Depth psychologist and wilderness guide Dr. Bill Plotkin contends that a just and sustainable culture requires mature human individuals. He writes in Nature and the Human Soul that “epidemic failures in individual human development” underlie our current ecological and social crises. Thus, psycho-spiritually mature adults are essential to creating foundational cultural change. In alignment with our mission of fostering holistic development, Springhouse emphasizes the following approaches to psycho-spiritual development: Carl Jung’s process of individuation, Michael Meade’s concept of awakening the genius, and Bill Plotkin’s recognition of developmental stages.
Process of Individuation: Carl Jung believed that humans have an innate drive towards wholeness, which he called the individuation process. In the pursuit of wholeness, one comes closer to their fullest, most true self. This journey requires not only healing old wounds, but also becoming more whole by strengthening the aspects of ourselves that we do not know well or do not like. This process inevitably involves navigating discomfort and being with the unknown. Springhouse competencies provide a structured container for individuals to work towards wholeness.
Awakening the Genius: We believe that each individual carries unique gifts to offer the world, and that these gifts are needed. Author, mythologist, and storyteller Michael Meade calls these gift the genius within us that “comes into the world to contribute something and to follow an unfolding story. When the inner genius is awakened, a person’s deepest meaning and greatest talents come to the surface.” He goes on to say that “there is no one ‘right’ solution for the great number of problems in the world. Instead, there are many solutions waiting to be awakened in each person.” A Springhouse education provides tools and opportunities to explore one’s gifts while also inviting trust in the process of discovery.
Recognition of Developmental Stages: In his book Nature and the Human Soul, Bill Plotkin outlines eight stages of psycho-spiritual development from birth to death. Each stage of life is accompanied by developmentally appropriate tasks which provide a “set of guidelines for individual healing and wholing.” At Springhouse we honor each phase and strive to provide opportunities to engage with developmentally appropriate tasks to all those we serve. Furthermore, we agree that “having healthy people in every stage makes a society whole, which in turn allows each person to be fully in his stage.” To this end, our programming creates connections between developmental stages.