Spiral Dynamics for Transactional Analysts

Wednesday 15th May 2019

With Diane Salters TSTA(P)

Spiral Dynamics (SD) is a systemic, developmental theory of social psychology that offers a model for understanding how different ways of thinking and value systems (frames of reference) emerge in different societies and different contexts over time. The original theory, based on the research of Clare Graves during the 1960s and 70s, emphasised the changing nature of human thinking and social organisation as the conditions of human existence changed. He called this ‘the bio-psycho-social theory of human development’. It was subsequently rendered more accessible and given the more user-friendly name Spiral Dynamics by Beck and Cowan. (1996)

It is a theory that beautifully complements Transactional Analysis (TA).

While originally conceived as a social psychology, TA has tended in more recent years to focus largely on individuals and families rather than on the wider context of human interaction. Cultural scripting certainly claimed its place in TA but with a limited understanding of the developmental dynamics of cultural frames of reference. The tendency of different societies at different stages to emphasise the values of either Autonomy or Homonomy was clearly identified by Graves and can enrich our TA perspective.

The world currently faces what seem to be unprecedented clashes within communities, countries and regions over social values -autonomy or homonomy, inclusion or exclusion, tolerance or intolerance. Where villages, nations and regions might, in the past, have been relatively homogenous in terms of social norms, they are now very diverse and people with very different values and frames of reference are having to find ways of living together.

Understanding the different frames of reference or ‘language’ of people at the various points on the SD model enhances communication with people whose experience and frame of reference is different from our own. The Spiral also serves to make sense of complex social patterns (in communities, organisations, or political structures) and allows individuals in a process of change to contextualise their own development within their social background or current situation.

This workshop will introduce participants to the theory of SD and encourage exploration of the implications for Transactional Analysists, both in theory and in practice. Participants will have opportunities to share their thinking about what SD and TA have in common, how they differ and how they might apply SD to their own professional practice.

Diane Salters MSc TSTA(P) is an integrative psychotherapist and has been actively involved in TA since her training days at Metanoia in the early 1980s. Over the years she has offered TA training and supervision internationally. She has always been interested in the relationship between the individual and society, the personal and the political. She values both TA and SD for enabling her to facilitate discussions across class, gender and racial differences, in ways that enlarge the understanding of our common humanity. She is currently ITAA President and lives in Cape Town, South Africa, which offers a wonderful learning environment for SD.

To download a flyer, click here.