Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Spiral Dynamics integral’

The Use of SDi in Psychotherapy

‘The Use of SDi in Therapy’ is one of 2 contributions commissioned from me by Tom Christensen for his compendium, ‘Developmental Innovation: Emerging Worldviews and Individual Learning’ (Integral Publishers, August 2015). Originally the work was to be entitled ‘SDi Applied’ as Tom wanted to present chapters which reflected Don Beck’s ongoing development of Clare W Graves’ research. Accordingly, Tom wanted the primary term used to be SDi rather than Spiral Dynamics or the ‘Graves Model’. Although I readily acknowledge my debt to Don Beck (and Chris Cowan, for that matter), I have never operated under the SDi umbrella, preferring to use terms such as the Gravesian approach. To maintain the integrity of the piece as published, I have retained the SDi terminology. However, readers should know that effectively I mean ‘Gravesian’. Tom ended up with so many strong contributions – including from the likes of Said E Dawlabani, Elza Maalouf, Barbara N Brown and Fred Krawchuk – that he and Integral Publishers split the material into 2 volumes: the first on Systems Change and the second on Individual Learning. Both my contributions are in the second book. Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) is often thought of as a means of addressing large-scale issues such as inter-racial conflict, socio-economic malaise and global power plays. This is the way Don Beck himself has used the model in the past, to great… Read More

Lives on the Spiral #2

PART 2 Work And Spiral Dynamics integral Prior to the Beck & Cowan workshops, career-wise I was very much driven by BLUE. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the household I grew up in, once I had gotten over the peak of my hippie rebellion, unconsciously perhaps my YELLOW taking in the consequences of all that GREEN-liberated RED indulgence – I settled easily into BLUE ways of thinking and ended up working as a consultant on quality standards like ISO 9000 and Investors in People. Unfortunately I very much approached this work, not from the angle of business improvement but from the perspective that what was required was rigid conformity to idealised models of business performance. My precision and attention to detail made me effective in getting organisations to meet their desired standard but I did little or nothing to improve business performance. One printing house in London threw out the project because I was tying them up in paperwork. That was typical of BLUE’s emphasis on form over function. That motivation was taken to the extremes of punishing the sinner when, during a procedural audit in a care home, I castigated a nurse for not signing the care plan in the right place.… Read More


A Year of Starts and Stops… 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network February: For the first time, provided general tuition support to 2 university students doing degrees in Psychology. Commentary: One was ‘Julie’, the young lady who had previously been an A-Level tutee and then come back to  me the previous August. The other was an Open University student. Both found my explanations easier to understand than their respective university tutors! March: The results from the January Psychology exams showed another good smattering of As, Bs and Cs. In the Health & Social Care results, most of the students had got their target grades while 2 had exceeded them. Commentary: Considering how fraught things had been with this very mixed ability class at times, overall these were very pleasing results. March: Asked by Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck to be on a panel of experienced Spiral Dynamics practitioners – the panel closing out his one-day London workshop, ‘Spiral Dynamics in Action: Dancing the Integral Vision’. Commentary: I hadn’t seen… Read More

What They’ve said…

…about This Book Comments from world-renowned authorities. Newest comments at the top; oldest at the bottom. “…a word of big congratulations for integrating so well the worddynamics of various leadership methodologies. I have loved your book…. Well done!” – Henk Kleizen, ‘business sculptor’ and CEO of The Leadership Consortium, February 2018 “Keith Rice ‘meta-states’ on human nature with a constantly reaffirmed attractor, ‘to help’, a braided, integrative methodology giving prominence to the work of Clare W Graves, and the implicit organizing principle, that an objectification of the ‘self-plex’ is possible, desirable, and refinable, to the benefit of ourselves and all other life forms. With these conditioning influences he artfully spins a narrative that is seductive, charming, convincing, instructive, empowering, and to the extent one adapts self to the narrative, is psychoactive in the most furthering way. Only a pair of long sentences can do his exquisitely designed lens the honor it deserves. Concretely Dr Rice has laid out one nicely designed map of a self, what it is, how it works, grows, changes, engages other self-plexes, and how ‘it’ can be engaged and influenced to serve who it is that wishes to influence it. For all those readers who are on this… Read More

The Trouble with Tribalism…

7 July 2016 …is that most Western politicians don’t get it. It’s seen as something relevant to Pre-Modern ‘primitive’ communities but not to Modern societies. And, when Western-style one person/one (secret) vote Democracy is offered to tribal communities as part of the Modernisation process, so many Western leaders seem genuinely perplexed at the relative lack of enthusiasm for it. The Americans in particular seemed baffled that attempts to embed Democracy in the wake of their invasions of the Noughties produced the markedly-corrupt government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and the corrupt and overtly-sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. A Do-It-Yourself attempt to introduce Democracy in Egypt produced a government (of the Islamic Brotherhood) so unacceptable to the urban middle classes and the army that a ‘sort-of coup’ was instigated, followed by rigged elections, to return the country to neo-military rule as before. Highly-controversial and bitterly-contested ‘democratic’ elections following Libya’s revolutionary civil war resulted in 2 – and arguably 3? – would-be governments claiming the right to rule with their various militia, often organised on sectarian or tribal lines, slugging it out in a patchy, second civil war. Anyone versed in the Gravesian approach could have told the Western planners and the internet-inspired urban ‘democrats’ of Egypt that their campaigns to introduce Western-style Democracy would hit trouble. (See:… Read More

