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STAGES International

STAGES International was founded in 2016 to bring the STAGES model of human development to a wider audience. Terri O'Fallon PhD is the primary developer of STAGES and Kim Barta MA has pioneered applications of STAGES in psychotherapy and coaching.

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About this Course

Are you curious about the possibilities for developing beyond the ceiling of your current stage of development?

Are you interested in tasting some of the experiences of later stages?

Are you curious about the relationship between spiritual unfolding and developmental unfolding?

At some point in your life you realized...

My life is a work in progress!

Whether this realization came in a flash or gathered over a period of time, the sense that came with it is that your life is a process of unfolding through stages. And as soon as you had this realization, you immediately became intensely interested in what lies ahead and you began looking for “maps” that could guide you.

Maps of human development have been around for millenia. All of the great wisdom traditions describe paths that lead from the ordinary to later stages. But it has only been within the last 100 years or so that modern researchers have begun to explore personal developmental processes. From this effort has come new insights into the nature of evolutionary human development, and the emergence of maps that measure how individuals and collectives evolve.  

Terri O’Fallon’s STAGES model is one such map.

STAGES emerged from a rich lineage of developmental theory that includes Jane Lovinger, Suzanne Cook-Greuter and others, and how they integrate with Ken Wilber’s integral theory to produce an integrally informed model of stages. It is based on rigorous research that Terri has been conducting for almost 10 years which is ongoing and will always be ongoing because the STAGES model has been created as an evolving, ever changing model that will never be finished.

One of the most important discoveries from Terri’s research is the repeating stage patterns in each tier. These patterns have emerged from the data which puts new structural definitions around what constitutes a “stage”.  

The clarity and precision of this is shifting developmental theory out of the purely theoretical into a multitude of application possibilities, among them a beginning understanding of four later stages that seem to many to be close descriptions of the stages recognized by the wisdom traditions.

The Frontiers of Consciousness course explores the MetAware tier of Terri O’Fallon’s STAGES model of human development. MetAware is the third and highest tier in STAGES for which there is sufficient research to support the theory. The MetAware tier contains four stages:

  • 5.0: Construct Aware
  • 5.5: Transpersonal
  • 6.0: Higher Mind
  • 6.5: Illumined Mind

Although Terri has been teaching about STAGES for several years, this is the first time she is offering a course exclusively focused on later stages. Why? There are two main reasons:

  • There is an interest in understanding the later stages of development. If you’re developing, you’re headed somewhere. But where? And how do you get there?
  • Later stages are profoundly misunderstood, yet research based on individuals at later stages is beginning to provide a picture of what it’s like to be at these levels

The course will describe the research underpinning these stages, the triangulation of the research that supports them, the difference between states and stages in these levels and the unfolding of the descriptions of qualities we see emerging at these four later levels of development.


Session 1: The Underpinning of the Four Later Stages: Research and the MetAware Tier

  • Brief review the STAGES model, its tiers, person perspectives and repeating patterns, and how these patterns manifest in four later stages
  • What is the MetAware tier and how is it different from the Concrete and the Subtle Tier?
  • Discover the parameters holding the qualities of each later level stage
  • What research is available to support these four later stages?

Session 2: 5.0: The Early Fifth Person Perspective: Deconception

  • What are the qualities of transformation into this tier and this stage?
  • What objects does this level perceive?
  • Where is this level looking from?
  • Qualities of the conceiving mind in its fullness and emptiness
  • What is it like to be at this stage? (Portrait paintings of people who may reside in the space of this stage)
  • Exercises that point to this stage

Session 3: 5.5: The Late Fifth Person Perspective: Transpersonal

  • What are the qualities of transformation into this stage?
  • What objects does this level activate, see, hear, feel?
  • Where is this level looking from?
  • How the qualities of the conceiving mind is used to create in its fullness
  • Deactivating and letting go
  • What is it like to be at this stage? (Portrait paintings of people who may reside in the space of this stage)

Session 4: 6.0 and 6.5: The Early and Late Sixth Person Perspectives: Higher Mind and Illumined Mind

  • What are the qualities of transformation into these two stages?
  • What objects do these level experience in reciprocity and interpenetration?
  • Where are these levels looking from?
  • What are the realizations we get at these stages that is different from the state stages?
  • What is the relationship between the developmental stages and the state stages that seem to come up at these levels?
  • What is it like to be at this stage? (Portrait paintings of people who may reside in the space of this stage)
  • The Unified Tier: Speculations based on earlier tiers ad repeating patterns

Course Structure

The course consists of four 90 minute sessions with Terri O’Fallon in live video on the Zoom video conference platform. All sessions will begin at 5:30pm Pacific / 8:30pm, and will be on these dates (all Mondays):

  • April 9
  • April 16
  • April 23
  • April 30

The course includes:

  • Four 90-minute live video sessions with Terri that include teaching, presentations and open Q&A
  • Video and audio recordings of all sessions for playing/listening and downloading the following day
  • A compilation of the transcripts of all sessions will be available in publication quality PDF format about a week after the last sessions
  • An "ebook" collection of articles by Terri in publication quality PDF format, available near the start of the course
  • An elegant “course website” hosted in the Ruzuku online learning platform that will hold all information about the course, including all the recordings and transcripts
  • A private Facebook for the course, which Terri will participate in.

Registration is Now Closed

Please visit us at STAGES International and sign up for our newsletter for information about upcoming courses and events.

A Short Video Clip from Session 1

The first session was held on Monday, April 9, and we would like to share this short, 3-minute video clip from that session. Here, Terri is talking about the transition from the upper stage of the Subtle tier (4.5) to the first stage of the MetAware tier (5.0), which is a huge transition developmentally. Terri explains why most people experience this transition as difficult and disorienting. It’s a beautiful and simple example of how the STAGES map can be applied to ease this transition in your own development.


If you have questions about the course or need assistance registering, please contact us at

About Terri O’Fallon

Terri O’Fallon PhD is an Integral scholar who derives theory and research interests from a passionate practice of auspicious wondering, learning, and marinating in life; she is the daughter of a 95 year old dancing mother, eldest of seven siblings, parent of two adult children, grandparent of two granddaughters, and has over fifty years of teaching from pre-kindergarten through post PhD. She has a PhD. in Integral Studies and Masters degrees in Spiritual Direction and Special Education. These embodied experiences have supported her primary theory and research and teaching theme: Growing up is waking up throughout the lifespan.
Teaching has been a theme throughout her life beginning as a preschool and first grade teacher, she has taught every grade, including special education and the gifted. She has had the role of principal of schools and superintendent of schools, and taught in seven colleges and universities. Her interest in life span development naturally arose from this field.

Terri’s research experience spans 40 years including eleven research studies, conducted in various colleges, public schools and private research venues, but her most passionate theory, research and teaching work of the past eight years revolves around the Stages model which integrates the Integral model by Ken Wilber with the Ego development scale of Susanne Cook-Greuter. The STAGES model was a natural culmination of her life’s experience.

Ordinariness has been the trajectory of Terri’s life. Steeped in philosophy, research, teaching, and a myriad of spiritual practices, her path continues to bring her solidly home to the practical living, breathing appreciation of the simple things in life. We wake up every morning. We grow up, quite naturally. We live through joys and sorrows, and face our family, friends, and neighbors every day. We grow old and watch our life approach its end as we apprehend the birth of our grandchildren. With the gifts of so many experiences, the highs and lows of being, what seems to always remain is what we were advised to do from birth: listening, gratitude, compassion, love, forgiveness, and generosity—lifelong lessons that never seem to end.