Process as if bringing that vision into reality. (At the same, remain flexible and adaptable, being careful not to impose your needs and preferences on your child.)
  • Intuition, not agenda. Study and ruminate over each Process until you know it well. Then ‘forget’ it. Allow your intellectual understanding to slip into the background, so your intuition can take over. When a growth situation presents itself, allow the appropriate Process to ‘pop out’ and come into play.
  • Spontaneous, not contrived. Processes are often the most meaningful and effective when they arise spontaneously and without special effort—in unplanned and unpremeditated situations. We usually need not initiate or create growth by imposing a specific therapeutic technique on the situation.
  • Passion, not program. Follow your Child’s energy, inspiration, and passion– even when it slows down or diverts your ‘program.’ Their enthusiasm is the fuel that will sustain their development.
  • Experience, not concept. Put aside the abstraction, the generality, the concept, and pay attention to what is happening here-and-now. Emotions fuel growth, and emotions are direct responses to real experiences.
  • Small events, not headlines. The most important life changes are often linked to commonplace and familiar events that may seem almost trivial. Pay attention to situations because of their feeling content, not their ‘marquee value.’
  • Essential, not dispensable. Every Process is essential at some Stage of life, and in some Dimension of growth. Any Process that is under-emphasized or omitted in childhood may have to be re-visited and re-applied (in one form or another) sometime later in life.
  • Adapt, don’t abandon. Virtually every Process can be applied either lavishly or simply. When you find that a particular Process is too expensive – or too time-consuming, or too much effort – adapt it to your own limitations or constraints. Sometimes, the very act of adapting and condensing the Process gives it additional meaning.
  • Yourself, not others. Try out any growth Process on yourself first. If it helps you, you will understand how to use it to help your children.
  • Deep, not shallow. If a Process is to work, it must go deep. Although Processes are often fun and exhilarating, they can sometimes be unpleasant, or embarrassing, or distressing. Welcome the discomfort – as a hopeful sign that real growth is taking place.
  • Spiritual, not just material. Convey a sense that there is an important realm of reality beyond the material – that life has purpose and direction, orchestrated by some greater Power.

To get a clearer understanding of Processes, we encourage you to study our companion articles, The Processes According to Wilber and The Processes in Real Life [both in preparation as of June 2007]. To examine how various Processes have shaped your own life, we encourage you try the exercise in the Appendix entitled The Processes – Applying Them in Your Life.

Applying the 33 Process of growth is a matter of sensitivity, insight, and experience. If done conscientiously, you will reap the remarkable benefits enumerated in the Introduction to this article: Aliveness, Health, Significance, Authenticity, and Fulfillment. We encourage you to continue with us on this exciting, illuminating, and rewarding journey. The Processes of Human Growth


Exercise A1: THE PROCESSES—Applying Them in Your Life

As a first step in making use of the Processes – in your practice or in your life – try the following set of exercises. They are best done under the guidance of a qualified facilitator – but you can also benefit from using them on your own, or with a partner or friend. These exercises are not intended as a substitute for therapy or counseling. They merely give an indication of how Processes might be used in a coordinated growth program. Print out a copy of the form in the Appendix entitled ‘The Processes – Applying Them in Your Life.’ (Better yet, just open the Word version, and work on your laptop.) Before beginning, spend a few minutes with your eyes closed. Breathe deeply and calmly. Clear all thoughts and preoccupations from your mind. Then proceed as follows:

  • Name and date. At the top of the page, write in your name and today’s date.
  • Process. Choose any Process you have a special interest in. Write in its name and number. If you have no preference, begin with Process One. Write today’s date to the left of it.
  • Study. Read the sections of the Processes article and Table B1 that pertain to that Process. Get a strong feel of the Process by considering the examples given.
  • Reflect. In a casual, unfocused way, reflect on situations in your own life when this Process might have arisen. Jot down brief phrases that recall each memory.
  • Negative experiences. Write down any negative experiences you have had with this Process, going back to the earliest years of childhood. Set a time limit, and be brief. You can always add more later. (Use extra paper if needed anywhere in this exercise.)
  • Positive experiences. Write down any positive experiences you have had with this Process, going back to the earliest years of childhood. Continue to be brief. We do positive experiences second to keep you optimistic.
  • Ratings. Now, combine both positive and negative experiences into a single rating. One = Extremely negative and detrimental. Ten = Extremely positive and beneficial. Make your ratings from two perspectives: 1) as a harsh critic, and 2) as a generous supporter. Remember, you are not rating yourself or your current state of health; you are rating the experiences you have had with a particular Process.
  • Effect. Look over what you have written so far. Reflect on the effect those experiences have had on you over the course of a lifetime. Write down some of those effects.
  • Discuss. Discuss the experiences you’ve written about with your counselor, partner, or friend. Have that person write their observations on your form.
  • Action items. Write down specific things you could do now to have a positive experience with this Process. What Modalities could you engage in now that might help redeem those negative experiences? (Refer back to Table 1B for ideas.) Include both likely and unlikely possibilities. Give yourself room to hope and dream.
  • Accountability. With your counselor, partner, or friend, commit to performing at least one specific Action Item by an agreed-on date. Report your progress to that person – whether you have performed the Action Item or not.
  • Priority. Give that Process a priority number from one to ten – compared to other Processes you have studied. (You can always change priorities as you add Processes.)
  • Results. At later dates (perhaps 2 weeks, 3 months, a year), write down any results you have achieved in this Process. Did you follow through on the items? If so, what were the effects? How does your overall experience rate now? Continue to discuss your progress with your counselor, partner, or friend.
  • Repeat. Over a period of days or weeks, repeat the same set of steps for each of the remaining Processes. Give yourself plenty of time. Eventually, you will assemble a whole set of exercises that trace your progress and acquaint you with all the ways you can grow.

THE PROCESSES – Applying Them in Your Life



















Action items






Results –
2 weeks:
Date ________


Results –
3 months:
Date ________


Results –
1 year:
Date ________


Next Process



There is a growing body of resources for studying and experiencing the Processes of growth. A representative selection of the best such resources in shown below. (Items within categories listed roughly in order of importance to this study.)

Ken Wilber

In brief sections of various works, Ken Wilber addresses the two major categories of Processes: Therapeutic Processes (for people overcoming ‘problems’) and Human Potential Processes (for basically healthy people seeking to evolve):

Wilber, Ken 2006. Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World. Boston, MA: Shambala Publications. Formulates a theory of spirituality that honors the truths of modernity and postmodernity, while incorporating the essential insights of the great religions. Human Potential: Includes chapter on Integral Life Practice (ILP), a combination of growth Processes advocated by Wilber (pp. 201-210).

Wilber, Ken 2000. Integral Psychology – Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy. Boston, MA: Shambala Publications. Wilber’s major published work on psychology. Therapeutic: Includes a chapter on the basic Stages (Fulcrums) of growth – which enumerates the major pathologies and categories of treatment (pp. 91-110). Human potential: Includes an outline of four-quadrant Integral Therapy (pp. 112-114).

Wilber, Ken 1999. One Taste – The Journals of Ken Wilber. Boston, MA: Shambala Publications. Intriguing glimpses into Wilber’s personal life through his journals. Human potential: Includes an outline, very similar to Integral Psychology, of his integral program (pp. 129-31).

Wilber, Ken 1986. with Jack Engler and Daniel P. Brown. Transformations of Consciousness : Conventional and Contemplative Perspectives on Development. Boston, MA: Shambala Publications. Nine essays from various contributors, presenting a model of individual development that embraces both the conventional stages of psychological growth and the higher levels of spiritual development. Therapeutic: Includes a chapter, very similar to Integral Psychology, on the basic Stages of growth – which enumerates the major pathologies and categories of treatment (pp. 80-160 in collected works edition).

