Chapter 1.


A farmer-businessman with scarcely any visible means of political support came out of the Deep South and told Americans that he trusted them and asked them to "Trust me,"—and was elected President. Of course, the nominating and electoral processes in this country are not that simple; many issues, events, and personalities were involved in deciding the fate of Jimmy Carter and those who contested him. But I know of no national election or, for that matter, any at the state level, where such a call for trust was ever made.

In my view, this call for trust did make a difference in the election. After the trauma of Watergate, Carter's appeal to trusting struck a deep and responsive chord in Americans. But we will probably never know what effect it really did have in November, 1976; because for whatever the reasons, the idea of mutual trust between President and people did not survive long, if at all, into Carter's first term. The tragedy may be that his trust in the "decent American people" was never reciprocated. Perhaps trust never had a chance because of the "intervenors"—the Congress, the bureaucrats, the special interest groups, and even foreign leaders; for these intervenors and their groups have low trust levels, and they are typically power-, fear-, and defense-oriented. They are playing roles; they are managing and manipulating. For them, government is a depersonalized system, which in turn accounts for the dehumanized system the governed experience. The Iran-Contra scandal and the massive corruption and deception that took place during the Reagan administration in the 1980’s severely damaged the public’s trust. Trust, unhappily, is not a part of the American, or global, political way of life. In fact, our present national culture—social, economic, even artistic, as well as political—is inhospitable to trust.

Fortunately, it does exist, even thrive, in sub-groups and subcultures of our country. We find it foremost in families, and in other small groups—wherever people are close and intimate, loving, interdependent, and open to one another; wherever instinct or knowledge give us a sense of being able to be ourselves with others, that provides a basis for trust. We see it also working powerfully among members of ethnic groups, certain social and fraternal groups, and in some religious groups, where there are strongly-held commonalties that displace the fears separating strangers. In such groups, trust functions as a lubricant of individual and social life. Trust makes it unnecessary to examine motives, to look for hidden meanings, to "have it in writing," to have someone—priest, minister, lawyer, therapist, or bureaucrat—intervene between you and me so that we can understand each other or be sure that neither of us is going to hurt the other.

As trust ebbs, we are less open with each other, less interdependent, less interbeing—not into each other in deep and meaningful ways; we look for strategies in dealing with each other; we seek help from others; or we look for protection in rules, norms, contracts, and the law. My defenses are raised by my fear that I do not or cannot trust you. The ebbing of trust and the growth of fear are the beginning of alienation, loneliness, and hostility. In a very real sense, we can say that trust level is the thermometer of individual and group health. With it, we function naturally and directly. Without it, we need constraints, supports, leaders, managers, teachers, intervenors, and we surrender ourselves and our lives to them for guidance, management, and manipulation.

Trust is more than confidence. One dictionary tells us that trust (derived from the German word Trost, meaning "comfort") implies instinctive, unquestioning belief in and reliance upon something. Confidence implies conscious trust because of good reasons, definite evidence, or past experience. Confidence is more cerebral, more calculated, and based more on expectations than trust is. Trust can be and often is instinctive; it is unstrategized and freely given. It is something very much like love, and its presence or absence can make a powerful difference in our lives.

Now, let us put dictionary aside and ask ourselves: What is trust? How will I know, when it touches me? There is no other, or better, way than to tell you how it touches me!

Trust creates the flow and gentles the mindbodyspirit. When I trust myself I am able to enter fully into the process of discovering and creating who I am. When I trust my own inner processes I am able to become what I am meant to become. When I trust you I am able to allow you in. And when I trust the processes of living I am able to join others in the life journey.

Fear stops the flow and arouses the defenses. I direct my energies not into discovering and creating, but toward protecting myself from seen, expected, or fantasized dangers. I am not sure of who I am, cover up and put on protective masks, become concerned about how I ought to meet the expectations of others, and find it difficult to be with others.

Trust enriches my experience; fear robs it. The child in the picture at the beginning of the chapter seems to be reaching out to a friendly world she knows will be loving and accepting. To me she is transparent, open, ready for experience. She will trust me in her world. In my very best moments, I feel inside the way she seems to be feeling.

