New Year, New Name, New Programs!

We’re excited to announce some big changes for 2018!

First, as you’ll notice, we have changed our name from Developmental Life Design to STAGES International. We’re expanding our services and this new name better reflects our service offerings. It also better reflects the central role that the STAGES Model plays in all of these services.

As many of you know, Terri co-founded Pacific Integral with Geoff Fitch in 2004. She is on the faculty and the STAGES scoring series has been housed under Pacific Integral.  Effective January 1, all of Pacific Integral’s STAGES related programs, including trainings, scoring and debriefing have been transferred to STAGES international so that all STAGES offerings can be integrated under one roof. Pacific Integral will continue to offer its highly regarded Generating Transformative Change (GTC) program and Terri will continue as faculty in that program, but she will otherwise phase out of her partner role in Pacific Integral to concentrate on STAGES International’s programs.

Terri and Geoff continue to be friends and joyfully collaborate and participate in each other’s work. They are building on their past experience and rich history together and setting the stage for a more effective and efficient structure for the future growth of both the STAGES programs and the GTC offering. Both STAGES and the GTC program have developed a rich body of work and each has some unique needs for their future evolution. Each body of work will have a clear home that is optimized to supports its development:

Pacific Integral: (led by Geoff Fitch)

  • Transformative change and growth – GTC
  • Causal leadership
  • Organizational growth
  • Individual development and mentoring
  • GTC Graduate community

STAGES International: (led by Terri and Kim)

  • STAGES Assessments
  • STAGES training (in-person workshops and online courses):
    • STAGES Theory
    • Professional development
      • Certification for therapists and coaches
    • Personal development
    • Scoring and debriefing training for STAGES Assessments

Save $50-100 on a STAGES Assessment in January

Many of you have heard about STAGES Assessment, a process that identifies your core stage of perspective development within the STAGES model. For the month of January, we are reducing the price of an assessment and debrief by $100, and an assessment only by $50. If you’ve been curious about how the STAGES model applies to YOU, this is a good opportunity to find out through a process that’s backed by seven years of rigorous research. Please visit the STAGES Assessment page for more information.

We also want to let you know that the website of the Developmental Research Institute, a non-profit institute led by Terri and John Kesler, will be going live early in the new year. DRI holds and supports continued research on the STAGES model. Watch for this in a new announcement.

We are excited about these changes and their potential to enhance STAGES research, training and practical applications. We invite you to visit our updated website and share it with friends and colleagues.

All the best for 2018!


Terri O’Fallon PhD and Kim Barta MA

The Building Blocks of Shadow and Spirit


Strange as it may seem, the building blocks of shadow are the same exact building blocks of spirit. The only difference is how we use those building blocks. If we use them to understand the nature of reality more accurately, then we move to higher, stronger, broader, and more sustained levels of bliss. If we use them to distort reality then we dig ourselves into ever deeper, profound and entrenched levels of suffering. In this article I’ll cover four of these building blocks: Receptivity, Action/Mastery Reciprocity, and Integration/interpenetration.


We are introduced into shadow at an early age. Our parents do not, and cannot, understand reality perfectly. As a result, their distortions become what we are raised with. The sins of the parents will be passed on to the children. I never understood the meaning of this until I understood shadow. It’s a description of reality, not a punishment. This reality begins with our innocence. The innocence of the infant self is completely dependent upon the world in which we were born. This innocent self absorbs information like a sponge, and some of that which is absorbed is accurate, and some of it is distortions.


We absorb because that is one of the building blocks of consciousness. We must be able to receive to perceive. Reception is thus the first building block of consciousness and we receive a great deal of vital information, both accurate and distorted, before we develop the next building block. As a result, introjection shadow material is the earliest shadow that can occur, and often this shadow is pre-verbal and pre-conscious memory. It requires special therapeutic skills to address.



The next form of shadow material arises from our next building block of Mastery. The capacity to take action with our consciousness allows us the power to discover, or to project. Projection becomes the next earliest form of shadow. This form of shadow becomes intrusive upon others and it leads to the terrible temper tantrums that accompany this stage of development. But mastery also allows us to take action to grow emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. We praise spiritual masters who have taken action successfully to raise their spiritual awareness. But mastery also allows us to be efficiently cruel, selfish. We can actively blow through others boundaries without concern, or break out into spontaneous delight.


But as our self-centered action bumps up against the reality of the world a new building block of consciousness arises: Reciprocity. Reciprocity allows us to shift from self focus to collective focus. It allows us to have friends, and to be a true friend.

It also requires us to split our self into two people inside our own head. That is what second person perspective is… the ability to see our own side, and also see in our mind the other side too.

The two consciousnesses that exist in concrete reality, me and other, are matched inside our own consciousness. This allows for mutual intimacy, with self, other and the divine. It allows for communal ecstasy, but it also allows for self-denigration. This self-denigration can become so intense that it leads to internal strife. A battle begins to be waged inside our minds. This is splitting shadow or split ego-state dissonance. This dissonance can become so unbearable that we then resort to projection, our earlier shadow style, to relieve this suffering.