Wilber, Ken 1995. The Eye of Spirit: An Integral Vision for a World Gone Slightly Mad. Boston, MA: Shambala Publications. Applies Wilber’s Spectrum of Consciousness model to diverse and important fields – psychology, spirituality, anthropology, cultural studies, art & literary theory, ecology, feminism, and planetary transformation. Human potential: Includes nuggets on the Processes – including discussions with Michael Murphy on the three stages through which Processes have developed since the 1960’s (pp. 257-59).

Wilber, Ken 1979. No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth. Boston, MA: Shambala Publications. Early yet comprehensive guide to the types of psychologies and therapies available from Eastern and Western sources. Human potential: Includes Process resources for different Stages of development (92-3, 108-9, 124-5, 141-2).


Murphy, Michael 1992. The Future of the Body – Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature. Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy Tarcher. (Body, Processes). Scientifically sophisticated survey and investigation of a huge range of Processes and Modalities. By the co-founder of Esalen. Murphy and Wilber have been close friends and major influences on each of other, especially regarding Processes.

Sociological analysis

Ray, Paul H. and Sherry Ruth Anderson 2000. The Cultural Creatives – How 50 Million People Are Changing the World. New York, NY: Harmony/Random House. Valuable survey of the exciting transformation at work in today’s culture. Includes chapter on the human potential movement (pp. 169-204).

Ardagh, Arjuna 2005, The Translucent Revolution – How People Just Like You Are Waking Up and Changing the World. Novato, CA: New World Library. Excellent survey of the spiritual transformation that is accompanying our culture’s psychological changes. Companion to Ray’s work.

Personal journeys

Schwartz, Tony 1995. What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America. Bantam. This story of the author’s four-year, human-potential odyssey through many Processes of psychology and spirit. Includes chapter on Wilber.

Klein, Aaron and Cynthia 1979. Mind Trips: The Story of the Consciousness-Raising Movements. Doubleday. The story behind a number of popular growth or enlightenment movements: Transcendental Meditation, Kung Fu, Yoga, Hare Krishna, Martial Arts, Est, Esalen, Zen, Arica.


Leonard, George B. and Michael Murphy 1995. The Life We Are Given. Introduction to Integral Transformative Practice (ITP)—a balanced and comprehensive long-term program for personal transformation. Murphy’s ITP and Wilber’s ILP have mutually influenced each other.

Walsh, Roger and Frances Vaughn 1999. Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind. Wiley. Derives seven common practices from the world's major religions to create out a guidebook for contemporary spirituality.

Walsh, Roger and Frances Vaughn 1981, 1993. Paths Beyond Ego. Tarcher. Examines some of the major ideas, practices, goals, and experiences that underlie the spiritual traditions and the discipline of transpersonal psychology.

Corey, Gerald and Marianne S. Corey 2005. I Never Knew I Had a Choice: Explorations in Personal Growth (8th ed.). Wadsworth Publishing. Personal guidance for those seeking to grow.

Surveys and compendia of therapies

Corsini, Raymond J. and Danny Wedding 2007. Current Psychotherapies. Wadsworth Publishing. Excellent introductions to a wide selection of the over-400 psychotherapies popular today. Companion book of case histories.

Corsini, Raymond J. 2001. Handbook of Innovative Therapy. Wiley. Textbook and manual covering a large variety of innovative and esoteric therapies: natural high, provocative therapist, covert conditioning, mindbody communication, imaginal cognition, deep psychobiology, eidetic therapy, provocative therapy, intensive marathon, primal therapy, etc.

Schneider, Kirk J., James F. T. Bugental , and J. Fraser Pierson, eds. 2002. The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology: Leading Edges in Theory, Research, and Practice. Sage Publications. Essays and studies on therapies, philosophies, and research that do justice to the highest reaches of human achievement and potential: personal construct psychotherapy, transpersonal psychology, credulous approach, peace psychology, organizational development theory, inner experiencing, constructivist therapy, Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, etc.