Trust is a Catalytic Process

Is the world dangerous? Can people be trusted? Should we try to maintain our childlike trust and to help our children to do so? Or should we develop caution, be "appropriately" wary, be realistically prepared for danger? I remember an experience in an elevator in Washington, D.C. Feeling good, I said "Hi!" to a girl, about five, who was wearing a swimming suit and carrying a towel on her way to the hotel swimming pool. She was so haughty and chilling that a friendly elevator operator, the only other person present, said to me: "I'm sure her mother has told her not to speak to strangers." I understand that, too, and appreciated the man's concern and empathy. But I couldn't help feeling that multitudes of tiny experiences like this escalate into the loneliness, alienation, and unconnectedness of modern life, and I felt sad that the learning of distrust should start so early in life.

Dangers do exist. Children and adults are ignored, rebuffed, punished, kidnapped, or raped. Some city streets are dangerous, especially at night. Teachers and students do get beaten up in the school room. Offices and factories are filled with dangerous, life-draining tension. We may be cheated by a dishonest car repair shop, or even by a bank. Watergate did happen. Contragate did happen. Hitler and his minions did murder millions of Jewish people. How do we prepare ourselves, or our children or students, to live wholly and fulfillingly in such a world in which they confront so many dangerous possibilities? Do we take our children to school or hire guards to take them? Put extra locks on our doors? Increase the number of policemen? Make tougher laws? Tighten the security at the airports? Increase the number of crimes that get the death penalty? How much to trust and distrust, and how to handle our fears and distrusts are dilemmas that face consumers, voters, managers, parents, teachers—all of us.

Trust begets trust; fear escalates fear. Trust catalyzes all other processes, is contagious, softens our perceptions, breeds trust in others, makes us less dangerous, and is self-fulfilling. Fear and distrust overperceive the danger, trigger defensive behavior in others, escalate the tension, and are self-fulfilling—that is, fear creates the danger.

I have a friend, Pat, who at seventeen hitchhiked alone through Africa for about a year. Listening to her tell of her experiences, and fantasizing dangers for a beautiful young woman hitchhiking in Africa in the early sixties, we asked if she were ever molested, cheated, robbed, or raped. She said that things like that just don't happen to her. She is trusting, gives out non-defensive signals, and creates her own environment.

Trust and fear are keys to understanding persons and social systems. They are primary and catalytic factors in all human living.

When trust is high, relative to fear, people and people systems function well. When fear is high, relative to trust, they break down.

Trust enhances the flow of mindbodyspirit processes. Energy is created and mobilized. All the creative processes of the person or the system are heightened. Feeling and thinking are both more focused and energized. People act in more direct and effective ways. Consciousness is awakened. When trust is high enough, persons and social systems transcend apparent limits—discovering new and awesome abilities of which they were previously unaware.

When fear levels are high, relative to trust, individual and social processes are impaired. The life forces are mobilized defensively, rather than creatively. Consciousness is restricted. Perceptivity is reduced. Perspectives are narrowed. Feelings and emotions become disruptive and disabling. Thinking, problem solving, and action become unfocused, displaced, or dysfunctional. The processes of the mindbody become segmented and discordant. When fear levels are high enough individuals and the social systems become immobilized, psychotic, or destructive.

Trust is an integrating and wholizing force. It is a property of the whole mindbodyspirit. The child in our picture does not use word language to communicate trust. Her body shows it. And her spirit. She may not even be aware that she is trusting. Words, thoughts, or even consciousness may dilute the trust, mitigate its effects on her and on us. Trust brings integrity.

Fear constrains and blocks. Fearing, I become congested, inhibited, and restricted. I retard all of my processes: my feeling, my imagination, my play and sense of adventure and fun, my courage, my vision, the flow of energy in my mindbody, my intuition, my awareness—all of my processes. An optometrist told me once that he could tell from seeing persons in the waiting room whether or not they would be able to relax enough to wear contact lenses. The people who tried to control their bodies while sitting in the chair and who tried to control their children while waiting would be too "frightened" to wear such lenses. Golfers use the same expression: the person doesn't have courage enough to make the putt!

Trust is a releasing process. It frees my creativity, allows me to focus my energy on creating and discovering rather than on defending. It releases my courage. It is my courage. It opens my processes, so that I can play, feel, enjoy, get angry, experience my pain, be who I am. The full life is a spontaneous, unconstrained, flowing, trusting life. Some holistic studies of cancer are relevant here. Researchers discovered that people who could free themselves to image their cells as actively and flowingly resisting toxic substances were able to retard the carcinogenic processes. I have discovered a similar phenomenon after about an hour of jogging. When I get into my flow, all of my processes are heightened: my energy and breathing, creativity and imagery, awareness of sights and sounds and smells, courage. I become available to me and to others.