With this combination of splitting and projection we now have propagated the internal war onto the external world. The level of hostility we are exposed to as we navigate into second person perspective is related to how hostile we develop the internal ego stage relationship to unfold. So the external hostility we are exposed to by primary care givers (and others) is imprinted upon our internal ego-state relationship and then, if too intense, gets projected back out onto the world. If that hostility is shut down with even more hostility within the family, then the hostility gets symbolized and generalized outside of the family dynamic.

Thus prejudices of all kinds are born, (racism, sexism, classism, etc). And from them the injustices of the world rain down upon us. If there is love and understanding with clear limits, then we can construct within our minds a more congenial relationship and this will allow a different, more kind perception of the world. As we move into deeper understanding of the intimate relationships that are born out of the consciousness building block of reciprocity we can experience the wonder of seeing and knowing other and being seen and known by other. We can experience the Divine. We are not alone.

But some relationships may go well while others do not. Not only this, but the same relationship can go well and then dissolve into bitter problems. We can get lost in the dynamic of the relationship and therefore get bounced around by it.


This suffering leads us to have a part of our mind step outside of the relationship dynamic and see it from the outside. From here we can construct patterns to stand by that keep us stable, safe, and the relationships become more enduring. When we align ourselves with these patterns we construct another building block of consciousness, Integration or Interpenetration.

Interpenetration allows us to stay stable in the face of another person’s instability. This stability leads to better more stable relationships in our community, in ourselves, and with the divine. These four building blocks of consciousness will drive our development for the rest of our lives, for shadow or for spirit. There are many more building blocks of consciousness, and much more to learn about these four major ones. We invite you to explore all these building blocks that have been discovered and how to use them to help us to heal shadow, awaken sprit and help those suffering from distorted use of these building blocks of consciousness. STAGES makes it all clear as it unfolds the living map of life.

Growing Up is Like Blowing up a Balloon

Growing up through stages is often depicted in a stair step image.

You begin at a baby stage, and then take a step up to a toddler stage, then to a preteen, an adolescent, an early adult, and finally as an elder you make it to the top of the stair case, or the mountain top, or whatever hierarchical image we might have for development.

With the STAGES model, we like to use a different metaphor—that of a balloon. A baby is a completely formed human in all ways…they see, hear, smell, touch, taste and learn just like everyone else does.

All they need to do is to use their senses to begin to blow up their balloon in a balanced shape, and as they do, the balloon gets larger and larger and larger, kind of like the Universe did in the big bang.

We can continue to develop the robustness of the stage we are in and have a long skinny horizontal balloon. This is a lot of full-bodiedness, but all you might be able to engage with is a few inches from the ground. It would be nice to be able to engage from more height as well.

We can also see when our developmental balloon is a tall skinny vertical one. It easily topples over, just as we do if we skip from stage to stage without taking care of our shadows along the way or don’t develop with fullness and the robustness of the stage we are in. Thus, we may be able to see certain things that others don’t but living them into the full immanence of the person we could be, is missing.

Practices for a Robust Round Balloon

On the other hand if you want to blow up your balloon, develop both vertical practices and horizontal practices.

  1. See a shadow practitioner to help you confront the shadows that act as a ball and chain on your development and expression in the world.
  2. Knowing about development is “psychoactive,” according to Ken Wilber, so just knowing about the stages and studying their descriptions can help you develop.
  3. As well since everything comes in through your senses, make them as robust as possible. Seeing, hearing, touching; visualizing, listening, emotions; presencing, attunement, witnessing. Grow them up.
  4. And don’t forget the practices of zooming in (concentration, focus, paying attention) and zooming out (awareness, awareness-of-awareness, witnessing).

These practices will help you blow up your balloon in a healthy robust way.

Welcome from Kim

Hello everyone!

Welcome to STAGES International!

Terri and I are so excited to introduce you to our new website and to all the events and offerings we have. The world has been so welcoming to us and we want to return the favor by welcoming you into our lives. STAGES Internationals is about bringing Terri’s STAGES model to a much bigger audience so we can make a difference in the everyday lives of many people. We invite you to be a part of this exciting journey.

We invite you to sign up for our email list so we can keep you up to date on all we have going here. In gratitude, we’ll send you a free PDF, Overview of the STAGES Model. We promise we won’t inundate you with email—we have too much going on in our lives to spend time spamming. So it’s a worry-free signup.

Terri and I just returned from Australia where we conducted research on the development of early childhood consciousness. This gives us deeper insight into how our own minds work during times of shadow. There is a lot here for us to offer you in your work with clients and we are excited to get the information out into the hands of people making real changes in the world one person at a time.

Here is a sneak peek at what is coming up!

We will be at the Integral European Conference in May in Budapest discussing deep shadow and developmental parenting. Then we head to London to work with coaches on development, shadow and spirit, starting May 9. We’re doing another STAGES In-Depth Workshop with Pacific Integral starting June 8.

Currently we are working on a developmental parenting online course set to launch sometime in the fall. That will be our first on-line course and we are looking forward to getting STAGES into the hands of a lot of people. Sign up for email list (see below) so we can tell you when it starts.

STAGES is evolving, and we are learning more daily about how effective and versatile this model is. We welcome everyone to be a part of it.

Lots of love,


Welcome from Terri

A warm greeting to you all!

I am looking forward to connecting with you, and learning with you the ways that our work with STAGES might be of service to you personally in your continued discovery of yourself, your family and your work.

With appreciation and hope,