How We Created The Macro-Systems Component of DST During the same time we were researching how DST worked in micro systems (individuals, couples and families), we began looking at its impact on macrosystems (schools, churches, business and non-profit organizations, governments and the evolution of the human race). Then we began developing macro-level DST intervention tools for recognizing and healing developmental shock, trauma, and stress in these larger human systems. Our theoretical leap grew organically out of the personal research we conducted while working clinically and as consultants in groups, organizations, and governments. Our experiences as international consultants to the United Nations in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s and as consultants and trainers in Ukraine since 1994 were particularly helpful in understanding the macro-levels of DST. We discovered not only the parallels in the way each system evolves, but also the similarities in the patterns of dysfunctions that appear in each. Because of these parallels in both evolution and dysfunction, we realized it is possible to use the principles of DST to diagnose where and why a system has stalled by identifying the incomplete essential developmental processes of that system. Once we understood where and why a system got stuck, it became possible to design effective interventions for facilitating the completion of these developmental processes and moving them forward in their development. DST Diagnosis in Macro Systems In addition to DPW’s clinical methods for identifying symptoms of developmental shock, trauma, and stress, DST uses additional methods to diagnose the impact of developmental shock, trauma, and stress on the system. We use self-inventories, structured interviews, focus groups, and process observation to help locate the markers that help identify the impact of developmental shock, trauma, and stress on individuals, couples, families, groups/organizations, cultures/nation’states and the evolution of the human race. We found these data-gathering methods useful in identifying the kinds of incomplete essential developmental processes that exist at each stage of a system’s development. The data obtained from these methods helps the Developmental Process Worker or Developmental Systems Consultant design interventions to help the client, whether an individual, a couple, family, or larger human system. In our DST model, incomplete developmental processes delay or stall the evolution of all human systems. For example, a child who does not sufficiently complete the essential developmental processes of bonding during the codependent stage of development will experience difficulty in completing the essential developmental processes of separation during the counterdependent stage of development. Each completed set of essential developmental processes in one stage provides the building blocks or foundation for the successful completion of the essential developmental processes at the next stage of individual development. This same principle operates in couples, families, groups/organizations, cultures/nation’states, and the evolution of the human race. Incomplete developmental processes actually stall the evolution of human consciousness. Moving human systems forward in their evolution requires unique skills that recognize the similarities in development, dysfunction, and intervention in all six levels of human systems. A Chronology of DST’s History In the late 1980s and early 1990s, we began consulting with schools, churches, and businesses in the community and again saw the same kinds of problems and conflicts involving incomplete developmental processes. We found ourselves looking at organizations through the same developmental lens that we used in our work with individuals, couples, and families. We began speculating on how far we might be able to apply our developmental theory. IYF logo Consulting in Slovakia & the United Nations. Then in 1992 we had the good fortune to be invited to work as international consultants to the United Nations Centre in Vienna, Austria. Here we worked under the Director of Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs and also head of the UN’s International Year of the Family. Our assignment was to help found the Bratislava International Centre for Family Studies in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. The plan was for us to establish the center and then the Czechoslovak government would donate the Centre to the UN. The UN would then use the Centre to train family life educators from developing countries. Our offices were housed in the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family inside the Slovak part of the government, and we reported directly to the Minister or Cabinet head, who reported to his or her counterpart in the Czechoslovak government. Inside the UN and the Slovak government, we were in a unique position to observe the dynamics of these two large systems. The UN’s organization was built on political patronage, and all the heads of divisions were political appointees by their respective governments. This patronage system created a tremendous amount of status-quo practices and policies, as appointees maneuvered to maintain their personal positions. UN positions were given primarily to individuals who had proven themselves as loyal supporters and would do nothing that might possibly discredit the political values of the leaders who appointed them. As good codependents, they were tethered to those who appointed them and unable to exercise individual thoughts or actions. All publications written at the