There are a number of change models that I find inspiring. Each one offers unique insights into different types of changes we as individuals and groups go through. I’ll be blogging about a number of them. Today, we’ll look at Bridges’ Transition Model.
William Bridges, English professor turned psychologist and change process consultant, has written on transitions for individuals and organizations. He lays out a change process that includes letting go of the old and creating a picture of the new. Creating the new does not happen immediately so for a while those in the process of change are in the “neutral zone,” and, according to Bridges, this is where the psychological adjustment to the change takes place.
Bridges says that the neutral zone is both a dangerous and an opportune place where the old is released and new habits begin to take hold. He cautions that change makers who try to escape prematurely from the neutral zone will fail or fall short in creating the new. This concept calls to mind the Tarot’s Hanged Man who appears almost in a state of suspended animation. He is looking at the world from a new perspective, surrendering to his highest purpose, figuring out what truly supports him, and making a transition to death (the next card to come) and transformation. (The image to the left is from the World Spirit Tarot. One of my favorites to use with people and avaialbe from Llewellyn.)
This model inspired me to create a Tarot spread for how to work with the neutral zone.
Releasing the Old
Card One: What do I need to give up?
Working in the Neutral Zone
Card Two: What is the challenge of the neutral zone (i.e. before the change is finished) for me?
Card Three: How can I work with this challenge?
Card Four: What is the gift of the neutral zone for me?
Card Five: How can I embrace this gift?
Moving Toward the New
Card Six: What might be coming next for me in the process of change?