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Corporations and Organizations

Imaginal education applied in corporate and organizational structures

Imaginal Education methods have been used in multiple sectors of society.  Lee Early tells about how ICA staff with little experience in the private sector wrestled with delivering a new LENS course, primarily for corporations – sometimes changing their images and sometimes not.  Ike Powell relates how image change has been central to his work with mental health organizations and the people involved.

Launching the LENS International Program in Detroit

As told by Lee Early

This is the story, from my perspective, of how LENS International, Inc., was formed and some of the circumstances surrounding a decade of programs and learning.


In 1980 Leah and I were assigned to the Detroit Area.  At the time I was not pleased about the fact that ICA staff pricing for the LENS program was $1,250, the same prices for non-profit as well as for-profit corporations like McDonald’s.  I wrestled with a variety of questions:

  • How could we use LENS methods to address “the economic tyrant” in our society?

  • Priced at $1,250 per event, LENS was our most expensive program. Is $1,250 an appropriate price given its service value in the market place?

  • Some in our staff saw the possibilities of LENS assisting our self-support obligations. Could the program monies earned from selling LENS be used for staff support by the Detroit House?

The Detroit staff sent me, reluctantly, to Minneapolis for a LENS training program.  During that program two things came to light. The first thing I realized was that LENS employed the key point that I had learned in a Dale Carnegie “World Series of Sales”  training course years ago. That point was that all good sales persons were always out to discover the reason a possible buyer was NOT willing to buy whatever they were selling.  A good sales person knew that if that block was overcome, he/she had the sale. In the sales course, coaches demonstrated additional techniques to get to the real and FINAL block to a sale.  Getting to the REAL block was essential to any sale. In the LENS method “contradictions” were the key to effective future actions. This was indeed the second session of LENS — the discovery of blocks and barriers that prevent the Vision from being realized.  Lights went off in this salesman’s head; that rang true for me.


The second “ah ha” moment happened when someone reminded me that . . .

“Finally, the social responsibility of the Church needs to be described as that of the pioneer. The Church is that part of the human community which responds first to God-in-Christ and Christ-in-God.  It is the sensitive and responsive part in every society and mankind as a whole.”

. . . was indeed what we were all about, signaling the church as social pioneer; and H. R.  Niebuhr raised his voice in my meditative council. So, wouldn’t McDonald’s have such a sensitive and responsive part in its society?  Wouldn’t any organization have “a sensitive and responsive part” within its organization?


Now that I had a clearer purpose, promoting the church in society and at the same time providing a self-sufficient staff, the only question was how. (Lee continues his story is told HERE.)

Using Imaginal Methods for Mental Health Recovery

As told by Ike Powell

My work is with the public mental health system.   In October 2001, the Georgia Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Disabilities held its first Certified Peer Specialist training, testing and certification program.  This process qualifies people with a diagnosis of mental illness, who are doing well in their recovery, to be hired to provide peer support services in the public mental health system and draw down Medicaid dollars for their work.  The most common names for them are peer specialists, peer support specialists, peer providers. Since that time, 31 states have initiated similar programs. Another 10 are in the process of doing so.



I believe that images hold or point to a set of beliefs, yet not all beliefs are held in images. I find that most people are not aware of what we call “mental images”.  They are aware of beliefs. So I have found that talking about beliefs is easier for people to understand than talking about images. Therefore, I use “beliefs” in a similar way that Boulding uses “images”.  Some of you may disagree with this – including Boulding himself.



My change theory works off a very simple formula (write for this formula).  This re-enforcing process causes us to resist change. Change usually occurs because an external event (new experience) has somehow interrupted the process and created a new belief.



In order to change a belief you need to be very clear about the current belief you want to change – and how the current belief(s) is working against the results that you want; and what the new belief is that you want to replace the old one – and why this will hopefully produce the results you want.  …



I am including three things that may help you understand how I am using the power of images/beliefs in my work – 1) An excerpt from a paper I wrote entitled – The Power of a Peer Provider; 2) Excerpts from the Boulding paper that informed a talk I wrote for the training program; and 3) The major points of this talk that is central to basic training and certification program, along with a board image for the talk.  For this entire presentation click HERE.



In a second presentation, “Using Image-Change Methodologies to Create Mental Health Recovery Curriculum“, Ike describes the values held by the “core recovery curriculum”  created for the public mental health community.


Carol Fleischman facilitated and documented the Louisiana State Plan for Arts Education 2000-2001.