UN had to first be sanitized to make sure they did not contain anything that could be deemed politically incorrect or threatening to the status quo. All decisions at the UN reflected the same mind-set. It was a larger and more codependent version of what will the neighbors think Eastern Europe mapCzechoslovakia, still in its first years of post-communist recovery, was struggling to maintain a government still deeply conflicted by cultural differences. The country was created by a ‘shotgun wedding after World War I between two different ethnic groups, the Czechs and the Slovaks. After World War II they were forced to bury their ethnic differences even more while under the USSR’s totalitarian rule. The culture and values of people in the Czech Republic were historically and culturally more similar to those of Germany, particularly the Bohemian part. The Czechs were naturally more industrious, more left-brained, and more Western European. The culture and values of the people in the Slovak Republic were historically and culturally more Slavic. Slovaks were more agricultural, more right-brained, and more like the people of Ukraine and Eastern Europe. So we saw from our internal vantage point that the forced marriage was cracking a bit at the seams. About three months into our assignment, Czechoslovakia decided to separate into the Czech and Slovak Republics. Their two very different cultural roots had finally reached a critical bifurcation point. Their forced codependency had made it difficult for their joint government to move forward. We saw how the leaders and citizens on both sides had suffered by living in a marriage of convenience that contained many deep incompatibilities. The Czechs perceived the Slovaks as holding them back in their rapid movement towards Western practices in both government and business, and the Slovaks seemed resentful about being forced to move rapidly towards the West when they experienced themselves as more rooted in the traditions of the East/ The Slovaks were much less prepared to handle the challenges of the Velvet Divorce, as it came to be known, because it pushed them into premature independence. Developmentally they resorted to using ego defenses that reminded us of 2-year-olds who suddenly realize they must become self-sufficient. Even though they were not well prepared to handle their autonomy, their attitude towards the Czechs was, Well show you that we can do this. We will take care of ourselves and be better off without you. The dissolution of Czechoslovakia reminded us of a divorcing couple in other ways. The Czechs alignment with the West gave them more economic resources, so they came out of the divorce in a stronger economic position. The Slovaks, still tied economically to the less industrialized former Soviet Republics to the East, were economically weaker and less self-sufficient. Symbolically, it was like witnessing an archetypal couple divorce during the 1950s. The Czechs were like the husband, more educated and successful in the business world, who was awarded the house and the new car and paid child support to the family. The Slovaks were more like the wife, a less educated stay at home mom, who was awarded custody of the children, got the old car, and went to live in an apartment. Consulting in Ukraine. Beginning in 1990, we also became very involved with humanitarian aid projects in Ukraine. In 1994 CICRCL, our tax-exempt nonprofit institute, helped create a sister nongovernmental organization (NGO), ROZRADA in Ukraine. This Ukrainian NGO, which is legally tied to ours, provides counseling, consulting, and training services to individuals, couples, families, groups, corporations, other NGOs, and the Ukrainian government, particularly through the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Sports. Valentina-and-Janae Since 1994, Janae has made many trips to Kiev to collaborate with our colleague, Dr. Valentina Bondarovskaia, who directs ROZRADA. While much of her work has involved training the staff in practical psychology, Janae also consulted with Valentina and her staff on case management and supervision issues. ROZRADA has also published our books on codependency and counterdependency in Russian. Our many years of collaboration with Dr. Bondarovskaia and her team provided us with another living laboratory where we were able to apply the principles of DST. The forced marriage between the republics of the former USSR was similar in many ways to that of the Czechs and Slovaks, and so was its dissolution. After almost 20 years, most of these republics, such as Ukraine, are still struggling to build a national identity and to break free of the codependency trap that the Soviet Union created. They were forced to become economically and psychologically separate from Mother Russia. Summary Our consulting experiences with the United Nations, the government of Czechoslovakia, and our sister NGO in Ukraine has given us many opportunities to apply the principles of our emerging DST in macrosystems. All these personal experiences have helped us recognize not only the similarities in the development in all human systems, but also the way unhealed developmental shock, trauma, and stress stalls and disrupts their evolution. We feel really grateful that we have had each other to help sort through these amazing experiences and to harvest so much understanding about what helps and hinders the evolution of our consciousness as a species. We continue to add to our understanding of the macrosystem component of DST in our consulting work with organizations and governments.

 

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