Introduction to Ego Development

Susanne Cook-Greuter Perspectives, Presentations, Psychology, Video Leave a Comment

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INTRODUCTION TO EGO DEVELOPMENT

In this video clip, Susanne Cook-Greuter lays down the foundation for this series, discussing the roots for her mature adult development research. Based off the work of Jane Loevinger and her background in linguistics theory, Cook-Greuter has developed the sentence completion test, a test that measures an individual’s center of gravity. Through her research, Susanne has found that as one grows from stage to stage, a shift in perspective occurs. And this shift in perspective is described as an increase in self awareness and the relationship one can take toward one’s own experience.

STAGES 1 & 2: THE OPPORTUNIST AND THE DIPLOMAT

Suzanne discusses the first two stages of her model, the Opportunist and the Diplomat. The Opportunist can be described as egocentric and self protective, driven by an internal script that declares, “It’s me against the world.” The Diplomat stage is described as ethnocentric, driven by the desire to be accepted, to belong, and to please. The Diplomat’s script is more evolved than the Opportunist, declaring, “It’s not just me against the world. It is us against them.”

STAGE 3: THE EXPERT

The Expert stage is denoted by abstract thinking and the ability to see the self as an object for the first time. In this cilp, Susanne Cook-Greuter describes how the individual at this stage stresses their unique differences and is occupied by the need to compare themselves to others.

STAGE 4: THE ACHIEVER

This next stage, the Achiever, is comprised of roughly 30% of the adult population in this culture. Susanne describes the individual at this stage as a self-authoring person who knows they are in charge of their own being. The individual at the Achiever stage is focused on independence, goals, reasons, causes, and contractual agreements with others.

STAGE 5: THE INDIVIDUALIST

In this video clip, Susanne describes this stage, the Individualist, as a developmental milestone. At this stage, the individual makes a shift towards interiors, where at previous levels the focus was on the exterior world. Common behaviors at this stage include starting to doubt, wonder, and question conventional worldviews.

STAGES 6 & 7: THE STRATEGIST AND THE MAGICIAN

The move from Individualist to the Strategist is a developmental leap where the individual is capable of seeing that different people are stationed at different levels of development. Not only does the Strategist see that people span a continuum of development, the Strategist also appreciates this continuum. In this video clip, Susanne discusses that this stage is the first to employ a truly skillful means.

When the self system arrives at the level of the Strategist and the Magician, they become aware of the power of language for the first time. In this video clip, Susanne explains how individuals at this level are able to make more distinctions, which produces more freedom precisely because more choices are available to the individual. But with this new found freedom comes a new found burden, because another level of security is taken away.

Image: Moving In Frames by Sheri Munce [+view gallery]

Susanne Cook-Greuter

About Susanne Cook-Greuter

Dr. Susanne Cook-Greuter, born in Switzerland, is an internationally known authority on mature adult development, continuing the work of developmental pioneer Jane Loevinger. Her thesis, Postautonomous Ego Development (1999), is a landmark study in the characteristics and assessment of highly developed and influential individuals and leaders. She holds a doctorate in education from Harvard University, and is also a founding member of Integral Institute.

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