STAGES: Development and Typology

By Kim Barta

Two very important aspects of exploring human consciousness are the fields of typologies and development. When we take a meta-perspective look at typologies, we can see their developmental aspect.

The earliest style of typologies are typologies that test you, define your type, and lock you into that type for life. The original Myers-Briggs is an example of this kind of typology. The original Meyers-Briggs tests your type, claims you have been this type all your life, and you will be that type for the rest of your life. However, Terri O'Fallon PhD, has actually conducted an informal longitudinal study on the Myers-Briggs and discovered that it does change as people change their developmental level. And this brings us to the next understanding of typologies.

We have a type, the type does not have us. As we grow, we understand that we can move from one typology to another. With this understanding comes more advanced typology modeling. An example of this is the Enneagram. While we might have a core Enneagram type, there is at least a mechanism for revolving around the type sets so that you become all of them eventually. This provides for a more holistic exploration of human consciousness. 

Fig. 1: The Enneagram (from Co-Creative Journeys):

Another example of the inclusion of multiple types is Jung's 12 archetypes. With this typology, each of us has a multitude of archetypes within us.

Fig. 2: Jung’s 12 Archetypes (from Map and Fire):

Another step further from this is Pearson’s adaptation of Young's 12 archetypes. Pierce arranges Jung’s archetypes in a developmental format. Certain archetypes come online before other archetypes do. For example, the Innocent and the Orphan obviously must be developed before we can move into something like the Warrior and the Lover. And certainly these would be developed before you would move into something like the Sage and the Wise fool. With Pearson, we get both wholistic embracing of multiple archetypes and an understanding of archetypal human development over time.

Fig. 3: Pearson’s developmental model of archetypes (from Pearson):

With the embracing of types and development, we can understand human consciousness in a much more sophisticated, holistic way. Pearson starts with archetypes and arranges them into a developmental sequence. This article explores the opposite orientation: what happens when we start with development and view archetypes from a developmental point of view? Below we will explore the stages matrix and how we can understand typologies through this lens. 

Fig 4: The STAGES Matrix:

The STAGES matrix is a unique developmental model based upon parameters versus descriptions. The parameters are organized into sets. You can discover these sets by reading horizontally across the stages matrix. The 1.0 set of parameters is Concrete, Individual, Receptive. The parameter set of 4.0 is Subtle, Collective, Reciprocal. 

By utilizing sets of parameters instead of descriptions of developmental levels, the STAGES Matrix provides open fields of exploration of consciousness. Each parameter set holds a particular configuration of human consciousness. From research we know that these configurations follow a particular sequence. Each parameter set can be considered a developmental typology. As a result, we can see in the stages matrix 12 developmental typologies.

Typologies have a developmental trajectory. We first feel determined by the type (the type has us), then we have the type, then we have multiple types sequentially, then we have them developmentally. From here we have multiple types simultaneously. We have meta-type awareness where we address the internal interactions of the archetypes within and how they interact with others in the we-space with others’ archetypes within them. Finally, the archetypes integrate into a whole nondual typology, which leads us into the post-typological space.

Here is that sequential pattern for better visual understanding:

  1. Un-owned Fixed types: (the type has me)
  2. Owned Fixed types: (I have the type)
  3. Inclusive types: (I have many types inside of me)
    1. Sequentially
    2. Simultaneously
  4. Interactive types: (The types have their own relationships with each other)
    1. Internally
    2. Interpersonally
  5. Type systems: (The way I manage the interactions of types, the way they relate to each other, creates better or worse outcomes).
    1. Internally
    2. Interpersonally
  6. Integrative types: (Wholes) With better system design, the types integrate into larger wholes of consciousness until they become one whole.
  7. Post-typological awareness: The types have dissolved, allowing for post-typological consciousnesses to arise. But we retain the capacity to re-create and engage in typological interactions when helpful and can dissolve them again when unhelpful.

Understanding typologies within the whole of development allows us to understand the purpose and trajectory of typing. This helps prevent us from getting stuck in any given type or typology style. As a result, our personal and collective consciousness is allowed to evolve free of the obstacles and pitfalls prevalent in the maze of typologies. Instead, we follow a clear path through a beautiful forest that leads to a mountain peak with clear views of the timeless boundless landscape. But remember, it’s not about the end. Enjoy the whole journey. It is all beautiful!

Kim Barta is an internationally recognized multicultural psychotherapist, public speaker, and workshop developer. With over 30 years of experience with individual groups and systems, Kim has developed multiple programs for healing and personal growth, including Shadow to Spirit, psycho-social cartography, and developmentally informed psychotherapy and coaching. His undergraduate degree is in cultural anthropology. His thesis was on the uses of shamanism in modern psychotherapy. 

Kim is co-founder of a mind-body healing clinic with Dr. Katie Carter, ND, his wife of 28 years. He has three decades of experience with embodied psycho-spiritual healing. Currently, Kim is developing workshops, conducting trainings, writing books, and consulting with clients online. He specializes in sacred secular experiential training, advanced consciousness coaching, and facilitating the natural unfolding of human development.

Click here to visit STAGES International, the website of Kim Barta and his sister, Dr. Terri O’Fallon.

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This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 19: Personality Typing Summit