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Three Stage Story

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > Three Stage Story

Separation | Transition | Re-integration | See also

 

Many stories, myths and real-life change happens in a three stage process of separation, transition and re-integration.

These three stages are symbolic of death and rebirth, as the old person 'disappears' and the changed and new person emerges.

Separation

In stories, the hero leaves home in search of adventure or otherwise is triggered into action, such as in

In psychoanalysis, we split off uncomfortable bad objects, often projecting them onto others.

In rites of passage, the person leaves their community, often symbolically wearing different clothes or markings.

In business change, the targets are unfrozen from their current position, readying them for change.

Transition

In stories, the hero goes through trials and tribulations on the way to the triumph of the final goal.

In psychoanalysis, we may use projective identification to connect with safely separated bad objects. We may go through transitions such as into the mirror phase or the symbolic register via the Oedipus Complex. We may take good parts of others into ourselves in introjective identification.

In rites of passage, the person undergoes hardship and trials.

In business change, the targets are transitioned from the old to the new organization.

Reintegration

In stories, the hero returns home and receives their just welcome and reward.

In psychoanalysis, good object that have been healed from a bad state, perhaps by the good-enough mother, are introjected back into the psyche.

In rites of passage, the person is welcomed back as a changed person, perhaps as an adult or as a new member of a higher order.

In business change, the targets are re-frozen into the new organization.

See also

Psychoanalysis, Lewin's freeze phases

 

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