Trust gives me my freedom and my fear takes it away. Freedom comes from my own flow. It is not given to me or taken away from me by others. I create my own mindbody trust, which is my freedom. I create my own fears and my own bondage, which is my fear. Freedom is not out there. It is in me.

Trust transcends fear. We have trust in us always. When it is available to us, it works "miracles." We may discover our unlimited and transcendent powers in many ways: hypnosis dream analysis, biofeedback, prayer, mystical and altered states of consciousness, out-of-body experiences—all are functions of our level of trust. I have never known a person whose faith (trust) was as strong and whole as that of my mother. She died alone in her home. The coroner said that in his long lifetime of examining bodies immediately after death, he had never before seen a person whose body and face showed serenity and joy in meeting death. I wasn't surprised. My mother knew that she was an eternal spirit and that her death would be the commencement of another stage of her continuing life. It comes to me at this moment that she gave me her most precious gift—my experience of her faithtrust and its power.

Trust as a Focus for Theory and Practice

For those of us who use it, the unique quality of TORI (Trust Level) theory comes from its bridging power—the use of a single set of constructs, minimal in number, to apply to all professional tasks and human institutions. The same theory is applied to the total range of human problems: from the care of the retarded child to the optimal use of space scientists; from diagnosing the counter culture to understanding the board room at General Motors; from the fear of having the incorrect dress length to existential dread; from the learning of the alphabet to acquiring the skills and talents used in firewalking; from child care to international relations; and from the effects of dieting to cosmic adventures during mystical experiences. However exploratory and post-natal the state of its art and technology, the theory's power lies in its effort to apply the single set of basic constructs to a universal range of phenomena.

The theory is futuristic. It is formulated as an attempt to extrapolate current trends, predict near- and far-future personal, institutional, and cosmic processes, and to deal here and now with the latent forces —both actualizing and destructive—before they become more manifest and less susceptible to our understanding, utilization, or control.

Two seminal cultural developments were predicted in the 1950's by analysis based on Trust-Level theory. Each has the most profound implications for what will likely happen in the next two decades. They are the loss of confidence in our institutions and their leadership and the escalation of faith which characterizes the transcendence revolution of the human potential movement. Each is a direct function of the manifest trust level. One is an erosion of trust in government and industry, and the other is an escalation of trust in transcendence and healing. Trust-Level theory is specifically relevant to both trends.

Trust provides an environment that nourishes personal growth, holistic health, spirituality, and the discovery of the soul. Trust level is a diagnostic cue to the understanding of individuals and groups: to the creation of a fulfilling home environment, an effective classroom, a healing therapy session, a redemptive ministry, a productive workplace, or a nurturing neighborhood. The home has been a place where Lorraine and I have learned most about trust and trusting environments, largely from experiencing our sons, Larry, Blair and John. For instance, I have a vivid memory of a family discussion after both Blair and John had had a thrilling and scary experience cutting down a small jungle in Hawaii with some machetes. Afterwards I asked the boys, who were then six and eleven, what they thought Lorraine and I had been feeling when they were doing this. Blair said that "Jack was concerned that we might cut ourselves, and Lorraine thought we were having a good time." When John didn't respond, I asked him again. His gentle and puzzled "answer" was this: "Do you expect me to be wondering what other people are thinking when I'm doing something?" It was one of the many signs of his trust of his own processes.

Trust level is a key to the understanding of the larger system. As a consultant or as a manager I have an option to focus my "theory" on one or more among many "realities": energy systems, power relationships, role formation, interfaces among sub-units, barriers to productivity, profitability. The possibilities are endless, and there are theories for each. I prefer to start by looking at the trust level. Everything else fans out from there. Social systems can present a bewildering array of symptoms. Recently, a company presented me with massive data gathered from surveys, observations, complaints, interviews, and impressions. One of the most perplexing items for them was the fact that the workers, in a company-wide election, had turned down an obviously beneficent stock-purchase plan. This had previously been available only to members of management, but was now to be open to all employees of the corporation on a voluntary basis. We planned new data collection around trust-theory hypotheses. The employees who were interviewed gave many different responses, but they centered on this theme: "If it looks like those guys are giving you something for nothing, watch out! There'll be a ringer in the small print some place!" A latent and not-easily-visible state of general distrust and fear had been produced by fear-induced management role-taking, covert strategy, persuasion techniques, and efforts to control. Management practices were unintentionally escalating fears and distrusts, which were retarding productivity and creativity.

