Fiming Work For Our Developmental Journies

Perspectives on the Related Frameworks (Practice Led Theory)

Hilma Af Klint - The Swan, No. 12, Group IX SUW, 1915

Image Attribution: Rhododendrites / Public domain

Notes on the frameworks that point to what is happening in the practice of witnessing and self-reflection through film 

The witnessing filming approach (ref; Inner View Method of Nic Askew / Soul Biographies)  is a profound practice, where each filming is an experiment as we step into the unknown and invite whatever narrative wants to be expressed. There are many references in the community of filmers that we need to step out of the way so that "nothing happens", with no expectations. 

There are however a great deal of research and references from psychology through to the wisdom traditions that point to how we show up in so many different ways in such a witnessing practice, including accessing subtle energy (introduction page on subtle energies and David Deida workshop recording here).


The research points to a number of theoretical frameworks that are diverse, yet offer complementary lenses on the practice - in such a way that can reinforce the outcomes of the InteriorTruth filming experience.


A danger in complex subjects such as meaning-making of the human experience through practices such as this, is to put the theory before the practice. A key tenet therefore is being present and engaging with the human experience first and foremost in an adaptive, flexible and intuitive way, before any bias that a particular theoretical lens may place on the way we engage.

Having worked in organisational and leadership development consulting for over 10 years, I have seen myriads of theoretical frameworks that would be the basis upon which any engagement was led - to the extent of natural biases leading to always see the world in a way that confirms the pre-selected theoretical framework (with equally numerous derrivatives of each framework with their own commercial branding and packaging).

Here are some key principles of this philosophical lens :

  • Context is everything

    • How only through practice (with ideally high granularity) are we able to hold the infinite nuances of context

  • Being in a dynamic vs. aiming for a destination:

    • Our complex world means that we are navigating polarities that are in fact complementary, vs. in conflict. It is only our reductional thinking that collapses polarites into conflict (e.g. right wing vs. left wing politics).

    • Playing with counter-factuals (e.g. testing your hypothesis by attempting to disprove it) can give some useful 

    • Safe-to-fail experiments, which should test naive and deliberately contradictory hypothesis is a powerful way of navigating such polarities and dynamics (See Dave Snowden's Blog post here "Start with action then reflect", and a Dave is a significant source on the general theme of this page, having worked in collaboration with him on client projects). 

Theoretical Frameworks and Complementary Methods that Relate to the Video Witnessing Practice

Below is an initial overview of the frameworks from my experience to be directly relevant to the witnessing practice:

Individual Development Frameworks

  • Focusing

  • Person-centered​ approach

    • Developed by psychologist Carl Rogers

    • A humanistic approach that deals with the ways in which individuals perceive themselves consciously, rather than how a counsellor/therapist can interpret their unconscious thoughts or ideas.

  • Masks Work

    • References from drama therapy to working with archetypes

  • Theory U 

    • Scharmer, C. Otto (2007) Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges. The Society for Organizational Learning, Cambridge, USA.

    • And: Senge, Peter M.; Jaworski, Joseph; Scharmer, C. Otto; Flowers, Betty Sue (2 June 2005). Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organizations and Society. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. 

      • Presencing which is central to the book, variously defined, but Arriving at Silence (shifting the place of perception to the source) 

  • Voice Dialogue Therapy

  • Subtle Energy

  • Developmental Psychology - Subject-Object perspective taking shifts

    • Robert Kegan​

    • Bill Torbert (Appreciative Inquiry)

  • Psychosynthesis

Collective Development Practices

  • T-Groups

    • Facilitated group encouner sessions (Wikipedia article here). Carl Rogers described sensitivity groups as "...the most significant social invention of the century". A T-group meeting does not have an explicit agenda, structure, or expressed goal. Under the guidance of a facilitator, the participants are encouraged to share emotional reactions (for example, anger, fear, warmth, or envy) that arise in response to their fellow participants' actions and statements. The emphasis is on sharing emotions, as opposed to judgments or conclusions. In this way, T-group participants can learn how their words and actions trigger emotional responses in the people they communicate with.

  • Big Mind

    • Dennis Genpo Merzel

    • Related to, but with key distinctions from voice dialogue therapy work.

  • Bohmian Dialogue

Integral Theory Lens on Video Witnessing 

Integral Lens (Ken Wilber) on the witnessing filming practice - and proposing Integral Theory as a meta-map for navigating all the above frameworks and methods.

Click here to access a GoogleSlides draft document (open to comments directly on the document) of using the Integral Theory lens to the witnessing filming practice.

​ANNEX - References for further research

  • Acknowledging what is from Bert Hellinger, founder of Family Constellations

  • Full Appreciative Awareness (FAA) by NLP teacher Carl Buchheit. He describes FAA as basically being OK with what is - not in terms of condoning what is, but instead the choice of including rather than resisting the existence of what is. It's the consenting to the here and now, and what there is to work with. It's a stance towards self, others, and life that doesn't add anything in, and it doesn't take anything away. 

  • "All real meeting is living" by Martin Buber. He contrasts I-It relationships and I-Thou. Check out his phenomenal book I and Thou.

  • "Radical hospitality" from Stephen Jenkinson who works in palliative care. Welcoming and inviting in, even (and perhaps especially) the darkness. 

  • "Love as letting appear" by Humberto Maturana

  • Unique Self Theory by Marc Gafni

  • Idealism as referenced by Bernardo Kastrup

​(Thanks to Alex Carabi for recommendations)