Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
Vern Black's Integrity Tone Scale
A Developmental Tool To See How Far You Have Come and What is the Leading Edge For Growth Today
with Introduction by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
Psychologist Vern Black has developed an Integrity Tone Scale showing a stage model for how to recognize the integrity stage present as well as how to change your integrity experience for enhanced freedom of choice. 1
Black's model is important as a key tool and means to know how you can appropriately place trust in a part of yourself and in others to do precisely what their state of integrity demands. Someone's Native State of Integrity is the one the person lives in most of the time and is able to maintain with full comprehension, understanding and integrity. Black estimates that 80% of the world's population is operating in the state of Disloyalty across six bands as their native state. Conceivably, we exist in all the states of integrity simultaneously.
By accurately detecting the level of integrity functioning for your self and other people, you can know exactly how much they trust themselves, how much you can trust them, and how to relate with them to maximize the optimal living and integrity for all related. Psychologist Gary Emery writes: "Real freedom is freedom to be non-reactive to others' levels of consciousness." 2
Black describes the scale as "a road map to the mind" and a means to develop your own self-worth. He recommends beginning with the column Point of View, literally the point from which you view something, to help notice and locate someone. Your point of view is deciding who you are with regard to what you observe. Observing isn't criticism, condemning, or trying to change; it's simply noticing and observing "what is."
The following "INTEGRITY TONE SCALE" by psychologist Vern Black, Ph.D. can be helpful in noticing the present level of integrity for yourself and others, without any negative judgment toward anyone. You can use the "Commendment to expand" column to be aware and practice expanding to the next level of integrity on your path of personal growth. 3
Integrity Tone Scale
Take the example of an unwanted situation, like being in a traffic jam. A person operating from the point of view of infringement (state of Uncertainty) would perceive the experience as annoyance and violation. Another one operating from the point of view of challenge (state of Emergency) would perceive the experience as a neat challenge to effectively get the task done. It's not the circumstances or conditions in life that determine one's point of view; the individual does by revealing who they think they are in any given set of circumstances relative to the stage the person is operating in, thus expressing their developmental stage of perception, experience, and understanding.
Philosopher Ken Wilber provides a developmental underpinning for understanding how we perceive and interpret the world. He boldly declares that anyone will interpret the experience of a state in life according to the developmental stage they are living inside. He offers the illustration of a subtle state experience of intense luminosity coupled with universal love when seen and interpreted by a Western Christian as an encounter with the Holy Spirit or Jesus Christ, and this experience can occur at numerous stages of development (Wilber uses the five developmental stages proposed by Jean Gebser).
So at the developmental stage of magic, the experience is seen and interpreted with Jesus being a magician doing miracles to satisfy my desires. At the developmental stage of the mythic, this same experience is perceived and interpreted as Jesus Christ being the bringer of Eternal Truth and this is absolutistic in terms of a belief. At the next stage of the mental-rational, the identical experience is given the meaning of Jesus being both human and Divine and is a teacher of universal love of God. The same experiential state at the pluralistic stage sees Jesus as one of thousands of such profound spiritual encounters of the Christ experience. And the same experience at the integral stage (which Wilber expands into at least 4 higher stages) is perceived as integrating this experience of Christ-consciousness with numerous expressions of the Holy Spirit worldwide. Thus, how one sees and interprets any experience comes directly out of their stage of growth. 4
As you become familiar with the Integrity Tone chart you can also use the first column called Key Word to notice the overall quality of the person's integrity state. Thus, the integrity state of uncertainty has the key word of confused, while the integrity state of emergency has the key word of urgent. You can also spot in the column Emotion what is the characteristic emotional gradient at that state of integrity. There is greater freedom of expression for creating health, love and happiness toward the upper end of the scale and less freedom toward the lower end. Again, emotions are neither good nor bad.
The column Attitude stands for the mental position we have about some state of affairs. While we don't have the ability to directly change our emotions, we can change our attitudes. The column Apparent Resultant depicts what typically will result or be the 'knee jerk reaction' given the associated emotions, attitudes and point of view. For example, given the emotions of empathy and strong interest in the Emergency integrity state, an attitude of amusement and expectation, and the point of view of challenge, this would convince you that the only behavior is cooperation. While this is an illusion, it's what your mind sees as the only option to that set of conditions.
Probably the most intriguing column is Commendment To Expand that alerts you to the necessary steps to expand to the next level on the integrity scale. Consider 'commendment' to be a positive game plan or formula to move to the next higher level of integrity functioning. At the Emergency state, the commendment is to be on purpose through the ability to promote, focus on details, prepare for expanded activity and demonstrate full integrity. Only when all ten commendments are operating for them will they actually be committed. Black noticed one rule: anytime the formula in the commendment is omitted or dropped, the person will drop two states of integrity. For example, omit the focus on details at Emergency, then drop to Non-existence.
By checking and double-checking the various columns against the self's or person's behavior, you can notice the congruency of the various columns, producing a bingo according to Black. At this point you can see a fuller picture and know their trust of themselves and to what degree you can invest your trust in them. This is of immeasurable value in knowing precisely how to relate for maximal well being and integrity for both parties.
The principle that everyone is doing their best at all times given their own state of consciousness and awareness is highly relevant here. Certainly from our perspective, another's actions, attitudes, thoughts and feelings may make little sense, yet make perfect logical or practical or emotional sense to them. Similarly, moral judgments of right and wrong are inappropriate, not in terms of intention or what results actually occur, but in terms of the person's model of how life works. Author Neal Donald Walsch underscores this point: "No one does anything that is "wrong," given their model of the world." 5
1. Vern Black, Handbook for the Integrity Tone Scale, Third Edition (San Francisco, California: Vern Black and Associates, 1984a); Love Me? Love Yourself. (San Francisco, California: Vern Black and Associates, 1984b); See also Ron Smothermon, Transforming #1. San Francisco, California: Context Publications, 1982, pages 29-63.
2. Gary Emery, "States of Mind: The Interior Map," Emery News, 3 (8), November 1995, pages 1-4, quote: page 4.
3. Integrity Tone Scale and discussion: Vern Black, Love Me? Love Yourself. (San Francisco, California: Vern Black and Associates, 1984b, scale reference: page 5.
4. Ken Wilber, Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World. Boston & London: Integral Books, 2006, pages 54-57, 88-93.
5. Neal Donald
Walsch, Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue Book 2. Charlottesville,
Virginia: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 1997, quote: page 56.
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
Wills Perspective on Practicing Psychology: Dr.
Friedman's Practice | Dr.
Friedman's Approach | Therapeutic
Purposes | Credentials
| Experience | Brochures
| Interview | Events
and Workshops | Website Disclaimer