The Barrett Model

The Seven Levels Model describes the evolutionary development of human consciousness.

The Seven Levels Model was developed in 1996–1997. There are two aspects to the model—the Seven Levels of Consciousness® Model and the Seven Stages of Psychological Development Model. We operate at levels of consciousness and we grow in stages (of psychological development).

The Seven Levels of Consciousness Model applies to all individuals and human group structures—organisations, communities, nations. The Seven Levels of Psychological Development Model applies to all individuals.

The following diagram shows the correspondence between the Seven Levels of Consciousness and the Seven Stages of Psychological Development.

Under normal circumstances, the level of consciousness we operate from is the same as the stage of psychological development we have reached. However, no matter what stage of psychological development we are at, when we are faced with what we consider to be a potentially negative change in our circumstances or a situation that we believe could threaten our internal stability or external equilibrium—anything that brings up fear—we may temporarily shift to one of the three lower levels of consciousness.

Alternatively, if we have a “peak” experience—an experience of euphoria, harmony or connectedness of a mystical or spiritual nature— we may temporarily “jump” to a higher level of consciousness.

When the threat or peak experience has passed, we will normally return to the level of consciousness that corresponds to the stage of psychological development we were at before the experience occurred. In rare situations, a peak experience may have a lasting impact, causing us to shift to a higher stage of psychological development and operate from a higher level of consciousness.

Similarly, a “negative” experience, if it is traumatic enough, and particularly if it occurs in our childhood and teenage years, can impede our future psychological development by causing us to be anchored, through frequent triggering of the traumatic memory, into in one of the three lower levels of consciousness.


I created the Seven Levels Model to provide a clear understanding of human motivations. The model is based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It was apparent to me that Maslow’s research and thinking was ahead of his time. Abraham Maslow died in 1970 at age 62, well before the consciousness movement had taken root. I saw that, with some minor changes, his hierarchy of needs could be transposed into a framework of consciousness. In 1996, I set about making these changes. -Richard Barrett