Corey, Gerald 2005. Theory & Practice of Counseling & Psychotherapy (7th ed.). Thompson: Brooks/Cole. Introduces students to the major theories of counseling (psychoanalytic, Adlerian, existential, person-centered, Gestalt, reality, behavior, cognitive-behavior, family systems, feminist, and postmodern approaches, etc.) and demonstrates how each theory can be applied to one particular case.

Gurman, Alan S. and Stanley B. Messer 2003. Essential Psychotherapies (2nd ed.) Overview of core approaches to treating individual and relational disorders. Brings order and reason to the literally hundreds of specific techniques espoused in the literature.

Specific Processes or Themes

Body therapies:

Juhan, Dean 1987/1998. Job’s Body – A Handbook for Bodywork. Barrytown, NY: Barrytown, Ltd. Detailed theoretical and practical explanations of numerous bodywork modalities.

Informal histories

Kripal, Jeffrey J. 2007. Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. University of Chicago Press. Extensive historical account of Esalen Institute. Emphasizes its theories and socio-religious implications, rather than experiential Processes.

Anderson, Walter Truett 1983. The Upstart Spring: Esalen and the Human Potential Movement: The First Twenty Years Addison Wesley. A charming, gossipy multiple biography of the curious gurus who spawned Esalen.


Process-oriented articles from Wilber’s AQAL journal. Volume 1; Issue 2:

Elliot Ingersol, “An Introduction To Integral Psychology” (pp. 131-143).

Suzanne Cook-Greuter, “20th Century Background For Integral Psychology” (pp. 144-184).

Bert Parlee, “Integral Psychology: An Introduction” (pp. 185 - 200).

Paul Landraites, “Jane: An Integral Psychotherapeutic Case Study” (pp. 201 - 236). Volume 2; Issue 1:

David Zeither, “Integral Psychology: Clinical Applications” (pp. 60 - 73).

David Zeither, “An AQAL Case Study Of Short-Term Psychotherapy As Transformation” (pp. 74 - 96).


Colleges and graduate programs which teach Processes through alternative psychology and/or spiritual studies.

California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS), ?1453 Mission Street, ?San Francisco, CA 94103. 415-575-6100.

John F. Kennedy University, Pleasant Hill, California. 94523-4817. 800-696-5358, 925-969-3300.

Naropa University, 2130 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder CO 80302. 303-444-0202.

Institute for Transpersonal Psychology (ITP), 1069 East Meadow Circle,?Palo Alto, CA, 94303. 650-493-4430.

Fielding Graduate Institute, ?2112 Santa Barbara Street,?Santa Barbara, CA 93105. 800-340-1099, 805-687-1099.

Saybrook Graduate School. 747 Front Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111-1920. 800-825-4480.

Growth retreats

Places to experience a wide variety of Processes in idyllic settings.

Esalen Institute, 55000 Highway One, Big Sur, CA. 831-667-3000.

Omega Institute, 150 Lake Drive, Rhinebeck, NY 12572. 845-266-4444.

Hollyhock, Cortez Island, British Columbia, Canada. 800-933-6339.

Breitenbush Breitenbush Hot Springs?PO Box 578?Detroit, OR 97342. 503-854-3320.

The Findhorn Foundation (and University),?The Park,?Findhorn Bay,?Moray IV36 3TZ,?Scotland, UK. +44 (0)1309 691620.


Thanks is gratefully given for permission to publish the following images.

  • Title page. TreeBranchesRoots,
  • Comprehensive. EarthTopo,
  • Self-conscious development. WeddingKids,
  • Self-expression. Van Gogh Self-portrait,
  • Formal investigation. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Del Ray Publishing
  • Socio-cultural. GirlsDanceCircle, Denmark Dance
  • Physical world. Frog,
  • Foundational. Fetus12wks, Lennart Nilsen
  • Processes of growth table:
    • Comprehensive. StarWheel,
    • Self-conscious development. ChakraMaze,
    • Self-expression. Shakespeare Oval, Bodleian Library
    • Formal investigation. MindTheater,
    • Socio-cultural. HowardTerpning, 3Generations,
    • Physical world. Peacock,
    • Foundational. MonkeyMom,
  • Resources. Big Book,
Biographical Information

HUGH MARTIN is listed in Who’s Who in the World. He has appeared on numerous talk shows, led seminars at many colleges and corporations, and spoken at numerous professional conferences and colloquia. Mr. Martin is president of the NASD-registered securities brokerage firm, Hugh Martin Securities, and of the SEC-registered investment advisory firm, Hugh Martin & Co. Hugh is also president and co-founder of the life planning and counseling firm, Whole Life Advisory.

