*** This is a speculative concept that is under Construction ***

A growing number of people are interested in the Constructed Development approach to therapy as they see the benefit of raising one’s Awareness of how we construct ourselves, our Thinking Style and the resultant behaviour. Traditional therapies are not interested in modelling out the construction of one’s thinking in the moment, preferring instead to impose the model of the world they learned in university onto each patient. Whether this is a Positive Psychology approach, CBT, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy or even a lobotomy. This has been the experience and attitude of my clients on traditional therapy over the last decade.

This new approach is based on the premise derived from the above experience whereby those people who are high level thinkers but have regressed for whatever environmental or mental reason (i.e. from Kegan’s Stage 4 to S3) and who thus come out at TQ3 after profiling, do not actually need therapy. A normal person at Stage 3 does need therapy (or Coaching). But a higher level, self-reflective person does not.

Emotionally led therapy such as a person-centred approach (or positive psychology) will not work for them.

Instead, what they need is developmental dialogue. In essence, in our approach, we need to honour their original stage of development, not their regressed stage.

The further issue is that therapists are centred around Kegan’s Stage 3 thinking (Socialised-mind) and are not trained in cognitive complexity – or CDT – so would not know HOW to treat the regressed high level thinker. They cannot have that developmental dialogue and instead, try to shoehorn their emotional-type approaches into the process.

As a result, they gave you a little Awareness of how you are thinking / feeling, but do not offer a solution.

This perspective was borne out in the results of my 5th study. Even those people who had had therapy did not know how to “fix” their thinking about their construction of self. They knew they had habituated patterns of behaviour and unhelpful habituated emotional reactions, but not how to stop doing them. And certainly not how to counter them in any meaningful way.

Further to this, the data from my fourth study has revealed that those participants who were very low on self-awareness (i.e. having patterns of irrational thinking/responding to certain internally/externally generated environmental triggers) when compared with their actual TQ score, this is potentially indicative of a pre-existing mental health issue. There are a number of people who score this way and although the number is not large enough to warrant a verifiable result, it is high enough to warrant an hypothesis that warrants further investigation.

The hypothesis is: if your self-report TQ score is considerably under your verified TQ score, you are at risk of having some form of developmental concern related to sense of self, esteem, self-worth and so on. This will be tested by Dr Darren Stevens in 2021.

With a different Awareness of how we construct our own thinking in the moment, the type of remedial actions required are different to the standard therapy routes. Dr Stevens’ research shows that we can impact our choice in the moment to offer a better choice of outward behaviour. This is the foundation of Constructed Development Theory in that it utilises the Four Pillars of CDT to raise an individual’s Dynamic Intelligence for qualitatively better decision-making. This is, in essence, the foundations of a NEW complexity-based therapeutic psychodynamic approach.

CDT is thus different from traditional therapy as it radically changes how we think about therapy by ensuring the suitability of the therapist for the patient by establishing the therapist’s Dynamic Intelligence being a level higher than the patient’s to begin with.

This is thus not a system that is applied to the patient, as is often the case, but one that takes into account the patient’s level of self-awareness in order to tease out their construction of self, in a Real-Time Modelling (RTM) approach. In this way, we move away from the ideas of traditional therapists entirely, towards a more Interventionist approach.

By utilising a method of RTM that emphasises a developmental dialogue (i.e. not therapy) to tease out a client’s thinking construction in the moment, and writing down key phrases they use, it is possible to ask the client to place those phrases on a corresponding Development Grid reference in order to ascertain their own perceived level of development for their own language construction. This then allows the CDT Interventionist to ask the most appropriate developmental questions to facilitate vertical growth, rather than emotional therapy.

Having the client tell the Interventionist where their thinking stands developmentally is not how current therapy works. Can you see the shift in the dynamic?

It is only when the primary (and unconscious) Cognitive Intention is brought into Awareness and reduced at Choice, are other intentions able to be exposed so eventually our habituated responses to situations diminish. However, although we strive for choice in our thinking and behaving, we must be conscious of the need for the system to seek and create future habituated thinking out of our new choices. This understanding should encourage continual Vertical growth within our patients.

If you are interested in talking part in the next stage of Constructed Development Therapy construction, do get in touch.

An Excerpt from the Thesis

Another approach is Compassion Focussed Therapy by Gilbert (2014), which ultimately forces proponents into Kegan’s stage 3 thinking (Socialised Mind). It has been argued throughout that an individual at Stage 3 is not capable of coaching someone at Stage 4. Gilbert (2014) explains the psychological issues of socially constructed hierarchies as having a huge impact on people’s psychological and physiological health and well-being (Kraus, Piff, Mendoza-Denton, Rheinschmidt, & Keltner, 2012; Sachs, 2012), and that it is now recognised that mental health issues arise out of this false construction of society. He goes on to say that it is the context as much as the ‘inner motivational system’ that is the issue. This aligns with CDT’s perspective on the environment being the greatest intervention. However, where CDT takes Gilbert’s ideas one step further is in the capacity and capability of the individual to construct a different environment in the moment with the appropriate CDT intervention questions, thus moving the patient away from any emotional constraints.

This has huge implications for the person receiving therapy as CDT assesses those offering therapy and ensures there is no conflict between TQ stages that could lead to a detrimental relationship for either therapist or patient (see Figure 8.39). This is essentially a protective factor for the patient as it is important that a registered therapist can ascertain, but more importantly, is capable of ascertaining the right level of developmental support for their patients. This was evidenced in study 5 where Abigail (Interviewee 1) mapped her own process to every patient, regardless of their psychological requirements, and more importantly, completely out of her own awareness. Had Abigail utilised CDT in the way described, she would have avoided imposing her own model onto her client.

Thus, CDT changes radically how we think about interventions and the way we think about the suitability of the coach or therapist. They become, with awareness, an interventionist, moving away from the idea of a coach and therapist entirely. However, as mentioned, it is not an interventionist approach whereby the system is applied to the client; it is a pull-from the client perspective, which is called here: Real-Time Modelling. In essence, RTM offers a methodology but not a theory as it does not try to impose a model onto a client. It is thus respectful and offers its own ethical framework.

By utilising a method of RTM that emphasises a developmental dialogue (i.e. not therapy) to tease out an individual’s thinking construction in the moment, and writing down key phrases they use, it is possible to ask the client to place those phrases on the corresponding grid reference (see Figure 8.41) in order to ascertain their own perceived level of development for their own language. This then allows the CDT Interventionist to ask the most appropriate developmental questions. Having the patient tell the Interventionist where their thinking stands developmentally is not how current talking therapies work.

Finally, the TQ system can differentiate between an individual who requires a traditional therapy approach (TQ2) and one who requires a constructed conversation with a CDT Interventionist (TQ4).

This is a major contribution to practise that impacts not only coaching and talking therapies, but the practitioners themselves.