About Our Dream
Problems We Face
Struggles the world currently faces coupled with challenges in the field of human change and growth have created a complex web of problems that urgently need our attention:
1. Increased suffering and violence
Violence, emotional challenges, and mental suffering in America and many other countries are on the rise.
2. Lack of affordable support
Few people have access to sufficient emotional support. Some people don't understand the value of skilled psychological support, and others simply can't afford it.
3. Shame about seeking skilled support
Psychologists often label common emotional and mental challenges as diseases or disorders, causing people to associate the need for skilled emotional support with mental illness. As a result, people often hesitate to seek skilled professional support because of the stigma attached to it.
4. Public mistrust of helping professionals
Although statistics show that skilled psychological support often leads to measurable change, many people tend to mistrust psychologists and other helping professionals. To build confidence in the field of human change and growth, the general public needs to see more consistent, observable change in family and friends who seek skilled support. Many practitioners of psychology and spiritual practices would admit that our current human change and growth methods are more "hit and miss" than we would like them to be.
5. Lack of opportunities to collaborate
The human change and growth community tends to be fragmented, with few opportunities for information sharing, integration of theories and methods, and cross-disciplinary learning. We don't share a common vocabulary, we don't agree on basic theories and practices, and we lack opportunities to collaborate. This limits our ability of human change and growth professionals to improve the state of our art, let alone bring significant change to the state of the world.
6. Slow spread of useful knowledge and practices
The human growth and change community has discovered many life-changing principles and practices in recent decades, but that information is scattered, fragmented and hard to find. Many helping professionals don't have access to these new principles and practices, let alone the general public. Methods are constantly reinvented and repackaged because the original method never reached interested professionals or members of the general public.
7. Unskilled teachers teach key social skills
Most of us currently learn skills like working with emotions, sensing and speaking our needs, self-awareness, and building skilled and supportive relationships from our parents. Unfortunately, parents often possess poor self-awareness and relationship skills, because they've had little or no exposure to the knowledge and practices that the field of human change and growth continually innovates.
8. Self-awareness skills could change the world, but schools don't teach them.
We don't think of self-awareness skills as a topic worth teaching in schools, even though lack of self-awareness skills is driving much of the suffering, limitation and violence in our world.
9. An overwhelming array of human change and growth methods currently exists. Because of the immense number of support options available, it's impossible for people to evaluate them effectively. People who value psychological and spiritual growth often wander from method to method, piecing together principles and practices to help them ease their emotional and mental suffering. Because of the lack of integration in their field, psychologists often engage in the same continual "hunt and peck" to attempt to improve their helping skills. This continual one-off individual integration of different methods requires tremendous time and energy, and often fails to incorporate important and life-changing discoveries in our field.
None of us should have to work this hard to benefit from the many helpful discoveries the human growth and change community has contributed in recent decades. We need to find ways to integrate the life-changing principles, practices, tools, and knowledge that our field has developed in the past century and help our work to reach a wider audience.
Our Dream for Solving Them
Sociologist Meg Wheatley once said that every important social revolution begins with a conversation. If the human growth and change community could come together to discuss and address the problems we're facing in a disciplined, focused way, we could move mountains.
To begin inching those mountains in the right direction, we'd like to start a non-profit organization to encourage cross-disciplinary learning, integration, problem-solving, and innovation within the field of human growth and change. We envision the mission of this organization unfolding in three broad steps:
1. Integrate a small group of promising new self-awareness and therapeutic methods into a single method that we all feel passionate about supporting. (For example, we might start by integrating a small group of innovative experiential and skill-based methods with similar or related theories and practices like Hakomi, Internal Family Systems Therapy, Focusing, Coherence Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Jungian Analytical Psychology, and Nonviolent Communication.)
a. Give this method a name that everyday people can relate to, understand, and embrace.
b. Ensure that the integrated method we create includes hands-on skills and knowledge that everyday people can actually understand and use to live more conscious, connected and compassionate lives.
2. Use key principles and practices from the integrated method we create as the source material for hands-on programs in self-awareness skills for K-12, adults, and helping professionals.
3. Work together to pool our collective talents, influence, and social networks to establish these self-awareness programs in K-12 and adult education institutions and make self-awareness a subject as mainstream as reading, writing and arithmetic.
We realize that this is an immense dream to undertake, but we also sense that there are many large hearts out there who might be willing to put in the time and effort to make it a living, breathing reality.
A Humble Beginning
If you'd like to help us to begin to tackle big problems and achieve big dreams, we warmly invite you to join one of our integration groups. These groups provide a rare opportunity for cross-disciplinary learning, big picture problem-solving and innovation. In your integration group, you won't just talk about the importance of integration, cross-disciplinary learning and innovation, you'll actually do it!