Developmental Transformations (DvT) was gradually developed from 1974-1992 by David Read Johnson and his colleagues Susan Sandel, Robert James Miller, Alice Forrester, Cecilia Dintino, Greta Schnee, and someone remaining anonymous. In 1992, the practice was named and consolidated, and the Institute for Developmental Transformations was formed. Kate Hurd, Warren McCommons, Fred Landers, Nisha Sajnani, Ann Smith, and Navah Steiner, in particular, have further developed the practice. Many others worldwide are continuing to explore the possibilities of DvT.


Theory of Developmental Transformations

DvT theory is based on the assumption that Being is inherently unstable, and that form arises in the service of stabilizing Being. Sources of instability include the perception of Difference in the world, which gives rise to Desire, whose aim is to eliminate difference and this leads to suffering. Desire leads to the formation of territories such as concepts, roles, and identities.


Presence is defined as the continuous flow or process of difference, desire, formation, and then de-formation, which follows the ever-changing, transforming nature of Being. DvT is a practice that aids a person in achieving this flow. The main areas that people experience instability include the Body, Others, and Change, and DvT targets these areas of experience by attending to embodiment, encounter, and transformation.


DvT privileges improvisational and embodied interaction over exploration or role repertoire or story, and training focuses on one's abilities to use themselves and their capacity to communicate in subtle ways, through their own bodily movement, speech, sounds, gaze, and personality. This requires a number of years of intensive practice and supervision, as well as experience as a client in DvT.


DvT may be practiced between two individuals, a group, a family, or a larger community. In the context of psychotherapy and drama therapy, DvT has been especially effective with seriously disturbed populations such as patients with schizophrenia, dementia, and medical illnesses; and with traumatized children and adults. However, DvT has also been practiced with healthy people for personal growth. Wherever appropriate, DvT practitioners provide informed consent, follow ethical guidelines, and receive ongoing supervision. Though physical touch occurs in DvT, this is by mutual agreement and does not include sexualized touch.

Two Sheep


Adult and Baby Elephant
Monkey Bathing