The Window of Transformation

The Window of Transformation

“The Window of Transformation” – a variation I have created from Dan Siegel and Pat Ogden’s work on the “Window of Tolerance” model, with a focus on personal growth, social transformation & interpersonal conflict.

In social change movements, we ask – or demand radical transformation of others and ourselves. In popular culture, personal transformation is often understood as being triggered by crisis – sometimes it seems as though we think we can force psychological and spiritual transformation in the same way that force policy or institutional change. But is that type of change desirable, or even sustainable on a personal/interpersonal level?

What would a healing-based model of change look like, and how can we incorporate our growing understanding of neuroscience and trauma? Dan Siegel’s Window of Tolerance, as well as Pat Ogden’s adaptation of that model, has recently become very popular in certain therapeutic and activist communities as a way of understanding that our bodies/minds shift their capacities in response to perceived life threat. The human nervous system, or so the theory goes, shuts down our ability to connect with others, regulate emotion, and interact curiously when we are over or under a certain threshold of stimulation. This survival response allows us to put the sensitive patterns of personal growth and intimacy on hold so that we can attack, defend, flee, appease, or otherwise survive a perceived threat.

If we accept this to be true (or at least a worthwhile theory), why would we set the deep transformation required by activism apart from this worldview? How can we use neurobiological theory to help us understand and support the process of accountability and change that we so fervently demand in the name of justice?

What do you need in order to become available to a process of healing, sustainable transformation?

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