Trust is the Process of Discovering

To trust with fullness means that I discover and create my own life. The trusting life is an inter-flowing and interweaving of the processes of discovery and creation. These processes have four primary and highly-interrelated elements. *
*TORI is an acronym for these four processes which are central to all personal, organizational and international growth: trusting our being and processes, opening our lives, realizing or actualizing our intrinsic nature and energy, and interdepending or interbeing. The general theory of living is called TORI theory or Trust-Level theory. Tables I-IV contain schematic summaries.
—discovering and creating who I am, tuning into my own uniqueness, being aware of my own essence, trusting me—being who I am. (T)

—discovering and creating ways of opening and revealing myself to myself and to others, disclosing my essence, discovering yours, communicating with you—showing me. (0)

—discovering and creating my own paths, flows, and rhythms, creating my emerging and organic nature, and becoming, actualizing, or realizing this nature—doing what I want. (R)

—discovering and creating with you our interbeing, the ways we can live together in interdepending community, in freedom and intimacy—being with you. (I )

Use of such words as "discovering" and "creating" may suggest to some that I am talking here of largely cognitive and conscious processes. I do not mean to imply this at all. I am referring to organic, holistic, bodymind, total-person processes that have the quality of an intuitive or instinctive quest about them. Each process is both a discovering and a creating—indistinguishable in fusion. I think of the person, the group, and the organization as total organisms that develop these processes, especially under climates of high trust.

The four processes are:

1. Being. My quest for being is a search for and a creation of my identity. It is a continual coming to grips with who I am, in my complexity and in my simplicity. It is a discovery and creation of my center, my meaning, my enduring values. My search is self-determined. I am my own best resource, my own guru and guide. In my attempt to discover who I am, I often find that the object of my search is a moving target. There is no "thing" to find. It is seldom possible to create a still camera shot of my being. The discovering is the significant aspect— not the discovered. The process of discovering is itself the learning and is, in itself, who I am. The discovering is me. I am in process. I am the process. Being is more than simple existence. It is becoming.

When I trust myself and when I am trusted by others I am more apt to live quietly with myself and to develop a capacity for accepting and loving myself—to reside comfortably in my being. To allow me to be me. When I know something of who I am and can let me be in my own space, I can then love me, be in my uniqueness. Reducing my need to compare myself with others, I create my capacity to accept and love others, to be with them in their uniqueness and selfhood. I allow them their own search. From my own self-caring base I am free to release and share my warmth, my anger, my love, my hurt—my realness.

I find it difficult to communicate what I mean by being. It is especially difficult in a culture focused upon the denial-of-being processes of role, achievement, persuasion, and reward-punishment. I have discovered that for me to be a good father, an effective teacher, a useful consultant, and a trusted therapist it is most effective for me to think and feel my answer to the question "How can I be fully who I am?" or simply "How can I be?" And not to think and feel my answer to the question "How can I be a good father?" or "How can I be an effective therapist?" This seems to make all the difference. This process gets me out of role and into my personing. I project myself—and only myself.

Now that I have learned to focus the issues in these simple terms, I find it easy to communicate when I participate in programs for developing teachers, therapists, or consultants. It is somehow surprisingly meaningful to answer all of the analogues of the question "How can I be an effective therapist?" with the answer "Be," or "Be who you are." It is quite clear that being with someone who is real, and who knows that he or she is real, is therapeutic. And, equally, this does provide the optimal environment for learning in the school, lifebuilding in the church, or growing in the family. The inexperienced or poorly theoried therapist, parent, or teacher starts out by assuming the job to be one of categorizing the patient, the child, or the student, of inferring a deficiency, incapacity, or need based upon the category; and then setting out to learn a technique that will remove the deficiency revealed by diagnosis. This seductive and much-taught focus and sequence is very pervasive, seems "professional", and is relatively easy to learn from a book or a class. But it is a denial of the being of both therapist and client, of parent and child, and of teacher and student. Fulfilled living does not come out of toxic and defensive processes.

