How can the STAGES Model help professionals who give guidance, including mentors, team leaders, facilitators, counselors, spiritual advisors, somatic and alternative healers, and others?
What are the benefits of the STAGES Model and how can it be put into practice to help professionals improve their practice, efficiency, and  impact?

An excerpt from our Essentials for Psychotherapy & Coaching: Precision in Developmental Assessment & Intervention question and answer session with STAGES founder Terri O’Fallon and co-founder Kim Barta. Terri introduces the basics of the STAGES Matrix and Kim elaborates on its usefulness and application in his work as a psychotherapist.


Terri O’Fallon Introduces the Three Questions

The STAGES Matrix looks like a complex model, but it has only three questions. You can really get to the developmental level of any person by getting very good at asking these three questions.

Question 1: Is the object of awareness Concrete, Subtle or MetAware?

Question 2: Is the experience Individual or Collective?

Question 3: Is the experience Receptive, Active, Reciprocal, or Interpenetrative?

As the three questions intersect with each other in various combination a set of repeating patterns reveal themselves from the first tier octave to the second tier octave to the third tier octave. When answered, they point to one’s developmental level in the moment.

These questions are used to unveil each of 12 stages of human development within these three tiers. This allows us to work with the richest possible experience: intellectually, interactively, phenomenologically, and experientially.

TERRI:  We have 12 person perspectives that we are working with here. The intersection of the three questions and the different person perspectives have different kinds of processes, which allow us to zero in very carefully on any particular part of a person, which will allow us to become very effective and very efficient at noting the part of a person that might need some support or help if you’re doing psychotherapy or coaching.  

You can see that there are 36 kinds of views that you can take on somebody that you’re working depending upon which question you’re working with or which person perspective you’re working with or which tier you’re working with.

Kim Barta on Using the STAGES Matrix in his Practice

KIM:   I’ve been doing psychotherapy and coaching for nearly 30 years now and I’ve used various developmental models. When Terri showed me this model, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. The whole world opened up to me and I fell in love with it immediately. I have found, over the course of using this model, that I’m much more effective and efficient with my clients.

As I drill into this model further, I see a precision that can be used that I have not discovered in any other model. That’s why I love this model so much, not only for helping clients, but for my own personal growth. It’s just so beautiful and precise and clear. One of the things you can do with this is not only drill into each developmental level, which you can do with pretty much any developmental model, but you can drill into the specifics of a developmental level based upon the parameters. Each developmental level has these three parameters and they have three different characteristics to them at every developmental level.

By understanding these different parameters, you can really get the shape of consciousness of any human being that’s sitting in front of you, including yourself. 

It really helps us to be able to become more intimate with our friends, our lover, our neighbor. We can really understand where they’re coming from. It helps to resolve issues more clearly and quickly.

It’s kind of like the DNA of consciousness. You can watch the parameters clicking on and off, shaping consciousness in different ways as you get to understand these parameters and how they interact with each other. It really helps us to be able to become more intimate with our friends, our lover, our neighbor. We can really understand where they’re coming from. It helps to resolve issues more clearly and quickly. People that we might be frustrated with or upset with, we can understand them in a much more beautiful way, so it helps us resolve that for ourselves.  

KIM:  I love the precision that I can use, as a psychotherapist and a coach, to drill into the specific underlying parameter that’s creating the issue for the client.

What I mean by that is, a lot of times we can get lost in the story the client is telling us, but instead of getting lost in the story, we can hold the story and understand the underlying field, the underlying matrix, the underlying parameters that are making this story the client tells us so important, so frustrating, or so alive for them.

By understanding that, you can understand what small, precise, little interventions you can do to tweak it that will help them heal, grow even more broadly into their wonder, and move to later developmental levels or move to more breadth or drop into shadow and heal, minute little changes you can do that will help the shadows heal. It’s just a glorious experience to be able to use a model that works so precisely and cleanly and crisply as this one does. 

One of the things that I really love is not only the shadow and the breadth, but the existential, the leading edge issues, the transformational issues. A lot of times, these transformations can be really tough for people, but one of the things I have discovered is by utilizing the STAGES model, you can make the transition more smooth and much more easy. 

I love watching the awe, wonder, and delight that comes when the conscious mind moves into a whole new space, a whole new pattern of consciousness, a whole new level that just opens up the world field to them in a much more broad way and how it just feels so fulfilling and rich for them.

It’s just a glorious experience to be able to use a model that works so precisely and cleanly and crisply as this one does.  

To be able to allow those transitions to operate smoothly, it’s beautiful to watch. It’s one of my favorite things, as well as the wonder that occurs when somebody heals a shadow, something that they may have been struggling with for 20-30 years. All of a sudden, it doesn’t take that much of an intervention and the shadow drops away and the pain and suffering drops away.  

That’s what I love about the model, the ability to come in and hone in like the precision of a scalpel, rather than using a shotgun approach. Here, this is a whole developmental level that we’re going to address. We can just drop in and move really precisely with this model and I love that.”