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The Supra-Self Inquiry Technique


Strategy, Leadership, Training & Development

The goal of this guided process is to reveal and transform the qualities of consciousness that participants associate with the different roles they play with stakeholders, including colleagues. At the close of this application, participants should be able to identify the limiting nature of their assumed professional identities and test new ways of relating. To do so, this approach has adapted variations of the following psychological methods, including (1) Jungian Imaginal Technique allows participants to visualizing numerous roles played at work where conflict is present, (2) Generative Metaphor that assigns a different metaphor that captures the essence of each of these conflicts, (3) Somatics Practices to identify how those conflicts are known in the body, (4) Reframing Experience by noting the qualities of consciousness between the different roles they play, and (5) Value-Behavior Alignment to identify the disconnect between espoused and values in use, followed by the development of a revised role and value-aligned behaviors that may be tested.

The Supra-Self Inquiry Technique
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Created by:

William Brendel, Israa Samarin, Farhan Sadique

Penn State University

February 13, 2022 at 12:41:46 PM


To cite the authors:

Use this APA Template::
Last Name, First Initial, (Year, Month Date). Title of post. OpenSourceOD.

Alqahtani, M.A. & Risch, T. (2022, March 26). Winning top talent. OpenSourceOD.

Shifting Attention

The facilitator asks participants to create three columns on a sheet of paper at the top of each column and write three roles they play at work (e.g., co-worker, supervisor, partner, mentor). Next, for each role they are asked to first think about a time they came into conflict with someone (i.e., confusion, miscommunication, misunderstanding) and list the motivation behind the actions they took. Then, to shift consciousness, participants are asked to close their eyes and “play back” each of these moments as if they were actually happening. In each column, participants then develop or borrow a metaphor that expresses their experience (e.g., it was like having the rug pulled from under me, driving a car with only three wheels, attending circus of the absurd).

Expanding Awareness

For each column, participants are then guided in concentrating upon the part of their body that experiences tension and discomfort the most. Then, participants are asked to establish and sustain a posture that embodies how they felt in each role and are instructed to feel into the sensations of each pose.

Receiving Insights

Next, in each column, they are asked to draw a symbol that captures what it is like being in each pose. Beneath this, participants are asked to list adjectives that compare/contrast the qualities of conscious experience across all three columns. Participants are then asked to revisit their original answer to “What was your motivation” and are asked to write their answer to: “What was your ‘real’ motivation?”

Applying Discoveries

Finally, individuals are asked to re-write the description of their role in each of the three columns and jot down three ways they could “try on” these new roles including ways they would listen, think, speak, and act differently. They are encouraged to try on one of these new roles – preferably one that seems least risky - later that day.

How you can improve this solution

We suggest revising some of the language in the instructions to fit your audience better. It's also important to think about follow on work/coaching if necessary.

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