The 7th Code

by Don Beck October 2006 Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck is occasionally prone to post what effectively amount to teach-ins or mini-lectures on the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. This is an extract from one such posting in 2000. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work. Clearly, the contours of YELLOW (G-T/Systemic/Authentic) have not been etched in tin much less set in concrete. But, with all due respect to other developmental models, this highlights the uniqueness of the Gravesian/SDi perspective in that it does address, with great specificity, how each new vMEMETIC code actually appears; what are the life conditions that spark and drive it; and how life problems ‘G’ will awaken the capacities (T) to deal with new realities, new challenges and new threats as well. What provides the totem pole for development is, in our view, the accumulation of the vMEMETIC codes or schemes (with the multiple expressions of content or themes) that form societal stacks that maintain all of the awakened codes and set the stage for new ones in the future. This is what we call The Double Helix; namely the interaction between life conditions experienced and the… Read More

Of Components and Tiers…

by Don Beck June 2003 Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck is occasionally prone to post what effectively amount to teach-ins or mini-lectures on the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. This is an extract from one such posting in 2003. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work. The 3 Components The Gravesian/Spiral Dynamics/SDi framework tracks the relationships among 3 essential components:- The life conditions – both external and internal or within a person The awakened vMEMETIC code that contains the complex, adaptive, contextual intelligences to deal with those specific life conditions The surface level content that displays those codes, in all 4 Quadrants. There is no guarantee that a specific set of life conditions will, automatically, activate the adaptive codes. They may overwhelm the preexisting capacities. I heard a BBC report that described a project of moving thousands of ‘Bantu speaking’ Africans in Somalia into urban centres in this country, with just a few speeches to ‘orient’ them to our life style. These projects, for the most part, have failed because, like the deep sea diver who gets the bends when ‘coming up’ too rapidly, one can most certainly get the ‘cultural bends’.… Read More

Spiral Dynamics Leadership in the Integral Age

A DEFINITION OF 2nd TIER by Don Beck April 2002 Every year (since 2001) Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck holds a Spiral Dynamics integral (SDi) ‘Confab’ – usually in May and always in his beloved Texas.  SDi practitioners from around the world – including many well-known figures – gather for 3 days and more of networking, discussion and cutting-edge workshops – all leavened by good humour and the annual pilgrimage to the Fort Worth stockyards. This intriguing exploration of 2nd Tier concepts was prepared by Don in April 2002 for that year’s Confab and is reproduced here with his permission. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics integral web site to find out more about his work. 2nd Tier/Integral Principles/Processes vMEMETIC Core Intelligences – The Brain Syndicate  7th Level (G-T/YELLOW) Systemic Natural functional flows Left brain with feelings More secular than spiritual Surfs the Spiral to keep each vMEME holon healthy and functioning Expresses self but not at the expense of others Strong vertical sense to detect problems in the Spiral’s spine and will present options Strong morphing capacity to ‘act as if’ in each vMEME zone Will walk away from ‘poor card’ stacks or rigid ‘City Hall’ structures Knows… Read More

Can vMEMES cause Clinical Depression..?

Updated: 2 November 2015 The Gravesian approach lies at the core of Integrated SocioPsychology. The following is a plea to psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, mental health workers and those involved in research into various areas of psychopathology to examine rigorously Clare W Graves research with a view to its implications for mental health conditions. There are literally millions of people whose suffering could be alleviated if we understood more of the psychological processes underlying it. There are a multiplicity of reasons why the work of Clare W Graves (1970, 1971b/2002, 1978/2005) needs to be taken up much more comprehensively by the academic communities and investigated rigorously for its validity. (Which will result in a much higher profile and wider acceptance of his theory.) One of these reasons, I propose, is the applicability to mental health of the Gravesian approach. Strangely enough, for all the many champions of Graves’ work and the Spiral Dynamics ‘build’ developed by Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996), little has been said about the relationship between Graves’ Spiral of motivational systems (vMEMES) and psychological disorders. Although my plea is for research into the Gravesian approach related to all forms of mental illness, in this piece I will be focusing primarily on Clinical… Read More

What makes People vote Republican?

by Jonathan Haidt September 2008 annotated by Bruce L Gibb, September 2008 [Reference update: April 2009] Jonathan Haidt is associate professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia and author of ‘The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom’ (2005) . He wrote this piece for Bruce L Gibb is an organisational psychologist in private practice in Ann Arbor and an adjunct professor in the School of Natural Resources & the Environment at the University of Michigan. He is also a frequent contributor to the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. While a commentary on the current American presidential election is clearly highly topical and would normally be more appropriate for the Blog, what gives this piece a more permanent currency is Bruce’s Spiral Dynamics-based annotation. Haidt’s article read together with Gibb’s footnotes provides an excellent and more generalised explanation for the points I raised in the September 2008 Blog: Should the Democrats have chosen Hilary? Jonathan has kindly given explicit written permission for his work to be used in this way. What makes people vote Republican? Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies?… Read More