Recovery, Identity and Use-of-Self: A Personal Journey

This article offers insights from my experience of crisis and growth which have shaped my outlook as an OD practitioner and, in particular, my understanding of use-of-self. By this I mean the ability to bring the entirety of my experience, emotions and being to a situation, whilst simultaneously taking care of my own emotional baggage1.I believe that self-change is necessary to achieve organisational change, for reasons of ethics (earning the right to intervene) and effectiveness (removing personal blinkers, knowing and owning all parts of ourselves2). Ghandi’s famous call to “be the change you want to see in the world” I take as not just an exhortation to model a desired future state, but also as a call to undergo transformation oneself3. What occurs in the system of ‘me’ (intrapersonal) can then present in my relationships with others (interpersonal), and at the organisation or system level.

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