Being develops in a climate of trust.

2. Opening. My search for my own identity is often aided by seeing myself in the mirror that others provide when our relationship is authentic. My search for a way to connect with you and to create ways of revealing me to you is, in part, my search for my own identity. As I grow in trust, my uncovering of me becomes an intrinsically meaningful quest in its own right. The questing is the being. I show my being to you. Loving me, I can trust you to see me whole, to experience me uncovered, unfiltered. The more fully comfortable I am with my own being, the less risk I experience in showing me to you. And in seeing myself as whole and worthy, I am able to see you as you are, with little defensive distortion. I come to see you not as a threat to me, but as an adventure, an experience in seeing and feeling.


Discovering process
Orientation of the process
Proactive energy focused on:
Personal wants





Being me - discovering who I am

How do I create me?

What is my uniqueness?

Accepting self and others


Expressing warmth

Seeing differences

Love - giving and receiving love



Letting in




Showing me - discovering how to reveal myself to others

How to let you in and share our space?

How to show you how I feel and see?




Tuning in

Intimacy - giving and receiving personal fulfillment








Doing what I want - Discovering my wants and how to realize them

What matters to me?

What is my life for?



Life enrichment



Fulfillment - giving and receiving personal fulfillment







Being with others - discovering how to live and work with others

How do I create my freedom?

How do we transcend our own beings?




Giving and getting


Freedom - giving and receiving freedom


Genuine intimacy is a pervasive human want. It is made possible by our seeing each other as we are, without our masks, filters, or facades. In trust and intimacy I am able to show you my vulnerability. I recognize that my concept of vulnerability arises out of my defensive and protective fear. I project into you the capacity to wound me. If I trust you in depth, I know that you will not hurt me and also that I cannot be hurt. Thus, if I am hurt, I hurt myself. I have two sources of inner calm: my trust in myself and my trust in you. Genuine intimacy, achieved only in a state of high trust, is a calming state because risk of hurt is minimized. If risks are present, they loom small relative to the rewards of intimacy.


Bodymind Process High trust levels produce these effects:
1. Motivation Creates and mobilizes energy, increases strength and focus of motivation
2. Consciousness Unblocks energy flow, expands awareness, makes unconscious more available
3. Perception Increases acuity of perceptions, improves vision and perspective
4. Emotionality Feelings and emotions free to energize all processes of the bodymind
5. Cognition Frees energy for focus on thinking and problem solving
6. Action Release of person for proactive and spontaneous behavior
7. Synergy Total person freed for synergistic and holistic integration

3. Realizing. Free to be, trusted, feeling little or no need to defend, the mindbodyspirit emerges, becomes, flowers, discovers itself, creates itself, emerges in interaction with other organisms, realizes itself, fulfills its promise and emerging destiny. There are apparently no limits to this process. As a person, I create my own internal trust state and an external trust environment, limited only by my own imagination and vision, which I also create.

As I become aware of this emerging process, my increasing awareness expresses itself as a "want". Trusting and trusted, I am able to discover wants that are congruent with the deeper levels of my mindbodyspirit. My total quest for self-determination and self-realization is a process of discovering/creating what I want and how I can satisfy my wants. My wants change as I create new experiences, from day to day, from moment to moment. The significance of this quest is that it makes possible a want-determined life, rather than an ought-determined one. In a high-trust climate I learn that I am the one who can best determine my wants, who is best able to make choices among them, and who is best able to create an environment in which my wants can be satisfied. I am inner-directed, not ought- or outer-directed, except as I respond to you in our mutual trust and intimacy.

As the final column in Table I indicates, this trust-oriented framework of analysis reveals four major and enduring wants that seem to me to be universal. I want to give and receive love, intimacy, fulfillment, and freedom. Under a variety of names, these four human wants are reported again and again by people who are close to their cores of being. The significant thing is not the designation of the wants, or even their classification—neither is of consequence—but the trustogenic opportunity for each person to continue the discovering and creating of the wants that give enrichment and meaning to life as that person sees it.

