2019 January 9th at 10 AM PT/ 7 PM CET

Understanding Our Stage of Development


In this podcast, we will be joined by Dr. Mark Forman, who is a licensed psychologist, a lifelong student of Integral philosopher Ken Wilber, and one of the world’s experts on the topic of stages. Mark will share with us what the concept of stages is meant to capture about people and will offer listeners insights about how they can more clearly see their own stage.

Specifically, Mark will share material contained in his recently completed web course “What is My Stage of Development? Step-by-step on the Path to Wisdom”.  This short, inexpensive online audio course can be found here

Mark Forman

STREAMED LIVE  HERE on January 9th, 2019

0:00 Heidi’s intro to the show

1:20 Martin talks about Mark Forman

1:55 Mark made it to come in despite tech issues.

2:50 Heidi talks about the course done by Mark and her experience that people don’t want to know about their developmental stage.

3:55 Mark explains the intention when creating the course: make it easy to find out without reading all the scientific papers. Mark talks about Susanne Cook-Greuter stages of development. He wanted to open up this kind of material. He also wanted to structure the course using “life-stage marker”. The likelihood of where you are looking on your past experience.

7:50 He talks about Kane Lovinger and Erik Erickson. Intellectual understanding is misleading

9:00 Mark talks about the stages models. His language is Ken Wilber’s color spectrum from Magenta, red, amber, orange, green, teal/integral,  etc explained.

14:36 Martin clarifies terminology: “strategist” is the teal stage. Mark: Use skillfully the inner complexity in life.

15:50 Turquoise is the goal and present cutting edge.

16:30 If you have access to “developmental technology”, rich environments, people devlop there and go there to express their development.

17:25 Heidi talks about EGO – why develop the ego instead of getting rid of it? And development depends on the environment.

18:20 Mark: Ego development is self-development and crucially important, even in spirituality.  In very late stages of development people begin to experience that they don’t operate any more in the same way out of their ego, but it is still functioning.

20:11 Bernadette Roberts: “The experience of no self”  The integrated self could keep functioning when she went through the dramatic spiritual experiences.. Mark understands the idea about the “getting rid of Ego” but it does only damage. Mark: “Grow your ego in the best possible way and your spiritual insights can then come together with it”.

23:10 Heidi: growing up is important especially if your mission is creating a better world.

24:15 Martin asks about the course, Mark explains the content of it. He breaks the topic down in different areas of our lives: “At this stage your x-life probably looks like that”

26:05 Mark choses “education” as a part of life and takes it through the stages, Education in all ways, not only official schools! Also learning experiences of any kind. A learning which deepens over time.

28:10 At RED: people have struggled with education, rules and boundaries, getting along etc., seeking immediate gratification

29:30 AMBER (diplomat): completed high school, not much informal education, no big thirst for learning. Explanation of the term “diplomat”

31:35 AMBER/ORANGE: finding the individual side, more skill development. Some kind of secondary education after High school, some skill development on their own.

Correlation with AGE. Development needs time!

33:58 ORANGE (Achiever): 4-year degree, professional education. Trvelling, moving out of home culture etc, Figure yourself out as an individual

35:40 GREEN: Master’s degree pushes us into being able to see more perspectives, often closer to midlife.

36:58 TEAL: equivalent to a PhD. Learn in depth about your subject, different aspects, methods etc, and all have value, broadened perspective

38:05 Heidi: Question to the official degrees and the levels of development

39:00 MA and PhD can be seen through orange lense, more external. But in the developmental deeper meaning of education: Meaning of a “teacher” is to be able to communicate a subject broadly, widely and the inner searching for truth. A MASTER should be a more complete searching of the self. PhD is seen as a transformative process.

41:35 In integral people have deep passions which they follow through, curiosity and openness to experience.

42:25 Heidi comments relating to Mark’s course and some summary and clarification.

43:35 Mark: listen to all the different areas, i.g.

Psychological or spiritual practice experience. Opportunists have little interest in Psychology,

Amber, some access to these topics if sanctioned by the group, no personal motivation. Amber/Orange: people start searching. Open to big ideas, not realistic, a little naive.

Orange get more interested in discovering themselves. Getting better. Specific motivations for practice, getting more functional.

Green: more extensive practice and motivated to do more (5-15 years), usually have developed a spirituality, often pulled from many places.

Teal: deliberate practice, or living deliberate challenging lives. Example: Barack Obama

Turquoise (Construct aware): A lot of practice history, meditation. Entering in WITNESS Awareness. Facilitates the next step where people are less invested in their ego.

51:50 Heidi asks why should we develop?

52:00 Mark: “we don’t have anything better to do”. Purpose of life is to grow, development is tight to that.

53:40 About racism: it can get into the way of people’s full realisation in many ways.

54:18  Engaging in development is going along with what life wants from us and we want from life. What kind of model is not important, only that you have one which gives you a trajectory.  His model seem very helpful also to find out what to do.

57:10 Martin: Has lived in Northern California which helped his development. The in LA people had a different mindset. Question: what is the difference between the cognitive level and the embodied level? In Turkey highly educated, but not yet Green as it is in California. Cultural context is very important.

59:40 Heidi suggests another conversation about embodiment of the levels.

1:00:10 Difference in cognitively understanding and living on that level. Ego development is social-emotional development!

1:00:50 Culture makes a difference. Mark talks about a chinese person not being able to imagine teal culture because that’s not what he finds.

1:02:08 Final words. Find out more:


Mark Forman is a well known personality in Integral circles. I haven’t met him personally yet, but since I came across his course “What is My Stage of Development? Step-by-Step on the Path to Wisdom” I had the wish to talk with him about his work. The course itself was an interesting exercise. It has the power to help people to understand better their own worldview. People who have never considered adult development, let alone the integral framework, can easily jump in and get to know more about themselves without any need of learning theory.

Martin Ucik, my new co-host in these conversations, had already had some conversations with Mark Forman, posted below. In our conversation we will try to talk about his work from some different perspective.


Dr. Mark Forman is a licensed psychologist with over fifteen years experience working with men, women, children, and families in psychotherapy.

Mark was a former faculty member in the Integral Studies department at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California and was the co-founder and three-times lead organizer of the Integral Theory Conference, the largest gathering of Integral scholars and practitioners in the world.

In 2010 Mark published a well-received textbook exploring the relationship between Integral Theory and psychotherapy, entitled A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy. Dr. Forman currently trains other therapists and coaches in his Certified Integral Therapist Global training. He also currently sees therapy clients in-person and online in the state of California as well as


Previous conversations by Martin Ucik with Mark Forman

Susanne Cook Greuter at the IEC 2018 in Hungary – the ego development model was developed by her