PCM Theory of PCM

Phasing in PCM: To Phase or not to Phase? That is the question.

Phasing in PCM; three condominiums with base, phase, stage;

In the Process Communication Model (PCM), Phasing is one of the most interesting topics. It explains changes in how we see the world, our behaviours, and motivational needs over time. It also explains as the causes of long-term distress behaviours we exhibit and the signals we show when we are in distress.

Motivation for writing this blog post comes from the discussions that frequently arise in a PCM training. After participants are handed their PCM profile and discover that they have or have not Phased, people want to know why. What does it mean for me? Is it better to have phased? Am I better if I phased? Am I better if I haven’t?

PCM is clear in its assertion that we are all worthwhile (OK).

All Personality Types are just as OK as the others. We are just different. Not having phased is OK, just as having phased is OK. We’ve just been through different experiences. We can all build our own journey to personal development and increased self-awareness, whether we have phased or not.

(If you are not familiar with PCM, I invite you to read this article about The concepts of Base and Phase in PCM.)

The concept of Phase provides keys to understanding what motivates people and also what stresses them, by providing understanding of the psychological need that we experience in that phase of our life.

At the beginning of our lives, our Base and Phase are the same. One’s Phase can change once or more times through one’s life, in certain conditions.

Only around one third of the US population doesn’t experience a Phase change in their lifespan… the other two thirds will experience at least one Phase change in their life.


A Phase change occurs when an individual is presented in life with a situation that triggers an unresolved Phase issue. This results in long-term, intense distress. This distressed period is referred to as ‘Phasing’.

After working through this and experiencing the authentic and healthy emotion (e.g., grief, in the case of the Thinker; fear in the case of Persister, etc.), a person will experience a new Phase. The new Phase will be that of the next floor of his or her condominium.

The Personality Type of that next floor, will become their new Phase Personality. It will determine what their new Psychological Needs (personal and professional motivations) are, as well as the corresponding Distress Sequence the person experiences.

Also, one thing to remember: we cannot force ourselves to phase. This is not in our control. What we can control is how fast we go through the process of phasing… how fast we work through those issue emotions.

PCM is not a ‘growth model’ as Phasing is not a goal in and of itself.

There are advantages to Phasing, and advantages of not Phasing:

If we Phase:

  • If we have Phased, we will be more sensitive to and intuitive about the specific Psychological Needs and Distress Sequence of that Phase.
  • We will also spend more time on that specific ‘floor’ of our condominium, thus perceiving the world through the perception of their new Phase. They will also begin developing more the characteristics and character strengths of their Phase Type.

If we do not Phase:

  • We will not have had the disruptive, negative behaviour and its consequences in our personal and professional lives. This is significant, as the distress involved in phasing can take up to two years and can, involve distress in our work or personal relationships.
  • We can still develop (energise) the floors above our Base by consciously adapting our communication and behaviour to match the characteristic of the specific floors. We achieve this by utilising the resources on the other floors of our condominium. I.e., by practicing the perceptions, currencies, strengths, interaction styles of the floors above our base we progressively energise them. Whilst this takes time, it is a less stressful method of developing our personality.

I hope reading this brought some clarity to your PCM journey.

Thank you for reading,


PS: A big reason I write is to meet people so feel free to say Hi! on Linkedin here as I’d love to learn more about you.

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