Jakeel and Stephanie’s Process of Continuous Growth
“To the tune of your own narrative: Writing a story you feel comfortable listening to.”
Figure 1. Phases for Process of Continuous Growth
Figure 2. Cycle of Growth
Figure 3. Equation for Continuous Growth
Background: Identifying where an individual may be at in the understanding, acceptance and healing of their continued lived experiences can help them decide what areas in their life needs more attention (in regard to healing), which areas need more validation (in regard to affirming oneself), and which areas need to be explored (in regard to gaining clarity). The culmination of intentionally engaging within each of these different components leads to personal growth.
Theory Purpose/Goals: The main purpose of the model is to help individuals process their narrative, from past to present, to help them gain more control over their future. The theoretical framework of this model has three main goals in the area of personal growth:
1. To promote clarity in aspects of one’s own narrative to help them become more present in their lives.
2. To help individuals find and give themselves constant validation and affirmation in their identity through reflection and exploration.
3. To encourage a self-identifiable method for acknowledging and addressing areas for growth and healing.
Self-identifying growth model for individuals to use as a foundation for reflection and healing
Can be used as a programming model
Theoretical Framework: The Process of Continuous Growth begins with an individual’s commitment to engage in the reflection and processing of their journey/life experiences. An individual will have to challenge their vulnerability, reflect on their life experiences (positive and negative) and make the decision to deliberately focus on their growth. According to the model, an individual will transition through multiple phases, focusing on an aspect of their narrative. Individuals will self-identify the phases in which they are in to take the appropriate steps towards healing or growth.
Phases (Figure 1): Each phase of the model are components that promote healing and growth. Each phase requires intentional reflection, exploration, and awareness of one’s capacity for confronting/processing life experiences. While the phases are not linear, individuals may move through each phase in a linear way. Individuals may also move back and forth through each phase or even skip a phase-dependent on comfort level with experiences (traumas, triggers, etc.) and clarity.
Moving Through Your Journey (Reflecting and Processing Phase): In this phase, individuals begin the process of reflecting on their journey. They should be starting to ask themselves “Where am I at in life? How do I feel about life? What is my story? The goal of this phase is for individuals to holistically reflect, process, and evaluate their life experiences. Once an individual is in a mental/emotional space of comfort, they can begin to address different aspects of their life. They can make decisions about how to move forward with their healing with as much context as they can provide themselves.
Embracing Yourself (Exploration Phase): In the exploration phase, individuals focus on embracing who they are. They begin to explore their different identities (gender, sexual, status, religion, etc.) and the intersections between them. The focal point of this phase is geared towards increasing self-awareness and understanding of who they are, how they’ve become who they are (through life experiences), and whom they are becoming.
Questions to help guide an individual’s identity exploration: Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I know I am who I am? What does it mean to be *insert identity*?
Healing Through Your Narrative (Self-Inventory Phase): The self-inventory phase is by far one of the most challenging phases that an individual will transition through. Here they are beginning to engage in surface-level trauma work and re-establishing/redefining their boundaries. They start to embrace vulnerability by acknowledging and identifying traumas, triggers, and experiences they have to heal from or address. In essence, individuals must learn to get uncomfortable, so they can get comfortable.
Questions to guide self-inventory: What experiences are difficult for me to talk about? What conversations or experiences make me uncomfortable? What are my emotional triggers? What are my boundaries? Have I accepted experiences or ignored them?
Owning Your Narrative (Acceptance Phase): In the acceptance phase, individuals take ownership of their narrative. They begin accepting their life experiences (bad and good) and give their stories power. The acceptance of their experiences allows them to identify areas in their lives where they need to adjust boundaries or set new ones. This mindful approach to their feelings and experiences allows them to be present in the current moment. Transition through and out of the acceptance phase is marked by clarity and affirmation.
Moving Through Your Journey With Clarity (Re-Evaluation Phase): Much like the reflecting and process phase, the re-evaluation phase places a strong emphasis on reflecting, processing, and evaluating one’s life journey. Newfound clarity helps individuals gain control over the direction they want to take their journeys and the areas they need to focus on. As individuals continue to develop, grow, and heal, moving on with clarity will provide a healthier method of processing continued lived experiences.
Harris, J & Gonzalez, S. (2021). Process of continuous growth