4. Interdepending. My quest for a fulfilling way to be with others in some depth is a process of learning how to give and receive freedom, how to join together in a way that allows each of us to be ourselves in our fullness, and how to relate in a way that continues to release our love and express it. My search is to learn how to join in creating a relationship that transcends what each of us may be or do alone. The pain, intensity, and prevalence of this want and search are indicated by the multiple alternative institutions that are arising in our culture. The diversity and health of these institutions are both impressive. The pain and difficulty in the quest are indicated by the disturbing number of failures and half-successes. Achieving high levels of trust in an alternative and experimental institution—a church, an extended family, a commune, a business, a school—is difficult in a society in which the environment is distrusting, fearful, and populated with individuals who have difficulties in learning to trust themselves. It seems that interdependence, withness, and synergy are learned, created, achieved. People who know who they are, show who they are, and do what they want are able to achieve an interdependence that comes without sacrifice, without duty and obligation, and without giving away individual freedoms. Interbeing comes from within the persons who are joining. It doesn't come from persuasion, teaching, skill-training, or other outer-inner processes.

In high trust, each person seems to want to seek larger and larger constellations of being, seems to want to be in community with others. In climates of fear, the needs for privacy and aloneness loom large, and the fantasies about loss of freedom and autonomy are heavy. As each person develops a strong and loving base in that person's own being, has discovered that showing the self can be an intimacy-creating and rewarding experience, has discovered that "real" wants can be satisfied in community, then the person is more trusting in reaching out to larger and larger communities of interbeing. The more trusting I am the more able I am to join with others in creating community. It becomes possible to be with more persons in authentic pairings, in intimate small groups, in caring communities, and eventually, perhaps in a more trusting world. For me, this process of creating a larger world community starts in the high-trust processes of each person's discovering how to create for himself or herself authentic interbeing and intimacy.

I assume that these four discovering processes are self-generating and self-rewarding. They grow best in internal, intrapersonal environments of trust, and in external environments of trust and low fear.

Trust Means That I Don't Need to Defend

When fears are high, the defensive processes are triggered and nourished. When my trust in myself is low and I experience little trust from my larger environment, I feel the need to defend. I discover and create my fears and my defenses. The defense process has four primary and interrelated elements.

1. Depersoning. Depersoning is to move away from my person and from being personal to discovering and creating roles for myself. These roles, usually created in response to organizational or other external pressures, have a protective function. Even though I am officially in role—taking on, for instance, a supervisory position—I still am free to fill the responsibilities of that role by simply attempting to be "personal" and assuming that this process will meet organizational demands. When I am fearful, I am less apt to be personal and more apt to assume the protective coloration and prerogatives of the formal role. The higher the trust, the more apt I am to be personal in fulfilling the role. When I take on a role, I usually take charge and try to institute formal or informal controls. I assume a parental posture, and act as I assume a supervisor would act. This process is intended to protect me from those who have similar expectations of my role-taking, but it is usually an illusory quest. The protection is not effective, and the costs are large. What I gain in respect, deference, and control, I am likely to lose in social distance, induced anxiety, latent hostility, and other counter-productive products of the role-playing. A number of related processes seem to accompany the role posture. I tend to identify people in the roles that they fill relative to my own and to value them in the degree that they perform these roles and meet my expectations. More damaging is the related process in which I evaluate and judge feelings, behavior, and attitudes of others. The more I am into role, where my posture is determined by "oughts" and values external to myself, the more apt I am to evaluate people and to moralize about their behavior. These toxic processes are born in fear and exacerbate or feed the other latent distrusts and fears that we bring to each other.

When I am defending, I am caught up in the polar opposites of the processes which make me "personal". I move away from my person to protect myself. In effect, I move into another being, take on another’s clothing, as if to sidetrack or deflect the forces of the perceived or potential enemy, the people who might hurt, derogate, embarrass, ridicule, punish, or damage me in some way. The more fearful I am, the more enemies I see and the more restricted my options for undamaged survival seem to be.

2. Masking. As fears build up, I intensify my efforts to discover and create facades to cover up the authentic me and to protect me from the dangers that lurk in intimacy and contact. I filter or distort my messages, take distancing and formal postures, and hide behind my wardrobe of protective coloration.