AMALIA KAYE MARTIN (‘Kaye’) is a gifted natural medicine practitioner and an instructor in nutrition and natural medicine at Baumann College. Kaye is a dedicated homemaker, a devoted mother, perceptive life coach, certified natural foods chef, and dynamic community organizer.

HUGH AND KAYE. Hugh and Kaye are best qualified as integral practitioners and theorists because they have lead integral lives. Both have richly diverse backgrounds in a multitude of fields:

  • Personal transformation: Esalen, group process, gestalt, Reichian, bioenergetics, Rolfing, yoga, various religious and spiritual traditions.
  • Natural medicine and health: Homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, organic nutrition, vibrational medicine. Terminal cancer survivor (Hugh). Expert practitioner in nutrition and natural medicine (Kaye)
  • Artistic and creative expression: Nature photographer, documentary videographer, poet, painter/sculptor (Hugh). Batik artist, home decorator (Kaye).
  • Education: Ghetto school teacher, college literature instructor, financial seminar leader, early-reading curriculum developer (Hugh). Nutrition/natural medicine instructor, home-school network developer and coordinator (Kaye).
  • Societal change: Civil rights, environmental issues, sustainability/permaculture.
  • Natural and cultural environments: Backpacking, mountain biking, exotic travel, home exchanging.
  • Academics: Hugh—Swarthmore College (B.A.), University of Pennsylvania (M.A.), Indiana University (doctoral), UC Berkeley (credential), Coaches Training Institute (CTI), member of Mensa. Kaye—Cal State Northridge (B.A.), Baumann College (natural medicine), Coaches Training Institute (CTI).
  • Marriage and family. Thirty years of happy, occasionally turbulent, marriage. Five highly-independent, multi-gifted kids with close family ties.

WHOLE LIFE ADVISORY. Using the experiences and expertise described above, Hugh and Kaye have developed a program of personal and professional growth called Whole Life Advisory. Whole Life Advisory empowers clients to achieve success and fulfillment in the 12 most important arenas of life: education, career, marriage, family, community, emotions, sexuality, finances, health, recreation, nature, and spirituality.



[1] Our cover illustration: Growth is not like a ladder we climb to the top rung. Growth is like a tree that spreads its branches toward enlightenment, extends its roots toward authenticity, and grows a broad, strong trunk in the middle to support and process it all.

[2] Some might argue that the importance of parenting, and the role of the family, have diminished radically in recent years. Although the roles have changed, the fundamental need has not. Whether it’s called mentorship, or counseling, or apprenticeship, or leadership, or bonding, some form of ‘parenting’ is still an essential catalyst for growth. Whether it’s called community, or togetherness, or support groups, or workgroups, or group process, some form of ‘family’ is still a fundamental underpinning for effective development. Therefore, when we discuss ‘parenting’ and ‘family’ in this article, we are including all the derivative social entities which have developed from the Family Prototype.

[3] Care must be taken, of course, to insure that the child is not treated as a mere projection of the parent’s unfulfilled needs and longings.

[4] For consistency, we use the metaphor of Parent/Child—although one could just as easily substitute Therapist/Client or Mentor/Disciple.

Permissions to Use
Permission is granted to quote from, revise, and improve these articles for non-profit purposes— provided proper attribution is given to Hugh & Kaye Martin and to Whole Life Counseling, and provided that a copy of modifications and intended use are sent to [email protected] and written confirmation from the authors is received.

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