Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 11 April 2009


I just came back from a Human Development intensive training with Susann Cook-Greuter, who developed a maturity assessment profile (MAP) test that extends Loevinger’s stage-theory work with well-defined descriptions of higher stages of development (and has conducted research to support them). Susann is one of the founders of the Integral Institute and a close colleague of Ken Wilber’s. The MAP measures the level of complexity of meaning making.

This was an amazing, humbling and transformative experience for me. The students were a mix of younger master’s degree students and older professionals. The master’s students were in the Integral Psychology program at JFK University and blew me away – they were all at more advanced development levels than I (that was the humbling part).  The seminar was a combination of experiential, theoretical and applied learning.  I’m now certified to use the MAP in my professional consulting and coaching practice, and I’m considering using it in my dissertation research.

The seminar contained a wonderful group of people – each unique and it was so easy to enter into deep dialogue with each person.  At one point, we were put into coaching pairs and my coach, a twenty-something young man was my partner. We were sitting in Starbucks, and the first part, when I coached him, went well and I felt he had gotten something of value from it. Then it came to my turn and after a couple of minutes, I burst into tears as I realized how uncomfortable I have been feeling in the developmental space that I’m in currently.

Without boring readers with too much detail, I tested at the first postconventional stage, which is callled “Pluralist/Individualist.”  What came out of the assessment is that my conventional self, called “Achiever” has been battling with my Pluralist. As a pluralist, I feel that there is no ground beneath me, I can no longer rely on my rational mind, everything is context-dependent, and truth is relative. However, I functioned as an Achiever for so long that it is disturbing and uncomfortable to leave the solidity (even though it was an illusion) of my former life. I also worry that I won’t be able to function in the work world as a Pluralist. There was a lot more to the discussion, but it would take too long to write it all down.

The emotional acknowledgement was HUGE for me. I cried all night, but felt a great sense of release and a shift in my acceptance of being in this postconventional meaning making place. Earlier in the week, we created a life story picture to illustrate our personal developmental path. I drew the picture before I had this epiphany. I would draw a very different picture now….

Susann Cook-Greuter, myself, Beena Sharma and my life story poster

Susann Cook-Greuter, myself, Beena Sharma and my life story poster


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