Accompanying the mask-making is a process that produces even more distrust than the mask-making itself. Mask-makers have a tendency to protect themselves by building an arsenal of covert and latent strategies that are devised to deal with potential hurt and danger. Strategizing becomes a way of life. The strategies may be relatively habitual and unconscious, such as the tendency to be consciously polite to ward off potential retaliation. They may be habitual and conscious. Thinking in terms of strategy is the opposite pole from spontaneity and impulsivity. Because it is associated with deviousness and manipulation, it produces distrust and raises fears. Strategy produces counter-strategy, social distance, circumvention, and an array of counter defenses.

3. Oughting. When I am fearful and defensive I focus upon the discovery and creation of ways to meet your expectations and demands and those of the groups and organizations to which I belong. I am likely to use the language and concepts of "need" rather than "want" and to attribute to my needs the same quality of duress that I read into the expectations of others. I am captured on all counts. When I talk about and live in a world of needs and expectations, I am likely to feel that they are demands that cannot be ignored. Wants, on the other hand, seem to imply a choice or option, a conscious control, a greater degree of freedom. When I am oughting, I am defensively and habitually asking myself and others what I should be doing, rather than asking myself what I want to do. With an ought and need focus, I tend to look to power, authority, law, structure, roles, and obligations for help in solving my problems, or I see them as obstacles which prevent my solving them. With a want and choice focus, I tend to look within myself at my own flow, rhythm, and being—and to find the strength and resources with which I can meet the problems I choose to face.

When I see the world in terms of oughts and strategies, I am likely to put energy into attempts to influence, persuade, change, or manipulate others. I put less energy into want-directed and choice-directed action. My power and being is likely to come from outside me. My direction of flow is from outside inward.

4. Depending. When fears are high, relative to trust level, I tend to try to control my reactions and yours. My energies are directed toward discovering and creating boundaries, legalities, rules, contracts, protective devices, and various structures that will embody the controls that seem necessary to keep life in order. Sometimes I submit to authority, preferring my world orderly so that I can find protection from and with authority. If authority does not respond to me, I may rebel and fight. Rebellion and dependency have roots in the same authority needs.
Defending process Orientation of the person Defensive energy focused on: Personal needs






Finding a role - discovering and creating a role

What is my role?

How do I compare with others?

Punishing self and others




Punishment - giving and receiving punishment

Need to manage warmth



Closing up





Building a facade - discovering a strategy

How do I protect me?

What is my best covert strategy?





Distance - giving and receiving social distance

Need to manage intimacy








Finding my needs- discovering your demands and expectations

What should I do?

How do I change me or you?

How do I get power?





Influence - giving and receiving influence

Need to manage motives








Controlling me and you - discovering rules, boundaries, contracts

How do I protect my turf?

What is the law?





Control - giving and receiving controls

Need to manage relationships



Bodymind process
High fear levels produce these effects:
1. Motivation Unfocused energy often channeled into defense with reduced motivation
2. Consciousness Fears reduce span of awareness, cut off threatening areas of near-awareness and unconsciousness
3. Perception Decrease acuity of perceptions, impairs vision and perspective
4. Emotionality Feelings and emotions are disruptive, often defense-oriented and dysfunctional
5. Cognition Thinking and problem solving may be unfocused, displaced, defensive, ineffective
6. Action Behavior is reactive, congested, and inhibited by overconcern for consequences
7. Synergy Processes and sub-systems out of harmony, not synchronistic, often segmented.

Fear predisposes a person to overperceive and overreact to the significance of authority and power figures, and the importance of management and control. In a world perceived as unfriendly or hostile, powerful persons are most dangerous of all. Respect for status, hierarchy, and power is tinged with fear. The presence of people in authority may increase the fearing person's feelings of inadequacy and insignificance, or he or she may derive feelings of adequacy from identification with the authority figures. When in a position of power the fearing person is likely to dominate, protect, manage, or overcontrol. Depending upon his life style, such a person will be benevolent, protective, domineering, or coercive. Feelings of hostility, which develop from fear, underly most dependent or counter-dependent reactions.

These four defending processes are initiated and sustained in climates of fear and distrust. Individuals and institutions develop idiosyncratic patterns of defense that tend to recur as trust reaches low levels.

I create my own life out of the interweaving of these discovering and defending processes. Groups, institutions, and nations—all social systems —emerge from these same interflowing processes. Trust level is the central variable that determines the interaction of the processes and the resulting effectiveness of the systems.

Go on to Chapter 2

Return to Table of Contents

Return to Home Page